Does it seem to anyone else that spring brings with it an unusually large number of celebratory gatherings —  birthday parties, baby showers, and the like?  It’s not that the number of new babies and old babies aging is actually greater in this season (in fact, August is typically the month in which the most babies are born, let no one say this blog never taught you anything.)  Maye it’s just that winter makes it hard to gather together to be festive, what with everyone stuck indoors, and so it’s only when spring comes around that people are really in the partying mood.

Whatever the reason for the season, this is the time of year when customer after customer comes running into the Goose looking for a gift.  Just in case you wanted to do a little prep work in advance, may I present the Complete Goose Gift Giving Guide.

For the New Mama & Baby: The Baby Shower Gift

There are two general options for gift giving at the Goose.  You can either select one big item as a present, or put together an assortment of smaller items.  If you want to go (really) big, may we suggest our cloth diapering sample pack.  Perfect for the mama-to-be planning to try cloth diapering for the first time, our sampler package ($130) includes 6 Chinese prefold diapers, 2 Bummis covers, 1 Motherease diaper cover, 1 6-pack of wipes or 1 package of flushable liners, 1 colored Motherease fitted diaper, 2 Motherease unbleached cotton fitted diapers, 1 Made@Home fleece diaper cover, and 2 Motherease all-in-one diapers.  Or, there’s always the Ergo.

If you’re not looking to go quite as big, we suggest assembling a few of the items below in one of our complimentary gift bags or a Shagbark Studio fabric basket (pictured above, mama vendor profile to come later this week.)

*Bamboo washcloths by Punkinbutt, the softest things ever made in the history of the world.  They’re so wonderful that we buy a batch every time a new kid comes to stay.  Plus, as I discovered last summer, they are excellent for soaking up all kinds of bodily fluids (not only the diaper-changing variety, but the my-toddler-split-her-head-open-and-is-gushing-blood variety.)  They’re at the Goose in packages of 3 for $7.98.

*Organic cotton toys by Under the Nile. These are great shower gifts because they’re adorable in the way that new babies are adorable, eliciting automatic gushes and exclamations of “awww!”  Also, they are perfect for wee ones as they start grasping and then teething since they can go from baby’s mouth to the washing machine and then right back to baby.  My littlest  spent much of her first year grasping an Under the Nile banana, but my new favorites are the Harmony Dolls, pictured at right.

*Nuzzle Me Strap Covers. Locally made by papa vendor Tim, these strap covers come in bright and engaging prints to fit a variety of baby carriers and give baby something to chew on that can be easily removed and then cleaned before baby’s next outing.  Are we detecting a washable theme here?  At the Goose, we believe that easy to clean is a new mama’s dream.  (At least, I do.  I just made that up.  I’ll have to poll the rest of the goslings to see if they’re on board with the mantra.)

*Charlie’s Soap. Although at first pass laundry soap may seem too dull for a baby shower gift, I can guarantee you that the recipient will thank you several months down the road, when it’s three in the morning and he or she is completely out of burp cloths or blankets or diapers and hasn’t had time or ener gy to leave the house in two days and finally discovers the bag of Charlie’s Soap that you included with your shower gift.

*Cloth Wipes. These are a fun and colorful addition to any gift basket.  Locally made and environmentally friendly, the Goose sells these wipes in packs of 12 for $12.98.

*Naaci Cloth Diapers. Our newest made at home cloth diaper, these are each one-of-a-kind and made from reclaimed fabrics.  One of these makes a great gift even if you don’t know the new mama’s diapering plans.

For Big (and Not so Big) Kids: The Birthday Party Gift

I’m rarely at the Goose pre-party with enough time to spare to assemble a gift bag, so I’ve become a one-piece-gift kind of girl.   My personal favorites are locally made capes by Made@home mama or SewingMommy, or aprons by Sparks (aka our amazing manager Larkin.)  Cooperative games by Family Pastimes, Elaine Griffin tutus, and Barbara Engstrom dance skirts are also huge hits.  Someday, though, when I magically get my life together and am not running around like a mama chicken missing her proverbial head, I’ll put together a thoughtful gift bag with some of the items below, just like this amazing customer:

Mama Moreen, giver of gifts extraordinaire

Moreen began with a Shagbark Studios basket and filled it with:

*North Star Toys. Moreen selected a wooden rattle, car, and the popular “3 Men in a Tub” by this New Mexico-based company.  We also carry North Star magic wands and helicopters and some other fun things.

