Bubbles and Milk Giveaway and coupon code.

Glimpse reviewed some our  Little Twig Products.  The Little Twig product line is great since it is made with organic ingredients and is sulfate free, paraben free, contains no artificial colors or synthetic fragrances. Visit Glimpse’s website to enter the $50.00 gift certificate GIVEAWAY and we also have a 10% coupon code for anything in the Eco Bebe store, valid until January 18th.

Check out the link below for more details:

Glimpse Website

Toddler’s Rules of Possession

I just remembered this poem I once saw at a playgroup session.  I did a google search to find it and thought I may as well share it.  It will definitely strike a familiar cord for anyone who has toddlers.

Toddler’s Rules of Possession (Anonymous)

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.

Looking for mom and baby gift ideas?

It is that time of year and I have already started getting emails asking me about gift ideas, so I thought I should put together a few suggestions.


For the mom who has everything and is not into Cloth Diapering.


1. Piccolo Bambino Organic Fitted Crib Sheet:  This is a little bit of baby luxury.  Not every mom will spend more for organic sheets so they make a great gift item that way.   Also, sheets are great because even if you have some, you can always use more.  These are so soft and will thicken slightly in the wash giving them a sherpa type feel, which will keep baby warm and cozy.




2. Little Beetle Portable Baby Chair  It comes in handy when visiting friends and relatives and is great for families who love to go out to eat often.  A fabric chair is more eco-friendly than plastic chairs but its best feature is how portable it is.  It folds up so small you can keep it in your diaper bag, so it is always available when you need it.  It’s easy to use and comes in cute solid colors and a stripy color as well.  Machine washable (yay!)





Great Stockin’ Stuffers


3. Anything by Little Twig is a sure win.  They contain no synthetic fragrances, artificial colors or parabens and are sulfate free.  The whole product line is a Hollywood fave and has been featured in many popular parenting magazines.  You can choose from talc free baby powders, Baby Wash, Bubble Bath and Baby Lotion.




4.  Baby Leggings. There are so many cute patterns these are sure to be a hit.   They are great in the cooler weather, adding an extra layer of warmth and keep baby cozy.  It helps to cover that gap between the shoes and pants, where the leg is always exposed.  Diaper changes are a breeze with these since they don’t have to removed with each change.  These are always popular with cloth diapering moms as well.




For the mom to be:

5.  Anything from Earth Mama Angel Baby will be well worth it.  The product line includes products for both mom and baby so you can make a little package mixing products for both.  All the Earth Mama products have excellent ratings from the Cosmetics Database.  This is definitely a great product line and you never have to worry about harmful chemicals. 

                              

6. A beautiful baby blanket always makes a great gift.  These Minky blankets by Pippalily are soft and beautiful.




More Stocking Stuffer Suggestions:

7.  Toy Straps:  These will definitely be handy when baby starts throwing everything out of the stroller.  There is nothing more frustrating than picking up the same toy over and over again or having to track back through a store trying to find where it was dropped.  This is Canadian Made and features a strong velcro with which you can attach baby’s toy, cup, teether etc.


8. For the mom who has just started cloth diapering.  You can help with accessories such as a diaper rash cream that is suitable for use with cloth diapers or some good quality cloth wipes such as the Northbern Baby Wipes in bamboo or Sherpa along with Wee essentials soap bits to use as a wipes solution.  What is really nice about Northern Baby and Wee Essentials are that the products are quality mom-made products that are not available in just any store.  You can also help build her cloth diaper stash which means you are actually helping her save money all year long by cloth diapering.


   
9.  If you already know they like these kinds of products but are not sure what they already have, then a gift certificate is a good option.  It is a good option if you live far away from each other and will not be able to give the gift in person.   You choose the amount and they can pick what they really need.

10. Anything hand made is always great, so if you can make a gift yourself it is sure to be unique and cherished for a long time. 

Whatever you decide on, it really IS the thought that counts so it is sure to be appreciated.

Minimizing Diaper Pail Odors

Using cloth diapers doesn’t have to be stinky business.  Whether you use cloth or disposables you have to do some stink management at some point.
Here are 5 tips to minimize diaper pail smell.

1. Wash regularly.  This is a pretty basic one.  You can do all the other things but if you leave a poopy diaper in your pail or wet bag for 2 weeks, it will probably smell. Not much we can do about that.  You should try to empty your diaper pail every 2 to 3 days.  This will help in two ways.  The diapers will not be there long enough to get very smelly but also, you will have smaller loads.  Smaller loads will ensure your diapers come out nice and clean.  If your loads are too full there is not enough water or agitation to get them clean enough.  Of course you need a laundry detergent that is safe for your cloth diapers to avoid build-up but that is a whole other topic.

