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Thursday, September 28, 2006
Yep, a day late and a dollar short, as usual!
My tip for this Works for Me Wednesday is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to organize a playgroup. Playgroups USA is a site that can help mamas connect to an already existing playgroup or get a new one up and running. Remember that sweet mama I met last month at the library? Well she has done an amazing job of getting a local playgroup up and running and this site has been spectacular for keeping everyone organized and up-to-date. All you do is join the site (it's free!), search by zip code or other search parameters, and find out if there are playgroups in your area with which you can connect. There is an interactive calendar for events to be posted and you can RSVP if you are going to be there or not. Very, very handy tool for mamas looking to connect.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
This is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
and which you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
I don't know why, I just love that poem. Perhaps because I use the phrase "this is just to say" quite a bit in my thinking and writing. Who knows. Maybe it's because I love plums, too. Especially cold, sweet, and spoken-for ones fresh from the icebox. And they are about to go out of season. How do I know this? Because I just stumbled on the most amazing whole foods resource: The World's Healthiest Foods. I am all flushed with nerdy giddiness about this little gem. I could spend waaaaaaaaay too much time reading through the A-Z list there. Delish!
Fun babywearing moment from today --
I always have to pop D in the Ergo (we call it The Backpack around my house, although it most certainly COULD be worn as a front carrier, too; linkage in the We Love It list on the right!) to shop the farmers market because said market is set up at the far end of a very large parking lot and the aforementioned toddler has no qualms at all about taking off running through this parking lot, much to the horror of her mother. So the Ergo saves my life. Again. So anyway, today I was loading her up into the Ergo and I noticed an older woman (mid 60s-ish) getting out of the car next to me. I kind of braced myself anticipating a scolding for attempting such a dangerous maneuver with no help (it looks way more scary to others than it really is), but instead she just smiled and said, "I always wanted a papoose like that when mine where little. But back then, they didn't even have such a thing!"
And while technically mommies and daddies have been babywearing for thousands of years before the Ergo came on the market, these dedicated babywearers were mostly limited to blankets, sheets, and shawls. So hurray! for the luxuries of modern babywearing! And hurray! for words of confirmation from mature mamas in the parking lot!
Monday, September 25, 2006
Sorry to be so negligent in posting this week. Over the weekend, I read Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise and I am feeling so inspired! For a few months, I have been utterly depressed about how junky and cluttery our tiny townhouse is and have also struggled with feeling so powerless to make any lasting changes. This book - written for born "little piggies" like me - has some great, practical, funny, and motivating words to say on the issue.
So Operation Un-junk Me has begun!
It's going to be a process of several weeks, I feel quite sure.
Anyway, that's where I am.
Feel free to share decluttering tips, tricks, and inspiration whenever you want!!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
My very first ever Works For Me Wednesday post!
I didn't know until I started cloth diapering that the sun can be used to "naturally" bleach stains out of clothing (and cloth diapers!). Well, I guess I kind of knew this based on having ruined more than one book's cover by letting it sit in the backseat of my car far too long, but I didn't really KNOW I knew, know what I mean?
But it's true! If you have a stain on some clothing and it isn't safe to use bleach on it, simply dampen the stain (after washing) and let it sit in the sun. It may not happen immediately (although most of the time it does happen within two hours), but it hasn't failed me yet. Everything from blackberry juice stains to all manner of stainage on our cloth diapers has magically disappeared thanks to our sun.
For really stubborn stains, try adding a little lemon juice before sunning. If you use the lemon juice on the cloth diaper, make sure to launder it again before you put it on the babe.
Check out many, MANY more "makes life easier" tips at Rocks in My Dryer.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
. . . while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying . . .
Robert Herrick wrote this to The Virgins, encouraging them to make much of time. I have taught this poem so many times in my former incarnation as Senior English Teacher, but I find its words mean more - oh! so much more - now that I am daily reminded of how unceasingly and unmercifully time marches on -- stealing my baby away from me and leaving a toddler in her place. Devastating and inspiring at the same time.
