4/30/2011

Fuzzibunz Cloth Diaper Review

The Fuzzibunz One Size Pocket diaper is the first cloth diaper that I ever purchased. I went to my local Greenberries, because I just happened to have some coupons, and I saw a blue cloth diaper that just looked so cushy and comfy. I had to get it! Luckily, with my coupon I only ended up paying $9.95. From the time I took that diaper home and used it on Luke, I was hooked! It had amazing absorbency and it came with two different inserts (a long for boys and a short for girls). I've even doubled up on them and used both at once. It worked great at bedtime when Luke was going through the stage where he had to go to sleep with water. Well, since that first Fuzzibunz, I've grown my collection considerably. Besides the few dozen pockets I've sewn for the boys myself, the majority of our stash is Fuzzibunz. Jake has some perfect size pockets in medium right now that fit him beautifully, and Luke mainly wears the one size, but we just added a perfect size in large to his collection. Thanks to Amy! She got it and it didn't fit Kainan, so she passed it on to me. I would like to get a few more size large for Luke, since Jake also fits the one size pockets. Anyway, I highly suggest this diaper to anyone that is nervous about cloth diapering. After I wash all of my cloth diapers, I stuff them right away. That way, when I have to change a diaper fast, all I have to do is grab it and go. I have both aplix (Velcro) and snap closure, but the majority of mine are snap. Both of them work just as good though. If this is something you'd be interested in trying out, I know a good portion of the Once Upon a Child stores sell them. Also, you can go to their website and search where to buy them in your area.

Overall, I would personally give this product a 10/10. Mainly because I haven't been able to find any other type of cloth diaper that works well for both of my boys. I'll find something that works great for one, and doesn't for the other. This is the only one that suits all of us. And, Delvin doesn't mind changing these diapers! :-)

**Note: I have not been compensated by Fuzzibunz in any way for the review of this product. This is my personal experience with using these awesome cloth diapers.**

4/29/2011

Reusables - Save money while living naturally

I just read this article on the cost of various disposable paper product prices. It isn't really a surprise since the cost of everything (gas, food) is on the rise as well. However it's not that big of a deal to those who primarily have reusable products in their homes. There is a reusable alternative to just about any disposable product out there, even toilet paper! Stay with me though, I don't even go that far. Reusable alternatives only cost a little more initially and will save you hundreds of dollars over time. It's also nice to know that you aren't adding unnecessary waste to landfills. Many reusable alternatives are not only affordable but cute and fun as well. Another bonus in buying reusables is that you are often supporting moms who work from home or other smaller made-in-the-US companies.

Diapers: Babies go through tons of diapers and if you don't like throwing away a bunch of diapers (and your money!) cloth is definitely the answer. See our cloth diapering section for some helpful posts about getting started.

Wipes: Cloth wipes are great and really easy to make. I am not a great seamstress and I made my own very easily. If you aren't the DIY type, many WAHM (work-at-home-moms) make them and they are sold on websites like Amazon. These flannel wipes by Osocozy or these fleece wipes by Thirsties are examples.

Dishes: This is pretty easy, use regular dishes instead of paper/plastic cups/plates. :)


One of Meagan's many
reusable snack bags.

Ziploc bags: Meagan makes reusable snack bags and will be selling them at some point. You can also use plastic containers that can be washed. These are incredibly handy. I don't recommend using plastic with hot foods, but that's another issue entirely.

Dryer sheets: I'm sure I've mentioned dryer balls enough now, so I won't go into further detail. :)

Cleaning products: Swiffer products (and similar brands) are really handy but it seems wasteful to throw away so much extra garbage. I switched to a reusable alternative and they actually work much better, I bought mine on Etsy a couple of years ago but I have bought other things from this WAHM and her products are awesome!

My unpaper towels from Virginia.
Paper towels/napkins: It's very easy to substitute paper towels or napkins with some cheap washcloths or older clothes that you have cut up into rags. If you want a nicer option there are plenty of places where you can buy cloth napkins (what do you think people used before disposables?) You can also make your own with very basic sewing skills, it's not a big deal to make a mistake if you are only using it as a cleaning rag! A friend of mine made some snapping cloth towels (sometimes called unpaper towels) for me and several other WAHMs make them also. If you make the switch and your paper towel holder is looking lonely, get some of these. :) However, it can be helpful to keep a few paper towels handy in case of a grease spill or similar situation.

Toilet Paper: Some families use the option of cloth products instead of toilet paper. This is sometimes called "family cloth." These are essentially cloth wipes, but are used instead of toilet paper and usually kept in a wet bag in the bathroom. I am not to this point yet, but I did want to mention it. If you want to go green but not *that* green, there are eco-friendly TP options out there. I've seen a lot of coupons for eco-friendly TP lately too, so it can be affordable.

Feminine products: It might seem weird at first but cloth feminine products are getting fairly popular, at least among those who use other reusable products. The Silver Liner and GEM Cloth but have excellent products.

If you like the idea of being a little friendlier to the earth but aren't quite sure about reusable products there are a lot of "greener" paper options out there. 7th Generation makes diapers, wipes, tampons & pads, and many other reusables in addition to their cleaning products. I have never had any complaints with anything that I have bought from this company. There are also recycled paper towels (I can't remember the brand) which I have bought at Big Lots really cheap. I am starting to see coupons for eco-friendly products pop up more often, which is great for those of us who want to save money. Reusables don't have to be an all or nothing thing, maybe just try one reusable product that you usually buy in a disposable. You may be surprised that it actually works better!

4/28/2011

Cloth diaper drawbacks - Part 2: Laundry Issues

This is where my laundry detergent/house cleaners reside.
The most common reason that parents who try cloth diapering do not stick with it is probably laundry issues. Diaper laundry can be extremely simple once you get a routine down but doing this can be challenging. What works for one family may not work for another. Washing cloth diapers can seem very complicated to the beginner, I'm definitely not an expert but I will try to explain diaper laundry as simply as possible. Here are some common questions that a new cloth diapering parent might have about laundry.

