Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bloggers needed!!

Slam 'n' Curve Slide Giveaway.jpg

It’s Water Slide Time Event

Organized by: Mom to Bed by 8

Grand Prize: Little Tikes Slam ‘n’ Curve Slide

Event dates: 6/16 - 6/30

Giveaway is open to US Residents.


Tropical Traditions Review & Giveaway

My husband and I use coconut oil for a million and one things. Okay, maybe not that many, but a lot. It's like the duct tape of the edible world! I can't think of a part of the body I haven't used it on! While there are many fabulous uses aside from food, I'm going to focus solely on the food aspect for this post. We were given Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions to try out and review.

I have actually had the product for about 2 months now, and have been using it for a myriad of things (both cooking and non). We have use it for cooking, baking, frying, and even straight consumption (obviously in small increments, not a bowl full!).

My husband makes delicious fried chicken strips, though sometimes we have had issues (in the past) with taste due to oil. I have a very sensitive palate, and some oils just bother me. I'm sorry, but I don't like my chicken tasting like coconut. Some brands taste very heavily of coconut. That is fine for somethings, but not so much for others (like hashbrowns... coconut flavoured hashbrowns are just weird!). He put the Tropical Traditions to the test with my favorite meal (the chicken strips), and it was the best dinner yet! It fried it perfectly, and the chicken tasted like fried chicken, not like coconut. I devoured it, and so did Bobble! I used it for frying eggs, and it did a fabulous job for that, too!

My husband was most impressed with the texture. He pointed out that it was extremely smooth and not at all gritty like some of the other coconut oil brands.

To learn about virgin coconut oil and how it is produced, follow this link. You can learn all about how Tropical Traditions makes their delicious coconut oil!

Spoiler: Tropical Traditions uses the traditional wet-milling low-tech method called fermentation to produce their coconut oil.

It is a much more labor-intensive method of producing coconut oil, and cannot be replicated by machine through mass-production. Family producers in the rural areas of the Philippines make the Gold Label standard in small batches.
This oil is not mass produced, but made by hand just as it has been done for hundreds of years. The coconuts are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. In addition, all of the coconuts are hand-picked within 24-48 hours of harvest. Only those nuts that produce the highest quality coconut oil are chosen, while the rest of the crop is sold to copra dealers.

Because of the extremely selective procedure for choosing the coconuts, a higher price is paid to the farmer. Almost all other virgin coconut oils on the market are mass-produced and do not take this kind of attention to detail that begins with choosing the right nuts.
How fabulous is that?! I love the taste and quality of the product, but the fact that it's made by hand and that the farmers get a better wage makes me love it even more. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is truly a superior product all around!

Need more ideas on how to use coconut oil? Look no further! There are hundreds of ways to use it!

While I was given this product for a review, I can honestly say that this is, by far, my first choice in coconut oils now and in the future. If you want to try this coconut oil for yourself, they have a 100% Money Back Guarantee on 16 oz. trial size. If you don't love the oil within 30 days, you can get a full refund (no questions asked)!

You can also enter to win a quarter right here on the blog! This giveaway is open to both US & CANADA!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. Thoughts Of Fluff is not responsible for shipment of the prize. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 7

Day 7: Overall experience. What did you learn? Would you do it?

So here we are, day 7! I honestly can't believe it's already day 7. Probably because I only washed every other day, so I washed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'm debating on whether I should wash the diapers tomorrow morning by hand (since they were from the challenge and, therefore, should technically be handwashed, or if I should just throw them in the machine (hey, the challenge is technically over, right?).

My overall experience was a positive one. I was surprised at how easy it was to handwash stuff. I didn't have anything fancy. I had no camping washer with a plunger, I had no washboard (yes, I'm calling these 'fancy'! *laughs* )... I just have me, a bucket, water, and soap. Oh, wait... I had my fancy IKEA octopus hangers. They were awesome! (Especially since it rained most of the week here and I had to dry inside!)

