Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fisher Price Lil' Zoomers Shake and Crawl Review

Let me start off by saying this: I don't like toys that make noise. A rattle is fine. But something that makes obnoxious sounds and plays music and can't easily be quieted doesn't often find a place in the Strick household. However, they can't always be avoided, and I will buy my child something if it keeps him entertained long enough for me to take a bathroom break.
Jbaby loves cars, and motorcycles, and anything else with wheels and an engine. He watches Top Gear (British version, of course), West Coast Customs, Sons of Anarchy, etc. Weird for a 5 month old? Probably. But I'm down with that.

That being said, this toy is awesome! Yes, it does make noise. The sound of an engine being revved, a horn, and a little voice saying "whoohoo!" (That last noise prompts Jbaby to squeal back. It's cute.) It's designed for 6 months and up, with different features as they grow. When the baby is younger, they can shake a "remote control" rattle to make the car go. For babies that aren't quite mobile, turn the front wheel and the car will go around in a circle. Once your little one can move around a bit, you're able to set the wheel to go in a straight line. There's also a roller on top of the car the baby can hit to make the car start.

When the baby shakes the yellow rattle, or hits the orange and blue roller on top of the car, the car starts.

This is the mic that picks up the sound of the rattle. (It also picks up any other loud noise.)

When the yellow front wheel is set straight, the car moves forward. The switch on the right turns the toy on low volume, high volume, and off.

Turned to the right, the car will go in a small circle.

Jbaby checking out the wheels.

Trying out the rattle.

*It's a lot of fun for the baby to be able to start the Shake and Crawl Racer on their own.
*Different features for different age groups means the child won't get bored with it after a short amount of time.
*I also like the fact it requires 4 AA batteries, since that's a size we always have on hand.

*The car reacts to loud noises. So if the baby cries, you need to turn it off immediately, or it will continue to go.
*Price: I've seen The Lil' Zoomers Shake and Crawl sold anywhere between $24 and $32. It's quite a chunk of money for one toy. (Though I will say it has been worth every penny for us.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GroVia Biosoaker Review

On our visit back to the mainland, we needed an alternative to cloth. The thought of toting a bag full of diapers through airports and on a road trip didn’t appeal to me. So, I decided to try out GroVia’s Biosoakers.

These are disposable inserts that fit inside the GroVia or GroBaby shells.

This is another product I really wanted to like. But it wasn’t a hit with me for several reasons. First of all, they’re a bit of a pain to work with. You lay them directly in the shell, and try to wrangle them onto a wiggly baby without them slipping and sliding completely off his bum. (Imagine how much fun that was in a tiny airplane bathroom on a ridiculous excuse for a changing table while trying not to fall down or drop the baby. Yes, loads of fun.) There are sticky tabs on the backs of the inserts. DO NOT USE THE ADHESIVE. It’s meant for use with cotton underwear during potty training.

We didn’t have any leaks on our first flight, which I found odd since it was the 7 hour flight. The shell was a bit damp after the hour and a half flight. However, after the last flight (1 hour), he was completely soaked. His outfit had to be changed and the shell ended up in the wet bag. On our road trip, they weren’t so bad. A little bit of leakage, but nothing major. Honestly, I wish I had just taken cloth. Especially since EBF poo doesn’t really smell.

*Made with biodegradable and compostable materials.
*Less SAP then disposables, and comparable price.
*Very trim.
*Difficult to keep in place while changing.
*Not good for heavy wetters.

Final Verdict: In a pinch, I might use these again. But I’d honestly rather use disposables. Especially since it doesn’t matter how biodegradable or compostable something is if it just goes in a regular trash bag anyway.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm back!

Well, the trip to the mainland was awesome! And didn't last nearly long enough. But I was able to try out a lot of new products, and reviews will be up this week. I've got to get unpacked, get everyone back on schedule, write a couple of articles, and welcome my old dog home! So there's quite a bit going on right now!

Hope everyone is doing well, and I'll get some stuff posted ASAP. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sweet Cheeks WINNER!

Is... BadCat! Please comment here within 48 hours with your email address to claim your prize, or a new winner will be picked.

Thanks for participating, everyone! This has been a learning experience for sure, and hopefully the next giveaway will be even better!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To be reviewed!

Starting next week the blog will be on hold til the beginning of April. But there will be tons of reviews coming, and even a Kawaii Baby Giveaway!

On this trip, we'll be testing out the GroVia BioSoaker pads, Inspired By Finn amber teething necklace, and I'll be doing a post about tips on flying and traveling with cloth. Other upcoming reviews include BottomBumpers, Tweedle Bugs, Twinkletoes, and Twinkletoes diapers. BUT I've also got some non-CD reviews in mind, too. Including, but not limited to: Lucky 107 make-up, Lilac Ave lip balms, and a few household cleaners (both manufactured and homemade).

