5 Kind Things to Do For Your Loved Ones

dalaiSince it’s be kind week on mycrunchylife.com and it’s five things friday too, here are five ways to to be kind at home.  I was looking up benefits to kindness and came across some information from psychologist Sonja Lyubomirksy, whose research suggested that students who performed five acts of kindness were happier than a control group who didn’t.  Side note…this psychologist’s name sounded incredibly familiar so I looked her up and sure enough, she is at the University of California, Riverside, where I attended two years of college.  I am 98% sure I was a research assistant for her my sophomore year.  She was doing studies on happiness back then too.  Back on track: those who performed five acts a day were happiest of all.  Furthermore, happiness is even greater when the acts of kindness are directed towards those we know as opposed to strangers. It feels good to strengthen our relationships.  So how about we do some nice things for the people we love?

1.  The next time someone in your family asks you to hand them a blanket, don’t just hand it to them, tuck them in.  My husband just did that for me the other night and I thought it was so kind.

2.  Leave a love note for your spouse or child on the bathroom mirror.

3.  Volunteer to do your partner’s or your kid’s chore for them.  Tell them it’s because you love them.  Maybe they’ll pay it forward!

4.  Put down the remote, the laptop, the phone, the tablet, or the game controller and listen to a loved one tell you about their day.

5.  When your loved one is taking a shower, throw their towel in the dryer.  When they come out, they’ll have a warm snuggly surprise waiting for them.

Click here to enter our Be Kind Week giveaway for a free pair of Good Natured gPants!

Teaching Kids About Being Kind

bekindOne thing that’s great about kids is that they have genuine actions.  Typically when they’re really little, if they do something nice, it comes from the heart.  They’re not trying to manipulate or get on your good side or get something out of it; it’s just their nature coming through.  I love it when my 13 month old baby tries to feed me food.  The smile on her face is priceless.  It’s her version of being kind.  She’s giving her food to me.  When she was barely two, I bought my older daughter a placemat.  I showed it to her and the first question she asked was “Where’s baby Sia’s?”  That came from a genuinely kind and thoughtful place.  I’m concerned that as they get older, they will fall out of the habit of being kind or that they’ll take kindness for granted.  So here are a few ways to teach kids how to be kind:

1.  Lead through example.  There is no better way to teach kindness than to live it and model it for your kids.  If they see it in action, they will adapt it into their own lives because it’s just what you do.  And after you’ve done something for someone else, explain to them why.  For example, if you stop to help someone put away their groceries, afterwards, tell your child that the person “needed help because the groceries were heavy and it’s a good thing we were able to help them!”

2.  Talk about kindness DAILY.  Maybe it’s dinner conversation – “Did anyone see any kindness in the world today?”  Maybe it’s telling them about something kind that someone did for you.  Use the words “appreciate, kind, considerate, out of their way, nice, thoughtful” and describe how it felt to receive or give the kind act.  Ask them about what they did today that was kind.

3.  Make it a point to recognize when someone does something kind.  Especially the child.  Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce.  I find myself telling my child that I’m proud of her often.  Lately she’s been asking me why and I try to make sure I tell her that I’m proud of her kind heart and then give her examples.  When she shares with her sister, I tell her that it was a kind thing to do.  It feels good to be recognized and if it encourages her to do it again, then I’m in!

4.  Make suggestions.   You can’t force kids to be kind but you can help them find ways to do so.  I’ve noticed that if I say “Miss K, baby is crying.  Go give her a toy.” usually there is some dismissal or even pushback.  It seems to be a lot smoother if I say something like “Oh no!  Baby is sad!  Do you think she would feel better if you gave her a toy?”  Coming up  ideas and letting the child choose gives them the chance to own the act of being kind.

5.  Find ways to be kind together.  My daughter and I were at Costco once and there was a handicapped woman trying to get some paper towels into her cart but was clearly struggling.  When we turned the aisle and we saw her, I said to my daughter “She looks like she could use some help, should we go see if she would like some help?” And the enthusiastic “Yes!  We should help her!” was amazing.

