Buy USA – Leslies Boutique

Leslies boutique makes a line of wet bags.  These wet bags are a staff favourite, especially the wet dry bag.  Unlike many other wet dry bags on the market, Leslies has a little gusset sewn into the dry bag, so it can hold so much more.

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Leslies bags come in a great range of prints too, making them a fashion accessory and fun to carry.

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Leslies is owned by Emily and John Murray.  Emily and John also own Modern Natural Baby in Michigan.  Their 5000 sq ft baby store is worth a visit if you are in that area.  I have had the pleasure of spending face to face time with Emily and John at trade shows, and have gotten to know Emily very well via retailer Facebook groups of which we are both members of.

Emily & John and their two beautiful boys.

Emily & John and their two beautiful boys.

Emily and John have 2 boys, ages 6 and 3.  They bought Leslies Boutique from its previous owner in January 2012, when they found out it was for sale.  The bags were a popular item in their Modern Natural Baby store.

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When they bought the business, sewing was being done in West Michigan.  Emily and John live in Ferndale, just north of Detroit in South East Michigan, and they wanted their sewers closer by.    When they went on the hunt for a new sewing house, they were continuously told it would be cheaper to produce in China.  Finally they found a good company right in their tiny city of Ferndale.  So all of their products are made right there where they live.  All of their sewers are paid a fair wage.  Emily says one of the best things about what she does is the fact she can manufacture her line of wet bags right here in the USA.

Buy USA – Planetwise & Best Bottom

bestbottomsbannerToday’s featured product line are Planetwise & Best Bottoms Diapers.

Best Bottom’s is our most popular all in two system that we have in the store.  It is a one size option that will last through to potty training.  We love the cute prints & colour combinations as well!  Planetwise diapers are a two size system, and have a unique two co-coordinating print style that is popular.

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Planet Wise Inc.™ is a privately owned family corporation; founded by Nicki Maynard and later joined by husband Jesse.  As a husband and wife team, they are working together to ensure the highest quality products while following responsible environmental and social business practices.

How Does Planet Wise Inc™ Help the Environment?
To reduce their environmental impact, all products have been thoroughly researched and are all PVC-free and lead-free (a surprising fact is that many zippers have been painted using paint that contains lead).  All the products we have developed are reusable and have been designed to replace disposable items which help to reduce waste that ends up in the landfills.  Planet Wise Wet Bags™ have been designed to be useful for every age – from young children in diapers to the mature adult -and for transporting shoes, cosmetics, swimwear, or gym wear.  Planet Wise Snack Bags™, their newest addition, are made with environmentally friendly FDA food safe material.  Also, their packaging is printed on recycled/recyclable paper using soy-based ink.

How Is Planet Wise Inc™ Socially Conscious?
Community and family has always been a leading value for Planet Wise Inc.™.   Multi-generations are employed as well as fellow neighbors.  Employees are given the opportunity for flexible schedules allowing them to work around family time and school schedules.   To further promote family values, employees are welcome to bring their young children to work with them.

How Does Planet Wise Inc.™ Do It?
During development we carefully researched raw materials and chose as many USA-made materials as possible.  While abiding by this high standard of quality, they also continually strive to keep the price affordable for all families.  All products are manufactured in a locally women-owned facility helping to support the local economy and reduce our environmental impact.  All business decisions, either big or small, are evaluated with the planet’s health and social harmony in mind.

And a little about their products:

Best Bottom Diaper

Created to use the pros of all the different cloth diapering systems and eliminate the cons. The Best Bottom cloth diaper system is trim fitting, highly absorbent and not overwhelming. Just adjust the snaps on the shell to fit your baby, snap an insert into the diaper, put the diaper on your baby and go. Best Bottoms are easy to use and easy to clean. Simply lay the shell flat and snap in insert into place. When it’s time for a change just unsnap the insert and wipe the shell clean. Three sizes of inserts are available in stay dry and organic cotton/hemp.

