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.         

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Brag Moment.

I totally have to take a moment to brag about my 4 year old daughter.  Last evening as I was making spaghetti for supper, my 4 year old took it upon herself to wash the dishes.  She was very adamant about doing it too.  So I figured, "Fine, knock yourself out."  And she did.  With cold water and the remaining 1/4 bottle of dish soap, she took to the task.  It was funny because as she cleaned and I played on the computer, I could hear her talking to herself.  She was saying things like, "I always have to do the dishes." or "No one ever helps me."  HA!  I think she hears her brother and sister complain WAY too much.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Have to Set the Example

I like to try different foods.  I love trying different ethnic dishes for sure.  A hang up I have, which I think most people have, is that I psych myself out simply by the sound of the word of the food.  For example I haven't tried Rocky Mountain Oysters or Escargot because I know what they are and I can't get past the name.  

The other day, however, I faced one of those giants:  Liver and Onions.  I've heard many people talk about it.  Mom would talk about the nursing home always making it for the residents.  Mom and dad were never a fan of it.  However, I figured with my chef husband making me a dish I have never tasted, it can't be that bad right?  

My verdict?  Feed it to the dog.  The texture of it was okay, but there was just this funny taste.  It was very dry, and even with the gravy I couldn't get passed the taste.  I'm trying to put this funny taste into words and I am having a hard time coming up with something that will work.  It's not metallic, it's not a fatty taste because liver does not have any fat in it.  

Unlike me, my two big kids (10 yr old son, 9 yr old daughter) enjoyed it and my husband helped himself to three pieces!!  The three little ones wouldn't even touch it.  I'm not sure if I am willing to try it again though.  Maye if it was prepared differently.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I had to set the example and at least try it.   

Monday, July 9, 2012

Simplicity of Newborn Diapering

I'm amazed that it has taken me so long to take the plunge and start cloth diapering one of my children from birth.  I'm not sure what my hang up was, but I finally started with our youngest the day he came home from the hospital.  With child #5, I attempted to use cloth on him as a newborn, but I didn't like it.  I was using prefolds (Diaper Rite I think?) and flats with only 2 one size BumGenius pockets in my stash.  

My first load of newborn/toddler diapers.
This time around I decided to plan ahead and look around.  I did exactly what I suggest to my customers (or anyone else who is interested in using cloth) and I bought a variety of diapers.  I have AIO, prefolds, fitteds, pockets, and AI2.  I am so glad I went this route.  My newborn stash consisted of Knickernappies Prefolds, Swaddlebees Newborn Simplex, BumGenius AIO,  Rumparooz lil Joey, Thirsties Duo AIO, Thirsties Duo Fab Fitteds, Applecheeks, and Knickernappies Custom Fit.    

I was really happy I bought the newborn Rumparooz and Swaddlebees Simplex with the umbilical snap down.  That function was so convenient, but I learned later it was not necessary.  It is totally possible to make other diapers fit under the cord.  To me these run a little small though.  Well maybe I just make too big of babies, but the Rumparooz only lasted a few weeks.  I tried to stretch out the life of these diapers on my newborn, but I could only use them for maybe a maximum of a month.  With that said, I know I will not be making a full newborn stash out of these diapers because the investment would not be worth it for just a month.  The Swaddlebees however is still being used at 7 weeks.  The absorbency is great and the elastic has good stretch to fit my son without leaving red marks.  

The diaper I would reach for first (and still do) are the Thirsties Duo AIO.  It's funny because they are not my favorite, but they are the first I like to use.  The fit on my newborn was/is wonderful.  I like these so much because they are so easy to use and clean.  Whomever first thought up an all in one is a genius.  Nothing to take apart and nothing to stuff (which in a newborn diaper this is a big deal because they are so small and a bit of a pain to try to stuff).  Unlike other AIO I don't feel they take an extraordinary time to dry.  The absorbent pad is not completely sewn in, so I just simply turn the diaper inside out and hang to dry.  On occasion (when I've gone too long before washing diapers) I will toss them in the dryer for a cycle and let cool completely before turning right side out for use.  My only complaint is that they are not super absorbent (but then I've been using hemp on my 21 mo old son).  I have to change him about every hour otherwise we get leaks.

My favorite diaper (which really surprised me) was/is the Knickernappies infant prefolds with a Thirsties x-small cover.  What a great combination.  I have yet to have a leak with this pair.  I love these prefolds because they are so super soft.  I have tried several kinds of prefolds in both bleached and unbleached.  As I mentioned earlier I tried prefolds on my other son but I did not like them.  They were too bulky and stiff.  So I was really skeptical of the Knickernappies.  I was plesantly surprised when I put them on my son.  I simply folded down the extra length in the front (doing it in the back makes it too bulky) and fastened with my snappi.  Again, it was so easy keeping it under the cord stump.

The Knickernappies Custom Fit is one that I wished I had more of.  The beauty of these, like any other pocket diaper, is that you can adjust the absorbency.  You can choose what insert to use in this diaper.  Because of my 21 month old, I've been using hemp.  What a wonderful fabric.  So I decided to totally forgo the microfiber in these pocket diapers and use the Knickernappies hemp inserts.  These little guys are amazing!  I feel totally confident when I go out on errand trips knowing that I will not have any leaks with this diaper.  Again with proper positioning I was able to keep it under the cord stump.  Even now, long after the cord is gone, I still get a great fit with this diaper.  There is still plenty of room for him to grow into this diaper in both the rise and the width.