An amazing example of teaching children about kindness comes from a dear high school friend’s family.  They sadly had to cope with the devastation of having a still born son.   I cannot begin to fathom the pain they’ve been through.  I believe that if it were me, I would shut down and close myself off to the world.  That I would have a hard time understanding why the world was so awful.  Instead, this beautiful family has taken their grief and turned it into something beautiful.  Check them out here.  This family of four goes around doing random acts of kindness to honor their son, Dylan.  They’ve made donations to the L&D ward at their local hospital, paid for fellow diners’ meals, handed out Krispy Kreme gift cards, and brought treats for nurses and firemen.  The best part is that they involve their two sons in this and their sons genuinely seem to enjoy it and get joy from it.

They really serve as inspiration to me. And today is the Vernal Equinox so I think a celebration is in order.  I’m going to challenge myself to do something kind everyday for a month.  I’ll report back.  Wish me luck.

It’s Be Kind Week!

kind

adjective

: having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others : wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and I think I have a lot to say.  So it’s Be Kind Week on mycrunchylife.  I just want to share some thoughts with you, hopefully provide some inspiration, make a commitment and do a fun giveaway, all in the name of kindness.

I think I’ve always been a nice person but I don’t think I’ve necessarily been a kind person.  In my book, this is differentiated by action.  So for example, I’ve always been nice in that I think I make people feel comfortable; I’m seldom rude or cold but I also seldom go out of my way to help another.  I’ve been feeling kindness lacking in my life so I’m hoping to spark a change by writing about it.

Here’s why I think being matters:
It’s infectious.  Be kind to someone and chances are they’ll appreciate it and be kind someone else.  Maybe not in the same way, but that act is infectious.  Whether it’s peer pressure or leading through example, being kind and doing something nice influences others.

It makes you feel good.  No one ever said that kindness needed to be altruistic.  Doing something nice for someone else is like getting a hug without invading personal space.  It just feels good.  And there’s proof (clinical studies and all!) from a researcher at Stanford that students that performed five weekly acts of kindness were happier than a control group who didn’t and the ones who were happiest of all were those that performed five acts of kindness a day.  So it feels good and is good for you!

The world is a better place because of it.  You know this.  We have billions of people in the world we all just want to feel connected to someone.  Acts of kindness help us feel not so alone.  There are days when you can give and there are days when you’ll need to receive.

Hell, it’s the right thing to do.  I don’t know what to say about this but it is.

So let’s talk about being kind and then do something about it.  Tomorrow I’d like to write about children and how to teach the idea of “be kind.”

Sia’s Strawberry Birthday Party

A few weeks ago we had a first birthday party for Super S.  After hemming and hawing over it for a while, I finally agreed with my husband that we’d have it at the same amusement park we had her big sister’s first party.  I picked a strawberry theme this time and had fun putting together a few personal touches.  I loved seeing my little ones (and all the other beloved littles in my life) have a good time.  Super S did great – I don’t remember her crying or fussing at all.  Amazing.  And my sweet little girl had a long day.  She played and skipped her usual nap.  She was with her grandparents for awhile but when I picked her up, she fell asleep on my shoulder.  It was a fun day but that may have been my favorite part.  A big thank you to my little sister, Neha, for shooting over 400 pictures of the party.  Love ya -thank you!

I found this outfit and couldn’t resist putting the little birthday girl in it.  It’s from Gymboree and I especially loved the strawberry tutu and headband:

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Big sister wore a navy blue/white polka dot dress with strawberry accents, a headband that matched the colors in our theme (red, pink, and green), and strawberry socks.

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Here’s a picture of our wonderful family:

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We had a white cake with a light whipped topping layered with strawberries in between (I cheated and just got it from the grocery store bakery).  I decorated it with lady fingers tied with a ribbon and fresh strawberries on top.

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I also baked some decadent chocolate mini bundt cakes and made a Nutella ganache for the top.  I then topped the bundt cakes with fresh fanned strawberries.  Yum.

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I think baby wants some cake!

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I did some simple skewers with green grapes and more strawberries.  As basic as they were, they were a huge hit!  The kids all ate them and I actually ran out!

IMG_5160I think Daddy wanted to eat the birthday girl.

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I made a fabric scrap banner and hung it at the party.

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Instead of doing the bags o’ crap favors I had done for the last two birthday parties we had thrown, I decided to do something a little greener and I’m actually very happy with the way they turned out.  I bought strawberry plants from Home Depot and potted them in these adorable pink and red striped buckets from the dollar spot at Target (we were lucky – Super S’ birthday is right before Valentine’s day).  I hand wrote care instructions on the back of printables that I got from designingforpeanuts on Etsy.  By the way, she was incredibly fast; I had my printables within 30 minutes of putting in my order.  The tags were fastened with some green ribbon with strawberries on it that I picked up from Michaels.

