Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: FAQ’s

June 26th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Living Simply - (Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: FAQ’s)

Why do you cloth diaper your kids?

I first decided that cloth might be a better option when I found out I was pregnant for the third time in less than three years. My 2 1/2 year old at the time was just barely potty trained, and I knew my 11 month old would still be in diapers when we had a newborn in the house again.

When I was using disposables and diapering my first two kids, I spent about $100 per month just on diapers and wipes, and by the time #3 came around, I really was just sick of spending that much money on something we throw away.

I also really like to simplify things. You may think, “well, if cloth diapering is not as convenient as disposables, then how is this simplifying?” It’s simpler because it saves us money and because there are no more emergency trips to the grocery store for diapers. Plus, cloth diapers are so super cute, and I love the look and feel of them.

How do I know which type of cloth diaper is right for me?

When I first started cloth diapering, I purchased several different types and figured out just by using them which ones I liked best. For more information on types of cloth diapers and how to get started, visit Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: Getting Started.

everything birth

Isn’t cloth diapering really gross?

Yes. At times, it is really gross, but disposable diapers are gross, too. You get used to it.

You can cut down on the gross factor by purchasing a diaper sprayer, which attaches to your toilet and sprays a jet of clean water on your soiled diapers to knock the excess poo off. Otherwise, you’ll have to swish soiled diapers in the toilet (unless your child is exclusively breastfed) – which is what I’ve been doing for the past two years because I’m too cheap to purchase a $50 sprayer.

Plus, when your child starts eating more and more solid foods, the poo becomes more solid and kind of peels off into the toilet after a few shakes. Make sure your child gets a healthy, balanced diet–it makes for less-gross diapers.

You think you can’t handle it the first time, but after that, you just get used to it.

 

Isn’t cloth diapering hard and inconvenient?

Sometimes. It can be inconvenient when on vacation, but if I’m gone for the day, I can bring a little wet bag for the diaper bag and it’s as easy as disposables–maybe easier because I never have to find a trash can. My husband and babysitters have learned to stuff pocket diapers and put the dirty ones in the wet bag. The only real inconvenience factor is the wash routine, but even that’s negligible if you have your own washer and dryer at home.

I do use disposables from time to time if we are going to be out all day, or if V. gets diaper rash, or if I’m just not keeping up on laundry.

So yes, it takes a bit of extra effort, but it’s not so bad.

 

Cloth diapers are expensive! Is it really worth all that cash?

Yes, cloth diapers are expensive, but they can save you money and stress in the long run. I never ever have to worry about running out of diapers and having to send the hubby to Wal-Mart late at night while trying to comfort a tired baby who just wants a clean diaper.

As far as costs go, companies like Bumgenius and FuzziBunz offer starter packages that run between $300 and $500. This seems like a crazy amount to spend on diapers, and this is one of the more expensive routes to go if you are cloth diapering. However, these nice name-brand diapers will last through more than one child, and using disposables for ONE KID from birth to age 2 (and most kids aren’t fully potty trained by the time they turn two!) is around $1,600*!!

everything birthYou can also find good deals when a new version of a diaper comes out – I bought six Bumgenius 3.0 pocket diapers for under $10 apiece on clearance right after the 4.0 version came out, and two years later they still look brand new!

Don’t be afraid to try an “off-brand”. A lot of cloth diaper forums will tell you they just aren’t worth it because they aren’t as sturdy as the more expensive ones, and that is true to some extent. As long as they aren’t filled with polyester, I’ve had reasonably good luck with the less expensive brands I can find online, such as Kawaii and Nubunz. Many moms also make a living by sewing diapers and selling them online, so you may have good luck with some of those and support a fellow mom as well. One thing to note – I find that even though my cheaper diapers aren’t my favorites and may stain or look worn out more quickly, they still do the job just fine.

How many cloth diapers will I need?

If you are cloth diapering a newborn, the bare minimum is about 24 if you want to do laundry every day and a half. If you are starting cloth diapers when the baby is a bit older (2 months and up) a good choice is the one-size diaper that will last until potty training, and 24 should be enough to do laundry every two days.

If you are just wanting to try cloth diapering, buy one or two diapers and some samples of cloth-friendly detergent, just to see if you like it.

 

What if my baby gets a diaper rash?

Most zinc oxide based and lanolin based diaper rash creams (such as Desitin or A&D Ointment) will ruin cloth diapers. Okay, maybe not ruin them altogether, but you’ll have stains and a super tough time getting it out, so the “normal” diaper rash creams are not recommended for use with cloth diapers at all. If your baby does develop a bit of a rash, coconut oil works wonders. It comes in solid form, usually in a jar, and you can get it at some health food sections in grocery stores or online.

