Thursday, 28 March 2013

Cloth Diaper Part 2- Cloth Diapering Systems

    One of the more difficult decisions in cloth diapering (and can be an expensive mistake) is choosing the right cloth diaper. First, you must choose the cloth diapering system that you like best and works best for your child. Then you have to find the brand(s) that have the best fit. Finally come the small details like, do you like snaps or hook and loop/aplix? Should I use pins, snappis or boingos or just trifold?What materials should I buy? There are many questions that you will answer for yourself with a bit of research but more then research, trial and error will answer these questions for you. First things first, what are the cloth diapering systems, how many are there and which is best? Basically there are 5 different cloth diapering systems. You  may like one or you may like several. You do NOT have to choose one and stick to it. Actually, I would even recommend trying all the ones that sounds interesting out and then deciding which work best for you and your family. We all know the best laid plans.... right? I thought I would LOVE AIO but... wait I'm getting ahead of the train, so on to explaining and naming the five different systems!

    1) Prefolds/Flats.  This system is the one that is more "old school". It is also a great system and stands the test of time. Flats are made of a natural material (ex. birdseye cotton) they are one layer and thin. It looks kind of like a small receiving blanket. It must be folded and can be pinned, snappied or boigo(ed) closed or can just be trifolded. A prefold also looks like a small towel it is rectangular but unlike a flat it is quite alot thicker. A prefold made with multiple layers it is a rectangular piece of cloth that is divided (sewn) into 3 sections. The outer sections have 4 layers and the middle section has either 6 or 8. When buying a prefold you will know how thick the middle layer is because it will say 4x6x4 or 4x8x4. The weight, density and material matter in how absorbent the prefold will be, hence a 4x6x4 prefold is sometimes more absorbent. Prefolds are made of natural materials like cotton, bamboo or hemp (etc., some even combine materials like bamboo or cotton with hemp in the middle). Bamboo and hemp are very absorbent much more so then cotton so may be less bulky. Prefolds are normally sized, there may be a 2 or usually a 3 size system. There are many types of prefolds out there (Chinese, Indian, diaper service quality, bleached, unbleached). This diapering system is very versatile, you choose the thickness, size, absorbency, how to fold it, whether to fasten it closed, what cover to use and so on.). Lastly, prefolds and flats cannot be used on their own. They leak you need a cover to put over them. There are choices in what type of cover to use, PUL type cover or wool! These are what keep the diaper from leaking through. The PUL covers are wipeable inside and can be reused until they begin to smell of urine, so 3-5 times!

The benefits of prefold are:
- They wash very well and stain less
- They dry fast
- Can be very versatile (you can customize the absorbency, how you use them-fastened, trifolded, what type of cover etc.)
- This system is the cheapest cloth diapering system
- The covers can be reused many times and only the prefold or flat placed in the dirty laundry
- These diapers are very durable and can be reused by more then one child
- After you finish using them as cloth diapers they can become a rag, burp cloth etc.

The negatives:
- I find it often hard to wrestle him into a prefold when hes moving around alot (with practice it has gotten easier), the other cloth diapering systems are easier to put on (plus 2 of the other systems don't need 2 steps - the inside and a cover on top)
- Not compatible for daycare use, difficult for grandparents and often dads
- More difficult to learn to use. You need to learn different folds and which you like best.
- When trifolded, they may shift if your child is mobile.

This is a prefold that is fastened with a Snappi.

The above are 2 covers, the one on the left is wool.

    Personally this is not my favourite system but I love that I do have some of these as backup for when my other diapers are dirty. Then again I use the flip system which is an AI2 (All in Two) System and the nighttime insert is an organic cotton prefold. This prefold used with a Thirsties hemp prefold has worked wonders for my heavy wetter. The little man who was waking up almost every night soaked now wakes up dry and the diaper isn't even soaking wet to the touch!

    2) Fitteds- These diapers also are a 2 step system. Fitteds look like a regular diaper but need a cover because they are not waterproof on their own (wool or PUL type of material). Fitted diapers are made of natural materials often cotton, hemp,terry cloth, fleece, or bamboo etc. These diapers can technically be worn for short periods of time without soaking through and they hold on baby without any fasteners like snappi's, they themselves have aplix, snaps or have an elastic that holds them in place. This type of system works great for night with the addition of an insert or prefold.

- Can be a great night option
- Covers can be reused hence the diaper can last longer

- Expensive
- Bulky

Sorry not much information here as this is the only system that I have NEVER tried as of yet.

     3) Pockets - A pocket diaper is made of two parts, the outer is usually PUL (sometimes TPU or apparently even fleece) and the inside is often fleece, sometimes minky or even another fabric (cotton, suedecloth etc). This material is soft and gives a stay dry feeling. What makes this diaper absorbent is the insert that is added. Inside the diaper between the PUL and the inner fabric is a "pocket" it is big enough to add in an insert or two. The inserts are what make these diapers absorbent. Inserts are often made of microfiber. This material is great, it absorbs well it doesn't need as much prepping to reach its maximum absorbency unlike cotton or hemp or bamboo. Microfiber cannot touch babies skin, it will irritate it and cause a rash, hence you cannot use microfiber inserts inside the diaper like in an AI2 system or a prefold system. (As an aside, these diapers can be bought sized or one size)

