Thursday, June 17, 2010

Down and Dirty- the Truth about Washing Cloth Diapers

Let’s get down and dirty and talk about what it’s really like to wash your own diapers. We’ve all heard the “ewwww gross” comments and some of us even started out thinking that, you know who you are. So what is it really like? Is it as easy as these cloth diapering moms claim? Do I have to touch poop?
I love cloth diapering my babies for so many reasons, but let’s get one thing straight, messing around with dirty diapers is not my idea of a good time. I have designed Smartipants to be the easiest diapers to care for that are 100% reusable for this reason!
So here’s the play by play of using and caring for Smartipants…
Once you receive your brand new diapers you want to wash them in hot water on the normal setting for your washer with about ¼ the recommended amount of detergent. Follow this with an extra rinse and tumble dry. You can also hang them to dry if you wish. This is all that is required to prepare your diapers for first use. Once they are dry you place the insert into the smart sleeve and they are ready to go.

So now we’re ready to put them on baby. There is a great video showing how to snap Smartipants to the smallest setting. Click here to watch the video on youtube.
So you need to figure out which setting is best for your baby’s size and shape. It’s ok if it seems like your younger baby is already on a larger setting. Babies tend to slim down as the grown and become mobile. Smartipants should still provide a good fit. You shouldn’t worry about outgrowing them yet.

So you’ve figured out the snap settings you want to use and you’ve got the diaper on baby. Now what? Well now we wait…a couple hours later it’s time for a diaper change! So you get your clean Smartipants diaper out and make sure it’s set to the size you want. Then you remove the dirty diaper, wipe baby’s bottom and replace with a clean Smartipants. Here’s the not so scary part - what to do with the dirty diaper…

Take the dirty diaper to the bathroom and shake any solids into the toilet. If your baby has poop that isn’t yet solidly formed, you might invest in a diaper sprayer such as a “mini shower” brand sprayer to assist in removing waste from the diaper. Otherwise you can use some tissue to get off any big parts. Now you take the diaper to your laundry room or wherever you keep your waterproof laundry diaper pail or laundry bag and you place the dirty diaper inside and close until laundry time. This process takes just a few minutes and you will become very efficient in no time. I can do this is less than 4 minutes from removing the diaper to getting it in the diaper pail. Now you get to wash your hands and go snuggle that baby!

Laundry time…so now you have about 12-15 diapers in your pail and you’re ready to do a load of diaper laundry. This is the easy part. Take your waterproof laundry bag or pail liner and turn it inside out pushing all the diapers into your washer then toss the bag in at the same time. Set your washer to a regular wash cycle with an extra rinse, add ¼ to ½ the recommended amount of detergent, this is all that is needed to get your Smartipants thoroughly clean and start the washer. DO NOT add fabric softener or any other additives. Fabric softener will cause your diapers to repel liquid and LEAK!
If your diapers seem to retain odor or have a strong ammonia odor you can add ¼ c liquid bleach to your wash cycle. This is recommended no more often than once every other month.

Now you can toss the load into the dryer to tumble dry or you can hang to dry. When your diapers come out of the wash the inserts will have separated themselves from the diaper which ensures they are getting thoroughly clean and will dry faster as well. Once they are dry you simply place the inserts back into the smart sleeve and your Smartipants are ready to reuse. You should never have to touch the inserts when they are wet or soiled as the diaper has been designed specifically to avoid that unpleasant task. You need only handle the inside of the diaper when it is clean and dry.
I hope this information is helpful and please feel free to direct any questions via email to or check out of fan page of facebook by clicking here!

