Friday, January 18, 2008

On Humility

There is an absolutely fantastic post at Roots by the River from yesterday. On the nature of Humility and Pride. I strongly recommend you check it out. Jim Wilson is an amazing brother in the faith. If you have bloglines, I can't stress enough how wonderful it is to have his blog on there. Typically his manner of teaching is to read scripture, relate an observation, and then comment on it all with yet more scripture. Good food for the soul.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

You may have noticed, I'm jumping back in to blog world with two feet. First a new post, then a "Kitchen Tip Tuesday" and now a "Works for Me Wednesday". WFMW is something I have seen around the blogsphere for awhile now and always wanted to do. It is just a fun concept- you just share something in your life you found to work well. It is hosted by Shannon, and at the bottom of her post (like with Kitchen Tips) you can find links to everyone else who is participating and learn a thing or two. You can also spend too much time surfing the web, but that is a topic for another day.

My first WFMW is decidedly female oriented. So male readers, you might just want to come back tomorrow. If you're married, or have sisters, or had a mother my hope is that this wouldn't seem weird, but I do like to give fair warning.

Mama Cloth. That is what works for me. Mama cloth is the cloth diaper of the female sanitary product world. Instead of using something that is scratchy, filled with chemicals, backed with adhesive, and that I always seemed to forget to buy anyway- I use something which is cloth, soft and easy on my skin, reusable, and simple.

If you read my post from Sunday, you already know I do cloth diapers. So Mama Cloth isn't a big leap. You can simply wash them with your diapers. But doing cloth diapers isn't a requirement. In fact, I think Mama Cloth is far simpler than cloth diapering.

A couple of selling points:
  • You aren't going to spend anymore money on cloth, in fact in most cases you will save money
  • They can be washed with other laundry (diapers, towels) and so aren't adding any extra effort to you week
  • You always have them-no running to the store because you forgot to buy them!
  • Less chemicals next to your body= a healthier you
  • You are doing something good for the planet. True, we aren't talking mounds and mounds of garbage, but any cut back is good.
  • They work well- I have far less issues with cloth than I ever did with disposable
  • Lots to choose from- pretty colors, different thickness, more choices than you'll ever get at Target
  • Encourages one to not be embarrassed about menstruation. No, I'm not suggesting we have fertility goddess celebrations, but really this isn't something that needs to be such a hush-hush topic. After all, this is what enables us to have children. And children are amazing. It is something that virtually all women experience, and while I am very pro-modesty there is nothing immodest about embracing menstruation as part of being a women and not something to be ashamed of.
I use Mother of Eden brand (the same people who make Fuzzi Bunz) and highly recommend them. But like with cloth diapers, there are many cloth pads to choose from. Just find one that works for you. This has been Works for Me Wednesday.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


This is a bumper sticker I see a lot driving the city streets. My husband just wrote a post about it over on his livejournal. His place isn't a blog, so much as a place for him to record thoughts. Read his disclaimer. That being said, it is a good read. Coexistence.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

This is my first time participating in Kitchen Tip Tuesday, hosted by Tammy's Recipes.
She is a fantastic blogger (who I have been meaning to get up on my side bar!) who posts recipes, along with pictures of her actual food, and thoughts on life and mothering and cooking and cleaning with small children under foot. Absolutely love her.

So, here is my first foray into Kitchen Tip Tuesdays :

Kitchen Scissors.
These are the kitchen scissors I use, the Henckel Kitchen Shears which I picked up at target for about $15. My knife block (also Henckel) has a spot for them, and I use them daily. My most common uses:
  • Cutting up toddler food (makes cutting pasta, grapes, etc. SOOOO much faster and simpler)
  • Cutting up herbs
  • Cutting open packages
  • Cutting kitchen twine
  • Cutting dough
It is the cutting up toddler food that I find these to be the biggest help for. There is rarely a meal that I don't need to make food smaller for my 2 year old, and some food can be so time consuming. But with these shears it takes me about 15 seconds to turn a bowl of pasta into a toddler friendly meal. These scissors are very durable. I actually melted part of the handles on the stove at one time (oops) but the handles still held their shape, and they work just as well as the day I bought them.

They make a great wedding shower gift, or gift for that practical woman in your life. And if you like colorful things (you know who you are, Miranda) other brands make pretty ones. I just wanted mine to match my knives.

Go check out other great tips over at Tammy's. Just don't go hungry, it will only make it worse.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cloth Diapers

Lately I have found myself going on and on about cloth diapers on forums and other peoples' blogs. They love me and put up with me, but I figured if I cared enough about said subject to take over someone else's blog, maybe I should post about it on my own.

I started out my cloth diapering when my eldest was a couple months old with Mother Ease one size diapers and Mother Ease small covers. I was immediately impressed by their quality as well as the ease of use. You see though, I bought MotherEase because I wasn't aware that there were other options. I may have bought Mother Ease anyway, but it amazes me now that I had no idea how many options were out there! About a year later I picked up a few MotherEase all in ones at a consignment store. I fell in love with the ease of an all in one, and now that is all I buy.

