Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awesomest Toy Store Ever

I was first drawn to Mildred & Dildred by the red door.  There is something about a red door that I can’t resist.  While talking with Autumn, the owner, I found out that Mildred & Dildred opened their doors in November of 2007.  I must have visited the store shortly after they had opened, because I was I was very pregnant with my first baby my first time there. The hubs and I checked out at all the great toys, but sadly didn’t purchase anything at that time.  This was mainly due to the fact that we didn’t know the gender of the baby and didn’t know what to buy.  However, we were very impressed by the selection of toys and have since made many visits to Mildred & Dildred.

Makes me smile!

Let’s talk toys.  The selection here is not your run of the mill big box toy store.  No sir-ee.  At Mildred & Dildred I was pleasantly reunited with many of my childhood toys.  A favorite baby toy/rattle made by Ambi Brio was discovered during one of my visits.  It brought back great memories and of course I had to get it for BW.  I think I love it just as much as he does.  There’s something magical about sharing a piece of your childhood with your little ones.  Or maybe I’m just a sentimental sort.  Mildred & Dildred also carries awesome modern toys.  I secretly admire the Rody while I’m there.  It is a rubber, bouncy, funky-in-a-cute-way horse.  One day if no one is looking I may try a bounce on it.  Supposedly it will hold up to 400 lbs.  There’s only one way to find out how true that claim is.  In addition to my secret obsession, there is a wide variety of books, puzzles, wooden toys, Sophie the Giraffe {a staple in this house thanks to M&D}, and eco-friendly toys to name a few.  You’ll have to check them out to see it all.  I guarantee you’ll want to walk out with something. Just Do It! But be sure to pay for it first!

Rody Horses

Need more reasons why Mildred & Dildred is the bestest toy store ever?!  Here you are allowed to play! There are play tables for the kiddos, and you can try out the toys before you buy.  With all the fancy stores at La Encantada, there are not many places to let your kiddies out of the stroller, but at Mildred & Dildred play is encouraged.  The staff is great and will help you find just what you’re looking for.  And if you don’t have what you’re looking for, just ask.  They may be able to get it for you. How great is that?  Mildred & Dildred even offers gift wrapping once you’ve found the perfect gift.  And if need be, they ship FedEx.  One-stop shopping!  Who doesn’t love that?  I despise strapping my kids in and out of the car more than necessary, so one less stop to go to the post office is great.

There is always something going on at Mildred & Dildred.  Story times, plays, magic shows, Lego Mini Figure Swaps, and many more events are frequently held at the store.  Be sure to check out the story times that are offered at Mildred & Dildred on Tuesdays at 10:30am and Thursdays at 3:30pm.  Story times are free and are geared toward ages 4 and under.  The plays that are put on at Mildred & Dildred are amazing.  The hubs and I took the boys awhile back to see Jack and the Beanstalk.  It was great!  I regret that we weren’t able to make the most recent play, The Tortoise and the Hare, last Saturday.  Friends went, and their kids loved it!  Coming up this weekend on Saturday, April 2nd at 1 pm is a free magic show.  Magic is huge with CW ever since he “saw” a magic show on Sesame Street with Will Arnett {HILARIOUS! Think Arrested Development meets Sesame Street}.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to check out some magic this weekend.  To keep up with the latest special events, check out their website at or “like” them on Facebook.  They are located downstairs at La Encantada in Tucson, AZ.  Stop in and let Autumn know that Tonya from Green Baby Elephant sent you.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sun Tan Part 2

Oh, oh it’s magic. Sort of.  *Full disclaimer* Before looking at the before and after pictures, I must confess that this GroVia booster not only enjoyed a weekend of our wonderful sunny weather here in Tucson, but was used and washed as well.  The extra washing was done on accident, as my sweet hubby used it since I didn’t tell him otherwise.  But the washing did help work out the nasty blueberry stains. Yay!

{Note: The loose threads are circled to prove that this is the same booster. And I apologize about the lighting in the after pic. Fluorescent lighting stinks.}
As you can see, the stains are almost completely gone.  With another wash and “tanning session” it will be stain free.  Honestly, staining doesn’t bother me.  However, I do like to keep my dipes looking as nice as possible, especially since these are going to be passed on to my soon to be born nephew. EEEE! I’m excited to meet him. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sun Tan

