Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Holy smokies!

The other night I had a little bit of a break down.  What triggered it you ask?  Owen said "Mommy I love you."  

When Owen was a baby I could not wait to hear those words from him.  Now he says it 5-6 times a day, at least.  Watching him interact with his sister, the way he plays with her, helps her, talks to her, he just amazes me.  He is an amazing child.  Charlotte is so fortunate to have such a loving big brother, I just hope she returns the favor.

Owen is learning so much every day.  He is so independent.  He likes to help clean and loves to help wash the dishes. It takes about an hour to wash dishes when it should take ten minutes, but I love that he wants to help.  I know the day will come when I ask him to wash dishes and he will refuse.

Now we have Owen and Charlotte and they are growing so fast.  The time is just flying by.   I have so many plans, hopes, and dreams for the future for my children, for how I want things to go and the memories I want to make with the family.

I am excited to see what this chapter of our lives is going to have in store for us.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Menu 01/12-01/18

Wow, we started last week following the menu but got off track some how. Thursday we ate chicken parmesan, Friday we had steak, and Saturday we had pork sauerkraut and polish kielbasa that Martin picked up at the local polish grocery store.

This week Martin will be out of town and I don't foresee any big meals. I think we will be eating a bunch of sandwiches (deli meat was on sale) and maybe French toast for dinner. Friday we will probably ready chicken ranch casserole and Saturday will be crock pot shredded bbq chicken sandwiches.

{52 weeks} Week 3: all about cloth

When thinking of things I can change in my life to be greener and healthier I also think about the changes I have already made. Switching to cloth diapers and using cloth wipes, and cloth nursing pads for starters are all great steps. I then see the huge stash of paper towels that I have. As I finished off a roll today I realized how much we waste using paper towels, not to mention the money we spend on them. I then realized I do not own any kitchen towels and I only have one kitchen wash rag. I do have "rags" from torn shirts or bath towels in addition to a few microfiber towels, but we never use them.  So this week I will be buying some kitchen towels and making the switch. I will still have my stash of paper towels for the really dirty messes, but for regular cleaning and doing dishes, we will be switching to cloth.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Common cloth diaper mistakes

I understand that there is an overwhelming amount of information on the web about cloth diaper use/misuse.  It was very difficult and overwhelming for me when I first started.  My suggestion is you learn as you go.  Buy some diapers and try it out.  As needed/wanted try different types/styles of diapers.

So, what have I learned in my couple of years using cloth?

  1. No diaper rash ointments.  The common A & D, Desitin, Vaseline, and the like are not good with cloth diapers.  This is because they can leave residue on the diapers that is hard to wash off and will prevent the diaper from absorbing moisture.  There are some cloth safe creams that can be used.  I personally love CJ's spray.  If you are still concerned you can use a diaper liner, these can be bought or you can make some yourself from an old receiving blanket or tshirt. 
  2. Washing-  Common washing issues include too much detergent, not enough detergent, not enough water, not rinsing... It took me a while to find a detergent and wash routine that worked for us.  You can refer to my post here and here. But, you will probably have to experiment to find what works best for you and your water. 
  3. Drying- Most diapers must be either air dried or dried on low heat in the dryer.  I have come across a couple of people on some forums confused as to why their diapers were falling apart or leaking.  A common mistake is drying the diapers on high heat.  The high heat is bad because it can cause delamination, holes, or melting.  
  4. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets- The use of fabric softener and dryer sheets leaves a residue on the diapers and prevent them from being absorbent.  In addition to cloth diapers, these should not be used on towels or anything else that is supposed to be absorbent.  
  5. Small Stash- I may be crazy for having a huge stash of diapers, but at least with a large stash the diapers are rotated more and not used over and over in a short period of time. The disadvantage to a small stash is that the diapers are being used more, washed, and dried more.  This can add wear and tear to the diapers shortening the amount of time you can use them.  
  6. Snaps vs Aplix (velcro, hook and loop) - Aplix may be more day care and dad "friendly" however they do not last as long as snaps.  They may curl, cause the diaper to be pilly, or not stick to itself well.  Snaps on the other hand last much longer without issue and when there is an issue, they are easily replaced with the proper tools.  
  7. Infrequent diaper changes-  I was trying to troubleshoot leak issue someone was having.  We stripped her diapers and she was still having issues.  At a loss I asked how often she does diaper changes, she stated "when his clothes get wet."  Well how do you know if they are leaking or he just pees a lot?  She started doing changes every hour and a half and realized the diapers were soaked.  Her diapers weren't leaking after all, she just was not changing often enough.  A doubler can be used for heavy wetters, but make sure you are changing frequently to prevent irritation and diaper rash. 

