Saturday, June 27, 2009

Little Tikes Ultimate Wooden Kitchen

Once you get past the assembly (it has approximately 5 bazillion pieces), this little kitchen gets top marks for looks and durability. At around $200 it is relatively pricey, but I'm willing to bet it will have good resale value once your kids have outgrown it. Do what I did: let the grandparents buy it!

Features include an ironing board with iron, front-loader washer (no dryer though...hmmmm) with basket, dishwasher, oven, fridge, microwave, sink, range, storage cupboards, spice rack, clock, phone, chalkboard, and a couple pots/pans. The doors are magnetic and I have to be honest, they are pretty difficult for a younger toddler to open. My daughter was a few months shy of 2 when we got it and she had trouble at first.

The only piece we've had trouble with is the washer door. My daughter can pull it right off (it attaches by jamming it in and lining up two little bumps with two little holes). It doesn't break though, and goes back on easily enough.

**Bonus points: pencil crayon scribbles wash off easily.

Highly recommended. If you need it put together for a birthday or Christmas present, do NOT leave assembly until the night before. Trust me.

Purchased at Toys R Us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

g Diapers

I use mostly cloth diapers, but also some disposables when I feel like it. I used to be more strict with myself, when my firstborn was little, but I've relaxed in my old age. Anyways, I had seen these hybrid g Diapers and wondered to myself, if you're needing to wash the covers anyways, why not just use full-cloth? Why have disposable inserts? They seemed expensive, especially the refills.

Here's how the diaper works: the soft cotton underwear-like "pants" (with velcro closures, that do up at the back... genius) have snap-in plastic "hammocks" (as I call them). You stick an absorbent pad-like insert into the hammock and put the whole thing on your babe. When baby wets or soils, you remove the absorbent portion and either flush it, put it in the garbage, or compost it (but poopy ones can't be composted). The hammocks can be rotated and aired out or rinsed between diaper changes because each pair of pants comes with two, a good thing considering that poop generally doesn't stay on the disposable part. The starter kit comes with a plastic swish stick for breaking up the pad before flushing, but you have to actually rip it fully open before putting it in the toilet (it's designed for this, so there are designated easy-tear lines). You have to be careful with septic tanks, so that was another factor making me hesitant to invest.

Recently, a fellow cloth-diapering friend of mine started using them with her kids... and she was using prefolds in the pants instead of the throw-away inserts. Brilliant! I loved how soft and cute they looked on, and I went and purchased a starter kit (two pants, 4 hammocks, 10 inserts).

I thought I might as well use up those disposable inserts first, since they came with it. I'm glad I wasn't planning on continuing to use them, because I'm not overally impressed when I compare them to a full-cloth system or even full disposables. The insert goes in stiff and holds its shape, but as soon as it gets wet it tends to wad up, meaning any poop after a pee is mostly going to end up directly in the plastic hammock (which stains easily, by the way... stains that do not wash out).

When I went to start using the prefolds instead, I found them a bit awkward just because of shape and size. They aren't designed for this diaper specifically, so it seemed like I kept folding it in too narrow, wide or too long. I couldn't get it right and went back to using my other diapers without reaching for the g's very often.

Solution!!! g Diapers finally clued in that people like their design but want options. I haven't tried these yet but I'm working on getting some and I hope/assume they are going to work really well. One thing that I really like about the g Diaper design is that the wetness doesn't have to wick up and around the baby's legs and hips... it all stays put right between the legs. You can get a similar effect from a prefold, folded in thirds, placed into a regular waterproof cover. But there isn't an inner mechanism to hold it in place like this one; the edges of the inner hammock really do seal that wetness off into the smallest space possible.

I've checked out the company's website and really like their whole approach and philosophy. They also have cuter pants than just what you get in the starter kit (orange, cream), including girly ones with ruffles or black ones for your ultra-posh tot.

My starter kit was purchased at Cheeky Monkey.