Google+ The Duda Homestead: August 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls - Review & Giveaway - Sweet Summer Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the
Sweet Summer Giveaway Hop
hosted by

From August 17-31, you can visit all the participating blogs listed below and enter to win their wonderful prizes to top off your summer in a sweet way. Each blog is offering a giveaway prize of at least $25.00 and you might be lucky enough to win them all!


Follow my blog with Bloglovin
"This set of six handmade pure wool dryer balls are special in several ways. They deliver the same benefits for laundry as conventional fabric softeners WITHOUT all the nasty chemicals. They save everyone a lot of money by eliminating the need to continuously spend on fabric softener liquid and sheets. They cut down on the time it takes to dry a typical load by at least 25% thereby saving everyone even more money and cutting down on fossil fuel usage. Finally, being as that they are handmade in the democratic republic of Nepal, they provide a steady source of income to the desperately needy women of that developing nation."

After learning what dryer sheets actually contain (All D's & F's according to the EWG) and what they do to your clothing (animal fat anyone?), I stopped using them and looked to alternatives. I also stopped using fabric softener and replaced it with distilled white vinegar. Our clothes and towels were still soft and felt even cleaner! Perhaps it was in my head, but I loved knowing they weren't coated with toxins and gunk. I was noticing some static cling issues and would occasionally throw in a dryer sheet with the towels...while making an "eww" face. 

First, I read that you can roll up a ball of tin foil and throw it in the dryer as a replacement for dryer sheets. And although the Woolzies product insert actually recommends doing that along with their dryer balls, I feel I need to do a bit more research first to see if anything comes off on the clothes at high heat. I'm sure it doesn't, but since the ball does wear down over time, I'm just not sold on it. In my mind Aluminum=bad (I'm a new mom researching vaccines...and deoderant). Then I started seeing ads for wool dryer balls.

My first thought? "Psh...I could make those and save a ton of money! I'm a super-wife!" But then I saw that a skein of pure wool yarn costs about $8, and you'd probably use almost a full skein per ball. Even if you only needed 4 skeins, that's still $32ish. Then you have to roll them and felt them which required a few runs in the washer and dryer. Woolzies will only cost you $35 and they're already made for you. Yay! So this is a case where I'd prefer to purchase over DIY (which is rare for me!). Since I'm newly a work-at-home momma, I'm also always looking for ways to save while reducing toxins and waste. These were a fantastic solution for us!

Woolzies sent me a box of their dryer balls (6) to try out and review (they were also awesome enough to sponsor this giveaway!). I started using them right away and took some notes on drying time since they claim to reduce it by at least 25%. I didn't do the math, but it did significantly reduce the drying time, even for towels. I was able to use the "less dry" setting on every load of laundry from clothing to towels to our comforter, and they came out dry, soft, and fluffy. I use low heat on clothing (which is better for them, too!) and they still come out dry on the "less dry" time setting. I'd occasionally find a thick collar or wasteband still damp, but would rather let those air dry than wear out the rest of our clothes.  

Now let's think about this...if you have 6 balls rolling around in your dryer, they are going to break up the load. This allows more air to flow between your laundry. Hence the recommendation to throw in a few tennis balls with a large comforter. Guess what? Tennis balls stink. Bad. (Are they loud? Our laundry room is in the basement and our living room is right above it. We can watch TV without hearing them. When the house is quiet, yet we do hear them. But unless you sleep next to your laundry room, I wouldn't worry about the noise. It also depends on how large of a load is in the dryer). Woolzies dryer balls work very well for large bath towels, are awesome at breaking up large loads of little baby clothes, and are a HUGE help when I can't hang dry my cloth diapers and need dry inserts and flats STAT.

A couple of examples to give you an idea of the size. The hubby pointed out that not everyone would know what an Oball is. Though if you have a baby, you should. We love this thing.

So do I recommend Woolzies dryer balls? Hellz yeah I do. 
  • Reduced drying time?  Yes
  • Left clothes/towels all snuggly soft?  Yes
  • Reduced static? Yes
  • Save $$$? Yes (A box of 160 sheets will cost you around $11 for 240. Dryer balls last at least 1000 loads. So dryer sheets = $.05/load. Dryer balls = $.03/load. Woolzies Dryer Balls will save you $15 over those 1k loads. That adds up!
  • Left animal fat and, let's just say crap, all over my laundry?  No, no they did not. (If you do want a scent to your laundry, you can use some pure essential oil to put a drop on a ball or two). 
Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a set of 6 dryer balls from Woolzies! Giveaway runs through the 31st!
(Woolzies sent me this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review. A positive review was not required.)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Baby Loving Blog Hop Giveaway!