What detergent do I use? This is definitely a personal decision! It depends on whether or not you want to use a different detergent for diapers and regular clothes, what kind of water you have (hard or soft) and how much you want to spend. A generally "safe" recommendation is Tide Powder, it is cheap and works for most people. It can also be used for regular laundry so you don't have to switch. I have never used it myself but know many people who it works for. When I first started cloth diapering I used my regular detergent (something eco-friendly) and it worked okay. I don't use softeners, bleach or fabric sheets so that is probably why it worked as well as it did. That being said I eventually got "stink issues" which can happen when ammonia builds up. I ended up trying Rockin Green detergent and I highly recommend it. I plan to write up a big review of this product soon but I really do love it. I have used it in both a HE front loader and a top loading machine and have NO stink issues and no stains. There are other cloth diaper specific detergents but I haven't used any of them. I know that Meagan uses a homemade detergent for regular clothes and diapers and this works for some people also, she uses the Duggar recipe. I plan to make some of this when I run out of regular detergent for clothes, but I'll continue to use Rockin Green for diapers. I don't want to fix what isn't broken!

Why can't I use softener, bleach, dryer sheets, etc.? Many diapers (especially the "good" ones) will say not to add softeners, bleach or other additives right on the tag. This is really simple for those of us who didn't use those things in the first place, but if you use them in your regular laundry you may wonder why they are not cloth diaper safe. Fabric softeners can cause liquids to repel off of diapers, obviously you don't want this because it causes leaks. Dryer sheets can do the same thing to diapers in the dryer, many cloth diapering parents choose dryer balls instead to reduce static and for added softness.

Why do my diapers stink/leak? The most common reason for smelly diapers is using either too much detergent or not enough. If you are using regular detergent you should use 1/4 to 1/2 (start with 1/4) of the recommended amount. If using a cloth diaper specific detergent, use the amount specified on the label. It's also very important to always do an extra rinse when you wash diapers. Leaking problems are often caused by the use of softeners or dryer sheets so make sure that you don't use them and that there is no residue from them in your washer/dryer. It's very important to wash diapers on hot to get them properly clean, and to do an extra rinse to make sure all the soap has been washed out.

How do I get rid of stains? Washing promptly is the best way to avoid stains in the first place. I have found that if you wash every other day (or every day) stains aren't really an issue. My diapers really don't have any stains, and I have never done anything special to prevent them. If you do have stains, hanging them in the sun is the best way to get rid of them. The sun naturally "bleaches" the diapers. Line drying is also thrifty (free!) and green (uses no electricity) so it's really a win-win. I bought some diapers a while back (used) that had stains in them. I was pretty mad because the seller didn't mention the stains and they were pretty obvious. I did the following and ended up getting rid of 90% of the staining. First I hung them out in the sun, for a couple of days. This helped a lot but didn't get rid of the stains. I then tried an oxiclean soak (a bucket of water with a little less than a scoop of oxiclean) for a few hours. After the soak I washed and dried and the stains are pretty much gone! I will try to sun the diapers again and hopefully they will be completely gone. I had never used oxiclean before (didn't have to) but some cloth diapering friends recommended it and it seems to be a good way to get rid of stains.

What exactly should I do to wash my diapers? No wash routine works for everyone, a lot of it depends on your washer/dryer and water. Here are two wash routines that have personally worked for me, the first was used at my in-laws house in a HE front loader, the second is what I use at home with an older top loader:

HE front loader: 
Pre-rinse in cold (if there is poop, for me there isn't always since I have an older toddler so sometimes I skip this step)
HOT wash with 1 TBSP of Rockin Green
Cold rinse, plus extra rinse

Top loader:
Pre-rinse in cold (if there is poop, if not, skip)
HOT wash with 2-3 TBSP of Rockin Green
Cold rinse, extra rinse
Very similar, except more detergent is used with the top loader. Top loaders aren't the most "green" way to do laundry because they use more water but many people find that they get the diapers cleaner. Just add an extra rinse if your HE machine isn't getting your diapers clean enough. I always line dry my covers and usually line dry my pocket shells. Microfiber and hemp inserts always go in the dryer and prefolds are often hung to dry but thrown in the dryer for a few minutes after just to make them soft.

This is what works for me. It may not work for everyone but it's a good start. The key things to remember are not using softeners/additives, always washing on hot to disinfect and making sure to rinse enough to get all of the soap out of the diapers. I hope this helps! Feel free to contact us if you have any other diaper laundry questions, we aren't experts but we will help if we can!

4/26/2011

Cloth diapering drawbacks - Part 1: All about poop

There seem to be three main reasons why parents are resistant to cloth diapering. The initial cost, the extra work and "having to deal with poop" seem to be the popular reasons, or excuses, that parents choose not to give cloth diapering a try. While there are definitely ways to save, cloth diapering does cost a little more initially. No one will argue that cloth can be more work, but once you get your wash routine down it's not that bad. The first two reasons are valid, the third is definitely more of an excuse. "Dealing with poop" is something that you have to do if you have a baby, no matter what kind of diapers you use. Babies (and toddlers, and everyone else for that matter) poop. It's kind of gross, but you get used to it. I actually prefer cloth diapering to disposable diapering when it comes to poop. REALLY. Why? Well, read on. :)

Disposables hold more PEE. Yes they do, it's mostly because of the chemicals but it's true. Cloth diapers actually keep the poo in the diaper much better than disposables. You know the blowouts that little babies have that goes up their back? Yeah, those apparently are much, much less common in cloth diapers. Kainan had lots of those poosplosions, even in the "good" disposable diapers. If you are having to wash baby poo off of clothes anyway it doesn't seem like *that* much more work to just wash cloth diapers does it? Anyway I veered off topic for a minute, back to poop. I've never had a poop leak in cloth and still occasionally have them in disposables.

If I have to change a poopy diaper (and who really wants to?) I'd prefer it to be cloth. If I change a disposable I tend to use disposable wipes, just so I can throw it all away together. Disposable wipes just don't work as well as the cloth flannel wipes that I have. I can use one flannel wipe or five disposable wipes. I like disposable wipes for cleaning up dirty little hands in the car or something like that, not so much for use with poopy diapers. After changing a cloth diaper you dispose of the "solids" in the toilet. This isn't necessary if the baby is breastfed or formula fed since their poo is water soluble. Did you know you are supposed to dispose of poop in the toilet even in a disposable? Seriously, it's on most of the packages. Human poop isn't meant to go into landfills, but plenty of it does. Diaper sprayers are great for some people, but I have never used one and don't feel like I am missing out. Either way, you definitely don't have to hang out in the bathroom scraping poop off a diaper, just shake (or spray) it off and go.

The most disgusting part of poop in disposables (in my opinion) is the fact that the smell lingers. With my diapers, once the poop has been dumped in the potty the smell is virtually gone. Even if it isn't, I use a zippered wetbag and the smell is contained very well. I can even leave the zipper open and just throw a little baking soda on it. The smell of poop in disposables lingers unless you take it to the outside garbage, which is what I do. Diaper Genies are the most disgusting things ever to change and I will never, ever use one of those again. They do contain the smell.. until you open them. The smelly liners are also chemical filled, and I never found any that weren't scented (I'm sure they exist though.) Once the poop is flushed down the potty and the diapers are washed (always within a day for me) there is no more smell. No having to wait for the trash to be picked up to get the yucky smell away.