Cloth Diapers at Day Care

In August of 2012 I started working full time.  I had to find a day care for Owen.  While looking I mentioned that we cloth diaper.  Pretty much every day care I looked at stated cloth diapers was against state sanitation regulations and they only accept disposable.  At the time I just accepted it.  I mean, why would they lie?  Right before starting him I went out and bought a case of disposable diapers.  He only used them at day care and was put into cloth while at home.  While I was upset about this I felt like there was nothing I could do.

A few months after I quit working I came across a post about cloth diapers at day care facilities and decided to do some research.  I learned that cloth diapers ARE ALLOWED in North Carolina.  The regulations specifically state cloth diapers from parents or cloth diaper service and states how to handle them.  Wow, I wish I knew this then!

One my first day at my new job I walked into the nursery to drop off Charlotte.  I did not even think about asking about the cloth diapers prior to hiring.  I have used cloth for so long and have encouraged several of my friends, (and most recently my cousin) that I forget people still use disposables.  A little while later I mentioned that we cloth diaper, the lady (who is a bit older) didn't even flinch.  She just said o.k.  I pulled the diapers out and showed them to her and she was amazed at how nice modern cloth diapers are.  I bought AIO Aplix Thirsties specifically for day care so they would be easier to change.  I was so happy at how welcoming they were about the diapers.  They were nearly as excited about it as I was.

For those of you that are working and thinking about switching to cloth, or already use cloth and thinking about heading back to work, here are some tips

  1. Mention cloth-  While doing a tour of the facility they typically show you the diaper changing area.  This is the perfect time to mention you cloth diaper and ask if they have anyone else there that uses cloth.  This should lead into whether they approve of cloth at the facility or not.
  2. Know the laws- I was told initially that it is against state regulations, I have since discovered that was false.  Know the laws in your state, be prepared and take a printed copy.  If they state it is against regulations, it might make me question what else they might hide.  There are only 4 that I know of that specifically state cloth can only be used because of medical reasons and has to have a note from medical care provider.  These states include Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C.  I also know most pediatricians are willing to give medical notes if you ask.  
  3. Show them the diapers-  If it is permitted in the area you live in, show them the diapers.  As I mentioned, the day care I currently work at was excited to see the modern cloth diapers and how easy they are.  (I do not suggest sending flats and covers, although I know a few facilities that use them no questions asked.) 
  4. Don't argue-  This is important.  If you explain to the facility it is allowed by state regulations, show them how easy they are, and they still are hesitant, do not argue with them.  This is only more likely to make them not accept cloth or worse, not accept your child.  Calmly and nicely reiterate how simple the cloth diapers are to use.  List the benefits of cloth diapering and your reasoning for using them.  
If these four tips do not sway the perspective child care facility to letting you use cloth there, I say go some where else.  

List of states and links to their regulations.  Some states require contents to be dumped in toilet, while others it's not permitted.