- Once stuffed you can put it on just like a disposable, especially if you have the diaper with Aplix (hook and loop ("Velcro")
- The insert cannot shift much so your baby will not leak because the insert moved
- This system washes well and dries relatively quickly
- You can sun the inserts and the diaper if there are stains so that it is easier to get it out then in an AIO
- This does not need a cover so there is only one step - put it on your baby
- You can choose the material of the insert, add one or two inserts (or a flat or prefold) hence customizing the absorbency to an extent
- Can be put on baby faster
- Can be customized for nighttime use
- Daycare, grandparent and babysitter friendly (especially if pre-stuffed)

- You have to stuff the pockets with inserts before use
- The diaper can wear out faster then a prefold system (the diaper is washed more often)
- After each use you throw the insert AND the diaper in the dirty laundry it cannot be reused
- This system is more expensive
- Many of these diapers are not good for night the way you buy them, they would need extra doublers/soakers (NOT microfiber not night)
-Not as durable as other options

 (picture from Cozy Bums)

    So far this is one of my favourite systems. I like that you can can change the absorbency, I like the many different material options. I like the how easy and quick diaper changes are. Alek squirms so much now and gives me about 30 seconds to fully finish his diaper change so this is a great option. From this system I have tried Charlie Banana (which I guess it a hybrid because you can use the included inserts or DISPOSABLE inserts laid on top of the diaper like an AI2 system- great for travelling!), Kawaii and BumGenius 4.0 diapers. I have to say so far the Charlie Banana diaper is my favourite. Plus have you seen the prints, they are beyond adorable!!!

     4) All in Ones (AIO). This diaper system is the closest to a disposable you will get. You do not have to add inserts or stuff in anything extra. This diaper also has the outside waterproof PUL type layer (so no cover is needed) and an inside like a pocket made of fleece, suedecloth etc. on the sides but in the middle it is cotton, hemp or whatever material other then microfiber that the absorbent part of the diaper is made of. If you open the diaper it is the shape of a regular diaper with a long tongue like piece of material extending from the middle of the diaper. This material can either be stuffed inside of the "pocket" or can just be flipped into the middle of the diaper. This absorbent part is sewn into the diaper and cannot be removed at will.

- Very easy and quick to put on baby
- You can add an insert inside the pocket (if there is one)
- Daycare friendly and easy for grandparents and babysitters

- You cannot customize the absorbency as much as with the other systems
- Takes longer to dry
- Diaper is not as durable as other systems
- This system is on the expensive side
- Harder to get stains out
- Harder to get very clean

     5) All in Two (AI2). This system is very versatile. This system is two piece, there is the "shell" (usually like a cover) and the soaker (like a insert). The soaker can be snapped into many systems or just laid inside. Some systems go even further and have the pocket option so that you can insert the soaker and use the diaper as a pocket (hence there is the stay dry material lining the inside of the diaper) or use it as an all in two by laying a soaker or prefold on top. The idea is that if your child urinates you can take out the soaker (air out the cover) then reuse the cover again.

- Ease of use
- Versatility
- Ability to customize the absorbency
- The soaker can be snapped into many of the diapers hence unlike prefolds the absorbent inside cannot move out of the way causing leaking.
- daycare, babysitter and grandparent friendly
- Washes well, dries quickly because the diaper can be taken apart (easier to sun out stains)
- More durable then the AIO or Pocket since you can reuse the shell multiple times like a cover
- Can be great for night

-  This system is relatively expensive
- You cannot always reuse the shell so that should not be counted on

The above is the Softbum Omni and has the pocket option or you can use snap in soakers or prefolds inside the shell.

   Personally I am becoming very interested in this system. I have a softbums and at first I was great disappointed that I could not always reuse the shell several times (because if baby soils the inside you cannot reuse it).  Then I began to love this concept. I can use prefold or soakers or even some inserts inside, choose the absorbency but unlike the prefold system I can use a soaker hence no folding! Plus if you do not rely on using it multiple times before it is put in the wash it is great when you do get to reuse it. Also the system is expensive but if you get to reuse the shell several times (which as baby gets older is more of a possibility) then it becomes a less expensive option. I mentioned the Flip system I use for nights, this is an AI2 system, although the shell is more like a cover with no lining inside just the waterproof (easy to wipe) PUL and the soakers for nighttime are prefolds. I need to get some more AI2 for day use. At the moment I am looking into The Best Bottom AI2s.

For those interested in more information, I found 3 websites very useful: Dirty Diaper Laundry, Padded Tush Stats and All About Cloth. Also when choosing which diaper to buy or try out, this app is VERY helpful!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Are you an EcoParent?

       Do you care about your child's health. Of course you do! Do you care about the horrible amount of toxins and chemicals added into your child's items, including: food, clothing, toys. bedding? DO you know how many  chemicals and toxins are in our environment? You may. You may not. You may not have cared before you had your child. I know I never gave a second thought to toxins and as bad as it sounds, but the environment until I gave birth. Birthing Alek has not only resulted in  his birth but to an extent a rebirth of me. This may sound weird but I have REALLY changed in the way I view the world and myself and others.

       We all want a clean, good world for our children to live in. I want my child not to live in a toxic wasteland. Moreso I do not want my grandchildren or great grandchildren paying for all of our mistakes. Now Im not going to go overboard and never use plastic containers or use plastic bags and so on, but why not cut down? Why not find out how and what we can do to decrease our eco footprint if only just a little. No I don't mean never use plastic bottles again, but do just a little bit where you can. Even if your really not interested in this because its "hard or is time consuming", you are interested in your childs health! Do you enjoy a quick read with great tips. If you are then a wonderful magazine to get is EcoParent.

