At the beginning of this month, I made a list of goals for 2015. One of these many goals was to decorate in some way or another to make our house more of a home. Since we hope to sell this year, part of the goal was to keep each idea simple, inexpensive, and easy to take down/remove. Well, the end of the month snuck up on me. Eeek!
I had this stack of granny triangles I made while I was pregnant with Bean, using this pattern by Lulu Loves. My intention was to make a pennant banner/bunting to go in Bean's room. I left off the shell edging, because - let's face it - I was lazy. But it works.
Because it's the end of the month already, I knew I had to do something quick. Since these were already made, it made it easy! I stacked them up, then laid them out in the order I wanted. I ended up with 1 extra of each color. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the extras yet, but I'll figure it out - eventually.
I'm calling this "The Great De-Stash" because I have SO. MUCH. YARN. Please, if you come to visit, don't look behind the couch. That is, if you can even see the couch with all of the projects I have going on here. Poor Bear, he has to clear a place to sit every day when he comes home from work. Oops.
I'm working through all of the bits and pieces I have, and am making scrap-busting projects, many of which I hope to sell at the upcoming Artisan Fair in town. Anything that doesn't sell will probably be listed on my Facebook page, or taken to the Appalachian Artisan Center a few towns over.
See this hook? It's the one my grandmother taught me with when I was 8. Yup, 2 whole decades ago. And I still have it. It's the most common size for most regular (worsted weight) yarn projects, so I get to use it a lot. It has super sentimental value!
I pulled out the cream-colored cotton yarn I got in bulk forever ago, chained 15, slip-stitched into the top of each triangle with 5 chains in between, and ended with another 15 chains. When I finished up, I used some scraps to make tassels for the ends.
Have you ever found a yarn that you just absolutely fall in love with? And then bring it home and have no clue what to do with it? Yeah, that was this yarn. I've had it for at least 6 years. I'm so glad to have finally found something to use at least some of it up on. I keep thinking about making a lovie with it, but part of me doesn't want to part with it as a big, pretty ball of yarn. I know, I'm weird.
I hung it above Bean's changing table in our bedroom, using Command hooks. We never ended up finishing a room for Bean, but he doesn't need one yet, since he sleeps with us, and his changing table is in our room. Now he has something to look at while getting changed! Maybe it will help distract him from doing the crocodile death-roll while getting changed.
Nope. He still does the death-roll.
But now our room is a little bit prettier ^_^
P.S. Yes, we have a rifle hanging on the wall. Don't worry, it's well out of Bean's reach ;)
So, now all of the diapers have been explained (again), and you're left to wonder, "but what do I choose? How will I know what works for me?" The simple answer is: there's no wrong or right. Seriously.
Different kinds work for different families.
When Bean was itsy bitsy, our favorites were newborn fitteds with PUL covers, and AIOs for outings. Once he outgrew the newborn sizes, we switched to prefolds with snappies and GroVia hybrid shells. We also use the snap-in GroVia hybrid inserts for outings and when the prefolds are in the wash. We have some wool covers (some that were bought and some that I've made) that we will sometimes use in place of the hybrid shell. Our overnight system has graduated to using a flat with a prefold, under a hybrid shell, for extra protection.