Some other great options for a birthday basket:

*Country Kids socks. Although socks are not ordinarily an exciting birthday gift, these are not your ordinary socks.  With great designs from stripes to rocket ships, these are exactly the kind of socks kids like to see on their feet.

*Magic Shoe laces. On sale for $.98, these brightly-colored shoe laces will jazz up any old pair of shoes.  They also go great with the socks mentioned above.

*Ouchie Sacks and Pillows by Sparks. These rice-filled bags (handmade with love by our lovely Larkin) are designed to soothe the boo-boos of birthday boys and girls all year round.  A big step up from your regular old ice pack.

*Twig Crayons. People love our twig crayons (2 for $1.98) as a last minute addition to an everyday purchase, and they’re just that much better when thrown in with a gift.

*Wild Apple Toys. Locally made in Trumansburg, these wooden toys range from snakes on wheels to whale piggy banks and pull-string winged dragons.

Pick up a handmade card (we carry designs by two local mamas) at the register, and your gift is ready to go.  Shopping season made easy, just for you!  Now let’s all  go have some cake.

-Meryl at the Goose

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Mama Kirsten Marsh in front of her handmade cloth diapers on display at the Goose. Ever wonder about the real Mama Marsh? Check out the interview below.

Tell me about your family.

I have three children — two daughters, one who is 5 and one who is 1, and
a 3-year-old boy.  We live in Harford,  NY.

When did you become Mama Marsh?

I started in March 2006, right after my oldest was born — I was doing
bedding sets, and a friend suggested I started making cloth diapers, though I
wasn’t personally using them at the time.  My son was 14 months when we
switched over.

What do you sell as Mama Marsh?

I started with custom bedding sets and then expanded to cloth diapers.  I’m
just getting into hair bows and crochet goodies as well.  I sell mainly
online, but also do the occasional craft fair and, of course, my diapers
are at Mama Goose.

How did you create your cloth diaper pattern?

I went through several test rounds on my son to make sure they didn’t leak,
and then I made some adjustments with inserts once my daughter was born,
though the general design remained the same.  Now, I just play around with
fabric patterns and seasonal colors.

How long have you been selling at the Goose?

Since August/September 2008 – one of my sister-in-law’s daycare moms who
shops at Mama Goose suggested I check I it out.  Once we ran out of
hand-me-downs from my nieces, I became a customer as well,
shopping for clothes for my oldest daughter!

Were you working outside the home before being a WAHM* (Work At Home Mom)?

Yes, I was working at SUNY Cortland before daughter was born.

How do you manage your time at home being working/mom?

It’s a lot of juggling — sometimes you have to let things slide.  Some
days you work mostly on work related items and other days you don’t do
anything work related and just concentrate on household chores.  Since my
sewing room is also the play room, when I’m working/sewing, the kids usually
migrate to where I am.

Do the kids know what to touch and what not to?

They have their own craft box, and I’m teaching my oldest how to hand
sew — she has her own scissors and knows how to cut fabric.

What’s the best thing about working from home?

Spending time with my family. Being there for my kids when they are need me,
and getting to spend time with my husband when he is home for meals.

Worst thing?

Not very much adult interaction … just my husband, and he’s at work most of
the time any way.  But, overall, I like what I do.

Any tips for other moms looking to be WAHM moms/start businesses?

It’s important to remember that it takes time – you can’t turn a profit
right away, and whatever your business, it will take more hours than you
think— computer  time, driving, plus time spent planning and figuring out
how to juggle family time.

Are you on Facebook?  Do you Tweet?

I have FB and Twitter, but I don’t use Twitter very often.

Do you have any other links you’d like to share?

I spend a lot of time on Diaper Swappers, and my online store, Mama Marsh Creations , just reopened in time for Black  Friday.

*Blogling note: WAHM is one of those crazy abbreviations that has emerged from the mama blogosphere that, like all internet lingo, struck me as completely bizarre until I suddenly found myself using it one day.   Blasted cyberspeak.  LOL. JK. LOL.  LOTFMAOEKDJFALKSJDJFABCDEFG.

Ode to Mother-ease

January 28, 2010

Someone asked me the other day, “Why do you all carry so many Mother-ease diapers?”

 I must admit, I was flabbergasted. Why carry Mother-ease? For me, the question has always been why doesn’t everyone carry Mother-ease diapers? But, serious questions are worthy of serious answers. So, why this love affair with Mother-ease?

 1) They’re simple. It’s hard to find a diaper that is both highly adjustable and basic enough that your toddler can do it himself.

