Posts Tagged ‘cloth diapers’

Frugal and Freebies

Steven says I’m lucky. I may jinx myself with this post, but I have to brag a little about my contest winnings as of late. I guess it all started during our Chicago 2010 trip when I so desperately wanted a Swatch after visiting a Swatch store. We said we’d return the next day to purchase one, the morning before we left home, but we ran out of time. I was so curiously upset about this that I started researching opportunities to lay my hands on a Swatch. I even emailed the company to see how to start a franchise in Indianapolis (creepy, I know!). Following on twitter, I saw a contest to win a Swatch from iVillage.com – all you had to do was email them a photo of your watch.

And then, the day came. It arrived! Steven took video to capture the moment of me opening the winning piece. I look like a complete idiot, as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. This meant I could win other contests, too! So now, I enter contests all the time. I have separate email and twitter accounts so that I don’t get lots of spam and annoy my followers. I know, it’s ridiculous thinking, but luck has been on my side the last few years. Here’s just a few things I have won in the last two years:

  • Swatch watch
  • OK Go tickets (AWESOME concert, by the way)
  • movie passes
  • cloth diapers
  • laundry detergent, diaper pail refresheners & liners
  • cloth diaper accessories
  • Crabtree & Evelyn smelly good stuff (lotions, scrubs, etc)
  • miir waterbottle (I’m still waiting for this to arrive, 4 months later…)
  • and most recently…

Melissa & Doug package worth $130 from yoyo.com! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It came tonight, hence this post, via UPS. I got chills as I heard the UPS man walk up our front porch steps. I know, another creepster comment. Anyway, it’s pretty rockin’. If you’re not familiar with Melissa & Doug, they’re pretty much the most amazing wooden toys available. And yes, they have other, non-wooden toys, too, but I love, love, love their wooden puzzles and food sets. I know Wes will eventually grow into these toys, as they’re mainly toddler-age, but hehe! I also have to throw in that I also received my free* $90 jeans from Ruelala.com today!

So what is the “frugal” portion of this post? And how can YOU get in on this stuff? Um, just sign up for things and enter contests as you see them. The best place for contests is twitter. Try searching the hashtag #twitterparty and see what comes up. Seriously, few people enter contests because of the “hassle” and everyone’s afraid of getting junk mail. Well, yes, you may, but just use a different email address. Besides, you usually get coupon codes sent to you, which I love! Pay attention to deals like “free credit upon signing up” and free samples. I find some of the best sources are reviewer blogs – especially for cloth diapers. Manufacturers send samples for critiquing, and many times the bloggers give them away. Two of my go-to blogs for freebies and deals are Bargain Briana (local) and The Budget Mommy. I also heavily reference Slick Deals.

*I signed up for ruelala.com earlier this summer when they had a free $20 credit with new registration. I had saved the credit until now, as they are offering free shipping during the holidays. Scoring a pair of BLANKNYC jeans for $19.90, I didn’t have to pay a dime!

Posted: December 5th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Adventures in Cloth

Cloth for the win!

For the last 3 weeks, we’ve delved into the world of cloth diapering (also known as CDing). During pregnancy, I researched so many web sites, facebook pages and blogs to figure out what would work best for us while still being not so intimidating. I wound up with a stash of pretty good variety, and I’ve been anxious – but kinda scared – to dive in to this booming industry.

Now that Wes is a whopping 17 lbs at nearly 3 months, I felt silly putting him in disposables when I had this fairly large cloth “wardrobe” at my fingertips. After a few weeks and several washings, here’s what I’ve learned.

1. Be prepared to spend some money up front. Diapers, depending on the style, can range from $6-25 each. Times that by the number of changes per day (10+) and one or two days in between each washing, and you’ll see that it can be expensive at first. (See number 3.)

2. Then, you’ll need to purchase additive-free detergent (I recommend Rockin’ Green or Country Save) because even detergents like Free & Clear have chemicals that can build up on the diapers over time, making them REPEL water. Yikes.

  • Wash your diapers several times before wearing to make them extra absorbent.
  • Do a cold water rinse first to get the nasties out. Then wash with 2-3 tb of detergent in hot water and double rinse. I throw my inserts in the dryer, but hang dry the outer shells.
  • For stains, the best solution is drying them in the sun. I haven’t yet done this, but everyone says it does an awesome job.

