Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cloth Diapering at Disney...we did it again!

Would I continue to cloth diaper my children while at Disney World? Absolutely!  My wash routine has changed some from the last visit.  You'll find that below, along with a few tips to make sure cloth diapering is just as easy at the parks as it is at home.

I packed enough diapers for two days (18 diapers).  My precious stash was stowed in our carry on luggage, just in case we ran into problems with Magical Express or on the plane.  Nothing worse than being stuck somewhere without clean diapers!  Also packed were two medium wet bags, Eco Nuts, and disposable wipes.

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside.  I requested a room near the laundry facilities, and we ended up just one building over from where they were located.  Usually, laundry is located near the swimming pools.  Signage to the pools is more plentiful than signage pointing to laundry, so that's what I typically look for.  You must have a Key To the World Card to access laundry.

Eco Nuts
Once inside, I picked a washer, noted the posted wash and dry time and got to work.  While away from home, my laundry soap of choice is Eco Nuts.  They take up a lot less space in luggage than a bag or box of detergent would, and can be used multiple times.  Just place 4 - 5 nuts in the bag, and throw them in the washing machine.  These are not the same as regular nuts; those with nut allergies should not worry about these causing allergic reactions.
Agitation speed and wash temperatures are the only options available on the washers.  I selected "Normal" agitation speed and "Regular Heavy/Hot" wash temperature.  At home, we normally run a rinse cycle first, but a standard rinse cycle is not available on these washers.  You can get away without the rinse cycle if you are using disposable liners in your diapers.  The posted washing and drying time is 30 minutes.  That was just enough time for me to walk from Port Orleans Riverside to French Quarter and get an order of beignets.  It was a great walk, and I do recommend it if you are staying at either location.

Freshly Washed
Upon return, I pulled my laundry from the washer and moved it to a dryer that also had a 30 minute cycle.  This is where I really compromised my normal wash cycle.  I rarely, if ever, dry my precious stash on hot, but I was worried that the 30 minute cycle wouldn't be long enough to get the diapers dry before we headed to the park.  I was running pretty low.  My Bum Genius and Tiny Tushies pocket diapers would be OK, but my Goodmama's are always washed and dried using cooler temperatures, so I waited nervously outside the building, praying that the diapers inside the dryer would not spontaneously combust.

Inside Dryer

In thirty minutes, everything was not completely dry, but I was not chancing a second dryer cycle.  Truth is, I was ready to head to the parks and did not want to walk all the way back to the General Store, to get change for a $20, to put dollar bills in the change machine in the laundry room and wait nervously outside again.
Clean Diapers!
  • Keep count of how many diapers you have with you, so you don't leave any behind.
  • Bring more than one wetbag.  We left one in the room and emptied the dirty diapers into it, taking the empty bag back with us to the park.
  • Even if you don't normally use liners, bring them with you on vacation. No rinse cycle on the washers means an extra $2 for an entire cycle to get poop off.  You can just flush the poop with the liner after you change baby.
  • Don't bring more than you need.  Diaper bags get real heavy, real quick.
  • Laundry facilities are open 24 hours.  Use them on off hours.  This one was surprisingly busy during early morning hours.
If you are already cloth diapering at home, there is no reason why you shouldn't do it on vacation.  Would we cloth diaper at Disney again? Of course!  It gets easier and easier each time we do it.  My washing and drying time gave me some much needed "Mommy Time" with the nice stroll and snack.  Washing before 7:00 am, is definitely my preference.  I can't wait to go again next summer, and pair a cute, fluffy booty with some great Disney shirt, baby legs & mouse ears.  I'd love to see some of your diaper clad dearies at the parks, or read some of  your vacation washing tips and share other readers.

Stay crunchy, friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Trip Recap

There were a lot of things I said I'd do and eat on our last vacation.  Did I get to them all?

Dole Whip Float at Aloha Isle, Magic Kingdom – Yes!  After hanging my head in shame after being at the Magic Kingdom at least once a year for 10 years and never having one, I don't ever miss it.  Unfortunately my daughter declared it "nasty."  Oh well, here's hoping our second child will have tastebuds like mine and not her father.
Mac & Cheese Truffle Oil Hotdog at Fairfax Fare, Hollywood Studios – Yes.  The bread was a little dry and I really couldn't taste the truffle oil, but bacon with macaroni and cheese on a hot dog is an awesome idea.  Kogel viennas are still my favorite hot dogs.
Cupcakes at Starring Rolls Café, Hollywood Studios – Yes!  The red velvet cupcake is amazing!  The cream cheese frosting isn't overly "cream cheesy" and the toffe topping adds the perfect amount of crunch.  I think someone told me that all Disney food has zero calories, and that's great because I didn't share one bite of that cupcake! 
Lobster Roll at Columbia Harbor House, Magic Kingdom – Yes. After my last pregnancy, mayo has become one of the most disgusting things on the planet.  The lobster roll was more mayo and celery than lobster.  It was OK...not sure I would order it again.

