More giveaways

Applecheeks is one of the brands that has stuck around and proven its durability. I’ve heard the size one is awesome for newborns, and I’d love to try it!

Yellow Tennessee is hosting a $25 gift certificate to the Applecheeks store. Yummy.

Diaperdeals.ca is also hosting a giveaway for an Applecheeks diaper. I’d love a black one!

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Boba is one of the baby carriers I keep hearing highly recommended. While I have a handmade mei tai carrier, a buckle carrier that can carry the munchkin for a while yet would be so handy when I have two!

Your Green Baby is hosting a Boba giveaway:

One diaper that seems to have made a big wave since I’ve been around is the Itti Bitti. They sound rather awesome, and I’m a sucker for minky. 😛

Beautifully BellaFaith is hosting a giveaway for a Itti Bitti Tutto:

Oh Katy launched as Katydid and was one of the first cloth diapers I tried.  I sadly had to resell them as they left red marks on munchkin’s chunky thighs.  Due to several like complaints, the elastic was changed (and other changes too i think), and the diaper was relaunched. Since then I’ve heard nothing but good about their diapers and am eager to try them again.

Momma Told Me is hosting a giveaway for a Oh Katy pocket diaper:

double stroller…

hell yeah.

Mama to 4 Blessings is hosting a giveaway for a Peg Perago double stroller, and has quite the extensive review about it.

Giveaways and events

The Tree Huggin’ Mama is about to host a Baby Blog Event… it starts September 17. And she will use the very nifty Rafflecopter widget for the giveaways, which is rather cool. 🙂

Adventures in Fluff is hosting a Kawaii Baby Snazzy Minky diaper giveaway, which ends September 30. I keep hearing about Kawaii Baby and am wondering if this diaper is truly worth the buying, if so, it truly is an economical choice.

Mama to 4 Blessings is hosting a Tiny Tush Elite diaper giveaway. This diaper is one of my favorites, and I only have one, so I definitely want to add more to my stash.

And Mommy of 1 and Counting is hosting a giveaway for Glow Bug diapers. These look interesting, and yes, similar to Rumparooz…

Wishing Penny is hosting a GroVia hybrid trial pack. This is the diaper my sister chose for their stash, and one of the diapers that stuck around in my collection. I have a suspicion that I could make it work wonderfully for a newborn (although they have newborn diapers which look awesome).  I love their colors, I have a vanilla and would so love a kiwi and blackberry.

Happenings of the Harper Household is also hosting this same giveaway!

A Mommy’s Blessings is hosting a Kissaluvs Marvels AIO giveaway, sponsored by Sweetbottoms Baby. I really like the trimness of this diaper. It’s been dependable, and looks like it might work well for infant size.

Naturalmente Mamá reviewed the new Changing Diapers book and is hosting a Rumparooz or Fuzzibunz giveaway. I’ll definitely go with Rumparooz. 🙂

Back to stash collecting!

So there’s this new little munchkin (perhaps I’ll call it midget to distinguish between them two) coming soon (due January 7). And since munchkin will probably still be in diapers, that means I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH! [cue panic]

We are starting potty training, and he understands the concept, but he doesn’t quite have the awareness and interest yet in communicating when he’s about to go. Although he has mastered letting me know immediately afterwards (for number two), which is I guess a good step in the right direction.

So yes.  Need. more. diapers. And a few newborn ones sure would be sweet. I’ll probably get a bunch of small prefolds and thirsties covers, but a few AIOs would be amazing.

And through the year of cloth diapering since last I posted, I’ve finetuned my stash and figured out what works best for us.  Rumparooz is one of the favorites (the downside being it’s hardest to clean poo out of, abeit for the very reason it will never leak poo).  Tiny Tush surprised me by being a quiet dependable workhorse until one day I realized how great it really was (the pocket… the hemp fitted never won me over, although I still have them in my stash). Preston Pants minkys are still going strong, even though I got them used and have used them consistently – they still look awesome! And Flip is still munchkin’s nighttime diaper, with the ever dependable Babykicks hemp doublers. And there’s a few odd singles about that have earned their right to stick around, like bumGenius elemental and Kissaluvs marvel. I do have a few fitted and AI2 in my stash, but neither system is a favorite, and always avoided by hubby. And I have done some prefolds, and won’t mind doing them if I needed to for financial reasons (thus why I’m looking at them for newborns).

So that’s where we are. Nathaniel’s 22 months and 31lbs (holy smokes), and cloth diapering has been majorly successful. Have had a few hiccups, the latest being leaky diapers in the morning, solved by adding another insert to the designated morning diapers. Another was leaning how to be frugal while using coin-operated – the solution being using the washer twice – first time sans detergent, and skipping the dryer whenever possible and line-drying, either inside or out (yay for elderly landowners who think to put up clotheslines in the laundry room AND backyard).

