Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Fashion with Bamboosa {a review + giveaway}

Disclosure: I received items from Bamboosa for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are honest and my own. 

Welcome to the Fall Fashion for All Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.

What better way to celebrate the upcoming Fall season than with a Fall Fashion Giveaway Hop!? A group of your favorite bloggers have come together to offer the best Fall Fashion Giveaways for the entire family - so be sure to hop around to them all below my giveaway. Don't forget about the amazing Grand Prize - a $200 Gift Certification to Mimi and Maggie!

Here at Home Sweet Homemade I have teamed up with Bamboosa to offer one reader a two-piece set for their little one! Bamboosa manufactures all of their eco-friendly clothing right here in the USA!  "Soft on you, easy on the Earth", is the slogan that greets you on the Bamboosa homepage. I didn't realize how true of a statement that was until my review items arrived!

Bamboosa sent me a two-piece set to review. When I opened the package I couldn't believe how soft the fabric was! Made of 95% organic bamboo viscose and 5% Lycra, it is a soft, stretchy fabric that really must be felt to be fully appreciated. Bamboo fabric naturally wicks moisture away from the skin. So in addition to be soft, it will also keep your baby cool and more comfortable!

The onesie is very well made and features a screen printed panda lounging in a hammock, strung between bamboo of course! The 6-12 month sizing fits my daughter perfectly (she's currently wearing 9 month clothing in other brands). I love how stretchy the fabric is! It's really easy to put on and take off thanks to the give of the fabric and the large lap shoulder style opening. The snaps at the bottom are very sturdy and easy to use. 

The pants are very generously sized and fit over cloth diapers really well. They are still a little long on my daughter, but I'm okay with that because it means she can wear them longer! A simple elastic waistband makes them a cinch to pull on and off over her cloth diapers. They have a cute little bamboo accent on the leg as well.

Bamboosa offers a variety of screen printed and solid colored clothing. As a backyard chicken enthusiast (aka, a crazy chicken lady), I love the "Cute Chickies" design! Most of Bamboosa's items are gender neutral and would be perfect shower gifts! I do find some of the designs a little bit "crunchy" for my taste, but they have such a variety of prints (and solids, if prints aren't your thing!) it wasn't hard to find something I liked! Besides clothing, Bamboosa also offers a variety of blankets, bath towels, and crib sheets! I can only imagine how snuggle worthy one of the blankets or towels would be!

If you are looking for quality, eco-friendly products that are Made in America, check out Bamboosa! They have something for everyone!

Connect with Bamboosa - Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
a Rafflecopter giveaway So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Fall Fashion for All participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Little Monsters Cloth Diapers {a review + giveaway}

Welcome to the "Fall In To Green Living" Giveaway Hop hosted by Heather from Mommy's Favorite Things and Michelle from Mama's Baby Cupcakes. This hop is focused on items that are green/natural! Each blog has a minimum prize package of $25 per winner and after visiting my giveaway, make sure you use the linky below to take a look at the other blogs to see what they have to offer for you!

This hop has two Grand Prizes. 1st Prize is from Cariloha for one set of Bamboo Sheets worth $179-$199. You can check out Heather's review to learn more about them and what they carry. The Kid's Prize pack offers wins from Re-Play, EweBGreen, Jungle Roo Cloth Diapers, Piggy Paint, and AloeTree worth around $186. Our list of reviews are below, and I encourage you to check them all out to learn more about each great company and their green products. Re-Play Review, EweBGreen Review, Jungle Roo Review, Piggy Paint Review, and AloeTree Review.

Disclosure: I received a diaper from Little Monsters for review purposes. No other compensation was received. All opinions are honest and my own. 

When we started using cloth diapers it wasn't because we were trying to be green or trendy. It was because we needed to SAVE some green!

Sure, cloth diapers require a larger up front investment, but they definitely save you money in the long run over disposables. Instead of tossing them in the trash, you wash and reuse them! So yes, they are green AND save you some "green"! 

