Monday, April 30, 2012

May Calendar Bum News

So, I have some good news and some bad news.  

Usually bad news first but I think I'll be able to twist this into being both good news.

1) May calendar bums will be delayed just a little bit.
   Our sewers are super busy zipping the shells up as fast as they can but they aren't quite done yet!  I don't have one to photograph yet.  So, it won't release tomorrow.  BOO I know, and I am very sorry!

2) On the other hand, I promise you will not be disappointed.  It will be worth the wait, and you will love May Calendar Bum!

So, while you will have to wait longer, you will be happy when it releases!  We need to make a whole bunch because we know it will be in high demand!

I will keep you updated as I know more!  

Any guesses what SoftBums has up it's "sleeves"? StumbleUpon
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Family Toilet Seat

So, the name is decieving, and I have to admit it made me giggle typing it.

Family Toilet Seat?  Really?  First I pictured a 4 seater toilet, I don't want to have anything to do with that, but this...I do.

Potty training is a fun, stressful, outrageous and wonderful time.  Foster the independence, but I know too well what happens when a tired little butt sits on the potty and slips right in.  Unhappy toddler getting a bath, and unhappy momma trying to clean it up.  

I like many, also have one of the set on toddler toilet seats but I don't know about yours but ours doesn't get washed--often enough.  But there I go on a moments notice grabbing for this gross seat and usually end up not handling it by a handle, but by the "spray" plate in the front.  Yuck!  It grosses me out, so after seeing these seats at my girlfriends' house I finally caved.  I bought one.  I put it in the main bathroom yesterday and I would not hesitate to recommend these things to a friend.  

So you've got to check these things out! 

The one above is the one I have, but there are many different models!

So far, I am a huge fan!  No more handling that dirty toddler seat!  Mason's cheeks don't slide in and he seems fairly comfortable on it.  And he loves that he can do it by himself, and I love he doesn't have to touch the potty seat.  

The one I bought is plastic and pretty light weight, which I can see being a long term issue in durability, but it is great because it doesn't slam which saves tears from the 18 month old when the 3 year old crazy man tries to smash her fingers in it.  Yes, this happens at my house.  *sigh*

The only thing that would make this better is to have it lock so my 18 month couldn't throw her toys in the toilet but still let my 3 year old use it.  

Hey I can dream right!?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Soap Nuts

After my post on detergents, somebody mentioned soap nuts.  

I honestly, have never heard of soap nuts.  So I had to do some digging and figure out what these things are.  

Here is a post from Eco Nuts.  I am not necessarily endorsing this specific product.  I've never used it, but I will have to say I am intrigued.  