Don't forget to refer your friends and enter to win Lilac Ave Sweet Cheeks Bum Bar! (Open until 3-13-11, midnight HST.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sweet Cheeks Bum Bar Review and Giveaway! -- CLOSED

I was asked by a good friend of mine to help test a cloth diaper friendly diaper bum bar. Having had so many issues with J-baby's sensitive skin, I jumped at the chance. Got the first sample, gave my feedback, and received a second tester with the new formula. And it WORKS! Oh, it's fabulous. .

Sweet Cheeks comes in a push up tube, and you glide it over the baby's skin. Not only does it mean you apply just what you need, it keeps your hands and changing area mess free. (Changing J-baby's diaper is sort of like trying to put clothes on an eel, or something. Normal rash creams get all over me, the changing table, the outside of the diaper and his clothes. With Sweet Cheeks, we don't have this problem!) Made from all natural ingredients, it's something I feel safe using every single diaper change. It also smells nice and fresh. Not a fake perfume-y, and not medicated like many creams.

Push up tube.

The label is made from recycled paper!

Top view.

*Ingredients. There are only 5 ingredients in this product, and they're all natural.
*Mess free. I really, really dislike getting diaper cream all over my hands and having to waste a wipe cleaning it off. The Bum Bar eliminates that problem.
*WAHM. This product is made by a WAHM, who is also a Navy wife. Being a WAHM Navy Wife myself, I have a special spot in my heart for moms in similar situations.

*Thin. It applys a thin layer of protection, so if you need something more heavy duty, you'd want to keep another product on hand.

Final Verdict: I really love this stuff! It works well, and in a nice, neat way. Definitely my go-to bum cream.
[Personal note: While this product was created for use as an alternative to diaper cream, I also like to use it on my dry skin. I have eczema and for years doctors have prescribed diaper ointment to combat it. This smells better, looks better, works just as well, and is in a convenient package!]

GIVEAWAY! (Open til midnight HST on Sunday, March 13th.)

Mandatory entry: Go to Lilac Ave's Etsy shop and tell me what other product you'd love to have!

Other entries: (Leave comments letting me know which entries you've done.)
1. Follow this blog.
2. "Like" Lilac Ave on Facebook.
3. Follow @Mama_Strick on Twitter.
4. Follow @lilacave on Twitter.
5. Tweet the giveaway link mentioning @Mama_Strick and @lilacave. (One tweet per day gives you one extra entry per day.)
6. Refer people to this blog. For every new person who follows and mentions your name in the comments below, you both get an entry!

A random winner will be picked and announced on March 14th!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fuzzibunz Perfect Size Review

A great way to save money on cloth diapers is to buy second-hand. Especially if they're from someone you know, and you can be sure they were properly cared for. I bought 2 Medium and 1 Large Perfect Size Fuzzibunz from a friend of mine. They retail for $17.95, but mine were $12/each.

Perfect Size Fuzzibunz are made in the same style as the one size, but without the adjustable elastic in the waist and legs. They range from x-small, which fits babies as small as 4lb to the large that goes up to 45+. The medium size is made to fit babies from about 15-30lb. J-baby started wearing his when he was 2 months old, at around 13lb. As you can tell, even though this diaper is sized, he's going to get plenty of wear out of it. The diapers came with one med/lg insert each, but I chose to buy new ones.

The fit is nice. I like that the crotch is wider, which is better for J-baby. They're very trim, like the one size, and the rise is much higher.

Snapped in the smallest setting.


Tag. (As you can see, there's a bit of wear.)

Medium/Large insert.

One size insert on the left, med/lg insert on the right. As you can see, there's quite a big difference.

Front view.

Side view. Very trim.

Back view.

Action shot!

*Nice fit. Even at 12lb it fit nicely, and we never had leaks. Hopefully he'll be in this one a while.
*Colors. There are 14 very cute colors available in both OS and PS.

*Quality. The large I got delaminated. This means the water proff PUL separated from the fabric, and the diaper is now unusable. My friend had the same thing happen to one of hers. But getting a replacement requires an extensive form to be filled out, and I have yet to find the time/patience to sit down and get it done.
*More investment. If you decide to get sized diapers you will have to buy more as your child grows.

Final Verdict: I would take these over the one size 9 times out of 10. BUT, it helps that my baby was large enough that he fit in these at 2 months. If I had a smaller baby, I would probably prefer the one size. Still, these are a good investment, and I'd recommend them. Especially if you want to go solely with sized diapers. Check out Fuzzibunz store for free shipping on all US orders. Pretty big deal when you live in HI like me!

Fuzzibunz One Size Review

Remember those one size diaper coupons I've talked about before? One of the diapers I received was a Fuzzibunz one size diaper in Kumkwat. These are very popular pocket diapers due to their extremely adjustable sizing, cute colors, and good quality.