2. Remove all solids from the diaper.  This applies to disposable diapers as well.  Make sure to dump out all fecal matter from your diapers into the toilet.  Just shake the diaper over the toilet to remove any solid pieces.  If you have sticky poop then you may have to be a little creative and use something to scrape it off.  Toilet paper or I have heard of people using a spatula for this purpose.  You can also invest in a diaper sprayer which attaches to your toilet and simply spray off the diaper with the sprayer. 

3. Keep your diaper pail and pail liner clean.  Using a durable pail liner makes this easy.  It should be thick enough so that any wet diapers don’t seep through and durable enough to endure frequent laundering.  I would suggest 2 per diaper pail so that you have one to use when one is in the wash.   Wash the pail liner every time you empty it. Simply throw it in with your diapers.  Then simply wipe it down your diaper pail with a wet cloth. You can use a vinegar and water mixture to deodorize it as well.  You can then put a new pail liner and you’re ready to go.  By doing this with each wash, your pail will never get dirty or stinky and it will only take a minute each time.

4. Add a deodorizer.  This is optional as the first three points we mentioned are the most important.  However, a little deodorizing can definitely make a difference.  Here, you have many options and they are entirely about personal preference.  There are many products available and also some do-it-yourself solutions as well.

Do-it-Yourself:  
You can make your own powdered freshener by mixing a cup of baking soda with a drop or 2 of your favorite essential oil.  Lavender and tea tree oil are popular options.  Be very conservative with the essential oils, a drop goes a long way.  Mix that together and you can sprinkle a little bit in your diaper pail as needed.

You can also simply take a piece of flannel and add a drop or 2 of essential oil and leave the that in your diaper pail or affix it to the lid.

Pre-made options:

There are powdered fresheners such as Fluff dust by knickernappies.  It is a great shake container too so you can always re-use the container if you decide you make your own.

Another option is a deodorizer such as  Pail pals which is nicely scented with essential oils and will last you a few weeks.  This one is nice just to keep in your diaper bag. It will also fit in the slot of some of your diaper pails.

5.  There are also diaper pails which have charcoal deodorizers that will absorb odors from the pail.  These are normally the larger DSQ diaper pails but you could also simply attach  (tape) the deodorizer to the lid or place it at the bottom of your diaper pail.  There are environmentally friendly charcoal alternatives as well such as the bamboo charcoal.

Sounds simple enough, right?  That’s because it is.  

The real reason the disposable, single use industry is booming

The word “disposables” does not simply refer to diapers.  As you know we have disposable wipes, disposable bibs, disposable cups, plates, cleaning cloths and the list goes on.  There is a disposable version of almost everything now.  The commercials and manufacturers are quick to sell you the praises of these products.  Here are just a few of the reasons I am sure you have heard:

-  Disposable “x” will save you time. No washing of plates, diapers, bib or whatever it may be will mean more time for you to spend with your family, workout and doing all the things you always wanted to do.
- Disposable “x” is more hygienic. I may agree in the case of certain medical supplies.
- Disposable “x” is more affordable. When you hear that it will cost you just 20$ for 50 diapers you think, wow that is less than 50 cents each and no large upfront investment required

Don’t be fooled however, we all know a good business seeks ways to get repeat customers.  When you are in the business of disposables, once you have convinced the consumer about the product,  you now have a customer for life.  The product has no value.  It is meant to be discarded and replaced which means a big “chaching!” for the business.

Let’s just look at the three arguments above:

- Disposables save time.  Are you really sure?  How many of your weekly shopping trips consist of replenishing disposable products?  Paper towels, diapers, cups, cutlery, sanitary products, tissues, cleaning wipes, hand wipes, juice boxes, bottled water and the list goes on.  Have you ever “had” to leave the house to pick up one of the items?  Don’t forget the time to then bring in these items, store them, throw them away and lug them to the curb every week.  You must then repeat this process over and over again.

- More hygienic.  Well this is up to debate.  You can clean your own products and be assured of its cleanliness or trust that someone else has given you a product free of any contaminants.  Now realize that all these disposable products have gone through several hands before they reach yours. The items have gone from the manufacturer, to some shipping company, to be shelved at a retail store, perused by customers, picked up by the consumer and go through a  cashier to then finally get to your home.  The other issue is with contaminants, toxins, and chemicals used to make these products.   For the disposable industry providing items at the lowest cost possible is the main priority and  we know that can mean some pretty shabby practices in some industries.  (for example the cosmetics and bath products, but that is a whole other topic)

- More affordable.  Well that one is a joke.  Would you start eating from disposable plates and cups everyday? No absolutely not.  I hope not anyway.  Think how much money you would have to spend over the course of the month or the year.  The same is true with disposable diapers.   Just recently on the show “The Doctors”, they mentioned that a baby will go through approximately 7000 disposable diapers from birth to potty training. If you chose to use cloth diapers, you could actually get away with as little as  24 diapers.  That is not even close to 7000 diapers that you just toss in the garbage and wait 200- 500 years to decompose.  In most cases you will save about $1000-$1600 by choosing cloth diapers over disposables and still have something to pass on to someone else.  Do you realize that since disposables were introduced in the early 50s, pretty much every single disposable diaper ever used is still sitting somewhere right now as we speak?