It’s also important to figure out why your baby got the diaper rash. Sometimes it may be due to something they ate, and sometimes they just need to be changed more often to keep moisture away from the skin. On occasion, your baby may be having a reaction to your cloth diaper detergent or to the wipes you are using. Check Let’s Talk about Cloth, Baby: The Wash Routine for more information on cloth-safe detergents.

 

Where do I put soiled cloth diapers before I’m ready to wash them?

You can use a wet bag or a wastebasket with an easily washable cloth liner. I prefer using a wet bag because it takes up less space and has a handle so I can just hang it in the bathroom.

When you are on the go, you can use a small travel wet bag to keep the stink and wetness away from everything else in your diaper bag.

What is this “wet bag” you speak of?

It’s called a wet bag, but the bag part is actually dry. It’s a layer of PUL (the waterproof material) on the inside and covered with a layer of fabric on the outside so it’s pretty. It’s where you store your dirty diapers before you wash them. Mine has a handle, so I hang it in my little laundry room and it zips to keep the stink out of my nose.

The “old way” to do it is to fill a bucket with water and put dirty diapers there to soak, but I’m not about to have a disgusting bucket of poop water hanging out in my bathroom, so I use the wet bag method.

Won’t poop get inside my washer?

Uh… yeah. But washers are made to clean things. With enough water to swish around, you’d be surprised that your washer can clean the diapers so well and itself be sparkling clean after all those rinses. Be sure to check out my wash routine for tips on washing cloth diapers.

 

Don’t cloth diapers leak?

No! Modern day cloth diapers actually hold leaks much better than any disposable I’ve tried, especially for those up-the-back poops in the newborn days. There are many different types of cloth diapers, and all have waterproof covers that hold in leaks very well. Just make sure whatever is soaking up the pee is very absorbent–Chinese or Indian cotton diapers or microfiber soakers have always worked well for me.

**Gerber cloth diapers from Wal-Mart or where ever WILL NOT work as well because they have a polyester core, not cotton. These are not even worth the small amount you’ll pay for them.

 

If I’m using cloth diapers, should I use cloth wipes too?

Sure, it’s no harder than using disposable wipes because you just throw everything into the wet bag and then into the washer with your cloth diapers. I never bought the expensive super-soft cloth wipes that they sell at all the cloth diaper stores online. I just bought a bunch of baby wash cloths from Wal-Mart and Big Lots and used water with them. I also still use disposable wipes as well.

 

What about using cloth at the babysitter’s or at daycare?

Most daycare facilities will use whatever you bring. As I mentioned before, it’s not much different than using disposables except the dirty diapers go in the wet bag instead of the trash.

You’ll have to check to see how comfortable a babysitter or in-home daycare provider is with cloth diapers. Chances are, if you show them how easy it is, they’ll quickly adapt too.

My kids only go to babysitters on occasion, and a lot of times I’ll just use disposables with babysitters, especially with teenagers or when they have a lot of young children to look after.

 

What other questions do you have about using cloth diapers?

If you would like your question added to this list, please comment below or contact me here.

*According to http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

I’m never very good at keeping New Years Resolutions, but Lenten resolutions are much easier for me because they actually make me feel closer to God.

I am a contributing writer for CatholicMothersOnline.com and I recent wrote a post about First World Problems and gratitude. If you haven’t heard of “First World Problems,” it’s a funny way of saying “I’ve got a great life, but I complain anyway.”

Part of the graphic I created for the Catholic Mothers Online article - Familiar?

With this in mind, these are my Lenten resolutions this year:

  1. Quit complaining.
  2. Quit gossiping.
  3. Be grateful for all my blessings.
  4. Simplify and de-clutter my home and my mind so I can really appreciate what I have

When I have the urge to complain or gossip, I’ll say a silent prayer instead, thanking God for the blessings in my life.

For a more details about my thoughts on gratitude, please read my article at CatholicMothersOnline.com. 

What are your resolutions for Lent this year? What do you plan to do to keep them?

This week’s Saturday Spruce-Up again is super lame. I don’t even have before pictures. Enjoy.

I took everything out of my kitchen cabinets, wiped out the insides with Clorox spray, and only put back in the things I actually use.

I also organized my "big spoon" drawer. I removed everything I don't use on a regular basis.

The box of stuff I'm donating, including an entire set of dishes, a few bags and purses, clothes, cook books, etc. I love de-cluttering!