         The first time I heard about EcoParent was just over a month ago. I excitedly opened my LittleEcoFootprints box and what lay inside? Other then many other goodies, there lay a great copy of EcoParent for my reading pleasure. The magazine was a fast read. It drew me in and I finished it right before bed. The magazine had many colourful images, great articles on various subjects and great Canadian ads for stores and products. There were many great articles but the one that stood out was a cloth diapering 101. I had JUST started cloth diapering and this article hit the nail on the head. I loved the tips and loved how simply it explained all the cloth diapering systems, their pros and cons. What I loved most of all though was that there was several tips from the experts. Another great thing was the ads. Often when I search for a cloth diaper store or really any store I get the American stores which is great and all but Im in Canada and need options where shipping wont cost an arm and a leg because its coming from another country. I loved that there was a magazine with CANADIAN information, because most great magazines are tailored for the American reader. This is often not a problem at all but when looking for a store close to home or a problem that is specificcally Canadian or needs a solution for a Canadian parent (for example prenatal care) the American books and magazines can`t help out.

      Then about 3 weeks ago I was contacted by the magazine. They were asking whether I would like to review the magazine and I agreed to do an honest review. I was sent an online version of another issue. To begin with, the world is becoming more and more technologically savvy and is drawn more to the screen then the page, and EcoParent has that option. You can subscribe to the carbon copy or the online version. Its great to have that choice. Plus if you dont want to spend much on a magazine, the price is cheaper for the computer version. Plus for those who are eco minded and for those who are technologically savvy you can save trees and read of a screen, plus its nice not to have to many magazines lying around your home all the time

   This new issue that I was sent had great information from various topics, plus interesting stores advertised (Yes I have checked many of them out and found oh too many things I want to buy). I loved the tip on children`s snack for the summer. The magazine featured a wonderful substitute for fake dye filled popsicles...not to give to much away but isn`t banana yummy and so much healthier! (Don`t worry some other ingredients keep this snack sweet and not TOO healthy that your child asks for candy instead!). Have questions about  or want to learn about midwives? Breastfeeding? Natural labour? baby products? New School Programs? Schools?  Food choices (Superfoods)? Even fashion, Eco Fashion that is! These are just a few of the great topics. No your don't have to be super crunchy to enjoy these articles you just have to enjoy learning and finding out new information, tips and recipes.

    What I did not like about the magazine? ...Nothing really pops to mind. I really liked the snack recipe and it would be great to have more of that or craft or DIY ideas?

So, will you be an EcoParent?

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

March LittleEcoFootprints box has come in! (update)

      So this month these boxes were shipped yesterday and as you can see I already have mine in my hands Fast huh? I was expecting my nighttime cloth diaper order but got a great surprise at my door (other then the fact that the doorbell woke up the little who was sleeping in the pram bassinet). I opened the door and saw a black car who pointed, I looked down and saw two boxes. My fluff and a mystery box! What was it. I was confused so naturally I opened that box first even though I was dying to get my hands on the diapers, the mystery won out. I opened it and what do I find? Pink wrapping tissue paper and a LittleEcoFootprints Happy Easter brochure! Yay! Naturally this is when Alek woke up :( grrr. I ran to get him change his diaper and then we began opening our surprise.

So I've wasted a whole paragraph on prepping you. You probably want to just know whats inside right? Sorry no pictures of it nicely wrapped because I was too excited. Here goes:

1) A Buncha Farmers Stain Remover Stick - Wow this is awesome. I almost bought this a few weeks ago and have really wanted to try this out. Very nice surprise. Heard great things about this product. May do a product review when I get the chance to use this!

2)  Crayon Rocks (Spring Colours)- Love the idea of these. What are they? Natural soy wax crayons made from U.S soybeans. The shape allows little fingers to grasp and colour in large and wide strokes. The colours are pink, green and yellow. Would love to get more when my son gets old enough to use them. No use yet for a 7 month old but I'm sure they will be gone soon enough when he gets old enough to use them.

3)10$ off next purchase from Boske Kids- This is a Canadian children clothing company. Sizes good for children up to 6 years old. The clothing is made of all natural fibers from Peru, using low impact eco-friendly dyes. The designs are Canadian but the items are made in Peru. Very cute clothing and great materials. Hoping to put this to good use very soon!

Update: Beautiful items in this store, VERY expensive but VERY nice!

4) 2 Samples from Carré Jaune - The samples include 2 Body and Face Foam Wash bottles . Also you can find a code for 15% off future purchases inside the brochure. Carré Jaune makes skincare products for children. These products use 100% natural ingredients with no parabens, petrochemicals, essential oils or "funky stuff", instead using fruit extracts, calendula oil, shea butter and vitamin E. If you read the brochure it recommends using this product as well as the matching moisturizer in treating eczema.

Update: Tried this item out and am quite disappointed. Happy I hadn't purchased a whole foam wash and then didn't like it. The ink/dye on the bottle washes off in water (HUH- its supposed to be bath stuff hence around water) my hands and my brand new mum2mum light blue washcloth got stained. Then I finally got some on another washcloth without staining it (that took some maneuvering ) and it didn't lather so well (maybe because the washcloth was muslin?) but I have noticed before that foam products don't lather too well.

John Masters Sample inside as well

5) Eco Jot Height Chart - This is a nice chart using 100% post consumer recycled waste and is made in Canada. It is Very cute and I like that I can write his name in, a date and age. The only issue is it starts at 26 inches so this may make it uncomfortable to hang on the wall accurately, otherwise it is great just takes some measuring before hanging. Included in the brochure is 10% off a $30 future purchase.

