Friday, December 10, 2010

Swiff and Fluff on the Cheap!

 As we have all hard floors I had become quite a fan of the Swiffer Sweeper. I also used the Swiffer cloths for dusting. We went through them very quickly until some time ago I saw an article on the Diaper Pin about using microfiber cloths (typically sold the auto section of most department stores) in the place of disposable Swiffer sweeping cloths.

This is my most recent microfiber towel that I haven't cut yet.
While at a discount store I picked up a super cheap microfiber cloth and tried it out. It was amazing, doing exactly what the Swiffer cloth did only...it was reusable! I just shake off the excess dust over the trash can and then toss the cloth in with the dirty towels.


The microfiber cloth was a little large for my purposes so I cut it in half and did not sew the cut side to see if it would fray and after washing it for months, it has not frayed at all!

Later, I received a Nykibaby One Size pocket diaper for review from Monkey Toe Diapers that came with a microfiber towel as an insert. I discovered that it was a very absorbent and trim insert. I didn't even realize how cheap the towels were at the time, but was seriously hoping to find more to use as inserts!

I didn't have to wait long! On a recent trip to Dollar Tree and discovered that they have microfiber towels for a dollar each!



I snatched up a few white ones for dusting and sweeping and a few pastel ones for stuffing and fluffing my pocket diapers. They work SO well and are so cheap. PERFECT for adding serious extra absorbency to an overnight diaper!

And yes I did match them on purpose...pitiful I know! I also have a purple diaper and a purple cloth but it was dirty! :)


Thank you Dollar Tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making Christmas Cards Easy with Shutterfly!





I've always been one to plan on sending Christmas cards, and even buy some most years, but never get around to writing them, much less sending them. I wanted to send a greeting to people I loved, but I think I felt the need to write a long letter to everyone and as a busy teacher that was never a realistic goal. Then, when our little Lydia came a month early in October of last year. It was such a shock and we were so overwhelmed with keeping her fed and warm and growing strong that we never sent out a special announcement. I was sad about it, but at Christmas, when she was two months old and we were a little better adjusted, we had the great idea of doing Christmas photo cards and making them like a late Christmas birth announcements! With a beautiful Christmas red background and picture of our little treasure, it read, "A late announcement of our early arrival....(insert birthday, height and weight here)...Merry Christmas!"

It was really special and two goals were met in one! It was a very satisfying experience which as it turned out it was super easy, so we decided to photo cards again the following year...which would be NOW!

If not for Shutterfly, perhaps I would have regressed into my old ways of good intentions and lack of action in the way of Christmas cards! However, when I found out from a fellow blogger about this promotion, and took a look at their HUGE selection of Christmas cards and Holiday cards, I got really excited and motivated about doing it.  I immediately started picking out pictures we could use with the different designs.

I'm having fun looking through the HUGE selection of more than 800 cards! There are so many that I love. It's really hard to choose! Here are a few of my favorites:

These were just from the first few pages! When I realized that the pages went on and on, I knew there was no way I could post all my favorites here, but this gives you a little taste. I love reds and browns, but they also have lots for those who love black and white or that that holiday icicle blue!

We would like to choose a few pictures of Lydia throughout her first year, so probably I will end up choosing one of the designs that has several small frames. What a tough (but fun) decision!

I also got a fantastic Christmas gift idea for the grandparents! How cool would it be to make your own photo calendar for the doting grandparents!? What a wonderful gift that would be...

Thanks Shutterfly, for the nudge I needed to get into the Christmas spirit! Christmas cards are in the works, he tree's going up this weekend and plans for cookie baking and gift wrapping are being made. Maybe it will happen after all!

Merry Christmas!

(a little early ;)

Disclosure: Thanks to Shutterfly for the chance to receive 50 free Christmas Cards by blogging about their wonderful holiday selection! Bloggers hurry and apply for your chance to participate by tomorrow, 12/10/2010! Look here  for details.

 

Large Planet Wise Wet Bag- Review and GIVEAWAY! ***CLOSED***

Planet Wise is a family owned corporation that strives to provide the highest quality products while maintaining responsible environmental and social business practices. From an environmental standpoint, all of their products are reusable and designed to replace disposable items. They are also PVC-free and lead-free. I learned from Planet Wise's website that many zippers manufactured today still are being painted with lead paint. Planet Wise bags are totally safe and responsibly made, and even the packaging is made from recycled or recyclable paper using soy based ink.



All Planet Wise products are made in the USA, in a women owned and run facility near to the home of the owners, in fact. This provides jobs for neighbors and the local community, and everything is on a personal level. Family and community needs are priority.

Planet Wise offers diaper pail liners, wet bags in three sizes, wet/dry bags, hanging wet/dry bags, MINI wet/dry bags, and swim/diaper bags!

