Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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26 May 2009

The Great Cloth Diaper Debate

I had a friend ask me about what I finally decided on doing as far as cloth diapers go. I decided that it might be helpful to share my email to her with the rest of you...

It's has been quite the extravaganza trying to sift through SO MUCH information. You'll certainly never run out of things to read on the subject! After all of my research, I decided that the most cost effective, and easy, way for us to go about doing thing would be prefolds with a cover. However, I then finally got a hold of my sister-in-law who has been doing cloth diapers for a few years, and she shared some tips with me as well. The biggest thing I learned, was that prefolds are really just that, a prefolded flat diaper, so if she had things to do over again she would probably just get the flat cloths and fold them... which also brings the added perk of being able to adjust how thick the diaper is. She also recommended pocket diapers. However, I had already purchased some all-in-ones (basically has some of the utility of a pocket diaper because you can add inserts and whatnot, but I thought those would be easy for babysitters/husband/transition etc), and pocket diapers were kind of costly when you figure that you have to change THE WHOLE DIAPER at every change.

After some searching I found a few sites and a couple of good deals. I think the worst thing for me was deciding WHO to buy from. There are so many people out there to buy from, and I didn't want to pay more than I needed to if it could be found elsewhere etc. In the end, the differences in price aren't too bad, so even when I found that something on a site was a little cheaper after the fact, it didn't bug me for too long. I also ended up buying some things after my initial order(s) that I hadn't thought or didn't think necessary at the time.

So, here it goes:

I bought 6 BumGenius All-in-one diapers at Target. They are a one-size diaper, so there are snaps to adjust them to different sizes. They also come with a newborn insert, as well as an additional pad. I like these, I think they're cute, and like that they're soft. You can use them with or without the inserts, or add more. There is a pocket in them, so additional pads or flat/prefold diapers would work. I'm most interested in using these at night. They had a 5 star rating from quite a few people (like over 20), and many loved how absorbent they were. One drawback may be the sizing. I think they work fine on my baby, well, 1 year old, but it seems like the leg gussets are too tight for Nyah. I'll have to play around with that and get back to you. I haven't been able to use them since I'm still waiting on some soap to make my detergent and didn't want to hurt my cloth stuff by using something I shouldn't. Anyway!

I really like Wildflowerdiapers.com. I ended up buying a bulk of my collection through them because they carried Blueberry covers. Looks like I sold them out of some of the patterns they offer. You can find them at other websites if you're interested though. I went with the Blueberry covers because they are adjustable. Since I know we're not finished having kids, I wanted to save a little money by buying these covers and allowing them to grow with my kids from newborn and up. There are cheaper covers out there that'll work just fine from what I've read, but I decided to make an initial investment and not have to buy different sized covers. I tried one of these out with Nyah, just over a pull-up, and it works for her size just fine. I also like that covers will save you a little bit of money in general because you buy maybe 6-8 and that's about it. If you just have a pee diaper you don't even need to change the cover, unless it's smelly for whatever reason. Plus you can rinse them, hang them dry, and they're ready quickly. I also ended up buy a few Bummis Super Whisper wraps, and Bummis Super-Brite diapers covers*** see below for more on these. I've seen lots of reviews on these, and my sister in-law had good things to say about them, so I added them to the mix. I also wanted to have a few things that had snaps and some that had the aplix (velcro-like stuff), so we could see what we liked. Orders over $150 are shipped via Fedex home delivery for free. They ship quickly, and are just in AZ, so they'd get to you pretty fast.

***I bought my Bummis Super-Brite diaper covers in green, blue, and yellow from Tinybirdsorganics.com. They're actually clearing them out because they have too many products, so you can get them for about 4 dollars cheaper, and they don't charge shipping.*** I would have liked to have bought more from them, but they didn't offer what I needed.