Told ya, lame. But at least you got to see the mint green paint and amazing vintage contact paper inside my kitchen cabinets…

After this post, you probably won’t want to, but click here to follow Simply Fulfilled on Facebook! 🙂

The last couple weeks and weekends have been a little too busy around here, and I feel like life goes too quickly when we’ve got too many activities going on. That said, I haven’t been able to make as much progress on the house as I’d like, but I did get one little area under control.

First let me explain this area. It is our front entry way, but it is the least use part of our house. We have a big screened in back porch, and everyone enters through there into the kitchen, not the front. So this tiny little area has been an hot spot for me to pile junk.

So just looking at this tells me how long it’s been since I had this little space all cleared out. There is a baby swing in there, people, and my baby can already walk. That means it’s been a good nine or ten months since it was used. There are boxes of random papers, “projects” I’ve been meaning to work on, and a tipped over hand-me-down magazine rack filled with old Better Homes & Gardens. Plus this entryway needs drywall and a paint job, but that’s a different project for a different day.

Okay, I admit, this is a lame project for the Saturday Spruce-Up. Lame. Check out the “after.”

So it still needs drywall, trim, and paint, but at least I can get to the front door (and even get it open!) if we ever needed it as an emergency exit or if a stray pizza guy comes to the wrong door.

Now for the awesome part of the Saturday Spruce-Up. But Bryn, you already showed us so much amazing change in your house, how could there be more?

Well, folks, be prepared to be stunned. Presenting: My son and his flippin’ sweet preschool ‘fro.

Oh yeah, I had to include Peach in there too because she's awesome.

Well if I had Peach, I had into include Vanilla too, right?**

Yes, our son had a super sweet four-year-old white boy afro. It took forever to get it all washed and the shampoo all out, plus it was starting to look funny unless I gelled it. And am I willing to gel a FOUR-YEAR-OLD’s hair every morning? Unlikely.

I went to the gym to work out one Thursday evening and here is what I returned to find (in a fort of course!)

I'm not sure what's happening with the elephant and the black stallion...

That’s right, my honey buzzed TT’s hair while I was gone. I wouldn’t have objected, so it was a really fun surprise. No, he no longer has his sweet ‘fro, but we have no more crazy bed head, and no more gel. Nice.

So there ya go. One lame and one awesome Spruce-Up. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

** P.S. The picture above with TT & Vanilla is the TV I mentioned in my Super Bowl post yesterday. See? We are definitely living like no one else now so we can LIVE like no one else later. Thanks Dave Ramsey.

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2012 Resolutions on February 1st

February 1st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions - (1 Comments)

One month ago, I posted on this blog about my New Year’s resolutions. So how am I doing? Let’s see…

  • Pray more. I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good with this one. I am remembering to pray more often and pray for people I said I’d pray for. I still need to get on it if I’m going to start a daily bible reading or devotional. Still work to do.
  • Go on dates. My husband and I have been on two official dates since the new year began, probably a record for us. We went out with his cousin and his girlfriend one night, and just last weekend we did a music trivia night with our friends. So I guess we had group dates, not just the two of us. Work on this.
  • Be healthy. This resolution is actually going pretty well. I have been going to the gym at least three times a week and I’ve just trying to be moving overall a lot more. Salads and oatmeal are my new best friends, but I still do get to have Buffalo Wild Wings every once in awhile. Plus I’ve lost six pounds since January began. Yay!
  • No more CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). This will forever be a work-in-progress, but good news! We had my parents over for dinner at the last minute this week, and the house was just fine. Yay, again!
  • Be bold and enterprising. Okay, so I haven’t switched over to wordpress.org yet, but I’m still hoping to do that soon enough. I have listed a few things on ebay and started selling things on craigslist, so that’s a start. I still need to quit making excuses and just go for things.
  • Simplify. I have a good handle on this, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I have gotten better about donating or just throwing things away that really are junk. Still working on this one too.
  • Keep learning. Yeah, I have till the end of the year to get these done right? I’ve done nothing in this category yet.
  • More quality time with the kids. We have watched significantly less TV since the new year began, especially because our big TV quit working. The kids and I have been making forts, reading, and just playing a lot more. I’m really trying to soak up all these moments while I still have them here at home with me.

So it looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next 11 months. I’ve never been real good at sticking with resolutions, but if I post them on here, I feel like I have a little accountability at least! Hope you are all doing well with your resolutions too!

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The Saturday Spruce-Up – Coat Closet

January 21st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply | The Saturday Spruce-Up | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up – Coat Closet)

This week’s Saturday Spruce-Up is the big closet in our bathroom. Since we moved in six years ago, this closet has been a catch-all–just throw something in and quickly shut the door. When I actually opened it up and cleaned everything out, I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had packed into that tight little space. Here are some before shots:

This isn't even a true before shot, that would have been WAY too embarrassing...