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The highest quality of materials available have been selected with as much of the raw materials made in the USA as we could find. The entire Shell is made with USA-made materials! ALL of our products are proudly handcrafted in the USA at local factories helping to support the local economy and reduce our environmental impact. We use durable snaps and hook & loop, double layer of waterproof PUL creating a perfect no-leak sturdy shell with a wipe-able inside lasting for many washes.

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Planet Wise Snack and Sandwich Bags

With many different colorful prints Planet Wise Snack and Sandwich Bags are great for the entire family. No more plastic baggies, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  The seams are sealed using the Planet Wise Patent Pending No Leak Design, so you won’t need to worry about messes. You can even put a wet washcloth in one for easy clean up on the go! When you are home, just wash, rinse and reuse these great bags! They can be hand washed in warm/hot water with dish soap, or machine wash them in cold water. They are also top-rack dishwasher safe! You can air or towel dry them. Use in the microwave is not recommended.

All of the Planet Wise Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags are made with FDA Food Safe Materials. They are PVC, BPA, Phthalate, Latex and Lead FREE! There are even angled corners for easy cleaning. One of the best features are that they are made right here in the USA!

Wet/Dry Bag

The Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag is a truly innovative bag that allows you to carry your wet and dry items in the same bag.  Each Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag contains a “wet” section that is sewn and sealed for no wicking or leaking AND a zippered dry section along with a clever snap handle for easy carrying.  Carry all your items in the Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag while keeping your dry items dry and your wet or soiled items separate, sealing in moisture and odors.  Truly an all in one bag!

Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bags are made in the USA with a high quality poly urethane laminate (PUL) that is anti-microbial and inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi.

These bags are not only perfect for cloth diapering on the go, but for going to the pool or the gym.

 

During our Buy USA event we will be giving away a Best Bottom Cover and a Planet Wise wet bag/snack bag gift set.  To enter in, when you shop with us between 5/25/15 and 7/4/15 and purchase a USA made product we will give you a ticket to place into the drawing.  If you are a blue card VIP rewards member you will get two tickets.  All prizes will be drawn Monday July 6th.

Diaper Dude Bag Review

If you have ever been into The Nappy Shoppe you have probably seen a picture of my son, Rowan, and Husband, Jesse on the wall of the store. Both of them are a big reason as to why I am so passionate about natural parenting. Jesse was 100% on board with babywearing and cloth diapering (among other things) but when our son was a newborn he really enjoyed wearing him. As a nursing mother he needed to have his ‘bonding time” with Rowan.

Jesse & Rowan at the mall! Everything they need is in the Diaper Dude bag. The boba carrier hangs around his waist ready to go for when the drink break is over!

Rowan is 2 years old now, and they spend most Saturdays doing “boy things”. If you are not familiar, “boy things” is code for, “do stuff Mom doesn’t let us do” Because Rowan is still in diapers Jesse needed a bag for his Saturdays, and one that was big enough to hold all the diapers. At the same time he wanted something that was “tactical” as he says. We found the camo Diaper Dude bag, and he was hooked. As prior military he knew that the camo was the choice for him. Most Saturdays for him are spent with his camo diaper bag in hand, and his black Boba carrier. He still enjoys wearing our son, and I think that is great, even if they do get away with more while Mom is not around!

 

Ryley is an employee at Nappy Shoppe, and is also one of the leaders of the North DFW Babywearers.

Dryer Sheets – The truth exposed!

I am inspired to write this after a customer was in our store this week with problems with her diapers getting stinky and her baby getting a diaper rash from them. This time she brought in one of her diapers. Asked us to smell her diaper. First thing that hit me was the smell of the perfume that you get with big box commercial detergents, you know the kind, the ones with all the extra scents in them.

So I ask her, have you been using something like Dreft? No shes been using one of the detergents we sell, additive and scent free. She then informs us she line dries around 80% of the time.

I ask her, Do you use Dryer sheets when you do dry your cloth diapers? No, no dryer sheets on the diaper loads. Ahh, so you do use dryer sheets on your clothes? Yes, but not on my cloth diapers! Culprit found!