3. Avoid fancy diapers. Seriously, it’s for keeping a bum dry and poop contained. I’ve felt the pang of what’s called “cloth diaper addiction.” Some moms can’t stop buying diapers. I’ve had to reel myself in from daydreaming about cute patterns and a large stash. Sheesh!

  • I found a bunch of Flip inserts on Craigslist, and they’re great to just throw in a waterproof cover (we use Econobum and Gro-Via shells). I like this option best because you can reuse the shell several times and just change out the insert. I also use the old fashioned flat cloth diaper in these.
  • We have a hodge podge of pocket diapers (BumGenius, FuzziBunz, Charlie Banana, Alva Baby, Just Simply Baby), which are basically the cloth version of a disposable. While most families seem to like these best, I don’t so much. I just think you’ll need to get a TON more of these diapers, since you have to replace with a whole new diaper every time.
  • If I just had pocket diapers, I think I would opt for SunBaby, which are good quality diapers for a fraction of the cost of name brands. Two friends of mine use these and have been really happy with them.

4. Read up! I thought all my research had given me plenty of knowledge about cloth diapering. Not so! I went ahead and ordered the book, Changing Diapers, and I learned WAY more than I thought. Who knew you shouldn’t put microterry right against skin?

5. It’s really not as scary as I thought it would be.

 

I’ve probably bored you to tears on my CDing adventures, but it’s certainly an adventure for us. I do think we are saving quite a bit of money by not buying so many ‘sposies, and our water bill hasn’t gone up as much as I thought it would. Of course, it’s always nice to know that we’re doing just a small part to keep our planet green for Wes’ kids, too.

Posted: October 16th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Back to the grind

It’s been nearly 6 weeks. These last few days, I’ve tried to make every minute longer than the next. Staring into your baby’s precious face makes time want to speed up, however. Time and I do not see eye-to-eye right now.

So, what have I done the last few weeks? Well, I’ve TRIED to stay productive but still make sure to cherish these fleeting moments. Needless to say, I have not cleaned the house well. Thankfully, Steven and I are a great team, and we keep our house fairly tidy, but it’s my job to remove the dirt, dog hair and grime from surfaces. I got it really good and clean during my 4 days of waiting for Wes to show up, but now it’s getting bad again. I meant to clean today, and really, I should have because the babe is currently in the middle of a 2-hour-thus-far nap. But, sometimes snuggling with him and the dogs is just better. Anyway – I’ve read several juvenile sci-fi books, my favorite genre (The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins – yes, the same author of The Hunger Games), gone on several walks to Ellenberger Park, spent time with my sister, her kids and my mom, visited with in-town and out-of-town friends and finally started on the Year 4 Anniversary Collage Painting. I also meant to paint today, but alas. Who cares if it doesn’t get done this week?

I have a few more days to enjoy before heading back in to work. Mixed emotions about this. I can understand why some women desire to stay home and not return. I don’t want to miss any developmental change or new discovery. Days seem to pass quickly, and it’s amazing what you DON’T accomplish around the house. But, at this point, I still suffer from cabin fever and extreme antsiness if I’m not seeing any productivity around me. I crave having projects to keep my mind and hands busy. I need an occasional challenge. Come Monday, I will be working full time again, but making my office at home two days out of the week. I certainly hope this will allow me to have the best of both worlds – at least for a time. Joy’s House is a wonderful organization, and I couldn’t find a better position for myself. I absolutely love the staff, the Guests, the projects and the wonderful volunteers & supporters I have the opportunity to meet and work alongside. I’ll be hitting the ground running, as our annual Gala is just around the corner – and my devoted planning committee is anxious to have me back to the grind!

Yesterday I met with the gal who will be watching my sweet boy two days a week. The situation is definitely an answer to prayer! She already cares for a precious girl of her own and identical twin boys all under 8 months old, and she lives so close to my workplace. All three of those kids are in cloth diapers, too, so I don’t have to deal with the “you’re weird” looks & talks! 🙂 She and I attended the same elementary and middle school, and we have lots of mutual friends as well. Seriously, I couldn’t be happier or more pleased, as I know Wes is in terrific hands. Thank you, Jillian!