6) Sample John Master Organics Blood Orange & Vanilla Body Wash - Lovely scent. This product is eco-friendly and can be used on hair, skin or body. I will be trying this out tonight hopefully! Also enjoy 20% off of a future purchase.
Update: Smells amazing, lathers well, definitely like this stuff! Plus a bath makes a mom feel like a princess any day but this makes things even better!

7) First Food Organics -  This Canadian product sounds wonderful. Healthy snacks for children are important because let's face it, we all love to snack! This snack is for 12 months up so this was not included in our shipment, that is why we received 2 Carré Jaune samples. Included in the brochure is a 15% off code.

8) Mum 2 Mum Foam Washers -  This company makes many bath and baby supplies including change mats, hooded towels, bibs and foam washers.  I got a white, blue and pink foam washer pack. Will be trying this out soon. They are amazingly soft. The pink one will be held on for the future though :)

Update: These are great. Thick cut, very soft. I love the light colours we received!

9)  The brochure - Tips on treating eczema, avoiding BPA, daily nutrition (for mom), boosting milk production and how to keep your pantry free of artificial dyes and flavours included. Excited to get a moment to read the tips especially the last one!

Overall a lovely box.  This box is more age tailored then last time, hence we did not receive one of the products, received 2 of another. My son is 7 months old hence the snack item was left out since he would be unable to enjoy it, while the foam wash was age appropriate. It is not sex tailored yet but that`s okay since most of the items are not very gender specific. None of these products I have tried and am excited to see which ones I will fall in love with!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

     Cloth diapering is easy once you find the cloth diapering system(s) you prefer, (whether it is the prefolds, fitteds, pockets, all-in-ones (AIO), or a hybrid system (all-in two or AI2) and find the right washing routine . I will explain each of the cloth diapering systems in my next blog post. Cloth diapering can be a lot of fun. What do I mean by fun? The diapers are REALLY cute and so many cloth diaperers enjoy trying out new "fluff", it's really kind of addictive! Plus new advancements are made so that diapering becomes easier and new styles come out all the time! Not to mention the many great benefits of using cloth or the fun giveaways. Keep coming back here and I will talk about cloth diapering, the basics of cloth diapering, my beginners journey in it as well as things I have learned, how it is done,  and tips and tricks.

    A few weeks ago I got my first two shipments of fluff. One was from Green Baby Goods. The diapers were cute, washed well and the diaper accessories were wonderful. I absolutely love my The Balm!. One of the diapers I really liked was the Kawaii Goodnight O/S Heavy Wetter. Why did I like it? The print was cute. I got two, both were the animal print, one of the diapers was white, the other was green. The diaper is a one size diaper so fits babies from 8-36 lbs. The material washes well and unlike some of my other diapers has not stained even a little bit. The inside material is soft, it is made of micro fleece  which keeps baby feeling dry and comfortable. The snaps rather then a hook and loop system ensure the diapers last longer. Plus this diaper comes with two inserts so that the diaper can be used during the day (with one) or at night. The microfiber inserts are very absorbent!

For more information about this diaper, go to Green Baby Goods

Have you tried this diaper? What did you think about it?

Giveaway open to U.S and Canada

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Cloth Diapering - Part One (Why Choose Cloth)

     If you want to even think about diving into the world of cloth diapers, there are many wonderful reasons to do so. Once you dive in, you won't ever go back!

7 Reasons to Cloth Diaper:

1) Comfortable to wear and great style-s Do you like being in plastic all day? I'd think a baby would be more comfortable in microfleece, cotton and bamboo materials then the materials from which disposable diapers are created. Plus unlike the very similar plain designs of disposables, cloth diapers are so stylish. You can have your babies shirt match their diaper and you already have an outfit. Cloth diapers come in a wide array of colours, designs and some even have funny texts (look at Fuzzibunz).

2) Baby's health - Disposable diapers contain trace amount of toxins such as dioxin, which is a bleaching agent that is known to cause breast cancer and it releases harmful "volatile organic compounds" from their unnatural absorbing gels. Volatile organic compounds have been linked to toxic health effects such as cancer and brain damage when exposure is long term and in high levels (Diapers probably do not have high enough levels but still not great for baby!!!). Another health issue that has been studied is the connection between disposable diapers and future reduced adult male fertility. " In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers. " These are just some of the possible long term health effects possibly connected with disposable diaper use.

3) Environment - This is something we all really should give more thought, but I'll be the first to admit that this was not initially a reason why I chose to cloth diaper...but then again why not help the environment when and where we can? Every year 18 BILLION disposable diapers are thrown into landfills, being the third largest source of waste within landfills. These diapers take up to 500 years to decompose. It takes as much or more than 82,000 TONS of plastic and 1,300,000 tons of wood pulp (1/4 million trees) to create the disposable diapers that 90% of babies in the United States use. Even if these reasons don't matter to you maybe creating jobs in your local community does. Cloth diaper companies are small fair-labour businesses, many are located in North America!