Dryer sheets leave a residue on the drum of the dryer. So even though she was not using them on her diaper loads, it was coating the inside of her dryer, and the diapers were rubbing up against them and getting coated with the residue. This is why they stank, and why her little one was getting a rash.

Our suggestion, was to cut out the dryer sheets all together. Wipe down her dryer drum with vinegar and then run a few loads of towels or sheets before running her diapers through the dryer again. If she absolutely had to use dryer sheets, then be prepared to clean the dryer, or to only line dry her diapers. I then told her there is more arguments for getting rid of dryer sheets altogether. And here are the reasons:

The Chemicals In Dryer Sheets

This information comes directly from NonToxic.com.

ALPHA-TERPINEOL- Causes CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders and is highly irritating to mucus membranes.
BENZYL ACETATE- Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer).
BENZYL ALCOHOL- Causes CNS disorders. It is irritating to the upper respiratory tract” causing “headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure.
CAMPHOR- Causes CNS disorders.
CHLOROFORM- Toxic. It is an anesthetic and carcinogenic.
ETHYL ACETATE- Narcotic. This product is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.
LINALOOL- Narcotic. Causes DNS disorder, respiratory disturbances.
PENTANE-”Danger-Harmful if inhaled; extremely flammable.

If you’d like to read the original EPA report on these hazardous chemicals (their report covers 31 common household items including, of course, dryer sheets and fabric softener), you can download it here.

So now you say, but I like my clothes nice and soft?  Here are some alternatives to dryer sheets:

Dryer Balls – 3-4 of these in your dryer will help soften your clothes/diapers, reduce static cling, and reduce drying time by up to 25%.  You can even drop a few drops of essential oils on the dryer ball, so your clothes smell good too!

Scented Dryer Sachets – Put one of these in the dryer to help make your clothing smell good.

Vinegar – Add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash.  It will act like a fabric softener.  A word of caution here.  Do not do this on your PUL covers and pockets.  Vinegar is an acid and it will ruin the waterproof properties of your PUL.  Also if you have super hard water, this can make fabrics like microfiber retain the stinkies.

Ecover Fabric Softener – This is a plant based fabric softener.  A far greener choice than many on the market.  Again, another word of caution.  Please do not use this on your diaper loads.  Any product that coats the fibers, can coat your diapers, and can cause diaper rash.

A Mama’s Top 3 Must Have Cloth Diaper Accessories!

Three Cloth Diapering Accessories I Feel You Must Have:

Baby Legs

I know; when I first saw these cute little leggings I thought they were just a fashion thing. With summer right around the corner Baby Legs are a perfect cloth diaper accessory for those sometimes chilly mornings. I simply put my daughter into an adorable cloth diaper, throw on a t-shirt and then add the Baby Legs. Easy diaper changing routine and easy removal when the day gets hotter.

The magnetic detergent scoop

It took a long time for me to purchase one of these. Along with Baby Legs my first impression of the magnetic detergent scoop was that it was such a silly product. I couldn’t believe that it actually sold in stores! When I saw that a cloth diaper retailer was going out of business and had really slashed their prices I knew that I had to buy one. It was so cheap it’d be worth it if I did end up liking it. I’m happy to report that I LOVE it. There’s probably some fancy thing about it that makes the powdered detergent that I use stay on the scoop but it does. It doesn’t get all over the place when I’m doing laundry.

Wipes Solution Bits

This is a decision that we made to make our lives a little easier. My husband is an accountant and he calculated that the difference between buying a box of solution bits and making my own (I use more than just water) was under $10 per year. It’s so easy to make more solution. Simply heat up some water, place the bit in the water to dissolve and voila! You’re ready to wipe that cutesy butt!

Elizabeth (aka Bert) is a stay-at-home-mom and contributing writer for She Thinks Media. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Ben, her son Buggie, and daughter Lady Bug. When she’s not trying to convince Buggie to expand his interests beyond Thomas the Train or put his pants back on she’s writing about her experiences as a mom on her blog, First Time Mom (FTM). After all, Bert maintains there’s a first time for everything, even if you have more than one child!

FIVE Most Useful Cloth Diapering Accessories!