I attached a flag from some free printables I found online to a striped paper straw, also from Bakers Stock, and wrote each guest’s name on it.  Stuck that in the pot with the plant.

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I also made some strawberry shaped lollipops from a mold and candy melts.  I’m really happy with the way they turned out, especially since I had never made lollipops before!  I wrapped them in cellophane and tied them with with bakers twine in pink/white, red/white and green/white (ya I got these from Bakers Stock too!  Can you tell I heart that site???). Apologies to the parents of the guests for all the sugar!

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We filled some cupcake liners (also from Bakers Stock) with Strawberry Hi-Chews and put them out on the favors table.  I love those!

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All in all, I’m happy with the way things went.  More than anything, though, I’m happy my little girl was happy.  Thanks for coming to my party!

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Five Things to Make with Oatmeal

I buy ten pound boxes of Quaker Oats from Costco.  And the crazy part is we actually go through the whole box.  We’ve bought maybe 3-4 boxes of these oats and my husband and I don’t even really eat oatmeal for breakfast.  So what do I do with all that oatmeal???  Here are five things (along with five pictures that I didn’t take):

1.  Granola – By far, our favorite one is this one from ohsheglows.com.  It’s vegan and oh cinnamonbungranolaso delicious.  Ironically, I used it to top some oatmeal I made for Christmas brunch.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but that’s a hell of a lot of oats.  It packs some protein punch with the crunch of buckwheat groats and walnuts.  Between the maple syrup, mejdool dates, and coconut oil, it is borderline decadent!  This is great by itself, with milk, on top of yogurt…all kinds of great things to do with this.  Maybe I’ll make a couple batches tomorrow.  It makes your house smell incredible.

2.  Banana Oatmeal Smoothies – A great go-to, filling snack or breakfast.  Just blend 1/4 smoothiecup of cooked oatmeal (well, I measure 1/4 cup of oatmeal and then cook it), 1 banana, 1/4 cup almonds or almond meal, 1/4 cup almond milk (or sub out yogurt or regular milk for a non-vegan version), and some ice cubes.  If I’m craving something a little more dessert-y, I throw in chocolate chips or chocolate syrup.

 

3.  Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s simple and you probably have all the ingredients in your cupboard. oatmeal chocolate chip Hubs eats them up and once I took some for my dad.  He ate one, looked at me and said “WHAT is IN these cookies???”  He had never had oatmeal chocolate chip cookies before.  He’s a fan of chocolate chip cookies but far from a connoisseur like my husband.

 

 

4.  Breakfast – I make oatmeal for breakfast at least once a week for my girls.  For the two oatmealof them, I use 3/4 of a cup of oats and 1.5 cups of liquid (water, milk, whatever).  When they were less than a year old, I would grind up the oats into a powder so it was more like a cereal.  Side note – I bought prepared Organic oatmeal cereal in a box and it made my child vomit violently.  And I always wondered why the flakes were all shiny.  I know they fortify them with iron but really why give your kids food that’s even more processed than it needs to be?  Back on track:  Usually I just throw some cinnamon in while the pot simmers and frozen berries in it (Miss K prefers frozen, I’m not sure why) – they help cool down the oatmeal quickly.  Lately I’ve been making the oatmeal with coconut milk instead of water for some extra flavor, calories (my girls are skinny minis) and healthy(ish) fats.  The little packets of instant oats are convenient but they have way too much sugar, they create a whole lot more garbage, they are expensive and come in flavors like maple and brown sugar (which, although my favorite, is basically sugar and different sugar…).  Quaker Oats cook up quick – five minutes.  My personal favorite topping combo is coconut/walnut/chocolate chips, but we often will do fresh blueberries, strawberries, or bananas.

5.  Banana Oat Chocolate Cookies – These is a great vegan cookie recipe that is satisfying and bananachocolatechippretty tasty, if I say so myself.  They’re pretty healthy, too.  I didn’t think they lacked in flavor in the least, especially for a vegan dessert with no added sugar.  Since you roll these pretty small, I’d recommend using mini chocolate chips.