There are definitely reasons why cloth can be a little bit of a pain, but honestly I don't find "dealing with poop" to be one of them. I don't have to touch poop any more often than I would in disposable diapers. Poop is gross, but it's a fact of life and something that everyone has to "deal with" every day. (well, if you are healthy anyway =P)


Part two will be coming shortly! I will post about common laundry issues relating to cloth diapering.

Toxic baby shampoo?

I saw this link this morning. I really don't know if it's legitimate or not but either way I am not surprised. I wish people cared more about what they put on their babies. The human body absorbs much of what is put on it and babies have much more sensitive systems and smaller bodies. Here is another link about toxic chemicals in baby products by the Environmental Working Group. I'm not a fan of Johnson's baby products anyway, although I have tried their Naturals line and it isn't bad. I honestly try not to throw my feelings about things on other parents because nothing is more annoying to me than being told that I don't love my kid as much as some other mom does because I do things differently than she does. Vaccinating, breastfeeding, circumcising (etc, etc) debates are not my thing. I can respect any decision that someone has come to in an intelligent way. That being said, I do think this is an important issue and parents should at least educate themselves a little bit about it because so many are unaware of what is really in the products that they use on their kids on a daily basis. The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a really great resource for seeing just what is in the products that you use on yourself and your kids. I plan to do a bunch of reviews soon on natural kids products. For now, my recommendation if you want to use something completely natural (especially on a newborn) would be Dr. Bronners mild unscented baby soap. It is completely natural, just like the regular Dr. Bronners soaps but with no essential oils that could be irritating to little babies. Just a little bit goes a long way (you can mix it with water) so it will last for a long time. There are many other products out there that aren't 100% natural but they are close and much safer than what most people use.

For the Love of Chicken...

This recipe is delicious! It's actually what we had for dinner last night. My husband, my 3 year old, and I, all love this recipe! The original recipe didn't get a very good rating, but after I tweaked it a little bit, I gave it 5 stars. The recipe I am posting, is my version of the original.

Chicken Alfredo and Rice Casserole

Prep Time: 25 minutes          Bake Time: 30 minutes          Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 jar of Alfredo pasta sauce
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup chopped bottled roasted red sweet peppers
1 tbsp fresh basil (or 1/2 tsp dried basil)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350° F.

2) In a large bowl, combine pasta sauce and milk. Stir in rice, chicken, peas, and basil.

3) Transfer to a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

4) Bake, covered for 15 minutes.

5) Remove from oven, stir, and re-cover. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until heated through.

6) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

* Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for sending me the original recipe. And thank you to my lovely family for helping me make the recipe our own.

Enjoy! :-)


4/25/2011

How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks for Good

 ::Update April 2013:: I feel like we are Pinterest famous :) If you are here from Pinterest, welcome! Please check out the rest of the blog for lots of info about eating gluten free, cloth diapering, parenting, reviews, and more! Meagan and I have both personally used this method for stretch marks and it really does work! Enjoy! -Amy

-Original Post-

Any mama who has been pregnant, has worried about the dreadful stretch marks, or as I call them "battle scars"! Maybe, your one of the lucky few who never got one. If so, congratulations! If not, I'm sure you've tried quite a few different creams, lotions, and potions to get rid of the them. Some of the more popular ones are Bio-Oil, Mederma Stretch Mark Cream, and Cocoa Butter. Unfortunately, 95% of the time, these creams only diminish the look of stretch marks, if that . If you want a tried and trusted way to get rid of your stretch marks for good, keep reading!

So, about 3 years ago, I was chatting with some co-workers on our work forum, and I noticed a link in someones signature- "Stretch Marks- Be Gone". I clicked on it, very interested in knowing what the secret was. At this point, I had just recently had my first son, and stretch marks had taken over my belly. Anyway, I continued to read the article, thinking in my mind 'There is no way this is going to work, if $20, $30, and $40 creams don't! Well, I followed the instructions and repeated the treatment every day for two weeks. To my dismay, my stretch marks were disappearing. Slowly, but surely! Four weeks later, there were barely any left! I was amazed! At this point, 3 months had gone by, and I was astonished when I looked in the mirror and my belly was stretch mark free. Of course, when I had my second son, they came back, but I just recently started the treatment all over again, and they are slowly disappearing again.

Since reading this article a few years ago, I've only told my close friends about the "Miracle Solution", but now I think it's time I let the cat out of the bag. After all, us mamas have to look out for each other! So, here it is.



Hard Loofah

What Do I Need:

- hard loofah
- salt scrub or sugar scrub
- 3 minutes in the shower/bath each day



Salt Scrub
What Do I Do Next?

1) When your in the shower or bath, you want to take a generous portion of the salt scrub or sugar scrub and cover all areas of your stomach where the stretch marks are.

2) Next you want to wet the loofah and start scrubbing the stretch marks in small circular motions. You want to scrub until your belly is red. (Sometimes this may hurt a bit, but beauty is painful sometimes.)
* Sometimes it helps to grab the area of skin between your thumb and fingers and try and stretch it out a bit first. The tighter the skin is, the easier it will be to scrub.

3) Continue the scrubbing small areas in a circular motion until you've covered the entire area where stretch marks are apparent.

4) Rinse off the scrub, and go about your daily routine.

** I make no guarantees that this regimen will work for you. I will say however, that if you follow the steps correctly, at least 4-5 times a week, your stretch marks will slowly disappear. The number one reason that this treatment wouldn't work for someone is because they aren't persistent. You need to keep up with this, or else the results will never be what you want them to be.

Good luck! :-)


4/24/2011

Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold Review

Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds are one of the products that I decided to try while
Amazon had their coupon codes going on. I plan to write up a detailed post about the codes and how they worked at some point. Many moms got free or nearly free diapers and other baby items during these deals.
I will admit that I might not have tried this prefold if I hadn't had a coupon code. Cotton prefolds are typically $1-$3 or so depending on the size. This prefold is $7 and is a blend of hemp and cotton. Hemp is more expensive but many cloth diapering moms prefer it because of it's high absorbency. So here are my thoughts on this prefold:

It is very soft. Thirsties calls this a hemp jersey (hemp and cotton blend) and it is much softer than many other prefolds. It doesn't "quilt up" like a regular cotton prefold but it honestly doesn't need to, because..

