Day 6 and 7 – Almost done!

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is coming to a close. Yesterday was Open Topic day, and today is “What Did We Learn?” day.

Yesterday was a lazy, stay home and cuddle kind of day. It was a good diaper day though. I tried the diaper pins again, and got a much better fit. And I didn’t poke myself or Bug! They may just work out after all.

I didn’t wash any diapers yesterday… I was planning to do 2 days worth of washing today during naptime. But considering that Bug has been fighting a nap since 9am (It’s not 12:30pm) I’m not sure that will happen. I will be handwashing this last load though, I promise.

I’ve read that many of the other participants of this challenge have decided to switch completely to flats and covers and sell/trade all their other diapers. I’m not sure I’m ready to take that step.

I do use flats regularly when we are at home. However, I still like the convenience of using a pocket diaper or an All In One when we are out and about. They are just easier. That may change, but for now, I won’t be selling any diapers.

What I have learned, however, is that it is totally possible to diaper a baby/child in just flats and covers. And it is totally possible to hand wash them too, even if it is time consuming.

I’ve learned some new folds and pinning techniques. I love how trim a flat can be when it’s folded correctly!

I’ve also learned several ways to keep an active child still while changing a diaper. And several things that don’t work.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to rely on disposables for things like camping trips. I have a bucket washer now, I can bring and use flats, and I don’t have to bring home a pile of yucky diapers at the end of the trip!

And most of all, I’ve learned that the cloth diapering community is a fun, encouraging, loving and uplifting crowd, who are willing to cheer up a comrade when they feel like giving up. The ladies I’ve chatted with this week on the Challenge Facebook group have been sweet and helpful, always willing to share what they’ve learned, what works, what doesn’t.

This week hasn’t been an easy one with my husband away, but going to that group, and seeing cheery photos of babies and diapers and babies IN diapers helped brighten up the dark times.

So with this week coming to a close, I hope everyone who has read my blog has learned something new. I hope to continue blogging with the regularity, but I can’t promise.

And to those who did the challenge with me this year, I’ll see you next year!

Day 5 – What’s working? And some other stuff.

Day 5 already? Hard to believe this week is almost up! It actually hasn’t been too bad. We’ve kept up with the challenge, and I haven’t really missed our regular diapers much at all. Even going out!

Speaking of going out, Bug and I made a trip to Wally World today. The pets were out of food, so we bought a potty!
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It’s a nifty one that converts into a training seat and step stool. And it’s green. And it was only $10. If I had ONLY gotten a training seat, it was more! Sigh… doesn’t make sense… but I guess it makes cents, so that’s what matters, right? (badumching!)

Ahem… Here’s Bug trying it out. We tried it a few times today, but nothing to show for it yet. We will keep trying though.

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I’m really not sure what I would do if she actually peed, or even poo’d on this thing… Probably cry. I mean really, why am I even doing this? Why would I want to hurry her up? I already miss my little baby, and now she’s almost walking, almost talking, and growing up WAY TOO FAST!

In other news, I found diaper pins today. It was like Where’s Waldo trying to find these suckers… I ended up asking for help. They were on the bottom shelf, between onesies and underpants. But they were right above the Gerber prefolds… so I guess that made sense. Sorta.

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I tried them on one diaper. I stabbed myself once. I ran them through my hair to try and get them to work better… Gonna try the soap trick next. They cost me a whole dollar though… I wanted to try them, to say I did. The jury is still out on how often I will use them.

And now we begin the part of this post that has to do with the blogging prompt! What’s been working, and what hasn’t? Up until the most recent wash, I’ve been using my bucket and plunger system. BORING! Seriously…And it seemed to take forever. The last load I did in the bucket was 7 flats and 2 covers and the wet bag from my diaper bag. Way too much. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. And just for fun I rinsed again.

So today, since I skipped washing last night (intentionally) I had 2 days worth of diapers. It was about 9 flats and flour sack towels, and 5 covers. One flat was a super duper poopy one*. Too much for the bucket. But they had been soaking in the bucket, so I plugged up the tub and dumped them in. I added some HOT water and started swirling them around by hand (with gloves, EW!). That water was gross. I blame the poop.

Drained the icky water, wrung everything out, made sure nothing was still folded, and ran new HOT water with detergent. Then I swirled, scrubbed, and sloshed until I was satisfied they were clean. It really didn’t take as long as I thought it would.