The hot, Arizona sun is great for drying cloth diapers.  Even when it’s not so hot, the sun here is still great for sunning your dipes.  Drying your diapers outside will save you money by not running your dryer, and the UV rays are a great way to kill any germs and remove any odors  that may be lingering on your diapers.  But wait there’s more! {I watch too many infomercials.} The sun will naturally bleach out stains!! To good to be true?! In this case, it isn’t. It doesn’t even have to be hot outside for the sun to work its magic.
For the record, I do use the dryer to dry my diapers.  Anything that is cotton {mostly my GroBaby/GroVia’s}  goes in the dryer for about 20 minutes on medium heat.  I found that this helps keep the diaper from getting stiff and rough when drying in the sun.  I have tried air drying and then putting in the dryer for a bit to soften, but that didn’t work for me.  My BabyKicks 3g pockets also go in the dryer to help soften them before air drying.  I also add my cloth wipes {WHAT?! Cloth Wipes? That’s crazy talk you say? We’ll discuss this later} to the load.  By the time 20 minutes are up, the wipes are pretty much dry.  Why don’t I dry them outside? Not enough room on the drying rack.  Plus, they dry quickly with what needs to go in the dryer.  What doesn’t go in the dryer? Shells/covers, empty pockets, microfiber inserts, and hemp inserts. Yes, I threw in a huge amount of cloth diaper verbage.   We’ll cover it all in a future post.
Blueberries are often on the menu for breakfast in this house, and the end result is well…uh…nasty.  Even after a good soak and wash, there is some staining on this GroVia booster.  The picture below is proof of that.  No worries though.  I’m putting the good ol’ Arizona sun to work.  Unfortunately, I ran out of daylight and it’s going to have to go back outside in the morning. Oh well.  No rest for the wicked or is it weary? Who knows.

Perhaps  you aren’t lucky enough to have Arizona sunshine.  Some of you are still in the throes of winter, like those in North Dakota.  Don’t fret.  Laying your diapers in the sun even inside can have some benefits.  It will take longer for stains to be removed, but it is better than nothing.   If this isn’t working for you, a little elbow grease and lemon juice may help.  After applying the lemon juice allow it to dry in the sun.  Wash the diaper again to remove the juice.  This should help to remove the stain.  If you do live in a place where there is little sun, and you are a victim of chronic staining, I have three options for you.  One is to get over it!  Harsh, I know. But seriously, stains happen.  Know that your diaper is clean, and don’t worry about what they look like.  The second option is to use fleece.  I have yet to have a diaper with fleece hold a stain.  FuzziBunz, Thirsties, and BabyKicks are all pocket style diapers that use fleece.  Third is to use a diaper sprayer.  A diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet to spray off the poo into the pot.  Prompt rinsing of the diaper will help keep the stain from being held in by the material. 

So, if you’re ever driving by and you see a drying rack full of cloth diapers, stop by and say “Hi!” Just kidding.  I don’t open the door to strangers.  I have to set a good example for my boys.  J
P.S. After I sun the booster a little bit longer tomorrow, I'll post a pic of it.
Maybe you live in a HOA and are not allowed to have a clothesline to hang out clothes.  Use a drying rack instead.  I live in a HOA and move my drying rack all over my backyard to follow the sun.  I even put the diapers out in the front yard by the door to get the last remnant of sun in the late afternoon.  I do have a courtyard, which makes it a little more difficult to see my stand of diapers out by my front door.  


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Alligator Death Roll

Changing a diaper has turned into an Olympic sport.   It’s a difficult wrestling match and only a trained athlete can accomplish the task.  I like to call it the “Alligator Death Roll” competition.  Is it dangerous?  Yes it is. Is it exhausting? Yes it is.  Can you win? Yes you can!!  Let me explain the rules.  Baby arches his back and rolls to the side.  Baby can’t be flat on his back.  Baby also has the ability to swat away wipes, hands, and clean diapers.  Also, baby’s hands can be used to grab their own soiled parts. *gag*  The diaper changer has to avoid all of the obstacles, while baby is trying to complete the alligator death roll and crawl away to safety. 

Now that the rules of the game have been explained let’s try to come up with a winning strategy.  For starters, a novel toy can be placed in the baby’s hands.  More often than not this hasn’t been working in this house. Darn. Strategy #2: whip off baby’s pants and throw them over his face while quickly changing the diaper.  For this strategy, I’m going for the classic blinding the alligator baby to create confusion, but it comes off as playing a lousy game of peek-a-boo.  Often this works if I am fast enough at changing the diaper. Strategy #3: change the darn diaper while baby is on the move.  This is by far the most difficult way to change baby, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  It’s not easy to attach a diaper while baby is in full on alligator death roll maneuver!   