4) Ease of Use- Gone are the days of old-school cloth diapers, the many leaks, rubber pants, hand-washing and the like. Modern cloth diapers differ greatly from their predecessors. New designs ideas, patents, and styles are created for comfort, ease and absorbency  Once you find the right cloth diaper system for you and settle into a routine, cloth diapering becomes very easy. Most people, I assume because this was my line of thinking, think that cloth diapering is so much work. Poopy diapers? I imagine having to hand washing it and other steps so it doesn't stain. Well you don't have to hand wash or do much work ahead of time (unless you don't have a washing machine that you can access). All you do is plop poo out into the toilet (breastfed diapers can go right in the wash, that poo is water soluble and does NOT leave you laundry machine dirty!) But plopping out poo IS more work! Well it shouldn't be. Many don't know this or ignore the "rules" on the box, and some boxes don't even write this anymore but your suppose to remove solid waste out of disposable diapers. Solids should go into the toilet whether using disposable or cloth diapers. Why? Not doing this is one of the big reasons for why our ground water is contaminated!!!Solid human waste is illegal in the majority of landfills

5) Saving money- Even when buying disposables at opportune times using sales and coupons, its really undeniable that diapering is expensive. If your child potty trains at 3+ years its VERY expensive. So if no other reason but that cloth diapering should be looked into. Being as objective as possible but this is a very real reason to cloth diaper. I love spending money on baby items but would prefer to buy my son more toys or cute outfits or necessities or go on a vacation or just about anything then spend unnecessarily on disposables. I used disposables for 6 months and can say that in those 6 months I had spent approximately $300 on diapers (This is buying boxes of 180 diapers at just about 26$ a pack, I would wait for a sale then use a $3 off coupon AND get 10% off at the end of the purchase as well!). This amount does NOT include the excessive amount of creams that had to be used because my son kept getting diaper rash and this sum does not include disposable wipes (disposable wipes were another 
$120ish). Meanwhile even some of the  most expensive cloth diapers will cost approximately $650 and last until potty training (if not for several children, or you can even resell them!). If you are choosing cheaper cloth diaper options they can be as low as about $250-300 (new, less if you buy used), yep till potty training! Then you buy some more supplies like cloth wipes and cloth friendly diaper balm and if you'd like, some liners too. Hence you save from $400 to over 2500, depending on when your child potty trains! Nice huh? That's a vacation for you right there.

The above chart is the revised chart of the one that was previously up, it was created by My Lil Sweet Pea. You should check out the store for some wonderful products or the blog for some information!

6) Fewer Rashes- I guess this can be grouped in with baby's health  or the comfort section but for me this was the biggest issue and I felt it deserved it's own category. My son had a red bum very often, especially after the 3 month mark. Then he began getting rashes. I began cloth diapering and his bum within a few days got better. I used a disposable one extra time during the day (I still use disposables at night since I have so many Huggies Overnites left over) and he got a rash again. I used cloth a full day the next day and it was gone. One reason rashes are more rare with cloth is because you can feel if your child's diaper is very wet (or see it- I've noticed the diaper kind of looks scrunched up if Alek has peed a lot in it). Also some people change their child's diaper more often then in disposables hence baby gets more air circulation and thus rashes are prevented. But the main reason I believe is because cloth diapers have less irritants.

7) Less Leaks- With disposables I had many leaks. You can even look back on previous posts to see my frustration right before I switched to cloth. Actually almost 2/3 of nights he wakes up wet. My son became a heavy wetter and would soak himself at night. During the day there would sometimes be blowouts. Since using cloth this past month I have had exactly 1 blow out and no pee leaks.  So much extra laundry was done, so much hand washing to get stains out of clothing because of leaks or blow out. That said I was already doing more laundry so switching that extra load to a load of cloth diapers instead was not really too much extra work (or laundry bills). Also clothing may last longer and look better now that I don't have to hand wash stains out and launder extra times.

Monday, 11 March 2013

It Works Promo!

Wonderful Giveaway!!!! Go on to enter

Here is a little Information about It Works!
Founded in 2001, It Works! Global is a direct selling company that offers professional quality beauty and wellness products that both reflect high standards of integrity and reach consumers at affordable prices. In 2011, It Works! Global was ranked on Inc. magazine's prestigious Inc. 500/5000 list as one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in its category. This growth is truly giving It Works! a global reach. They currently have thousands of Independent Distributors and Loyal Customers across three continents, eight countries, and multiple territories!

This is the story about her journey with it Works! the host for the fantastic giveaway, Wrap With Jolene:
Here is my story

“I started with It Works in Sept of 2011 and I did this because I had won a couple of wraps and tried them and fell in the love with my results.   I did not have the money to buy anymore at $25 a piece so I decided that I could pre-sell the 8 wraps in the kit (at that time the kit was $199) for $25 a piece and have enough money to buy the kit and figure out a way from there to get more wraps.  I never thought it would take off the way it did.  I did have to put alot of work into the first couple of months but by the third month I was a Diamond.  I will never forget I found out on New Years Eve while we were at a concert that I had made Diamond and I was so excited.  I signed up my husband in January and made him my primary leg under me.  We are now both Double Diamonds and it is amazing.  We both are receiving the $10,000 bonus and I am going for a $25,000 bonus this month!!  My mom also signed up under my husband and just reached Diamond the end of Feb and is also receiving the $10,000 bonus.  

Since I have started with It Works we have paid off all of our credit cards and we had a massive amount of them as we were living way above our means and pay check to pay check, paid cash for two Christmas's, went to Vegas and paid for it all up front, bought a new 2013 Camero ZL1 and a 2013 GMC Denali 2500 HD, bought a boat, paid in cash for new siding and windows on our house ($17,000), and we have a savings account that I never thought we would have.  This is all because of It Works and the fabulous team I have.  I also have a fabulous upline that is there helping me whenever I need it.  

