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    Entries in cloth diaper (2)


    Giveaway: $25 Gift Certificate from Raising Green Kids - $25ARV {Open to US}

    This is a joint giveaway between Natural Parents Network and many other natural parenting sites. You may enter for all of the giveaways at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

    Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

    Welcome to the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!

    Natural Parents Network, Very, Very Fine, and 24 other natural parenting bloggers are giving away 89 items perfect for gifting for the holidays as part of the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide. The combined total value of all of the items is $2,550.

    Have you finished your holiday shopping? The NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to complete your gift-giving purchases for family and friends, while supporting many naturally-minded small businesses. The companies who have provided items for giveaway are almost exclusively made up of small businesses or work-at-home families.

    Please stop back to enter the giveaway. The Rafflecopter entry system will be live November 1 on this post (and on every post participating in the Gift Guide). Please visit some of the other review posts listed below and read about the fabulous companies offering giveaways in the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide.


    Raising Green Kids, founded in 2011, aims to help parents make environmentally conscious decisions for their families by offering household solutions as well as green toys and baby gear. Stocking everything from reusable holiday decor to natural dog treats and non-toxic art supplies, Raising Green Kids' site is a treasure trove of eco-friendly goodies.

    In addition to the online shop, Raising Green Kids' blog gives a face to the company, providing us with reduce/reuse/recycle-based craft projects for kids, green living tips, and a peek into the lives of the folks behind the business.

    Often, I've found the selection at online specialty shops to be inconsistent or unreliable, with few recognizable names to lend the site credibility when you're taking the leap and placing your first order. Not so with Raising Green Kids. Amid their awesome selection of home-made items such as cloth napkin sets and wool dryer balls are some of my "big name" favorites: Clementine Art, Green Toys, Mrs. Meyer, and GDiapers.

    Speaking of wool dryer balls:

    I was fortunate enough to receive for review a set of six wool dryer balls, handmade by Dorinda, the mama behind Raising Green Kids. Dryer balls were on my holiday wish list for years, and when my hinting failed (perhaps I should be grateful that I wasn't being gifted laundry supplies, though I swear I would've been thrilled), I put them on my "to buy" list. We cloth diapered my nearly three year old son from birth, and those three year old cloth diapers are being used again, now, by my eight month old daughter. As such, we haven't used fabric softener or dryer sheets in a few years, since they contain chemicals that make your diapers repel liquid. Not ideal.

    I wish I could say that I don't miss the smell of conventional laundry detergent, or the artificial softness that fabric softener and dryer sheets provide. I know they shorten the life of my clothes, and I know the watershed thanks me, but, to be honest, I'm sort of tired of having crunchy clothes that make my hair stand on end.

    Used on a load of dark clothes, including jeans, I noticed that throwing in all six of the dryer balls cut static significantly (we're running our heater already, so our house is particularly dry lately, leading to lots of static). The softening was more of a mixed bag, with results ranging from a slightly noticeable difference in jeans to a marked difference in knits. Reasonable, since denim is a much tougher fabric, and fine with me, since I'd much rather have jeans with some substance and soft T-shirts.

    Our washer and dryer are in a closet in the kitchen, and I worried that, even behind a closed door, the sound of the dryer balls bouncing around may be too loud. Not so, luckily. The felted wool seems to dampen the noise and we weren't bothered at all.

    The balls do pill immediately, but I expected that, knowing what I do about wool; Raising Green Kids also mentions this in the product description. Strictly a cosmetic issue, I'll probably leave them to pill, but if the mood struck I could de-fuzz them.

    A feature that I'm eager to try but haven't yet is scenting the dryer balls with essential oil. A few drops of lavender or another fresh, pleasant-smelling oil can be put directly onto the wool and the balls placed in a pillowcase. After a short tumble in the dryer alone, the dryer balls can be used again with your laundry (with no fear of oil spots, thanks to the previous steps) and will, apparently, leave it smelling better than any storebought chemical dryer sheets, AND without the carcinogens. Just how I like my clean clothes!

    It's important to me that my kids be an active part of our household's daily chores. I try to help them feel invested in these tasks, enabling them to participate in the rhythm of our home so the motions of keeping a house running become innate knowledge. Sending people off into adulthood who can't operate a washing machine or cook dinner would be a dismal failure on my part. To that end, I'm glad to have supplies that my kids can safely explore, learning their "proper" uses as that becomes appropriate. Would I let my baby play with a box of Downy sheets? But, as you can see, both of my children are already enjoying these dryer balls, and that's one step closer to the day when they start doing MY laundry. Just kidding. Kind of.

    I highly recommend a switch to these eco-friendly, safe and useful dryer balls. Whether you're currently a fabric softener devotee or "roughing it" as we were, with nothing to reduce your static cling, Raising Green Kids' dryer balls are effective and cost-effective, too. At roughly the price of 4 boxes of brand-name dryer sheets, these will last long after the nasty chemicals are just a distant, flowery-smelling memory.


