Author Archives: Maria

Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
Natural and Organic Food Review

Ricemellow Fluffernutter


Go ahead and make a corny joke about this being “fluff” in my blog.  However, this fluff is anything but “corny.”  In fat, it has no corn syrup at all!
Regular marshmallow fluff contains: corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and vanillin or Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Egg Whites, Artificial Flavor, Cream of Tartar, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Color (Contains Blue 1), depending on brand.

I found this 10 oz package of Ricemellow Creme by Suzanne’s Specialties at my grocery store, for just under 5 bucks.  Outrageous compared to regular fluff I know, but it contains only brown rice syrup, soy protein, natural gums and natural flavors. 

The only sweetener is the brown rice syrup, there’s no corn syrup, no cane sweeteners, no refined sugars. There’s also no gluten, no animal products (it’s vegan), no fat, cholesterol, added salt, preservatives or artificial additives.

Despite the lack of preservatives, the jar is good until August.

To be honest, with all that, I didn’t have high hopes for it’s taste!

A two tablespoon serving has about the same nutrition facts as it’s corn syrup-y cousin.

When I opened it up, it wasn’t what I expected to see and I was thinking I was going to end up throwing away this $5 experiment.

I cautiously gave it a sniff.  Hmm…smells pretty good.  Sweet.  *sniff*  Almost like a melted marshmallow.  Reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on.

I put a teeny bit on a spoon and gave it a taste.  It was pretty good!  Sweet, a bit like fluff, but much lighter and airier.  I had hubby taste it, and my daughter too.  Both liked it. 

They both thought it had a consistency more like whipped cream than fluff.  My daughter said “It’s TOO YUMMY.”  She also hugged it to herself and said “It’s mine and I’m going to eat it ALL UP because I love it SO MUCH.”  She also told me she liked it better than regular fluff, but later told me she wasn’t sure.

I made a ricemellow creme fluffernutter.  (It’s a little messy since I didn’t use a clean knife to cut it)

It was definitely lighter and easier to spread than regular fluff.  My daughter gobbled her half of the sandwich.  I did too, and while it was tasty, it just didn’t have that gooey, gloppy meld-with-the-peanut butter texture that I love in a fluffernutter.
I will definitely continue to buy this for my daughter, but I will probably still buy the old fashioned stuff every now and again, when I get in the mood for some gooey goodness!
On another note, I ended up buying some brown rice syrup to try to use in place of corn syrup.  I found a great recipe for home made marshmallows I want to try (though I’m going to try them with corn syrup first to work out kinks, the brown rice syrup was expensive!!)
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Cloth Diapers Fitted Diapers Made in the USA One Size Diapers Review WAHM made

Licorice Lane Fitted Tester Diaper


I recently got to test a sized, fitted diaper for Licorice Lane
The owner makes baby leggings, blankets, hats, booties and lounge pants, but has just recently gotten into diaper making.  She used them on her own child, as well as friend’s children, but needed feedback from more mamas with different age babies, different sizes, wetting habits and so forth.
What made testing for Licorice Lane especially fun was that she was truly looking for honest feedback to make a better product that would work for more families.  She wasn’t just looking for pats on the back!
I paid a small sum (as did all testers) to cover shipping, and a portion of the materials.  The diaper came quickly.
This is a sized, medium diaper, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it also had a fold down rise with an extra set of snaps.

