Monday, December 31, 2012

Giving Thanks

Right, so it's not Thanksgiving, but a great blogger I follow (Carmel @ Our Fifth House) did a great year end wrap up including giving thanks to the top five blogs she received the most referral views from in the past year. Immediately, I decided to do the same thing. Because I'm a follower.

Whether intentional or otherwise, these blogs have given this blog the most direct referrals over the past year, so here is me giving thanks and highly suggesting you check them out.

And thank you so much for stopping by to read this blog in the first place. I love it.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

GroVia Hybrid: Snap Shell & Organic Inserts Review

A while back, I decided to let my curiosity get the cat. I'd heard a lot about GroVia Cloth Diapers, but I'd never actually tried it. Just as luck would have it, there was a seconds sale! I jumped at the opportunity. For those of you who don't know, seconds are "second quality." Generally, and for most companies, this just means possible marks on the fabric, possible uneven stitches, possible offset snaps, etc. In my experience, buying cloth diaper seconds has NEVER been a bad deal. Sometimes it's only a few dollars off, but with GroVia, everything was 50% off! Awesome deal, right? I jumped at the chance to try out their hybrid system. And really, I should have jumped a little quicker, because things were flying off the virtual shelves! I managed to get one hybrid shell with snaps in Blackberry and one set of organic cotton inserts.
First, let me explain what a hybrid diaper is, for anyone who's wondering, and then I'll move on to first impressions and so forth. A hybrid diaper generally consists of a shell/cover and interchangeable inserts that may be cloth OR disposable. This is great for people who like the flexibility of using cloth part-time, or for travel and situations where washing cloth diapers isn't as convenient. Hybrids (or all-in-two's, as some people might refer to this system as) are also nice for cutting back on the amount of cloth diaper laundry as well as the amount of space taken up in your diaper bag.

So, first impressions... I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that the color is even more beautiful in person. These pictures don't do it justice. It is a VERY nice color, and perfectly named Blackberry. Both the shell and the insert have a high quality feel to them. The inserts are very soft and sort of remind of me Flip Organic Nighttime Inserts - in a good way, of course! I'd read that the shells have a mesh lining, but that never really made sense to me until I saw one in person. I know some people prefer having a wipeable interior to their covers, but with inserts (as opposed to fitteds or wrapping prefolds or flats on baby), there is always skin exposed directly to baby's skin. This might not bother YOUR baby's skin, but it's something to consider. It's certainly not the most comfortable material on a hot day compared to nice, soft, breathable cotton. Also, I never reuse covers without washing once they've been pooped in anyway. As for the covers staying clean for re-use the rest of the time, the inserts are all backed with TPU, which is a waterproof lining that keeps things from just soaking through the inserts and into mesh lining.
I've now had plenty of time to see how this system works and how well I like the GroVia shells. I like how trim the fit is and the materials are definitely high quality. The fact that the the inserts snap in is fantastic. It's great not having to worry about them shifting around or bunching up with an impatient toddler. It's super easy switching out for a clean insert, or you could even treat it like an AIO (all-in-one) and toss the whole thing in the diaper pail if that's more convenient at the time.

I've been loving my GroVia so much I bought 3 more shells and 3 more sets of inserts. With N, that's enough to get through an entire day. I love how absorbent they are and that I can safely use them for naps. I also love how much less space these inserts take up (both for storing, as well as in the diaper pail) compared to the pocket cloth diapers we have.

I should also say that even though there are definite "defects" with the original set I bought for this review, I still can't find what they are even now that I have first quality shells and inserts to compare to. I definitely recommend these to everyone now.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Etsy Shop Sale

For a limited time, I'm offering a 25% off your total purchase from my Etsy shop when you use code ACL25. If you've been eyeing one of these super soft blankets or taggies, now is a great time to snag one!

Click here: A Cloth Life: the shop or the shop tab at the top!