The size range for the one size Fuzzibunz is 7-35lb. They come with a newborn insert for smaller babies and a one size insert. What makes this diaper unique is the adjustable waist and leg elastic. This means you don't have the snap down rise in the front, which is what gives a lot of one size diapers the extra bulk. According to their calculations, there are 30+ adjustments between the elastic and snaps. (And I don't have the time or energy to check, so we'll go with it.) I love that it comes with replacement elastic! And that there's no seam ripping and sewing to replace it. (Mama Strick don't sew.)

It fits pretty well on my big boy, though I do wish it was a bit wider between the legs. It does have a rather short rise, which I like, but many moms say it's too short for their little ones. Can't remember exactly how old J-baby was when we started using these. I want to say between 2 and 3 months. Regardless, he was bigger than a newborn, so we've never used that insert by itself.

(This is not the diaper I received from Kelly's Closet. This is a diaper I purchased at a later date. The color is "Big Sky".)


Laid flat.

Newborn insert on left, one size insert on right. I like to use the newborn insert as a doubler for things like going out to dinner when I'm going to want him to be in something a little more absorbent.

Hip elastic. (Joe's is set on 3.)

Leg elastic. (Also set on 3.)

Front view using newborn insert as a doubler.

Front view with just the one size insert. (The rest of the pictures will be with just the one size insert.)

Side view.

Back view.

Under a onesie. As you can see, it's really not bulky.

*Trim fit. With a lot of one size diapers having a bit of extra bulk, it's nice to have a few that are more trim and will fit under shorts/pants better.
*Very adjustable. I've heard these are the most adjustable diapers on the market, meaning a more custom fit. That appeals to a lot of people.
*Dependability. These were the first modern cloth diapers! They've been around over 10 years now, and you can bet they know what they're doing.

*Because of the many different size settings, it does leave room for quite a bit of trial and error. And once you've got it down, you still have to go through that all again when the baby grows out of that setting. (Fuzzibunz does provide a chart to help you find the right size.)

Final verdict: At $19.95 a pop (unless you can find some on sale) they're about mid-range on the pocket diaper price scale. Are they worth $20? Yeah, probably. Would I want my whole stash being made up of these diapers? Not really. But am I glad I have a few and would I recommend trying them out? You betcha! The Fuzzibunz Store has free shipping on all US orders.

Upcoming Events: It's time to get excited!

I'm going to try to roll out a few reviews today. Unfortunately, my productivity depends mostly on the attitude of my teething 4 month old. Fun, fun. My goal is to get both One Size and Perfect Size Fuzzibunz reviews done today. And possibly a Flip review! Again, all depending on how things go with my poor baby.

GIVEAWAYS! Yep, tomorrow I will be kicking off the "Sweet Cheeks Review and Giveaway" and in a few weeks we'll be doing a "Kawaii Heavy Wetter Review and Giveaway"! How exciting is that?

In other news, I will be taking a short hiatus starting next Monday until April 3rd. I will check in as often as I can and hope to post at least one or two reviews in that time, but no promises. Sorry!

So get ready for some great giveaways and reviews! I promise there will be more than just cloth diaper stuff in the near future. ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cloth Diaper Blog Hop!

cloth diapering blog hop

CJ's BUTTer Review.

CJ's BUTTer is cloth diaper friendly diaper rash ointment. It's also used for eczema, rashes, dry skin, even as a leave in conditioner for your hair! It's a very versatile product, that comes in a jar, stick or tube. There are several yummy scents to choose from, or an unscented option for yeast rashes.

J-baby has a very sensitive bum. We end up using diaper cream quite regularly. We were given California Baby at our baby shower, and it has worked very well for us. (It's CD friendly as well.) But it smells like medicine. And using it makes both of us smell like medicine the whole day. So when I heard CJ's BUTTer had scents, I was excited.

I'll be honest, I wanted to like this. There are so many great reviews out there for this product, and it came highly recommended by of a friend of mine. So I picked up a sample in the Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey scent. I used it for a day, and it seemed to work quite nicely.

Fast forward a week or so to the second time we used it. His bum wasn't particularly red, but I was looking to see if putting on a thin layer at night would keep him from waking up with irritated skin. Nope. Not even a little bit. It looked horrible the next morning. So it was back to CB that day. A few days later he was looking red, and we tried CJ's again. No good. It was just as red as before. No worse, but no better either. I was also a little disappointed that the scent didn't remind me of oatmeal, milk, or honey. Really, it just smelled like baby powder to me.

Sample jar.

Top view.

The consistency is a bit more like petroleum jelly than I was expecting. Not really a problem, and it doesn't feel particularly greasy, just not what I thought it would be.

