Sunday, September 30, 2012

Creative School Lunches for Kids-Simply Modern Mom

0 comments

I found this great blog post on creative lunches to send with your scholars.

As part of back to school week, I Stacy from Kids Stuff World to share something with us. You see, her site is full of great products, fashion and gift ideas for kids. Stacy loves to shop.  She is also a personal shopper and offer her services for free. So if you need back to school shopping help, make sure you contact her. Today, she is sharing with us her ideas on school lunches. This is Stacy who simply said…
Hi ladies! I’m Stacy, Mommy to HappySweet & Little and you can find me most days over at Kids Stuff World. It’s the place where I write about the little things, the big things and all the “stuff” in between.
When I first heard I’d be guest posting during back to school week, I must admit I was a little intimidated. Sure, I’m a mother of three but none of my children are in school yet. In fact, I’m actually giving homeschooling a try for preschool this year. I wondered how I could capture your attention while talking about a subject on which I had no experience.
I wanted to write about something that I can benefit from too (selfish, I know). So, I tried to think of things I might have in common with moms with kids in school. Busy?Yes. Rushed? Yes. Lacking ideas for lunchtime? YES!

WHAT MAKES A GREAT LUNCH?

Fiber, whole grains, some protein, healthy fat, a vegetable and some natural sugar, like a piece of fresh fruit. Whew, that’s a lot for me to think about when I’m in a hurry.
This color chart from Nurture Baby seemed like a bit more fun and easier for me to work in to my schedule. And this handy dandy chart gave me plenty of color choice fruits and veggies to choose from.

HOW COULD I MAKE IT HEALTHIER?

  • Try thin breads, wraps, pitas, english muffins or mini bagels instead of plain old bread. If using bread, choose 100 precent whole grain.
  • Substitute chips for veggie chips, goldfish crackers, whole grain crackers, pretzels, mini rice cakes or pita chips.
  • Even better, use bite size veggies for crunch factor. A little sour cream and ranch seasoning and my kids will eat anything.
  • Swap soda and sugary fruit juices for flavored waters such as CapriSun Roaring Waters and Minute Maid Fruit Falls are my personal favorites.
  • For treats, try frozen fruits like grapes or blueberries, muffins or trail mix you baked with the kids, oatmeal bars or granola balls, applesauce.
  • For packaged goods, my kids love Funky Monkey snacks and Clif Kid ZBar. I get mine from Target when they’re on sale.

WHERE COULD I FIND IDEAS ON WHAT TO MAKE?

At first I was just looking for ways to make lunch time greener and healthier but then these ladies got me to thinking. Thinking about meal times as a chance for me to show my children how much I love and care about them instead of looking at it as just another chore weighing me down on my to do list every day. They say it is the small things in life that your child will remember later on. These ladies have inspired me to make at least one part of my child’s day magical by adding a few extra steps to something I was doing any how. What child wouldn’t want to eat a meal that looked like this? I mean, I want to eat meals that look like this! And if they look back on these adorable lunches when they’re older, I hope they will make them think of me and how much fun we had together.
Here’s some things I learned this week about lunch time:
1. Lunches don’t have to be boring.
 
2. Lunches don’t have to be repetitious.
 
(Click images for full posts)
3. Lunches don’t have to be high in fat, carbs or even sugar.
Sliced strawberries and fruit sweetened jelly wrapped in whole wheat tortilla with almond butter. A side of carrot sticks and sugar snap peas. Granola Bites and bottled water. Lunch idea courtesy of Whole Foods.
4. Lunch boxes don’t have to be bland.
Back 2 School Cool


1. Zoo Lunchbag 2. Lunchskins Snack Bags 3. Oots Lunchbox
4. Snack & Stack Utensils 5. Cute Sip Water Bottle 6. Kids Smart Container Set 
7. Hot Lunch Bowl 8. Easy Lunchbox 9. LunchSkins Sandwich Bag
10. Kotobuki Panda Bento 11. Laptop Lunch System 12. Lunch Punch Cutters
If you’re still reading, thanks so much for sharing your time with me. Stop on by Kids Stuff World and say hi. I’d love to meet you! -Stacy
StumbleUpon
Pin It

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2 BRAND NEW PODS!!

1 comments

Two brand NEW PODS coming to SOFTBUMS!!
We are so excited to finally introduce the newest members of our SoftBums family to our customers!!