The diapers were easy to clean. I always knew which she pooped on, but thankfully the diaper sprayer was allowed to be used. It would have sucked a bit more if I didn't have one. I still would have done it, though. I didn't wear any gloves. I didn't see the point. Most of the poo was off thanks to the sprayer, and when we visit family we don't really have a sprayer to use (well, we do at my mom's, but not hubby's mom's) so I dunk and swish as best I can without gloves. I figured that was a waste of money I just didn't have to spend.

I learned diapers are easy to clean. That, and flats are pretty darn awesome. My heavy wetter that needs two inserts (and sometimes a booster) at night in her pockets? Yeah. ONE FLAT and she was good all night. I'm starting to wonder if the pockets have issues simply because of the absorbent material being in one strip as opposed to wrapped around baby. Compression from baby moving in a flat (folded around baby) would just send extra moisture to other parts of the material. Compression of baby in pocket with inserts (or maybe even a flat? I haven't tested that one at night...) would just expel the moisture. I'm thinking we will stick to flats for night time. They don't hold smell as much as MF. I will still use some of my fitteds, of course, but the flats don't hold smell like fitteds. Much easier to clean. It just boggles my mind that ONE flat can do what multiple MF inserts can't.

I would totally do this if I needed to. This is a much better option than a laundromat! In fact, I'm contemplating getting a washboard and trying my hand at our clothes, now. I'm rather curious...

Oh, one more thing! This is QUICKER than doing diapers in the washer/dryer for me. Namely because I can't forget about them in the washer, run a million rinse cycles because I can't remember if I did it or not already, then forget to put them in the dryer. My husband is normally irritated that diaper laundry takes "a full day" to do (because of the above), but my washing took about 30 minutes by hand, and then I would just let them dry until the next morning, take them down, use them, repeat.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 6

Day 6: Open Topic

I just wanted to share that anyone can do this. You think you're too lazy? I'm lazy, too! Wait, I have proof!

Yesterday, Thursday and day 5 of the Flats & handwashing challenge, I stuffed a loaded of pocket diapers with microfiber inserts right out of the dryer. I WASHED THEM AND DRIED THEM FRIDAY BEFORE THE CHALLENGE. That means I waited an entire week before doing something with them. I just let them sit in the dryer since I didn't need them. Also, that means I have slacked on doing ANY laundry all week. *twiddles thumbs*

Sooooo, yes. Lazy people can handwash, too! In fact, this actually is faster than my normal laundry routine, as I don't procrastinate going and starting the next cycle, switching the laundry over, or stuffing them. I have a limited amount of flats, and so they stay 'caught up' in terms of laundering.

I have noticed that the overnight diapers smell ripe the last 2 nights. I don't think I am using enough soap. It was hard to judge what amount of soap I should use for such a small amount of diapers, so I sort of was winging it. I'll try more soap today (diapers are soaking). If you're curious, they don't smell like ammonia, nor do they smell like barnyard. They smell like garlic. Not a yummy sort of garlic, either. I decided to add a few drops of TTO to my soak this morning, and I'll let them soak a bit longer than normal. I have some seeds to start for our garden, anyway. (Yes, I've been putting that off, too!)

So, for all you lazy people like me, YOU CAN DO IT! It's a good little work out (and, if you're like me, the only one you get that day other than chasing a toddler), it's faster than using the machines (again, especially if you forget about it or put it off a bunch), and it's surprisingly easy to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 5

Day 5: Flats Experience, Folds you love, and Are they working?

Prior to taking this challenge, I had used flats a couple times. I only used the pad folded/trifolded and laying in a cover, or origami fold with a snappi. I rarely did the origami fold because it took time. Sometimes I would stuff a pocket with a pad folded flat, but mostly I just stuck to my pocket diapers with inserts.

Since starting this challenge, I looked at other folds to try. My biggest problem with the origami fold is that they just don't fit my chunk that great folded that way. I saw a lot of people liked the Kite Fold, so I decided to give it a try. I modify my kite fold, though.

I don't bother folding it to be a square, first. I don't care that it's crooked. I don't fold the point down, either. I like to keep that out to cover the fastener. I'll show you in a side-by-side comparison of the kite fold vs. my kite fold. They are two different sized flats, but you get the idea.