To illustrate my point, obsevere:
Dacey at the beginning of September, 2005
And my sweet "baby" just a few weeks ago, beginning of September, 2006:
Oh, it just hurts my mama heart. But then God, in His graciousness, opens a window of grace to help me cope with Old Time a-flying. Like just tonight, as I nursed D before bed, I noticed that she has held on to one habit from babyhood that always makes me smile -- she has this wonderful habit of playing with and picking at her fingers while she nurses. I am not totally positive, but it seems like I can remember her doing this nearly from the first day she latched on for some mama milk. She has never been one to hold our fingers or play with beads or (thank you Lord!) pinch me. Her own lovely, perfect fingers provide distraction enough to keep her occupied for these ever-shortening moments together.
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Thank you, Meghan, for the encouragement to not completely quit writing entries here. Honestly, a major project I am working on is some writing I have been needing to do for a long time. I think/hope writing up entries here will warm my brain and transition my thoughts so I can slip into my Writer Mommy skin.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I have been cruising the blogsphere (is that the word? Is that how you say it?), and I am so utterly amazed at all the wonderful blogs out there. Not only the thought-provoking content, but also the sassy, fun, engaging designs and layout.
Thankfully, I stumbled across this contest at Bluebird Blogs. Sure am crossing my fingers and toes on this one!
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Additionally, this old blog might be going dark for a bit. I have GOT to take some time away from my favorite hobby - wasting time on the computer - and get serious about the other projects that weigh so heavily on my heart. It is just SO much easier to plop in front of the computer when I have some down time, but also SO ineffective in terms of getting stuff done! Just wanted to let all five of my readers know . . . hee hee hee!
I am so, so, so excited about two of our newest stash additions, I had to share it here. I hadn't totally made up my mind as to whether or not I would continue to do wool this fall/winter. Last year, I was so new to CDing and really relied on our pocket dipes for full-time CDing. Pockets do fit so well under clothes, but I was struggling because I am SO into our prefolds right now. Plus the fact that most all winter wool (like longies) is so expensive, I just didn't see a way to do wool in the winter. And it so rarely gets really cold here, that wool pants seem a bit excessive.
Then two wonderful things fell into my lap (a lap that, by the way, has been spending way too much time parked in front of the computer!). As I browsed around Hyena Cart, I kept coming across recycled wool longies that look so darling! Recycled wool is wool that has had a former life as someone's sweater and has since found a new reincarnation as pants for cloth diapered kiddos. I wasn't sure if recycled wool would be effective for us, but I read some threads at the HC Forum where some die-hard CDing mamas sang the praise of recycled wool, so I decided to give it a go.
I had the great fortune to come across Carson at Fuzzy Britches Diapering Duds while she was running a special - custom longies AND a free wet bag for $16! Considering the fact that most crocheted wool pants are going to start at $50 and knit wool pants are even more expensive, I was delighted to have found such an economical way to make the transition to cooler weather wool. After having snatched up a custom slot, I talked to Carson about what kind of applique we wanted to go with for both the wet bag and the longies. I browsed her gallery and found that I liked her idea for sun bursts, so I chose that for our wet bag. But I wanted something really unique to D for her longies, and after some agonizing mental deliberations, I asked Carson if she thought she could do a koala for my koala baby. Carson sent a sketch right away and it was PERFECT! I invite you to take a look at her gallery and click on the picture titled "koala1" where you will see the darling recycled longies that will soon be finding a new home in our stash! Woo hoo!
The next stash aquisition is nothing short of a miracle. Truly. As part of the Fiber Arts Avengers fundraising, a WAHM who makes Panda Pants fitteds teamed up with another CDing mama to put together a stunning set called Northern Lights. I happened to have just $3 left in my paypal account (after some heavy duty stash selling and buying), so I bought a ticket. And I WON!! Words can't express how shocked and excited I am about this.
You can definitely look forward to some Dacey pictures as we expand our expand our stash to include, for the first time, cool weather wool!
Posted by Megan@SortaCrunchy at 11:52 AM
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Well, friends, I am about to wrap up the big posts on cloth diapering. We have talked about each of the major cloth diapering systems, so I thought I would conclude with talking about some of the little accessories that have proved to be useful in making the switch to cloth.