One-Size DryTouch SUPER Pod

This Pod formerly known as "The Super" has been totally redesigned with new exciting features, same high quality fabrics, and of course the same unbeatable absorbency!
You'll want this Pod if you are having a newborn and just starting out with your cloth diapering journey, or if you've been struggling to find the perfect balance between Easy, Trim, Absorbent, and Versatile. This Pod does it all!!!!!!
Now available for purchase in singles or in 6 packs at a discounted price. Visit www.SoftBums.com to learn more.

Large Bamboo Pod

We are also introducing our brand new Large Bamboo Pod!!!
We've taken the trimness and absorbency of the One-Size Bamboo Pod and combined it with the great features of the Large DryTouch Pod to come up with a trim, easy to use option that we're sure you'll love! Get one today!!!!!
Available today! Visit www.SoftBums.com to learn more.
Now available for purchase at your favorite SoftBums retailer or www.SoftBums.com
Check out all the SoftBums Pod options HERE!!
Thank you,
The SoftBums Team
StumbleUpon
Pin It

SuperFans Photo Contest!

0 comments

ENTER YOUR BABY'S PHOTO FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!!

 
Don't forget the SoftBums Superfans Photo Contest is going on now in the FACEBOOK SUPERFANS group, through Friday Sept 28th at 5pm CST.
 
We are still accepting photo entries now until thursday night. 
 
HOW TO SUBMIT A PHOTO:
#1.  JOIN THE FACEBOOK SUPERFANS GROUP! 
 
#2. You can email photo to : mandan914@gmail.com 
 
#3.  OR: You can PM the photo through FACEBOOK TO (Amanda Fredrickson) along with a caption of your photo. 
 
Voting is open now and closes at 5pm cst Friday 9-28. 
Each person can vote for one photo. 
 
To vote simply click on the Superfan Photo Contest Album, and write "vote" in a comment under the picture you want to win. "Likes" do not count as votes, and you can't vote for yourself if you entered a photo. 
 
The top three photos win prizes & will be chosen to be included in the SoftBums facebook Superfans group banner.

Good Luck!!!
StumbleUpon
Pin It

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Manufacturers For A Healthy Economy

7 comments
Manufacturers For A Healthy Economy Many of you know about our SoftBums Cares article series on our community outreaching (we’ve got some exciting new articles lined up too!). Right now we would like to talk publicly about our stand regarding unauthorized Co-ops. 

The term Co-op (short for Cooperative) can mean, as defined by Wikipedia: “an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. Cooperatives include non-profit community organizations and businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use its services (a consumer cooperative) and/or by the people who work there (a worker cooperative).” These can be great service providers for our community. I belong to my local food co-op and have participated in a co-op to purchase some bulk beef directly from a farm recently. These are not the co-ops that will be discussed today. The type of co-op we are going to talk about are when someone/or some organization leads a group buy for many people in order to get a product at a discount below a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). There are co-ops that work directly with manufacturers in an authorized manner, however the kind we are going to discuss, do not. 

Retailers (when referring to this industry) often refers to a WAHM (Work At Home Mom), or family owned online or brick and mortar store that invests in a manufacturer’s line of products to carry. Retailers (family owned or not) provide customer support and education and take risk because they purchase their inventory up front believing that said product is of quality and will sell well for them. They pay taxes back into their local community and usually provide local jobs for others. They have signed an agreement with the manufacturer of the products they supply that they will uphold the MSRP and only sell below that during approved sales according to the manufacturer’s sales policy. 

There is an alarming trend of co-ops that violate manufacturers’ policies and agreements. These individuals/businesses either sign up for wholesale accounts with manufacturers under the guise of a legitimate retailer model or are going through existing authorized retailers to purchase large quantities of inventory at or just above wholesale prices to then sell to their members at steep discounts. Some of these co-ops charge a membership fee, while others run them as more of a hobby and very few report these earnings for tax purposes and may even ask their “customers” to violate policies of payment vendors such as Paypal by having them submit payment for goods as “gifts” in an attempt to avoid required fees, taxes, and regulations. 

These unsanctioned co-ops disrupt the entire market. Manufacturers set retail prices for what they value their product. They then offer a wholesale discount to authorized retailers so that the retailer is compensated for their time and effort in selling the manufacturer’s products. Manufacturers that do not allow co-ops are valuing their relationship with their retailers by not allowing an entity to contradict the retailer’s contract by selling below the MSRP. Many manufacturers allow for brief sales under certain guidelines but MSRPs, and policies that uphold them, keep the product from being de-valued. If a retailer violates their terms of their contract they sign with the manufacturer, their contract will be cancelled and will not be allowed to order products again from said manufacturer. Often times, warranties are void if a retailer does not sell according to the contract they signed with a manufacturer. 