It is very absorbent. I was pleasantly surprised. Thirsties claims that this prefold is 25% more absorbent than cotton and it certainly seems to live up to that. They also dry much faster than traditional cotton prefolds.

It is very trim. The trimness is what really sold me on this prefold. Many prefolds can be bulky but this one has absorbency without bulk. This is particularly important for toddlers.

It is available in two sizes. Like all of the other duo products, these prefolds are available in two sizes. The first is for smaller babies, 6-18 pounds. The larger size is for older babies and toddlers, 18-40 pounds. I got this in the size 2 and it fits nicely on my 37 pounder in a Thirsties size large cover. I have also used it tri-folded in a pocket diaper and it works well for that too.

Hemp diapering products are great! Hemp is naturally antimicrobial, which is certainly a good thing when you're talking about something that stays near the butt. This can mean less diaper rash. From an environmental aspect, pesticides are not necessary in the farming of hemp, unless you are buying organic cotton you can be sure that pesticides were used in most cotton products.

Thirsties is made in the USA company. All of Thirsties products are manufactured in Colorado. Buying diapers that are made in the USA is important to a lot of cloth diapering parents. Products that are manufactured here have less far to travel and the workers who make them are much more likely to be treated fairly. Thirsties website states that even their hemp jersey (what this prefold is made out of) is knitted here in the US.

Overall, I absolutely love this product! I would give it a 9/10. The only "bad" thing about this product is the price. Prefolds and covers are usually an inexpensive choice but using this prefold would make it slightly more costly. That being said, ANY hemp product is going to be more expensive due to the regulations placed on them, among other things. I bought two more in Kainan's size after trying this one, I also bought one to try for Mikaela. I wish I would have bought more while I had the coupons. I would recommend this prefold to anyone. I have never tried to use it with a snappi (Kainan is too big, I will try it with Mikaela) but as a tri-folded prefold or a pocket insert it works great.

**Note: I have not been compensated by Thirsties in any way for the review of this product. It is just a product that I love and want to tell other moms about!**

Munchkin Easy Squeezy Spoon Review

We went to Walmart yesterday to finish off the boys' Easter baskets. While we were there, Delvin saw this thing called the Easy Squeezy Spoon in the baby department. At first, I looked at him like he was crazy. This thing looks like a spoon hooked to a big silicone container. How could this possibly make feeding easier? Well, I figured I'd get it and try it out. If I didn't like it, I could always return. After all, Walmart takes back anything! So, I opened it this morning when I was getting ready to feed Jake some pears, and followed the directions to put the baby food inside the silicone piece. It was really strange to get used to, but SO much easier. Especially when I'm feeding Jake in front of Luke. Luke always tries to grab the bowl from me. Every time I squeezed it to make the baby food come down onto the spoon, it made a little noise (like air coming out), and Jake and Luke were both cracking up laughing over the noise. So, every five seconds I would squeeze it, and the boys would start laughing. It was too cute! Anyway, I think this is something I'll definitely keep in the diaper bag. It would be so handy when we're out to eat or at the grandparents house. For some reason, no matter how many baby spoons I "keep" in the diaper bag, I can never find one when I actually need it. So, this will definitely come in handy for situations like that. The only downside that I would foresee with this product is cleaning. If you did use this while out and about and didn't get to rinse/wash it for a few hours, I could see the baby food getting into the grooves and a little difficult to get out. Nothing a good soak in hot water couldn't loosen though.

Overall, I would probably give this product an 8/10. This product would be great for anyone that travels with their baby a lot, or just needs an easier way to feed their little one during the busy days. Great product! Thanks Munchkin!  :-)

**Note: I have not been compensated by Munchkin in any way for the review of this product. This is just my personal experience with this product.**

Guide to Swagbucks

I talk about Swag Bucks a lot and with good reason, it is one of the best ways to earn a little bit of extra money with very little effort. The first thing you need to do (if you haven't already) is sign up.

So what is swag bucks? Swag bucks is basically a search engine that rewards you for doing searches and other activities. It is paid for by sponsors so it is completely free to use. Once you have collected your swag bucks you can use them in the swag store to buy gift cards or other things. I strongly recommend buying the Amazon gift cards but there are other gift cards as well. So far I have gotten over $100 in gift cards with fairly minimal effort. I am by no means an expert and there are many people out there who make lots more than I do, but this is what worked for me and I wanted to share it because hopefully it will work for you too!

Once you have swag bucks, the first thing you should do is download the tool bar.

You will probably forget about your account if you don't do this!! It's really not a pain at all and helps you keep track of your earnings. It also gives you easy access to the daily poll and the other ways to earn. You can also set swagbucks as your homepage but this isn't really necessary if you use the tool bar. There are several ways to make a few swag bucks daily and each will only take seconds:

1. Make sure to check the daily poll every day.

2. Also check the NOSO, just click through the sponsors (saying no thank you or skip if you are not interested) and after a few clicks you get 2 swag bucks.

3. Check out the surveys. You will get 1 swag buck daily just for clicking on the survey link and if you get to do a survey you will get lots more. I don't do them daily (I don't qualify) but surveys have been a big earner for me.

4. Shopping has been another big one for me. If I need to buy something from one of their sponsor sites (say Walmart or Overstock) I do it through them. You are awarded 2 swag bucks for every dollar spent! I do a lot of shopping online (because we live in the middle of no where) so this can really add up if you use it correctly.

There are lots of other ways, like playing games, watching videos, referrals, and special offers. The ones I listed above are the "easy" ways and if you do them daily you should be able to get a gift card or two every month with minimal effort.

Here is the most important part, download the tool bar and USE IT. Forget Google (even though it's arguably a better search engine) and use the swag bucks search for everything. I don't use quick links for things like facebook or Drury University (my school) I just search for them every single time in the toolbar. It takes about 2 seconds and I "win" for searching 3-4 times a day!! That is about 30-40 swag bucks a day just for searching and it really adds up over a month.

I hope this helps anyone who didn't understand swag bucks!

Deal of the Day - Sunday, April 25th

Have you been wanting an e-reader but just can't justify spending $100 or more on one? Well, now you don't have to break the bank to get that e-reader you've been itching to get. T&T Trading Group actually has one up for today only.