Eco Nuts®  Soap Nuts are a berry that grows in the Himalayas that naturally produces a soap.  The soap is called saponin, a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.
Eco Nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and cloth diapers. All-Natural Eco Nuts are also great for septic and grey water systems. But don’t expect these shells to foam up like commercial soaps, which have artificial foaming agents. Foam simply does not represent cleaning power.
Eco Nuts are wild-harvested, meaning they are gathered from wild trees grown without any kind of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. The saponin actually tastes bad to insects so no pesticides are needed, and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil. They are organically grown by mother earth and certified USDA Organic by Oregon Tilth.
See Them In Action!
Nut Allergy Safe!
Eco Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all. They are completely nut allergy safe and have been used successfully with no reactions by people with nut allergies. They earned the name “nuts” because they dry into hard shells like nuts instead of squishy fruit.
While Eco Nuts has been a terrific solution for many customers with skin allergies and other conditions, people who have many allergies or compromised immune systems should always take proper precautions and first wash one small item in a small container or sink OR do a patch test before washing an entire load in the washing machine.
Not just your everyday soap nut!
Parent Tested Parent Approved WinnerIf you are familiar with soap nuts, our Eco Nuts have become a widely recognized brand name. Don’t settle for generic soap nuts. Eco Nuts are higher in quality and cleaning power because in addition to our proprietary sorting and handling process, we also only use a particular variety and size. We have found this quality control translates into more re-uses than many other generic soap nuts. Our proprietary sorting process also ensures a consistency in shape and texture that makes Eco Nuts pleasant and easy to use. Because we lovingly and carefully hand package in the USA, we can also eliminate individualized plastic wrapping otherwise required by customs.
In addition, many regular soap nuts are harvested, sorted and prepared in the outdoors, and dried on a rooftoop. This exposes them to the elements and birds or other animals! We take great care to ensure our soap nuts are carefully prepared and stored indoors in a clean facility where they are safe from birds and rats. Our soap nuts are carefully sorted using our proprietary process to ensure they are free from contaminants before they are packaged! After all this sorting and care, those soap nuts become Eco Nuts! We are currently the only soap nut company that we know of to be utilizing these methods and technology both in the US and overseas to make these soap nuts safer. If you ever find that your package of Eco Nuts is unsatisfactory we will gladly refund your money or send you a new one.
College students, mothers, campers, techies, boarders, and eco-activists alike keep telling us that Eco Nuts work great! Try a sample size and you’ll become an Eco-Nut too!
Check out the difference in the towels!
Towel Comparison with Eco Nuts
The towels on the right have been washed for several loads with All® Free and Clear, while the towels on the left were washed for several loads with Eco Nuts®
The Eco Nuts towels are noticeably fluffier (and MUCH softer) because of Eco Nuts’ ability to gently loosen fibers. Chemical detergents can beat and weaken fibers resulting in your clothes and towels “wearing out” much sooner. Try Eco Nuts and you’ll notice less pilling on your fabrics and extended overall life of textiles. Get softer fabrics AND save money, too!
Don’t wash your baby’s clothes, bedding, stuffed animals and cloth diapers in anything else! Eco Nuts is 100% Non Toxic – your family deserves the best!
Click here to purchase Soap Nuts liquid detergent

Click Here to buy a year's worth of Eco Nuts for only 34.95

Click here to buy a Medium Box of Eco Nuts

Trial Size Eco Soap Nuts
Click here to Buy A Trial Size

Other Similar Products: StumbleUpon
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Mystery Print Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations Winners!

We were able to give away 14 of the 30 mystery diapers!  Thank you to everybody who entered!

Please check your e-mail for directions on how to claim your prize!

Melissa D. S.
Abby D. M.
Lindsay C.
Keri B.
Jess T.
Jenna F.
Kathy H.
Liana W.
Heidi P. H.
Jami H.
Catrina K-R
Janelle H. 
Rebecca L. M.

What do you think we should do with the remaining 16 diapers!?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Why I love Purex Free and Clear

At our house we use Purex free and clear for our diapers.  I love it.  

I have tried others but go right back to Purex.

The ingredients are one reason I love it, which I will address in a minute, but I LOVE it for other reasons like:

I can buy it almost anywhere, I don't have to buy it online and pay for shipping, I HATE paying for shipping...I don't do it.
It is cheap, $5.77 for a "66" load bottle
It lasts forever-A little goes a long way
It is commercially produced.  This is a plus because I know it is controlled.  I know that I won't get a batch that is bad and will ruin my diapers.

Best of all:
It works

The ingredients:

1. Water
2. Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfate (cleaning agent specifically to break up oil based stains)
3. Sodium Carbonate (Water Softener-no need to add your own water softeners if you have hard water-this is not a fabric softener)
4. Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (Linear alkylbenzene is a family of organic compounds which is emerging as the dominant precursor of biodegradable detergents)
5. Sodium Chloride (aka table salt--controls the thickness of the detergent)
6. Alcohol Ethoxylate (Used as an emollient and emulsifier-to remove those nasty stains)
7. Sodium Polyacrylate (thickener for detergent)
8. Fatty Acids (controls the detergent so it doesn't get too bubbly)
9. Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonic Acid (Fabric brightener)
10. Tetrasodium EDTA (It makes hard water become soft. As water makes its way through the water cycle, it sometimes picks up metal ions such as calcium and iron. These metal ions can make water hard, which is a problem because hard water won't get you clean.  Again, not a fabric softener)
11. Methylisothiazolinone ( Methylisothiazolinone may be used in cosmetics and personal care products alone, or it may be used in combination with Methylchloroisothiazolinone. In cosmetics and personal care products, Methylisothiazolinone may be used in the formulation of hair products, shampoos, skin care products, bath products, eye and facial makeup, and suntan products.)

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The dirty on Homemade detergents

You will almost always find me agreeing that homemade is best, from arts and crafts, cooking, gardening, baking, no boxed foods are at my house.  However, one of the things that is better not homemade is diaper detergent.  

Now, I come from a chemistry background, and I have seen some nasty things happen with common household ingredients...Like, did you know using bleach to clean up animal urine releases Chlorine gas?!  Serious!  Use bleach only after you remove the urine to disinfect the area!  I could show you the chemistry, but you would be asleep on your computer/smartphone.


Ingredients that I have heard of commonly being used in homemade detergents are things like:Bar soap, Fels Naptha Soap, Liquid Castle Soap, Borax, Oxygen Bleach, Vinegar, and Soda.  Yes, while these are all natural ingredients some of them are contraindicated for the products you may be washing.

Soap-like the ones listed above can ruin your PUL, which will make your waterproof covers, not so waterproof anymore.  Soaps can also coat your diapers which will cause repelling issues which can be hard to strip out, do not use these on your diapers.

Borax-Na2B4O7(OH)4.8H2O AKA sodium decaborate tetrahydrate (sleeping yet?).  Borax can destroy your elastic and Hook and Loop.  If you really want to use this use on things like inserts or prefolds, even then I'd be a little worried.

Oygenated Bleach-The active ingredient is sodium percarbonate.  There are many store bought detergents that contain this now too, so read your labels carefully.  While this is not all that harmful to your inserts, it like Borax will eat away at your components like elastic and H&L.  Use sparingly.  I use an oxygenated bleach product a few times a year only on inserts when I need a super deep cleaning and don't have time to strip at that moment.  Make sure you wash it out well with plenty of water to keep it away from baby's skin.

Vinegar-Now, I don't want to make any enemies here, because I know many of you LOVE your vinegar.  Vinegar is an acid and will eat away at your components like Borax and Oxygen Bleach. Avoid at all costs using on anything with PUL, elastic and H&L.

Soda alone works great.  We recommend it in stripping your diapers but just be careful and use it sparingly because it is so alkaline it can cause similar damage to an acidic wash.  Don't use this every wash, it will eat away at your diapers.

What I say, save your homemade detergent for your regular laundry and invest in a detergent for your diapers so you know they are safe in the wash.  

Remember: Liquid detergents are easier on diapering products, and avoid anything with softeners.

Our favorites here at SoftBums are:
Purex free and clear and

Rockin' Green
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Friday, April 20, 2012


Does everybody know about the GCDC-Great Cloth Diaper Change!?!?!  

It's tomorrow!!!  

What is it?

Join us on April 21st, 2012 as we attempt to break the world record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time!
This world record attempt is a great way to show the world how many people are already choosing and using reusable cloth diapers successfully. But there are still a lot of people who don’t know about cloth diapers. If you want to help spread the word about cloth diapers, please join the Real Diaper Association, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for the use of reusable cloth diapers.