Fold corners in to a point like if you were making a paper airplane. (Note the flat on the left was folded previously to make it into a square where as the flat on the right was just folded for the first time in this step)

Fold top part down to make a triangle. This is where baby's bum will go!

Fold point of long end up to make a trapezoid (or don't.... I leave mine out like on the right!)

Fold bottom up and over baby's front

Fold wings in (then fasten!)

I fold my point over the fastener (pin, snappi, boingo, doesn't matter) so baby has less of a chance of being able to mess with it and risk getting hurt. Not really that much more protection, but it's something, right?
Normally I would fold my flat one more time (folding a tiny bit of the edges in to make it narrower) before folding it up and over baby, but you can also just roll the edges in around the legs to tuck in extra material and help prevent poop from getting out of the diaper and onto the cover. (see below example with stuffed animal):
Before folding the point up and over baby, I usually fold (or roll) the sides in a little

Yay, diaper is on!

I couldn't take these pictures with my baby as an example because, honestly, Squiggle lives up to her name. She wouldn't hold still for any of this, and you would have just had blurs!

Our flats are working great for us! I'm honestly surprised at how well they hold. If I don't put Squiggle in a double-stuffed (MF) pocket or a fitted and cover, her night time diapers normally leak. Surprisingly, we have only had one leak at night time during this challenge, and it was on the night I had the smaller size flat on her.  They have been drenched in the morning, but they've held. I've been very impressed. I prefer to use the Flip Daytime Organic inserts since I feel they hold more than my other flats, but I've had success with the larger sized flat as well.

What is your favorite fold?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 4

Day 4 of the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is all about wash routines

I already told you guys how I washed my diapers in day 2's post, but since I just did it again this morning, a little run down wouldn't hurt. (for all the pictures, check the linked post above)

I stopped using a diaper pail liner since I was using my pail as a wash tub. Save a step, right?

I fill up my pail (full of all the dirty items) with hot water, and let it soak while I eat breakfast or what not. I let it soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

I agitate (with my hands) for a few minutes before I take and drain the water out. I add some (dissolved) tiny bubbles detergent and fill it back up with hot water (as hot as I can handle).

Cue more agitation with my hands and rubbing a poopy flat under the water against itself. (yes, I know, that IS agitation... but I targeted that particular diaper since it was the only poopy one!)

I did this until the water needed to be emptied, filled with hot water again, agitated, emptied. Filled, agitated, water was clear, started rinsing.

I rinsed/agitated in the bucket, but my FINAL rinsing before hanging to dry was done under running water. I do the same thing with dishes and my husband hates it. He says it wastes too much water. I, personally, don't like bringing dishes up through whatever is floating on top (grease, particles, or soap) and calling it 'clean'. Same with my diapers. I don't have the water POURING out of the faucet, though, just running enough to do the job.

I hand wrung the items and tossed them into a clean laundry basket waiting outside the tub. One. By. One. After that, I hung them up on my octopus hanger and now they are drying while I have the day ahead of me! Of course, had I washed them yesterday instead of opting to wash every other day, they would have been outside in the sunshine and gentle breeze. It's supposed to rain again today, though.

My cleaning seemed to be decent, as we had no smell issues with any of the diapers I first handwashed. Yay!

How is this week going for you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 3

4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Day 3: Open Topic

Today I am sad to say I have slacked horribly. It's a beautiful, sunny day with a great breeze blowing, and I haven't washed any diapers at all today. It is looking more and more like I'll end up doing it tomorrow instead, and then complaining that I should have washed as I went. I'm great at procrastinating, have I ever mentioned that?

Squiggle getting ready for bed at the end of day 2

So far, the biggest surprise has actually been how much the flats hold. I figured I'd have leaks or go through a million flats, but I really don't. I have had 1 leak with Squiggle, and that was because I was using one of my smaller flats for night time last night (I didn't feel like going to the diaper bag to get the bigger one). It was a small little leak, and I just changed her and went back to bed. Using flats is a lot easier than I thought it would be! I've only handwashed 1x so far, however, so I'll hold off on my verdict for that!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge- what are you using and how much did it cost?