Lobster Roll at Hops & Barley booth, Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Yes.  This one was so much better than the one at Columbia Harbor House.  All lobster, no fillers! This one I'd definitely order again.
White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake, Kisafini Coffee Shop, Animal Kingdom – No. We didn't make it to Animal Kingdom this year.  Since the kids were really enjoying it (and hubby was loving "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom") we opted to spend our last day at Magic Kingdom instead.
Beignets, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, Port Orleans French Quarter – Yes! While I waited for my diaper laundry to finish, I took a stroll over to Port Orleans and ordered beignets.  Hubby and kids knew I'd been snacking when I returned because I was covered in powerdered sugar.  They take a while to prepare, but they were hot and fresh and awesome.
Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney – Yes. The first night we were there, I stopped by and it looked like we would have a shorter wait in the stand by line for Soarin'.  We tried again later in the trip and the line was still quite long, but I heard that it moved quickly.  It does!  The low prices and good options make me understand why it's a crowd favorite.  I would definitely return for a quick lunch or dinner.
LeFou’s Brew, Gaston’s Tavern, Magic Kingdom – Yes.  It was a little too sweet for my liking, and my daughter declared it "yucky."  I could be much happier with a glass of cold water.  Though the souvenier cup was cute, we didn't purchase one.

Country Bear Jamboree - No. Does it count that we saw them performing outside, just before the Christmas parade?
Voyage of the Little Mermaid - No. Our daughter went all "fan girl" on us when she saw the Disney Junior characters.  We never even got near the queue for this attraction.  She did really like "Under the Sea" at the Magic Kingdom later that week.
Water Parks & Resort Pools - No. It was so cold you could see the steam rising from the heated pools.
School Bread - No.  I totally forgot!  There was even a list of things I wanted to try saved on my phone, but this wasn't included.

Tonga Toast - No.  Sorry...I know many of you think I'm not a true Disney parks fan if I haven't had Tonga Toast yet.  We went to the Polynesian for lunch, not breakfast, and missed this.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party - No.  Hurricane Sandy caused us to postpone our trip.  We traded the tickets in for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  It was awesome!  Even with a sold out crowd, we were able to ride Dumbo (and other rides) over and over again with no wait.  The fireworks and parade were amazing, as was the hot chocolate and cookies.  Totally worth it!
Food & Wine Festival - Yes! We've got the cookbooks and t-shirts to prove it.  I ate so much food I thought I would  still be full the next day.  As long as I live, I will never miss the Food and Wine Festival again.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure - Sort of.  Impossible to do during the super crowded, last weekend of the Food and Wine Festival.  We'll try again in the spring.
Liberty Square Riverboat & Tom Sawyer Island - No.  Missed them again, but at least we know where they are now.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom - Yes.  Hubby is totally hooked.  You need at least 5 hours to complete this.  I hear that it saves your progress so you can pick up where you left off on subsequent trips, if the computers don't crash between visits.  We only made it through the first level.

Myuki’s Candy Art - No.
Karamell-Kuche - Yes!  I already had far too much to eat while at Epcot, so I hid my $4 candy away and ate it after we got back to Michigan.  The carmel corn was yummy; it didn't make it out of the park.  The candy tasted great a few days later at home.

Afternoon naps - Sort of.  We never left the parks. The kids slept in the stroller.

Stay crunchy, friends!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Instant Friends


“Look for the afro with the yellow bow, that’s me!”  Minutes later, I finally had the pleasure of meeting, Amy from Growing Up Disney, in front of Gaston’s Tavern, part of the New Fantasyland.  Amy is the owner of one of my favorite Disney related blogs.  We’ve tweeted back and forth over the past year about children and Disney and cameras.  Due to a short postponement of our vacation, we just happened to be at the Magic Kingdom at the same time.  While it was truly a pleasure meeting her, the real pleasure was watching our children. They were instant friends.

The world would be a much better place if we could set aside our preconceived notions and trepidations of people we have not met.  These two girls started hugging immediately, as if they were old friends.  I reveled in their childhood innocence and was quite happy that CJ would have someone her age to pal around with, at least for the next couple of hours.  After some introductory chit chat, the Crunchy Disney Ma and Growing Up Disney clans headed over for a ride on Under The Sea.  Amy and her family had already ridden and pointed out a few things in the interactive ride queue that weren’t working.  That just meant that we would have to ride again.  Honestly, I’m glad Scuttle could only be heard and not seen, because that gave me a chance to pick Amy’s brain about the business of blogging. 

Amy rode with the girls, my husband rode with her husband, and I rode alone with Ava, who was tucked safely away inside my Moby wrap, sleeping.  Alone time is a good thing, especially when experiencing Disney awesomeness for the first time.  The attention to detail on this attraction was amazing! (More on that later…)  I can only imagine the conversations going on inside the girls’ clam shell.  Both emerged from the ride as excited as they were when they boarded.  The guys seemed pretty chatty, too. I bet they had some good conversation about their Disney loving wives!

Next, we visited Gaston’s Tavern.  We tried in vain to get the girls to take a photo together in Gaston’s chair, but Amy’s Tink would have nothing to do with it.  CJ, dressed as Princess Belle, happily hopped into what she would later call her throne, just before she declared LeFou’s Brew “yucky.”  Under the amazing antler chandelier, our families snacked and chatted until it was time for us to catch up with another friend who moved to the area from Michigan, who we planned to meet for dinner at the Polynesian. 
CJ still asks about Tink, especially when she see pictures from our latest trip.  She certainly asked when we returned to the Magic Kingdom just before we boarded the plane back home.  I bet she'll be looking for her when we go back early next year.  Amy later tweeted that she spotted us leaving the park, but would have had to run like a crazy woman to catch us.  I'm kind of glad we didn't see them; that would have made leaving harder than it already was. 