The mediums are supposed to fit 15-25 pounds, but I imagine they could fit a much smaller baby with the fold down rise.
The diaper is made with a cotton flannel outer, a hidden layer of French terry, and a cotton velour inner. 
She is working on a few soaker styles, so testers received different ones.  Mine was 2 layers of French terry and 2 layers of cotton velour.
Overall, the quality of construction and stitching were good.
I had to really scrutinize it to find a couple places where the stitching could potentially be a smidge straighter.  Still much better than many WAHM products I’ve seen.
My personal preference would be to have the overall diaper be a bit larger.  Slightly longer wings, slightly wider crotch and slightly larger diaper overall.  However, I realize that I’m just trying to turn it into a one size fitted, LOL.  She did say that she may work on a one size in the future.
Here is the Licorice Lane medium in comparison to my favorite one size fitted.
I felt the soaker was a tiny bit wide for the diaper, but she was trying several soaker styles in her testers.
My son really could still wear the diaper on the smaller rise setting. (16.5 lbs, 27.5 inches)
I prefer it hit him a bit higher on the belly.  Just what I’m used to I suppose.
If you notice the gap at his right thigh, I had a bit of trouble fitting the diaper.  It’s as if I needed snaps where there weren’t any.  Pulling the diaper to the overlap snap was too tight.
If I got the outer snaps where they needed to be to make the diaper snug, there was one snap just hanging out.
I ended up just leaving the middle snap of that wing undone, and it worked just fine.
One reason I really enjoyed testing for Licorice Lane is that Brooke looked at the pictures, thought it over and tried to come up with ways to solve this.  I think I just needed a snap where there wasn’t one.  Or, it could just be operator error.  Wouldn’t be the first time!
It fit nicely.
Babyish prints aren’t really my favorite, but this was very cute.
This is a fitted diaper, so the whole diaper is absorbent, and it needs a cover to be waterproof.  I know from experience that this soaker style (especially a single with no doubler) doesn’t work well for us coverless.  Still, I wanted to test it out.
As I expected, when he wet it, it was soaked right though.  When I tried it again with our Flip Cover over it, it worked wonderfully,  The diaper was able to absorb more throughout, instead of just soaking through the wetzone.
I do still prefer a 2 petal style soaker with an added doubler.  I realize that I am comparing/trying to turn this into my favorite fitted, but really, if I am buying/shopping for a fitted, that’s what I am going to be using as my benchmark!
Licorice Lane was just wonderful to test for.  She was receptive to my suggestions and preferences, summarized to make sure she understood all of my input, and sincerely thanked me. 
As a tester, I know that other Mamas may have other ideas and preferences, and she can’t please everyone.  Therefore, her fitteds might not end up being what works for me.  However, the feeling I got from testing for her makes me very willing to try another diaper after tweaks, or any other products from Licorice Lane!
Right now, the Licorice Lane store is set to open on May 1st, though that may change!
Edit August 2010: Since fitted diapers aren’t my favorite, I passed this along to someone who could better use it.
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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winner chosen! Lil’ Outlaws, Almost Heaven Diaper Company & FuzziBunz Changing Set Giveaway


I’ve used’s true random number generator to choose a winner for the Lil’ Outlaws, Almost Heaven Diaper Company & FuzziBunz Changing Set Giveaway.

The lucky winner is fancygrlnancy!


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Cloth Diapers Diaper Covers Made in the USA Overnight Diapering Solutions Review Sized Diapers WAHM made Wool

Mobums Wool Interlock “Night Night” Soaker


I really like my Kissaluvs wool cover, but I wanted a spare for when it was being washed.  I also wanted to get a medium, since the large was a bit, well, large.
I managed to win an auction for a mobums “night-night” wool interlock soaker, for about half the price of the Kissaluvs.  The night night soaker has a double layer of wool through the whole soaker body, wider waist and leg bands, and all seams are serged for durability. 
The size medium I purchased fits a 17″ rise, 15-17″ waist and  9-10″ thighs.
Monique at mobums ended up refunding my shipping (all of it) because there was a slight delay in shipping my soaker out.  I didn’t even notice a delay; it came in about a week.  Still, that was my first hint that mobums has excellent customer service and really values their customers.
The soaker was shipped lanolized with cucumber melon scented lanolin.  I’ve become very sensitive to smells lately and this was a little strong for me.  I contacted Monique and got help washing the scent out.  She was very apologetic, receptive and sweet.  This was nice, since she had no way to know the scent would bother me. 
I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you my wool washing routine!
I fill my utility sink with some lukewarm water and a teaspoon or so of Eucalan, then swish it around before adding the wool.
I squeeze the suds into the wool a bit, then let it soak for 15 minutes or so. 
In the meantime, I get four towels out, and stack them in sets of two.
When the wool has finished it’s soak, I drain the water, then gently squeeze some of the water out of the wool.  Then I lay it on top of a set of towels.
I roll the soaker up inside the towels.
Then move to the next set of towels.
then lay flat to dry.  Mobums soakers can be tumbled dry on low, but I’d rather just let it air dry.  I’m afraid one day I will accidentally dry it on high and ruin it!
Here’s a close up of the leg openings
and the seams inside the soaker
Here the mobums medium is on top and the Kissaluvs large is on the bottom.
another angle
The Kissaluvs has that extra, extra wide waistband to fold over and cover higher waist diapers etc.
The night night soaker actually has quite a bit of stretch to it.
It fit snugly, without being tight.
It fit over that super fluffy booty!
I topped the soaker off with fleece pants. In the morning, I could feel a bit of dampness on the outside of the soaker.  It doesn’t surprise me, and in my opinion, it isn’t a reflection on the quality of the soaker.  My son manages to completely saturate an outrageously absorbent fitted, so the fact that the wool (which is breathable remember) was damp where his tush was compressing it all night, doesn’t concern me!
In the end, this is a great product and the fact that it comes with even better service behind it, makes it worth much more than the price I paid!!
August 2010: Still in our regular night time rotation!
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Eco-Friendly/Green Giveaway Review

