Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review : Neela Bags

I love using my reusable bags when I go shopping. I've had them around for a year or more and find them so convenient - even when garage sale-ing and going to farmers markets! But the ones I have and normally see in the grocery stores are all boring store colors with the supermarket name plastered on it. Like mine. They're blue and all say Meijer. And you know...sometimes I just don't feel like advertising for stores. And sometimes I need a bit of flavor in my life.

Enter Neela Bags.

When I first opened the package I was really unimpressed by the size of the bag. I mean, it was about as big as a lunch tote. Seriously? But as I started to check it out, I actually opened it up. Yea. There were actually FIVE bags, folded up inside it. That makes sense. Duh.

So the sent me the Market Pack, which is really cool. One smaller bag (that could totally double as a lunch tote) hold 5 grocery sized bags all rolled up and neat like.So yesterday I went out shopping at our local Natural/Bulk food store and decided to bring these along. For one, the fact that they fold up so small and have a separate carrying case was awesome. Because I go out shopping with a toddler and an infant and all their stuff plus my purse. Sometimes the extra bags just get in the way. This time I just pushed them into the diaper bag.

I was a bit concerned when I took them out of the bag to start loading groceries into them. Since they do fold up so small, they don't have that plastic bottom piece in them and I was worried it might not be sturdy enough once I got all my stuff in them. And I had stuff! Multiple 5 pound bags of stuff!

But they did a great job of holding it all together! No sagging and they were very sturdy! I think there was about 15 pounds or more in each one by the time I finished loading them.And all of this was packed in them:
And all of those bags on the table were at least 5 pounds a piece. Plus the jars and what not.

So when all was said and done, I really liked these bags. They performed much better than I expected and because they're so cute and compactable, they'll be my first choice form when I head out shopping!

And it's such a great and easy way to be a bit more environmentally thoughtful. Using and wasting those plastic bags that only hold a few items, is not only bad for the environment, but such a pain as well. I can normally put 3x more in reusable bags, than I can in plastic bags from the store. As an added benefit, I can also put these over my shoulder, which means less trips out to the car brining my groceries in!

Need some yourself? Head on over to Neela Bags and check them out. They have all sorts of super chic colors and styles to choose from. And thanks to MomFuse for setting up the review for me!

Review : Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash

I'm all about having a clean car. But I'm not all about the chemical washes we use to clean them. Now, we don't frequent the actual car washes, my hubby washes our vehicles at home. So any cleaners we use get rinsed off and into our own land. But the Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash is supposed to end all the rinsing. In fact, they claim you use no water at all. I was a bit intrigued.

But when I opened the box, I was a bit worried. See, all you do is take the spray bottle and spray your car and the microfiber cloth, wipe off the dirt, and use another cloth to shine. Hmmmm.

So I tried it on my van. It's been awhile since it's been washed. And we live way out in the country. I travel dirt roads. Spray and wipe, really?

Well, it does work. But it took a long time. Cause I have real dirt on my van, not just road grime and rain spots. And the 2 cloths they sent me got dirty pretty quick. But it does work!

And my husband has since taken this from me to use on his motorcycle. Which will be actually be nice, because it does sit in the garage most of the time and he only rides it on sunny days. So it doesn't really get dirty, it gets dusty. So this spray and wipe will not only save us water (and electricity from the well pump) but we won't have to rinse off yucky cleaners that get into our lawn. And the whole bottle should last the rest of the summer for just the bike!

So if you're environmentally conscience check out Eco Touch! They sell a variety of eco friendly car supplies like dash cleaners, upholstery cleaners, and metal polishes. And thanks to MomFuse and Eco Touch for letting me give it a try!

Review : Tiny Star Couture

Oh, the fun of having a girl!! I get to have sweet little girlie things in the house, like hair bows!! So I was geeked when MomFuse asked me to review a hair clippie from Tiny Star Couture.

They sent me the "Audrey".
(really impressed having her pic taken :-)

But the clip is easy to use and doesn't just fall out. It's made with a sturdy metal clip covered in ribbon (ours has velvet ribbon) so the metal doesn't show. Plus, it's super cute! The two little flowers are well put together and the detail is great. I can't wait till the little babe's hair gets long enough to really use it.