 I haven't purchased a single thing to take this challenge, and that's proving a wee bit challenging. I'll explain in a minute.

My stash shot doesn't exist, as I didn't think ahead enough to take one before we started the challenge. I have 21 flats. 12 of them are birdseye cotton flats, 6 are size 2 swaddlebees flats, and 3 are Flip organic day inserts. I have a bazillion covers, so that wasn't really an issue, though I only went through a total of 3 yesterday. 2 for Squiggle (she pooed on one), and 1 at night time for Bobble. I will probably use a total of 5 or 6 covers between the two children for the duration of this challenge, so I would say my cost was about $150 total. That is assuming the covers are $15 each. A couple were, a couple were more, a couple were less. It evens out.

I don't have a utility sink, I don't have a bucket and plunger, and I don't have one of those hand crank machines. In fact, I don't even have a washboard. Instead, I am using my diaper pail as my bucket (which, honestly, needed a good clean!), and my hands. To ensure the water got hot enough for cleaning, I used the hottest water possible (there is a temperature cap set at our house). I tried to handle the diapers at that temperature, too. This resulted in sore, burned fingers. In fact, typing this hurts. Perhaps a plunger wasn't such a bad idea.

I agitated with my hands and arms after a 30 minute hot water soak. The next 'cycle' I added some (dissolved) soap and did the same for a while. I churned the items with my hands over and over. If I had used the actual bathtub, I would have just used my feet. Unfortunately, our bathtub stopper is broken (same with the sink!). Otherwise, I would have totally gone "I Love Lucy" on those diapers! (Remember the grape/wine episode?)

After a bit, I emptied and filled with warm water to do my rinse. I pulled the covers out first since I was scared I would damage them on the inside of the diaper pail (it has four plastic sections that stick in a bit at the bottom, and I didn't want to tear the PUL!). Then I left water running as I rinsed then wrung each item. I didn't leave the water pouring out, mind you, just enough to use.

I don't remember using so many diapers yesterday, but my goodness! I think I might stick to washing as I go. It felt like hours! It was really only a total of about 30 minutes, though. They got nice and clean (I think), but I suppose we will have to see how it really worked when I put them back on the kids!

Thankfully, I have 2 of those awesome octopus hangers from IKEA (thanks, Bonnie!), though I really needed a third. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain on and off all day, and I won't be here to bring them in if it does. I don't have a shower rod to hang them from since I have a (very annoying) sliding glass door, so I improvised. I don't know how well they will dry hanging from my curtain rod, but we'll find out! The covers I hung in our mud room, opposite our washer and dryer. This is where I normally hang my covers while doing diaper laundry.

If you're taking the challenge, how are you doing it?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 1

Why I am taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge:

This is the 4th year of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, and yet it's only the first time I'm actually participating. I always had reasons not to before. I didn't have many flats, I didn't have time because I was working overtime, I didn't have time or energy because I was working and heavily pregnant.... Okay, I didn't say they were GOOD reasons!

This year is different. Last summer I got laid off. Now, almost a year later, I still have no employment. I can't use the "too busy working" excuse this time. Squiggle, my youngest, is nearing 1 year old, now. I can't use pregnancy as an excuse.

Then, a few months ago, my washer wouldn't work. I kept turning it on and I could HEAR it turn on, but nothing would happen. No buttons would light up, no settings would change no matter how much I turned the knob... nothing. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew that my load of wash in the washer was a load of diapers. That's when I realized I was in trouble. I had no idea what to do. I had no idea how to handwash diapers, and I most certainly didn't have the money to fix my washer or get a new one.

Thankfully, the washer randomly started working normally a couple hours later, but I had decided it. I am doing the flats and handwashing challenge this year. Thanks to this challenge, there are all sorts of posts for me to read to figure out how to clean my diapers. If I can wash cloth diapers, which catch poop, clean by hand... then I can clean our laundry (clothing) by hand, too. I am taking this challenge not only to help spread awareness of how you can cloth diaper with no washer on a low budget, but also to prove to myself that I can do this if our situation with the washer goes down hill.