Sony Refurbished Reader Pocket Edition 

$69.99

Retail: $115.99
Warranty: 90 days
Condition: Sony Refurbished


Technical Details

  • 5 inch display can be oriented to portrait or landscape
  • Carry up to 350 of your favorite books at a time
  • 512MB of on board memory
  • 800 x 600 resolution; 8 levels of gray scale
  • Access content from a wide number of online bookstores
The Sony PRS300SCRB Refurbished Reader Pocket Edition features a 5 inch display and an elegant, lightweight design that's easy to slip into a purse or jacket pocket for convenient, on-the-go reading. With 512MB of on board memory you can carry up to 350 of your favorite books at a time. You can access books at the Reader Store, check out books from public libraries, access over one million free public domain titles from Google Books, as well as sharing sites, online aggregators and personal publishers. And the E Ink Vizplex screen technology delivers an amazing, paper-like display that's more like ink on paper and fully readable in direct sunlight.

** My husband bought me this exact reader for Christmas last year. Mine is also refurbished (purchased from Big Lots), and works wonderfully! I downloaded a ton of great books online for free, and plan to purchase some once I've finished reading the ones I have. If your concerned with purchasing it because it's refurbished, I wouldn't worry about it. Besides, it comes with a 90 day warranty, so if you receive it and feel that it isn't worth it, you can always return it.

4/23/2011

Easter "Eve" at Our House

Luke going through his Easter basket.
We decided to celebrate Easter today since Delvin has to work tomorrow. Luke loved the goodies in his basket. Especially his cookies 'n' cream Easter bunny! :-) We also got him a Magna Doodle. I remember my Magna Doodle from when I was a kid. I loved that thing! Obviously Luke takes after me, because he loves his too! He wants to draw on it, just so he can slide the bar at the bottom to erase it. He's so funny! We also got him a Bernstein Bears book since he loves it when we read together, and he loves that show.

Jake playing with his First Book of ABC's.
It was Jake's very first Easter! He had a ball going through his basket. He loved his first book of ABC's that we got him. He is playing with it in the picture to the left. :-) He also got a new teether since he's been going through so many with his first teeth coming in.

Overall, I'm very happy with how excited my boys were today when they saw their Easter baskets! It was a very nice day with my family! :-)


Easter eggs, wool & castor oil

Interesting title, isn't it? I had every intention today of doing a detailed post about the cleaners that I use and recipes to make your own. I think I am going to do that tomorrow. :) I didn't have a particular exciting day but it was fairly busy. Kainan got his Easter basket this morning and we also went on an Easter egg hunt. He really seemed to enjoy it. He is getting old enough to enjoy holidays and it's so much fun. When we got home I saw that my dryer ball supplies had arrived, so I spent a good amount of time working on dryer balls today. I am hoping to finish my first "batch" and get some pictures up soon. I decided to do a giveaway once I have 200 fans on my facebook page so if you are not a fan please "like" this page for a chance to win some free wool dryer balls! On a different note, I also decided to attempt Castor oil for a natural labor induction. I'm very aware that it doesn't always work and can have some nasty side effects, but my OB did say it was okay to try and I happened to have some (for making bath and body products) so I tried it. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as gross to drink as everyone makes it out to be. It's been 5 hours and nothing.. I mean nothing. No baby, no negative "side effects." If I am lucky my next post will be announcing the arrival of this baby, if not, I'll do a nice post about making your own cleaning products. :)

An Awesome Pork Recipe

The Pork and Potato Skillet I
made for dinner tonight.
I know there are a lot of people out there that don't eat pork. I totally understand that. But, for those of you who do, you definitely need to try this recipe! I only let our family eat pork once a month. This recipe is so darn good, that I've made it the last three months in a row! :-)

* This is the actual picture of our dinner tonight. This is not a stock photo.

Pork and Potato Skillet

Prep Time: 10 minutes          Cook Time: 20 minutes         Servings: 4

Ingredients:
4 (4oz) boneless pork loin chops
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
2 tbsp cooking oil
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
3 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes (*This is what the recipe calls for. I normally use fresh potatoes that I dice up)
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed

Directions:
1) Sprinkle both sides of the meat evenly with the 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt.
2) In a very large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat.
3) Cook chops in hot oil for 3 minutes.
4) Turn chops and cook for 3 minutes more or until brown. Remove chops from skillet.
5) Carefully add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add onion and sweet pepper; cook and stir for one minute.
5) Add potatoes, peas and carrots, thyme, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt; mix well.
6) Cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
7) Place chops on top of potato mixture in skillet; cover.
8) Reduce heat to medium.
9) Cook for 7-9 minutes more or until pork chops are no longer pink and potatoes are brown.

* Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for sending me this delicious pork recipe! :-)

Enjoy!

4/22/2011

Why I am less "green" than last year, and what I'm going to do about it

It just hit me that this time last year I was a much "greener" person. I was composting and planning a garden (epic fail.. but I tried!) buying lots of organic food, recycling, and much more. Lately I've slacked off quite a bit. I could make a lot of excuses, like the fact that I am nine months pregnant and have had a very complicated pregnancy. There's also the fact that we lived with my in-laws for the last six months. However instead of making excuses I have made a list (I love lists! I am so weird..) of things that I am CURRENTLY doing that are kind to the earth and things that I SHOULD be doing. Currently I am:

Cloth diapering almost exclusively: This one has improved since last year, I cloth diaper Kainan almost exclusively and plan to do the same (or even exclusively) for Mikaela when she is born. I also use cloth wipes.
Line drying most things: Everything except rags/unpaper towels (because we use a lot and need them fast) and some diaper inserts. When I do use the dryer, I use dryer balls which help save drying time.
Using completely natural cleaning products: Okay here is one that I am GOOD at. There is probably nothing that is really toxic in my house. I make most of my own cleaning products and the ones that I don't make are safe and natural. I plan to post with some cleaning "recipes" soon, Method is also great!
Using natural products, period: Laundry detergent, dish soap, bath and body (I make a lot of these too), kids stuff, there are very few products in my home that aren't completely natural.
Reusable everything: Cloth diapers, unpaper towels or rags instead of paper towels/napkins. We rarely use 'disposable' paper products. I even invested in some cheap plastic (but reusable) cups, plates, bowls, etc. last year for birthday parties. So far I have used them twice (Kainan's birthday last year and my baby shower) and they have already paid for themselves.I also re-use shipping packaging since I ship things fairly often.
"Mama cloth" aka cloth menstrual pads and cloth breastfeeding pads. Again, when I first heard about these I wasn't really sure, but they are actually so much better than the kind that you throw away. At the risk of sharing TMI, they are just much nicer on your "lady parts." I don't know if I would personally use cloth pads for heavy periods (but then again, I hate pads in general) but since I am getting an IUD after the baby it isn't a concern for me. GEM cloth makes great products and has very reasonable prices.
Buying organic when I can: It's really hard to do where I live, but I buy lots of "basics" organic. Milk, eggs, apple juice, whatever veggies I can find. Unfortunately our Walmart seems to be carrying less and less organic food, but we live near a discount grocery store that sometimes has what I am looking for.
We are getting chickens! I am so excited. I have wanted chickens for a while now and we should be getting about five of them within a week. Organic eggs are expensive and Kainan absolutely loves to feed the chickens and chase them around at his aunt and grandparents house, so I know he will be excited too.