I have also became alot more healthy, lost weight, and feel fantastic.  I have three favorite products and they are Greens, Defining Gel, and the Ultimate Body Wraps.  The greens I put in a smoothy daily and I do not feel fatigued anymore and I also have not been sick once this winter season and I run a daycare out of my home and there are germs all over me all day long :)  This is the first year that I have not been sick at least once and I am so grateful for the greens.  The Ultimate Body Wraps and the defining gel I love to use together.  I dont use them at the same time but I wrap one day and then use the defining gel in between wrapping.  I had horrible stretch marks and a c-section scar and the stretch marks are almost iridescent and the c-section scar is not as ugly looking as it used to be.  The results are on the top of my page at

Now lets talk about the awesome It Works! Products up for grabs!

The  Ultimate Body Applicator (tummy  wrap)- Tones, and tightens, progressive  results over 72 hours,  botanically-based detoxifying formula, and helps  reduce the appearance  of cellulite and skin slackening. ($99 retail value)
Defining Gel- hydrating contouring gel that firms the area(s) or your   choice. Helps reduce the appearance of cellulite, slackened skin, and  vicarious veins. ($79 retail value)
Greens- Not eating your fruits and vegetables like you should? Get what you are missing with Greens, a delicious orange-flavored, alkalizing drink powder with the nutritional value of 8+ servings of fruits and vegetables in each serving. ($40 Retail Value)
Fat Fighters- Simply take Fat Fighter up to an hour after eating, and it will absorb some of the fat and carbohydrates from your food so that your body doesn't. Powered by NeOpuntia™ (a naturally based ingredient made from the "prickly pear" cactus) and the It Works! proprietary blend, Advanced Formula Fat Fighter delivers dynamic, clinically tested results for both men and women.($33 Retail Value)
ThermoFit- Fire up your metabolism with this naturally based, thermogenic weight loss formula! Powered by the antioxidant superfood acai berry and the metabolism-boosting properties of Capsimax® (red hot pepper blend)($59 Retail Value)
Confianza-a naturally based supplement that increases your energy levels while reducing stress and fatigue. Its special blend of herbs was developed to provide a safe way to enhance your ability to cope with all forms of stress: physical, emotional, or environmental. ($45 Value)
Regular- This life-changing, naturally based supplement is designed to aid in elimination and restore and support normal colon function naturally. Using Regular ensures daily removal of toxins and waste material and offers a gentle way to cleanse the colon. ($36 Retail Value)
Stretch Mark and Moisturizing Cream- This body cream not only minimizes the appearance of stretch marks and other scars, it offers luxurious moisture that multi-tasks. A non-greasy formula, Stretch Mark & Moisturizing Cream packs a powerful combo of botanicals to help restore the skin's youthful glow, while balancing skin tone to minimize the appearance of stretch marks and other skin scarring.($54 Retail Value)
Cleanser Gel-Rinse away the daily grime with Cleanser Gel's beautifying botanicals! Gently sweeps away all skin dulling elements, including oil, dirt, pollutants, and even the toughest of makeup, without stripping skin of its natural moisture. Ideal for shaving.($39 Retail Value)
Hydrating Toner & Freshener-Mist your skin with this balancing toner for ultra-light hydration and pore-minimizing power. Hydrating Toner & Freshener is a soothing, alcohol-free formula that hydrates, tones, softens, and refreshes skin without stripping it of essential moisture. Aloe, Chamomile, Marigold, Green Tea, Panthenol and Allantoin soothe, protect and nourish the skin. ($42 Retail Value)
It’s Essential-The new It's Essential weight loss energy bar pairs delicious flavor with powerful ancient grains to supercharge your weight loss results! Its dark chocolate raspberry taste is truly a flavor to crave, and the addition of a new, cutting-edge ingredient, SolaGrain, packs It's Essential with dietary fiber to promote digestive health. (A pack of 10 retail value is $35) Go to this link to enter this giveaway! It's really awesome, this is actually something I was planning on buying when I am done with breastfeeding!!!!!

Which of these products would you want to try?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Soap Nuts?!

I read about an interesting product and decided to buy it and try it out. What is the product? Soap nuts! Looking for a new laundry detergent? A cheap detergent. Take a look into soap nuts/berries.

     I have never hear of it, is it new? What is it? Soap nuts are the fruit (not for consumption) that grow on the soap tree, Sapindus Mukorossi ( "The generic name is derived from the Latin words saponis, meaning "soap", and indicus, meaning 'of India'.") and have been used for thousands of years by native peoples in Southeast Asia, Nepal also they have been used for decades already by Europeans for washing laundry and even as shampoo. Sapindus is a genus of about 5-12 species of shrubs and small trees of the Lychee family. Soap nuts leave clothing soft and with an odourless scent. For those who enjoy a scent in their laundry vanilla or other oils can be used. Hence this option is eco-friendly, toxin free, relatively cheap and easy to use.