Benefits of Reusable Diapers

There is a lot of information out there on the pros and cons of cloth diapering today. I’d like to talk to you about the benefits I’ve experienced over the last decade in cloth diapering my own 4 children. For our family, we originally considered and eventually chose reusable diapers for the money savings. We just couldn’t justify as a young family paying thousands of dollars for diapers if there was a cheaper alternative. We originally started with old fashioned prefolds, diaper pins and waterproof pants to cover them. We had started our first baby in disposables and as soon as I discovered that we could cloth diaper him we really had no choice. I simply could not afford to continue to buy diapers that would be thrown away in the trash.
After cloth diapering with the prefolds and upon learning we were expecting baby # 2 I decided to learn to sew so we could have some Velcro style fitted diapers in cute fabrics. So I made lots of tiny diapers for the new baby and learned more and more about the other benefits of reusable diapers. I knew I wanted to continue cloth diapering with my children even if the cost of disposables wasn’t the issue any longer. It still seemed silly to waste money so that was still a big benefit, but I became interested in the environmental impact of my choices as well. There are studies that I consider very outdated at this point but they are out there and they state that the impact of disposable diapers may not be much more than that of reusable diapers. I disagree with that because it doesn’t take modern reusable diapers into consideration and the fact that they are actually energy efficient to launder these days using less water and detergent and less or no time in the dryer. For our family as we grew and especially now that I have 4 children the amount of waste we generate in our household is a big concern. We always seek ways to lessen the amount of trash we produce. We find ways to recycle more and more and reusable products is a big way to reduce waste. This factor alone builds a strong case for reusable diapers. Every child in disposables produces 1 cubic ton of non-biodegradable waste. That is a lot of waste. For the average family with 2 children that is 2 cubic tons of waste. To reduce that to zero is a major difference.
I also love the benefits to my babies. With the introduction of modern fabrics that wick moisture away from baby’s delicate skin and helps to keep them dry and rash free, we personally saw our babies benefit. We had almost no rashes ever and no need for constant application of creams and ointments. I really felt good about using a product I knew was safe and healthy for my babies and especially that it lacked the chemicals found in disposables. I wasn’t sure if those chemicals were truly safe or not but being able to avoid them completely felt like a great choice for our family.
So those were the reasons I chose and continued choosing reusable diapers over the last 10 years. I felt so strongly that it was a great option for our family that I went as far as to make getting reusable diapers to the lowest price and the easiest to use style a career so I could share this wonderful choice with other families. There are great modern reusable diapers available today and I encourage anyone who would be interested in cloth diapering to check it out!
Smartipants currently offers the smartest modern reusable diaper MADE in the USA for an unbeatable price! Click here to buy Smartipants today!

For more tips click here to visit us on Facebook!

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Contest Announced by Smartipants!

Brand New Contest Announcement!

Want to win your own Smartipants Diapers? We know you do, and we have a great contest that will give you that opportunity!

We love our customers are your reviews have really helped us become the number 1 one-size diaper in the world in the last year! We love it when you spread the word about Smartipants and we appreciate all your support. So between now and July 15, 2010 we are hosting a contest! Every winner chosen will receive a Smart Start 3 pack in their color choice. The number of winners will be determined by the number of participants so encourage your friends to join in. The more participants we have the more winners we will select!

Contest Details: We will accept entries for each new fan on our facebook fan page as well as every post, comment, or pic submitted to our facebook fan page here

We will also accept an entry for every tweet on twitter to or mentioning @thesmartipants and for new followers on twitter

Simply tell us and everyone why you love Smartipants, your favorite color, the new color you hope to see Smartipants come out with, your favorite part of cloth diapering, the kind of products you like to see us come out with and more. We want your reviews, your pics and your thoughts. Every time you post it counts as a contest entry. This contest is limited to Smartipants fans in the US and Canada. Winners will be notified by July 30, 2010. Good Luck!

10 Smart Ways to Save on Raising Your Kids

10 smart ways to save on raising your kids
Bonnie McCarthy
Jun 7th 2010 at 11:00AM Filed under: Family Money, Saving Money

There's a new price tag on parenthood and it ain't cheap -- but of course, that comes as no surprise to America's moms and dads. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of raising a child has skyrocketed 22% since 1960, and now rings up at a whopping $11,650 to $13,530 per year for middle income parents (earning $56,670 to $98,120) and between $19,380 and $23,180 for families taking home more than $98,120 annually.

But wait, there's more: New parents have something else to keep them up at night. Children born in 2009 carry an even higher price tag and are estimated to cost a middle class family $286,050 by the time the tot is old enough to vote. Families in a higher tax bracket will pay closer to $475,680.

Now, for the bad news. The USDA did not include the cost of a college education, life insurance for hard working parents, and other child-related expenses like snacks for an entire soccer team, Nintendo DS, American Girl dolls and replacing appliances because someone thought it would be cool to see what would happen if you stuck an action figure in there...

The thing is, kids come with a no returns, no exchanges, all sales final sort of policy that doesn't include loopholes for the rising cost of child rearing. You can't give 'em back -- not that you'd really want to. They are worth every penny and more; it would just be nice to have a few left over. Following are a few tips for raising kids on budget that will help do just that.

Library cards are free
According to the U.S. Department of Education, reading to young children promotes language development and reading skills and is linked to a student's overall success in school. It's a lifetime advantage for a child that is absolutely free with a library card. As kids get older, the variety of books, magazines and newspapers available at libraries is equally important. Many libraries also offer free computer time, and rent DVDs and movies at bargain rates. Go to to find a local library.