After we parted, my husband decided that I should have t-shirts, advertising my blog, just as Amy had.  I’ve been thinking a long time about what my logo would look like, just then it hit me…an afro with a yellow bow.  Thanks, Amy! I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll see you again real soon.

This is an original Cruncy Disney Ma post and should not be copied for use on any other blog without consent of the owner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To Salvage Your "Lost" Disney Vacation

At this very moment, we are supposed to be on a plane, headed for Orlando.  Since Hurricane Sandy has derailed our plans, I've decided to share with you how steps to recover a “lost” Disney vacation and included phone numbers for your calling pleasure. 

Get angry and panic…
When natural disasters occur, you are your own travel agent, and you decided to opt out of the vacation insurance offered, there isn't much to be said that will lower your blood pressure back to a normal state, so go ahead and panic.  Get it out of your system before you call your airline or Disney to try and salvage your vacation.  Do not try to call until then.  There’s no need to get angry with the agent trying to help you; chances are they are already having a rough day.  Do yourself and the agent who will speak to you a favor and have a cup of coffee or something before you start making calls.

Call Disney…
Normally, you cannot make changes to your vacation less than 45 days away from arrival without incurring some costs.  In the case of a natural disaster, Disney makes an exception to the rule.  Expect that wait times may be long.  Find out what your options are.  You can try to continue your vacation, move it to another date, or cancel it altogether. (Gah! Who would do such a thing?!)  We chose to postpone our vacation by 11 days, since we were going during the Free Dining promotion and did not want to lose that valuable option added to our package.  Moving our vacation to a date prior to that would mean losing free dining.  The cast member gave us three options, two that would cost no additional money and one with a slight package upgrade.  We chose the best option for us and canceled all of our dining reservations. (More on that later.)  (407-939-7675)
These are headed for the recycle bin!

Next, we had to contact Disney’s Magical Express and inform them that we would not be arriving and gave them the new arrival dates.  Since we are more than a week out, a new book and tags are being sent.  It's kind of sad that these luggage tags are headed for the recycle bin, rather than scrapbook.  They can't be reused.  (866-599-0951)

Then, I had to call bell services at our resort.  I typically ship non-perishable, consumable items to our resort, such as snacks, instant oatmeal, glow necklaces, etc.  Since our box of items has our scheduled arrival date and reservation number on (and in) it. It was easy for them to find, retag and put away for safe keeping.

Call your airline…
Airlines have no problem rescheduling your flight, especially if it was canceled due to inclement weather.  Prior to my call, I checked out available flight options online, so I knew what I wanted before I waited an hour (yes, an hour) to actually speak to someone.  They were more than happy to book us on a flight nearly two weeks away from our original dates, giving those who really needed to get home a chance at a flight.

Reschedule Dining Reservations…
I think I was the most upset over losing dining reservations.  When you wake up six months before your trip to get the perfect collection of ADRs and then lose them, it’s enough to cause Donald Duck style catastrophes to occur in your home.  California Grill is my favorite restaurant; the thought of losing a reservation put hummingbird moth sized butterflies in my stomach.  Luckily, I was able to get another one of these coveted ADRs, but I did lose our Chef Mickey’s reservation.  Oh well…some other family will be happy when they walk up and there’s availability.  I just hope I have the same luck when I show up to beg in a couple of weeks. (407- 939-3463)

Cancel or Change Special Event Tickets
We were planning to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Our daughter was chomping at the bit to go.  I have yet to explain to her why we aren't trick or treating at Mickey’s house.  Nonetheless, we will be there during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  It will be nice to see Christmas decorations at the parks since I've vowed never to go to Disney World during Christmastime because I prefer smaller crowds.  Normally, these tickets are non-refundable, but again, because of Hurricane Sandy, we had no problems changing this. (407-566-4985, option #5, this office is only open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm ET)

So, there you have it.  While I didn't quite get what I wanted, we will still have our Disney vacation.  I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, so I’m predicting that this revised trip will be pretty awesome.  Since we are ten days out (again) I'm headed off to do Online Check In.  Prayers have already gone out to those on the east coast affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Stay safe, folks!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quick Eats & Treats

Disney vacations have become more about the food than the attractions for me.  On our next trip, I decided not to upgrade the free dining plan to the deluxe dining plan (as I normally do) because  I've read a lot of blogs and listened to a lot of friends, and there are a few quick things that I must "yum" on, this vacation.  I have no idea how I’m going to squeeze all this into my tummy, but I am sure going to try. 

Dole Whip Float at Aloha Isle, Magic Kingdom – This is a must have on every trip.  I prefer the float to the standard Dole Whip.  My finicky husband likes neither.  I’m guessing he was dropped on his head as a baby.

Mac & Cheese Truffle Oil Hotdog at Fairfax Fare, Hollywood Studios – Truffle Oil, cheese, bacon and a hot dog?  I love a good hot dog, and this sounds like something that should come on an edible plate so I can make sure nothing is left.  My only concern is whether or not I’ll like the hot dog itself.  Just putting this on the list makes me feel like I’m cheating on our regional favorite, Koegel Viennas.

Cupcakes at Starring Rolls Café, Hollywood Studios – I had my heart set on a few of the famed cupcake concoctions contained in this café. Imagine my disgust upon learning they close early, as I banged my head on the locked doors during our previous trip. 

Lobster Roll at Columbia Harbor House, Magic Kingdom – It’s seafood. ‘Nuff said…

Lobster Roll at Hops & Barley booth, Epcot Food & Wine Festival – I need to compare this with the one at Columbia Harbor House, you know, for review purposes.  Do I really need an explanation for this one?  It’s seafood.  ‘Nuff said!