If you are using prefolds, prefitteds (prefolds that have been "converted" into fitteds), or flats, you need to fasten them closed somehow. My (very strong) personal preference is to use Dritz pins. I tried and TRIED to get the very popular Snappi to work for us, to no avail. I don't know if I never got it good and stretched out or what . . . just didn't happen. And to tell you the truth, I don't like the way Snappis look. *dodging tomatoes flying at my head* My deepest apologies to loyal Snappi users . . . I just prefer the clean, classic look of a pinned prefold over one that has been Snappi'ed. Plus, D can unsnap a Fuzzi Bunz with no problem, so I feel quite sure she could pull a Snappi right off, and those Snappi claws are SHARP. I personally would rather risk pricking myself with a pin than take the chance that D could get a Snappi off and harm herself in some way. And she would - have no doubt. She hurts herself daily in ways I never dreamed possible!
Additionally, you need some way to store dirty dipes. This can be done in all sorts of ways. I suppose you could do the wet pail method, but I have no idea how that works, so I won't speak to that. Most CDers use a wet bag/dry pail system. The idea with a dry pail is to get some kind of tall diaper pail (or large trash can) and line it with a washable, reuseable liner. Something like a Wahmies Diaper Pail Liner would work nicely. Or you could go the hanging wet bag route which is what I do. There are, oh, a TON of WAHMs making wet bags these days. I mentioned earlier that we have one by Nappsacks, but I have heard good things about or like the looks of: The Good Mama, SMJAE, Trillium Baby, and Happy Tushies.
I mentioned in my comments on the last post that I adore using cloth wipes. Honestly, if something happened and we had to switch back to sposies full-time, I would never give up my cloth wipes. The difference in messy clean-up is phenomenal! Plus, the harsh chemicals in sposie wipes always upset D's delicate skin. I mostly just use water with our cloth wipes, although I do sometimes use a homemade wipes solution as well. There are a kajillion people who make wipes. You can either look at the Pin's Cloth Wipes reviews page or run a search at Hyena Cart to see who has some in-stock. OR, you can just make your own! Most of our wipes are just cut-up hemp fleece and flannel. Or some cheapie washclothes from your local Mart work fine, too.
Some people like to buy pre-made cloth wipe solution, and there are plenty of delicious ones to purchase if you want to. Again, the Pin's Wipes Solution Review page is a good place to start looking.
Finally (I think!), if you want to add wool covers, shorts, or longies to your stash, you will need special wool care. If you remember from the Wool is Cool page, the lanolin in wool is what helps it to be effective in diapering. So in caring for your wool cloth diapering pieces, you need a lanolin rich wash and most of the time you will also need some kind of additional lanolin product to put on the dry wool to keep it effective. My personal FAVE that I just love, love, love is the Sheep Soap from Ignite the Senses. Ours is the Lavender Mint scent. Yum! I like a wool wash bar because if you have an active child who can manage to get wool stained with things like sidewalk chalk, macaroni and cheese, and just plain ol' diry, the bar can be rubbed directly on the wool for maximum stain fighting power. We also have the Sheep Balm from ITS - I believe in some kind of Rose scent. Very nice, extremely effective. Sudz 'n Dudz and Naturally Luxe (formerly Monkey Sudz) are also popular choices for wool care products.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Thanks Julie and Jill for the great discussion topics! This is one of the last posts I will do on cloth diapering systems and I am quite ready to talk about something else!
So finally, the last CDing system to discuss is the All in One/All in Two. A true is All in One is just that - a diaper where the cover and inner soaker and material make up the diaper altogether. Does that make sense? It's just one piece - like a disposable diaper. No stuffing, nothing to snap in on the inside. An All in Two, on the other hand, has a waterproof outer shell, an inner lining, then a soaker that snaps in to the inner lining. The theory behind the AI2 is that you can trade out soakers during the day so you can keep the same outer shell on longer. That's the theory, anyway. If you have a heavy wetter like D, I can assure this won't work. The soaker gets pretty soaked and then there is leakage on to the outer shell, rendering it unusable even with a clean soaker. But I have a dear friend (Amanda) who primarily uses AI2s because her sweet daughter is not the high volume pee-er that D is!