Baby sitting co-op
Not everyone lives next door to Grandma. For those of us who don't have relatives to allow a reprieve from the kids, consider swapping hours with a parent in the same position. You have their kids over for a few hours, and they return the favor. Make sure everyone knows the rules of the agreement so there are no hard feelings -- and whatever you do, don't be late for pick up. "The best thing about the co-op, besides not having to pay, is that our kids know each other and play together," said mother of two Marie desJardins on "So in some ways, it's actually better than having a babysitter come over because it's a treat for the kids to get to visit a friend's house. Plus, we know that these are experienced parents, and over time, the parents have become close friends, too." For ideas on how to get started, go to or check out Smart Mom's Baby Sitting Co op Handbook and start-up kit at

"Kids Eat Free" meal deals
Feeding the family Top Ramen at home every night might save money, but it won't do much for your sanity -- or sodium intake. When it's time to take a breather, check out for a listing of 5,545 restaurants nationwide that offer one or two nights a week where kids can order and eat for free! also offers kids-eat-free listings as well as coupons for discounts on pizza. Other savings strategies might include encouraging small eaters to share an order and sticking with water instead of soda. Sometimes when you can't take the heat, you really should get out of the kitchen.

Style swap
Savvy parents are catching on to the fact that swapping gently-used clothing makes sense. How often was that holiday blazer, ski pant or darling toddler sweater worn? Has Skippy outgrown the wet suit? Some things should be permanently retired (think: stained, ripped, threadbare), but many things are perfectly suited for swapping. WalletPop journalist, Diane Wedner said, "When my daughters were teens, they organized clothing swaps in which their friends brought over clothing items they were tired of. All the girls laid their contribution out on the floor, each girl chose from the skirts, tops, pants, belts, tanks, shorts, you name it -- and each felt she'd gotten something new. The leftover clothes were donated to charity. Win-win!" If you don't have a local group to trade with, check out online clothes swapping site,

Birthday parties on a budget
Keep the happy in birthday and the budget on track with planning and creativity. Skip the super-sized bash at the over priced pizza fun zone and opt for a manageable guest list (experts suggest one guest for every year of the child's age, i.e. turning five equal five friends), an inexpensive location (think park), pitching a tent in the backyard, and choosing activities that spend time, not money: three-legged races, scavenger hunt, freeze tag, Simon says, or making play dough. and have great, inexpensive ideas online. For older kids, find an interesting free tour in your community: Organize a visit to a fire station, bakery, farm or radio station. A cake can be as simple as letting the kids frost their own cupcakes or creating a Hostess treat "pyramid" -- or maybe one made out of donuts. There are also great online resources for darling do-it-yourself cake resources that require more dash than cash. Cake and ice cream parties planned after lunchtime also keep costs down. reported that Suri Cruise's 2nd birthday extravaganza cost $100,000 -- you don't have to make the same mistake.

Dive in to a car pool
Dividing the drive time can cut fuel costs and lower auto emissions (another green step forward). Finding trusted friends and neighbors who will be going to the same places is a great way to get to know your community and stretch that tank of gas. Just make sure everyone knows the schedule, the contact numbers, and drop off and pick up times, and obeys the rules of the road.

Pay less at the movies
If you don't need to see the film on opening day, a little patience can pay off. Starplex Discount Theaters operates 24 theaters and 222 screens nationwide with movie tickets priced at $3, and babies ages 1 and under are free. For the price of one ticket to an IMAX 3-D film, the entire family can see the show without sneaking in through the exit door. Costco also sells discounted movie tickets to premium theaters, and AAA offers discounts as well. One of the coolest deals in town: Regal theaters' Free Family Film Festival where select G and PG films are screened for free on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings in the summer. Go to for details. Popcorn sold separately.

Travel smart
Traveling with kids might not be cheap, but the experiences and change of pace make it worth it -- as long as the budget is kept under control. Look for kids-eat-free deals like the one offered by Holiday Inn (all meals free!), and remember to pack some microwave popcorn if there will be an in-room microwave. For accommodations, check out Hostelling International USA to look for family rooms with private bathrooms -- it's not like the college backpacking trip you might remember -- and the price is right. If you're dreaming of a cruise, your ship may have come in. Many cruise lines are offering free or greatly reduced rates for kids. Check out Norwegian Cruise Line and other top lines for the best fares -- even Disney offers free cruising for kids in the off season. Bon voyage!