I'm sure there are more things that we do, but making this list made me feel a little bit better! This is my "other" list of what I need to be doing.

Recycling: The town that I live in (or outside of) does not have recycling services so we will have to take our recycling to another town and drop it off. I need to look into this because I don't remember what they take and what they don't.
Composting: We just moved, so I need to get this started again!
Gardening: Same as above. The problem is I am NOT very good at gardening. I have the book "organic gardening for dummies" and I have read it a couple of times, but I'm still really bad at it.
Buying less processed food: Here is a big one, we do a lot of cooking from scratch but we definitely eat too much processed food. This one is really difficult because my husband likes to keep junk food around the house and if it's here, I eat it. I definitely want to start buying less just so it isn't around.
Stop buying water bottles, etc.: I JUST started using my Brita water filter again, but we had been buying bottled water for a while. I am horrible about bottled water, it just tastes better to me. We also bought a reusable coffee mug for my husband today so hopefully we won't be doing as many gas station stops for coffee.
Use reusable bags: Josh doesn't like these, I don't know why! I used to be really good about using them but I have slacked off. We do re-use the plastic bags (in smaller trash cans) or take them back to Walmart, but it would still be better to use less of them, especially since I already have the reusable bags.

Well that's it, maybe my lists aren't so bad after all. We have only lived here for a couple of weeks and I've already started doing most of the "green" things on my list. Feel free to comment with any ideas for me or what you have plans to do to be "green" this year!




Let's Celebrate Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day, as many of you already know. So, what are you planning on doing today to show your appreciation towards our Mother Earth?

There are tons of different things you could do to celebrate the Earth. Here are just a few of them.
Recycling: If you don't recycle, you could start today!
Composting: Ever thought about trying it? I know Amy has done this for quite a while, and I'm sure she knows more about it then me.
Reducing Water Usage: Try taking shorter showers, or start taking baths for that matter. After a long stressful day, a nice warm bath is very relaxing!
Reusing: Even if you can't think of ways to reuse everyday things, I'm sure someone out there can. Freecycle is a prime example of this. I save my toilet paper and paper towel rolls and give them away on Freecycle. You'd be surprised how many teachers and parents love to use them for craft activities.
Carpooling: If you work a full time job, I'm sure the gas prices are taking a toll on your paycheck each week. Have you ever thought about carpooling with some co-workers? This is a great way to save money and help the environment.
Saving Energy: There are numerous ways to save energy at home. One of the easiest ways is to swap out your old incandescent light bulbs for more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. It's proven that if you swap out just 15 of your old light bulbs for CFL bulbs, you can reduce lighting energy in your home by 50%-75%. Always remember to turn off lights, fans, radios, computers, and televisions when your leaving the house. And don't forget to unplug that cell phone charger when your not using it. That alone could save you hundreds a year. I normally get home from work around 5:45-6:00pm and I open all of my curtains, so I don't have to use my lights until around 8:30pm (just recently, since it's staying lighter out longer). I know this has saved me money because I've seen the difference in my bills. I also try to only use my ceiling fans, unless it's unbearably hot in the house.

So, what is your plan today? How are you going to start helping the environment?

My son Luke received a pack of seeds in his Danonino yogurt package last week. I asked him this morning if he wanted to help me plant the seeds when we get home this evening and he was very excited! This is my small (yet impacting) contribution to Mother Earth today! Of course I'll continue to use my reusable snack bags, cloth diapers, and recycle, but this is my way of introducing my son to greener living!

If you're interested in finding out what kind of impact you are making on the planet, go to the official Earth Day website and take the quiz on how many planets it takes to support your lifestyle! It may just be the eye opener you need to start making some changes in your natural life.

Deal of the Day - Friday, April 22nd

Have you seen those infomercials on TV for the Live Butterfly Garden? It's a really cool concept to get your kids interested in nature, but $19.99 + S&H?!? Come on! Well, Woot is offering it today only for a much more desirable price.

Live Butterfly Garden & Habitat

$6.99 + $5 shipping

Condition: New
Product: 1 Insect Lore 1010 Butterfly Garden – Live Butterfly Home
Warranty: 90 Day Woot Limited Warranty
Recommended Ages: 4 Years and Up

What do you get?
  • Pop-Up Butterfly Garden Habitat
  • Pipette to feed butterflies
  • Instruction Guide with fun butterfly facts
  • Mail-In Certificate for 3-5 butterfly larvae with special food
Get yours now! This item is on a first come, first serve basis, and available today only.

4/21/2011

More ways to save on cloth diapers

When you look at the numbers (check out Meagan's last post) cloth diapering really starts to make sense financially. The cost is the number one reason that I use cloth diapers. That being said, one could make the argument that disposable diapering can be fairly cheap if you use coupons, buy off-brands, etc. Well this is certainly true although the "cheap" diapers don't work for all babies (including mine, he gets rashes unless he is in Huggies or Pampers.) However there are ways to save with cloth diapering too. Before I go any further, I really feel like I should mention that neither Meagan or myself are cloth diapering "snobs," we both buy and use disposable diapers occasionally and realize that many other moms need to do this too. Sometimes daycare's will not use cloth diapers or, in my case, grandma just decided she didn't want to use them. Sometimes you just need something that lasts a little longer, like a long day or our a long car ride. Here are some additional ways to save money with cloth diapering.

Buying used: It sounds kind of gross at first, but it's a pretty valid option for those on a tight budget. Many babies grow out of cloth diapers quickly (especially the tiniest sizes) and the diapers have very little wear. There are sites like diaperswappers where you can buy and sell your cloth diapers, this also works well if you buy a diaper and it just doesn't work for your baby. eBay is another great place to find deals on cloth diapers, or you can ask your friends who cloth diaper if they'd be willing to sell when they are finished. The diapers can easily be sanitized (info on this coming soon!) and I promise that your baby won't care.