     How do they work? Well you need to read the instructions because there are different types of soap nuts but all instructions are very similar and only vary in how long the same soap nut shells may be re-used and how many must be used. With your purchase of soap nuts you receive one or several cotton satchels  You take the (or the equivalent of) 4-7 soap nut shells and place them in the satchel and tie it tightly. If you want your laundry to have a scent you can add a drop or two of vanilla oil, coconut oil or the like into the satchel before closing it off. You throw it in your wash and put your washing machine on hot/cold or at least warm/cold. When the hot water hits the shells they begin to release saponin, which is a cleaner that is hypoallergenic, organic and biodegradable (great for baby clothing!). The satchel must be tied tightly so that the shells do not fall out during the wash. You do not have to take out the satchel during the rinse since saponin is not released in cold water hence during a cold water rinse no cleaner is released.  When the wash is finished you can remove the satchel to dry unless you will be doing another load of laundry. These same soap nut shells can be reused 3-10 times (read the instructions on the specific soap nuts you buy - usually 4-7 times - the bag I bought says each satchel of shells is good for 5kg of laundry or 3-5 times). If you want to wash your clothing with cold water, you still can. All you have to do is soak the soap nuts in a cup of hot water for a few minutes then pour in the water and the soap nut satchel into your laundry. Soap nuts do not work once all the saponin is released. How do you know when it is all released? The soap nuts become soft, thin, mushy and grayish in colour.

      Is there any other way to use soap nuts? Yep, you can also make your own soap nuts laundry detergent and dish detergent.  Actually soap nuts are being used and are considered for use in commercial products such as cosmetics and detergent. There are products now on the market that can be purchased with this ingredient, for example Eco Nuts products. Historically soap nuts were even used in folk remedies and for contraception! Soap nuts actually show anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and insecticidal properties.

     How do I use soap nuts when washing my cloth diapers? Its very simple all you have to change from your regular routine is throw in a satchel with soap nuts for the actual wash in hot water. Therefore what do I do? I throw in the dirty diapers (inside out, velcro closed), wipes, wetbags (inside out) into the laundry machine. I do a short wash or soak in cold water so that the stains do not set in. Next I  put the machine on hot wash, cold rinse. After that is done I do a quick cold rinse if deemed necessary. Then I pull out the bag of soap nuts and pull out the washed diaper gear out of the washer. That's it ladies and gentlemen. Hard? Not harder then using usual detergent. After about 2-4 washes I check inside the bag to ensure the soap nuts are not thin, soft or graying.

    If you lift the lid of your laundry machine during a cycle you wont see many suds but that doesn't mean it isn't working - try it out smell the laundry after a wash no smell its just clean this does not get hard set stains out though just like regular detergent doesn't you would need to pre-treat it.

      The first time I used the nuts I inspected the diapers very carefully (diapers were what I tried soap nuts on first). Hmm, no smell...nothing. No ammonia smell from pee nor any detergent smell, the diapers were white inside. After the dry cycle I noticed everything was very soft and the inserts seemed very fluffy. This was wonderful, yet still I did not fully trust them. I've used them about 6 times since and still everything is clean with no evidence of a detergent, softener or any product being used.  I had two satchels going and neither are yet done, one has gone through 4 times, one has been used two times. Both have the minimal amount of nuts inside. This product seems wonderful and my weariness towards it is slowly subsiding. I hope I continue to see great results.

The above diaper in the picture had been very... soiled before the wash! I was actually shocked it came out without even a glimpse of a stain! No need to sun bleach this diaper (Very happy mommy)

Soap nuts cost approximately $14-25 for 500g depending on whether you order it online or you find a store that sells them. This lasts for about 150-200 loads of laundry hence each load costs about 12-15 cents. Meanwhile regular detergent comes out to about 14 cents if it is the regular meanwhile the free and clear options can cost about 20 cents a load if not much more! Also keep in mind that the large bulk that you buy soap nuts in the cheaper they are (so a kilogram may come out cheaper then the 500g bags per load, the larger the bulk of soap nuts the cheaper it comes out, it can end up being around 5 cents a load!)

   Have you tried Soap nuts? How do you like them? How have you used them?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Pureés That Have Alek`s Seal of Approval

    Don't have much time? This does not mean you have to resort to jarred or pouched baby food if you don't want to. There are quick, easy, yummy, cheap options that can be made by you. Of course not all pureés only take several minutes, some need quite some cooking time.

(keep in mind it is recommended to try single items first and to give several days of only one new food to be able to identify an allergy if there is one)

Raw Apple with Carrot
     First, you grate a carrot on the smallest grater option. I grated 1/2 a small carrot (not baby carrot).Then i took out the actual carrot pieces leaving the juice (you can  press down on the carrot pieces to squeeze out the juice then remove the actual carrot pieces). Next I took an organic apple (I personally used Ambrosia, it was a sweet apple, not tart- babies prefer sweet tastes since breast milk is sweet though it isn't necessary to only use sweet apples).{ Apples are counted as one of the "dirty dozen" by the EWG ( so organic is preferred for baby  (really anyone but at least for baby). The dirty dozen is a list of products which are very contaminated with pesticides. There is also a list of foods less contaminated with pesticides then the average food.} Next, I cut off a fourth of an apple and skinned it. Then I also grated the apple on the smallest grater option. Lastly I added a little bit of boiled water (few tablespoons) to thin it out, you can also add some cereal in to slightly thicken the pureés texture. I mixed the ingredients and I got a light orange colour. The puree was thin without chunks. There you go the puree is done. Good for baby. Quick for mommy (or daddy) to make. My son made a face at first then ate about 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons and he does NOT enjoy solids. Hence I count this to be a success.