Everyone wants a good deal but when someone buys from one of these unauthorized co-ops, it can cause a lot of damage. When a product is widely sold at a lower price point, that price point becomes the new expected price (after all, why would someone pay more, when you can buy for less). This can result in retailers dropping products because they no longer sell and in worst case cause them to close their doors. That in turn can then lead to manufacturers closing doors because of a lack of retailers placing orders to keep up their staff and projected production. This is then reflected in the re-sale market where a product that could be sold used at a certain discount from what was purchased, is now much harder to sell when you can buy new for the same or even less. 

Be an informed consumer. Do not be a victim of shady business practices. Be wary of “retailers/businesses” that only sell via social media sites like Facebook in a group buying fashion. Know that there is no PayPal buyer protection when you send payment as a “gift” and if for some reason your deal doesn’t deliver (which has happened many times in some of these fly-by-the-night co-ops), you have no recourse. There is the added risk that you may be receiving knock-off products which are often not safety compliant. 

Things that may be red flags: 
• The business calls themselves a co-op (though more are changing their names). 
• They do not have a brick & mortar store or website or they have a skeleton site with little to nothing instock. 
• They ask their customers to make payments as “gifts.” 
• They only sell on a pre-order basis and for prices lower than the MSRP. 
• They ask you not to tell anyone about the group’s special deal. 

If you are suspicious of a particular sale, contact the manufacturer to ensure it is an authorized one. Manufacturers are looking for these ones that disguise themselves and violate their contract agreements but need your help in getting rid of them. SoftBums does not support the business practices of the individuals/organizations as discussed above and does not allow co-ops for the selling of their products. SoftBums does support and values their relationships with their small and large retailers alike. These are hand selected businesses that provide product support and education to their customers and we are proud to have them represent us.  
Thanks!

~ SoftBums

Here are other manufacturers that have joined our Manufacturers for a Healthy Economy cause of shutting down these illegitimate “businesses” or have gone on record regarding their stand on unauthorized co-ops:
CJ’s BUTTer 
BabyHawk 
Rockin’ Green Soap 

Quote from Rockin' Green :

Our decision to not work with co-ops is out of respect for our retailers. We have a group of hard working retailers, many of which are work at home moms who are supporting their own families by offering up products and excellent customer service surrounding our products. We have rules and guidelines that are set in place to allow these small companies to grow and thrive (because we too are a small company- this is very important to us). It has been our stance from the beginning to not allow co-ops, though recently we have had some individuals that have started co-ops without our approval. We feel that this is dishonest, and is not tolerated. There have been numerous accounts of co-ops not delivering on product or stealing money from its members, and this is not the way that we do business nor do we want to subject our customers to such shady business practices. ~Rockin’ Green StumbleUpon
Pin It

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

8,000 Likes on Facebook!

3 comments
Thank you everybody for helping us reach 8,000 Facebook Fans!  

We love each and every one of you!

To celebrate, I dug out this Blooga Echo shell to giveaway to one lucky winner!  All you have to do is be a Facebook Fan! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!  


Only one entry per person PLEASE

a Rafflecopter giveaway StumbleUpon
Pin It

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Eco Chic on Hard water, ammonia, and cloth diapers

