Monday, September 30, 2013

#FreshFluff: Woolzies Dryer Balls

Welcome to the Fresh Fluff Cloth Diaper Laundry Giveaway Hop, hosted by The Median Mommy, Zephyr Hill and Our Piece of Earth.  Over 30 blogs have teamed up to bring you some great cloth diaper+laundry giveaways in this hop!  We're offering you a little diaper laundry assistance with an amazing grand prize, valued at over $220!

So, what is the #FreshFluff grand prize?  One lucky reader will win this incredible cloth diaper laundry package:

Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors for this amazing grand prize package:

Take advantage of these exclusive offers from some of our sponsors:

  • Irresistibly Green - natural products for eco-conscious families, from cloth diapers to skin care and reusable snack bags.  All orders over $20 ship free every day!  Irresistibly Green is offering readers 10% off, now through 10/20/13, with the coupon code: MEDIAN10.
  • Nicki's Diapers - your one-stop cloth diaper/babywearing/breastfeeding store!  Nicki's Diapers offers free shipping on orders over $75 and a free gift on orders over $100.  Nicki's is offering readers 5% off of their order through 12/1/13, with the code:  FRESHFLUFF

I'm giving away one box of six extra-large Woolzies dryer balls! A $35 value! Perfect for cloth diapering as you never have to worry about gunky chemicals getting on your cloth diapers! Don't forget to go enter the grand prize and all of the other #freshfluff giveaways!

This giveaway is OPEN WORLD WIDE. Must be 18+ to be eligible to win.
For all terms and conditions see the bottom of the Rafflecopter.
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Woolzies Dryer Balls Review

I recently told you all how much I dislike laundry and what I do to help keep it at bay.
But I need to add in one more thing; why does it have to take so long for laundry to dry?!
Also why do we use so many chemicals to "clean" our clothes?

I remember as a little girl my grandmother grating bars of Fels Naptha with her cheese grater to wash her laundry in a washer, which no joke, looked like this:

She had two rinse basins and hand fed the clothes through the wringer.
After personally spending 2 months having to hand wash all of my clothes while in Africa, I have a new found appreciation for the modern form of laundry (even if I still dislike it.)

For a long time I just bought liquid laundry soap and dryer sheets but then I had our first son who had a lot of skin issues. I began seeing homemade laundry soap recipes on the net and asked my husband if he would mind if I tried making it. I began making laundry soap and noticed our son's skin clearing up a lot. Plus it was saving us money and lasting so much longer. But I was still using dryer sheets and he still had bad patches of skin.

I was given the opportunity to try using Woolzies Dryer Balls.
I remember my mom using a plastic version of dryer balls when I was younger and they didn't seem to really help a whole lot. The clothes maybe took a little less time to dry but man they still zapped you like crazy!

Needless to say I was actually very skeptical about wool dryer balls. But with cloth diapering and constantly having to triple check that there were no dryer sheets hiding before drying my diapers I figured it was worth trying.

It took some practice to figure out how long I needed to dry my clothes as they truly did cut down on the dry time. Over dried clothes=static cling zap galore! As fun as it is to watch someone pull a fleece blanket and a fuzzy sweater apart in the dark, being the one to pull them apart and get zapped is not as fun. Once I figured out about what my drying time needed to be, I truly did notice a big difference in the static! 

After using them for a little while I noticed they didn't seem to be doing as good of a job at reducing static but I thought I read something about it on the package. Sure enough when I looked at the box again (yes, I still had it.... Don't judge!) I saw on the side of the package that you can put one dryer ball through a wash cycle with your regular clothes inside of a sock and it will reduce static again like before. I tried it and it really did work! 

