Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paying it Forward

It's Christmastime, a perfect time for paying it forward! Yes, for you guys that means a giveaway! And boy do I have a good reason to pay it forward right now.

On Cyber Monday I found a really great deal on Happy Heinys pocket diapers at Hopper's Baby Haven. I needed a few other things too - some new detergent, rash cream, etc. - so, like many of you probably did, I took the opportunity to get the things I needed at great prices. Not just at Hopper's, but a couple of other sites as well.

Just two days later my order from Hopper's arrived. I eagerly ripped open the package to find my three Happy Heinys waiting for me, as well as the detergent I had ordered, and...a full size bottle of scented CJ's BUTTer? A pair of glow in the dark BabyLegs? Wait a minute, I didn't order these. I had ordered two bottles of unscented CJ's Spritz o' BUTTer Plus. They must have gotten my order wrong!

So I immediately sat down and wrote them an email to let them know there was a mistake, and ask how should I go about exchanging these items for the right ones.

I hit send. Then I looked down at the invoice in the package. And realized my mistake. I had ordered the CJ's Spritz from a different company. Hopper's Baby Haven had merely sent me some free samples out of the goodness of their hearts! Whoooops!

Of course I felt foolish and immediately emailed them again to apologize for my mistake. Irene Hopper was very understanding! Of course, since Jem already has more pairs of BabyLegs than he really needs, and neither of us can use scented lotions, we now have some free products to forward on to one of our lucky readers!

If you have not used BabyLegs before, they are great little legwarmers which, in particular, make diaper changes much easier. Nothing is cuter than a baby scooting around in a colorful cloth diaper and a pair of BabyLegs, staying toasty warm without needing to wriggle in and out of pants! They can also be used as wristwarmers for mama! This pair is black with glow-in-the-dark stars. Very cute. I almost wanted to keep it, but just can't justify hoarding another pair in Jem's top drawer! These are sold for $12 on the BabyLegs website.

As for CJ's BUTTer, it is an amazing WAHM-made product. It contains nothing but natural oils like coconut oil and vitamin e, a bit of lanolin, and, in this case, a bit of fragrance. I have a big tub of the unscented BUTTer that we use on Jem's minor diaper rashes (for his bad rashes we use the CJ's Spritz Plus which has extra neem and sesame oils). For me, BUTTer has been a godsend for my dry, chapped hands this winter. With CJ's I have no more bleeding knuckles! It can also be very effective in treating eczema and chafing, and is even recommended as an oil product for dry, textured hair! I really can't rave about it enough. This particular scent is called My Pixie Pie, and it's in a full 4 ounce tube: a value of almost $7. From the CJ's website:

  • Named after CJ’s pet name for her little girl…A beautiful mixture of cherries, toasted almonds and finished with a touch of vanilla and coconut, this sweet fragrance is aptly named.  
I cannot wait to pass these on to one of you!

How to Enter

All you have to do is be a Facebook fan of Jem's Room. That's it! Once we hit 100 fans I'll be sending these right on out to one random Facebook follower. It also won't hurt to follow Jem's Room on Google Friend Connect...I'll be having a separate giveaway for you guys! More details on that to come!

If you happen to be the lucky winner and you can't use these or don't need them, I hope you will also consider paying them forward to someone who can. I'll be happy to send them to one of your friends, family members, or a child-centered charity of your choosing!

As always, thanks for following, and enjoy all of the holiday preparations!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My New Best Friends

Hope you're all having a wonderful December! We just celebrated St. Nicholas Day for the first time with Jem on was so much fun to watch him pull his new little wooden trains and cars out of his stocking. They've been a big hit! St. Nick brought a few things for mommy and daddy too... including chocolate oranges. Yum!

As we approach the end of 2011, I've started to think about the list of my favorite products of the year. Later in the month I'll make a full list of these products, but for now I'm just going to talk about a few recent additions to my cloth diaper routine that I don't know how I ever did without.