SodaStream Review & Giveaway CLOSED 5/5


We don’t drink tons of soda, but we do like to have it occasionally.  However, I love flavored water, especially seltzer, and I’ve even been known to add a dash of orange juice to seltzer.
Soda is expensive, and seltzer can be too, even the generic brands.  I go through flavored water so quickly that it takes up tons of space in the cart, the trunk, the pantry and the fridge.  Not to mention the space in the recycling bin.
One reason I like to have soda on hand is to be able to offer it to guests.  Keeping a few 12 packs on hand again, takes up a lot of space in the pantry, and trying to keep a few of each type cold takes up a ton of space in the fridge.  If we buy 2-liter bottles, it goes flat before we drink it, and that’s money down the drain.
You can read here about how SodaStream helps the environment including less packaging waste and less pollution from transporting the packages.
SodaStream offered to send me a Fountain Jet starter kit and some SodaMix flavors to try and review.  They are sponsoring a giveaway too, so read on!
I was very excited to find this at my door.
It was packaged with bubble wrap that my daughter enjoyed, and some other cushioning materials that I can reuse!

I also got seven SodaMix flavors, and 3 MyWater flavors!

Each bottle of mix isn’t much bigger than a single can of soda, but it makes the equivalent of 33 cans!  Each bottle sells for $4.99-$6.99 and makes 12 liters of soda.

All of the bottles in my pantry took up about the same amount of space as a 12-pack of soda, but the 7 bottles would make over 19 12-packs worth.  Each tiny bottle of MyWater mix makes 20 1-liter bottles.

The FAQs say to keep unopened bottles in a cool, dry place, and for the “coldest soda,” you should keep opened bottles in the fridge.  The MyWater bottles say to refrigerate after opening, and to use within 6 weeks of opening.  I am used to things requiring refrigeration after being opened, so I decided to store them in the fridge just to be on the safe side.  They didn’t take up much more space than a few cans of soda.
The SodaStream website says “SodaMix bottles feature a “best before” date which relates to optimal taste. Rest assured that sodamix can safely be consumed well beyond this “best before” date, however peak taste is ensured by consuming prior to this date. Sodamix will typically arrive at your home with about 3-4 months remaining prior to the “best before” date, therefore please order no more than a 3-4 month supply of sodamix.”  I had one bottle with a Best Before date in this fall, one in December, and the rest were early next year.

The machine is small, sleek and lightweight.