Anyway, I have entered a few random giveaways lately, but I think it’s time to get my feet wet again. Here and there. With my favorite blogs (which I kept following silently) and favorite diapers, and maybe try out a few new ones. Hi all.

followers…

(update: so, yes there is a PR thing about how many followers you have. and i’m not dissing everyone who has the follower widget. It has its legitimate purposes. What irks me is when I see all these blogs doing follower pushs and events, and I have to wonder how many of those followers are actually reading – even just a little.

But then, it’s dastardly hard to unfollow a blog, it seems….)

It’s all about the followers, and other uglies…

K. First, blog giveaways is very much just a chance game. And to even your odds, make your chances of winning high. That means twitter. And blogging about giveaways. And finding smaller blogs with fewer entries. If you want higher chances of winning, don’t follow big blogs with millions of followers. The downside to this is that you’re not entering to win a trampoline or a camcorder. 😛

Second, once you’ve been following giveaway blogs for a month or more… or less, you are going to start thinking, “Why don’t I do this? I keep trying to win a fill-in-the-blank. I could just start my own giveaway blog and get it that way. And other cool stuff. That would be awesome.” Just from the few months I’ve been here, it seems giveaway blogs have. hm. quadrupled? … you know you’re an old hand whenever you see a UPrinting review/giveaway and go, “yup, they’re trying to become a giveaway blog”.

Giveaways are an instant ticket to getting your blog noticed. And you have to get your blog noticed to get giveaways. So it becomes a fun, or vicious, cycle.

I guess over in the blog PR world, there must be something about “how many google friends do you have?”. It’s what every blog wants.  A leveling game. A status symbol, too. Either that or it’s a fuzzy-feeling widget.

Then there’s captcha. I swear. Every blogger who has multiple entries should try out their blog themselves. My pet peeve in giveaways is when you fill out the form, press enter, and then the whole page reloads (with all those hyperlinks) then asks you to fill in the captcha. It’s not as bad now, but when we were on a weaker connection, wherever my hubby was playing something online, I could only load one page at a time lest I kill his character…So….

enter “google friend and i like this item best. [email addy]”

click submit.

wait for page to reload.

enter captcha.

click submit.

wait for page to reload.

enter “email subscriber entry #1 [email addy]”

click submit.

wait for page to reload.

enter captcha.

click submit.

wait for page to reload.

mmk… they have 3 extra entries for email subscribers, an extra entry for rss readers, another for networked blogs. another for twitter follower. another for following the sponsor’s twitter. two for liking the sponsor on facebook. three for liking them on facebook. five for having their button on your blog. and a tweet. At least.

It gets old. Fast.

If you have to do captcha, either have it on the same page, or do a pop-up window for comments. Please. (And for those who have changed it…. Thank you!)

And while I’m complaining about giveaway entries… are they really serious that you’ll be disqualified if you enter your email address “emailaddy at yahoo dot com” instead of “emailaddy at yahoo.com” … um, seriously? at/dot is the standard. Be nice.

And talking about entering your email address…. I didn’t like entering mine at first, but soon I didn’t care anymore as long as I had it in the at/dot format, but I know it bugs some people. So kudos to those who are sensitive to that and have done google docs, disqus, or moved to wordpress.

But if you move to wordpress, don’t keep your multiple entries. It gets even more agonizing over there with the “You are commenting too fast, please slow down.” page.

And don’t you dare say, “I’m not going to email the winners, I just don’t have time. I’ll just put up a post with the winners and they have 48 hours to claim their prize.”  If you don’t have time to email winners, don’t run a giveaway blog. Or do less giveaways. Or whatever.

And if you extend a giveaway, post a blogpost explaining why. Not enough entries? That’s ok. Going on vacation? Sure! But tell people. No one likes an extended giveaway without notice. And one cut short even less.

Which comes into a big issue. Is it about you and your blog, or about your followers and your sponsors? It shows more than you realize.

And then there’s the ethical issue… What do you do with all that stuff that you end up not wanting? Give it away? Donate it? Do a giveaway (haven’t seen that yet, but it would rock)? Or sell it?  There’s this one blog I once followed… ran a diaper event. Towards the end of it they said they found their favorite diaper. So they decided to sell the diapers they reviewed at a reasonable price (lower end of used, $8-12) to their readers via email, first come, first served. Someone bought the whole lot just before I emailed (I had just started cloth diapering and needed diapers). The deal fell through and then they sold them a different way, directly on their blog at a higher price ($12-18, if I recall). Now they’re planning to do another diaper event. Including reviewing some of the diapers they reviewed, then sold, the first time around. What the heck? At the same time they were pushing to, what was it, 1000 followers? That’s the type of blog that needs to go on a thumbs-down giveaway blog list.

