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Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Diapers.com

I have had good experiences shopping at Diapers.com. We have bought a stroller and a carseat through them, both on sale, using coupon codes and either Bing or eBates for cashback. Great deals! We saved a ton of money. Google “diapers.com coupon code” for deals, and make sure to sign up at either eBates or Bing first (see who’s giving the best rate). They offer fast, free shipping over $49, too. I got my stroller two days after ordering!

They have a referral program, as well. If you use my referral coupon code (SERINA10), you’ll get $10 off your first order of diapers ($49 minimum purchase). I get a $5 credit for each new referral. They have lots of disposable diapers and some cloth. You may be able to stack this coupon with others; try one of the 10% coupons floating around FIRST, then use mine.

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Win an Ergo Baby Carrier!

I just had to link to this contest. The Ergo has been one of our most beloved slings in our well-loved collection of babywearing devices. It’s really more of a backpack than a sling, but without all the bulk of a framed backpack. Perfect for hiking or cooking, it distributes the weight of the baby onto your waist (not shoulders!) surprisingly well. And it folds down so small that you can take it anywhere.

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children's clothing reviews

We have been the blessed recipients of some generous hand-me-downs over the years. As I mentioned in my seasonal clothes sorting post, we have never wanted for clothing. Even when I have had to do frequent laundry for a few weeks to make up for a lack of variety, something has always turned up in the end–usually an unexpected bin of hand-me-downs given to us by someone totally unaware of the situation who says something like, “I was just praying about who to give these clothes to, and God brought you to mind.” So awesome!

A few introductory children’s clothing thoughts:

  • I have girls. I’m hoping moms of boys will chime in with their thoughts.
  • If you need to buy new clothing, buying brands that you know will last makes sense. Your younger children will wear them, and you’ll be spending less money in the long run, even if the up-front cost is greater.
  • If you have no one to hand your clothes down to, consider buying brands that are both durable and that re-sell well on eBay. You can recover 40 – 90% of your costs when you buy the right brands and sell them after your child has outgrown them. Some brands are so highly stalked than even the stained stuff sells well!
  • If your budget limits you to used clothing or cheaper new clothing, opt for durable used clothing. You can find good stuff at garage sales, consignment shops, eBay, and the like. When you know which brands to look for, you can buy stuff that will last for a long time, even though it’s used.
  • If you want to add new things to balance your stash of used stuff, consider purchasing affordable new shirts (100% cotton turtlenecks are often cheap and durable) and spending more money on a couple pair of really durable pants.
  • Always consider gender neutral clothes. Then you’ll have something for whatever kids come next.
  • Choose comfort over style. It used to be that all babies wore dress-like gowns for the first three years. It’s easier to change diapers that way, and then regardless of the gender of your next baby, you have a full set to hand down. You might not be ready to dress your little boy in a dress, but choosing simple pants and shirts that just pull on and off (no fussy buckles or endless rows of zippers) will do both you and him a world of good.
  • Dress children like children. I’m firmly against dressing my girls like little adults. When possible, children’s clothing should be comfortable, durable, and fun to wear. Adult clothing is often anything but, and when little kid clothing is cut to mimic that, the resulting fit and look is totally inappropriate for a young child with a soft, round body.
  • Allow clothing independence when appropriate, but exercise your authority when appropriate, too. Let them dress themselves sometimes and keep yourself from re-dressing them to go out to the store, even if they look seemingly ridiculous. But do encourage appropriate respectful dress for, say, church, and don’t let them pick all the clothes you’re going to buy if what they choose is impractical.
  • Have standards, but be practical. Because we get hand-me-downs, we often get clothing that doesn’t follow all the principles I’ve mentioned above. As long as what we have meets modesty standards, I have to be okay with teen-style jeans or frilly, decked-out dresses once in a while. I try to purchase with my money clothing that follows my guidelines, and be grateful for everything else.
  • Avoid logos. Any shirt or clothing item that has a store name, brand name, toy logo, or similar thing on it is generally avoided by me. Even if it’s cheap, you’re paying to be a walking advertisement for that company. Also, the stores that make logo shirts often have clothing that doesn’t last as long as other kinds. This is not always true, but often.
  • Choose clothing with flexible cuts to last for many seasons, even with fast growth. I like cropped pants, capris, long (hip-length) shirts, and raglan sleeves–all styles that allow for growth and are loose enough to fit for a long time without being baggy.
  • I avoid synthetic materials when possible. Polyester anything pills and shows wear quickly, even when blended with cotton. Polyester also holds smells more readily, so that any pants with polyester blends are more prone to stinking (think diaper leaks) even after washing.