I have it out on my counter instead of being hidden away like my other small appliances! 
It actually looks great with my stainless appliances.
The machine had a tag with some quick tips on the it.
I still read the instruction sheet, and referenced it as I tried it out.
The Fountain Jet has a drip tray that’s easily removable for cleaning.
I’m ready to set it up and try it out!  It was really pretty easy.  I had to install the CO2 cartridge.
My starter kit came with a 14.5 oz cartridge that will carbonate up to 60 liters.  The spare/exchange deal works just like propane tanks.  Exchanging a cartridge this size costs around $15.  Getting a spare is slightly more.  Looking at their online store, it appears you can’t exchange just one of the smaller ones, so I would have to do the buy 1 spare/exchange 1, which is regularly $49.99, on sale for $30.99.   (The Earth Day sale runs through 4/23 and offers 40% off spare carbonators).   The shipping charge is $7.99, and shipping your empty back is free.  If you don’t ship it back, you can be charged a $15 fee (basically making it a spare rather than an exchange).
You can also search for a retailer and look for one that sells spares and/or exchanges.  For us, the nearest is about an hour away.  We’re used to this.  Our mall’s anchor stores are Sears and JcPenney, not Neiman Marcus and Crate and Barrel.  We travel to a “big mall” city a few times a year to shop for different things, so we could take care of this then, or just order online.
The Fountain Jet also accepts 33 oz/110 liter carbonators.  Other models do not.
In any case, installing it was easy.  I removed the back panel.
Installed the cartridge
and replaced the cover.
The Fountain Jet comes with two BPA free, reusable PET bottles. 
You can get extras for $15 per two pack.  They are 1 liter size.  They also have 1/2 liter travel size bottles.
Much sturdier than a store bought soda bottle.
They cannot be washed in the dishwasher.
The caps have a rubber seal, keeping the seltzer or soda fizzy for much longer than store bought.
You are supposed to be able to use each bottle for up to three years.  The bottles conveniently have the discard date printed on them, but mine say to discard after October 2011.  I imagine they sent me a kit that was a bit older than what they would ship a purchaser.
To carbonate, fill the bottle to the fill line (no more than that!!)
Tip the nozzle out.
and thread the bottle on.
The instructions said to press the carbonating button in short presses, all the way down until you hear a loud buzz.  3 buzzes provide average carbonation, repeat for extra fizz.
This took me a little bit of practice.  I initially wasn’t pressing the button hard enough, and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be hearing.  I took a quick video to show you.
My daughter said the “buzz” sounded like a burp, and I think that’s pretty accurate!
Hold your bottle of fizzy water at a 45 degree angle, and slowly pour 1 capful of SodaMix in.  Tighten cap and gently rock the bottle back and forth to mix.
Or, you can do what I did.  I carbonated the water and stored it without adding anything.  The “serving size” is 8 oz of water to 10 ml SodaMix.  So, you could just add about 2 teaspoons of mix to 8 oz of seltzer in your glass, then mix.
What I really like about this is that if your seltzer loses some of it’s fizz, you can re-carbonate it.  You can only carbonate water, so if your already mixed soda loses it’s fizz, you can’t re-carbonate it.  Also, no, you can’t carbonate vodka.  *eyeroll*  Yes, when my hubby saw this, he asked me if you could carbonate anything else, with a devilish glint in his eye and yes, he specifically mentioned vodka.
Also, you can have whatever flavor you like, without having several bottles of mixed soda on the go, taking up space, getting flat!  It also makes it very easy to keep the bottles clean.  Just rinse with warm water, fill with clean water to the fill line, then store in the fridge until you’re ready to carbonate (cold water carbonates better).
What I like most about the Soda Stream, is that I can adjust the mix to water ratio to my taste.  Most sodas are too sweet for me.  Even when I occasionally get Fruit2O, I cut it with about half water.  In fact, my favorite water isn’t sweetened at all.
It’s a rare treat though, because it’s so expensive!
I set up a taste test.
My 5-year old daughter was excited, since she’s only had sips of soda a few times.  It’s actually quite amusing since she really doesn’t like soda.  She makes a disgusted face, but forces out a “yum” or similar, before refusing another sip.  I think she wants to keep her options open to try some the next time, instead of being reminded that she doesn’t like it.
Anyway, I put about 4 ounces of water and 1 teaspoon of soda mix in each glass, then stirred.  I used 1/4 tsp of MyWater in those glasses.
I really wasn’t sure if my husband would like any of these.  All of the SodaMix flavors contain splenda, even the “regular,” non-diet flavors.  Neither one of us is a big fan of artificial tasting flavorings, but he is really bothered by artificial sweeteners as well.  The MyWater flavorings contain natural flavors only, no sweetener (though they tasted sweet to me).
The “regular” flavors don’t contain any High Fructose Corn Syrup.  However, I do wish there were flavors sweetened with cane sugar or stevia.
After a few tastes, we decided we needed a palate cleanser.
Not just goldfish, dye filled goldfish.  What can I say, sometimes it’s worth giving in to pleas for colorful goldfish.  It’s a better “treat” than candy!
Hubby liked the Coke Zero imitation.  He used it just as he uses Coke (ha ha).
He also really enjoyed the Diet Energy drink.  He thought it tasted and smelled just like Red Bull.  The next morning after this taste test, he mixed some up and took it with him on the ride to work, in one of his reusable, aluminum bottles.
My daughter really liked the orange mango (also my favorite).
She also really enjoyed the diet cream soda (as did my hubby).
I thought that the fruity flavors were good with the average, 3 “buzz” carbonation, but the cola, root beer etc. could have used a bit more fizz.
I loved the orange and lemon-lime MyWater flavors.  I thought just a drop to a full glass was great, and that it would taste great in “still” water also.  Even my husband liked the lemon-lime, and that is not his cup of tea (seltzer?).
The only flavor that got a thumbs down all around was the berry MyWater.
I think this would would be great for a party.  You could mix different flavors, even use them as alcoholic drink mixers.  My husband had the idea of having a pump that would dispense the right amount for one glass, which is a great idea.
I figure two liters of this soda costs between $1.43 and $1.77 between soda mix and a large CO2 cartridge (exchange-including shipping).  This is slightly greater than the typical “stock up” sale price on name brand soda in 2L bottles, at my local store.  However, we would end up throwing away about half of that two liter bottle, making the SodaStream much more cost effective for us.  That’s totally aside from the convenience and storage factor.  The energy drink is much, much more cost effective and the savings on seltzer is huge.
SodaStream says you can use tap water, but I would use filtered water.  We have awesome well water that is further filtered.  Even before being filtered, it tastes like mountain spring water (probably because it is!)  So, that may make ours taste extra good!
Right now, we’re having a blast using this.  Before I invest in more CO2 cartridges or SodaMixes, I want to see if we continue to use it after the novelty wears off, or if it collects dust!
Want your own?  Buy one.
Or, win it! 

