Thursday, October 25, 2012

Silence is Suspicious

So the other day I was in the office working hard on various things for my store while the two youngest slept.  Time is super precious these days because the baby is a bit congested so extended naps are not common.  In the mean time, the girls were playing so nicely with each other.  I love hearing their stories of pony adventures and daring rescues.  So play time that day was no more unusual than any other.  

As I was hard at work, my mommy sense began tingling.  (Some days I really do believe mommies are super heroes because of our ability to know that something is going down.)  My 4 year old was running back and forth from the kitchen to the play corner (not very unusual) except for the fact that she was doing it as quietly as possible.  Then I heard whispering.  Clue #2 that something was going down.   

It was then that I questioned if I really wanted to investigate (after all time was ticking down to when the boys were going to wake up).  I walk out to see the ever so sheepish grins on their faces and white flaky stuff all over the floor and toy boxes in the play corner.  

With my frustrations quickly rising, I simply asked, "What are you doing?" To which my 4 year old replied, "We're making snow!"  *sigh*  From the vent in the floor, flakes of Gerber baby oatmeal fluttered down to the carpet.  Snow, they wanted to make snow.  My 4 year old has been asking about winter for weeks now.  She has been so excited about snow coming.  I guess she just couldn't wait any longer.  

It was inevitable, I now had to take more time (30 minutes to be exact because I had to pick up toys and move everything around) to vacuum the floor and toy boxes of all the flakes.  And of course when you vacuum, you can't just stop at that one area.  Nope, the whole floor has to be done which in our house includes the living room and dining room.  When all was said and done, the house looked good, the toy corner was re-arranged, and the "snow" has been cleared.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Followed My Nose

I'm tired today, super tired.  There is so much work that needs to be done in this house.  I just can't seem to get myself up and going to get it all done.  I have managed about 3 times to pick up the floor to vacuum. 

During my process, I was straightening up and putting away the numerous items that were on the washer/dryer in the kitchen.  (No there is no logical order to my cleaning).  I pack some items into a Wal-Mart sack to take to my mothers and set it on the dinning room table.  "Mmm," I thought, "that smells good.  It smells like The Laundry Tarts detergent.  I guess I should go put it aw.a......" And it hits me.  There is nothing to put away because I did that a week ago!  Quickly I follow my nose and there on the floor in front of the diaper pail is my little 2 year old happily sprinkling the Root Beer scented Bon Bon Shaker all over himself and the carpet.  

Naturally, as soon as my eyes beheld the scene I wanted to growl at him because vacuuming is now inevitable, but first I must once again pick up all the toys which were tossed out of the toy box.  Reason quickly took hold and I first grabbed the camera to capture the incident.  His response upon locking eyes with me?  "No No?"  *sigh* "Yes son, no no."  

This was not the first Bon Bon Shaker incident.  A few days ago it was being liberally sprinkled all over himself while sitting on the piano with his 3 year old sister.  

I had just received my Bon Bon Shaker to test it out to see if I want to sell it in my store.  I knew it was an all natural product, but the mommy in me wanted to be sure that it wasn't toxic.  To the glorious Facebook community I go seeking out my answers.  My initial assumption was correct in that in fact, it is not toxic.  However, a couple fellow Laundry Tart retailers spoke of other ways people have used the Bon Bon Shaker.  This spurred on the idea of 101 Uses of the Bon Bon Shaker.  

So here you go, use #1 carpet deodorizer.         

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Washer Maintenance Revisited

Awhile back I did a little write up about cleaning your washing machine and the importance of washer maintenance.  Okay, well it really wasn't an actual write up about how to do it, but rather my thoughts on it.  I did, however, link to some great blogs about how to do it.  So if you are interested you can look into them yourself.  

Anyway, since that post, I have come into possession of a new washer and dryer.  Once again, I love my machines.  The only draw back is that with their incredible gigantic load capacity, I feel like I can never keep up on folding the laundry.  Washing laundry, no problem; folding laundry, Mount Washmore cascading in my living room.  

Okay, so my point of this post is to inform all of you who were waiting on pins and needles that I did indeed invest in Affresh and have been using it clean my washing machine.  I'm all about promoting products I believe in (thus my ownership of a cloth diaper/baby boutique store), and Affresh is definitely one that I believe in.