  • 2012:  We’re looking forward to breaking the records that were set in 2011 on Saturday, April 21, 2012! The Great Cloth Diaper Change will be the grand finale of the International Cloth Diaper Awareness Week, April 16 to 21, 2012.
  • 2011: A Guinness World Record was set for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously with 5,026 participants at 127 locations in 5 countries. The total number of participating hosts (not all qualified for the GWR) reporting were 203 with 6,363 participants from 10 countries!  $5,167 was donated to the Real Diaper Association.
  • History:  Judy Aagard’s desire to celebrate Earth Day by hosting a family event for the Tiny Tots community quickly morphed into a dream to set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.  Shortly thereafter, The Great Cloth Diaper ChangeSM 2011 was conceived and organized by a small group of cloth diaper enthusiasts that were eager to demonstrate that cloth diapers are a real option for today’s families.


As of 4/9/12, we have 305 officially registered hosts for events in 16 countries, including: 
Great Britain

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Get to know the founder of SoftBums!


Interview with SoftBums Founder, Sarah Van Bogart
Visit Empowering Ellie a blog on "Practical research-based perspectives on parenting, family finances and daily blessings"

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Sarah Van Bogart, owner of SoftBums Cloth Diapers.  After discovering that SoftBums is a Mom owned business, I wanted to learn more about her experience.
Sarah is a motivated, passionate Mother of four who started cloth diapering when her oldest (who is now 15) was about two months old.  When she was pregnant, she considered cloth but had the misconception that all cloth diapers were fold and pin, smelly messes.  After using disposable, Sarah bought some velcro cloth diapers at a yard sale, fell in love and never looked back.
During her cloth diapering years, Sarah tried every type of cloth diaper available:  covers, prefolds, pockets, pull on’s, you name it.  It wasn’t until she was pregnant with her third that she decided to start sewing her own diapers.  Sarah learned to sew when she was around nine years old with help from home economics class and her Mother.  She began with a self-made newspaper pattern and used cloth that was around the house: old sheets worked just fine.  Three weeks overdue, Sarah found herself in a pile of diapers, each with slight variations.
Sarah started giving her diapers away and their popularity soared.  Due to the size variations in all babies, she found that many people requested custom sized diapers.  Each of Sarah’s own children were shaped very differently as well and this left her wondering about a sizeable diaper.
One evening, Sarah and her husband were looking at a jacket that cinched at the side and wondered, “Why can’t a diaper do this?”  This is when the Slide2Size was born.  Sarah had tried many sizeable diaper variations, but when she made this prototype, it was the clear winner.  It’s also important to note that Sarah tested prototypes with her husband.  “That’s why the SoftBums Omni is so easy to stuff,” says Sarah.  She ensured they were easy to use and therefore, Dad friendly.
SoftBums is a business that has grown gradually and consistently.  It is still spread by word of mouth today.  Sarah admits that initially it was a challenge, as her friends and family had a hard time understanding that her online business was more than a hobby.  But, the rewards were well worth it in Sarah’s eyes.
As Sarah says, “I really love babies!”  Hearing each family and Mom’s story is payback for her.  Sarah loves her customers, especially when she gets to see their families grow.  Sarah also sees the value in supporting women in their roles as Mothers.  She has been a La Leche League leader and had training as a Midwife, due to her passion for natural birth.  These experiences helped her to understand the need to meet women “where they are” to best support them.  With all the misconceptions about cloth diapers out there, this is surely helpful experience.
SoftBums gives back to the community through diaper donations to families in need as well as to orphanages overseas.  Sarah would like to get more babies in cloth and donates to causes to help support this desire.  She sent me this picture of a box of over 350 diapers they are shipping to an orphanage in Haiti this month.  They are all green to celebrate earth day.  Next month, they will ship out a similar box to another location.
As for what’s next for SoftBums, we’ll have to wait and see, as all Sarah would say is that we have products “up our sleeve.”  Sarah did inform me that there will soon be a seconds page on their website that will be a great place to find bargains.  I’ll be anxiously watching this Mother owned business.  Their focus on quality, giving back and excellent customer service surely makes them a top ranked diaper company in my eyes.