Have you noticed how printers for personal computers are so inexpensive?  The reason why is that the manufacturers know that their real revenues will come from the sale of ink cartridges which you will have to buy for  $40.00 – $60.00 each.  They have created a need and a long term customer.  From a business perspective, convincing you to buy a product which you will be dependent on and need to replenish on a regular basis is a sure win.  Think about it the next time you see a commercial for the latest disposable or single use item.  Don’t be so quick to think they are doing you a favor.

Feel Great as a Mom

I was originally going to call this article “How to feel great as a new mom, but realized any mom should feel great and the challenges don’t stop when your baby reaches age 1. If you think you are too busy to think about yourself, you need to revisit your role and what is the cost of not making yourself a priority. I don’t know about you but in my house I’m a pretty important person. What I do on a regular basis, the food I prepare, the things I say, the way I feel affect my family directly. If you feel great, you can manage all that you have to to do much more efficiently and that includes your relationship with your children and spouse. Here are 7 ways to start feeling pretty awesome!

1. Make it a priority. Realize the importance of feeling great as a mom and what are the costs and risks of not feeling top notch. Go ahead make a list of the pros and cons of not making yourself a priority.

2. You are what you eat. Yes you too mom, need to watch what you eat. I’m sure you got advice from your doctor and/or books, friends, online research on what and how to feed your child. Have you spent the same effort on yourself? If you don’t eat in a way that you would like your child to eat, how will that be sustainable in the long term? In most cases, regardless of the wonderful homemade purees you made for your baby, he will grow up to eat a diet much like his parents. So your diet is a reflection of what your children’s diet will become. Not only that, as a mom you have a lot on your plate (no pun intended) so you need to fuel your body to have energy, health and a clear mind to manage all that you do on a regular basis.

3. Make exercise a priority. Exercise produces feel good chemicals in your body and this will definitely affect your mood and patience. It will also increase your energy levels and overall health. I think we all know the benefits of exercise but do not underestimate their importance. Make sure your exercise program also includes strength training which will help you maintain muscle mass, burn more calories and protect you from injuries. This is our newest exercise video, I liked it so much we’re carrying it on our website. It’s only 30 min, challenging enough and includes your baby.

4. Do not multi-task all the time. I know moms pride themselves on being able to manage multiple things at once, but you run the risk of not savouring important moments. It can also reduce the quality of certain tasks. Some things demand your full attention, playtime with your kids is definitely one of those.

5. Create a network of family and friends. Make sure to have relationships with people that are over the age of 5. Join playgroups, invite family and friends for coffee or tea and ask them for help if you need it.

6. Increase your knowledge. Yes, being a mom requires skills. Don’t be afraid to take classes, get books at the library, ask for advice. You won’t have the answers and solutions to everything but equip yourself with as much information as you can. It will make your more confident in the choices you make for your family.

7. Change up your routine. Don’t do the same thing everyday, change it up a bit. Forget the dishes and take your kids to the museum instead, spend an entire afternoon at the park, whatever it is don’t lock yourself into a specific situation where you feel you are not “allowed” to do certain things. Rituals are great and they produce great childhood memories but so do the little spontaneous activities.

You are doing a great job so celebrate by enjoying the small things. I once saw a little girl who was learning to count. She would go “1,2,3, 4, 5,6, 7 yayyyy!!!” she was already clappig and saying yay! at 7 instead of the usual 10. I right away told her “you’re right! why wait for number 10, let’s celebrate 7!” Don’t wait for the usual reasons to celebrate, there are plenty of opportunities everyday.

Stinky Washer?

We talk alot about cloth diaper maintenance but not much about washing machine maintenance. Sometimes your washing machine starts to smell and you need to do a good cleaning. I recently saw a product on the market, that was designed for this purpose.

So why would your washing get stinky in the first place? Cloth diapering families know all about residue and what it can do to your diapers. Apparently, again, detergents are often the culprit.

There is a product called smelly washer and they describe the reasons as:

(take from their website)

What Causes Washing Machine Odor and Towel Mildew Smell?

There are 4 reasons for washing machine odor and stinky towels.