I've been trying hard to stay on top of cleaning my washer.  I like to do it once a month at the beginning of the month.  I do this because I know there is a lot if ickiness that runs through my machine.  And with it being a FL HE machine, I know there is not a lot of water running through it, so buildup is going to happen.  Fortunately, my machines are a new model so I do have a very convenient setting "Clean Washer with Affresh" (Whirlpool isn't bashful in product promotion either).  I simply toss in the cleaning disc, set machine and press Start.  In just over an hour the machine is clean.  Easy peasy.  

If you don't have that function, simply toss in the machine, set on "Normal" and hot water and ba-bam, off you go. 

Now there is a blog maybe it was even from Pintrest which went over how to use bleach and/or vinegar to clean you machine.  I had it bookmarked at one point in time, but with the death of my previous computer I no longer have it marked.  So, I'm sure if you set out to find something of the sort, you can come across some great blogs explaining how to clean your machine if you don't want to buy Affresh.  Personally, with as simple as throwing in a tab of Affresh can be, I'll be happy to bypass the various steps of using bleach.     

Friday, October 12, 2012

Motherhood and Stress

I just came across a great article by one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Fulwiler.  As moms I think many times we put undue stress upon ourselves because of our own expectations of what we think is right for our family.  I know I do this many times.  

As a single woman in college, I used to thrive on stress and deadlines.  It pushed me.  I felt in control because I was goal oriented.  A mere 14 months after graduating college I became a mother and my whole world went into a tail spin.  What is it about motherhood that can make a person so stressed?  Then a short 11 years later we have 6 children move to a new town and I start up a home business.  

Stress/chaos and I are NOT good bed fellows anymore.  It has become so hard to integrate the needs/wants of the kids into my own "schedule".  The oldest two are now at an age that they are trying out various activities on top of assigned homework.  I never realized before how much involvement was required of me for my school aged children.  Now my two middle children are in preschool and the parent notes abound.  They need this, they will need that..... *whew* My head spins.

Okay, so where am I going with this?  It's a common theme in some group discussions I have been having.  There comes a time when you have stop, step back and take a good, honest and hard look at what is going on around you.  And in that moment, you have to find an inner peace and quiet.  I call this "Me Time".  Some moms will say that it's not necessary, but I think it is when something is stressing you out every day.  

Jennifer Fulwiler's article 6 Simple Tips For When You're Utterly Overwhelmed gives some great ideas for how to re-group and re-fresh from stress.  Now you will notice that it is coming from a Christian/religious perspective, but I feel that anyone (religious or not) can glean something from Jennifer's insights.  

The tip that hits home the biggest is #2:  Ruthlessly make time to get away.  Wow, this is so hard to do on a daily basis.  I totally have the, "Pray continuously" down pat because I am constantly having "conversations" with God, but I know that it is a one way conversation.  I can't hear what He has to say if I am constantly on the go or holed up in my office typing away.  

So as I prepare to get my day started (which started off in chaos already because I over slept and didn't get the kids up until 8:10 and school starts at 8:20) I have to remember to keep a tight hold on the reigns so that I can stop and refuel to ease the load of any stress that may come my way. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting Back Into It.

Whew, so I've been working my tail off trying to transfer my site to a new host that I have totally put the blog on the back burner.  Thankfully in this world of modern technology there are about a thousand other great blogs to occupy your time with.  After all, I know you have been waiting on pins and needles to see the next literary masterpiece that I am going to write.  

I don't know about some of you, but this summer totally zipped right by me leaving me in the dust.  Every day was filled with good intentions.  

So with that said, I look forward to the new winter season coming.  There is something so delightful about watching children exploring the outdoors when several inches of snow has hit the ground and has transformed their world into something completely new.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Heat and PUL Are Not Best Friends.

I spend a good portion of my day asking my 2 year old silly questions like, "Why did you hit the baby?  Why are you pushing those buttons? or What is your fascination with the light switch?"  and I have come to the conclusion that it is because he simply wants to see what is going to happen.  He's inquisitive.  I can't fault him for that, after all he is only 2.  So what is  my excuse?  Well, like mother like son I guess.  There are just some things I just gotta know. 

So long!  It was a good 10 years knowing you!
What does this have to do with diapers you ask?  I'll tell you.  Remember my blog A Lesson Learned  where I talked about not using the dryer because of de-lamination?  Well, I apparently have not learned my lesson yet.  Back in May when I was in the hospital giving birth to our 6th child, my mother was watching our kids.  While she was there and keeping up on my laundry, my washer died.  *great*  Out with the old and in with the new washer and dryer.  I was thrilled.  Even though I had finally worked out a perfect washing routine for our diapers, I was not happy with how much time and cycles it took.  