Welcome to my first giveaway post! I'm pretty excited...and even more excited that I have the opportunity to participate in this Blog Hop to celebrate summer! This giveaway is for a set of four stainless steel drinking straws to help you reduce plastic waste and enjoy those refreshing cold summer drinks even more :) 

After reading and entering my giveaway, make sure you check out our hosts: Cloth Diapering Again, The Inquisitive Mom, and Our Piece of Earth and the grand prize giveaway! Not to mention all of the other bloggers who are participating (linky at the bottom of this post). Good luck!

 Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

(Image from - This photog's camera is getting some TLC)

When I found out I was pregnant, I kicked my coffee habit (only a mug or two a day) right away. Even though I read that 200mg of caffeine a day was perfectly safe, I also read a comment that said "better a headache than heartache" and it really stuck with me. I would have a sip now and then, or a tiny bit in my almond or soy milk just to get that coffee taste when I was missing it. 

Then, after our little E arrived and I recovered from the birth (about 2 or 3 weeks), I really started wanting my coffee back but wasn't sure about drinking it while breastfeeding. I was still being very cautious, but the hot weather was making me miss my iced coffee. So I started making coffee cubes (I used silicone trays I found at Target so I could pour the coffee in hot). The cubes are each around an ounce. I didn't feel too worried about slowly drinking 2oz of coffee as it melted in almond milk (with a little bit of organic sugar). What I did start to feel guilty about was using a plastic, disposable straw everyday. So then I began looking into alternatives. 

The options I found were hard plastic, glass, paper, and stainless steel. The paper straws are adorable and would be super fun for a party but do get soggy if they sit in the drink for a little while. Ew. I'm just not a big fan of plastic and try to avoid it. Now, I love glass, but they were a bit more expensive and even though some say they are unbreakable, I just wasn't sure. What I do like about these is that they are clear so you can truly see if they are clean, but that isn't something I have worried about with the stainless steel straws. In the end, I decided to go with stainless steel based on their price, shape, and material.

What I love about these straws:
  • Eco-Friendly!
  • No BPA (which is in your basic plastic straw from what I understand)
  • They're fun & make me feel nostalgic 
  • They get cold with your drink which is awesome on those really hot days
  • You can use them to sip hot drinks, which you should not do with plastic (I have used the SS ones once for hot tea and the straw got warm but not burning hot - Although I can not be held responsible if you burn yourself, your drink my be hotter than mine and I wouldn't recommend giving it to a child until you know the drink is cool enough).
  • I find them very easy to clean with the included pipe cleaner
Cons (Honestly, I couldn't find any. These are what I have read in other reviews):
  •  You have to clean them (well, duh. But it is easy with a pipe or brush cleaner and hot soapy water. Try to rinse after use or soak in hot soapy water)
  • You can't bite them...duh again. I was a straw biter, too. But that really is a bad habit and these can help you kick it!
  • They don't bend. No, they don't bend more than they already are. I've never found this to be a problem and think they are bent at just the right angle. 
  • They're expensive! Sure, they are more than a pack of plastic straws. But they will pay for themselves, prevent you from sipping BPA, and help the environment. They are less than glass straws and I think very reasonable.  
 Where can I get a set? (This is a self sponsored post so I may recommend a few different vendors)
  • Here is a set of 10 for $18 on Amazon with free shipping if you have Prime
  • Here is a set of 4 for $9, also free shipping with Prime
  • If you don't want a bend and prefer a straight straw (good for those reusable to-go cups!) you can find those here.
  • Enter the giveaway below to win a set of four! (Open us US only)
  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Baby Loving Blog Hop Giveaway
Welcome to the Summer Baby Loving Blog Hop Giveaway, hosted by Cloth Diapering Again, The Inquisitive Mom, and Our Piece of Earth, in celebration of babies and mamas! There are two grand prizes up for grabs, one open to US and Canada, and one open just to the US.
Don't forget to enter the grand prizes!

Summer Baby Loving Grand Prize 1

Go here to enter to win a grand prize!
Each blogger has a prize worth at least $25 on their blog, so hop around on the linky and enter to win some summer baby loving.
Cloth Diapering Again, The Inquisitive Mom, Our Piece of Earth, and Summer Baby Loving Blog Hop Giveaway participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfilment.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...