Here is my sister's experience:
As a mother of a 2.5 year old, Abbey, and a 15 month old, Buggy, and 1 on the way! I can honestly say I have tried everything out there! From “Chinese cheapies” to some more expensive brands, one sized diapers to sized diapers, PUL to wool, the options are limitless and it honestly is a trial and error to find what works best for you! My history in cloth diapering, much like my sister's, started when I was a baby. Mama Bear’s diaper sensitivity started my mom on cloth diapers and she continued them with me and our younger sister. I didn’t really think much about diapering until later in college when I met a good friend of ours who introduced us to the wonderful world of being a Crunchy Mom. When I became pregnant with my first I already knew I wanted to cloth diaper. I spent hours and hours researching and dreaming on the internet. I asked my friends countless questions (I’m sure I was getting annoying). Money was really tight and so I settled on some covers that were cheap and made in China. My mom and I made some prefolds out of an old towel and left over flannel. I got the covers in the mail and I was so excited! However that excitement didn’t last long once the baby arrived as I quickly realized that the diapers swallowed my 6lb baby girl whole! Thankfully that good friend I mentioned had a little man not too much older than my Abbey (I don’t have awesome code names for my family) and she loaned me a bunch of newborn fitteds and covers. They were amazing and I loved them. For a newborn fitteds are by far my favorite diapers. Once she outgrew the newborns I tried the covers again, bought some pockets and used those for a while. Bought and traded and sold diapers trying every style out there. There are pros and cons to all of them. Currently I am back to simple covers and flats because we don’t have a washer machine and so we are going to be using a camper washer and “hand wash” our diapers. Flats and covers are the easiest to wash. Once we have been doing it for a while I am going to write about that too. *Edit* after only 1 week of attempting to balance 2 kids, pregnancy, a full time job, and hand washing diapers I gave up. While the girls are at my mom’s (2 days a week) they are in “sposies” (shhhhh….. don’t tell!) and I have now signed up for a cloth diaper service for the rest of the week. I have only been using it for a week as of now but I am in love! I don’t have to give up my beloved cloth and I don’t feel as if I am throwing money away but I also don’t have to add an extra thing into my day. It is saving me time, energy, and my brain. I can write more about the cloth diaper service if anyone is interested! So that is my story and where I am at. Please if you managed to read all of this ask me any questions. I love talking about cloth! (And baby wearing and anything baby related!) Happy diapering!
When I was getting Bean's registry together, I asked my friend for a list of suggestions for a newbie. She had been cloth diapering for years and through multiple children, so I knew she'd give me great suggestions! Please keep in mind, this list is just that, suggestions. This list will give any newbie the opportunity to explore several styles and get a feel for what works for them. The best thing is, cloth diapers have excellent resale value, so if you get a bunch that you don't use, you can sell them and pretty much get your money back! This list is by no means exhaustive or final, nor has anyone been reimbursed by any of these companies in any way.
I warn you, cloth diapering can become addictive, especially when you get into all of the cute designs and the excitement of fluff mail! I will say, though, that our current stash has cost us less than all of the disposables we went through in the first 6 weeks of Bean's life.
There are a ton of great resources out there, and what we've covered here barely scratches the surface. My best suggestion is to find a local group of cloth diapering parents. It's the best place to get information and support. I wish you well on your own cloth diapering journey!
Cloth diapers have come a long way in recent years. In time gone by, diapers have been in all kinds of forms, but mostly lengths of cloth wrapped around baby’s bum and secured in some fashion. But what we will cover today aren’t your grandmother’s cloth diapers!
AIO – AIO (all in one) is a diaper that does not need any preparation. Many people like these for daycare or for daddies. It is most like a disposable, as you don’t need to do anything besides put it on! AIO have a waterproof layer and an absorbent layer. Popular AIOs are BumGenius Freetime or Elemental, GroVia, and Blueberry.
AI2 - AI2 (all in two) is a diaper that has 2 pieces required to use it. Similar to a cover and prefold but the insert usually snaps into the diaper cover. Some can be used multiple times by just replacing the insert, while others can only be used once. Popular AI2s are GroVia Hybrids, Best Bottoms, and Flips by BumGenius.
Hybrid – A hybrid diaper is a cover with multiple insert options. Hybrids usually have a cloth insert option and a disposable insert option. Many people like to use the disposable parts while out and about. Popular options are Gdiapers, Grovia, and Flips by BumGenius.
Pockets – One of the most common modern cloth diapers is a pocket diaper. A pocket diaper has a PUL layer, then a micro fleece layer with a pocket opening to insert an absorbent layer. You can adjust the absorbency based on your baby’s needs. Unlike a cover, a pocket can only be used once before needing to be washed. Popular pockets are BumGenius 4.0, Thirsties, and ALVA baby.