Laundry day hit and I stuck with what I knew:  cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse.  You know, for a while this was great, but I knew there had to be a more efficient way to wash without having to run the machines so many times.  After all these are brand new machines!  So my husband and I took a look at what we had and decided to test out the steam functions.  When we were looking at machines to buy, the sales man said that seam is helpful for releasing stains.  And as we all know in the cloth diapering world, heat helps kill stinky bacteria, so we figured why not, let's try it out.  

So on my machine, we have the Deep Clean with Steam button.  I toss everything in, set the machine to hot with detergent, no bleach, and the Deep Clean button on.  This seemed to work for a few weeks.  It made it about a 2 hour cycle, but that was okay as long as my diapers were getting clean.  I was pretty stoked that we were finding a way to clean the diapers in one cycle.  Well then my husband showed me the Steam Sanitize selection on the water temperature.  So then we started to use that as well.  This bumped the cycle up to almost 3 hours.  In my quest for clean diapers, I began thinking what kind of effect this was going to have on the elastic and PUL.  Inquisitive minds want to know!!  

Now, granted many of my diapers have been with us for over a year so I think the extreme heat was the last straw for some of my diapers.  Most of the elastic on my diapers are pretty much stretched out.  Unfortunately I have no sewing capabilities so for the Bum Gneius 4.0s in my stash once they are all stretched out I will have to retire them.  My FuzziBunz one size are still in the rotation for my almost 2 year old son and those are easily fixable with the extra elastic that they provide.  *I just want to say the old style FuzziBunz one size are my all time favorite diaper.*  There are others in the stash that still have some life in them, but not for long.  I really don't think that the heat has changed the elastic in any way.

The PUL is a different story.  Steam Clean and Sanitize really speeds up the aging on the PUL.  Some of the results are the same; you will see in my pictures the holes or splits in the PUL and others show where the PUL has peeled off.  

I have 5 diapers which I have kept although I had many show signs of de-lamination.  Unfortunately I threw the others away before realizing that they would make for good examples of what de-lamination looks like.  So here we have (top) FuzziBunz Perfect Size and a BumGenius 4.0, (bottom) BumGenius 3.0 AIO, Bummis Super Lite Diaper Wrap, Blueberry pocket.

The FuzziBunz Perfect Size totally peeled off.  It looks like a big bubble between the PUL and the purple material.  I have two others of these diapers and they are still in good condition.  I bought these December 2010 (not bad huh?).  

This is the BG 4.0 bought in October 2010.  The first picture the material is relaxed and not stretched.  It just looks like a used diaper.    
 Here I stretched out the material.  See the holes?  They look like vertical cracks in the PUL. 
 A closer look at the holes.  You can see right through them!
Here we have the BG 3.0 AIO which I used only as a nighttime diaper for two of my kids.  I would stuff it with a Thirsties Hemp Prefold or a Thirsties Hemp Insert.  I bought these in January of 2011.  The first picture the material is setting at rest.  You can see the speckled look.  There is a discoloration to it.  This is how I noticed that it had de-laminated.  

 Here the cover is stretched out.  You can see how it seems to have just melted off. 

This red cover is my Bummis Super Lite Diaper Wrap bought in March 2011.  I was very sad when I noticed the PUL had cracked.  I loved this cover.  This is one I had found in the dryer.  It's kind of hard to tell, but the holes are in the middle of the picture.  

 And here is the Blueberry bought in November 2010.  The first picture again has the material at rest. 
And here it is stretched out.  The de-laminated holes are definitely noticeable.  I loved this cover.  The velcro was strong and I loved the print.  

So, you can see that diapers will wear down.  I was able to get almost 2 years out of a diaper that's been in a constant rotation for 2 children.  I really do feel that they would still be in better (useable) shape had I not used bleach and extreme heat on them. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm Not a Loyalist.

I'm not a loyalist.  Well I am, but I'm not.  After my husband and I married, I quit my job and found a new one when I moved.  During the duration of our time in Orlando, I stayed with one company, Florida Hospital, for almost 7 years.  However, within that organization, I found myself moving from one department to another under the Patient Administration umbrella.  Quite frankly I got bored.  So I found myself maintaining a little bit of sanity by moving around the department.