SoftBums Coupon Code

Use this code for free shipping on your next SoftBums order: springfever

Don’t forget to enter in the SoftBums Giveaway, ends 4/18!

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Friday, April 13, 2012

SoftBums Cares

This HUGE box of diapers is going to an orphanage in Haiti!  

There are 350 diapers in this box alone, and all green in honor of Earth Day!

Another HUGE box will be going out next month to another organization!  

If you have any suggestions of organizations that you would like to see SoftBums donate to, please let us know!  

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY Baby Legs


Source: via Sara on Pinterest
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The last days of Pregnancy


The Last Days of Pregnancy: A Place of In-Between

Click the title to be taken to the original article
She’s curled up on the couch, waiting, a ball of baby and emotions. A scrambled pile of books on pregnancy, labor, baby names, breastfeeding…not one more word can be absorbed. The birth supplies are loaded in a laundry basket, ready for action. The freezer is filled with meals, the car seat installed, the camera charged. It’s time to hurry up and wait. Not a comfortable place to be, but wholly necessary.
The last days of pregnancy— sometimes stretching to agonizing weeks—are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world.
Shouldn’t there be a word for this state of being, describing the time and place where mothers linger, waiting to be called forward?
Germans have a word, zwischen, which means between. I’ve co-opted that word for my own obstetrical uses. When I sense the discomfort and tension of late pregnancy in my clients, I suggest that they are now in The Time of Zwischen. The time of in between, where the opening begins. Giving it a name gives it dimension, an experience closer to wonder than endurance.
I tell these beautiful, round, swollen, weepy women to go with it and be okay there. Feel it, think it, don’t push it away. Write it down, sing really loudly when no one else is home, go commune with nature, or crawl into your own mama’s lap so she can rub your head until you feel better. I tell their men to let go of their worry; this is an early sign of labor. I encourage them to sequester themselves if they need space, to go out if they need distraction, to enjoy the last hours of this life-as-they-now-know-it. I try to give them permission to follow the instinctual gravitational pulls that are at work within them, just as real and necessary as labor.
The discomforts of late pregnancy are easy to Google: painful pelvis, squished bladder, swollen ankles, leaky nipples, weight unevenly distributed in a girth that makes scratching an itch at ankle level a feat of flexibility.  “You might find yourself teary and exhausted,” says one website, “but your baby is coming soon!” Cheer up, sweetie, you’re having a baby. More messaging that what is going on is incidental and insignificant.
What we don’t have is reverence or relevance—or even a working understanding of the vulnerability and openness a woman experiences at this time. Our language and culture fails us. This surely explains why many women find this time so complicated and tricky. But whether we recognize it or not, these last days of pregnancy are a distinct biologic and psychological event, essential to the birth of a mother.
We don’t scientifically understand the complex hormones at play that loosen both her hips and her awareness.  In fact, this uncomfortable time of aching is an early form of labor in which a woman begins opening her cervix and her soul. Someday, maybe we will be able to quantify this hormonal advance—the prolactin, oxytocin, cortisol, relaxin. But for now, it is still shrouded in mystery, and we know only how to measure thinning and dilation.
“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”        -Tinkerbell
I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.
We need time and space to prepare for that journey. And somewhere, deep inside us, at a primal level, our cells and hormones and mind and soul know this, and begin the work with or without our awareness.
I call out Zwischen in prenatals as a way of offering comfort and, also, as a way of offering protection. I see how simple it is to exploit and abuse this time. A scheduled induction is seductive, promising a sense of control. Fearful and confused family can trigger a crisis of confidence. We are not a culture that waits for anything, nor are we believers in normal birth; waiting for a baby can feel like insanity. Giving this a name points her toward listening and developing her own intuition. That, in turn, is a powerful training ground for motherhood.
Today, I am waiting for a lovely new mother named Allison to call me, to announce that her Zwischen is ended and labor has begun. I am in my own in between place, waiting. My opportunity to grow and open is a lovely gift she gives me, in choosing me to attend her birth.