By way of disclaimer, I am going to say that this is my least favorite system of CDing. Yes, it is by far the easiest in terms of not having to do much to get the diaper on. If you have a partner or day care provider who is hesitant to use/change cloth diapers, I think AIOs/2s can be great. These are just not diapers that work for us . . . or maybe we just never have found the right one. Every true AIO I have tried takes far too long to dry. There is a lot of material sewn into a true AIO - there has to be for it to be effective. But this can be a drawback to true AIOs because the increased dryer drying time can be hard on the life of the PUL outer. And as I mentioned above, the AI2 design is a marvelous idea and I know it works gorgeously for many, just not for us. Also, I have found AIO/2s to be some of the most expensive on the market. Again, if you find an AI2 that you can snap clean soakers into, then that cuts down on the cost for sure.
Because we have had trouble with AIO/2s, I don't have a ton of recommendations to make. I will tell you some of the ones we have tried and others I have heard mamas rave about.
Wonder Works Magic All is one that we have tried. I really like the design of this diaper, but again, the long drying time was a concern to me. Plus, the elastic left red marks on D's chunko thighs. I know many mamas are very happy with these, though.
My friend Amanda is a huge fan of BeccaBottom All in Twos.
Bum-Ware are very popular diapers that can be either true AIO or an AI2.
We have tried Daisy Doodles and I wanted these to work SO bad for us! But alas, not meant to be. I think her design is outrageously trim and she uses the most darling fabrics.
In the world of "hard to get" WAHM made dipes, several come to mind:
Mudpie Babies are well-made and usually have darling embroidery.
If you want REALLY hard to find, Bottom Bumpers are among the most hyena of AIOs (actually an AI2).
An up-and-coming WAHM that I hear many raves about is . . . and such is life. Definitely someone to watch and stalk.
I will do one more "official" CDing entry. Thanks for hanging with me through this!
Don't forget to tell me your favorites to add to the We Love It list! Doesn't have to be cloth diapering stuff only. Just Natural Family Living books, products, or sites we want to share.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Quick note to say I figured out a way to post on non-Beta blogs! If the blog allows comments from non-Bloggers, I can just sign in as other which allows me to leave comments. So excited about this (fairly obvious) solution!!
Only one blog I stalk doesn't allow non-Blogger comments . . . but that won't stop me from reading. :)
More diaper talk to come.
And that reminds me - after we finish off talking about different diapering systems, I am not sure what else I will say about CDing. Any other Natural Family Living topics anyone wants to discuss? If I don't get suggestions, I will just start blathering on about whatever comes to mind.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
(Just so ya know, still feeling quite miffed about not being able to comment on non-Beta blogs. Seriously considering opening another Blogger Basic account to get around this nonsense!)
Okay, so we have talked about flats, prefolds, and fitteds -- all diapers which in order to be "waterproof" (for lack of a better word), need some kind of cover. We talked about nylon, PUL, and wool covers for these diapers. So now let's talk diapers which already have a cover in place for you!
I have a special affinity for pockets. I really love a great pocket diaper! We use these for out and about, and when we use cloth at night, we use pockets.
A pocket diaper is a diaper which is made of a waterproof outer (usually PUL, but also could be fleece), a stay-dry inner (generally microfleece or suedecloth), and in-between the inner and outer layer, there is an open space - a pocket. The pocket opening is generally at the back of the diaper where the inner and outer materials meet, or there is a slit in the inner material to get to the pocket. When you are using a pocket diaper, you must have some kind of an insert which you stuff into the pocket. Inserts can be made of cotton, microfiber, or hemp. These close with snaps (front snap or side snap) or aplix/velcro. No need for pins or Snappis!
I think the reason I love pockets so much is you can customize the amount and kind of "stuffers" you put in there to meet the needs of your child.
Some people don't like pockets because they need to be stuffed; this, however, has never bothered me. I like to stuff all of my pockets when they come through the laundry so they are ready to grab a minute's notice (usually as D is running off, diaperless, to things far more interesting than a complete diaper change!).
By far, the most popular (in terms of brand recognition) type of pocket diaper is Fuzzi Bunz. These were my first pocket diapers. They are easy to use, WIDELY available, and easy to care for. Fuzzi Buns are often referred to as "the gateway drug" of cloth diapering because most people get their feet wet in the cloth world with these and then move on to more exciting dipes to add to the stash. Then again, some people use FBs exclusively to diaper each of their children! These are front-snapping, sized diapers. This means as your baby grows, you will have to buy/use different-sized diapers.