I am using all store bought flats and covers. Some people are using T-shirts, but I have a handful of flats and plenty of covers. Bobble only wears a diaper at night time now (and even then it is usually dry... last night was 4 dry diapers in a row!), and Squiggle is not a newborn, so she doesn't go through a million diapers a day. Still, I only have 15 flats, total. I don't have much of a choice but to do laundry daily, I'm assuming! We'll find out as the challenge progresses!

Morning 1!

Are YOU taking the Flats and Handwashing challenge? Why or why not? What holds/held you back from taking it?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I'm taking the Flats & Handwashing Challenge!

I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit nervous about this... I've never really used flats more than a handful of times, much less ONLY flats for an entire week! Oh, and handwashing? I've never handwashed anything before! There's a first for everything though, right?

To read up on the rules for the Flats & Handwashing challenge (or to sign up), check out this post on Dirty Diaper Laundry's blog.

For the eve of, Squiggle is wearing a Rump-a-rooz Charlie cover, and Bobble (legs seen above) is wearing a Thirsties PolkaDance Cover.

Let's do this!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Go Green Giveaway!

Looking for ways to green your household? Enter to win these eco-friendly products to help get you started!

Go green this spring with these great eco-friendly products! Take your snacks on the go in an eco-friendly snack bag or reusable food pouch that is also super easy to clean! Ensure your child's sleeping surface is clean while traveling with a Naturalmat Top Mat, and keep your kitchen tidy with an odor-free counter top compost collector. These wonderful products were contributed by our amazing sponsors and we are excited to offer you the chance to win them all!
Yummi Pouch Brights Yummi Pouches are convenient, refillable and reusable food pouches that hold blended snacks for kids. Yummi Pouch Brights feature four colorful patterns, a resealable top opening and a stand-up bottom. The insulator sleeves keep the pouch cool while traveling and also protects against accidental squeezing. Yummi Pouches make it easy for kids to take healthy smoothies on the go.
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naturalmat top map The Naturalmat Top Mat is an economical way of turning your crib into an organic one. Two layers of organic lambswool are contained within this overlay to your child’s crib. The natural and breathable materials contained within the Top Mat regulate your baby’s temperature and help them to sleep soundly.
silikids cups silikids big kid cups are made from glass encased in a silicone protective sleeve that is easier to hold and grip than traditional cups. Their Silimap placemats feature fun cool graphic maps in several themes, cities, and countries to teach kids about the world.
kushies original cloth diaper Kushies Organic Ultra-Lite Diaper is a great performer! Offers the flexibility of use with or without a diaper wrap and features 8 layers of 100% cotton flannel plus an inner waterproof barrier. Its adjustable hook & loop closure system offers a snug fit. Extended tabs provide optimum adjustability. Machine washable & dryable.
Fresh Air compost collector Say hello to the Fresh Air compost collector. Unlike sealed compost containers, the Fresh Air allows oxygen to easily flow through your organic kitchen waste, allowing for aerobic breakdown. Food decomposes more slowly and stays drier during the composting process resulting in less mess, less odor and no flies.
Wean Green Blueberry Snack Cube Wean Green's Snack Cubes tempered glass food containers are the perfect size for every eco-chic family member. The lids are durable and have passed the 'use' testing machine over 3 million times per tab. The child friendly design allows easy opening for small hands and the glass is 4-5 times stronger than a drinking glass! Snack Cubes are freezer, microwave, & dishwasher safe.

Prize Gift Set

Yummi Pouch Brights gift set - $39.98
Set of 3 reusable snack bags - $30
Naturalmat Top Mat - $135
Silikids Silimap placemat - $14.95 and Siliskin glasses 2 pack - $12.95
Kushies Organic Ultra-Lite Diaper - $17.99
Full Circle Home Fresh Air kitchen counter top compost collector - $29.99
Wean Green Set of 2 Blueberry Snack Cubes - $11.99
Go Green Giveaway - green scene mom
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Disclosure: Thoughts of Fluff is not responsible for the fulfillment of prize.