  1. Alabama- Allowed, page 26
  2. Alaska- Allowed. "(5) for soiled clothing or cloth diapers, solid waste contents are disposed of by dumping the contents into a toilet and placing the diapers, without rinsing, in  (A) an impervious bag to be given to the parent for laundering, if applicable" Page 68
  3. Arkansas- Allowed. Section 1107 Page 42
  4. Arizona- Allowed.  Section R9-5-503. Part F. Page 35
  5. California- Allowed.  Page 168
  6. Colorado- Does not specify
  7. Connecticut- Allowed. "When cloth diapers or training pants are used, a plan for their use and care shall be submitted to and approved by the department prior to implementation of the plan." Section 19a-79-10. Part E. Page 32
  8. Delaware- Allowed.  Page 20
  9. Florida- Allowed.  "b. Soiled cloth diapers shall be emptied of feces in the toilet and placed in a securely covered container that is not accessible to children. The container shall be emptied, cleaned and sanitized or disinfected, at least, daily." Page 21
  10. Georgia- Allowed.  Page 24 and 38
  11. Hawaii- Allowed Page 895-42
  12. Idaho- Does not specify
  13. Illinois- Allowed 
  14. Indiana- Allowed (There is an entire section (470 IAC 3-4.7-96 Cloth diapers) just for cloth diapers!) Page 77
  15. Iowa- Allowed.  Page 148
  16. Kansas- Allowed. Page 33
  17. Kentucky- Allowed.  Section 10
  18. Louisiana- Medical  "Only disposable diapers shall be used unless there is a medical contraindication such as allergies." Page 163
  19. Maine- For Medical reasons only. Page 78, Section 22.5.6  
  20. Maryland-Allowed 
  21. Massachusetts- Allowed, Page 66
  22. Michigan- Allowed. Page 13
  23. Minnesota- Not specified
  24. Mississippi- Allowed.  Rule 1.16.2 Contents must be disposed of in toilet. Page 61
  25. Missouri-Allowed.  Page 28
  26. Montana- Allowed.  Page 26
  27. Nebraska- Not specified
  28. Nevada- Allowed. 432A.411 Page 26
  29. New Hampshire- Medical only "(b) Programs shall use home laundered cloth diapers only when disposable diapers are restricted in writing by a child’s parent and the child’s licensed health care practitioner, and a commercial diaper service is not available." Page 84
  30. New Jersey- Allowed. Page 83
  31. New Mexico- Not specified
  32. New York- Allowed. Section 418-1.11 (p) (2)
  33. North Carolina- Allowed. "Caregivers may dispose of feces in diapers in the toilet."  Page 13
  34. North Dakota- Not specified
  35. Ohio- Allowed.  Page 47
  36. Oklahoma- Allowed. "Fecal content may be disposed of in a toilet." Page 28
  37. Oregon- Not specified
  38. Pennsylvania- Allowed.  Section 3270.135
  39. Rhode Island- Allowed.  Page 18
  40. South Dakota- Not specified
  41. South Carolina- Allowed.  Fecal matter disposed of in toilet. 
  42. Tennessee- Not specified.
  43. Texas- Not specified
  44. Utah- Allowed.  Page 24
  45. Vermont- Allowed.  (An entire page!) Page 4 of Appendix C. 
  46. Virginia- Allowed.  Page 56
  47. Washington- Allowed.  Section 170-295-4120
  48. Washington D.C.- Medically required. "(370.3) No Facility may use cloth diapers for any child unless it has obtained a written statement, with supporting documentation, from a particular child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) that cloth diapers are required by the special medical circumstances of that child." Page 003861
  49. West Virginia- Allowed. Page 80
  50. Wisconsin- Allowed.  Page 38
  51. Wyoming- Not specified. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu 01/05-01/11

Sunday- Philly cheese steak casserole
Monday-Marinated Hawaiian Chicken and corn
Tuesday- Sweet and Spicy chicken and garlic shells
Wednesday- Cheeseburger meatloaf and bacon brussel sprouts
Thursday- Chicken ranch casserole
Friday- Spaghetti and salad
Saturday- tacos

52 Weeks

As mentioned previously, I am going to make one small change every week as my new year resolution.  My first week I decided to tackle the toy room and organize it better.  Before having children that was our "catch all" room.  It is where we put stuff we didn't really know where to put else where.   It also needed cleaned and organized as the children received toys just before for Christmas.  It wasn't until after I had some of the cabinets cleared out that I thought to take pictures.  I will make a more detailed post later about the toy room transformation.

Week Two I am making the change for no more fast food, with some exceptions.  It is so easy for me to swing by McDonald's and grab something for Owen to eat.  I might only get a water for myself.  How horrible is it that I don't eat at McDonald's but I will feed it to my toddler?!?!  Well that ends today.  I vow to not take him to any fast food restaurants (restaurants with drive thrus).  The exception to this is when we are traveling.  While close to home I will not do it.  I will plan running errands better so we only go in between meals and I will take Cheerios, apples, or some other food that Owen can snack on if he needs it.   Not only is this healthier for us, but it will also save us some money as well.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone brought in the new year safely.   I let Owen stay up and we watched the ball drop online.  Martin called at midnight since he was in Georgia for work.  Charlotte slept through it all, as to be expected.  
In 2013 I finished my associates degree in accounting in January, we visited Pop Pop in Maryland and Babcia in Delaware for Easter.