    BUY IT!

    You can purchase your own Felted Wool Dryer Balls at Raising Green Kids. Priced at $24.50, they're available in white (shown in this review) or colors, and can be shipped to the US only.

    WIN IT!

    For your own chance to win a $25 gift certificate from Raising Green Kids, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

    The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to use at Raising Green Kids' online store. Contest is open to the US.

    MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Raising Green Kids and tell us what you would buy with your $25 gift certificate! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.

    Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

    This is a joint giveaway with Very, Very Fine and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

    BONUS ENTRIES:See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

    Our Rafflecopter entry system opens November 1.

    MANDATORY ENTRY: In the box provided in the first Rafflecopter entry, tell us where you would have your prize shipped if you are one of the winners. You must enter your name and email address while leaving a comment in the Rafflecopter system for your entry to count.

    Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

    This is part of a larger giveaway hosted by Natural Parents Network. You may enter the whole giveaway at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy all of the participating sites!

    Please note that each entrant can win only one prize, and NPN will be randomly assigning prizes to the winners. One of the giveaway questions asks which are your top five prizes so we can try to match winners to their preferences.

    See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email sponsorship {at} or leave a comment if you have any questions!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Thank you for your interest in the Natural Parents Network Gift Guide! We invite you to read the reviews of other participating bloggers and return to enter the giveaway when it opens.

    Our Rafflecopter entry system will be live at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday, November 1, 2012. Please stop back here — or at any of the review/giveaway posts participating in the Gift Guide — between November 1 and 25 to enter. Many of the giveaway items are open worldwide!

    Here are the participating sites and companies. (Reviews go live between October 25 and October 31, and all links will be live by November 1.) We’ve included any coupon codes the companies have offered so you can get your holiday shopping under way!

    Publishing on Thursday, October 25, 2012

    Publishing on Friday, October 26, 2012

    Publishing on Saturday, October 27, 2012

    Publishing on Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Publishing on Monday, October 29, 2012

    Publishing on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Publishing on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product
    for review purposes.
    Some links are affiliate links.
    We try to seek out only products we think you would find
    relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
    If we don't like a product, we won't be recommending it to you.
    See our full disclosure policy here.


    homemade diapers

    When George was still cooking, I decided to try my hand at diaper making. It wasn't hard, but having never cloth diapered, I didn't know what I wanted, and those early homemade all-in-ones (henceforth referred to as AIOs) have since been handed down to someone else who, I hope, likes them better than I did. They were cute and all, but one-time-users just aren't my cup of tea.

    We've been trying to think ahead and solve the two kids/one diaper stash dilemma. George has taken it upon himslf to potty learn, and has been using the potty for four months, though not reliably. There's a lot of time between now and February, but also, there's not, and who knows what kind of bathroom-related hijinxs will ensue between now and then. It's like a buddy movie nobody wants to see! 

    I'd be bummed if I bought a whole second supply of diapers only to have George in Elmo underpants by the time I need them, so I'm curbing my drive for preparation ("nesting"?) by sewing up some little newborn diaper covers, good for seven to 15 pounds of stalling while we decide whether or not to pull the trigger on some more fancy one-size-fits-most diapers/covers/whatever. This is riveting, no? My diaper purchasing decision making process. Wow. Anyway,

    The other day, I was shopping my section of bookmarks devoted to free patterns and tutorials and there were those old AIO instructions. Being older, wiser, having changed about fifty gajillion diapers since I last looked at the pattern, I felt like I could make it work for me with a few changes and some stuff I already had: some larger scraps of PUL (the shiny-backed fabric that keeps the -- ahem -- crap inside), some fold-over-elastic left over from when I had a lingerie shop (yes, the things a blog can teach you about its owner!)... oh, and I bought some velcro. 

    They're cute! Functional? Probably. I made one for George to try out and goodness knows that kid can pee; the fact he remained dry leaves me optimistic. The elastic is light pink, but anything bought more than five years ago counts as free, right? So it was free; no complaints. These aren't as cute as the patterned ones you can buy, but the colors are okay and I think they'll do, especially for that anything-goes period between birth and resurfacing for air/real food/social interaction. 

    I changed the original directions by simply cutting out the pattern in PUL, then going around the edges with the FOE, stretching the elastic taut at the legs and around the back. Her instructions are for a full AIO diaper, with an inner soaker and everything, but the shape is the same as that of a regular cover. She has a fancy snap press, it looks like, and I have none (Santa, do you hear me?), so I used velcro, first, on the aqua one, with two tabs on the front. I didn't like the apparent lack of a size range with that method, so on the other two I did a long strip across the whole front, similar to the other diapers and covers I have. Overall, I'm pretty happy with them, and in less than six months, I'll have a little bum to stick 'em on. We'll see how they work!