Fasteners – Old-school way of fastening a diaper is the classic diaper pin. There are more modern ways that include a stretchy piece of silicone and plastic teeth to grab the diaper. Popular brands are called Snappi and Boingo. They are a “safer” option to pins because you can’t stab the baby, but they bite hard! I have bled from a boingo before! I have also used pins and never once stabbed my baby or myself.
Wet Bags – a wet bag is a bag that usually has a PUL or other waterproof lining. It is used to store wet or soiled diapers while out and about (or at home!). Some have drawstring openings and others have zippers. They range in size holding 1-2 diapers to 8-10 diapers. They keep the wetness and stink inside so they can go in your diaper bag. I also use a small one to hold damp cloth wipes.
Pail Liners – These are similar to a wet bag but they line a pail or a trash can to store used diapers at home before wash. They generally don’t close and just use an elastic band to wrap around the lip of the pail.
Cloth Wipes – Cloth wipes are pretty self-explanatory. People use name brand wipes, cut up pieces of scrap fabric, WAHM wipes, or baby washcloths. You can pre-wet or use dry with a spray. There are many options available. I personally like to wet my cloth wipes in the morning, and place them in a small wet bag to use throughout the day.
Diaper Sprayer – Diaper sprayers attach to the toilet to spray waste into the diaper.
Spray Pal – A spray pal is to be used with the diaper sprayer to shield nasty water from getting everywhere while spraying.
Okay, so now what?
Now that we have all of these names rolling around in your head, you're probably wondering, "But where do I start?!"
Don't worry, that was my first question after finally sorting out what was what. In our next post in this series, we will cover what worked for us, and at what stages. Stay tuned!
Holli and I met several years ago in college. Since then, we have become very close friends. We’ve gone through many things together, including our pregnancies, as she was only a handful of weeks behind me!
Holli is now an Ambassador for Barefoot Books. I'm so excited for her, because she has wanted to do this for a while. She went all out before her first books even arrived, preparing to use this as an opportunity to give back to her community! I am so proud of her, especially since her little is even younger than Bean!
She generously sent us a book to review, called "I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur." It is seriously the cutest book! As soon as it came in, I read it to Bean. He loved the vibrant colors and pictures (and apparently the taste of the board book)! I thought the story was cute, and the artistry behind the illustrations is awesome. The book is well-made, as it has stood up to several hours of corner chewing already. It’s even been a learning experience for me, pronouncing these dino names. Haha! I would definitely recommend these books to my friends (and readers), and look forward to ordering more for Bean!
Since I had never heard of Barefoot Books before, I asked Holli a few questions about the company, and about her roll as an Ambassador.
1. In your own words, can you tell me a bit about Barefoot Books?
Barefoot Books is an award-winning publisher of children's books. It was started by two mums in England in the early 1990s and has grown from there. Barefoot Books is committed to connecting children and families through a love of reading, and to showing children the diversity and beauty of other cultures through their books and gifts.
2. What made you decide to become a representative?
I first considered becoming a Barefoot Books ambassador early last year after having the opportunity to purchase several books for my (at the time unborn) daughter. I was impressed by not only the quality of the books, but also the vibrant colors and fun stories. As a Mom of mixed heritage, I also appreciated that Barefoot often includes families of many different heritages in their books.
By the time my daughter made her debut in August, my husband and I both knew we wanted me to be able to stay home with her for as long as possible. After much prayer and discussion, we felt Barefoot Books was the best direction for me to go.
3. What are some ways that Barefoot Books, and you as a representative, are helping the community?
Barefoot Books is very passionate about giving back to the community through organizations such as the First Book National Book Bank and Everybody Wins. A few years ago they even opened a Barefoot Books library for children in Senegal!
Barefoot Books is also committed to being green! At the corporate level, they're committed to recycling as much as possible; the inks with which the books are printed are vegetable based, and much of paper used is recycled. (http://www.barefootbooks.com/about-us/sustainability/)
As a representative, I am able to partner with schools for book fairs, as well as individuals and organizations for fundraisers. Currently, I am helping my Mom raise funds for a trip to an orphanage in Honduras this summer. I've been stocking up on some of the bilingual books for her to take for the kids there. I am partnering with a local children's consignment store to offer a free, monthly story time, which I'm really excited to start!