In May Owen and I made the trip to Pennsylvania for a baby shower for Charlotte.  We also went to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

 In July we welcomed our beautiful daughter.

I quit drinking soda (A HUGE challenge for me as I was drinking close to two liters a day!)

Owen started using the potty.

And I finished the year by landing a part time job at a church day care.

In 2014 Owen will start preschool, I will graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting, hopefully start my career in the accounting field, pay off our truck, as well as many other fun things.

Rather than doing the typical resolutions list, I am going to challenge myself to make one small change every week.  I figure 52 small changes will add up to a big difference in our home.  Some of these changes include making less waste, eating more home-made foods via garden/local farmers, less electronic use (aside from my online classes), and so forth.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cloth Diaper Stash Updated.

Now that Charlotte has outgrown almost all of the newborn diapers I have moved on to sized diapers.  I cannot wait for her to fit into the One Size diapers because I have tons of those.

 This was my newborn diaper stash.  I have since sold most of these.

Newborn diapers: (27)

Pictured is
13 GroVia Aio (these fit from birth until 4 months)
2 Bum Genius AIO (these fit from birth until about 8 weeks) 
3 Kissaluvs AIO (she still wears these)
2 lil joey AIO (She wore these until about 8 weeks.  I had 10 originally, these were my favorite for the first couple months as they had the best fit.)
3 Perfect Bum diaper shells with tri-fold inserts
1 gdiaper
4 Simplex AIO (I LOVE these.  She still fits them too!) 
6 FuzziBunz XS pocket (these fit from birth until 4 months.  I loved the fit but it was a little difficult to stuff the insert inside.)
3 Thirsties AIO small (we are currently using these, they did not fit at birth.) 

One Size Diapers: (71)

 All 17 of these are china cheapies except the two Elmo diapers, my favorites are the Happy Flute.  

Below are more China cheapies, The solid purple and pink diapers are Sun Baby and I have one Charlie Banana. 

These are all my OS "name brand" diapers
 9 Kawaii Baby pocket
1 Blueberry pocket
2 Simplex AIO
11 Bum Genius pocket
1 FuzziBunz Elite
5 Rumparooz (The only OS diaper that fits currently, because of the leg gussets)

Sized Diapers: (30)

 12 Thirsties Size 1 AIO (my favorite, can you tell?)
6 FuzziBunz Small pocket (not as impressed with these as I was with the n/b.  Hoping my feelings will change as she gets bigger)
4 Simplex Aio
1 SweetPea AIO (similar to Thirsties, however the velcro kinda sucks on this and the tabs stick to everything in the wash.)
3 Perfect Bum Hybrids Medium
3 Kissaluvs AIO
1 Itty bitti SIO (perfect over night diaper, but not sure how much longer she will fit in it.)


These are accessories, some are essential and some are not.  There are also cheaper alternatives.  
 wipe solution: Thirsties booty luster, and a home-made solution.  I keep one in the diaper bag.
Bottom cream:  Cj's spray and butter.  I love both.  I use the butter more for lotion and the spray for her bottom.
Cloth wipes: I have 6 Thirsties fab wipes and 6 sweetbottoms bamboo velour wipes and a stack of soft regular baby wash cloths.  (we have more of the velour ones we use as tissues.)
Wet bag: I have 4 one my sister made me, two are blueberry (and they are my favorite), and one Grovia (which I don't really care for only because it is draw string.) 
Pail Liner: I have 2 one white one I have no clue the brand and a wooly bug.  One is all that is needed, but I have an extra for when the other is in the wash.
Spray Pal-This is definitely not a requirement, but I always make a mess spraying, so it is required in my house.  
Diaper Sprayer- I have an aqueous sprayer.  I bought it on sale, it was cheap and it does the job without issue.
Detergent- I use Rockin Green.  I started off with this brand and have tried many others, but this works best for me and gets the diapers good and clean.
Funk Rock, I use this maybe once every other month, just in case there is build up from the hard water. 
I have a stack of hemp inserts and a stack of microfiber extra in case I need to add a little more absorbency for over night or car rides.  
I also have 2 bum genius stay dry socks.  You can stuff these with the microfiber inserts and put against baby's skin.  

I finally feel like my stash is complete and I do not need anymore diapers.