As you can see from the pictures above they do vary in size and shape because they are handmade! It doesn't change how effective they are though. According to the Woolzie's website they are also safe to use even if you have a wool allergy. 
"Q: If I have an allergy to wool, can I still use WOOLZIES?
A: Yes! Absolutely! Since the wool is not directly touching your skin and does not shed,
everyone can use WOOLZIES without any allergic reactions."
I did notice that they made a little more noise than my laundry before but I got use to it really quickly and honestly all of the snaps on my little love's onesies make way more noise than these dryer balls. They're nowhere near the noise the plastic ones my mom used or the sound of using a tennis ball. Plus there is no plastic or any sort of harsh chemicals used in Woolzies dryer balls so they're safe to use for the whole family, and your cloth diapers!
If you miss the smell the fabric softeners left behind Woolzies recommends after your laundry is dried to apply some essential oils to a couple of balls and air fluff your laundry for 10 minutes. It'll still give your clothes the great smell you love without chemicals, residues, or possibly making it so our precious children's jammies are no longer fire retardant.  
The only other minor complaint is that they do a really great job of hiding in your laundry. My husband has several times gone to put on a pair of his work pants only to find he had a dryer ball in his pocket. Sometimes they also find their way into my son's pant legs. Before I changed how I fold laundry (you know...just throwing them all in hampers vs folding them right out of the dryer) I would constantly be missing a dryer ball or two. However, if you do put the laundry into hampers to take them into another room for folding, just take a small handful of clothes at a time and give a slight shake. They'll either fall right out, you won’t grab them at all, or you'll feel the difference of them being in there. Not a big deal.
Overall I think Woolzies dryer balls are wonderful. I can confidently say they have reduced the drying time and static better than dryer sheets ever did. I love that I know exactly what is coming into contact with our clothes, that I don't have to worry about ruining cloth diapers, and the money they're saving our family.  I honestly believe they're worth the $34.95 you would pay for 6 extra-large dryer balls.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Woolzies guarantees their dryer balls to last for 1,000 loads or your money back! I personally have been using them since approximately February. I figured out I have done about 200 loads of laundry since I started using them. They're holding up very well and still have a lot of life left to them. I wanted to compare how much they are vs a traditional dryer sheet.  Dryer sheets vary greatly in price from $24.89-$67.25 (not including applicable tax). I totaled how much each would cost to have a total of 1000 dryer sheets. Meaning you could only use one dryer sheet per load of laundry to get the same amount of use out of all of those boxes of dryer sheets as you are guaranteed with Woolzies. So dryer sheets are $0.03-$0.07 per sheet. A set of 6 dryer balls are $0.04 for 1000 loads. Price wise they are actually on the low end and I'm not even going try and factor in the gas or electric savings by reduced dry times! And honestly...I never only used one dryer sheet per load of laundry. 
You can buy them either via Woolzies' Website, at select national retailers, or via Be sure to come back here everyday from October 1st-15th for your chance to win a pack of your own!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cozy Kitchen Moment: Homemade Banana Bread.

One of my favorite memories as a kid was the wonderful smells of the kitchen as my mom baked her homemade bread. I've never had another homemade bread quite as delicious as hers. Her white, banana, and zucchini breads were always my favorites as a kid and my tastes haven't changed that much as an adult. However, now I love the opportunity to make them for my family. My oldest son, age three, loves to help me make dinner, bake tasty treats, and he even loves to help me do laundry. (The last one, I will never understand.)

While we don't make banana bread very often as bananas rarely make it long enough to get over ripe, we did have the chance to bake some earlier this month. I thought why not share the recipe with you all?! But I should forewarn you all. While I DO actually have a REAL FULLY measured recipe for you all, I didn't completely follow it. My husband loves and hates this about me. I rarely measure things and even when I do I almost always change something about the recipe. Nothing quite ever tastes the same twice in my house.

I'm officially naming my banana bread:

12 Hour Banana Bread
(Because you'll be lucky if it lasts that long!) 

First things first...
Always read through all of the directions before you start making something so you can be sure you have all of the ingredients on hand.
(Oh yeah, I forgot to do this before I made it last time. Will include variation at the end.)

Preheat your oven to 350 F or 175 C
Lightly grease your bread pan whatever way you want to.
(I use canola oil with a paper towel to apply it.)I use a 9x5
Grab a big bowl and combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a different bowl cream together butter and brown sugar (YUM!)
I highly recommend setting your butter out first thing so its easier to cream.
Add in your beat up eggs, vanilla, and smashed bananas to your
creamed sugar and mix em' up.
(please tell me you caught the despicable me reference in my recipe card above?!)
Place the wet ingredients in with the dry and stir it all up till everything is moist. 