4. How important to you is literature for children? Why?
As a child, books were some of my best friends! I was the kid in the class who got in trouble for reading something other than the textbook.
Many studies have shown how reading to children from an early age helps them developmentally. On a personal note, some of my best childhood memories are memories of bedtime stories with my parents. Reading brings families together. In our society that is constantly on the go, reading brings the gift of time spent together for families,
5. How has Barefoot Books helped you and your family? Where do you see this business taking you?
Barefoot Books has given me an opportunity to help my family financially while being home with our daughter. As the wife of a soldier, I have learned A LOT about making a little go a long way. I feel through my Barefoot Books business that I will be able to help us save for some of our goals; a family vacation and a savings fund for our little one. Having my own business is a stretching experience and teaching me to be more confident in my decisions. I see my Barefoot Books business growing to a point to help us build savings, pay debt, and my big goal-taking a family trip to Oxford, England to visit the original Barefoot Books store!
Like the sound of Barefoot Books? Find Holli on Facebook here: Holli’s Barefoot Book Corner
Want a chance to win a copy of “I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur”? Enter below! Winner will be drawn at 12pm EDT Friday, January 16th!
Since posting a few times about my experience with cloth diapering, I have had several friends ask how to get into it. I'll admit it, when I was pregnant I tried and tried to research, but pregnancy brain got the better of me. There are a ton of great resources out there, and I'll probably only be repeating pretty much anything else you can read out there. However, I'll be writing this as if to myself a year ago, when I had no idea what anything meant.
My sweet sister, author of Fantastic Actuality blog, has agreed to help me co-author this series. She was the one who broke everything down to me in "For Dummies" style, which was when everything finally made sense. She has even sent pictures to help the visually inclined (like myself).
In this post, we'll be covering the basic of the basics: old-school cloth diapers (like what your grandmother would likely have used), and different cover options.
Prefolds, Flats, and Fitteds – These are the absorbent options to go inside a cover. Prefolds and flats are your "grandmother’s cloth diapers.” A prefold is a piece of fabric that has been tri-folded and sewn together, generally with extra padding in the middle. They can be wrapped around a baby and held in place using a snappi (a silicone "T" with shallow teeth at each end to hold the diaper together), diaper pin, or other fastener. They can also just be folded and placed in a PUL cover. A flat is similar, but it is not pre-folded so you need to do all the folding to either wrap around baby or put in cover. A simple and inexpensive flat option is a flour sack towel from Wal Mart (I used them on Bean along with a prefold for overnight).
A fitted is an absorbent diaper with no waterproof layer. It generally closes with snaps or aplix (hook and loop, like Velcro), though you may need to use another fastener, like a snappi. It is already fitted to the baby with a diaper shape and elastics for a tight fit. Prefolds, flats, and fitteds all require a cover of some sort. You can buy them from most cloth diaper realtors.
There are also hybrid fitteds which include a layer of fleece either on the outside of the diaper or as a hidden layer. These diapers are not completely waterproof or resistant and will leak if not changed quickly but provide a good option for a breathable diaper to wear at home or at night. Hybrid fitteds are WAHM made and do not require a cover in most circumstances.
Covers - There are 3 styles of covers. The most common is PUL or polyurethane, which is a waterproof plastic-like material. Generally they snap or aplix (hook and loop, like velcro) closed. Common cover brands are Blueberry Coveralls or Thirsties Covers. Unless the diaper cover is soiled, you can wipe it out and reuse it 3-4 times before needing a new cover. They require some sort of insert to go in the cover, such as a fitted, prefold, or flat, to absorb waste.