The most recent addition to my green savin' diaper stash is from Little Monsters Cloth Diapers. Oh. My. Heart. The first time I put this diaper on my daughter I texted my husband and informed him that I was in "need" of all new diapers!! I'm sure he didn't find that as amusing as I did! But seriously, these diapers are stinking adorable!

I received the "Sheep" diaper for this review. It is a white diaper with an adorable lamb embroidered on the bum. Not into sheep? Not to worry! Little Monsters has something for everyone! Some of my favorites are Giraffe, Penguin Friends and Koala. So cute! They also offer several solid colors with no embroidery. 

Little Monsters diapers are a one size diaper geared towards 9-35lbs. They feature a snap down rise and cross over snaps so you can really customize the fit to your baby. I love how well this diaper fits my chunky 7 month old! She is currently on the third row of rise snaps and still has plenty of room to grow!

This is a pocket diaper which means you "stuff" it with an insert. The diaper arrived with a microfiber insert which I found to be very adequate for my daughter. Of course, if you prefer natural fiber inserts you can always use a different insert! I love the double elastic at the pocket opening. I only have one other brand of diapers with that feature and I find it to be very effective at holding in the mess. I do find that the pocket opening on this diaper is a little small. It's something that I got used to, but someone with larger hands might have trouble stuffing the diaper. 

Stuffed with two inserts the Little Monsters diaper performed beautifully overnight. It wasn't overly bulky when stuffed with two inserts either! That was a pleasant surprise! The inside of the diaper is lined with a soft micro fleece to keep your baby feeling dry. 

You can purchase a Little Monsters Back Monster diaper with one insert for $22.99. That doesn't exactly make it a budget option, but if you're looking for a super cute, great quality diaper they are definitely worth the splurge! I would *happily* add several more to my stash!

Here's a quick wrap up of my thoughts:

What I LOVED -

*Adorable* embroidery
Great fit
Sturdy snaps
One size diaper/snap down rise 
Ease of use

Things I might change -

Larger pocket opening
Aplix/Velcro closure option (I'm one of those people that looooooves Velcro!!) 

Now, what you've all been waiting for! Little Monsters is offering the winner of this giveaway a Little Monsters diaper with two inserts! After you've entered my giveaway be sure to hop around and see what the other participating bloggers have to offer! 

Connect with Little Monsters - Facebook | Twitter | Web

Update: You can use the code home20 to receive 20% off your entire order from Little Monsters!! The discount is valid until 10/8/14. Happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Mommy's Favorite Things, Mama's Baby Cupcakes and the Fall in to Green Living Participating Bloggers are not responsible for a sponsor who does not fulfill the prize specified.

Quick and Easy Crockpot Tomato Sauce Recipe

It's that time of the year...when all of the tomatoes are ready to be used at once! Not mine mind you, they kicked the bucket weeks ago after presenting me with one measly quart. But my uncle has a particularly green thumb, and he was kind enough to share his bounty! 

I needed a quick, easy way to preserve this years tomatoes because I reallllly don't feel like canning right now. (I can't believe I just said that.) Freezing whole tomatoes is a super fast option, but they consume SO much precious freezer space! Cooking the tomatoes down first is a little more work, but I think the amount of freezer space it saves you is well worth the (minimal) extra effort.

A couple of years ago I made tomato sauce the "right" way. (Also with tomatoes from my uncle. Aka, the tomato fairy.) After that, I decided tomato sauce was best purchased. Ahem. Cooking down the tomatoes, running them through the food mill, cooking the sauce down for HOURS....and that's before you've even canned it. Ain't no body got time for that! Well, I'm sure someone does. Just not me!

That got me to thinking...what if I put my Crockpot to work? I use it for applesauce and apple butter, why not tomatoes? A few weeks back I made a small batch of sauce in my Crockpot for dinner so I decided to give it a try on a larger scale. It worked beautifully! I've made two batches so far and plan to make a third batch tomorrow. It takes about ten minutes of prep time and ten minutes to finish up and freeze the sauce. That's my kind of preserving! 