Final Verdict: Like I say, this product has wonderful reviews. It just didn't work for us. But with the price of a 0.5oz sample only $1.50, trying it isn't going to be a huge loss.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smartipants Review

I started building my stash a couple months before J-baby was born. Every now and then I'd be able to take advantage of a free one size diaper coupon code from www.kellyscloset.com. One of the diapers I received was a Smartipants pocket diaper.

Smartipants were invented by a mom who didn't want to touch dirty inserts when she washed the diapers. So, she made a "smart-sleeve" that allowed the insert to agitate out in the wash. No touching pee or poo at laundry time! The inside is suedecloth, with an outer fabric of water-proof polyester. One thing I really like about these diapers is that you hand doesn't touch PUL as you stuff them. It makes stuffing the inserts slightly easier, and I'm not scared of my ring snagging and ripping the water-proof layer.

The size range is 7-35lbs. J-baby weighs about 16lbs, and has tree trunks for legs. The fit is nice, though they're not the trimmest of diapers we have. It's got 3 rise settings, with a one size insert.

(This is not the diaper I received. This is a newer version, and the only difference as far as I can tell is the insert. The newer inserts have green stitching, and the older one did not.)

Shortest Rise

Completely unsnapped

Laid flat

One size insert on top of diaper

Side view

Back view

Front view

*Price! Single diapers are $14.95, and 3 packs are just $36.95. Definitely on the less expensive end for quality pocket diapers. And they are much higher quality than a lot of the other similarly priced pockets.
*Colors! They just released several new very cute colors. (After I decided not to buy anymore diapers! Darn them.) You can mix and match all the colors in the package deals.
*No mess! Probably the biggest appeal is the fact you don't have to touch the insert.

*Sleeve. The problem with the smart sleeve is that it's very small. Very difficult to add an extra insert or doubler. For heavy wetters, like J-baby, this is a problem. (Though I will say we've only had leaks once, and that was overnight.)
*Insert. Because it's a one size insert, it does hang out a bit on the ends. Usually I take a bit of the extra fabric up front and cover it to prevent wicking. Some moms choose to fold the insert down.

Final Verdict: Great idea, great price, good diaper. Definitely worth buying at least a 3-pack! Check them out at www.smartipants.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Econobum Review.

As my stash started to shrink due to J-baby outgrowing his prefolds and covers, diaer laundry became an every-other-day occurrence. At first it wasn't so bad, but after a week or two, I was done. Not willing to invest in more pocket diaps, I decided to go ahead and check out the Econobum system. When I was first looking into prefolds/covers this was an option I quickly dismissed. Reviews said they were bulky (especially on a newborn), the snaps on the inside of the cover would dig into baby's skin, and the one-size prefold didn't really work with the mid-rise. So instead we got 12 unbleached Indian prefolds (up to 15lb) and size 1 Thirsties Duo Wraps (up to 18lb). Those worked well enough, but only for about 2 months. Totally not worth the money I spent on them.

My friend had given me and Econobum prefold she didn't like, and I had been using it with a Flip cover. It was a tad bulky, but very absorbent and worked really well. So when I started looking again, this system seemed like a good idea, especially for the price. I ordered 2 trial packs, which came with 1 cover and 3 prefolds each.

So impressed! Instead of washing the inserts 5-6 times, I boiled them each for 20 minutes and washed once. They have stayed so soft! Much more so than I expected. The covers fit well, and just look nice and simple to me. I really like that about them.

*Price! The trial pack is only $11.95, and for a Complete Kit (6 covers, 24 pf) you're looking at $99.90. Yes! You can cloth diaper full time for under $100!
*Absorbency. J-baby is quite a heavy wetter, but these diapers hold up well. Even during long naps there is no leaking or wicking. We might even be able to use these as a night diaper in a pinch if we added a stay dry doubler!
*Quick drying. We hang all of the diaper covers/shells to dry. Because the fabric is so thin, it dries in no time! And the prefolds dry in one drying cycle.

*Fit. For smaller babies, it's going to be bulky. If you've got the insert folded for the shortest rize you might find it to be quite wide between the legs as well. For J-baby that's great because... well, if you've ever changed his diaper or seen me change his diaper, you know.
*Snaps. For some reason the snaps are a little difficult to undo. I'm afraid that not being careful unsnapping them could cause the thin fabric to rip. Yes, one of the pros is also a con.

Shortest rise.

Smallest setting.

Small fold on the left, Med/Lg on the right. As you can see, there's a really big difference in the width. This is probably why it seems so bulky on little babies.

J-baby in the smallest setting.

Side view. (The mark on his leg is not from the diaper. It's from the blanket he was laying on in his swing.)

Back view.

Under shorts.

All in all, for the price and quality, you can't beat the deal! Even if you just got a few trial packs for laundry days, these are totally worth the investment!