Selling used: This goes hand in hand with buying pre-owned diapers, sell yours when you are finished with them! Cloth diapers have a remarkable resale value (yes, really!) and buying only the size that you need and reselling for the next size can work if you don't have the money to buy a complete stash all at once.

Amazon promotions: Amazon has had promotions featuring 20% off diapers or $10 anything in the baby store. The last of these coupons could be stacked and many people including myself got free or very cheap cloth diapers because of it! Amazon seems to have plans to do more promotions like this and it can be a HUGE money saver. Sometime in the near future I will blog about my experience with Amazon coupons.

Using cheaper cloth diapers: The great thing about cloth diapering today is that you don't have to use prefolds because there are plenty of other options. However prefolds are actually quite easy once you get the hang of it, and they're CHEAP. This package from cottonbabies.com includes three diaper covers and twelve prefolds for $50! That barely costs more than a huge box of disposables. A package like this one should get you through one day and also comes with a wetbag which is definitely a cloth diapering necessity. "One size" packages like this might not work for a tiny infant, but it should work for a baby from a couple of months until 35 pounds or so. There are also one size pocket diapers that grow with your baby. These are not as affordable as prefolds but will still save money over time versus buying sized diapers.

Cloth wipes: I will admit, when I first heard about using cloth wipes I thought it was kind of gross. However once I tried it I never looked back. I actually HATE disposable wipes now and always reach for my cloth wipes at home, especially when there is poop involved. I have two or three dozen cloth wipes that I made myself. If you have a sewing machine it's very easy. I bought some cheap flannel and made some approximately 7x7 double sided wipes. There are also places that you can buy cloth wipes at reasonable prices. Flannel "grabs" poop much better than disposable wipes and even the messiest of diapers will only take two or three wipes instead of eight or nine disposables.

Sales: Many sites like cottonbabies have clearance sections and sometimes you can find very cheap diapers. Sometimes these diapers are being discontinued, other times they are seconds or pre-owned. Other sites like Kelly's closet often have a free diaper when you spend X amount of money.

Swagbucks: I talk about Swagbucks a lot, but with good reason! I've gotten over $100 in free Amazon gift cards just by using their search engine! Amazon has lots of great cloth diapers and with Amazon mom you will get prime shipping. It may take a little while to save up enough swag bucks for diapers, but free is free isn't it?

I have never sat down to figure out exactly how much I have spent/saved using cloth diapers, but I love spreadsheets so I probably will someday. I do know that it's a lot. Using the same diapers with multiple babies will save even more money. Most modern cloth diapers will last through at least two babies and maybe more. Cloth diapering does cost a little more upfront, but you really don't have to refinance your house to be able to afford it. It can be difficult to find a diaper that works for your baby, or a wash routine that works for you (more on this soon) but cloth diapering is definitely worth it once you get the hang of it.

Why choose cloth diapers?

Cloth diapers hanging on
a clothesline to dry.
Let's talk about cloth! Cloth diapers that is. When a lot of people think about cloth diapers, they picture a boring white prefold with a diaper pin holding it on. Cloth diapering has come a long way since when I was a baby. Now there are SO many cloth diaper options, it's a little confusing. But, I figured that since The Great Cloth Diaper Change is right around the corner, this Saturday, April 23rd, I'd share just how awesome cloth diapers are!

Did you know that disposable diapers sit in a landfill for hundreds of years? In fact, disposables take from 250-500 years to decompose! That basically means that if you use disposable diapers on your child, his/her diapers are going to sit in a landfill long after their great, great, great grandchildren have passed away! That's insane! Besides the fact that disposable diapers are harmful to the environment, they also aren't the greatest option for our children. Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin. This is an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, that the EPA has listed as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. Dioxin is actually banned in most countries, due to the chemical side effects. But, unfortunately it is not banned in the U.S. Disposable diapers also contain TBT (Tributyl-tin), which is a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in both humans and animals.

Anyway, a lot of people that do look into cloth diapering decide not to go through with it because of the up front cost. The average cost of a cloth diaper is around $12. They range dramatically though. You can get a prefold for $1-$2, and a basic cover for $4-$7, or you can go all out and buy organic for as much as $30 for one diaper. Either way, the odds are that if you spend $300-$400 up front for cloth diapers, you will still be saving money each year. That's just the price of buying disposable diapers for the first 5-6 months of life. Not only can cloth be washed and reused, but if you decide to have anymore children, you can use them with your next baby. So, that up front cost of about $350 dollars, pretty much turned into $175, since you won't have to spend it again for your next baby.

Let's break it down for you.

Disposable diapers:
1 child
Say you use 50 diapers a week.
50 x $0.25 = $20.00 a week
$20 x 4 = $80 a month
$80 x 12 = $960 a year

Potty Training Ages:
18 months old- You will have spent $1,440.00 on diapers.
24 months old- You will have spent $1,920.00 on diapers.
30 months old- You will have spent $2,400.00 on diapers.
36 months old- You will have spent $2,880.00 on diapers.
42 months old- You will have spent $3,360.00 on diapers.

** Now keep in mind, these numbers are only for one child. If you have more children, these numbers will double with each child you have.

Cloth Diapers:
1 child
50 diapers a week
50 x $10 = $500.00 (inexpensive diapers)
50 x $25 = $1,250.00 (more pricey diapers)
This is a one time cost to you. Since you wash and reuse the diapers, you will never have to buy diapers again. Whether you have one child or 3 children, you'll never have to invest anymore money in diapers. Unless you want to of course. Even with the more pricey cloth diapers, this is still less than you will spend on diapering one child in disposables who is potty trained by 18 months old.

Deal of the Day - Thursday, April 21st

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, several retailers & organizations are helping you celebrate being green while saving you some green.

Free tree from Lowes:
Lowes.com : Earth Day 2011
Sat 4/23/11
1 Million Available

Free coffee or tea at Starbucks:
Take your reusable mug to participating Starbucks and get a free fill-up!
Celebrate Earth Day, April 22 | Starbucks Coffee Company
Tomorrow 4/22/11

Free entrance to all 394 National Parks:
U.S. National Park Service National Park Week
Through 4/24/11

The Best Meatloaf You Will Ever Eat!

So, yesterday I had a very long day. I had off work, but still had a lot to do. I had to take Luke to get some blood work done, had an appointment with my local Healthy Families coordinator, I had my own doctor's appointment, then had a WIC appointment, and had to go to the grocery store. Needless to say, when I got home around 6:30pm, I was not in the mood to cook! So, I fell to my go-to meal...Meatloaf. So many people don't like the taste of meatloaf. Why? I'm not too sure. I do remember being a kid and dreading meatloaf night though. My mom's recipe wasn't the best to say the least. So, when I got married I tried at least 5 or 6 meatloaf recipes until I found one we really liked. And here it is...