My new challenge with this little man is finding a night diaper that will not leak.  I'm starting to think that as long as he nurses through out the night, I may not find it.  With him nursing so much, he is going to be peeing a lot.  Currently I am using some left over disposables that I found in the back of a closet.  I was getting tired of his wet jammies and my wet bed and shirt.  I've been thinking about this for the past week and I may have come up with some other options to try.  We'll see how things work out.         

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Putting Vinegar to the Test

Cleaning is not my forte.  In fact, I really strongly dislike cleaning.  In small spaces it is easy, like my bedroom, but with the rest of the house not so much.  But then, who can keep a spotless house with six kids.  

I've been growing weary of using so many different chemicals to clean my house.  Yeah they may leave a nice scent behind, but while using them they are so strong.  They are so strong that sometimes I feel like if I don't wash my hands multiple times while cleaning my hands will corrode away.  

I know many people who love using vinegar for cleaning.  I read articles and talked to the vinegar users, but I remained skeptical.  I finally decided to take the plunge when I came across a blog about the multiple uses of vinegar and other natural cleaners.  And yes I know I blogged about the article already, but when you convert and become a believer you don't mind repeating yourself.  

Okay, so I took the plunge.  I just ditched the store bought cleaners under my sink and busted out the bottle of vinegar.  I figured the best place to start was in my kitchen.  Oh my poor kitchen.  It gets neglected on so many levels.  After removing and cleaning the mounds of dirty dishes, I was finally able to tackle the grime and scum that had been building up for several months.  

I don't know about you, but the most neglected parts of my kitchen are in the corners under things like the spice rack and the microwave.  I always clean around everything, but I don't move all the appliances.  I decided to first start with just straight vinegar from my spray bottle.  I was quite disappointed.  Even though I sprayed then let it set, the vinegar did not penetrate the grime.  I then sprinkled baking soda then sprayed the vinegar again and it was like day and night.  The grime came off with very little scrubbing.  I was sold.  I had found my "magic" solution.  

I continued on with my kitchen cleaning and tackled the counter under the microwave.  I thought this would make a good blog so I chronicled the process in pictures.  As you can see, the grime was pretty bad.  On the left is where the coffee maker sits and on the right is the microwave.   

I decided to first try vinegar alone.  I sprayed it down really good and took my washrag to it.  Even with some elbow grease, I wasn't able to get it all off.  

The black bits on the counter and my rag is grime/dust buildup which did not want to come off.

Then I brought out the baking soda.  To cut through grime, you really need a "scrubbing" agent.  I figured the wash rag itself would be enough, but it wasn't.  Now, I'm not a chemist, but the baking soda "soaked" up the grease which allowed for it to be easily removed from the counter top.  Oh, and as a side note, the more I used baking soda during my kitchen cleaning, the cleaner my wash rag became.  I would rinse and wring out my rag as I cleaned and it was whitening up my rag at the same time! 

It took several "rinses" to get all of the baking soda off the counter top.  It tended to leave a powdery film on the counter.  Finally I had a clean counter top.  I was really proud of myself, and I was happy not not be covered in chemicals.  

This final picture shows the difference between using just vinegar (on the right under the outlet) and vinegar with baking soda (on the left).  

I was so happy with the outcome that I didn't want to put back any of the appliances because I wanted to be able to always see the results of my hard work.  

After the counter tops, I moved on to the stove and wood work.  The stove cleaned up nicely except that it is black and the baking soda made a cloudy "film" on the surface.  So it needed extra rinses to get clean.  The wood work was a little different story.  I still have to find a better solution for that.  I tried the vinegar/baking soda combo, but it did not work.  I was not able to remove any of the grime.  Instead all it did was "pill" up like the plain vinegar did on the counter.  I also didn't put in a couple drops of olive oil for shining up the wood work.  So next time for the wood, I think I need to do as suggested and mix equal parts vinegar and hot water and then spray on cabinets.  

The vinegar works wonders on glass.  I don't mind using Windex, but to use one cleaner through out the whole house is wonderful.  I take some unused coffee filters with the vinegar and clean all windows and mirrors.  No streaks and no lint left behind by the filters.

The kitchen floor was a bit of a challenge.  I still am not sure what is the proper mixture for that.  I've washed the floors several times with vinegar and water and unfortunately the last time I mopped, I put too much vinegar in and did not clean out my mop head when I was done and the vinegar rusted my whole mop.  Yeah, that was gross. 

My final task was the toilet.  I wasn't sure how this was going to work since there is water in the bowl.  I poured about 1/4 cup baking soda into the bowl and let it sit for about 5 min.  While that sat, I sprayed the outside of the toilet with the vinegar to wipe down and then tried to spray the best as possible under the rim.  Took the scrub brush and started cleaning inside.  Easy peasy.  The toilet cleaned like a charm.  



 When all was said and done, I was really happy with the results.  My only complaint is that it stinks.  Yeah, I said it.  I think vinegar stinks.  I don't mind it when I'm cooking or when dying Easter eggs, but when I use it to clean my house, my whole house becomes permeated with the smell.  It actually lingered for a couple days after cleaning the whole kitchen.  My husband is not a fan of it, but as long as the kids and I are expected to keep up the house, then I will choose the safe and natural alternative to bleach and harsh chemicals to clean my house.