White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake, Kisafini Coffee Shop, Animal Kingdom – Another cupcake that I’ve heard a lot about, unfortunately from the sounds of it, I’ll have to buy two or share with my daughter.

Beignets, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, Port Orleans French Quarter – While I’m doing laundry, I think I’ll take the stroll from Port Orleans Riverside to French Quarter to have an order of beignets. 

Earl of Sandwich – I was on one of my favorite message boards and there was a question asked about a favorite non-park food stop.  An overwhelming majority of people said Earl of Sandwich.  Now, I have to go see what all of the hub bub is about.

LeFou’s Brew, Gaston’s Tavern, Magic Kingdom – Can’t wait to taste the signature drink in Gaston’s Tavern, part of the new Fantasyland.  I hear there are cinnamon rolls there, too. This might be a good breakfast stop, if they are allowing guests into the area while we are there next week, which will be before the scheduled opening date in December.

Now, I just have to burn calories before I go, so my clothes will fit the entire trip.  Hope you aren't as hungry as I am now!

Monday, October 15, 2012

15 Things I STILL Haven't Done at Disney World

Our family is exactly fifteen days away from our next Walt Disney World vacation.  Although we’ve gone at least once a year for the past twelve years, there are still a few things that I haven’t experienced that I’d like to try and squeeze in this year.  In no particular order…

Country Bear Jamboree
Honestly, I hated the movie, but something about knowing that Walt Disney himself was pleased with the original sketches has me thinking that I’d like to see this…at least once.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid
My husband swears we've seen this, but I don’t remember it.

Water Parks
Hubby doesn't like water parks, so we've never been to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon.  It is doubtful that we’ll get to them this trip, but it’s still nice to have on my list of things to do.

School Bread
At Epcot, over in Norway, I hear tales of a marvelous treat known as “school bread.”  There are very few delicacies that I have yet to try and somehow feel that I’m not a true park fan until I eat this and the next item….

Tonga Toast
Famed banana stuffed French toast breakfast served at Ohana’s at the Polynesian.  I don’t like French toast or bananas, so truthfully I've just avoided Tonga Toast. 

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
At nearly $70 per ticket, this had better be one awesome Halloween party.  CJ is super excited about this one.  She painstakingly mulled over the merits of each costume option at the store before choosing Belle.  Ava’s going as Tinkerbell.  We may have a problem with the wings sticking out of our Moby wrap.

Food & Wine Festival
I cannot believe I haven’t gone to Epcot during this festival.  Outside of Disney vacations, there’s almost nothing I speak more of than food and wine.  I am so ashamed.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
We loved Kim Possible’s World Showcase Adventure and hear that Agent P’s is better.  I may be much too full from the Food & Wine Festival to get through all of this, but we are sure going to try.

Tom Sawyer Island
The last few trips we've tried to do this, but I swear, we can’t find it.  I can’t find my way out of a paper bag without GPS.  I’m hoping a couple of the new Android apps I’ve downloaded will help guide us there.

Liberty Square Riverboat
I’ve seen this, taken lots of photos, but have never actually climbed on board.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Never even heard of this before today, but I forwarded a description to my husband and he’s excited about it. 

Myuki’s Candy Art
I have seen many pictures and heard tales told of Myuki, located in Japan at Epcot. I don’t even think I’d be able to eat it if I was lucky enough to behold her magical creations.

While eating my way around Epcot, I've made myself a note to stop in Germany to taste the Karamell-Kuche.  At $4 for one piece of candy, I've got high hopes.  I also hope that I don’t end up craving this weeks after I've gone home.

Resort Pools
Swimsuits are always packed, but for some reason, probably for the same reason we haven’t done water parks, we never make it to our resort’s pool.  I hear the one at Port Orleans Riverside is not to be missed, since that’s where we’ll be, I’m getting in…even if that means I do it alone.

Afternoon naps
We just can’t do it. No matter how hard we try, we are always too excited to be at Disney World to even dream of taking naps during the day.  We end up watching the programs on television, chronicling all the stuff at the parks we are missing while we relax in our resort room, then we pack up and leave again.

How many of these are you missing?  Have you done any and have tips for me?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Epcot's 30!

The first time I stepped into Epcot, I didn’t know what to expect; this was a time before you could find out everything you wanted to know about anything online.  What is this giant sphere going to hold that’s so entertaining was my thought.  Many visits later, Epcot is my favorite Disney park.  Everything about it appeals to me.  It’s more than just Spaceship Earth.  I love food; Epcot is well known for having awesome restaurants.    I love to travel; where else can you span the globe in a matter of minutes?  I love learning about technology and innovative ways to save the planet.  I love a good thrill ride.  While I will not be at Epcot on its thirtieth anniversary, I will be there thirty days from now.  In no particular order, here is a list of thirty reasons why Epcot is my favorite park.
  1. Universe of Energy
  2. Test Track
  3. Cheddar Cheese Soup
  4. Food and Wine Festival
  5. “Mine!  Mine!  Mine!”
  6. Twinkling sidewalks
  7. Butterfly garden
  8. Insisting Disney newbies have a taste of Beverly at Club Cool
  9. Perry the Platypus
  10. Japanese Candy Artist
  11. Illuminations
  12. The smell of the orange trees in “Soarin’”
  13. President Barack Obama
  14. Water Fountains
  15. Flower and Garden Festival
  16. Spaceship Earth
  17. Mission SPACE
  18. Turtle Talk with Crush
  19. Vegetables that “earn their ears”
  20. Seeing the monorail glide through the park
  21. Captain EO
  22. Grand Mariner Slush
  23. Figment
  24. Innoventions
  25. Maelstrom
  26. Model Railway Village
  27. O Canada
  28. Princess Storybook Breakfast
  29. Drinking around the world
  30. Taiko drummers