Tiny Star Couture also sells lots of other cute stuff for girls! I love their hats, they're super cute crocheted hats with either bows or flowers on them. They also have headbands and tutus as well. Such a fun girlie store!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Review : a Kangaroobabe Ring Sling

To finish up my week of babywearing I did just a couple weeks ago, (I know, a little late huh?) I figured I had to do a ring sling! And Jennifer from kangaroobabe sent me the perfect one to try out for you!!

Here's just a little ditty about Jennifer and kangaroobabe:

My name is Jennifer and I live in Northwest Arkansas with my husband Grant and our 13 month old son Elliott. I became interested in babywearing after my son was born. Like a lot of babies he wanted to be held all the time and I found it hard to do much of anything since he was always in my arms. When I was pregnant I came across an original style padded ring sling at a thrift store for only $5. I tried it out with Elliott but it was awkward and hard to adjust so I set it aside and forgot about it. I began doing some research on babywearing and the different types of carriers. I started out by making a simple wrap out of a long piece of stretchy fabric. Elliott loved it and so did I; but I found it a bit inconvenient to get all wrapped up when we went out. I went back and studied the thrift store ring sling. I decided to cut the rings out of it and proceeded to use them to make my own sling. I had so much fun doing it I haven’t stopped since! Now I sell my slings, along with a few other things like baby leg warmers, tutus, onesies and bibs with ties on them in my etsy shop, www.kangaroobabe.etsy.com.

A little bit about my slings:

My slings are made with two layers of 100% cotton. I use aluminum sling rings from SlingRings.com. These sling rings are non-toxic. They are not welded so they have no weak points and they are tested to hold up to 250 pounds. I do multiple stitching at the weight bearing seams for added strength and durability. Ring slings are great because they are fully adjustable; no sizing is necessary. They are convenient to throw over your shoulder and slide your baby in. They can be used from newborns to toddlers in several different positions. The different carries are the cradle carry or the newborn carry, tummy to tummy, front facing or kangaroo hold, hip carry, and back carry. When worn properly the fabric will spread out across your back and shoulder to distribute your child's weight.

Babywearing takes practice so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. YouTube has tons of great videos on how to use a ring sling; that’s how I learned. Stop by my blog, www.kangaroobabe.blogspot.com, to read about the benefits of babywearing.


Now Jennifer asked me if I had a preference on fabric before she sent me one, and from looking through her etsy store, I could tell anything she sent me I would love. She uses some pretty cute stuff! And let me tell you, the blue and green paisley she sent was right up my alley! So pretty.

But the rings.

Oh those rings.

For some reason they just looked confusing to me.

So I set it down in my office for a few days before giving it a go. And Jennifer must have somehow sensed I needed help, because I got an e-mail with all sorts of links to you tube videos showing how to put it on and put baby in. After watching a couple short clips, I was ready to go!

It did take me a couple times to figure out the best way to put the baby in, but once we got it, we got it! I've used it while making dinner and of course, I've used it while out shopping. And the one thing that always struck me as being in the way (the tail that hangs down) isn't in the way at all! Plus it can be very useful to use as a nursing cover while nursing them in the sling! Cool huh?

Now, all ring slings are used in the same manner. It's fabric and rings. But let me tell you, this one is easy to use, and the quality is fabulous! This woman can sew. Seriously, I am constantly impressed by what these crafty work at home mama's can do! This definitely doesn't look like something I made, the stitching is perfect, and it feels like it could last wash after wash.(the only reason I'm holding her was because right when I went to take a photo she started bobbing her head all around and moving like crazy!)

So, if you're in the mood or looking for a ring sling, check out kangaroobabe! You won't be disappointed!

*oh - plus she has some other cute stuff in her shop too, like tutus! And I soooo hope my little girl is into tutus, cause she's gonna have one as soon as she can walk!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Review : Jellie Bellies Mei Tai

Ever try a Mei Tai? I hadn't until just recently when Michelle from Jellie Babies sent me one to review. Michelle has a great little Etsy shop where she sells her handmade Mei Tais as well as little mini Mei Tais for those little ones that want to carry their dolls. (How cute is that, right? How I would love to get one of those when my little girl is a bit older!) Plus her prices are pretty awesome too.