Now I'm a work/stay/play at home mom.  One thing I have remained loyal to during my child rearing years is cloth diapering.  I'm not a die hard, all or nothing cloth diaper user since I am known to pull out the disposables once in a while.  However, I will admit, within the umbrella of cloth, I am not loyal to one style of diapers.  I have jumped from one type to the next.  

When my middle two girls were babies, I started up with cloth full time.  I started out with fitteds.  I had a full stash of Kissaluvs and Snugglebottoms.  Then I moved on to a full stash of every size of Diaper Rite prefolds when baby #5 was born.  From there I ventured on to pockets with a few AIO.  Looking back though, I have never found the love for the AI2 system.  I'm not sure why.  It's just never hit me as a "Wow! This is great!" system.  

So for the last year I've been using all pockets and AIO.  These seem to be the best for my husband to use.  However, over the last two years as my pocket stash has grown, they are starting to wear out.  I hate to even type that!  But in reality, after two years and two children in diapers at the same time with a new one making his way into the one size weight range, I need to look at replacing diapers.  Since starting the business, I have added a few new pockets and AIO, but a majority of diapers need to be replaced.  Thus my loyalty to pockets is starting to wane.  

I'm thinking about building up my prefold stash once again.  This time I'm thinking of using a different brand.  Last time I used Diaper Rite and Green Mountain Diapers, but I found them to be too stiff and bulky, even the unbleached ones.  As I write this I sit and chuckle to myself because when I mentioned to my husband last night that I was considering going back to prefolds he promptly said, "Don't expect me to change any diapers then."  HA!!  Boy I never knew he had such a distaste for prefold diapers!  So, to keep him happy and in the game, I told him that I will keep some of the pockets available for when he does changes.  Besides, I do like to keep my stash a variety, but always having a majority of one type.  

So with the recent birth of our son, I finally started cloth diapering from the day he came home from the hospital.  I had tried to use prefolds on our last son, but I did not like them.  This time I decided to use Knickernappies infant prefolds.  I also had other diapers in my newborn stash which I have talked about before.  Anyway, I fell in love with the Knickernappies the first time I put them on him.  They were so soft and fluffy.  They remained soft and fluffy even after all the washing and occasional bleaching.  

Sadly my son has officially grown out of his newborn stash at around 7ish weeks.  That's not bad considering he started out at 9lbs 7.5 oz at birth.  So I have been working him into the one size pocket diapers I have on hand.  Unfortunately due to the past two years of use and laundering, some of my pocket covers are delaminating, the elastic is stretched out, and on a few the velcro is too frayed to stick.  Now, some of you may say, "Well it is easy to replace the elastic and velcro, just do it yourself!"  And I will say, "Sure go ahead!"  HA!  For some reason the thought of pulling anything off or out of my diapers scares me.  They are still some what useable, but if I go ripping things off and then ruin it making it unusable, well that will just make me mad.  However, if there is anyone reading this blog who is taking pity on me and would like to do it for me, I'd be happy to send them to you!  

Okay, so back to my loyalty.  I'm starting to wane on my loyalty to pocket diapers.  Quite frankly I'm getting bored of them.  So, I know I already love Knickernappies.  I also have one lonely OsoCozy prefold in my stash.  I pulled this one out the other day and used on the baby and I love it.  I'm realizing though, that I must make really wide babies.  For some reason, all of the prefolds I have used so far are difficult to pin or snappi.  I can do it, but it takes some work to make it just right to get everything to hook and hold.  Anyway, I have learned how to still put the prefold on my boys without a snapppi but also not jut trifolding the prefold.  But that is a post for the future.  

Another reason why I am wanting to go back to prefolds is the laundering.  Prefolds can really take a beating.  I'm still having to deal with diaper stink/ammonia.  If I want it to go away completely after every wash, I have to use bleach with every load.  Lately I've not done that; it's been more like once a week I will put in a splash of bleach.  Call me crazy, but I "feel better" doing that to a load of prefolds rather than an entire load of PUL, microfleece/suede, and bamboo.   

So it's time to say good-bye to my pockets and bring back the prefolds.  The benefit of bringing them in is that they are so cheap!  Since I still have some good pockets, a couple AIO, a fitted, and a few other prefolds on hand, I can add enough prefolds to complete my stash for the two boys well under $100.  That is a little harder to do with pockets or AIO.  I will have to say though, I will never stop loving the ease and simplicity of pockets, AIO, and fitteds.  They are just too darn cute to give up completely.