A secret weapon should be mentioned.  It is hook and loop or aplix.  While it may not have the durability of snaps, there is a definite need for a H/L diaper when wrestling changing an alligator baby.  It’s always good to have a mix of both H/L and snap diapers in your stash for this very reason.  I for one am not a fan of changing a baby while in the midst of an alligator death roll while out in public or in the middle of the night.  For those occasions, I almost always reach for a diaper with H/L while wrestling changing  my alligator baby.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My First Time

I had never given cloth diapers a thought in my head. My only and brief thought about cloth diapers was that they are old fashioned. I was not going to be an “old fashion” mother. So that was my one, very fleeting thought about cloth diapers. 
My first time using cloth diapers was with my second baby.  Again, cloth diapers were not thought about.  Not even a fleeting thought like I had with my first baby.  My mom gave me quite a few GroBaby {now GroVia} diapers for my second baby. My immediate thoughts were CUTE, but uh...I don’t know about this!  I smiled and thanked her.  The diapers sat on my laundry room floor for a week.  I hemmed and hawed. Should I do this? Can I do this? I looked up cloth diapers on the internet and was immediately overwhelmed, so I stopped looking at cloth diapers online. I couldn’t decide if I could do this, so I do what I normally do in situations when I can make up my mind. Nothing.  Thank goodness my sister came to visit.  She took one look at the mess of diapers on the floor and threw them in the wash. WHEW! A decision was made! She and I washed and prepped the diapers. 
At a little over a month old, BW wore his first cloth diaper. ADORABLE! I melted when I saw him in his little mandarin GroBaby.
At first, I used cloth only at home and only during the day. I had to baby step my transition to cloth.  Even though I loved using my new cloth diapers, it took me awhile to get used to the idea of them.  It’s not that I had any particular stumbling blocks using them.  No stink, leaks, rashes.  Actually, it was quite the opposite.  They washed like a dream, and instantly, BW didn’t have any leaks.  No BLOW-OUTS!  It was almost like it was too good to be true. A miracle. Or maybe you’d prefer to say it was like magic. *Poof* All my problems with disposable diapers were gone!  Another plus that I noticed was that since I was only using disposables at night, we were going through less paper diapers.  This meant less time spent going to the store, especially during the first couple of months when babies grow out of diapers literally overnight.   The thrifty part of me loved not spending money on something that I throw out in sometimes a matter of minutes of using.  I also noticed that the garbage bin wasn’t quite as full when taking it to the curb.   Dare I say, this whole experience was like a dream come true?  Yes! Really! 
Here’s the Good and the Bad summed up with some nice bullet points for those that like lists. {I am a list person.}
The Good
·         No rash, no creams to use.
·         Less trash, so fewer trips to the garbage can outside to empty the diaper pail.
·         Less money spent on paper diapers as I slowly transitioned to cloth.  This changed to no money spent once we transitioned to only cloth. Yippee!
·         Darling outfits in the summer. T-shirt + diaper = super cute!  As a mom to two boys, the cuteness factor for boy clothes is nowhere near girl clothes, so this was a major plus for me.  Shallow, I know.
·         Easy to use.  Press some buttons on the machine to wash and air dry (sunned outside). Easy Velcro-like closures (hook and loop or Aplix) made for an easy transition to cloth since they went on just like a disposable.
·         No explosive poo leaking everywhere, which meant less washing of clothes and stain removal.
The Bad
·         After a few weeks, I realized I didn’t have enough diapers to make it through a day, and I was getting tired of CONSTANTLY washing.  I think he poo’ed more than any baby his age should! This was solved by buying more diapers. I now wash every other day.
·         More frequent changing. I hesitate to mention this, because I don’t want anyone to be turned off by using cloth, but at the same time I promise to be totally honest here.  So here goes nothing.  This more frequent changing was a double edge sword for me.  At first, I felt like I was changing a lot more than I would have with disposables. But I came to realize that it was a good indication of how well he was nursing and an easy way to monitor his fluid intake.  Because disposables are so absorbent, I often couldn’t tell how much or often my baby urinated, which in turn meant I didn’t know how well he was breastfeeding.  Luckily, this was a short lived issue. Babies grow and change quickly, and this is no longer a “problem”.
·         I was clueless about using diapers at night and was yet again paralyzed by indecision and information overload on the internet. Yikes! Obviously, this is now no longer a problem.  I will focus on nighttime diapers in a future post.  Hint: hemp.
·          I felt uncomfortable using cloth out of the house.  Yet again something that I didn’t have any experience in doing, and it made me feel anxious about leaving the house. Once again, problem solved.  We leave the house & travel.  Again, this will be discussed in detail in the future.
·         No support. This is a total peer pressure issue.  No one I knew was doing this.  I felt so alone. Ugh.  Luckily, I fell in love with all the good that I saw with cloth diapering that this was just about a nonissue with me. Yay for being independent!  For help and advice, I reconnected with a childhood friend that cloth diapers, so the beginning of a support group began.  Also, friends saw the benefits of cloth and began using them as well on their babies.  Support and information is a major reason why I began Green Baby Elephant!
BW lookin' angry and cute at the same time in his first cloth diaper. I like to think that the angry face means that he was trying to say, "Why didn't you put one of these comfy diapers on me sooner mom?!" or something like that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reasons to Cloth Diaper