3 comments

Hard water, ammonia, and cloth diapers

You’re cruising along your journey into cloth diapers and everything is going smooth. You’ve finally figured out the terminology, you know how to get a good fit, you know how to wash with ease, then it happens – P-U! You wake up one morning to the horrid wreak of ammonia from your nighttime diapers. You want to curse – WT…but you bite your tongue and instead scour the internet looking for tips on how to get rid of it.
Here’s the thing, even if you get rid of it how are you going to prevent it from coming back? What caused it in the first place?
For starters you ABSOLUTELY MUST KNOW YOUR WATER TYPE!!! In a recent  cloth diaper survey (results will be revealed very soon) by DiaperShops.com (home of Kelly’s Closet) almost 25% of respondents said they had no idea what type of water they had. Of those respondents who did know their water type, 42% of them reported that they had hard water!
What is hard water? Water hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium (and other minerals) that are naturally occurring in our water supply. The USGS has some helpful information and a map (from 1970) that shows average water hardness around the U.S. If you have hard water you may notice mineral deposits on your dishes (especially glassware) that leaves them dull and drab. For laundry it will dull the fabric colors (think faded black t-shirt) and it can wreck havoc on your cloth diaper routine.
How do I know if I have hard water? The easiest and most dependable way to tell is to contact your water supply company (City, County, etc) and ask for the water hardness levels in your area. They are reported in mg/L (or ppm) by most laboratories. You can also purchase a simple water hardness test strip . For less than $1 you can test the water hardness of your home. You can also look at general maps like the one the USGS provides but the data may not reflect the real time water hardness.
What do the numbers mean?
  • 0-60 mg/L: Soft water
  • 61-120 mg/L: Moderately hard water
  • 121-180 mg/L: Hard water
  • 181+ mg/L: Extremely hard water
I have hard water, now what? Knowing is half the battle.
Some families are lucky enough to have a water softener installed on their home to help battle the water hardness. This equipment is much like a drinking water filter that filters out the calcium and magnesium minerals (among other things) from your entire home. Not only will your diapers thank you but your laundry and dishes will thank you too. You’ll also notice that you need less soap in the shower and the water feels softer/smoother when you are done showering. The benefits are worth the investment but prices vary and can cost you several hundred to thousands of dollars to install depending on the type of filter system you choose.
Water softening additives – Many diaper companies recommend Calgon or Rain Soft detergent additives (water softeners). You add these (available in liquid and powder) to your machines (most are HE friendly) every time you do laundry. At around $4-6 a bottle the cost may add up quickly and your local retailer will get to know you well. You don’t have to use it with every load, however those who use it consistently will notice less mineral build-up. What about vinegar? It’s true that vinegar can soften fabrics but if you have hard water and use vinegar you could actually be making the problem worse.
Do nothing! If you do nothing you will continue to fight the battle of ammonia. The minerals fill all the holes in your diapers (making them less absorbent) and will trap detergents and ammonia inside the diapers making that pungent smell that you notice in the morning. This smell (actually the ammonia) can result in diaper rashes that are difficult to clear up because you’re never getting your diapers clean enough.
Some great articles on ammonia and hard water:
From: http://www.kellywels.com/hard-water-ammonia-and-cloth-diapers
StumbleUpon
Pin It

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to install a diaper sprayer-From adventures in fluff

1 comments

How To Install A Diaper Sprayer

Well, the day I dreaded is finally here. I tried to put it off as long as possible, but you can only hold off solid food for so long. Linc is now on solids once a day and you know what that means... stinky, thick, peanut buttery (but not nearly so yummy), gag me I'm gonna barf poo!!! 

Oh yes, the poo from hell is here. I'd say it took me by surprise, but really I think I was just in denial that the day would come. Each day I'd see the diaper sprayer I purchased just sitting there waiting to be installed, but I kept telling myself that I still had time. Even after he started solids and I knew it was only a matter of days, I still put the task on the back burner convinced that his poo would never change. Oh how I was wrong. Well the day came and boy was it a doosie! Freak! Guess what wasn't installed??? Even worse, guess what happened 30 minutes later??? He pooped again! Ok, no more procrastinating. Time to install the diaper sprayer.


Are you ready???




What You Will Need:
Diaper Sprayer (I have the Sigma Diaper Sprayer)
Mounting Bracket (included with diaper sprayer)
Mounting Bracket Hardware (included with diaper sprayer)
Adjustable Wrench
Hammer
Drill
1/4" Drill Bit
Screwdriver
Towel



Step By Step:
#1 - Place your towel under the water shut-off valve and flexible water supply line under the tank of your toilet.
#2 - Turn off the water supply by turning the shut-off valve clock-wise.
#3 - Flush your toilet to empty the water from your flexible water supply line.
#4 - Remove the flexible water supply line connecting the shut-off valve to the tank.  To do this just unscrew the large tank nut that is on the underside of the flush tank counter clockwise.  You can probably do this with your hands.  Then unscrew the nut that is connecting the water supply line to the water shut-off valve counter clockwise.  You'll probably need your adjustable wrench in order to do this.  A small amount of water will come out.  Don't worry.  That's what your towel is for.  (*Note: If a lot of water comes out make sure that you turned off the water supply first!  See #2)
#5 - Attach the 1" white tank nut on the diaper sprayer to the underside of your tank.  Make sure that you screw it on straight or it will leak.
#6 - Attach the smaller nut on the other end of your diaper sprayer to the water shut-off valve on the wall.  You will need your adjustable wrench to tighten it.  Mack sure that it is snug, but do not over tighten.  You can tighten it more if it leaks.
#7 - Attach your sprayer wall bracket to the wall or tank.  You can do this using the provided screws and wall anchors or the double sided tape.
#7.1 - If using the anchor screws, mark the location where you want the bracket by poking a pen or drill bit through the screw holes on the bracket.
#7.2 - Using a 1/4 drill bit, drill holes in the wall where the screws will go.
#7.3 - Using a hammer, tap the wall anchors into the wall where you drilled the holes.
#7.4 - Using a screwdriver and the provided screws, screw the wall bracket into the wall.
#7.5 - Hang the head of the diaper sprayer on the wall bracket.
#8 - Turn the water supply back on by turning the shut-off valve counter clockwise.  See picture #2  (*Note: If you have leaks at this point turn off the water and see the trouble shooting guide below)