 



The award winning  Planet Wise wet bags can be used not only for cloth diapers but for shoes, swim wear, dirty clothes, toiletries, gym clothes, and more. They come in small (holding 1-2 wet diapers), medium(8-9), and large(16-17). Large Planet Wise wet bags come with a convenient strap with a snap for hanging. This is ideal as the large wet bag holds 16-17 diapers it can easily serve as a hanging diaper "pail"  as well.




All Planet Wise wet bags feature sealed seams to prevent wicking. Nicki had used and sold many kinds of wet bags over the years and had found that people often complained of leaks. After much research, she found quality materials and an innovative way of sealing the seams so that no moisture could get through. All Planet Wise wet bags have hidden seams and an outer layer of designer cotton fabric. Here's a labeled diagram of the Planet Wise wet bag: 


I received this large Planet Wise wet bag in "Playful Paisley" for review: (The diaper is for size comparison, of course I had to use one that matched, lol!)




Invisible seams and cute Planet Wise Tag


Matching inner PUL and zipper (I love matching colors! :)


And speaking of...


Color coordinating strap with snap!
My Review: 

This is by far my favorite wet bag yet, and no surprise, one my favorite things about it is the great print and colors of the designer cotton fabric. This extra liner also helps to keep odor in, makes it cute in the diaper bag, and just makes for a sturdier bag! The strap is great too. It has a sturdy snap which allows you to hang it on a doorknob or hook it around something.

I chose the large bag because my family goes on weekend trips pretty often as my mom and dad live about an hour and a half away. My mom is an advocate for cloth diapering. She had always kept the diapers she used on my brother and I, telling me I could use them someday. I thought the idea was disgusting, but here I am doing it (and it is not disgusting)! This means that we don't have to buy disposables every time we go visit my parents. I haul the whole stash and paraphernalia with us, and mom even washes for me while we're there! 

When I received this bag I knew I had my weekend (2 day) traveling bag! It's perfect. It holds a lot of diapers and is easily transportable. It worked out that we went on a trip to my parents' the weekend after I received the bag so I got to test it out. 


I ended up taking our clean diapers in it with plans to empty it there or throw the dirties in smaller bags that I had. It made me realize that two of these would make a perfect system.I would recommend a couple of these, one for the clean stash and another to throw the dirties in and you've got a simple, cute, practical traveling storage AND diaper pail for your short trips away from home, that you can hang on a bedroom and closet doors. Hang the one for the dirties to whatever door handle is closer to your changing station, of course. Then you can continue to use the bag that held the clean diaper throughout the week as your regular wet bag in the diaper bag while the other is being washed with the diapers.


All the "idealness" (to coin a new word) of this bag for weekend trips being expounded upon, I also use this as a regular wet bag in the diaper bag (because it's so cute), and found that it works great. It doesn't take up too much space in the diaper bag. As it holds more, obviously it would be ideal for a day trip or a day when you're going to be out of the house a lot. We have a lot of those!


All in all, I think this is the perfect wet bag. It works great, looks cute, and is super practical. I will stick with these from now on!

Where to Buy:  

Here is a list of Planet Wise retailers!

***GIVEAWAY***

Planet Wise is generously offering a large wet bag to one very blessed reader!

Here's how to enter:

Go to the Planet Wise website and come back here and leave a comment telling me something you learned or which print you like the best!

(Leave a separate comment for each entry. Include your email address if it is not easily accessible through your blogger profile.You do not have to have a blogger profile to enter, as long as you leave a valid e-mail address.)  

Additional Entries: 

Like Planet Wise on Facebook and tell them thanks for the giveaway on the Cheap and Choosy!

Blog about this giveaway.

Tweet about this giveaway using @planetwise, @cheapnchoosy, and #giveaway.  (Up to 3 times daily) 

Like The Cheap and Choosy on Facebook! (Right sidebar) 

Follow The Cheap and Choosy via Google Friend Connect (Right Side Bar).

Follow me on Twitter.

Grab my blog button (top right) and leave a link to where I can find it in your comment.

Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email. (right sidebar)

Comment on one of my non-giveaway posts. (One entry per post commented on.)

 This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada until January 9, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.

This is not a paid post. The opinions expressed are completely my own! I received the product reviewed free of charge.  You can see my full disclosure here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy Improv: Creamy Italian Chicken




I've mentioned before that one of the most helpful things I've learned from More With Less cookbook is how to make a simple white sauce, thick enough replace condensed cream of ____ soup, or thin enough to be soup. We have chopped chicken frozen in one cup portions in the freezer and I was feeling like something creamy. We also had macaroni noodles. In the past, a craving of creamy pasta led to the opening of a box of Pasta Roni! But now that I know how easy white sauce is, that didn't even occur to me!