 

My baby kinda looks like…(the 2014 edition)

Back by popular demand (not really, I think I’m the only one amused by this), I present to you: “My Second Baby Kinda Looks Like…”  A little background on this.  A couple years ago I used to amuse myself by posting pictures of my little one and what she reminded me of.  So my baby kinda looked like Wolverine one day and her Fisher Price Seahorse the next.  My mind is always turning on that but I’ll admit I haven’t had the creative juices flowing enough to keep up with it on a weekly basis like I did for a while.  Now I have a second baby and a whole new type gatorade to quench my thirst for ridiculousness.  So here we go:

My second baby kinda looks like…

George Dub-ya (only smarter.  and possibly more aware of what’s going on in the world.)  ZING!  Heyo!

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she just needs a soccer ball and some cleats.  

P3060029…she’s flipping me off and saying “Oh ya?  Well take THIS!”

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Super S turned One!

My little girl turned a year old.  Technically it was a month ago but I’ve been having a hard time writing this post.  Maybe it’s because I’ve had some writer’s block or maybe it’s because I didn’t do a photo collage or video so i’m feeling guilty.  So tonight I decided I just need to get something out, even though I know it won’t be perfect.

Miss Sia Nalamwar, in her truest form, didn’t hesitate to let us know she wanted out of the womb.  She did, however, take her time to leave.  When she arrived, she stopped time for me.  All I wanted to do was to hold her and feel her because like I told her when they put her on my chest, I had been waiting my whole life for her.  The day she was born, she just fit in.  She belonged to us.  To our family.

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From a really early age (I’m talking four weeks old), Sia has been active with an incredible command of her body.  I remember I put her on her boppy on the floor for some tummy time while doing some laundry.  I walked to my closet to hang up some clothes and I came back to find that she had pushed herself all the way over the boppy and was lying with her face on the carpet.  She was amazing.  And I could tell that she’d have a good sense of humor.  She’s definitely a happy girl and she smiles but there’s something about her that tells me she gets why things are funny.  I remember her little face smiling with her eyes closed when she would hear her sister’s voice.

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Some of my favorite parts of her first year were those moments when she’d just let me hold her.  And luckily for me, there were many.  Actually hold on.  I need to correct that statement.  Those weren’t just some of my favorite parts of the last year.  They arre some of my favorite moments from my whole life.  When I’m holding her, Sia makes me feel like there is nothing more right in the world than our family.  She belongs in my arms and I belong in hers.  I remember as a newborn, I would put her high up on my shoulder, patting her back to burp her and she would pat me back.  It was adorable.  Her spark for life shone through at such an early age.

IMG_20130310_155324]IMG_20130310_154244Sia did something for me that I was supposed to do for her.  As her mother, I believe it is part of my job to make her world secure by letting her know, in no uncertain terms, that she is loved.  This little itty bitty dumpling, with no words, made me feel so loved and needed and this shouldn’t be about me but I just need to let it out…this little girl truly loves me.  How?  Why?  I don’t know.  But she loves ME.  And this brought further self validation to my world.

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Sia was the great teacher of 2013.  Until she arrived, I had no idea that there was so much love in my heart.  She taught us about being close.  She taught me that I was more patient than I thought.  I didn’t know I could go almost 10 months without getting a stretch of sleep longer than 3 hours.  I didn’t know I could do that without resenting someone.  She taught me that it’s ok to not be a perfect mother.  She taught me that she could figure things out without me sitting down and teaching them to her.  She taught me how to do things with one arm/hand because I spent a whole lotta time holding this little girl.

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I loved nursing this baby…feeling her little legs pushing first on my stomach and then on my hips and onto my thighs as she’s grown.  And she loved milk.  At around a year old, she started yanking the flap of my bra down.  It was hilarious.  I guess Li’l Missy knows what she wants!  I loved watching her crawl.  She was so fast.  Pretty much the day she started crawling, she started pulling up.  Her first word was “Hi!”  The sweetest little “hi” you’ve ever heard.  She’s so incredibly special in the way she embraces the world.  You can see the thrill in her eyes and hear the excitement in her squeals when she tries something new.  It’s quite amazing.

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The memories that I hope to never forget?  After a long night of wakeups, I would give up at around 5:00 and bring Sia into our bed.  She would need to be near me.  Not just my arm or my leg, but my face.  My child would sleep with her face on my face, or rest her forehead on my chin or my personal favorite – she would actually hold my face in her two little hands and sleep that way.  She accepted me as I am THAT much.  Her little body next to mine, her breath on face (again, she slept with her FACE ON MY FACE). She’s a snuggler…actually, I’d say she is the best snuggler of all time.  When she lays her head on your shoulder – heaven.