SodaStream will send one lucky winner a Fountain Jet starter pack (retail value approx. $100), which includes a machine, 1 carbonator, two BPA-free carbonating bottles and two flavors of the winner’s choice.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave me a comment with  which two flavors you would choose if you won.  This is a mandatory entry.  
2. Follow my blog publicly.  Current followers count.  Comment saying you’re a follower to get your entry.
3. Fan me on Facebook.  Current fans count.  Comment saying you’re a fan to get your entry.
4. Follow me on  Twitter.  Current followers count.  Comment saying you’re a follower to get your entry.
5. Tweet about this giveaway.  “RT @ Chgdiapers win a SodaStream Fountain Jet Starter Pack valued at $100 until 5/5 #giveaway” Comment with a link to your tweet for your entry.  (One Tweet/entry per day)
6. Write a blog post about this giveaway and link to it.  Post a comment with a link to your post for your entry.
7.  Become a fan of SodaStream on Facebook.  Comment saying you’re a fan to get your entry.

I will accept entries until Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 at 9:00 P.M. 

I’ll use’s true random number generator to select a winner, than notify the winner via email. 

Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment if it isn’t in your profile
Thank you SodaStream for providing me with a Fountain Jet and SodaMixes, as well as the winner’s starter kit.  The freebies in no way influenced my review.
Edit August 2010: We’re still using this regularly and have purchased cartridge and sodamix refills.  I stll wish they had a “make your own” sampler option so we could try different mixes without committing to a full bottle, or a sampler with many flavors we’re not interested in, or have already tried.
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