How To Use Your Diaper Sprayer:
- Turn the adjustable flow valve on the diaper sprayer counter clockwise.  The more you turn it the more water that will come out of the diaper sprayer.
- When you are done using your sprayer turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water. This will help save your bathroom from water fights between the kids.

Troubleshooting:
- If the tank nut is leaking remove it and make sure there is a rubber washer. If not then you need one. Also make sure that the washer is laying properly and not cracked or damaged. If the washer looks fine screw the nut back on. Make sure you are screwing it on perfectly straight. If it's still leaking try tightening the nut or loosening the nut.
- If the connection to the shut-off valve is leaking try softly tightening it a bit more.
- If the water is not spraying make sure you've turned your water shut-off valve back on and that your adjustable flow valve on the sprayer is turned on as well.
- If your sprayer is leaking when not in use, make sure that you are turning the adjustable flow valve off on the sprayer (see "How To Use Your Diaper Sprayer") and emptying the water from the sprayer before you hang it on the wall bracket.  To empty the water from the sprayer simply spray the water out of the hose into the toilet until no more water comes out.


Now that I have my sprayer installed I am so happy. I actually couldn't wait to spray my first diaper and have fun spraying Linc's diapers clean each time. Does that make me strange??? Haha! Probably, but don't judge me yet. Just wait till you get started. You might just love it too. Happy Spraying!!!



StumbleUpon
Pin It

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Giveaway for the Real Diaper Association Survey

146 comments
All Cloth Diapering Families, We need your help!  


The RDA (real diaper association) has released a survey about cloth diapers!  Their goal is to get over 10,000 responses in order to get an accurate picture of current cloth diapering practices!  They are making progress but we need to help spread the word!  

The survey is located at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2012GreatClothDiaperSurvey

It is for ALL current cloth diapering parents (no matter how many you use per day).  The survey instructions say it will take you 15-20 minutes to complete, however it took me much shorter.  Even better you may win prizes for participating!  


To help attract interest, we are doing a giveaway for an Aliens Sample Pack which includes 1 Shell (Omni/Echo and Hook and Loop or Snaps), 1 Dry Touch Pod, 1 Bamboo Pod, and 2 Packs of Wipes!




Thank you so much for participating!  

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


StumbleUpon
Pin It

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

SoftBums Cares!

0 comments

A little local bakery needs our help to stay in business!  Lets help them out!  Every dollar counts!  

We Need Your Help, Kickin' up our Cookie Project on Kickstarter

Because we have the best customers, friends and supporters, we managed to re-open after closing down for a week, however, we do not want to have to close again so we need your help. We need you to make our Kickstarter goal to repair/upgrade equipment and get us through the next couple of months of construction. Don't more cookies sounds delicious?



All pledges make a difference, large, small, and in between and we have some sweet rewards for all levels. If you support local, small businesses, and love scratch baked cookies and other goodies, please consider making a pledge. We have only 9 days to make our goal and every little bit helps! Even if you can't make a pledge, you can still help us by spreading the word about our cookie project on Kickstarter


We love our customers and supporters and we want to continue baking cookies for you! Consider kickin' in for some tasty treats!


StumbleUpon
Pin It

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Calendar Bums

0 comments
You've waited long enough!  

Calendar Bums are back for September!  This month we are excited to announce this beautiful black diaper!  Ebony, which will be available as an Omni today!  



It has been long time requested but never been done before by SoftBums and will sure to be picked up quickly!!  

Ebony is a perfect color for fall and to have on hand for Halloween!



We will be hosting a giveaway soon, stay tuned!!!

StumbleUpon
Pin It