Crowded, unorganized shelves, lots of clutter, and general dustiness

 

I am attempting to turn it into a little mudroom. Our 1400 square foot house is always tight on space, so I want to eke a little more use out of this big closet. I still want to paint the inside walls and get something to contain the shoes, but check out these “in progress” shots:

We're getting there!

Now I have a place to put two baskets of dirty laundry so my bathroom doesn't get taken over, a basket for winter hats, mittens, and scarves within the kids' reach, and a shelf for my diaper bag. Love it when everything has a home!

And we even have room for coats in our coat closet! Plus, the shelves are organized with gift bags, duffel bags, and stuff to sell on ebay.:)

No fancy-schmancy makeovers here, but at least we now have a functional mudroom instead of an embarrassing mess. Have a great weekend!

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The Saturday Spruce-Up: My Tupperware Cabinet

January 14th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply | The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up: My Tupperware Cabinet)

Today starts a new (hopefully) weekly series to get my house spruced up by summer. Welcome to the Saturday Spruce-Up. I am hoping to post different projects around my house, declutter-ization and organization in our little “That 70’s Show” house–notice the groovy brown vinyl floor and mint green insides of our cabinets shown below.

Today I organized my Tupperware cabinet. Okay, so it’s not a very big project, but I have to start somewhere, right?

So here is the before:

I may have thrown a bit of a mommy-fit last night looking for a lid of a piece of Tupperware I was using for leftovers. Can’t blame the kids for this one…

Anyway, as you can see, it was a crazy mess even before my little outburst, with papers and random items I have hoarded crap that needed to be thrown out or to be found a new home.

I spent a couple hours–yes it took hours–to go through the entire cabinet, I even found some papers and junk mail from 2009. Yay. After everything was cleared out, I finally had room to put the Tupperware I use back in, and I am even getting rid of some of it that I never use. I’m hoppin’ back on the declutter train!

Here is the after:

Aaahhh. Much better, and I even have all the lids together. I’m taking just one step at a time, and I’m on my way to ridding my house of CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, thank you, FlyLady.net) for good.

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2012 Resolutions, and I'm Stickin' to It

January 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply - (Comments Off on 2012 Resolutions, and I'm Stickin' to It)

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2012. First, I have a question for you, do you call it “two thousand twelve” or “twenty twelve”? Just curious. I think I’ll call it “twenty twelve.”

Anyway, we are three days into the new year, but there is always time to make resolutions. I don’t usually take new year’s resolutions too seriously, but this year, there are a few things I’d like to do.

  • Pray more. I’d like to start doing a daily devotional and praying with my husband more often. In our Why Catholic? group this fall, we talked about prayer and spontaneous prayer (rather than memorized prayers) with our spouse. This is something I’d like to do more regularly.
  • Go on dates. With my husband, of course. I’d like to make a point to go on a fun, creative date once a month.
  • Be healthy. It is totally amazing how exercise, eating healthy and drinking boatloads of water can make me feel. Sure, I’d like to lose a little weight and get thinner, but being healthy so I can have the energy to keep up after the kids is my main goal here.
  • No more CHAOS. Flylady says that many of us are living in C.H.A.O.S. – which stands for Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Many days, that’s true in my house. This is the year I’m keeping my house picked up and clean and getting out of CHAOS for good! (If you haven’t heard of Flylady, click here for more info. She’s awesome.)
  • Be bold and enterprising. I plan on expanding my blog this year and have a couple other projects on the back burner. This year I’m not going to chicken out or make excuses, I’m just going to go for it and use my God-given stubbornness on something worthwhile.
  • Simplify. I need to continue to organize and declutter my house and my mind. Instead of talking about selling and donating our excess stuff, I’m actually going to do it. See above on CHAOS.
  • Keep learning. I’d really like to learn how to sew. I have a really nice antique Singer that was left at our house by the previous owner, so I might as well. I’m also going to start actually doing projects I have pinned to my Home & DIY board on Pinterest.
  • More quality time with the kids. This is a constant thing for me. More trips around town, more reading, more playing. And less TV.

What are your resolutions for 2012? Any suggestions on how I can get on track with mine?

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Happy Thanksgiving! Who are you thanking?

November 24th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Living Simply | Our Crazy Life - (Comments Off on Happy Thanksgiving! Who are you thanking?)

Happy Thanksgiving! I think it’s so great that our country dedicates an entire day to celebrating the act of being thankful. It’s an act of the heart, and it’s not always easy to see how grateful we should be for the things we have, the people in our lives, and the blessings that have been bestowed on us.