Many cloth diapering families are minimalists. If you’re using cloth for environmental reasons, then you probably aren’t interested in buying any unnecessary gear. And if you’re using cloth to save money, then you’ll avoid buying any extra accessories. However, even the most minimalist cloth diapering families need at least a few accessories in addition to the  cloth diapers themselves. If you’re interested in using cloth but aren’t sure what you need to buy besides diapers, here are some of the most useful accessories that no cloth diapering family should be without.

1. Wet bags. Ideally, you’ll get at least four of these: two large bags for laundry, and two small ones for storing wet and dirty diapers when you’re out. It is possible to use plastic bags instead. But even if doubling as wet bags gives you a chance to reuse plastic grocery bags, it’s still better for the environment to use cloth bags. Plus they’re cute, they don’t leak, and they have zippers.

2. Good cloth diaper detergent. You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy expensive detergent for washing your cloth diapers; there are lots of everyday detergents that are perfectly fine for cloth diapers. And some diapers (like pockets) are more sensitive to buildup than others (like prefolds). However, a good detergent can make the difference between loving and hating your cloth diaper stash. The wrong detergent, especially for more sensitive diapers, will cause leaks, rashes, staining, and all sorts of cloth diaper misery. Just make sure that you’re using a detergent that works well for your diapers and your baby. And if you do have a problem with rashes or leaks, start your troubleshooting by stripping your diapers and switching detergents.

3. Cloth wipes. Of course you don’t need cloth wipes–you can make do with disposable wipes. You’re already doing your part to save the planet, so why would you want to bother with cloth wipes as well? Because they’re so much better than disposable wipes. They’re softer and gentler on your baby’s skin. You can mix your own wipes solution, so it smells how you want it to–none of the chemical smell that many disposable wipes have. And they take up so little room in the wash, you won’t even have to do extra laundry.

4. A diaper sprayer. Once you’re past the liquid-only-water-soluble-poop stage, you’ll need something to help you get sticky poop off your cloth diapers before you throw them in the wash. Many families swear by a diaper sprayer, which allows you to pre-wash your diapers while putting poop where it belongs, in the toilet. However, some families have trouble with the water spraying everywhere. If you’re worried you’ll make a bigger mess with a sprayer, you can try the old-fashioned solution–a poop-scraping spatula. Just don’t mix it up with the kitchen spatula by mistake.

5. Diaper rash cream that’s safe for cloth diapers. Many babies have fewer (or no) rashes with cloth diapers, so you may never need this. But if you do need to use rash cream, make sure you find one that won’t leave residue on your diapers. Rash creams that aren’t safe for cloth diapers can leave stains and cause repelling and leaks.

What accessories do you consider essential for your cloth diaper stash?

Guest Blogger:

Lisa C. Baker is a full-time mom and part-time writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about green parenting topics at Organic Baby Atlanta andteaches workshops on cloth diapers and elimination communication. She’s been a mom since 2008 and has never bought a disposable diaper; she hopes she’ll never need to!

Are flushable and/or biodegradable liners really worth the cost?

If you’ve been cloth diapering for any length of time then you’ve no doubt come across flushable and/or biodegradable cloth diaper liners. They’re generally sold in rolls that have one hundred sheets.  Some brands even boast that you can take their sheets and cut them in half if you’re cloth diapering a newborn and get two hundred sheets out of each roll.

There are bio liners lovers and haters.  Some feel that having to buy something cancels out the reasons for using cloth diapers in the first place.  Others feel that they’re worth it and they swear by them.  Ultimately it’s up to you to decide if the extra .04-.06 cents per diaper change is worth it.

So what do they do?  They make cloth diaper cleanup easier.  The tissue paper/woven liner essentially gives the poop something to stick to.  Sometimes they get bunched up for whatever reason but sometimes…they catch it all!  It’s those catch it all scenarios that make them worth it.

Whatever they catch you simply take the cloth diaper to the toilet and toss the liner (plus whatever is attached to it) into the toilet and flush.  You may be able to eliminate the need for a sprayer at times and you’ll have less of a need for extra rinse cycles and much less staining.