The plan is to fully enjoy the next few days. Dinner with friends tonight, a trip to the zoo tomorrow with Mom, Sister & the Niece/Nephew, Feast of Lanterns & birthday party Saturday and a day of rest after church on Sunday. I will not, I repeat, will not be that frantic, worrying mother at work. I don’t claim to be SuperMom, either. God has blessed us with a beautiful son, and I’m going to do what’s best for us and take each day at a time. Nice knowing you, Maternity Leave.

Posted: August 25th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Enter Mama-Geekdom: Cloth Diapers

I love research projects on the web. The last few months or so I’ve really been spending a lot of time getting to know cloth diapers. Thankfully I’m not the first in my group of friends to have children or experiment with foreign baby products. I’ve received tons of advice from a handful of friends who have ventured into cloth diapering with success. I’ve joined several review blogs to get the skinny even further. In fact, I have made search columns in TweetDeck to find posts with the hash tag #clothdiapers in order to discover daily giveaways. I think, perhaps, I’ve created a monster in myself.

I feel somewhat ashamed and guilty for venturing down this ridiculous road of research, but I just want to know as much as I can before diving head in, you know? I try to justify it by telling myself that I’m not this person or that person, who obviously is a stay-at-home-mom with nothing else to do but enter contests (yes, I see repeat names all over cloth diaper giveaways!). So far, I haven’t yet won a cloth diaper, but I sure as heck have won a 10-piece Crabtree & Evelyn gift basket and mIIr water bottle!

And to tell you the truth, I have come across some pretty reasonable deals. My also-pregnant friend, Julia, who is 3 weeks ahead of me, is kind enough not to make fun but to embrace my emphatic revelations. She is also contemplating cloth diapering, so I snagged a great (used) GroVia package for her to try before spending lots of money on a complete set. Additionally, I found a good deal of Charlie Banana diapers on zulily.com and scored a near-free bumGenius 4.0 diaper within days after.

Have no idea what the fascination is with cloth diapers? Well, for one, it’s more eco-friendly. It’s definitely a more expensive up-front cost, but you can purchase diapers that “grow” with your baby, so you’re not constantly buying new diaps. Also, they’re just so darn cute! Here’s what I know, briefly:

1) Prefolds: A slight upgrade to what you wore as a baby. It’s a genuine cloth diaper/burb rag with a prefolded (hence the name) and hemmed area to soak up as much diaper content as possible. You don’t have to use pins now. These cool things called Snappis work in its place, and then you have to put a waterproof cover over the top of the prefold. Cheapest route, hands down.

2) Fitted diapers: Like a prefold, you need a waterproof cover to go over these. It’s just a piece of cloth sewn into a diaper shape. I don’t understand why you would want to go this route. Seems too expensive and silly if you have to pay $8-10 per fitted diaper and then another amount for the covers.

3) All-In-Ones: The cloth diaper version of a disposable. You use once and toss in the washing machine. It’s one piece and waterproof. These are the most expensive, as you need LOTS in order to go through enough changes per day.

4) Pocket diapers: Like the All-In-One, it is one piece and waterproof, except that you have a built-in “pocket” within the diaper that you can stuff with reusable, cloth inserts. This is great when you need to adjust for overnights or heavy wetters. Some pocket diapers whisk away the moisture and soak up into the insert, so you can (sometimes) reuse the “shell” and refill with new inserts. My friends all recommend these.

5) Hybrid diapers/All-In-Twos: Basically, this is a more versatile combination of #3 and #4. You can line these shells with cloth inserts OR disposable/compostible inserts. They’re handy on vacations and when you’re in non-cloth diapering company.

Whew! I just tested my months of research. I must say, though, it’s difficult to know exactly what brand or type works best without Wes here to try them out. I can only guess from reviews, photos and prices what I like. I have an idea of what combination I think would work for us, but I’m not sure how quickly we’ll venture into these diapers. Most likely we’ll be a cloth-at-home, disposable-on-the-go family. My guess is that we’ll use disposables while he’s little and needs frequent changes (and frankly, we get used to him!), and then we’ll try what works for us as we get braver.

My awesome husband just brought me DQ after his Home Depot run. I think that pretty much says I’m done for the night. Score!

Posted: April 25th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.


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