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You have brought so much sunshine to my life, beautiful little Sia.  Your sparkly eyes, your laugh, your hugs, your smile, your claps of delight, your waves of joy, your splashes in the water, your curiosity, your tenacity…it’s all perfection to me.  I love you so very much.  You make the world so much better and brighter.  I hope one day (if it’s what you want) you will have a daughter so you can understand how much you mean to me.  Thank you for changing my world for the better.

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p.s.  I’m having trouble downloading pics so I’m going to have to work on better pictures later.  :(  We have so many beautiful ones but I can’t access them right now.  Boo.

Five Things Friday: Lies I told my kid this week

On Fridays, I’m going to attempt to do a quick(ish) post that lists five things.   This week, here are five lies I told my three year old.

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1.  I told my three year old that my lemonade was water because I didn’t want her to have any.  Along those same lines, I drink chocolate milk several times a week and when she asks me what it is, I just tell her “it’s not for kids.”  I was about to defend myself by saying I didn’t *exactly* lie because I could have told her it was something besides chocolate milk but the thing is chocolate milk pretty much IS FOR KIDS.  So ya, I lied.

2.  I told my three year old that Pinkberry was closed when it wasn’t.

3.  I told my three year old that her sister was so happy to see her that she was screaming with excitement and that baby was trying to touch her hair because she thought her big sister’s hair was so pretty.  I lied.  Baby was screaming like a banshee because I wouldn’t let her yank it with all the might that a 17 pound one year old can muster.  Pulling hair just doesn’t get old.

4.  I told my three year old that I would only spray her hair with water one more time.  But then I sprayed it like five times.  I’m such a bitch (and she has unruly hair).

5.  I told my three year old that I could only stay with her for a few minutes while tucking her in.  She asked why I couldn’t stay with her until she fell asleep. I told her I needed to clean up the family room.  After leaving her room, I just spent the last hour surfing the internet, playing words with friends, texting real friends and writing this post.  Newsflash: the family room is still a mess.

I feel like I need to explain and justifies my deceit but this is supposed to be a simple post.  So I’m not going to.  I’m going to go to bed.*

*please note, the family room is still not cleaned up.

gDiapers – The Cloth Insert Edition

One of the things I love about the cloth/hybrid diapers I use is that they’re versatile and I can use a number of different inserts to fit my needs.  Now that I’ve used them for almost three years and two babies, I’ve tried a few different cloth inserts and I thought I’d share what has worked well for us (and what hasn’t).

gDiapers Cloth Inserts

These come directly from gDiapers.  They retail for $32.99 for 6 inserts or about $5.50 ClothInsertseach.  They’re made of 2 layers of baby-soft microfleece and 2 layers of hemp/cotton.
Pros:

  • Trim.  Oh so trim.
  • Top layer is really good at wicking moisture away
  • Soft against baby’s skin

Cons:

  • Don’t hold up well for heavy wetters or nighttime use, so you end up having to double up.  Even that doesn’t work for some.
  • Pricy
  • I had a really tough time with ammonia smells and burns with my older daughter.  Part of the problem was that I was still figuring out my wash routine.

I really liked these for when baby was in smalls.  I did not use these in mediums for my second daughter because I felt some of the other inserts were better.

Flour Sack Towels

FlourSackTowelI bought a four pack of these towels from Target for $4 or $1 each.  They’re 100% cotton.  Basically you fold the towel in half in one direction, again in half in the other direction, and then in thirds.  This ends up giving you 12 layers of protection

 

 

Pros:

  • Very absorbent
  • Inexpensive
  • Dry quickly
  • 100% cotton means easy maintenance.  It’s more forgiving of an imperfect wash routine

Cons:

  • You have to fold them
  • Since it’s plain ol’ cotton, the top layer does not stay dry
  • Bulkier than gCloth

I’ve used these with both daughters and while they felt bulky at first, now I think they’re fine.  I actually picked up a four pack of these to use in my second daughter’s small gDiapers also.  I just cut them in half and then folded it in thirds.  These are currently my favorite insert.

Homemade Microfiber Inserts

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My mom and I made these a few years back (here’s a link to the tutorial) and I really liked them for a long time.  They ended up costing us about $1 each since we upcycled some fleece receiving blankets we had lying around.  They are made from microfiber towels covered in fleece (cotton).