Thanks and happy holidays!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BabbaBox: A Box of Fun

If you've never heard of BabbaCo and the BabbaBox, you are in for a treat today. Living here in the PNW, we're used to spending a lot of time indoors from about... October through March, with a few super nice days thrown in here and there throughout that time. With young kids, it can be a bit of a struggle to continually find fun things to do indoors without destroying the house or your nerves. We were lucky enough to receive our very first BabbaBox in the mail last week, and it is amazing. 
Jessica Kim, creator of BabbaCo and the BabbaBox
The theme of the BabbaBox we received is Sun, Moon, Stars. It included everything from binoculars (which G loves so much, he actually held them in his SLEEP. ALL. NIGHT.), to paper mache, and a wine stopper for me (Even though I don't drink wine, I can still appreciate a good wine stopper). There's even a great app  for your phone or tablet that's provided that ties into the theme. For this box, we got a Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Piano app that G loves to play in the car. And they really do include everything in the box that you'll need for each project, just like they advertise. 
the BabbaBox
G really went crazy when I told him the box was for him. Like I said, he slept with his binoculars and has been carrying them around with him every day since. I love how there are so many different kinds of activities. It definitely helps to keep the kids excited about what we get to do next, and it really made our time together a little more relaxing because we could just follow the instructions together. 
reading his new book
What's nice about all the structured activites is that it also left room for you to be creative and do things your own way. We just finished our paper mache moon nightlight today and G has plans to paint it. I'm not sure which colors, and I'm pretty sure it won't look anything like the real moon when we're done, but it's fun and G is learning. We're both learning. (On a side note, we managed to blow through BOTH bottles of glue that were provided, thanks to our mad liberal glue application skills, so we used the provided recipe and used flour & water for our second layer. Both solutions worked great.)
inspecting his newly finished moon
It's always nice spending time with each other, but this really gave us the opportunity to spend time together in a different way. Creating something together, making a mess, and waiting for the finished product was so fun. In all honesty, we get to do the same thing when we bake together, but my waistline certainly appreciates the more educational approach. Plus, we do a little bit of a pre-school program at home (just the two of us), and I was easily able to tie this into that.
placing the light inside
We ended up crawling under the table with our moon to get things even darker and have a really good first viewing of our nightlight in action.
voila! our paper moon completed!
G loves his new nightlight and said he wants to leave it on forever. I just think we need to get another BabbaBox for next month.

BabbaBox is a theme-based box delivered to your door that allows you to enjoy a little convenience and inspiration! As any parent can attest, the most important thing you can give to your child is quality time. BabbaBox makes this possible by helping you to save time, money, & mindspace.

Just think! Fantastic monthly activities with ALL the materials for kids ages 3-6. Included in the box are 3 projects + 1 bestselling book + digital download + parent surprise gift!

The best part? Babbabox makes a GREAT unique gift during the holiday season.

Act now! Get 50% off a monthly membership or 50% off the one month only box when you use the code, SWAY100. Offer expires December 31, 2012.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BabbaBox. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

December Photo A Day: Pt. 1

We've all seen different photo-a-day type challenges on Facebook and Instagram (if you're on either). With the start of December, of course, came a fresh round. Well, ladies and gentlemen (I'm assuming I have male readers, although I've never actually heard from any), this time I'm taking part. Except, instead of daily posts to Instagram, I'll be doing weekly blog updates. Yaaay! (I'll pretend you're excited for this until I hear otherwise from each and every one of you.)

I found this particular one via a friend on Twitter who was posting via her Instagram account. If you're considering following me on Instagram, you'll be waiting a while as I have yet to jump on that bandwagon (despite the rave reviews).

So here's the challenge, created by @fatmumslim:

And here is my first week of December in iPhone photographs:
Day 1: 8 o'clock
the view while rocking N to sleep

Day 2: peace
my sleeping baby

Day 3: something you held
took a walk in the rain

Day 4: black and white
G's Christmas tree at night

Day 5: looking up
the view from an upstairs bedroom

Day 6: from where you live/country
the Christmas tree capitol of the world

Have you ever participated in a photo challenge? What was you favorite part?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gaah - Where have I been?

I know I've been so not here lately, but with the move and the holidays, I really burned through all my scheduled posts and never got around to writing much after. But don't you worry - I've got some more posts I'm working on. Reviews, funny holiday stories, etc. You will not (hopefully) be disappointed! In the meantime, I'll at least announce FORMALLY the winner of my last giveway. Colleen Katte! Congratulations! Colleen was actually notified and contacted last week, so this is no surprise for her at this point, but just in case anyone else was still wondering who the winner was. I'm lame, I know.

Here's a cute picture of N giving herself a pedicure while we watch The Proposal together. Hopefully this picture of our first "girls night" will make up for lost time... even though the lighting is awful. I'm keeping positive!

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