Jana Studelska

About Jana Studelska

Jana Studelska CPM/LM, is a licensed midwife practicing in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has been working with babies and mothers since 1998--as a La Leche leader, a certified doula, a childbirth educator, a regional birth network board member, and finally as a credentialed midwife. She is an author and writer, and has won several national awards for her work. Currently, she is the MANA Region 4 Representative for the Midwives Alliance, representing the upper midwest. She lives in Duluth, MN, with her husband, teen-aged boys, and a herd of dogs.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review Writing


My quarter year resolution is to review products I use more often. 

When shopping for a new product...Cloth Diapers, Toys (today I am searching for "Cranky the Crane" for my son's train set), breast pump, every day items what do you turn to to know you're getting a good product?

I, personally, read reviews.  I love seeing what other people say about the product, not necessarily the good reviews, but the bad.  I want to see what people think could be improved on the item. Sometimes I think people are a little finicky, but if I bought the product knowing  that Cranky's head comes off, I am less likely to look at it as a negative, but more as a "I knew that was going to be part of the item".  

Have you heard of review lists for services?  Like Angie's List or others like this!  Awesome for knowing if the plumber you're letting in is going to be a slob or a neat freak.  Sure, hire them for their quality of work, but it's nice to know if you should lay down some dirty sheets for him to do his work on so there is less of a mess for you at the end of the day.  Shopping smarter ends up saving time and money in the end.  My husband always laughs at the new thing I am researching.  Seriously, I'll spend days looking for the best deck stain or lawn thatching service.  But the thing is I am always happy with the service I get.

This goes for everything.  I need a new computer and am looking into a new desktop to go with my laptop, I go straight to reviews.

The problem.  I always buy off of reviews of others but I myself never take the time to go review them.  I am busy, and I am sure you are too, but lets help other moms, dads, etc out there and review products.  It is funny to me that I can go online to look at computer reviews and there are only 28 for a dell computer I am looking at.  I know sure well there are thousands of people who own that computer.  Tell me if you like it or hate it, what needs to be improved.  Plus, if we say it enough, companies listen!

On the same note...buyer be-ware!  If you use your favorite search engine and type in something like "Piano Repair" don't assume just because the item is in the first 5 to show up that they are good (I have no idea what will come up if this search is done, just pulling one out of thin air).  Now, they may be the best company ever or they may not.  Usually the thing that drives the company to the top of your search engine list is hits on their website.  It can not distinguish bad hits from good.  So if a million people are viewing "JimBob and his Loony Brother's Piano Repair"'s website and trying to get their money back because they were horrible at their job they would pop up on top on your search result.  Your computer can't tell the difference between positive or negative.  

I've been burned like this in the past...before I became OCD about it.  Just be sure of who and what you're paying for.  It's your money!  

Did you know that insurance companies are starting to reimburse hospitals for patient care based on how they are rated in service?!  You can view these ratings online and you can see how each hospital rates, survival rates of surgeries, mistakes in surgeries, etc, it is all public knowledge.  Now, don't sit down and research "stroke" when you think your loved one is having call 911, but before hand, look at the hospitals in your are and see which one you should use in case of emergency.  Best yet, review them if you use them!  

I am not telling you to go out and review us or anything like that, but if you find yourself reading reviews pay it forward by doing it back.  Anything can be reviewed shampoo, tampons, dog collars, computers, cars, sunshine (5/5 stars in my book), etc...well minus the sunshine.  Give it a shot, it doesn't have to be long but telling others what you love, hate or what you wish it had or didn't can save people from purchasing the wrong thing, and steer them to the right.  

If you are reviewing, thank you so much!  

I am off to soak in some sunshine and study for my quiz at 5 pm.  If I were to review my procrastination...5/5.  ugh.  Enjoy your day!

Speaking of reviews:
Softbums Reviews
Real Mom's on SoftBums

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