I'm pretty excited because this "throw together" meal ended up being a new recipe! The impulsive tossing in of slivered almonds really set it off! This is huge because I am not a cook. I've been learning to cook, and using More With Less as my guide since it's simple and from scratch.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure this is my FIRST "original" recipe! (Though influenced inspired by similar things in More With Less.)

My new recipe is hereby dubbed:
"Creamy Italian Chicken"


 Here's how to make it:

1. Put water for pasta to boil and continue with recipe, but add pasta and boil when ready.
2. Melt 2 TB of butter in a saucepan.
3. Add a crushed garlic clove, 1/2 tsp of salt, and basil and oregano as much as desired.
4. Stir in 2 TB of flour until it's all mixed.
5. Stirring with a wisk, add about 2 cups of milk.
6. Keep stirring at medium heat until thickened. (You can add milk if you want it thinner.)
7. Add 1 cup of chopped or pulled chicken.
8. Add a half cup or so of slivered almonds.
9. Drain Pasta and put in serving dish or dishes.
10. Top Pasta with chicken mixture.
11. Garnish with dried Parsley and/or slivered almonds.



I used to be a Pasta Roni Aholic!  But now... who needs it???? Seriously, this was just as easy to prepare, and much better!

 Scratch Pasta Roni off my grocery list forever!!!!!!!!!! ( I told you there would be more :)

(It's been a while so if you're new here you can click on my "cooking from scratch," and/or "simplifying" button on the left to see more things I've enjoyed scratching off the list!)

bumGenius! Elemental GIVEAWAY from Natural Pure Essentials!***CLOSED***




Natural Pure Essentials is a special on line natural baby store. It was begun by a loving mother who, after having issues with diaper rash, started researching and discovered that many widely used and popular baby products contain harsh, toxic chemicals that can irritate the skin and that are hazardous to baby's health. While searching to find gentler and safer skin products she found that products labeled as natural often only have a couple of natural ingredients.

This family has searched through many so called natural products to offer you truly natural essential baby products!

Natural Pure Essentials therefore offers mommy tested and approved ALL NATURAL products for baby!
For baby's skin you can find a large selection of Earth Mama Angel Baby products, The Homestead Company products, and more! Not only this but find products for mom, baby wearing, sippy cups and water bottles

You can also find organic one size cloth diapers such as bumGenius!, GroVia, and Bottombumpers, organic hybrid cloth diapers such as the Flip, and GroVia, and high quality Chinese Prefold cloth diapers and diaper covers!

The Bumgenius Elemental Organic Diaper is luxuriously soft, 100% organic cotton against your baby's bottom.  Bumgenius Elemental Organic One-Size Diapers offer an industry first -tabs that stretch for a perfect fit. Stretchy tabs combined with our brand-new snap fasteners make cloth diapering easy.

 Bumgenius Elemental Diaper is an ideal solution for families with a child in day-care or family members resistant to cloth diapers! Use the snaps on the front of the diaper to adjust the size. Fit most babies weighing between 7 and 35 lbs
Highlights
  • Absorbent layer integrated into the waterproof outer layer.
  •  One step cloth diaper - no stuffing!
  •  Now also available in snap closures!
  • Two rows of snaps ensure a trim, bumGenius fit everytime!
  • Ultra-absorbent, certified organic cotton inner.
  • Gentle leg elastic contains the mess 


    ***GIVEAWAY***

    Pure Natural Essentials is offering my readers a chance to win a bumGenius! Elemental organic all in one cloth diaper in winner's choice of white, bubble, twilight or grasshopper!

    How to Enter:

    Go to the Natural Pure Essentials website and come back here and leave a comment telling me something you learned or another product that they carry that you'd like to try!

    (Leave a separate comment for each entry. Include your email address if it is not easily accessible through your blogger profile.You do not have to have a blogger profile to enter, as long as you leave a valid e-mail address.) 
     
    Additional Entries: 

    Subscribe to Natural Pure Essentials Mailing List!  (right side of home page)

    Like Natural Pure Essentials on  Facebook

    Follow @NaturalPureMama on Twitter! 

    Like The Cheap and Choosy on Facebook! (Right sidebar) 

    Follow The Cheap and Choosy via Google Friend Connect (Right Side Bar).

    Follow me on Twitter.

    Grab my blog button (top right) and leave a link to where I can find it in your comment.

    Blog about this giveaway.

    Tweet about this giveaway using @NaturalPureMama, @cheapnchoosy and #clothdiapers. (Up to 3 times daily)

    Subscribe to The Cheap and Choosy via email. (right sidebar)

    Comment on one of my non-giveaway posts. (One entry per post commented on.)

     This giveaway is open to the U.S. until January 6, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will email the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen. I will post the winner when the selection has been made and confirmed by the recipient.


    This is not a paid post. You can see my full disclosure here.