I read of a brilliant idea recently, a mother lined all her diapers for the daycare center with flushable liners.  When she got home from daycare and took the diapers out of the wetbag, she could relatively easily take the poo and the liners and flush them.  This is an important convenience since daycare providers are prohibited from dealing with the “poop factor.”

I recommend you treat yourself to a roll.  Give them a try and see for yourself if they’re worth the added expense.  Watch the video below to check out liners in action and see just how easy they can make waste disposal.

Julie, Cloth Diaper Geek

Fold your cloth wipes for that “pop-up” effect!

Guest Post by Bert

You use cloth wipes but there’s a little part of you that wishes you could still use disposable only for the “pop-up” effect in the dispenser. Well, never fear! We have a photo tutorial for you right here on how to get your cloth wipes to pop up through a disposable wipe dispenser. So grab your freshly clean wipes out of that laundry basket and let’s get folding!

First things first you’re going to need a used wipes dispenser, your cloth wipes and a spray bottle. If you don’t have a wipes dispenser ask a friend who uses disposables if she has one laying around the house that she isn’t using.

Next, lay one cloth wipe on the floor and place another one on half of it so that the bottom wipe can still be seen. You’re going to be making a stack that will go into your dispenser.

After that you’re going to fold the bottom wipe over the top so that the bottom wipe covers half of the wipe that’s on top of it.

Then place another wipe on the already folded bottom wipe so that the second wipe in your stack can easily be folded over the next wipe. Repeat this step, by alternating which half of the previous wipe needs to be folded.

Your wipes stack should look like this:

Place your stack of wipes into the dispenser so that you can easily pull one wipe out.

Pull the wipe out, grab your handy spray bottle (filled with either water or a wipes solution) and spray away.

See…easy as 1, 2, 3!

Elizabeth (aka Bert) Anderson married her college sweetheart in 2005, and started her journey into motherhood in 2008 with the birth of her son.  She started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep track of her thoughts on being a first time mom, especially her struggle with postpartum depression, and as a way of reaching out to other moms who are struggling with the same things.  This June, Bert had another first in her motherhood travels – a little girl!  Even though she’s newly a mother of two, Bert maintains that no matter how many children you have you will always be a “first time mom” because there’s a first time for everything!  Visit her blog, at FTM. Bert is a contributor for She Thinks Media.

WeeHugger Hobo Wet Bag

I own quite a few wet bags, some I have made, and some I have tried out through the store.  I did find I preferred  wet bags that closed with a zipper.  Velcro closure was a nightmare of grabbing the diapers as I tried to put them in, and draw strings for me, didn’t do a great job of containing odour.  So for me, when I get yet another wet bag to use for Braden’s diapers, a zipper is a must.

My most recent purchase a couple of months ago was the Hobo Wet Bag by WeeHugger.  It was not like any other wet bag I have tried out.  We use it at Braden’s Mothers day out every other week (the other week we use a double wet bag by Baby Bug creations).  Why every other week?  Well I find unless it gets soiled, I only bother to wash the bags on the weekend, and I am so slow getting wash folded, I needed a second to use while the other was going through the very slow wash system in my household :)  In general I wash mine with Braden’s clothes, but if it gets soiled with poop it goes in with the diapers.

This bag has been a huge hit with myself, Braden’s day care and Braden himself.  For me I love the cute pattern and the fact it does not look like a diaper bag when I carry it around.  I don’t put it inside another diaper bag like I do more traditional wet bags.  But rather I carry this over my shoulder as it is down right pretty!  It comes in a great selection of patterns, and we have the blue beads one.

Daycare loves it because the system we set up for cleans and dirties is nice and easy for them.  We use the side pocket to put a clean change of clothes in and three AIO diapers.  When they have a dirty diaper, they just put it in the middle pocket.  When I get home, I take the dirty ones out, and replace them with fresh ones in the side pocket for the  next day.  If he had a change of clothes they go in the middle with the diapers and I just replace that.  The side pocket is big enough for all of this.  Braden is only at daycare for a few hours a day, so he does not need a super big bag, and this fits our needs beautifully.