So without further ado here's my super easy "recipe":

12-ish tomatoes, washed, cored and cut up (enough to fill a 4qt Crockpot 3/4's of the way full)
1 - 6oz can of tomato paste
2 tsps salt
2 tsps sugar
2 tsps basil
2 tsps oregano

Place tomatoes in crock pot and add all of the other ingredients. Prop lid open with a wooden spoon so steam can escape. Cook on high for 6-8 hours. Blend (carefully!!) with an immersion blender and place in freezer containers. Allow to cool and freeze. 

A few notes:

1. Yes, you leave the skin on the tomatoes. After the tomatoes cook down the skins will disappear when you blend the sauce. 
2. This is not a seed free sauce. They don't bother us in the least and when you consider how much time it saves by leaving them in the sauce, they might not bother you either!
3. If you use glass containers to freeze in be SURE you leave headspace! I always leave at least 2" and only use wide mouth jars. 
4. You could make this without any seasoning if you prefer plain tomato sauce. I like it seasoned and ready to go right out of the freezer. 

So far each batch has yielded about 9 cups of sauce. I love having this (almost) ready made meal in the freezer for nights when I'm busy or don't feel like cooking. It is perfect for spaghetti, lasagna, or just about any Italian meal that needs a great sauce! 

How is your late summer preserving going? Do you have any tips or tricks for speeding up the process? 

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lil Bums Cloth Diapers {a review + giveaway}

Welcome to the Ready to POP! [a Labor Day inspired Giveaway Hop] hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!
This year we're celebrating Labor Day in a totally fun way – by offering fabulous giveaways for Mamas and Babies who have done some of the hardest labor out there! Each blogger in this Hop has a fabulous Mama or Baby prize for you to enter to win – so be sure to hop around to them all after you’ve entered to win the fabulous Grand Prize, featuring Buttons Diapers and Beautiful Earth!

Disclaimer: I received diapers from Lil Bums at no cost to me for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own. No other compensation was received.  

When we brought our daughter home from the hospital I was SO excited to start using cloth diapers! After about two weeks I took the plunge and haven't looked back! Sure, we still use the occasional disposable on the road or at night, but 95% of the time she is sporting some fluffy creation. 

Lil Bums is one of the fluffy creations you can find her sporting quite often these days! I would have loved to have found them sooner because they have quickly become one of my favorite diapers! Lil Bums was started by a husband and wife who wanted to offer high quality diapers at affordable prices. After having a chance to review their diapers, I would have to say they have done just that! 

Lil Bums was kind enough to send me two of their diapers to review. Each diaper arrived with two inserts, one microfiber insert and one bamboo insert. The diaper itself has an inner stay dry suede lining and an outer of super soft minky. I had never used a minky diaper before and the first thing I noticed was how soft these diapers are! They are available in a variety of adorable prints like "Jeans" and "Giraffe".

I love the fit of these diapers. They are a "one size" diaper which means they are made to fit babies from 8-35lbs. (If you have a small baby you will need to invest in newborn diapers for the first few weeks (until your baby reaches 8lbs or more) or just use disposables.). The Lil Bums diapers are very generously sized and fit my chunky, 19lb daughter very well! I am also impressed by how trim of a fit it is. They feature crossover snaps so you can get a really good fit on a smaller baby.

The bamboo inserts can simply be laid inside the diaper or stuffed in the pocket. I have really liked just laying the insert in the diaper since you can use the diaper shell multiple times that way (like an AI2 or cover). The microfiber insert should always be stuffed in the pocket since it is not made to touch skin directly. I have also used both inserts by stuffing the pocket with the microfiber and laying the bamboo insert in the diaper. This has worked brilliantly at night!

The Lil Bums diaper can also be used to cover flats and prefolds. I have loved being able to get 2 or more uses out of each diaper shell before tossing it in the wash. As long as it's just a wet diaper, I just toss the insert in our wet bag and rotate covers so they have a chance to air out between changes. It works very well and can really help you cut down on costs!