Fleece covers are made from fleece and usually pull-on rather than have snaps or aplix. While not waterproof, fleece is water resistant. It is also very breathable. Many people use fleece at night either over a heavy-duty fitted or another PUL style diaper for added protection from night leaks. Fleece is generally WAHM (work at home mom) made.
Wool is similar to fleece but is more natural and requires a little more work. Wool is also water resistant instead of waterproof, but many people use wool and fleece with no issues. Wool is naturally antibacterial and absorbs order. You can purchase wool covers from companies such as Sbish or from WAHMs (like me!). Unlike PUL covers, wool and fleece can be made in pants, shorts, footies, and skirt versions so no other bottoms are required!
Part 2, "Not Yo' Grandma's Cloth Diapers", coming soon!
I've never felt right about New Years resolutions. There's something so definite, so ominous about them, and not in a positive way. As though something terrible will happen if they're not kept. Or, at the very least, I'll not be well thought of. There is so much pressure to hold to them that once you break them, there's no point in picking the resolutions back up.
However, it is the start of a new year, and there is the desire in my heart to fill it with good habits and positivity. Because breaking a resolution feels so final, I have decided to set goals instead. Goals feel less final, goals mean practice and effort and mistakes and trying harder and picking up again, even if I fall off the bandwagon. So, here are my goals for 2015:
1. Make a concerted effort to get out of the house at least twice a day. Currently, that would be Bean and me taking a walk during the day while Bear is at work, and then a walk for all three of us in the evening. Barring a torrential downpour in freezing temperatures and tornado sirens, there is really no reason why this can't happen. As spring approaches, hopefully we will have a small herb and veggie garden out back for our daytime outdoor time.
2. Make a meal plan weekly. We have gotten really good at cutting our food budget, but this can still be improved. Meal planning will hopefully lessen the amount of food wasted (like the eggplant that sadly ended up in the trash because I forgot it was there. So long, eggplant parmesan *tear*), as well as save money.
3. Spend less time on my phone and more time with my family. It's so easy, especially with smartphones, to get caught up in games and Facebook updates. I don't want Bean to grow up thinking that electronics trump family. We have already made it a rule that phones are put away at mealtime and on family walks, and Bear and I are discussing other phone-free times.
4. Do a craft or other project once a month to home-ify the house. This house was a bachelor pad for years before I moved in, and I was pregnant when I moved in and had little energy to beautify it. I will be hitting up Pinterest for simple, inexpensive projects, as our budget is pretty tight currently and we are hoping to sell the house this year and I don't want to invest a large amount into something that isn't a more permanent space. I also want to document these projects here, so this goal also falls into my second category.
5. Keep it personal. This started as more of a journal of sorts, but I quickly became concerned about numbers and "getting my blog out there." But that isn't what it's original purpose was. I have an approval-driven personality that I am trying to overcome, so I'm going to stop concerning myself with traffic and focus on content.
6. Post 2-3 times a week. I still plan to do product reviews and recipe reviews, so this should be managed easily enough. Also, I'll have my monthly home-ifying project post.
7. Find my crochet niche and create a stock. Most needle artists around here do things like hats and scarves. I enjoy making these, but there's only so long one can use these throughout the year, and not much of a market for them. I still plan to make them, but I have discovered a joy in amigurumi (stuffed crochet toys) and nursing/teething necklaces. I also need to make an inventory specifically for the holiday craft shows at the end of the year.
8. Create an indoor workspace for photo-taking and photo-editing. I prefer outdoor photography, as most of my experience has been in natural light work, but I've had a sweet friend offer use of her lighting equipment, and I've been wanting to become more skilled at using studio lighting for a long time. Also, weather often makes outdoor photo sessions difficult, so I want a backup option if rescheduling isn't possible. I'd like to have a space dedicated to work rather than editing while sitting on the couch. Not that I can't edit there, but I'm easily distracted and it takes me longer if I'm constantly picking up the remote to flip through Netflix options.
Do you prefer goals or resolutions? What are some of yours for 2015?
I have a feeling 2015 is going to be a big year in the Cozy Den, but in a good way! I'm tingling with the excitement of it all!
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.