So why does Braden like it too?  Well he loves to carry it in from the car into daycare.  The length of the strap is short enough that he can hang it over his shoulder too.

If I was to ask for one improvement to this bag, it would be for an adjustable strap.  I know some mums in my store have said they wished it was longer to wear across the body. I  like the length personally, but I am a short 5’2″ so it works for me.

So a quick run down of this bags features:

A side pocket for the clean diapers/clothes.  This side pocket is not waterproof so it is not usable for dirties.

A larger middle pocket for soiled diapers with a tab for scents.

A zipper closure on both pockets.

Cute fabrics and style.

Pail Liners

My pail back then looked much like this one, except it was pink with a bunny on it :)

When I had my first child over 20 years ago, I used what is called a wet pail method to store my soiled diapers until I was ready to wash them. It worked well, I kept the pail with its lid on, in the laundry trough/sink. I used a product called Napisan (an Australian Nappy Soaking solution) in the water, and I would wash the diapers every two to three days when the pail was full.  I would empty the contents of the pail into the sink, let the water drain away, and then don a rubber glove and transfer the diapers into the washing machine and wash with no detergent.  I would then line dry my diapers (I didn’t own a dryer until Lauren was well out of diapers!)

So when it came time to cloth diaper my second son, who was born here in the US, I thought that I needed to use the same system.  And this house was not built with a sink in the laundry.  Something I find odd, even my smallest flat (apartment) back home had a sink in the laundry.  I also find the lack of a rotary clothes line in backyards odd to, but that is a whole other blog post. :)

When I had Braden, I used gDiapers with flushables on him, because to me that was a great compromise.  A bio-degradable insert with a reusable cover.  Much less impact on the environment than the standard disposable diaper.  But as I was hanging out on the gDiapers yahoo group, I learned that not only had cloth diapers come a long way, so had the methods used to wash them.  I learned about the dry pail system and the fact I didn’t need to soak my diapers before washing.  That I didn’t need to store soiled diapers in a pail full of solution.

This is my pail. Note how the whole lid mechanism is removable, so that it makes it easy to put the pail liner in it.

The main thing that makes a dry pail possible is the pail liner. I bought a Wahmies pail liner.  And then I took it shopping.  Yes I bought the pail liner before I bought the pail.  This turned out to be the smart thing to do, as I was able to find the pail to fit my pail liner.  No need to sew or get a custom sized one.  I actually found my pail at Lowes for around $13.  It is just a cheap trash can with a flip lid.  The cheaper can actually worked out better than the more expensive ones because of the cheap way the lid worked.  It is simply placed on top of the trash can, rather than attached.  This means that it is easy to place the pail liner into the can.

Worked great, but I quickly found one pail liner does not work.  You really need TWO!  Once you put your pail liner in the wash, then you need to put a clean one into the pail.  So another pail liner was bought.

The beauty of the pail liner, is that once you have placed the diaper into the pail, you do not need to handle it again.  Once the pail is full, we take the diapers out inside the pail liner, and then take the bag down to the washing machine.  We shake the diapers into the machine, and then throw the pail liner in with the diapers to be washed.

I now stock several different brands of pail liners. Different sizes and different qualities of PUL.  I like the elastic of the Wahmies one because it fits my pail well, but you may prefer a draw string for your pail.

If you lack space, a door knob pail liner could be a solution.

If you are challenged for space and do not really have room for a 13 gallon diaper pail, you can get a door knob pail liner.  You can hang this one from a door knob.  Or you could use large wet bags and hang them from a towel rail, your change table or door knob.  The same principle applies, when full, just take the diapers to the machine and empty the bag into the machine, and throw the bag in afterward.

The pail liner has prevented my diaper pail from getting stinky.  Much better than the disposable pail that my previous son used which reeked so bad we had to keep the door shut to our bathroom where it was stored all the time.  Oh and for the record, the diaper dekor disposable pail actually fits a Wahmies Pail liner in it!  It’s a bit baggy but it works.

So what is your diaper pail system?  Please feel free to leave a comment below.