Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scrap Mama's Necessities for Cloth Diapering....

I am quite certain every mum on earth has a different list of "necessities" for each task she must accomplish.  But on the other hand we all know that each and every one of us use the recommendations of other mums to find the best thing to work for us.  Here's a list of my favorite goodies in making our "Cloth Diapering Experience" a Cloth Diapering Success!

As I was researching cloth diapering I learned that the run of the mill "conventional" diaper creams were no good as they leave residue which effects the absorbency of all cloth diapers and leaves icky stains.  In response to that information I found what I think is the BEST product EVER, CJ's BUTTer.  CJ's BUTTer has worked fabulously not only as a diaper cream, but also as a moisturizer for Miss H and myself.  I love the different sizes that CJ's is available in as well as the awesome assortment of scents.  Who would have thought "Monkey Farts" smelled so tropical!?

Thank goodness someone had the ingenuity to create my next "go to" necessity, Snappi's   In an attempt to save a few dollars I'm using some prefold diapers that were gifted to me and I am so thankful that diaper pins are no longer required!  The amazing Snappi simply holds the diaper on using three plastic "hooks".  Simply genius!

On the wet wipe front I decided to go with cloth and forgo the cost, chemicals, and waste of traditional wipes.  In researching "homemade wet wipes" I came upon SO many different ideas:  using baby washcloths (too small in my experience), buying ready made cloth wipes, cut up receiving blankets (didn't have any), making your own, and cutting up papertowels-for a disposable option.  I chose to make our own and have been absolutley thrilled with the outcome.    I found this video from Adventures in Fluff and followed her method of making wipes.  I used discounted flannel from the fabric stores for both sides and ended up paying $10.00 for 48 wipes that will last a good long time.

So now I have a pile of dry wipes on hand to clean up after all of Miss H's messes.  What do I do to wet them?  I tried keeping them in a box, dampened with water, but I wasn't happy with that method.  I found Baby's Butt Foaming Wash Solution and have been THRILLED with it.  I simply squirt a pump or less onto her bottom and using a damp wipe, clean her right up nice and easy.  I have even cleaned her without wetting the wipe, but it doesn't seem to do as good of a job.

I purchased a "fuzzibunz" wetbag to keep all our wet, soiled, diapers, covers, and wipes in until it was time to wash.  I also have a zippered vinyl pillow case that I keep on our second floor to keep any wets and soils in up there as well at night. There are multiple ways to store soiled diapers, either "dry" or soaking in a bucket with a solution.  I haven't tried the solution method yet, but am tempted to.  But the dry method has been working quite well for us.

I've tried a couple different soaps for washing our diapers.  The ones I like the most are  "Charlies Soap"  and my own homemade soap.  Neither have had any ill effect on our diapers or effected their absorbency.  I wash our diapers anywhere from every day to every couple days-simply depends on how many changes Miss H. needs and whether I feel like using the pre-folds or not. :)

Miss H's stash of diapers and covers.
Enjoy your search for just the right products that work perfectly for you and your little one.  Hope this post will help you find some great products or shorten your search for the perfect setup for you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Cloth Diaper Experience!

L to R:  Thirsties covers, Thirstie, Bum Genius, and Kissaluv Diapers
I've been wanting to write a post about our experience using cloth diapers as I myself had looked through many, many reviews for information as I was making the "Diaper Decision". I perused many blogs, facebook pages, youtube videos, business web pages, and personal web pages. I asked friends and threw out questions on facebook pages, looking for recommendations, suggestions, thoughts, and ideas. It was quite the trip, but very well worth it since we (or maybe I should say, "I") are very happy with our Cloth Diaper Experience. 

First, don't be afraid to post your cloth diapering questions out in your social networks. You never know who or where you might get information. After posting a question on facebook I received some very helpful information from a casual business acquaintance which actually led me to find the diapers we chose at Jillian's Drawers. Jillian's is an absolutely amazing business that was started by moms, run by moms, extremely supportive of moms and dads, and available online as well as a physical store located in the absolutely beautiful city of Ithaca, NY! After all the reviews, and getting my hands on a great assortment of diapers at Jillian's Drawers (they even have a "gently used" section!) we chose a half dozen Kissaluvs size 0 fitted diapers, a Thirsties fitted diaper, a Bum Genius pocket diaper, and a few Thirsties covers to get us started.

As I was researching, I was sure I wanted nothing but Bum Genius pocket diapers for our little girl.  But as I continued to research and think about it, I realized that the One Size Bum Genius diapers would likely be too big when our little bundle arrived (our babies tend to be around 7 pounds).  The Kissaluvs size 0 was our solution to that dilemma.  Thankfully we had come home with our selection of diapers and other assorted goodies long before Miss H was due.  Life threw us a curve ball and this Mama developed a quick, surprising case of pre-eclampsia three weeks before Miss H was due to arrive and our midwife recommended we induce-a very foreign and new notion for this "natural leaning mama"!

Miss H wearing her first Kissaluvs w/ a Thirsties cover
After spending four days in the hospital using disposable diapers, we excitedly went home to try our cloth diapers.  I was quite sure they would never fit our "early late term" little girl of 4 1/2 pounds, but I just had to try.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Kissaluvs Size 0 fit her perfectly with an x-small Thirsties cover overtop.  I was thrilled!  Within one week Miss H's thighs chunked up enough for her to fit into the Thirsties at the smallest size setting and we decided that more diapers were going to be required to keep up with the pace of Miss H!