The pocket opening features double elastic at the back of the diaper. I really think that the double barrier of elastic helps keep messes in the diaper. I wasn't a fan of how small the pocket opening was at first, but even the small pocket opening doesn't keep me from reaching for these diapers!

Lil Bums diapers can be purchased for $12.99 each. I feel this is a very reasonable and affordable price for such a great diaper and two inserts (one of which is bamboo!!). You can also purchase one of their starter kits for an even greater savings!  

Here's a quick wrap up of my thoughts:

Things I LOVED -

Soft minky exterior
Trim fit
Competitive pricing
*Bamboo* inserts (!!!)
Adorable prints
Sturdy snaps
Family owned business

Things I might change -

Larger pocket opening - The pocket opening seemed small to me, but I did get used to it. Someone with a large hand might have trouble stuffing the pocket. 

Aplix/Velcro - I'm a huge fan of Aplix/Velcro so I would love to see that as a closure option as well!

All in all, I was very impressed with Lil Bums and would happily add more to my stash!  

For the Ready 2 Pop blog hop, Lil Bums has generously offered to send the winner a 6-pack Starter Kit! This is the perfect way to try out cloth diapering or add to your existing stash!

The kit includes:
6 Lil Bums Cloth Diapers
6 Bamboo Cotton Inserts
6 Microfiber Inserts
1 Large Hamper Wet Bag
1 Travel Wet Bag
Lil Bums Guide to Successful Cloth Diapering eBook

Enter below for a chance to win or head on over to Lil Bums and place an order! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Ready to POP! participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Debest Baby Clothes {a review + giveaway}

Disclaimer: Debest provided me with product in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

Did you know that cotton can actually be grown in a variety of colors?! I honestly had NO idea! The only cotton I had ever seen was fluffy and white. Like the cotton balls you use for makeup removal. Little did I know!

When I first heard about Debest I was under the impression that they were using natural dyes to color their products. Not at all! They are using naturally colored cotton, no dyes needed! It grows that way! Naturally colored cotton has shorter fibers or "staple length" which makes it more difficult to spin and less attractive to commercial growers. BUT the shorter fibers make a much softer fabric!

Naturally colored cotton is also much more pest and disease resistant due to the tannins that give the cotton it's color. That's a good thing, because conventional cotton production uses 25% of the insecticides and 10% the pesticides used in the WORLD. Yikes. That's a lot of toxic residue touching your baby's largest organ (the skin)!

Debest is offering an alternative to conventional baby clothes. Free of synthetic dyes, bleach, and toxins in general. Debest was started by a mom and dad who were concerned about what touched their baby's skin. Now they offer a large selection of sleepers, body suits and blankets that are perfect for parents who are looking for an alternative source of clothing.

The sleeper I received to review is absolutely ADORABLE!! It is very well made and oh so soft!!! (Thanks to the naturally colored cotton!) It is generously sized, and I can see it fitting my daughter for quite some time. Once she outgrows it, I will definitely be packing it up for any future baby girls! It has a timeless appeal that won't be going out of style anytime soon. Small details, like the ruffled shoulder, really give it a feminine flair! (Take a look at this Hello Ruffles Long-Sleeve Body Suit too if you're in the mood for more girly sweetness. Can you say adorable?!?)

Debest also offers some great gender neutral choices. They would be a perfect option if you are waiting to find out the gender until birth! I love the idea of being able to use an outfit for future children, regardless of gender, as well! 

Overall, I am extremely impressed with Debest. The quality of the clothing is obvious. (How many times have you bought something from a big box store only to have a seam pop after a few uses? *raises hand*) The designs are adorable, unique, and unlike anything you will find from mainstream clothing companies. If you are in the market for a completely unique shower gift or just some safe, well made clothes for your little one, look no further!

Be sure to connect with Debest to keep up with new releases and specials! (They are currently running a great clearance sale if you've had your eye on anything!)