I have already shared my love for CottonBabies' bumGenius One Size Pocket Diapers. I find I get a much better fit for D in these than with FBs, but that may be because she is between sizes in FBs right now. These one-size diapers have aplix closures and work beautifully with the Cottonbabies microfiber insert that CB includes with each dipe.
Other pocket diapers that I have tried and like OR have heard great things about:
Happy Heiny's Great aplix closing pocket that comes in DARLING prints!
Superstars (used to be called Wonderoos) I haven't tried the newest incarnation of Wonderoos, but I hear they are great.
Swaddlebees are said to be some of the trimmest fitting diapers on the market. We tried one, but these are not great for the heavy-wetting crowd. Too skimpy through the crotch to catch a fast stream of pee, these are definitely for light to moderate wetters. VERY trim though - look just like a disposable under clothes. Available in snaps or aplix.
I'm not just totally sure if Drybees are mass-produced or if they are made by a team of seamstresses employed by this WAHM, but these are really great aplix closing pockets. I had a Drybee that the elastic along the pocket closure went bad on. I contacted Lisa and she had me send the diaper back to her so she could replace the elastic, and she even re-stitched the front of the diaper, too. She has wonderful customer service, and Drybees last a LONG time.
If you don't like mass-produced and would rather go with Work At Home Mom diapers, here are some good bets:
I have had many Baby Blanket pockets in our stash, but that was when they made by the original Baby Blanket WAHM. This company is under new ownership, but I am sure the design hasn't changed. Great fitting dipes - we had all aplix, but I think you can get these with snaps.
Green Acre Designs are fabulously made. Highly recommend!
Snap-EZ are the Cadillacs of pocket diapers, in my opinion. Amazing construction and design. You cannot go wrong with anything from this WAHM company! Snap-EZ pockets have a unique "hip snapping" design - not quite front-snap, not quite side-snap . . . definitely just right.
Finally, I know a WAHM diaper with a huge following in the CD world is Fuzzi Fannies. We have tried one of these, but it just wasn't a great match for us. However, like I said these are very popular and that wouldn't be the case if these were anything less than top-notch!
Now, there are quite a few parents in the CD world who don't like to use PUL covered diapers at all for their children. The primary reason for this is that PUL doesn't allow baby's bum to "breathe." I rarely use pockets in the summer for this reason; the main reasons D would be in a pocket from April to October is that it's nighttime or we are running a quick errand (or if she has diarrhea!). For parents who want a breathable option with pockets there are pockets with fleece outers. These fleece outers will help hold moisture in, but in my experience, these do not hold up between changing as long as a PUL pocket will.
Popular fleece pockets include:
Little Rain Dancers and Ella's Breathable fleece pockets.
So that should get you started on what you need to know about pocket diapers. Next time we will talk about All-in-One diapers, which are nearly self-explanatory!
Friday, September 08, 2006
I am so frustrated that I am not able to post on ANYONE'S non-Beta Blogger sites right now. It won't let me be anonymous, it won't let me sign in with my Google account and do it, it won't let me sign in with my Blogger identity . . . so ARGH! Until I get it figured out, please know I am still reading. Just can't share my two cents with ya right now!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
was I even going to write about next?
I know we have been talking diaper systems. I got kind of side-tracked in the wool department. Does anyone want to hear anything else about wool? If not, we can just move on. . .
When my in-laws were here for the weekend, I whipped up some wonderful things from my Feeding the Whole Family book. They were okay with the Sunny Millet with Peaches (which I thought was delicious), but they really seemed to like the Tempeh Tacos. I was quite impressed with how they turned out. And they absolutely flipped over mangoes, kiwis, and raisins drizzled with honey. That wasn't a recipe, it just sound good! God did all the hard work on that one. :)
Friday, September 01, 2006
Since I am in the talking cloth groove, I am adding a list to my page with links to cloth diapering related products that I and my readers love. If you have any you want added at any time, just leave it in the comments, or I think you can email me from my profile page.
Probably won't be around much as Kyle's parents are coming in to town tomorrow. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!