My little Indian at his Thanksgiving feast at preschool

We are thankful. But who are you thanking?

I thank God, today and every day. Without Him, I’d be nothing. Without Him, my life wouldn’t have meaning.

With Him, all things are possible, and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Especially when I’m going through hard times, I rely on God to pick me up and bring me out of the darkness. I’m sure I’ll share some of those stories on here someday, but today is about being thankful.

So here is the short list of things I thank God for tonight:

  1. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Without this ultimate act of love, we’d never even have a chance to experience eternal life with God.
  2. My honey. He’s my knight in shining armor and my favorite person to laugh with. Being his wife has changed me for the better, and the life we share together is more amazing than I ever could have imagined. He is stunning. In all possible ways.
  3. That the sweetest kids I’ve ever known call me “Mom.” Who knew these little people could teach me such big lessons in life?
  4. My parents and siblings. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.
  5. Our little house, our vehicles, my husband’s job, and the rest of our material things. I have days when I just really want more and more things, but we’ve got all we need and more, and I’m thankful.
  6. The health of myself and my family. A lot of people don’t have the blessing of good health, and I don’t want to take it for granted.
  7. Retreats like Teens Encounter Christ and Cursillo. The communities of people that put these on make such a difference in bringing people to Christ and helping them to understand their faith. God has done wonderful things in my life through these movements.
  8. Laughter and a sense of humor. Because who wants to be serious all the time?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My honey and I celebrated our anniversary last weekend with dinner and a show at our local community theatre. It was an awesome Saturday date night, and Sunday morning we attended Mass with our kids and my parents, as usual. The second reading for Sunday was Romans 8:35, 37-39, which reads

Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from the love of Christ? 
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

During his sermon, Father Tom talked about this reading and used a very good metaphor for our attitudes when it comes to Christ’s love. He said that when a potter makes a vessel, the way he knows if it is a “good” is to thump it. If it thuds, it’s no good. If it sings, it is good. We each get “thumped” all the time. When things don’t go as planned, when we lose someone we love, when something threatens a relationship, this is getting thumped. When we are thumped, we can choose to thud, or we can choose to sing.

If we choose to sing, we look on the bright side. We tell ourselves that God has a plan. We have faith and know that God will get us through it.

About a month ago, our little Illinois town was hit by the worst thunderstorm we’ve had in as long as I can remember. We, along with the majority of our county, were without power for two days. The damage was mainly to trees, branches falling on powerlines and houses, only a few injuries, and one reported death (that I can remember). We had no cell phone service at all the first day, and just a few gas stations were open. The traffic lights weren’t working, and most of the groceries stores were closed until many hours later. Thump.

Within this whole ordeal, there were many “thudders.” People who honked and were impatient when they had to turn around because of downed trees on the road. People who saw life without power as the most devastating thing ever. People who couldn’t stop complaining about the whole situation. I know I had my moments to thud. I had slight road rage at the now four way stops that previously had traffic lights. I found myself asking, exasperated, “Do people just not know the rules of a four way stop, or are they just not paying attention?!”

I like to think that most of us were “singers” for the most part. Friends with power were helping out those who didn’t have it yet. The men and women who work for Ameren CIPS (our power company) were local heroes. My parents, who did have power, stored all of our freezer and refrigerator food so it wouldn’t all get ruined. We grilled out and used candles and pretended we lived in the 1800s.

Facebook was littered with statuses like “Thanks to our Ameren workers” and “Thanking God no one was hurt during this storm” and “Praying for all the families affected by the storm.” My personal favorite was by my friend Leigh (who I believe copied it from someone else… someone take credit here, and let me know!)

Friends without power: I have power! Come juice up your computer, refrigerate your medicine, blow dry your hair, charge your cell phone, hang out under a fan, watch the news, or just flip on and off a lightswitch now and again to feel better. Whatever you may need, please don’t hesitate to call. I would love to help you! You might even get lucky and get a meal out of it…

She was truly a “singer” during our little disaster. When things go wrong in a community, it seems like people come together, and I know I have a brighter outlook on people in general because of the kindnesses shown to me and others. Christ’s love was present throughout our community.

I call this our little disaster, and even though it wasn’t all that bad, it puts life in perspective. On the news tonight, CBS was showing pictures from the drought in Somalia, starving children, crying mothers, looks of death on their faces. Christ still loves each of them, even in these horrid conditions. Nothing can separate them from His love.

It makes me realize the gift we have of living in America. We truly are in a land of prosperity. So today, I’m thankful that I was able to feed my children tonight, and that we have power and running water. The love of Christ is all around us.

When is the last time you were “thumped” in your life? Are you a singer or a thudder?