Banana with Cereal

     The only thing that has gone better so far for Alek then the apple and carrot pureé is banana with some oat cereal mixed in. All you need is a banana and some oat or other type of cereal (grain, wheat if older in age) that is meant to be mixed with water. I have noticed my son only eats pureés if they are warm, this means I need to add boiled water to room temperature ingredients. If they are room temperature it is a no go straight away. He just will not eat more then the first bite. So I have the cereal that I mix with boiled water and I just add a banana to that mix. What do you do? You take a small chunk of raw banana, mash it with fork until there are no chunks left and it looks almost brownish yellowy in colour and thin looking. Then add in some plain oat cereal [I used the Gerber brand] and boiled water. {I bought the Gerber brand oat cereal meant to be mixed with water rather then breast milk. Also I bought this when they were on sale and I bought 3 for $10. I have been using the oat cereal package almost 2 weeks just about each day and I still have more then half the package. Plus I waste a lot of this cereal because I make to much trying to make a good consistency and I don't use a spoon to scoop it out but rather pour it out (bad idea, use a spoon).} Anyways, then I mixed the three together creating a fast quick and enjoyable recipe. To add to the nutrition in the banana, cereal is fortified with iron so your child gets their daily iron. This recipe takes all of about 3 minutes to make and this way I know there are no preservatives or salt or sugar added inside. 

    Of course many recipes are much harder and more time consuming but you can make a few on the weekends and freeze or refrigerate them to feed during the week.  Frozen pureés remain good for many weeks or months. Or you can use jars as well as making your own food, you don't have to choose only one or the other. Other really fast choices to make include: avocado (mash with a potato masher or fork and voila), or mashing a boiled apple or sweet potato or squash or really any fruit or vegetable that boils or bakes quickly. For creative and fun recipes can be checked out. This website has stage one simple recipes like those I just mentioned as well as recipes for older infants hence making the recipes more complex and including more texture and ingredients. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Milestones Are Just a Small Step Away

The what to expect when you are expecting in the first year book is loved by some and ignored or disliked by others  One reason many dislike it is that it tends to address rare or negative situations more then the day to day things involved in raising your baby. One thing I like about the book is that each chapter begins with the milestones of the particular month. It breaks what your child is/might be doing into what they should do, what they probably do, what they may possibly do and what they may even be able to do. All children are different and this way of breaking milestones done seems very appropriate. A parent can check if their child is fulfilling various milestones but not worry because unless their child does not do something that they should already be doing. On the other hand parents can see how ahead their child is since their child may be doing something from the possible category  which does not become a should be doing item for several months! Every child is on their own learning curve and this book shows that children can be on various stages of learning.

    In the Seventh month Chapter it says that by the end of the month, your child SHOULD be able to: sit without support, feed self a cracker and razz. He can sit without support though is still learning how to get into this position by himself. He had Mum mums biscuits yesterday for the first time and did very well holding it by himself. As for this household that's really old news. Yay, all of the shoulds he has been able to do and it is not yet the end of the month.  What your child will probably be able to do: bear some weight on legs, object if you take a toy away, work to get a toy out of reach, pass a cube between hands, look for dropped object rake a raisin (uhmm have not and will not give him something this small anytime soon! I'm scared of choking he's quick to put things into his mouth), turn in the direction of voice, babble and play peek-a-boo.  Well we don't yet play peek a boo though he knows that I don't disappear if he doesn't see me. About the toys...well he grabs any toys I try to hold for him away from me and screams if I take away a toy he likes so yep he definitely fulfills those milestones. Next, a child may possibly stand holding onto something. This he is not yet able to do. I have to hold him but for short periods of time he can stand if I only hold both of his HANDS. This is something new and he was not able to do this a few weeks ago. A month ago he couldn't hold his weight on his feet more then a few moments so he has greatly improved in this! For these last category I wont go into detail for  each listed item but will rather name what he can do. Lastly, a child may even be able to: pull up to standing, get into a sitting position from stomach, play patty-cake, wave bye bye, pick up a tiny object with thumb and finger, cruise (walk holding onto objects) or say mama and dada. I find it reassuring to pull out a book (not necessarily this one), or open a site and look at the list of milestones and see if he is meeting them. If you have a preemie this may be stressful and probably should be avoided since preemies should meet these milestones at their gestational (adjusted) age not their real age, since they will be behind in milestones for as long as two years (though they may not be behind).

      I said I will mention what Alek can now do from the above list as well as other new and interesting discoveries. This week Alek has crawled a few steps forward for the first time. He is able to hold his weight on his legs as I hold his hands. He says mama even if he doesn't know what it means he  still says it and it warms my heart. He has got to a sitting position from lying on his stomach several times. One night he was up so much that I slept 2.5-3 hours in small spurts well that morning was the first time he said mama and not just mamamamama it warmed my heart and I forgot the night before instantly (but not fully, was exhausted by 9!). He reaches to hold a cup and his own spoon and has fed himself banana puree that I would add to the spoon for him. He even drank out of a cup like a big boy! He reaches for his toys, tries to scoot and pull towards them. Lately it feels like he's learning by the minute, new skills crop up practically each day while other skills get honed. Skills used to be developed slower. This age is so exciting!

    It is the most exhilarating thing to watch your child learn and grow. I cannot imagine anything more exciting. Your child literally grows before your eyes. Watching them grow is such an emotional experience. I am so happy and excited for every little new skill, sound and movement. Though it also makes me realise how fast time is flying. I feel like I really cannot remember the newborn days anymore. I cannot imagine his being inside a size 1 diaper. Or fitting in newborn clothing. I cannot imagine him lying still for a diaper change. I cannot remember him not being able to pick his head up well during tummy time. The list goes on. The memories seem to move aside for new memories. I mean I REMEMBER things but kind of blurry and without as much detail. I worry he isn't yet standing holding onto something even though I KNOW it is too early. I guess it is just in a parents nature to always worry, hope and dream for your child.