What did I miss? Let me know what some of your favorites are, and I’ll be certain to check them out (if I haven’t already) in thirty days!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Newborn Cloth Diapering, Part #2

Since our little one is four weeks old, I thought it would be a good time to post part two of my review on our newborn cloth diaper stash.  I’ve got a feeling that the naps won’t last very long, so it’s a good thing I type fast!

Our newest addition was born at 8 lbs. 9 oz and 20.5 inches long.  Most of our newborn stash didn’t fit past the first three weeks, some of them were on eBay sooner.  Read on for more on what worked and didn’t.  Feel free to review part one if you want to know my thoughts prior to baby’s arrival.

Lil Joey's, Kissa's, Grovia, Fuzzibunz, Itti Bitti

Fuzzibunz X-Small
While we have some Fuzzibunz Elites that could be sized down to fit our big girl, the sized x-small diaper was great from birth.  The Applix/Velcro tabs curled after the first few washes, but it was easy to put on and was quite absorbent.  Stuffing the pockets was not fun.  While it fit well, it is just too narrow to get a whole hand inside to stuff it easily.  We waited to use this one after her cord came off.  Honestly, I wished we had a few more of these.  They were a breeze to wash and dry; other than the curled tabs, they still look brand new and still fit our baby.

Grovia AIO
Yes, these are super cute, but I absolutely hated this diaper.  We used these because we had to; these were some of the few that actually had a snap down rise to accommodate for the cord.  Aside from the ridiculously long drying time in the dryer and outside on the line, they were not very absorbent.  When dried outside, they became very stiff.  They were so stiff that I had to rewash them before putting them on the baby because they felt like they would hurt.  Have you ever found an old pack of gum under the seat of your car, opened a piece, bit down and the gum crumbled in your mouth and hands?  That’s what these felt like after line drying outside.  The only thing I liked about these was how they fit under her clothes; the trimmest diaper in the lot.  Most of these have already been sold because they were too small after two weeks.

Kissa’s by Kissaluvs
I was initially disappointed because the diaper appeared pilly after the prep washes and because it was expensive, but this was by far my favorite diaper.  Umbilical cord snap down was perfectly positioned, it washed well, dried fast, and got softer with each wash.  If I had to do things all over again, my entire newborn stash would be made of these.  This diaper was a bit larger than the others, so it still fits great.  This one is a lot trimmer than the others, and contained breastfed poop pretty awesomely.

Bitti Tutto – One Size
Meh.  I wasn't impressed with this diaper, even after hearing all the hype it received.  This did not fit her well at birth.  The fit is better as she gets older, but isn’t that the case with all one-sized diapers?  Because there are so many options for the snap in inserts, this has been our go to diaper overnight.  She isn’t a super soaker yet, so I don’t think we’ll be using this specifically at night very long.  It’s really bulky at this stage. It did not fit under any of her clothes.  This diaper washed and dried easily, and is very absorbent.  I'd put 'em on eBay, but I'm not sure anyone would buy it, since these aren't as popular in the US as they are in other countries.

Lil’ Joey’s by Rumparooz
This would be my favorite if it wasn’t so bulky.  It does fit under her clothes, unlike the previous diaper, but the bulk made drying time extra long.  Forget drying these outside; even in 90 degree weather, outside all day, we still had to put these in the dryer. They look super cute on, in fact, this is the diaper she’s wearing (Lux design) on her birth announcements.  The double gussets do hold in poop well.  These were used from the beginning because of the cord snap down, and we’re still using them for the moment because many of the one size diapers we have just don’t fit well yet, but they are on their way out.  I don’t see these making it past the 12 lbs. mark.

Has my favorite newborn diaper changed? Yes. It was the Lil’ Joey, but it’s now the Kissa’s by Kissaluvs.
Which is the most trim? Grovia AIO
Which had the longest drying time? Lil’ Joey’s and the Grovia AIO
Which had the shortest drying time? Kissa’s by Kissaluvs
What order did she grow out of the diapers? Grovia AIO, Lil’ Joey’s, Kissa’s, Fuzzibunz X-Small, Itti Bitti
Which is my husband’s favorite? Lil Joey’s
Which diaper went with us to the hospital? None. We used disposables at the hospital and for the first day at home.  I wasn’t ready to wash diapers for the first few days.

What's she wearing right now? Goodmama ONE.  I was not planning to fall for these diapers because they are so freakin' expensive, but I like them...a whole lot.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why I Love Doc McStuffins

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Even though my family are true blue, University of Michigan Wolverine fans, I was afforded the opportunity to visit one of the best veterinary schools in the country at our rival campus, Michigan State.  After discovering the mass quantities of math and science classes that I would have to ingest to make my dream a reality, my dream changed.  I just didn't believe that was something that I could do, partially because I was not exposed to women of color who had completed a doctoral career path.  Although I am happy with my life now, I often wonder what it would have been like had I chose a career in veterinary medicine.

