Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Green Amigurami Playfood

So what is more green than plastic playfood? How about hand crocheted play food stuffed with recycled plastic grocery bags. I recently started making some to see what I could create. The results were better than I thought. Here is some of what is now available for sale at The Green Mommy FB Store.

The first picture here is of an apple, two oreos, a chocolate chip cookie, a strawberry, a banana and a cupcake.

The next picture is the three cookies with a tall glass of milk.

This is my favorite I think. It is a tea cup with tea and the tag from a teabag hanging over the side.

Last but not least is my best one so far. It is a hamburger. Each piece is individually made so that it all comes apart. There is a top bun, tomato, lettuce, cheese, beef patty, and bottom bun.
So if you would like to order some from the Green Mommy, let me know. I can make a lot more things too. I am currently working on a Dora and Boots set for a friend and a S'more and a cup of hot cocoa for another friend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Knitty Gritty: Dishing the Dirt on Cloth Diaper Brands

So I thought it was time, now after having used many different brands of diapers for 21 months now, (Yes my baby is 21 months today! Applause), that I would dish the dirt on diaper brands! So I looked at all my diapers and decided to come up with criteria and grades for them. I decided that the categories would be:
1. Absorbancy
2. Snaps vs Velcro (this one is easy snaps gets an A velcro a C)
3. Price
4. Design (all the pretty colors)
5. Size Adjustability

I would like to add that these are only the brands we have tried. If you would like to comment about a brand you have used that you liked or disliked feel free to chime in.
Ok so here we go!
First of all lets start with Q-T Bunz:
We own four of these diapers. They are made for NB only and need covers. They also use velcro as closures.
Absorbancy: These are rather absorbent for what they are made for which is a NB baby. B
Snaps vs Velcro: Velcro. C
Price: I actually can not find these sold anywhere and I got them used from a friend for 2$ a piece. I am guessing brand new they went for about 12$ a piece. Which is on the high end. C
Design: Rather cute patterns actually. A
Size Adjustability: None Only fits a NB. My son grew out of them in 3 weeks. D
Overall Grade: C+

Next up is Happy Flute Diapers:
We own 7 of these diapers. Now many of you have read my blog post about how to stay away from the seller of these diapers on eBay because he is crooked. I stand by that but the diapers themselves are fantastic, so if you can find Happy Flute diapers from a different vender GET THEM!
Absorbancy: Super absorbent A
Snaps vs Velcro: Snaps A
Price: 6$ a piece for the solid color ones. 7$ for the pretty patterned ones. That includes shipping. A
Design: If you want to pay the extra $ (sometimes 2$) to get the super cute patterns then they have them but the regular priced ones are just plain colors. B
Size Adjustability: Adjusts from about 10 lbs to about 40 lbs. A
Overall Grade: A-

Next is BumGenius:
We have one of these we borrowed it from a friend when our son was born (they lent us there diapers when he was born to start us out and as we bought our own we have been returning them. These are name brand expensive diapers so you may be surprised at the grade I give it.
Absorbancy: These are pretty absorbent. B
Snaps vs Velcro: Velcro. C
Price: These retail for 17.99 for the velcro ones and 19.99 for ones with snaps. That means for the same price of four Happy Flute Diapers you could buy only one of these. F
Design: Solid colors only and few to choose from. D
Size Adjustability: They adjust somewhat but not nearly as much as some diapers. B
Overall Grade: D+

Next is My favorite diapers so far (sorry couldn't wait) Alvababy Diapers:
We own 2 and only because we already have so many and Bug is almost out of diapers. If we have another baby especially a girl anytime soon many more of this brand will be bought.
Absorbancy: These are more absorbent than any other diapers we have tried and they are made from a super soft fleece so they are so soft on baby's bottom. A+
Snaps vs Velcro: Snaps A
Price: 5$ each for all the patterns and colors including shipping. A+
Design: Such cute patterns!!! A+
Size Adjustability: Adjusts from NB to about 40lbs. A+
Overall Grade: A+

Next is Q-Baby Diapers:
We have 5 of these. We have five not because we kept buying them but because you could only buy five, 20, or 100. 
Absorbancy: These are not very absorbent at all, and the liners don't come off so it makes it hard to wash them. D
Snaps vs Velcro: Snaps A
Price: These were about 10$ a piece. The set of 5 was 50$. I thought at the time this was a bargain. I was wrong. C
Design: They only have five colors/patterns and you don't get to pick you get all five. They are really bland and faded quickly. D
Size Adjustability: Adjusts from like a 12 lb baby (maybe 15 lb) to a 40lb. C
Overall Grade: C

Next is Wee Ones Diapers:
These we have 1 of. It was given to us, by someone who I think realized their mistake buying such a crappy expensive diaper.
Absorbancy: None! They are made of bamboo and all natural but he soaks through it in seconds. He may as well have underwear on. F
Snaps vs Velcro: Snaps A
Price: I just found the listing for these they retail for 22$ a piece. 22$? It is a non PUL diaper that has no absorbency! F
Design: No patterns they are all tan bamboo color. F
Size Adjustability: Not much. They adjust a little. D
Overall Grade: D

Last but not least is Sunbaby Diapers:
We own 5 of these. They are pretty great.
Absorbancy: These are rather absorbent. B
Snaps vs Velcro: Snaps A
Price: 6$ a piece but including shipping and all the patterns are that price. A
Design: Rather cute patterns actually. A
Size Adjustability: Adjusts from NB to 35 lbs. A
Overall Grade: A-