Debest is generously offering one of my readers a $30 credit to their store! The winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours respond. Open to the US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Accessorize August {a giveaway}

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Accessorize Your Stash in August Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network.

If you’re ready to accessorize your cloth diaper stash, you’ve come to the right place! A fabulous group of bloggers have come together to help you do just that – with Cloth Diaper Accessory Giveaways! If you love cloth diapering, then you’ll love hopping around to see what each blog has in store for you! Don't miss the Grand Prize which includes two cloth diapering must-haves: a Hanging Wet/Dry Bag and a Diaper Sprayer!

I have teamed up with Planet Wise and Diaper Dawgs to offer two of my favorite cloth diapering accessories! One winner will receive a Wet/Dry bag from Planet Wise AND a pack of Double Dooty Wipes from Diaper Dawgs!

No baby in diapers? No problem! You will still find hundreds of other uses for both of these products! You can read my full review of the Planet a Wise bag here and the Double Dooty Wipes here

Be sure to hop around to the other blogs and see what other cloth diapering accessories the other bloggers love! And don't forget to connect with the sponsors of my giveaway to keep up with all of their news and special offers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Accessorize Your Stash in August participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Out and About with Planet Wise {a review}

Disclaimer: Planet Wise provided me with a Wet/Dry bag for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own. I would not recommend a product I wouldn't use myself. 

Cloth diapering while out and about means storing dirty diapers until you get home. It is one aspect of cloth that makes disposable diapers look slightly more appealing (change/toss vs. change/carry), but with a good wet bag you won't think twice about it!

A wet bag is a waterproof bag that you place dirty diapers (or wet bathing suits, messy clothes, gym name it) in to contain the mess. They come in a variety of sizes to fit your needs, small enough to tuck in your diaper bag or large enough to hold everything until wash day.

Planet Wise was kind enough to send me one of their Wet/Dry bags in Teal Chevron (they have a HUGE selection of prints to choose from!) to review. I found it to be the perfect size (12.5" x 15.5") for packing in our diaper bag or to use AS the diaper bag while out and about. Because it has a "dry" compartment in addition to the "wet" (waterproof) compartment, you can store all of your diapers in one handy bag! Clean diapers on one side, dirty on the other. Genius. 

You can feel the quality in this wet bag. Seriously. It is extremely sturdy and very well made. The "wet" side of the bag is crafted from a PVC-free waterproof layer and cotton fabric. It zips shut and TRULY keeps the stink in. I found the zippers to be very sturdy and easy to use. They are on the smaller side, but if that bothers you, you could easily add a piece of ribbon or string as a "pull". (The zippers are also lead free. Did you know that some zippers are still painted with paint that contains lead? I had no idea!) The handle has a sturdy snap which enables you to hang the bag just about anywhere. I love to strap it to our stroller handle and save valuable space in the storage area! 

In addition to this Wet/Dry bag, I have been using two large Planet Wise wet bags (not review items, I purchased them myself) for the past 6 months. I started out with just one, but soon found that two would be much more efficient (one in the wash, one in use). Both of them have performed beautifully and I would buy a third (if needed) without hesitation. The fabric has held up brilliantly to heavy washing and the waterproof layer has yet to fail me. These bags have hung in our bedroom since day one and not *once* has stink escaped (until you open them of course!). On wash day I dump the diapers out of the bag and throw the wet bag in too. I always line dry my wet bags to prolonge their life, but you can machine dry them on low. Because the waterproof liner turns inside out I find they dry rather quickly. 

If you are in the market for a wet bag, or any other waterproof storage solution, check out Planet Wise! In addition to buying quality products you will also be supporting a family business based in the US! That's always a huge plus to me! You can currently purchase the Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag from most cloth diaper retailers for $21.00. A great value, especially since this bag can be repurposed once your little one is out of diapers! 

You can connect with Planet Wise on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to keep up with all of the latest Planet Wise news! 

Do you use wet bags? What other uses have you found for them besides cloth diapers?