Since my childhood, I have been a big Disney fan, even though, there were not images on the screen that looked like my family.  There is something about Disney that magically pulls you in and never lets go.  After becoming a teenager, I would drive my little brother and I an hour away to the best movie theater around to see the new Disney movie on opening night, then months later race to the local store to buy it on VHS tape just to hurry home to see the previews for upcoming movies.  In the back of my mind, I always hoped that the main character would one day look like us.  

Now, with one adorable little black girl in tow, and one on the way, I am always looking for different things to expose my children to so they understand that the sky is the limit for them.  When my husband and I learned that the title character in "The Princess and the Frog" would be black, our excitement could hardly be contained.  The movie was released when our daughter was just over three months old.  We were there opening night to make sure it was the very first movie we took her to see.  Even though she will never remember it, we will, and there are ticket stubs in her baby book to prove it.  Besides race, I share Tiana's attitude of hard work, determination and love of cooking.  Couple this with the fact that her best friend and I share the name Lottie, (I know her name was really "Charlotte" but they called her "Lottie" most of the movie, so her name is "Lottie!") makes this one of my favorite movies of all time.

While watching Disney Junior with our daughter, we saw a preview for Doc McStuffins and my eyes lit up.  Could it be? Knowing our children would be able to identify with a main character, on regular television, at an early age, was overwhelmingly good news.  Not only are Doc and her purple stethoscope impossibly cute, but she wants to be a doctor when she grows up and lives her dream now by healing sick toys in her very own backyard clinic.  Doc lives with her brother and both of her parents, one of which (her mother) is a doctor.  A few episodes into the series, the mother is finally seen on camera, and my daughter asks, "What's wrong Mommom?" while I'm pregnant, jumping up and down and screaming excitedly at the TV screen.  Disney Junior has a character on a TV show who has a professional career and hair isn't overly processed, permed and weaved; she's flaunting her natural curls, just like us.  I want our daughters to love themselves, inside and out, and I am teaching them that this love includes their hair, which many black women torture themselves to change. Creator, Chris Nee, is my new hero.  

Even if you somehow can't understand my tears of joy, hop on over to Disney Jr., and check out this show.  It's refreshing life lessons, positive imagery, encouragement of imagination usage, and cute story lines, make it a treat for all who watch.  With the show been renewed for a second season and toys being released later this year, character interactions at the parks can't be far behind.  If we see Doc during the Disney Junior character meal at Disney's Hollywood Studios this fall, I think I'll scream and faint like a Justin Beiber fan.  For now, I'll be content with cracking a little smile every time I hear our daughter sing a song from the show.  I'll even hum a couple bars myself..."I feel better, so much better..." thanks to Chris Nee, Disney Junior, and Brown Bag Films.

Stay crunchy, friends!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pregnancy Rant

I am beyond irritated.  Maybe it's because I can't paint my toenails, comfortably get out of bed, have a margarita, pick up my daughter or drive a car.  Maybe it's because I'm constantly awake, perpetually hungry, and always looking for the nearest bathroom.  Whatever it is that's causing me to be so totally and completely irritated in the final days of this pregnancy led me to blog about the things that have me walking around with blue flames shooting from my scalp.  I am certain that there are readers who will sympathize.  Since I like lists, this is another one.  Enjoy!

  1. If one more person asks me when my due date is, especially if they see me on a regular basis, I think I'll just make up something totally random, like June 32.  When people realize that my due date is near a very important day in their life and ask me to wait until that day to give birth, are they expecting that I will hide myself in the forest with three fairies that will take care of my every need and then emerge triumphantly, with child in arms, after slaying the dragon of child birth, on a date that I somehow chose?
  2. Being pregnant somehow allows people to say all sorts of random comments to me.  What is it about being around a pregnant woman that makes normally smart people lose their minds?  Do people really think that it's OK to share with me the details of their child's birth or random parenting stories in the produce section of the local grocery store?  As far as I know, you could be telling me to comb my hair with a fork.  We know the anatomy behind our impending event and have already researched and planned accordingly.  
  3. I stopped to get some gas and the attendant nearly jumped over the counter and began to rub my belly. How is it possible that my growing belly is community property? Would he have touched me otherwise? Will The Genie pop out and grant him three wishes because he rubbed my growing belly?  If that were the case, my husband would have tried to wish for more wishes months ago.  Don't touch me.  I understand the appeal, but if you must touch, please ask first.
  4. Don't scowl at me or act surprised when learning of our parenting choices. When will people understand that natural isn't archaic and artificial is not necessarily better?  We will cloth diaper our daughter until she is toilet trained.  I will breastfeed her past the first year of her life.  I will wear her like Chicha wore Yupi in "The Emperor's New Groove." Chicken nugget kid's meals from prominent fast food chains will not be a part of her diet.  This is a lifestyle we've chosen, not a passing fad.  Please don't tell us how soon we'll give up in favor of convenience.  Even better, we are not continuing this parenting style because you say we can't.  We believe this is what is best for our family.
  5. Commenting on how small or large my belly is, or telling me that I'm still high or the baby has dropped does not make me feel better.  Every pregnancy is different. Every woman is different.  Every pregnant woman is beautiful.   Just tell me I'm "the fairest of them all" and I won't ask the hunter to follow you into the woods and bring back your heart.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, I really do like being pregnant.  Feeling her move around inside me is probably one of the things I will miss most.  I will also miss the ability to unbashfully eat as much as I want, whenever I want.  (Put the ice cream on the table and walk away slowly!)  Please don't criticize me because I want this to end.  I understand that there are women who try desperately to conceive a child and would gladly be in my shoes, but give them 38+ weeks of this and they, too will feel as I do.  We want to meet our daughter.  We want to see who she looks like.  We can't wait feed her, change her, and take her to Disney World. 
  7. Yes, we are taking her to Disney World.  If she decides to be born on her due date, she will be just over three months old on a trip we planned after finding out that we were expecting.  Our family loves the parks and we go every year, sometimes more than once.  I am an obsessive trip planner, and we know what to expect, so this trip will be easy.  Yes, I worry about germs, but we'll take the same precautions on protecting her as we would visiting church on Sunday and the shopping mall on Saturday.  Call the Mythbusters team; I'll wager that they find Disney World to be cleaner than most places people take their children on a regular basis.
  8. "Text me/call me when you go into labor!" Um, no.  We aren't telling anyone when we are headed to the hospital.  Birth is a very private time, and we don't want people in the delivery or waiting rooms, playing Statler and Waldorf (the balcony gents on "The Muppets") while we bring a new life into the world.  We will let you know when she is born.
  9. Telling us that we must have a third child because the first two are girls, before I've given birth to the second girl is not cool.  Girls are awesome.  If we decide that we aren't Pongo and Perdita, and two children are enough for us, that is our decision.  Don't look at us like sympathetically because we aren't having a son this time.  We are fine with two happy, healthy girls.
I'm sure this isn't the post you expected, but I'm 9+ months pregnant, irritable, hungry and tired.  "Beautiful, kind and gentle, and loving and softness and sweetness, and candy and gum" type posts will return after our baby arrives and I have had the chance to get a little bit of rest.  Until then...