So there you have it. The rest of our diapers were all locally made or handmade by me... so these are the only name brand ones we own. These are honest grades based on my personal experience. Feel free to disagree or agree or talk about one you liked or disliked.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spain Forcibly Removing Young Babies from Their Mothers for Breastfeeding

I recently found a news story which as a Mother struck fear in my heart and a sick feeling in my stomach. A 15 month old baby (a mere 5 months younger than my own little man) was forcibly removed from her mother's breast (quite literally). Habiba, a 22 year old mother living in Moracco, was foced to hand over her baby Alma because she was still breastfeeding and co-sleeping. She was staying in a govt housing place where they forced women to ween their babies. When she refused she was evicted and her baby was taken into custody. She is allowed an hour visit a week and if she tries to nurse someone will shout loudly scaring her baby. The poor mother was quoted as saying, "they are changing her, nothing is the same".  An insane report was released basically saying that by breastfeeding still at 15 months she was causing damage to her baby' mental health. In relaity a team of doctors has said that the longer the two are separated the more damage is being done and that it is incredibly unhealthy for Alma to be away from her mother.
Women all over the world have been holding protests and raising money for this poor mother. People are shocked that this is happening in what is supposed to be a rather forward thinking nation. 
My personal viewpoint is one of terror and disgust and shock. I think how I would feel if someone basically kidnapped Bug because that at 20 months he (gasp) still co-sleeps most nights. If he had let me I would have continued breastfeeding until at least 18 months. I plan on BF our second child until 18 months. If anyone tried to take my baby they would probably have me clapped in irons because I would not stop scratching, biting and clawing to get to him. This poor woman. I think that we all need to support her if only with prayers or well wishes. My heart just breaks for her. Things like this should not happen ever!

Sunblock and Bugspray

So for any parents out there with little ones, you probably were born after 1975 and have had it drilled into your head from birth that sunscreen and bug spray are needed every time you head outdoors to enjoy the summer sun. Yet how effective are these products for protecting you? Could they actually be doing more harm than good? Here are more natural alternatives to both!

Bug spray:
Now as far as bug spray goes most people know to stay away from DEET because it is a neurotoxin. When sprayed on your skin it gets into your blood stream and into your nervous system where it wreaks havoc. But many don't realize that just because a bug spray has less or even no DEET in it doesn't mean it doesn't have other chemicals in it. It is better to try and find herbal or all natural bug repellents. Citronella candles and tiki torch oil can keep bugs away from your whole yard, without having to spray anything on yourself. Citronella oil is a plant derived essential oil and is a wonderful all natural repellent, though it is known to cause skin irritation if put directly on you so it's best you just light that candle and enjoy the outdoors. If you need to spray something directly on yourself though, like before a hike through the woods here are some all natural options for you. Lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, soybean oil, fennel, thyme,  clove oil, vitamin B1, garlic, and celery extract all are known natural bug repellents. Lavender oil is also a natural flea repellent (but that is a whole different problem). I don't usually buy premade natural bug sprays because we usually either make our own or use citronella candles. However I did a little googling and here are some of the top recommended brands of all natural repellents.
1.Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent:
The pros of this repellant are, no DEET, long-lasting protection, it won't damage plastics or synthetics, and it uses only plant-based ingredients. The cons are a strong odor and children under 3 can't use it.

2. BiteBlocker Organic Xtreme Insect Spray:
The pros of this repellent are, it is safe for all ages, uses only plant-based ingredients, it won't damage plastics or synthetics, and it doesn't need to be washed off immediately after use. The cons are, limited protection, not available as a lotion and not everyone likes the smell.

Recently the EWG or the Environmental Working Group did a massive study on just what sunscreen was really doing to us and more importantly to our children. The study concluded that there is a significant amount of data showing that skin cancer is actually increased when using some sunscreens. This is due to the sunscreen not protecting against UVA rays, blocking vitamin D, and even containing carcinogens themselves in the ingredient list.
Here is a list of some sunscreens that made the EWG's Hall of Shame. These are only the top worst offenders. However the EWG says that 84% of all sunscreens on the market failed the requirements for safety. If you use these you should probably consider throwing them away, or at least buying a safer kind after it is used up.
Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50
Baby Blanket SunBlankie Towelette SPF 45+
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+
Banana Boat Sport Performance Active Max Protect, SPF 110
Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face, SPF 50
Rite Aid Kids Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF 45
Anthony Logistics for Men Sun Stick SPF 15
iS SPF 20 Powder Sunscreen &; Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 & colorescience Suncanny Face Colore SPF 20

Here are some though that not only passed but are recommended as safest:

So there you have a guide to a safer healthier summer! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gardens, Tutus, Aprons, and Compost!

The Green Mommy has been busy. I mean BUUUUSSSSY! In the last week alone I put in our garden, helped my best friend put in hers, started our compost bin, made an apron, a tutu, mended a skirt for a friend and started a hat, adult apron, and tutu all for customers. I have had a very fun week.
So without further ado let's jump in. Let's start with the gardens. I do not have pictures of my friends garden but it was a plot about 15 ft by 15 ft. We planted corn, beans, tomatoes, beets, peppers, squash, and spinach. It was loads of fun and Bug helped. Then the next day I put in our garden. I talked about this last year but for those who don't know, where we live between super clay soil, a mean landlord, and neighbors who steal we keep our garden in pots on our steps. So here is this years.
We are growing zucchini, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, rosemary, basil, and peppers. I am very excited.
So onto compost. We finally got our compost bin set up. Here it is.
Last but not least here are the two latest Green Mommy creations. A toddler apron and a newborn tutu.

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