Bake in your oven for 60-65 minutes.
If you poke a toothpick in the middle it should come out clean.
Now for the hardest part.... Let the bread cool in the pan for 10ish minutes.
If you don't it will break apart. Trust me, I know.
After you've let it cool at least a few minutes turn it out onto your cutting board and DIG IN!
In theory it will last up to 10 days in your fridge...But not in my house. Ever.

You could add nuts or chocolate chips to this if you want.
I don't as my husband is allergic to nuts and doesn't like chocolate chips in his breads.
Plus then I'd have to limit my son on how much banana bread he ate.

My "oops I don't have everything to make this but 
I promised my son so I'll make it up" variation.
So when I made this back on 9/13 I didn't have enough bananas or brown sugar.
I had 2 medium ripe bananas and 1/3 cup brown sugar.
I packed the brown sugar just the same and then topped it off with regular white sugar.
When I added my wet stuff to the dry stuff it wasn't moist enough.
Normally I would have added some milk to the batter till it was the right consistency. However, one of our friends was over who is dairy free so I added some water instead. 
It all turned out just fine and only lasted 12 hours.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When Dr Seuss meets a cloth diaper addict.

So my husband comes up with some of the funniest stuff on a very regular basis but I forget a lot of the wording before I can get to the computer to share it with the world or it is a "you had to actually be there for it to be funny." So, sadly, I don't get to share the funnies that make up a lot of my life on here very often.

However, I have a great story to tell you that happened just last night.

First off a while back I got a chance to try out my first Ragababe cloth diaper and completely fell in love with it. Then a dear blogger friend of mine,Regan AKA the Anti-June Clever, told me about when the next stocking was going to be and a place I could potentially get some used Ragas. Oh My Goodness! After getting a few things and loving the diapers that much more I tried to stay away from even looking at other ragababes. Somehow I saw a post of a Dr. Seuss ragababe for sale.

Isn't it pretty?!... (yes, I realize I just called a diaper pretty.)
So I had to ask my husband and the following conversation took place.

Me: ok so I have a question...... please don't kill me for asking. Hubs: Ok...? Me: an excellent condition "Dr Seuss" Ragababe (black with blue, grey and red snaps) I still have left over money from the phone sale...Hubby may I? Hubs: You asked that all wrong. .. Me: I did?... Hubs: Yes Me: how should I have asked? Hubs: That doesn't sound like a Dr. Seuss question at all Me: lol! Hubs: As soon as you ask like Dr. Seuss would ask then you may ask me again Me: HAHAHA Oh my gosh... um ok.... crap! I can come up with sounds all Yoda-ish! Hubs: But I gtg Me: NO!!!! lol Hubs: And it HAS to rhyme You have my number if you come up with something Tty soon Me: I will be calling if I can come up with something.

So I went to work trying to come up with a Seuss-ish way of asking if I could buy this diaper. I know my husband well enough to know that if I failed, he would say no. But if I actually pulled it off he more than likely would say yes! I was on a mission.
I asked others for ideas and while they made me giggle I knew they wouldn't pass for hubby.

Then I got it! I called him up knowing he was in his last hour and would be down on the production floor at work. I very excitedly told him I had it! I don't think he fully believed me when he said his "Let's hear it."

He laughed and said yes. I'm beyond giddy (seriously, its pathetic!)
Regan and I went on to talk about it some more about how ridiculously addicting they are
To which she agreed with me and we both talked about how bummed we'll be when our kids are fully pottied. And I confessed "I'm bummed that my friend already has a babysitter lined of up for her little boy who she's going to cloth diaper....I want his butt! lol"

I think HAVE a problem. To quote Regan, "For me I think it’s partly the high of scoring a diaper but it’s also being part of this wonderful culture of women. I’m not ready to give that up." 
I have to agree with her. There is a great culture and even comrade in the cloth diaper world. One I am so thankful to be part of.

So tell me, Are you a total cloth diaper addict too? Do you have crazy moments like this with your spouse? Have a great story like this to share with me? Comment away loves!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WFMW: Laundry Duty

Laundry is one of those jobs that I don't completely loath but I don't enjoy either.
Its not the washing or even really the drying that bothers me.
It's the static and the zapping after I get my clothes out of the dryer, as well as the folding and putting away. It's an all day job as it's all just really time consuming.

Another thing that I use to encounter was so many mounds of laundry that I was overwhelmed and looking at the daunting task was enough to make me feel defeated and not even want to start. Plus...Have you ever tried to fold laundry with small kids around?