I went through my memory and my dressers in search of things that look good and have worn well, and I’ve come up with some general recommendations to offer. There are always exceptions, but you have to start somewhere. Here are the top three clothing brands that I highly recommend:

  • Hanna Andersson – The first outfit that came to mind when I was thinking “durable, cute, and already handed down” was an outfit that I didn’t initially know was a Hanna. It’s a colorful cropped pant/capri and a sleeveless blue shirt with a hip-length cut. Maya has worn this outfit for a whopping three summers in a row (!), and it looks fantastic. It was worn by two sisters in succession prior to being given to us, and you’d never know. Hanna Andersson’s clothing is European in style and sizing, and are designed to fit for a long time (no need to size up) and be handed down. The company is committed to charitable giving and environmental causes. They have quite a few organic cotton clothing lines, including their popular long johns and baby zippers. I love that they have both dressy and everyday play stuff, including lots of gender neutral stuff (which is hard to find after babyhood from other stores). They also have family clothing lines, for parents looking for comfy pajamas or coordinated Christmas outfits. An excerpt from their website:

    “From day one, we’ve let kids be kids. For us that means butter-soft fabrics and energizing colors, comfy shapes that aren’t too tight or too grown-up. And maybe best of all – our long-lasting quality is so terrific that little ones don’t have to be careful about their clothes! What started as a passion for beautiful quality in children’s clothing has grown up into an inspiration that guides the comfort and quality of everything we makes.”

    The clothing can be quite pricey, but there’s always something on sale. Additionally, the Internet buzz is that they have two big sales a year–one in May, and one in December (right after the cut-off date for Christmas shipping)–and a few outlets throughout the country that will ship to you if you call and ask. This fall, I purchased our first Hanna playdresses and leggings (matching ones for the girls, both used off eBay), and we continued to be thrilled with the quality. Maybe someday we’ll actually buy something new from them!

  • Gymboree – I just grabbed a pair of soft cotton leggings that were worn by two sisters in a row, then passed on to us to be worn by Maya and now Ellery. They still look great, with vibrant color, and the knees are only lightly worn. I was surprised to learn that this pair of leggings is “vintage” Gymboree–I didn’t even recognize the logo style at first. This added to my confidence in the brand, as we have quite a few things in our drawers and bins that are Gymboree hand-me-downs. The clothing from this store is really cute and quite durable. They lean to the trendier side of things with some of their lines, but they have some great timeless dresses and leggings every season for both play and church. The baby clothes are sweet and comfortable, and the boys clothes look nice, too. (Anyone want to comment on the durability of boy clothing from Gymboree?) The two best things about Gymboree, in my opinion, are their large selection of cotton leggings and their frequent sales. If you get on their email mailing list, you’ll be notifed of all of their sales ahead of time, including their “Friends & Family” sales that are 30% everything in the store or online and are not widely advertised. They also have their Gymbucks program, which earns you money to spend on their clothes during specified sale periods. And, for the holidays, they have $5 shipping online! We’ve worn a lot of used Gymboree clothing and it’s all been great. We just bought our first new Gymboree item today–Maya’s Christmas dress–and it’s just darling.
  • Carter’s – I just realized that we have a ton of Carter’s stuff (probably more than any other brand), and it all looks great. The company makes clothes from newborn through size 7, and is known for its great outlet stores. We received a lot of Carter’s baby stuff new at showers and used from friends, and it holds up very well to the many washings that baby clothes go through. A lot of their stuff is 100% cotton, but some of their baby footies have a small amount of polyester blended in, so watch out if you want to avoid that. (I make sure that an all-cotton onesie or undershirt protects my kids’ skin from polyester blends, as they’re both really sensitive to synthetics.) Though they’re known for baby clothes, I love the hand-me-downs we’ve received in bigger sizes. They’re super cute, and the knit is very sturdy.

I know there are a lot of clothing brands out there that are durable, but these three really stood out above the rest. If I was to recommend four, my next company would be Old Navy, but I wouldn’t consider them as high caliber as the other three, especially in terms of durability. We have a lot of Old Navy stuff, and some of it looks fantastic while other items didn’t even last through one child. They do have a great online shop, good sales, cheap shipping, and a wide selection of maternity clothing. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state that has Meijer, they sell a few cheap brands (Kiks is one, I think) that have lasted well for us. The Children’s Place has been a bit sketchy for us; the hand-me-downs we’ve gotten are of variable quality, and the few new things I’ve bought at their great sales haven’t been as sturdy as I like. (They do have some very colorful comfy stuff, though, if you can weed through the teeny bopper stuff.)

In general, jeans are sturdy things, no matter what brands. The exceptions are the cheaper brands that are noticeably thinner, like they’re jean-colored but barely denim. If you can find out the weight, you’ll know that 12 oz. denim and higher is usually pretty durable.

I’d love to hear your thoughts: what brands do you love? What hand-me-downs are your favorites?

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Men may want to skip this one.

Have you tried The Keeper? Or its silicone cousin, the Diva Cup? I’ve been using my Keeper for a couple of years now, and I love it. It’s so much handier, healthier, and more effective than anything I was using before. When my period hits, all I need is my little rubber cup. (And, because I’m weird-shaped and have a very heavy flow, I wear a pad for back-up. But lots of women don’t.) I save money, and I don’t worry about TSS anymore.

(But then, I use cloth menstrual pads sometimes, too. It took me years of using cloth diapers to even consider that. If this all hits you as a bit odd, take a breath, let the idea simmer, and consider it again in a few months. You’ll be glad you did.)

If you already use tampons, using a Keeper is an easy step. Questions? Post away.

Click here to read the original comments to this post, which contain further opinions, questions, and reviews.

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