As for my flat cloths, there are so many choices! I decided to go with the natural, unbleached cotton. People that do bleach them use a natural method (peroxide), but from what I've read, the natural ones hold up longer because the fibers haven't been treated. Plus, if you do have a lingering stain, it's not as noticeable. If you do choose white, the sun is a good bleach... but I'm thinking that'll work for the natural ones as well. I was after something that would give me the longest life, so I found some flat cloths here. Really, you could easily make these. My sewing machine and I have been fighting a lot, so I wasn't ambitious enough to try making them on my own, but that would probably be the cheapest route. I'll give it a shot someday, there are LOTS of sites that give patters etc., but I wanted to get started right away, and wasn't interested in making the transition any harder than it needed to be. There are also websites that show you patterns to make covers, and that would be simple as well, just not for me at the moment! I need things to be fool-proof whilst I get my feet wet. (And I wanted tried and true products to help my husband see that this really was worth the switch.) The link above goes to Green Mountain Diapers, and they have a lot of information "how to's" that are awesome. It is one site that I will definitely be going to for tutorials etc. Oh, as a side note, the unbleached cotton has to be pre-washed a few more times to get them ready "fluffed" for the first use.

After making these purchases I decided to watch a diaper changing "how-to" and realized there were a couple of extra things that would probably help ease our transition. I had thought about using a diaper pail that we already had (a diaper genie), but realized that I should probably get something a bit more suited for my needs that could be washed along with things, and that would prohibit odors etc. I also wanted the disposable diaper liners, because it would be easier for my husband to flush away solids and not have to worry about cleaning the diapers. And, I also realized that there are enzyme sprays that eat that bacteria that cause odors and will make the whole thing a lot less smelly if you "treat" every diaper before you toss it in the bin. My other qualification is that I wanted to get these all at the same site. Some of the sites listed above have some products, but not all, and Wildflower has the products, but they aren't in stock. So! I found softclothbunz.com . I had actually started my search with these guys, but when they didn't have the prefolds/flats I wanted I went elsewhere. Their price on the all-in-ones were comparable to Target, and provided more colors. I decided to "cut my losses" on the colors, but after receiving the Target ones, I don't think I did too bad... they're pretty cute! I bought one of each one they had (seeing as how I have two in diapers).

The bag(s) I ended up getting were the planetwise... I think the patterns are fun. I have a large for the house, and a medium as a back-up for when I'm washing one/to take in the diaper bag. I decided on BumGenius odor remover. And Bummis flushable liners .

Wipes are kind of a "whatever" thing for me. The ones I wanted... just fleece with a cute rim weren't in-stock on wildflower when I ordered, so I got something else, but it's basically a 7 x 7 washcloth (I wanted something softer). You could make these easy... or tinybird has the ones I thought would be softer, other websites have them too. I think the one perk about getting or making something specifically for wipes is that you end up with a better size then a normal washcloth. Then I bought a small resealable container for my solution to soak wipes in a home, so they're ready to use, and a small spray bottle so I can have some solution made up and ready to have if we're out that I can just wet a dry cloth with.

My method of going about finding things was both functional and fun. You can go with the white Bummis Snaps or prowraps and some flat cloths and call it good for cheaper than I did. However, I wanted to have some fun/cute patterns (that always makes the job more fun!), and I wanted things that I wouldn't need to buy more of down the road. The Blueberries allow me to use the same ones on both of my kids because I can adjust the size, and they'll be all ready for whenever we have another baby.

I have researched things up and down, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm happy to save anyone the trouble of having to sift through the overwhelming amount of information that's available!

19 May 2009

So, what have I learned?

If only there were enough hours in the day to tell you!! I am once again settled (see nathanandcherie.blogspot.com for pictures/commentary). I haven't really gotten "bitten" by the bug that would inspire me to write my thoughts out, but I've decided that perhaps that means that I should force myself and we'll see where that goes!

Despite my absence from the digital world, I can't even begin to tell you all of the things I've learned in a very short amount of time. I'm currently undertaking some pretty big changes in how we do things. I've taken small steps over time to change (more like CORRECT), things that I have found deficient. With Nathan's help we've embarked on making bread at home, finding out how to make and perfect different foods we enjoy, cutting out corn syrup & hydrogenated oils, supporting organic farms via Organic milk/eggs, and after a few years of teetering on the edge of what "school" would like like for our children, last year we found A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille (the first edition, I recently bought the second edition because our other one found it's way into a puddle, but I haven't been able to finish it because it doesn't seem as well written.... that may be for another post), and now we've 100% committed to keeping our children home, and I couldn't be happier!