Without fail my little man would unfold the laundry just as fast if not faster than I could fold it. It felt so defeating. So a lot of times the clothes would simply get thrown in hampers and stashed into our room and we would pull through them to find the things we wanted to wear.
It made for a very messy and cluttered master bedroom, frustrated husband, overwhelmed me, and very wrinkly clothes.

But not anymore! A dear sweet friend of mine who is the queen of organization offered her time and energy to help me get our home more under control and help me come up with a plan. I now have set laundry days in which I must get whatever loads of laundry I do washed, dried, folded, and put away. I also now have a space IN the laundry room to work on this instead of taking the loads of laundry out into the living room to fold.

Another blogger wrote about how folding the laundry straight of the dryer changed her laundry life. So I had started doing that months ago but with the addition of having Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays being my laundry days I have this pretty well under control now. Now I rarely have my husband coming to me telling me he has no clean work uniforms or that he can't find them. *Insert a big sigh of relief!*

That's what works for me this Wednesday!
Go HERE to see what is working for others this Wednesday.
And go HERE to read about my favorite laundry accessory to help me get it done a little faster.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Puj Hug Review

Don’t you just love a sweet smelling, fresh out of the tub baby?
I know I sure do! I love late in the evenings to give my babies a bath before bed.
I find it helps them unwind and relax from the day we had and they tend to sleep better.
After giving them a bath I wrap them up in a towel and snuggle their naked little selves for a few minutes.

But I have a complaint about this time of day as well: The baby bath towels.

First of all getting a wet, slippery, squirmy baby out of the bathtub while not dropping the towel is a work of art or an Olympic sport!
I have several times ended up with a dripping baby in my hands only to find that I now have a soaked towel in the tub. I just find that even though this is my second child and I have given many baby baths I still struggle with the get them out and wrapped up part. Then once you DO have baby all wrapped up in a dry towel, they are so thin that you always end up wet yourself anyways!

I hate baby bath towels. They just don’t meet all of my needs.
Until now! I am really excited to share with you my favorite bath time accessory.

 I received a Puj Hug towel to try out with Bug.
When I first opened the box I couldn’t believe how thick and soft it felt.
This baby towel was at least twice as thick as my thicker baby towels.
It felt very luxurious and I couldn’t wait to give my little man a bath and wrap him up in this.

I wasn’t sure how well this would really work and wondered if I would like it.
Was it going to be uncomfortable to wear?
Was it going to be awkward to get off from around my neck to get the hood on Bug?
It couldn’t possibly be absorbent enough and I would still get wet, right?

This towel exceeded all of my expectations.
It wasn’t uncomfortable at all! I really didn’t mind having this towel around my neck.
It easily fastens around the back of your neck and stays put the whole time you’re giving baby a bath. It also helps keep you from getting wet if your little one is big enough to know how to splash around. After picking my fresh smelling baby out of the tub I put his back up against my body, wrap him up, and then with one hand I am able to un-do the interlocking silicone tabs with ease. And my favorite part is I stayed completely dry while snuggling Bug and drying him off! My only very minor complaint is that the hood of the towel does tend to slip off of Bug's head sometimes because of the weight of the silicone tab.  I noticed as he has gotten older while using the towel and he has become more active it slips off more than it use to. It doesn't happen all the time and it doesn't change how much I love this towel.

The towel is mad out of a super thick ultra-soft cotton and it is completely machine washable. (A must in my house!)
Our Puj Hug gets washed frequently as it is now the only bath towel I like using for Bug’s bath times. In fact it got used last night. Even Monkey had to get in on testing it!

Now if you’re like us, we do use our towels a few times before washing them as, well, you’re clean when you get out of the bath, so another concern is does it dry well? The answer: Yes. The one silicone tab serves dual purpose by becoming a perfect way to hang the towel up to dry. It has a large enough hole that it hangs nicely on most bathroom hooks or perfectly on the Puj Nubs. (Review coming soon) 

Honestly, if I could I would get rid of all of our other baby towels and only have Puj towels.
I know of a few baby showers I will be getting invited to in the near future and this WILL be on my list of gifts to give. Puj also sells one for the big kids called the Big Hug! And while I don't personally own one of those (yet) but it looks equally awesome.


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