Stay Crunchy, Friends!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Newborn Cloth Diapering, Part #1

Top, clockwise: Kissa's, Fuzzibunz, Bitti Tutto, Grovia, Lil' Joey

We are about twenty days away from our due date and I cannot wait to start cloth diapering our little princess!  There are tons of options out there for newborn cloth diapering; most people seem to prefer prefolds and covers.  My brother is twelve years younger than I, and my parents decided to use prefolds and covers.  While there are at least a dozen in our stash, I don’t remember that experience fondly, and choose to skip prefolds as our primary choice for cloth diapering.   Serving as my parents’ diaper service was the reason our daughter wasn’t cloth diapered until after age one when allergic reactions to disposables forced me to take another look at cloth.
Luckily, I was able to get my hands on several different types of newborn diapers.  Five will be discussed in this “pre-baby” review.  Expect part two after we’ve had a few weeks using these.  During prep time, all of these were dried outside and in the dryer to determine which had the fastest drying time.

Fuzzibunz X-Small
In general, we were pretty impressed with Fuzzibunz when our daughter used them.  I heard from a friend that the Fuzzibunz Elites are too bulky for newborns, even when on its smallest possible setting, a comment which started my research on newborn diapers.  This diaper, classified as a pocket diaper, had the fastest drying time.  It also appears to be the trimmest and is a very soft polyester fleece.  The absence of laundry tabs does mean that it will stick to other items in your laundry.  Because it is so small, the pockets are quite annoying to stuff.  There are no cross-over tabs and no way to shorten the rise in the front to allow for the umbilical cord stump.  They come in the same colors that all Fuzzibunz do, and are available for purchase at Kelly’s Closet.  (The one I am reviewing was free from Kelly’s Closet, via a coupon code used mid-May.)

Grovia AIO
These diapers are so stinkin’ cute and I hope they are our favorites because they make up the majority of my newborn stash.   I purchased these as “seconds” from eBay in EEUC condition, but still followed the typical prep routine.  I was not happy with the drying time.  Because the soaker is sewn into the diaper, it is considered an AIO (All-in-One).  It’s only attached at one end, and that’s the part that was still damp after two dryer cycles and stayed damp the longest out in the sun.  The soaker extends beyond the front of the diaper, which seems like a design flaw.  The rise does snap down to allow for the umbilical cord stump, and the snaps appear to be sturdy enough.  The inside is organic cotton.  While it isn’t as soft as some of the other diapers I reviewed, it appears as if it will be more absorbent.

Kissa’s by Kissaluvs
This diaper looks much cuter in photos than it does in person.  Drying time was decent for this AIO on the line and in the dryer, but the inside of this polyester fleece diaper was super pilly after the recommended 2-3 prep washes.  The rise cannot be adjusted, but there is a single-snap, option to allow the umbilical cord stump.  This was one of the more expensive diapers from Kelly’s Closet; I still have high hopes for it.

Bitti Tutto – One Size
This is the only “one-size” diaper I considered including in our newborn stash.  I’ve heard rave reviews about this Australian AI2 (All-in-Two) diaper, including how well it actually fit newborns, even though it is the largest of the lot.  These were purchased as seconds, in EEUC condition from one of the many diapering boards I belong to.  As with anything I buy pre-loved, I still follow the manufacturer’s prep instructions.  The Bitti Tutto can be quite overwhelming if you haven’t read the instructions.  It comes with three different soakers that have color coordinated snaps, so you can “easily” adjust absorbency.  Yeah, right!  I should have my doctoral thesis on cloth diapering complete before I figure out exactly how this diaper should be put together.  The minky outer layer is super soft, while the organic cotton soakers appear to be quite absorbent.  The inside is an adventure in cloth diapering technology that includes double leg gussets covers for the extra interior snaps that prevent wing droopage when being used in the smaller settings.  There are cross over snaps, but I’m annoyed that they aren’t all the same color (the cross over snaps are white, while the others match the diaper’s color)  Next to the Fuzzibunz, the drying time on the Bitti Tutto was the fastest, but I’m guessing that was because there are four different parts, instead of just one.

