Tuesday, July 27

Cloth Diapers - A Love Affair

Fellow Blogger, Amy, over at Raising Arrows is doing a giveaway this week for some FuzziBunz diapers and it got me thinking about our cloth diaper path.  She is talking about her path to using cloth diapers and how it has changed over the years.  Go check out this post for more information on the giveaway and here for info on her cloth diaper path.
For us, we started out on our journey about 1/2 way through my pregnancy with our first son.  I knew I needed an alternative to disposables because of the cost factor and had some friends that cloth diapered their kids, so I started asking questions and doing more research.  It was pretty evident early on that we needed an option that wouldn't cost a lot to start up and we weren't terribly concerned about the ease of use since I was planning to stay home with my son and didn't mind the extra work.  It helps to note that my husband was on board with all of this and also didn't really care about how easy the system would be to use.

There are tons of sites out there to do research on cloth diapers and compare prices, but I ended up ordering from Cotton Babies and we decided to start with prefolds, Dappi covers (the pull-on nylon pants), and Snappi's as a closure instead of diaper pins.  So for little out of pocket expense we got ourselves set up to start.  

We waited a few weeks after Carter came home to jump in (we had a lot of disposables given to us at showers and so we used those during this time).  Once we started, we quickly got the hang of things.  There is a learning curve and I did a lot of research on different ways to fold the prefolds for maximum absorption, but it really wasn't too bad.  The laundry was also a breeze!  Since I was exclusively breastfeeding, everything just went straight from Carter, to the diaper pail, and into the laundry.

Once we had the hang of things I started looking for other kinds of diapers on sale.  We got some all-in-ones from a garage sale and some "seconds"/clearance of the BumGenius 3.0's from Cotton Babies (TIP: seconds may seem like a risk, but they have been wonderful for us...a great way to try new diapers without the sticker shock of buying them brand new).  I eventually also bought some hemp liners for my BumGenius diapers that have been WONDERFUL!  I found some homemade diaper wipes from a woman on Freecycle and bought some BumGenius wipes from a garage sale (I prefer the homemade wipes which are mostly just flannel and are super easy to make on your own).

A few months ago Cotton Babies came out with 2 new diapers, Econobum and Flip.  I was interested in trying the covers with my prefolds as the dappi covers have to be purchased in each size and these covers were one-size (meaning they adjust to fit your baby from birth to potty training, generally).  I found some Econobum covers being sold in their clearance section and bought a few.  Well, me and my husband LOVED them!  They were so much easier than Dappis, and since we bought them on clearance the price wasn't too bad either.  When they went on clearance again we bought enough to diaper our son and the baby that we were expecting (due this October).  We also got, via a trade on Craigslist, some fitted diapers that would work for a wide variety of sizes and we really enjoyed them.  We are currently on the lookout for another brand of fitted diaper to use with Carter as he gets bigger and to add to our diaper stash for the new baby as well.

Overall I have been incredibly happy with cloth diapering!  It hasn't been too much extra work and I'm not a slave to the system.  We still use disposables at times when I know I can't keep up with cloth (when I'm sick, baby is sick, or we are traveling a lot) and he is usually in disposables when we go out of the house or to relatives.  We don't expect other family members to cloth diaper him, we have disposables available for these times.  I'm still frustrated at finding a good cloth diaper for overnights as our son is a pretty heave wetter, but I don't mind using disposables for these times either.  Hopefully in the next few months we will be adding to our stash and, as we do, I will try to update with any new products that we try.

Wednesday, July 7

Works-for-Me Wednesday....making my life easier edition

works for me wednesday at we are that family

The other day my husband and I were talking about the "stuff" we own and how it affects our lives.  We've all heard the guys on TV, other bloggers, friends, and family talking about how some new gadget or machine has made their life so much easier...but is it true?  Do we really need new things to make life easier?

In some ways I completely agree!  I really enjoying having a washer and dryer and do feel that those make my life easier.  But I'll admit that I have, before, become caught up in owning new cleaning gadgets and they end up making my life more difficult and tying me down with lots of stuff!  That's not easier for me.

Here are some things that we do and don't own that HAVE made my life easier...some of them you may agree with and some of them you won't...but this is what works for me!  

1. Not using paper towels.
This was not something we actually did on purpose, believe it or not.  I had read of people who stopped buying and using paper towels and it sounded like a nice idea, but one that I thought would have to wait until we had the "right" cloth options.  That's what I thought anyway.  One day we ran out of paper towels and I just didn't buy anymore...we had a ton of paper napkins that did the job in a pinch and we really weren't ever using them so I thought I'd wait to buy paper towels until we ran out of napkins.  It has now been several months since we ran out of napkins.  I don't really know when it happened and certainly didn't notice until cooking bacon a few days ago and I wasn't about to leave what I was doing to go buy a roll of paper towels!  So we used a wire cooling rack.  The next time we used a regular dishrag (clean of course) and it worked great!  

2. Not having a working dishwasher.
I never thought I would enjoy NOT having a dishwasher.  We do have one, technically, but it has been broken for goodness knows how long and we just haven't had time to fix it.  While I do miss the convenience when we have lots of people over, I don't miss how many dishes we used to have and use!  Since we have to wash everything by hand, we only have 4 place settings.  This wouldn't have been enough to fill up our dishwasher and I would have felt bad using all that water for a very less-than-full machine, but by washing things by hand we use fewer dishes.  We also question every time we want to get out a dish...which has lead to less snacking!

3. Using "family cloth" in the bathroom.
If you aren't familiar with this, please check out these posts for more information.  This came as an idea from a fellow blogger and I am so happy with it!  Since I already wash cloth diapers, I can just throw them in with my son's diapers, but I've been known to throw them in with regular towels also.  The name is a bit misleading, I am the only one in the house that uses these and I only use them for....shall we say, "wet" trips to the restroom.  My family thinks I'm crazy and it's OK if you do too!  I love it!  The cloths are more absorbent, comfortable, and leave no paper residue.

4. Owning a steam mop.
We recently had to buy a new vacuum cleaner and while we briefly thought of shelling out major dough for a top of the line one for allergies (as the whole family has been plagued this summer something awful) we reconsidered.  We only actually have one room with carpet (which is hopefully going to be torn up this summer) and 3 area rugs.  It didn't make much sense to spend so much on something that would really only clean a handful of surfaces/floors in our house.  So we looked at steam mops.  I HATE mopping!  I really am not so keen on sweeping either, but it's necessary so it happens most of the time.  With the new steam mop I can vacuum the floors and steam mop in the same time it takes me to sweep/mop with normal methods.  But this way I don't have to worry about any nasty cleaners being harmful to my babies and I don't have to mess with a mop/bucket.  It works for me and I love it!

Those are just a few things that I thought of that make my life easier.  Maybe not always simpler...but definitely easier :).  What are some of the things you use/own that make your life easier?  

This blog post is submitted to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.