But there is no such list. Wish there was. It would benefit followers and sponsors. And be so much more valuable to bloggers than being #1 on Top Mommy Blogs.

Then there’s that whole no-contact or no-show deal. I’ve just not bothered stressing over it, even though I’ve never seen many of the prizes I “won”…

Then there’s the other side of the fence. The entrants. Yes, I was one of the fly-by giveaway followers. I wouldn’t look at your Wordless Wednesday post. I won’t comment on your personal posts. Why? Straight up, I was there for the giveaways. Is that selfish of me? Sometimes. But at the same time, if you write well, I’m going to start noticing and reading and following- not for the giveaways but for your blog. So if you want blog readers, write good! If you want giveaway followers, do great giveaways. If you want both, do both well and kudos if you do. If you don’t, it’s your fault – do one or the other.

Oh, and if someone comments or queries on a blog comment… don’t answer there and assume they’ll see it. Email them back. Or answer in another blogpost.

“You may tweet once daily” is pretty common and very nice. “You may tweet once per hour” is fun, but time-consuming. “You may twice twice a day”, “three times”, “up to five times”… is frankly kinda frustrating, because I’m going to forget which blog giveaway is which. Unless you are running a large event with several giveaways at a time. Then it’s fun. 😉

“Please vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs” — please state whether this is a one-time entry, or once per day. And it helps to assure people that one vote will give an entry into each giveaway on your blog, not just one. Unless you’re stingy and say so.

And don’t do giveaways for something you haven’t reviewed. That’s just scary and stingy. I’ll be afraid of the sponsor if you’ve had no personal experience with their product.

Speaking of reviews… do one! C’mon, you’re getting “paid” to do it, so do it. Tell me about the product, not just that you liked it, or repeating what the sponsor has on their own website. And 5 out of 5 stars for every review is unhelpful. You are a reviewer. Be one.

And finally, if a winner doesn’t get a prize, help them. At the very least, communicate! Don’t avoid their emails and tweets and direct messages and facebook comments.  Word gets around… and it won’t be long before there is some kind of giveaway blog rating system. So focus on making a *good* giveaway blog, not just a mega big one. Because I think that’ll come back to bite you.

It’s an interesting, new, and rapidly growing world, giveaway blogs, and something I’m intrigued to watch unfold.

From a distance.

Goodbye big ole giveaway blogging world… hello, friends.

I don’t know how other mamas do it with more than one kid.  I barely can keep up with the essentials of life *and* keep up with blogs and giveaways. I’ve won some really cool stuff, found some neat blogs, learned a lot, found some awesome friends, and discovered favorite products and shops that I’m sure to recommend and return to. But I can’t do anything else in a day besides eat, sleep, clean, take care of baby, play with hubby, and keep up with giveaways and the cloth diapering world. There is another project, another community that has been waiting for me, and it’s time to spend my day doing what God has told me to do. My diaper stash is complete at 25 pockets and 4 covers with misc prefolds & inserts…. I know what I like, I have a good stash, and even though there’s brands and types I want to try, and I want more of my favorites… I know this delightful madness doesn’t stop at 40, 50, or 60 diapers. 😉

I’ve learned a lot and plan to do another blogpost soon with rants and tips about giveaways and blogs. But meanwhile, I’m ending subscriptions and clearing out my reader. It’s soo nice to be able to open my google reader and look at each blog, of friends and favorite shops, rather than just be skimming titles. Used to be, on a rushed day, I would skim the titles for the words “giveaway” or “winners” and only read those posts and, with a handful of exceptions, mark everything else read. That sucked. Now I will actually follow blogs. and read them.  That makes me happy. 🙂

And meanwhile, I am secretly building a stash for my preggy sis-in-law. It’s so exciting now that I know what works and what doesn’t. I can tell her how to take care of her diapers and build her stash and why. For example – figuring out what system of diapering works best for her. Pockets are still my favorite. I thought I would go more for AI2s once we had our own place and I did most of the diaper changes, but I change the wriggling kid on the floor wherever we happen to be,  so swapping out a wet insert just doesn’t work.

I’ll still be here, I just won’t be reading many blogs or entering many giveaways. Just following the blogs and people I love. This will be something I do in my extra time, rather than doing everything *else* in my extra time. 😉

But keep following. There’s more to come….

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