1. The main cause of front load or top load stink is overuse of detergents because the user is following directions for amount used. It’s necessary to use just a fraction of what directions on the box or bottle advise to use. This is especially important if using liquid detergent or if there is a water softener in the home. With a water softener present use at the most 1 tablespoon of detergent unless washing soiled dishrags, diapers,etc. Municipally supplied water may be treated before it gets to your home. The best way to know is to either have your water tested for hardness or test it yourself with test strips available at hardware or appliance parts stores. Even without soft water using much less detergent is necessary.

2. Running a close second is fabric softener use. We recommend switching to dryer sheets. Keep in mind that dryer sheets can also be overused and cause towels to be less absorbent and to retain odor. The sheets can be cut into halves or thirds and can even be reused. Dryer balls are another option. There is another article on this blog page discussing the merits and demerits of them.

3. The third not-so-common reason for clothes washer smells is using mainly cold water for washing. Hot water dissolves detergent residue much better than cold water. If this is you – it’s necessary to do a hot soak at least once a week to dissolve any residue that has accumulated throughout the week. This is a perfect chance to soak soiled dishrags, etc. Ensure the water supply hoses to your washer are properly connected so you’re getting hot washes and cold rinses when you want. This problem is more common that you’d realize!

4. Another cause of washing machine odor is non-use of the appliance. If you are not going to use the washer for an extended period it’s a good idea to do a cleaning with a washing machine cleaner. If leaving for a vacation shut the supply hoses off in case of a hose break. Bleach or vinegar spilled on rubber water hoses will cause deterioration and eventually a ruptured hose to flood the laundry area.

If you find your towels are coming out smelly you can try this home remedy.

Fill up your empty washing machine with hot water and when full add 3 cups of distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda. The baking soda helps absorb odors and the vinegar will help break up any residue. Do a complete wash cycle and then wipe up any residue and manually wash all the components such as the bleach trays etc. Then rush a short cold or warm cycle to wash away any remaining dirt or grime that has now been broken down. Do a final wipe down of your entire your machine inside and out.

This should help get rid of any residue that was causing odors.

Now you are back in fresh smelling laundry business :)

Check out laundry room for more laundering products:

http://www.ecobebeboutique.com/category_50/Laundry-Room.htm

Bouncy Little Thing

We had never used a soother for the other children, but little H number 3 seems to like it and can keep one in his mouth which the others didn’t. So pacifier debate aside, we have decided to use a pacifer even though I was quite reluctant with the other children. We have different soothers because they seem to get lost all the time but we prefer the Natursutten because the fact that is is totally natural, made from pure, natural rubber from the tree Hevea brasiliensi. They include no artificial color, parabens, PVC, or phtalates and they’re BPA-free.
It’s also moulded into one piece so no cracks for bacteria to get in. I thought that was great because I have experienced build up in sippy cups before and found it nearly impossible to clean properly.
Little H seems to like it alot, we use the orthodontic one but it’s also available rounded in 3 sizes. It’s really soft and pliable and I am sure that is one of the reasons he likes it. It is also really bouncy! lol so if it falls you may not find it for a few days. It can go bouncing really far sometimes making it hard to find, so you may want to find a pacifier clip to save yourself some frustration. At first I thought well, it’s not the cutest of pacifiers but actually, now I find he looks cute with it. He looks like a real baby with his pacifier nice round on his face. and I mean, a pacifier is a pacifier, try as you may to dress it up, it’s still just a pacifier and knowing it’s safer for baby makes me feel better.

People are raving about these nuts

Soap nuts that is. These are the coolest little things. They are a natural, environmentally friendly, sustainably produced, bio-degradable and compostable cleaner. Try saying that in one breath! They are the dried fruit of Ritha tree and contain saponin, which is what causes it to be an excellent cleaner when used with water. I have been using them in my laundry for the last few weeks and they have been working out great for us.
Some questions I’m sure you want to know.
What do they smell like?
Okay, I’ll be honest I find them a little stinky. Like not gag me stinky but stinky none the less. They have a vinegar kind of smell but leave absolutely no scent on the clothing.
Are they just for laundry?
You can use it to do even more than laundry, there are recipes on how to use for dishwasher, multipurpose cleaner and more. It is also quite economical, you put about 4-5 in a muslin bag and throw it in the wash and you can reuse that same bag for 4 to 8 washes.
I’m allergic to nuts, can I use this?
Yes, because they are not actually a nut, they are the fruit of the tree.
Is it safe to use for people with sensitive skin?
Absolutely, since they are natural and chemical free. They also rinse clean in the laundry, leaving no residue (bonus for cloth diapers). They are actually recommended for people with allergies and eczema.
If you have used them, please post your thoughts and any little recipes or tricks you’ve discovered.