Start a gift stash
It's amazing how many birthday parties a child can get invited to over the course of a year, and although no one expects lavish gifts, the cost of a budding social butterfly adds up quickly. Avoid over-paying for costly gifts at the last minute by stocking up on great age-appropriate toys on the clearance racks and shopping after-holiday sales. Make sure the kids don't have access to the stash, and once in a while you might put an early birthday or holiday find on the shelf for them, too. Score! Buyer beware, however, of over-doing it! Don't stock up on more than you will realistically need -- hold out for the best gifts at the cheapest prices.

Doing Diapers
The Real Diaper Association calculates that buying 6,000 disposable diapers (averaging .25 cents per diaper) for one child over a two-year period comes to a whopping $1,500. Some experts put the figure closer to $3,000 per child over a three-year period. In a previous WalletPop post Smartipants: Earth-friendly diapers for baby's booty on a budget, the case for switching to cloth, or using the new Smartipant adjustable style diaper is a strong one. In fact, one consumer put the new "pocket style" microfiber diapers to the test and came up smiling, "I was really impressed with the design," said initially skeptical consumer Audrey Smith. "If I had known about them earlier, I would have bought 20 of them." Priced at $39.95 for a pack of three, the durable, reusable Smartipant alternative could end up saving parents thousands of dollars. Just the thing for new parents with sticker shock.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fun in the Sun with your Baby, Toddler or Preschooler

So many ways to have fun in the sun with your baby, toddler or preschooler! Comment and tell us how you play outdoors with your family!

1.Show them the magic of shadows!
2. make chalk drawings on the sidewalk or
3. “paint” with water
4. roll, toss or kick a ball around
5. count flowers in your yard or go on a flower hunt
6. play hopscotch
7. blow bubbles
8. play tag
9. enjoy popsicles or for more fun make your own!
10. dig in a sand box
11. ride trikes and bikes
12. swing together
13. play in the local park
14. pick dandelions and make wishes
15. pack a picnic and take it anywhere- even the back yard
16. make your own root beer floats
17. wear fun hats or visors
18. lie down and watch the clouds
19. visit the beach
20. fly a kite
21. play tic tac toe in the dirt with a stick
22. play marbles (use pebbles)
23. collect pebbles, notice their colors
24. jump rope or hula hoop
25. dance to music
26. sing out loud
27. lay in a hammock
28. play “red light, green light”
29. do jumping jacks
30. play “Simon Says”
31. try to catch bugs, admire them, release
32. trace each other’s shadow on the ground
33. plant seeds, nurture them, watch them grow
34. jump in puddles – SPLASH
35. read together in a shady spot
36. go for a nature walk
37. find a local trail to hike
38. play “ I –spy”
39. make a sheet tent over a clothesline
40. camp in your own back yard
41. talk about colors and search for as many as you can find
42. get a FREE library card – USE it!
43. skip together
44. take a walk
45. play hide and seek
46. crawl around on your lawn – be a horse or a dog!
47. Splash in buckets of water
48. play with squirt guns
49. Build sand castles
50. chase but don’t catch butterflies or lightening bugs
51. find earthworms, put them in a garden
52. visit a state park
53. play leap frog

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer School at Home

Summer is definitely arriving soon! We have just a week left of school for our 3 older kids and the sun is shining. It really got me to thinking about how to spend the time with them when they aren't in school and how to get my preschooler ready for the fall.
There are so many things that our kids are taught in school but also many that aren't. It occurred to me that the summer is a great time to focus on the things I want them to learn that aren't taught in school. It's also a great time to reinforce some of their school lessons. They learn at school to check out, take care of and return library books so we are definitely hitting up the public library this summer. They will keep up their reading skills and continue to learn about taking care of things that are borrowed and the privilege of borrowing. We are also going to get flash cards for our 3rd grader since learning the multiplication facts was a little tough for her this year.
What I really want to focus on though is some of the things we don't get as much time for. I want them to really work on taking care of their space so I'm going to hold the older kids to making their beds and doing their chores. I'm also going to make sure they all understand our choices to have a home garden, to do our own composting with worm bins and our focus on recycling and why we make those choices. I want them to really understand the importance of taking care of our planet, our family and ourselves. I also plan to take a few road trips this summer that are focused on nature and the outdoors. I'm taking them to see Yosemite and we've already been to see the Giant Sequoias. I want them to see the world as something amazing to be a part of and I want them to care about their impact here.
I also want to spend more time doing hands on things like baking cupcakes together and less time with them in front of the TV. I want them to be outside, to take walks together and maybe fit in a little creek clean up time near our home. I hope we can do a lot of economical projects together too like making our own popsicles and creating bird feeders with pinecones and peanut butter!
Now this is my idea of summer school!