Top 5 Reasons to Cloth Diaper Your Little One
5. CUTE. Stinkin’ cute! It’s amazingly fun to change such cute diapers. This is the one “accessory” that is constantly changed and never boring. For girls, it can add pizazz to an outfit. And finally boys have something adorably cute that creates an instant outfit with a matching t-shirt. Many of us moms spent our childhood dressing and undressing dolls. Here’s a chance to do it again with our babes. We are already spending a large majority of our days (and nights) changing diapers. How about making it fun again?! Trade a boring paper diaper for a colorful cloth one. You can’t go wrong with all the great colors and prints that cloth diapers come in now!
4. EASY. No more pins or plastic pants. Cloth diapers are hip, modern, and did I mention cute?! Today’s cloth diapers use durable snaps and super easy Velcro-like closures.
3. GREEN. As in earth friendly. Disposable diapers aren’t really disposable if you think about it. You may throw them away, but they really don’t go anywhere. Disposable diapers don’t biodegrade! Cloth diapers are reusable, and certain ones can even be composted when worn out. Awesome!
2. HEALTHY. The amount of chemicals and petroleum used to make a disposable diaper is insane. Using disposable diapers has the potential of exposing your baby to the chemicals that are inside the diaper. Have you ever used a disposable and seen the gel all over your baby’s skin while changing a diaper? Yuck! How about all the diaper rash your baby gets in disposables? And then you have to use a ton of rash creams to clear up the rash. Double yuck! Cloth diapers are much more breathable on your baby’s skin, which means little to no diaper rash. Yay!
1. CHEAP. Frugal, thrifty, fiscally responsible. Babies are expensive. Cloth diapers will save you money! You will be buying diapers for an average of 3 years per child. That’s a lot of money that is literally going in the trash. Cloth diapers can be used for more than one child, which can save you even more money.  When your baby no longer wears diapers, they (the diapers, not your child) can be sold, and you’ll get some money back. Sweet!

Top 5 Reasons I Cloth Diaper
5. COMFORT. Cloth diapers are so soft. I prefer to wear cloth underwear instead of plastic. As I think most of us do.  Since my almost one-year old can’t talk, I’ve been assuming the same for him during his first year.
4. POOP. This one requires a little more explanation. Poop blow-outs are a thing of the past. With my first baby, I didn’t use cloth. **GASP** He was often up to his neck in poop. I am not lying! With my second, poop blow-outs have been almost a non-issue. Some diarrhea due to slight milk sensitivity caused a few poop related catastrophes.  EEWW.  However, if I was using a disposable, he would have been up to his eyebrows in poop.  I can honestly say that he never had any explosive newborn poop blow outs. It is great to know that I can leave the house and not worry about poop going everywhere now that I use cloth diapers.
3. CHEAP. Yes, I already mentioned this one, but it’s worth mentioning again. Cloth diapers will save you money when it comes to buying disposable diapers, but it will also save you even more money by keeping you out of the store. WHAT?! Let me explain. I have no willpower when it comes to sales and clearance. A good deal is hard to pass up. While checking out the diaper aisle at the store, I would often hit the baby clothes clearance, baby toy clearance, shoe clearance, movie clearance, and the list goes on. I am embarrassed to admit that I almost always bought more than what I needed while at the store.  (Mind you, everything I bought was a killer deal!!) But seriously, less time at the store equals less buying of good deals (aka crap), which will save you money and time.
2. EASY. Again? Yes, cloth diapers are easy.  I have found that it is easier to throw a load of diapers in the wash than it is to load up the kids into the car and go to the store.  I press a few buttons and my machine does all the work. Easy peasy!
1. MOTHER. My mom bought my son cloth diapers when he was born. I would have never given cloth diapers a thought in my head if she hadn’t bought them for me. My husband and I were asked if we would use cloth by family and friends, and we both EEWW’ed and laughed simultaneously.  But given as a gift, I gave them a try and fell in love. Mother knows best. I almost gagged typing that. HA! Let me rephrase it. In this case, mother knows best. XOXO