First up: Borax. As fabulous as my recent discoveries of Eco Sprout and The Laundry Tarts detergent were, even they were still not quite able to save my thickest diapers from the stink that sometimes remained after the wash cycle. I have battled keeping rashes off of my son from the beginning, particularly with his nighttime diapers. One reason for this, I believe, is that the majority of my inserts are microfiber, which I recently became aware is notorious for getting less absorbant and harder to clean the older it gets. Enter Borax, a natural, cost effective cleaning product, which my mother had recommended months ago but I was hesitant to try. I had heard sodium borate, the chemical name for Borax, can be a skin irritant. However, after reading that, like many other natural cleaning products, it's only an irritant if rubbed directly on the skin and that it washes out completely in laundry, I tried it. The difference in the smell of even my thickest overnight microfiber inserts and my fitted diapers is amazing. There is none! I am currently using 2 Tbsp of The Laundry Tarts (Plain Jane) or Crunchy Clean unscented with 4 Tbsp of Borax. The best part is that, since sodium borate is found abundantly right here in the US (mostly in California), a 4 lb box of Borax only costs about $3. I can live with that!

My next new best friend is Bamboo. Because of not only the stink, but the leakage issues we have battled due to the microfiber inserts, I decided it was time to try more natural fibers. Although hemp and organic cotton are technically more eco-friendly (bamboo must first be made into nylon or viscose fibers before it can be made into fabric, which do not biodegrade as easily as cotton and hemp), bamboo has the benefits of being more absorbant, softer, and it wicks urine away from baby's bottom a bit better than cotton and hemp. So I bought a couple of bamboo inserts from SweetBottomsBaby Boutique. I have been so impressed by the absorbancy compared to the microfiber that I ordered ten more bamboo inserts, this time Doopsy inserts from Etsy (Doopsy inserts are made in the USA). I have a feeling this will not be my last bamboo purchase. In fact, if they continue to work for us I may phase microfiber out of our supply entirely and switch solely to natural fibers!

Next up is a product that may surprise those who've been following this blog for awhile: Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter diapers. I was hesitant to try them because they are made in China, and you know I have that list of USA manufactured diapers I was intent on sticking with. The fact that they cost so little also makes me squirm a first thought when I see a price so low on a pocket diaper is "what are their workers making per hour?" However, Jem's been such a heavy wetter at night lately that even our beloved BumGenius diapers, paired with three inserts (1 bamboo, 1 hemp and 1 microfiber) were not cutting it. I kept hearing the glowing reviews about Kawaii GNHW dipes, and they WERE inexpensive. So I decided to break down and buy just one from Figure 8 Maternity, for $10 with free shipping. I still use three inserts to be on the safe side (two natural fiber inserts plus one of the microfiber inserts the GNHW came with), but so far, Jem has not leaked out of it once. The inserts are all soaking in the morning, but his jammies and sheets are dry. So...I ordered two more of these wonder dipes. Which should be plenty! I do feel bad about not sticking with my list, but I figure it's just a few diapers for nighttime and I can stick with US made diapers for the rest of my stash. Oh, the compromises we make for our sweet babies! For the record, Luvyourbaby Products, the creators of Kawaii diapers, post an assurance on their website that their laborers are treated well and that their prices are low simply because they have no retail locations to pay for. I guess I'll just have to hope that's true!

My last new best friend is that GE Profile HE toploading washing machine I was so excited to get. Yes, I've only had it for a couple of months, so there's still time for it to break my heart. However, what I have here is an energy efficient machine that I can still add as much water to as I need for diaper washing, with a custom-tailored cycle I have programmed just for diapers. This cycle automatically runs with the push of one button and gives me a 30 minute soak, then a nice, hot, temperature-controlled heavy duty wash followed by one normal rinse and one extra "fabric softener" rinse (a more thorough rinse). It's wonderful! And it's kind of hypnotizing to watch it work its magic through the glass auto-lock lid...even my hubby likes to stand there and stare!

Hope you all are enjoying whatever holiday traditions you celebrate! Stay tuned for some fun giveaways coming up!!!