Perhaps though I am going about this the wrong way. Let me go over the cloth diaper vocab.
  • One size (OS): diapers that can be used for babies 8-30lbs.
  • All in ones (AIO): diapers that have the covers built in to the rest of the diaper. Closest to using disposable. Sometimes they are also one sized, some times not
  • Pre-folds (PF): old school, like diaper services use. Come in sizes
  • Pockets: Diaper with the cover built in, but the center comes out to make for faster drying, has a "pocket" for the insert to slip into.
  • Covers: what you put over diapers that don't have built in covers. Come in many materials- wool, PUL, fleece- as well as one size or sized.
Ok, that should cover the basics. Since entering the cloth diapering world 3.5 years ago I have learned that cloth diapering is alive and well. I am not in some weird fringe group. There are as many reasons people cloth diaper as there are people. For me, it started out purely economical. Yes, an individual cloth diaper seems spendy. I've probably spent about $500 to cloth diaper two children. But when you do the calculations against the standard disposable the amount you save per child is staggering. Going by the cheapest diapers I could find (Costco) and the absolute minimum diaper changes (although that isn't what I do) I haved saved over $2000 dollars so far. (and that is an EXTREMELY conservative estimate) you save evne more if you use the diapers for multiple children like I am doing, and thus my savings grow with each child. The money saved in cloth diapering has been such a blessing. But for us it has developed into other reasons as well. Cloth diapers are better for baby. Disposables have many chemicals in them, and many children are extremely sensitive to them. My second daughter gets a horrible diaper rash when put in disposables, as do many babies. Cloth diapers are so much better for the environment. Now, I'm not necessarily a hug-a-tree sort of person. I mean, I do hug the occasional tree, but it isn't the first principle by which I make decisions. But I do feel pretty strongly that if there is something in my life I can do to tread a bit lighter on the earth and be less self-focused in my daily life then I think I should do it. Cloth diapers are a way for families to greatly reduce the waste they put out. Anyone who has had children know they crazy amount of diapers they go through. Just try to get a mental image of that multiplies by thousands and millions. Think of how much less waste there would be if people used cloth diapers even just half the time. I also feel cloth is more comfy for baby. If you are skeptical of this, try on one of those disposable underwear things for bladder issues and compare how it feels to your regular underwear.

Now for some of my favorites and brands I highly recommend.

Motherease One Size. They come in various selections (Bleached, Unbleached, StayDri, Organic, and Bamboo) and work great in my opinion for 4months on. I dislike the bulk of a one size on a really little baby, but that is really personal preference as I know many friends who have used these from birth on. Motherease also makes great covers, but their diapers work well with any cover you choose. I have used these daily for 3.5 years and will continue to be able to do do for at least one more child, though I suspect another 2 or 3. They still look great and work very well.

Another brand I've come to love is Fuzzi Bunz. (if you are going to cloth diaper, you'll have to get used to cutsie names). Fuzzi Bunz is a pocket diaper that come in sizes XS-L and in 15 different colors. They are very easy to use, wash well, and dry fast. I also use these diapers at night in place of pul-ups for my toddler, and have used them without the inserts while we were potty learning to help contain accidents but not have the bulk of a pul-up. You can't go wrong with a few of these in your diaper stash.

Finally, I must recommend Poppy Pants. Poppy Pants are a sized diaper, like fuzzi bunz, but where the inserts snap in and out instead of sliding into a pocket. Also, the water proof part (the PUL liner) is hiden between two layers of fabric. So what you get on the outside of the diaper is soft, cute, boutique patterned fabric. Now, Poppy Pants are a boutique diaper, meaning they are higher end, higher priced, and part of their point is cuteness as well as function. You will not save as much money with these diapers, but you will still save lots over disposables. They are very trim and less bulky under clothes. The smaller sized are priced comparably to Fuzzi Bunz, it is only the larger sizes that are a bit more. Their XS sizes even come with little snap down sections to keep baby's umbilical cord clean and dry. These are the diapers I am getting for my next baby (no, that is not an announcement, just planning ahead). My Fuzzi Bunz are all size large, so these will be my smalls and medium. I'm really looking forward to it. They are really an outfit accessory unto themselves. I think next baby will be wearing a lot of t-shirts and Babylegs so I can always see these!

Other things you'll need or want with cloth diapering:
  • cloth wipes (makes sense really-easy to make yourself, or buy from anyone who sells cloth diapers)
  • A wet bag. Just a Pul lined bag to keep dirty diapers in either in your diaper bag or at home
  • A diaper pail or larger wet bag
  • A diaper sprayer- not something I currently have, but would be useful. Attaches to your toilet tank and allows you to spray off diaper contents without dunking or touching anything
  • Rice paper diaper liners- flushable diaper liners for when baby starts solid, so all solid waste can just be lifted up and off the diaper and flushed away.
I would of course be happy to answer any diaper questions, like how to care for them or anything like that. Most diaper websites that you buy from have "how to" sections that are easy to follow. There are a lot of options in that regard, and much of it is just finding out what works best for you. Three things to remember: No bleach! No fabric softner! And don't go overboard with detergent!

The thing with cloth diapering that I can't stress enough, is that there is something out there that will work for every preference and every budget. If you have no money to spend, go for Pre-Folds and Pro-rap covers. If you want it to be the most like using a disposable, go for a high end All-in-one. If you want to express your social conscience, go for Organic hemp made by WAHM (work-at-home-moms). Really, you can do this however. If you don't mind washing every day or every other day, get 12-18 diapers. If you want to only wash once or twice a week, get more. Really, I mean it, this is all extremely versatile and extremely easy. Like with any money expenditure, start out small and go from there. If you have any inclination at all to give this a shot, I totally encourage you to do so.

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