 2) They’re absorbent. All of the varieties of Mother-ease diapers have a dense core built into the fabric for extra absorbency. For overnights or heavy-wetters, snap in one of Mother-ease’s diaper liners or lay one into an All-in-One.

 3) There’s something for everyone. Mother-ease’s most popular diaper is surely the Mother-ease One Size Diaper. These are billed as good for children 8-35 lbs. (though I have found that for long thin babies, it can be more like 10-35 lbs.). You want cotton? Got it. Make that organic cotton? Not a problem. Wish it had something to keep your baby feeling dry? Done. Into flashy colors? Can do. Prefer the feel of organic bamboo? It’s yours.

Additionally, Mama Goose carries the lesser-known-but-still-fabulous Mother-ease All-in-One. This is a hybridized version of the Mother-ease Air Flow diaper covers and their cotton terry fabric. The perfect babysitter diaper, this one is waterproof and absorbency in a single package.

 4) They make a more useful heirloom than jewelry. Nothing lasts forever, but the One Size comes close. So far, the most consecutive baby bums I’ve heard of a Mother-ease diaper covering is five children with life still left in them! (And, by the way, those were bought USED!)

 5) They fit. Both the One Size and the All-in-Ones have a top snap that adjusts the waist width and a bottom snap that adjusts the leg hole. For my twiggy-legged guy, this was indispensable. Tubby tummies and long legs or skinny minis and thigh rolls can all be addressed with a click of the snap.

 But I realize I seem inauthentic if I don’t say something about the faults of Mother-ease. And it’s true, there are some, though they are, in my opinion, minor.

 Expect to pay more up front for these than prefolds. Fantastic design and ease of use don’t come cheap. Price them out over time, especially when considering future children, and they come out less expensive than most other fitted diaper systems and certainly than disposables. I have heard some users say they are wide in the crotch. I would say this is true, but because the diapers are so malleable, any excess just folds in on itself virtually unnoticed. Some say you can’t fit them on a newborn. If you have big babies, you probably won’t have any trouble, but for many people there will be an interim newborn period when nothing – their onesies or their drawers – will fit. A small stash of prefolds or disposable diapers should do the trick to get you through those first few weeks.

 Thus ends my ode. Mother-ease is the Cadillac of the cloth diaper world. But don’t take my word for it. Try ’em!

-Gina at the Goose

Blogling Note:  Obvi, Gina has some big, big love for Mother-ease diapers.  If there’s an MG product about which you feel passionate, and you’d like to guest blog about it, e-mail me at meryl@mamagooseithaca.com.

The Cloth Diapering Section

I’m feeling festive these days. I have a five year old who has been preparing for his annual train-trip-and-grandparent-extravaganza since the first day I said it was too cold to swim. I’m also a self-identified gear junky, so the opportunity to talk shop with a bunch of new mamas really gets me going.

Sunday, December 6 at 3:30pm I will be co-hosting the Cloth Diapering and Babywearing Workshop at Mama Goose, and there’s a lot on the agenda. I will be joined by diaper guru and carrier connoisseur Sandra Sorenson, mama of five (Need I say more?), and Rebecca Schillenbac, the owner of Diaper Duty diaper service for an afternoon of fun, food and invaluable information.

Mama Marsh Locally made All-in-Ones

Been surfing the web or flipping through the pages of Mothering Magazine lately? Then you’re probably a bit befuddled about the number of diapering options out there. We’ll help you narrow it down to the four basic varieties of cloth diapers

  • prefolds/DSQ
  • fitteds
  • pockets
  • all-in-ones (AIOs)

and cover the pros and cons of each. Are you interested in cloth diapering because you want to save money? Concerned about the environment? Think it’s better for baby? Come demo a diverse line of diaper products to figure out which one will be best for your family.

We’ll also spend some time demystifying baby carriers. The focus will be on the Ergo baby carrier and Ithaca-made Cuddlebunny Slings. Front, back and side carries, adaptations for twins or two children – bring on your questions,  bring on your special circumstances! We love a challenge! And, if you have another style carrier at home, bring it along as well! Chances are we’ve worn it, sold it, made it, or demo-ed it before and we’d love to help make it work for you.

Register for the workshop by swinging by or calling Mama Goose (607.269.0600) and letting us know you’ll be there. The sooner we know you’re coming, the sooner we can make sure there will be enough cookies for you. And did I say it was free? I meant to. Free. Cookies. Advice. Information. The Goose.

-Gina from The Goose