Here's a little ditty from Michelle:
My parents named me Michelle and I became Lloyd when I married my husband nine years ago! I married an Australian and had the privileged of living in South Australia for the first 5 years of marriage. We had 2 boys there, now 7 and 5, then we moved to the states. We've lived in my hometown of Spokane, Washington for 4 1/2 years now and are surviving the winters.....barely! We have since had 2 baby girls, now 3 and 20 months.

It was after the birth of my 3rd child that I discovered the benefits of "baby wearing". She was an extremely fussy baby. I felt that my whole life was spent on the couch nursing, and I was struggling to find a way to keep her happy and get anything else done in my day (including meaningful interaction with my boys) That is when I happened upon a sling and I never looked back. I researched other carriers and eventually landed on the Mei Tai. One of the things that attracted me to it was that I could easily make one myself and thereby change the look as much as I wanted. I loved it at first for the convenience, but have come to appreciate the wonderful benefits of having your baby so close so much of the time.

It was with the birth of my last child that I started making the carriers for other people. First, as gifts, and then I started selling them to friends who had one and wanted to give them to someone else. I never imagined I'd be selling them to people I didn't know, let alone people all over the country! I named the company Jellie Babies after my daughters - Josephine and Ellie - and chose the butterfly symbol simply because of it's beauty. I work out of my basement, mostly in the evenings when the kids are in bed and my husband is working on the computer.

The Mei Tai is something I love, but I realize there are many carriers out there and people have their own favorites. That is why I get so excited when someone else shares my enthusiasm for this carrier. I try to use designer fabrics, patterns that I love or imagine someone else will really love. I make all my carriers with sturdy, breathable, cotton twill and line them with Minky or twill, depending on your preference. I triple reinforce the stitching where straps attach to the carrier, which makes it durable. I have a carrier I used for both my girls and it's still going strong. It does take a few times practicing to get it all down, but now it's fun to put my toddler on my back, secure her with the straps, and head off down the grocery aisle. I hope you like the Jellie Babies Mei Tai as much as I do!


When I first got this in the mail, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the fabric and construction. And the fact that it had lightly padded shoulder straps! I wasn't expecting that and was very pleased to see it. I also loved the fact that it's lined with super soft Minky fabric. How awesome is that?

The instructions she sent me were easy to follow, though she's right - it took me just a couple times to really get it right. Sophia seemed very comfortable in it and proceeded to fall asleep right away. Something about being carried right up against me knocks her out every time! The carrier keeps her very secure and I never once felt as if she would fall out. It's also light weight enough to where neither one of us get to hot. I do normally put her in it while sitting down though. Makes it easier for me at this point, but I'm sure one day it'll be so second nature that I could put it on in just a couple seconds standing up. I had it tied under her bum for awhile, but have since noticed that she stays put better (doesn't slouch) if I tie it at her back.

I've since used it around the house during the day and also at the grocery store. And I'm actually able to get this review because she's in it! It's been easy to put on and it's also nice that I can take it off while she's sleeping without disturbing her to much. The only downside I've noticed with this type of carrier (each type has it's own!) is that again, the straps are long and I worry about getting them dirty when I put it on out in public. :-)

All in all it's a great carrier and really good quality. So if you're looking for a Mei Tai for yourself or as a gift for someone else, check out Jellie Babies and support handmade!


*if you purchase one of these and mention "Raising Peanuts" in your order form, Michelle will refund the shipping cost back to your paypal account!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Review : Wrap N Wear

A friend of mine got me excited about the idea of a wrap a few months ago when her little babe was born. And when Wrap 'n Wear decided to send me one to review I was pretty stoked.

Wrap 'n Wear wraps are made out of lightweight crinkle cotton that have just a touch of give to them. If you're like me, I had no idea what crinkel cotton was. When I pulled it out of the box, I finally found out! It's a really light and airy fabric. And it's crinkle-y. :-) Just cheking it over it seemed like it was of great quality and quite sturdy.

After a quick watch of the instructional DVD I tied it on. A bit to tight. So I loosened it a bit and popped baby right in. She got comfy right away and decided to take a bit of a nap!