Pros:

  • Absorbent
  • Inexpensive
  • Trim

Cons:

  • Top layer is wet against baby’s skin
  • You have to make them
  • Take a long time to dry since they have five layers sewn together
  • They might look a little funny if someone else changes your baby’s diaper

I used these the most out of all my inserts.  They’re pretty ragged now but they were my go-to insert of choice for my older daughter.  I didn’t need to double up and I didn’t need to fold these.  Some of them will be retired soon now that they’re starting to fall apart after over two years of use/washing/stripping/drying.  These are near and dear to my heart :)

CoCaLo Perfect Bum Trifold Inserts with booster

CocaloI just bought these and don’t have a ton of experience with them but so far they’ve been okay.  They’re made of polyester and cotton and oddly enough I found them at the dollar store so they were only $.17 each.

Pros

  • Inexpensive.  Hell.  They were super duper cheap.
  • Trifold design allows for fast drying
  • Top layer does a GREAT job pulling  liquid away from baby’s bottom.  It usually feels dry on top but wet below
  • Absorbent

Cons

  • The polyester has me worried about stink issues.  Time will tell.  It seems like the diaper pail has been stinkier since I started using these.
  • Seems to be a little more finicky with the wash routine; baby had a bit of diaper rash after using these.

I had high hopes for these but the rash and stinkies have me worried.  I still reach for the homemade inserts and the flour sack towels before these.  I have been using some of their doublers successfully, though.

All babies are different so you have to figure out what works best for you.  If your baby has sensitive skin, I would stick to the flour sack towels.  If your baby is a heavy wetter, the homemade or CoCaLo inserts would be a better fit than the gDiapers inserts.  If your bub gets uncomfortable with wetness, use the gDiapers inserts or CoCaLo inserts on top.  If you’re strapped for cash, go with the flour sack towels.  Like most things in the cloth diaper world, there is a lot of trial and error involved.

 

Product Review: Precious Tummies Food Pouches

I make the majority of food for my baby.  A few months ago, we traveled and because she wasn’t eating a whole lot of table food back then, I picked up some baby food pouches for convenience and so that we would always have food available for her.  She LOVED eating from the pouches so I thought I would pick up some reusable food pouches so that we could have that same convenience but with added bonus of the food being homemade.  I also liked the idea of producing less trash than if I bought more of those pouches.

I looked around on the interwebz and found Precious Tummies Food Pouches.  They precious tummiesseemed like they’d do the trick.  I bought them and have used them a few times.  I was super excited to use them when I got them – the packaging is adorable!  I love the little penguins on the pouches and the box and the girls were both instantly interested in the pouches.  The price point was quite good – $10 for 6 – 6 oz bags.  They’re dishwasher safe and freezer safe, which makes life easier.  The dishwasher safe part was particularly helpful because otherwise it would be kind of hard to get all the little corners clean.  These pouches (unlike most) are top loading so theoretically they can stand up on their own while you’re loading them and I guess they’d be less likely to leak since the opening is at the top, not the bottom.  And of course, I love that you can save money with them.  I don’t recall ever seeing pouches for less than $1 each.  They include an extra cap, which I totally appreciate and the zipper is nice and tight – I would not expect these to leak.

Unfortunately there were more things that I disliked than liked about them, though.  While it’s great that they put a really strong zipper top on the pouch, they’re actually pretty tough to open, especially when you’re washing dishes and your hands are wet.  Because the zip is at the top, it’s harder to clean (smaller opening).  The thing that bugged me the most, though, is there’s no easy way to fill them.  And there are no tips included in the box on how to best fill the pouches.  I had to go on their website.  I tried using several spoons, I tried using a pastry bag and tip, I tried using a funnel (I actually went out and bought a funnel just for these) but all ended up in a mess, wasted food, and a frustrated Crunchycake.  The site recommends that you fill a ziploc bag and snip the corner and fill that way.  Well, that’s extra work AND it doesn’t help my goal of cutting down on garbage.  Also, there were no instructions or info sheet in the box.  Fluke?  Perhaps.  But I want to know if I need to sanitize these and how I should go about doing that.

All in all, these are ok but not great.  I find that I’m not using them as often as I expected.

Update: So these DID leak.  And they’re not getting very clean, even when I wash them really well and then put them in the dishwasher.  I threw them out.  Sorry little penguins.