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes          Cook Time: 1 hour          Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground turkey
1 (6oz.) package of stuffing mix for chicken
1 cup water
eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey barbecue sauce, divided

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 375°F.
2) Combine ground turkey, stuffing mix, eggs, and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce in a bowl.
3) Mix until just blended.
4) Shape into a loaf.
5) Top with the remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.
6) Bake it for one hour or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF.
7) Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.
 
* Thank you to Kraft Recipes for coming up with an awesome meatloaf recipe! Of course, I did tweak it a little bit. :-)

I normally make some corn or broccoli as a side and a Lipton rice or pasta side to go with this dish.

Enjoy!

4/20/2011

Uses for Organic Coconut Oil

Organic coconut oil can be used for so many things besides cooking. I keep a jar around the house and use it every day. You can buy it on Amazon and just one of those tubs lasts a LONG time. I also found a tub on the clearance aisle at Walmart but that was a one-time thing. These are some of the things that I personally use coconut oil for.

As a face moisturizer: I don't even use a regular moisturizer, I just use coconut oil. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my appearance, but this works really well for me.

Instead of lotion for kids: If you have kids with sensitive skin (I do) lots of things make them break out. Organic coconut oil works really nicely as a "lotion" for kids, and it smells nice too.

For diaper rash: If your kids have a mild diaper rash, organic coconut oil can help or keep diaper rash away. It is also cloth diaper safe whereas many diaper rash creams aren't.

For hair: Coconut oil is an awesome hair conditioner. I don't use it often because I think it feels pretty gross putting it in, but it definitely does work.

These are just a few of the uses for organic coconut oil. It is fairly cheap, eco-friendly, lasts forever, has multiple uses, and you can use Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to buy it!

4/19/2011

Wool Dryer Balls - What is the purpose?

I have been making wool dryer balls for a while now. Lots of people have questions about wool dryer balls, and I hope to answer some of them here!

What is the purpose of wool dryer balls?
Wool dryer balls are a 100% natural alternative to those plastic spiky dryer balls that you can buy. They are also an alternative to chemical-filled fabric softener or dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls shorten drying time by circulating air into your load of laundry and soaking up excess water. The more dryer balls that you use, the more time and energy you will save. They also reduce static although they may not completely eliminate it.

Do they REALLY work?
YES! I promise that they work. I have 9 in my dryer currently (I had 12, but they have a way of not making it back to the dryer when you have a 2 year old) and wouldn't keep them in there if they didn't work.The more dryer balls the better, but even 2 will make a small difference in your drying time and static.

Why do they cost so much?
I try to keep the price on mine as low as possible, but I have seen dryer balls sell for over $10 EACH. (Mine are 2/$10 or 4/$20)  The simple answer is that wool is expensive but it's very worth it if you factor in shortened drying time and money saved on dryer sheets or fabric softener.

How long will wool dryer balls last?
They will last a very long time. Many people use the same dryer balls for years. If they get dirty at all you can simply hand wash them and throw them back into the dryer, simple! Wool dryer balls will get pills on them, but you can shave them if you want. They don't "shed" onto your clothes however so unless the pilling really bothers you it is fine to just leave them. Mine have been felted 3 times and they will not fall apart even with daily use.

Are they safe for cloth diapers?
Yes, wool dryer balls are very commonly used among those who cloth diaper! Fabric softeners and dryer sheets are not safe for use with cloth diapers so wool dryer balls are a natural choice. Both Meagan and myself use these on our diapers. I line dry my covers and I usually line dry my pockets but I have found that inserts and anything hemp do much better in the dryer. Using dryer balls on diapers is not only safe but usually one of the best ways to save energy because diaper laundry (at least in our house) is typically a small load.

What about wool allergies?
I can't guarantee anything about wool allergies, but everything I have ever researched has said that those with wool allergies do fine using wool dryer balls. The wool never comes into direct contact with your skin so many people use wool dryer balls with no problem. I definitely recommend doing your own research.

Will the colors bleed? Can wool dryer balls be scented?
I have lots of different colors on my dryer balls and they do not bleed. No one who has ever used my dryer balls has reported this issue to me either. However if you are really concerned, I can use completely un-dyed wool. I do not recommend scenting dryer balls, particularly for diaper laundry. However if you prefer scenting I can use 100% natural essential oils to do so. Many people use scented dryer balls and they are completely safe, I just prefer no scent for myself. If you are switching from using dryer sheets it may be an easier transition to use scented dryer balls. However it is good to remember that the scent will not last forever!

I hope this answers any questions that anyone may have about wool dryer balls. If not, feel free to leave a comment or contact me on facebook! Once I have enough fans (I haven't decided on an exact number yet!) I will be having a giveaway on my facebook fanpage so be sure to check it out.

Make Some Extra Money from Home

Have you ever thought about making some extra spending money from home?

There are many SAHM's who actually work from home (WAHM) doing various things. You could do freelance writing, transcription work, manage a website and sell your own creations. Anyway, that is for a different post. This post is just a few ideas as to how you can make some extra spending money from home. My sister works a full time job, but spends her lunch break completing surveys. Just an hour a day, Monday through Friday makes her enough money to cover her groceries each month. There are a lot of ways to make extra spending money from home. I was a WAHM for over 3 years. I know the legitimate companies and the scammers. I will never advertise a company or business that I haven't personally used myself. So, here are a few ways to make your wallets a little fluffier.

Online Surveys:
These are companies that pay you for your feedback. Once you set up your account, you'll have access to various profile surveys. After you've filled out your profile surveys, you'll be invited to participate in surveys that fit your criteria. Once you complete a survey, you'll either receive a dollar amount or points towards cashing out, into your account.
1) Paid Viewpoint
2) Opinion Outpost
3) i-Say

Viewing Ads:
These are sites that pay you to view advertisements. It's a way for smaller companies to get their brand out to the public. Some of these sites send emails for you to view, and others have you go to their site, login, and view the ads. Either way, your still getting paid for a few seconds worth of viewing.
1) Clixsense
2) Hits4Pay

Etc:
These are sites that you can earn money or points to put towards cashing out by doing various activities. You can earn by playing games, searching the Internet, viewing ads, completing surveys, and even shopping.
1) Swagbucks
2) Inboxdollars
3) MyPoints

 
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