Not wanting to buy too many of the smaller Kissaluvs we chose to get more of the Thirsties which would last longer in the size department.  Miss H has just put on enough weight, she's rounded out to a nice even six pounds, to be able to wear the Bum Genius pocket diaper-sorta.  I'm leery of it as her thighs aren't quite big enough for it to fit properly, but almost.  To fill in when we "run out", aka, mama hasn't done wash yet, I use some "old fashioned" prefolds with a snappi and a Thrsties to cover. I am quite often surprised at how easy cloth diapering really is!

I am so thrilled that since we've arrived home, Miss H has worn only three disposable diapers.  Ironically, I had the brainiac idea of putting her in a disposable just last night to "use up the package we have on hand".  We were greeted in the morning with a leaky diaper and a quite uncomfortable little girl!  The only time any one of the cloth diapers we are using has leaked has been due to the diaper being too large.

Every diaper/brand out there is going to have it's pros, cons, and quirks.  Here are a list of my "loves" for the diapers we are using.  Any "cons" I have for any of them are more quirks than problems.

Things I love about the Kissaluvs size 0:  Adorably soft, perfectly sized for small thin babies, umbilical cord cutaway/fold down, easy to wash (no taking apart pockets), and they come in cute pastel colors (though this shouldn't be an issue since they have to be worn with a waterproof cover).

Things I love about the Thirsties:  Soft and gentle, nicely sized for small babies-yet grow as baby does, easy to wash (no taking apart pockets), and they come in an assortment of colors (again, shouldn't be an issue since they have to be worn with a waterproof cover-unless you buy the all-in-one that has it's own waterproof cover).

Things I love about Bum Genius:  Outer layer is waterproof, so no cover is required, inner soakers can be swapped out or layered up depending on how much absorbency is needed, because the inner soaker is removed this diaper dries quite quickly both by line drying or drier,

Snaps vs. Aplix (velcro):  Each style of diaper we have used so far has had snaps for the rise/thigh size adjustments which of course works fabulous.  Our Kissaluvs have snaps across the front as well, which works very well being it has the fold down flap for the umbilical cord.  The Thirsties we chose have aplix for the waist adjustment/closure and I think I like that better as it gives more variability in sizing that way.

My hope is that this blog entry can be of help to at least one Mum or Dad out there attempting to swim through the plethora of amazing cloth diaper options,  Stay tuned for my next entry (promised in a day or two) with all the extra "necessities" I have found to be essential in keeping this little girl this happy most of the time. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

I love to dabble in all kinds of earth friendly, money saving, homey bits.  One that I use quite frequently is homemade laundry soap.  There are seemingly hundreds of recipes out there on the world wide web and I have tried a couple different variations.  I have made both liquid and dry powder versions.  Due to the space we have don't have, I have found that the powdered version works best for us.    This is one of my favorite powdered recipes and I have found that it works quite well for us:

2 cups Soap-finely grated (Depending on bar size, one or two bars of soap)    Fels Naptha is generally the recommended bar in recipes, but you could also try other bar soaps(steer clear of bars like Dove and other lotion/oil laden soaps).  I love to use Bella Bars, they have a nice light scent and do a great job of cleaning whatever grease and ick my hubby gathers on his clothes by the day's end. 
1 cup Washing Soda     I have read multiple reviews suggesting that Washing Soda and Baking Soda are both interchangable and are not interchangable.  I have used Baking Soda in place of the Washing Soda with good results.
1 cup Borax  Please remember that Borax is caustic and should be handled with care.  Despite warnings I don't use gloves and have had no ill effects, but those with sensitive skin should be aware.
Mix well and store in an airtight plastic or glass container - I of course use either an empty candle jar or an old mason glass topped jar with a Tablespoon tied to the side.  Function and cute.   Use approximately TWO Tablespoons per full load of laundry.   You may find that due to your water hardness, soiled clothing, size of laundry loads, you may need to adjust the amount needed per load to get the results you desire.  
It's a good feeling knowing exactly what is going into my family's clothing especially with two young boys and a baby on the way. :)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chicken nuggets.....

So, with this baby has come an entire boatload of nesting and homemaking craziness from this mama!  We've torn apart rooms, rearranged entire rooms, and even cleaned out and re-purposed rooms.  Along with all that I've been trying my hardest to keep my three guys eating well and on a schedule, of some sort.  A friend posted this nice little recipe that we tried out, and I have to say, it is a HIT!   So long, children yearning for mushed chicken innards and such pressed into chicken nugget shapes from the drive through.  They are thrilled with chicken nuggets from our oven!  I followed the recipe exactly, except for the small change in making it Gluten Free for our family.  On the next go I intend to change up the flavors and spices a little bit for hubby's taste buds.  This recipe fed our family of four supper, two of us for lunch, as well as stashing a third of the batch in the freezer for an easy supper in the future.

Popcorn Chicken
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (used gluten free baking mix in place of whole wheat flour)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, salt and garlic powder.  Using kitchen shears, cut chicken breasts into tiny bite sized pieces.   Toss chicken in flour mixture to coat well. 
Smear a thick layer of butter on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Pour coated chicken into dish, spreading so that they are in a single layer.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Stir chicken and bake another 10 minutes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting in the scrap pile....

Finally found the time to get in my scrap room and do some creating.  These are the results.  I challenged myself to only use scraps and items I had on hand.  Even tried some stitching with odd lengths of embroidery floss.  It was quite fun and encouraging to know that I CAN do something with all those little scraps that I keep piling in the "scrap bin".