Lil’ Joey’s by Rumparooz
This is the diaper that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on!  The super cute prints, the impossibly adorable design and rave reviews may have me considering packing this diaper in the hospital bag.  There is a single-snap down to allow for the umbilical cord, and two rows of snaps to adjust the rise of the diaper.  My only complaint so far is the drying time.  This was, by far the diaper with the longest drying time.  I cringed while putting it through the dryer a third cycle, and the entire diaper was still damp as the sun was setting over my clothes line outside.  The inside of this AIO is super soft polyester fleece.  With its trademark double gussets, I’m hoping this diaper protects all the cute outfits from poop explosions.  While it appears to be the least trim of all the diapers, it still gets my vote for being the cutest. (Shown in "Lux," Purchased from Kelly’s Closet.)

Which newborn diaper is my favorite?  Although the drying time sucks, my favorite is the Lil’ Joey.

Which was the most trim? In the picture below, the most trim appears to be the Fuzzibunz X-Small.

From left: Lil' Joey, Kissa's, Grovia, Fuzzibunz & Bitti Tutto

Which had the longest drying time? Lil' Joey's, followed by the Grovia AIO

Which had the shortest drying time? Fuzzibunz, then the Bitti Tutto

Which had adjustments that accommodated the umbilical cord? Kissa's, Lil' Joey & Grovia

Which one will fit the longest? Bitti Tutto, because it is a "one-size" diaper.  All of the others fit up to 12-15 lbs.  I can't see any of them (except the Bitti Tutto) fitting past 12 lbs.

Which newborn diaper is my least favorite?  Kissa’s by Kissaluvs is my least favorite.  There are no added perks to having this diaper and it is the most expensive.

Which newborn diaper is my husband’s favorite? Kyle also like the Lil’ Joey best.

Which newborn diaper is my husband’s least favorite? The Bitti Tutto.  He’s already said that while he’s doing diaper laundry, those will be left on the clothesline for me to assemble.  He doesn’t want to be held responsible for losing all five hundred pieces that come with it.

So, which diaper is going with us to the hospital?  Check back in a few weeks to find out!

Stay crunchy, friends!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Disney with a newborn? Are you nuts?

So, my Disney writings have been a bit more sparse than I prefer, but only because the child I’m carrying decided it was a good idea to shift and move into areas that cause me a great deal of pain.  Are you wondering how I’ll reward this baby for taking away my ability to walk and breathe normally?  I’m taking her to Disney World, just as soon as I possibly can!  If Crunchy Baby #2 arrives on or near the expected delivery date, she will be just over three months old on her first trip; a trip planned AFTER we found out I was pregnant.  

This will not be our first trip with a very young child.  Crunchy Baby #1 went twice before her second birthday, but she wasn’t quite as young as #2 will be when she meets Mickey Mouse for the first time.  How and why would you plan a trip with a child so young?  In my opinion, that’s the best time to take them for several reasons:

CJ checking in at the Contemporary

  1. They are free.  No added expense for food, plane or park tickets.
  2. While they require a lot of extra stuff, they don’t take up as much space in your resort room as an older child would.  No need to upgrade to that family suite just yet.
  3. Nothing worse than hearing, “Mommy! I have to go potty” while halfway through Pirates of the Caribbean.  The only potty breaks you have to worry about are yours.  You can’t exit an attraction in motion because your child has to go to the bathroom.  Travelling with a child in diapers is awesome.  (If you cloth diaper, check out my post on cloth diapering at Disney)
  4. You can keep the souvenir budget low because babies don’t ask for anything.  The only reason personalized mouse ears come home will because I want them, not because she asks.
  5. You are forced to stop, take breaks and observe all of the fabulous details Disney World offers its guests.  Babies want to nap and eat often, so going commando is out.  Enjoy the parks at snail’s pace.  You will be surprised what hidden treasures you will find.  Besides, all the stopping to rest mean your feet won’t ache as much at the end of the day.
  6. It’s easy to guilt trip the grandparents into going.  Grandparents are great back up when on a Disney vacation with children of any age.  You may even get to pawn the kids off on them for a night and enjoy dinner alone, at a restaurant that isn’t kid friendly. (Victoria & Albert's, anyone?)
  7. A hot, tired, hungry adult can’t go to one of the Baby Care Centers and take a break.  A hot, tired, hungry adult with an equally exasperated baby can.  Those places are awesome!  Find them on the map as soon as you get to the parks.
  8. Us & The Grandparents
  9. They will not remember the trip.  Hey! Isn’t that a reason NOT to take a newborn? Nope! No kid wants to remember the time they had a diaper blowout just before lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table or that they spit up all over the waiter at Hollywood Brown Derby.  Anything can happen with kids on vacation. Take note of the little moments they’ll never remember.  Use these memories to embarrass and blackmail them when they are teenagers.

If you are planning to take very young children on a Disney vacation, take things slow, remember to plan ahead, take lots of pictures, and most of all, have fun!

Stay crunchy, friends!