After wearing it for a couple hours, I noticed how well she stayed where I had put her and the fact that I was still very comfortable and there was no pull on my shoulders. We were also both quite comfortable temperature wise as the fabric is so light. The wrap was very supportive and kept her secure the entire time. The extra support panel was great as well.
The DVD that came with the wrap was easy to follow and covered something like 12 different carries. Cody liked it so much he wanted to watch it again! Actually, he was really interested in being quite involved in this whole review.
All in all, this is a great wrap and I look forward to using it. Especially during some of our hot and humid days over the summer. And I'm sure I'll get my use out of it as well because it's good quality and will last as long as I need it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Review : The Ergo

I had no idea what the Ergo was before I found the world of blogging. And then I found that it was supposedly the elite of all baby carriers. And can you believe I only first saw one in person just a few short weeks ago? It was then that I decided I had to try one, and I was super pumped that the lovely folks at Ergo decided to send me one to review!

First, a bit about Ergo:
The Ergo Carrier was first developed by Karin Frost when she created a carrier for her own son in 2001 and they began marketing it in 2003. ERGObaby is a family owned and operated company located on Maui, Hawaii. Their mission is to offer parents the most thoughtful, highest quality, and most innovative babywearing products and accessories found on the market. They also continuously educate parents on the benefits of baby wearing that go beyond the convenience factor as well as share related topics they feel will improve how the next generation of babies are brought into the world.


Now supposedly, you can use just this one carrier from infant to toddler.

Supposedly
.

And they say it doesn't hurt your back or shoulders at all.

So they say.

But how does it really work?


When it first came in the mail I was so exited to try it out. I had talked to a couple women who had used one and they seemed to enjoy their immensely and it got me anxious to try it myself!

Problem was, I noticed the box at the back door at the exact moment Sophia woke up to eat. So I did what I'm sure a lot of moms would. I quick opened the box and sat down to nurse while I pulled out the contents! I was able to read all of the instructions and literature that came with it while she got her lunch. :-) And as soon as she was done, I pulled it on and had Cody hop in. Why Cody and not Sophia? I didn't have the infant insert just yet.

Cody thought it was soooo cool!! He fit in there perfectly (he'll be 3 in just 2 months!) and seemed both comfortable and secure. Very secure actually. I never once felt like he could slip out. And I felt comfortable. The weight was really distributed quite evenly and it didn't seem to pull on my shoulders. I could even stand up straight even though I had 30 pounds on my back!
We even ran through the house with him in it because I wanted to see how secure and comfortable it really was. He thought it was hysterical and I was left impressed!

I also put him in this while I went garage sale-ing one day and he was in there for about a half hour. The only uncomfortable part was the fact that being only 6 weeks post partum, I am OUT OF SHAPE! I was tired, but not sore though.

I did manage to get down to one of the only stores in town that had the infant inserts last week, so I could try it out with Sophia. It did take me a couple times to get her in and situated comfortably, but now that we have it down, I can just pop her in with slight re-adjustments.

The Ergo goes on super quickly with only two clips. One on the waist and one over the chest or back depending on how you're putting baby in. (and the front carry is great for covering up the post partum belly too!) The straps are padded but are not bulky and they added a great new feature so that the height of the chest strap doesn't move when you take it off and put it back on. It also has a built in sleeping hood so keep baby's head secure if they do fall asleep, and you can use it as a sun shield or nursing cover too. It's so easy to get on and off though, that if baby does fall asleep you can take it off without waking them.

What I Liked:
  • How easy it was to put on and take off
  • How comfortable it was
  • The fact that yes you can use this from birth till toddlerdom
  • Baby/Toddler stay comfortable
  • The quality is fantastic and I can see why these last so long. The fabric is super sturdy and durable too!
  • It lives up to all it's claims.
What I didn't like so much:
  • With the infant insert in, it does get just a tad bulky and can make it seem like there's to much on top. Then again, the infant insert does keep baby nice and cozy.
  • The waist strap isn't very long. Granted I did just have a baby, but I only had a few inches at the end of the strap. They do sell an extension strap to fix that problem though if your waist is over 43" in diameter.

I honestly can't wait to get out this summer! A carrier like this opens so many doors for me now. Before I had to worry about my toddler running off, but this solves that problem! Plus I think this would be one that my husband would actually use as it's not "girly".

I think anyone who leads even a somewhat active lifestyle would love one of these!! I know the cost may seem like a lot up front, but if you think about how long you can use it, it does really make sense! Plus they have some cool attachments like a backpack and front pouch. I really can't wait to get out to the park or beach or farmers market or......anywhere really! I don't even have to bring my purse along now.


Have you tried one of these? What did you think? And did your babies like it?