So, what other changes could we possibly make? Much to what may be my husband's dismay, (only time will tell!), I received an e-book through The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I had signed up to read their e-magazine a few weeks ago, and have been very inspired by the issues, I'll have to share some thoughts on that sometime, but this particular e-book was on a natural home and baby. I didn't imagine as I was reading it that I would now be supporting even more change in my home.

I really enjoy being able to do things myself. Having the knowhow to complete day-to-day tasks on up to spectacular things is so much fun! I've had a drive to figure out how to make foods at home because I have a hard time buying products that are subpar, more expensive then what I can produce, and full of preservatives, so I don't! My solution to that problem has been to avoid the bad stuff and either shell out money for the goodstuff, figure it out myself, or do without. This philosophy has been a lot of things: a fun learning experience, a sad commentary on the junk that's available, and a BIG reminder that we need to be more prudent in our habits. I walk through aisles stocked with box after box, and at this point see so many products with chicken and beef and turkey, that it's nauseating. Sorry for the diversion, but have you noticed how many dead animals there are in your store just waiting? Add to that the fact that your store is only one of the 100's in your area, then multiply it by the rest of the US, and it's an amazing number. It makes me sad that our nation has necessitated having such a stockpile of food, and to think of the amount that goes to waste. When did it become okay to kill just because? I really don't think that we're being very good stewards over animal's when we not only kill them at an alarming rate, but also inject them with drugs to make them grow faster and produce more quickly, and feed them diets that are not suited for them.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox for the moment. Again, sorry for the detour, but it's been bugging me for so long! I don't even know that I articulated all my thoughts well enough, but at least I got something down. Anyway... since you've waited so patiently to find out how I'm driving my family crazy this time... da, da, da, da!!! ................

Cloth Diapers, wipes, homemade laundry detergent, and homemade cleaning solutions. Yep, all at once no less.

Why? Well, it probably starts with me being a little off my rocker, but that's okay by me! For a while now I've been buying diapers, wipes, and cleaning supplies at a pretty good rate. Having 3 kids 3 and under has provided me an opportunity to pay a HUGE amount of money to keep everybody diapered and the house clean. I've never found it easy to shell out over $100 each trip to a big box store for these things 1-2 times a month. In fact, I dread it and it makes me quite sick to my stomach, which always makes me wonder "HOW CAN I REDUCE THIS COST!" To which the world and my brain says, "Suck it up, pay the money... do it!" to which I say "FINE!" and I make my purchase and then forget about the money and go on with life until the next time.

Well, NO MORE!! I have been empowered further and I'm not turning back! To diaper my two that are still in diapers I have spent what I would spend in a month on disposables, but put it into cloth diapers... which means... NO MORE BUYING DIAPERS AND WIPES!! Yay, there was much rejoicing in the land! I no longer will be literally throwing away my money. There's something that feels so great about that. It's great for my pocketbook and the environment. A two-fer! And when we have our next child(ren) we'll be able to use this investment to diaper them as well. Plus there's a very easy wipe solution of distilled water, lavender, and tea tree oil to keep them clean and adds an antibacterial element that doesn't exists in the store bought stuff. And what's BEST OF ALL?!?!? Just like our food, I know EXACTLY what's touching their skin. Love it, love it!!!

Hee, hee... that makes me giddy. Plus when my Fels-Naptha bar soap gets here I'll be making our own laundry detergent of grated Fels, washing soda, and borax. Again, I don't have to pay someone else, I get to control what's in it, and it is more cost-effective! Oh, and I'll be cleaning my bathroom today with a mixture of borax and essential lemon oil in a homemade shaker (an old jar that we had anyway), and I'll be able to have a clean bathroom minus harsh chemicals. Again, a two-fer! Good for us, good for the environment.

So, those are the new changes around here. Someday I'll have a garden and an energy-efficient house.... we plan it out everyday! But for now, we're at least making some steps towards saving money and being self-sufficient! Now I'm off to make graham crackers... why? Because it's fun, and I'm sure you guessed it! The store bought stuff is full of junk :-D.