Drained, wrung, filled again with HOT water and vinegar. By this time, I had somehow gotten water into one of my gloves. Not the most pleasant feeling. So I ditched the gloves, and had the bright idea of using the plunger to agitate my rinse cycle!

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It worked like a DREAM!! After the vinegar rinse, I rinsed them all by hand in cold water under the faucet, then filled the tub with warm water for a final rinse. Then I wrung those puppies out, rolled my covers in a beach towel, and hung them out to dry.

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I couldn’t have asked for a better day to dry diapers… Until today, I’ve been drying them on a rack under a ceiling fan overnight because I haven’t been able to wash until after Bug goes to bed. Today I washed during nap time, and still had hours of wonderful, breezy daylight left! They were dry in an HOUR.

The moral of the story (and the answer to the question) is the bucket isn’t working for me. I’ve found a new way to do things that I feel gets my diapers cleaner, with less work. Scrubbing in the tub is the way to go!

I do like having the bucket full of water during the day though to drop dipes into as we change them. To be safe, I keep it in the bathroom, door closed all day. Bug is never in there unless it’s bath time.

*Super Duper poo story time! Some may know that Bug has had a hard time going the past 2 days. She’s only managed to get hard bunny balls out, and she’s been feeling icky because of it. Yesterday I fed her a bunch of strawberries and mango to try and loosen her up a bit. It worked!

Today when she got up from her nap, she was POOPY. Not something I could plop either. And since I’ve been trying new folds, it wasn’t easy to spray off either. (can you see where this is going?)

I am SO glad I bought gloves Wednesday. That puppy got DUNKED and SWISHED right in the toilet! First time doing THAT! It was gross, but better than attempting to spray and getting poo all over my bathroom… Hope I won’t need to do that again, but at least I know I can.

Not that I was curious…

Now Bug is in bed. I scrambled to pick up the house and even vacuumed once she was asleep. No diaper washing for me until Sunday. Who knows, maybe I’ll keep it up? I’ll definitely keep line-drying whenever possible… they smell SO good.

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Good night!

Day 4 – Handwashing

This Flats and Handwashing thing has been fun. Really! The diapers are easy to use, simple to clean, and fit Bug great. So far I’ve been able to keep up on the washing, but I have to admit… I don’t really look forward to it.

So far, I’ve been using the bucket I wash in as my wet pail. Every dirty diaper goes right in and soaks all day until I get to the wash after Bug goes to bed. Once I have time, I agitate the diapers with the plunger (I don’t use the bucket lid anymore, it didn’t fit right on the bucket, and I feel I can get the diapers cleaner if I can see them) for a few minutes.

Then I dump the water, fill with HOT and a bit of detergent. Agitate that for a bit, then let it soak. Typically the diapers get several agitate/soak cycles because I work on them during commercials. (Cloth Diaper Confession time!)

After a hot wash, they get a hot rinse with a little bit of white vinegar, then 2 more rinses to make sure they are clean. Then they get wrung out by hand, and hung up on my drying rack under the ceiling fan in the kitchen overnight. So far, they haven’t been completely dry by morning, but once the sun comes out they are all dry by mid-morning.

Tonight, however, I have no interest in washing diapers whatsoever. So I think tomorrow I will be trying the “stomp washing” method with 2 days worth of diapers.

Tonight, I’m planning to go to bed early. I was up until 11:30 last night. Not washing, just watching TV. I can’t do that again, I kept dozing every time I laid down on the floor to play with Bug. Both of us fell asleep on the couch around 4 for about an hour. When she finally woke up, she was still sleepy and fussy, so I got her ready for bed. She’s been asleep in her bed since 6. I think I’m going to aim for bed by 9.

For now, I’m hanging out with my family and watching Say Yes To The Dress. Oh, and eating sherbet with mini chocolate chips on top.

I miss Handsome.

Day 3, a little late…

I’m a little late with my Day 3 post for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Handsome left for his business trip yesterday, so it was busy and kinda sad for me. But I’m here now!

Day 3 was Open Topic day. So here goes!

Bug had no idea her Daddy was leaving, which is probably good. If she was melting down that he was leaving, I would have just lost it, more than I already did. I really don’t like when he’s away. But we are making it work.
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Bug LOVES sharing food… I could hardly eat my Taco Bell because she kept crawling into my lap, practically into the bowl!

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And here is the diaper bit for the day. I have found a treasure. They top most necessary piece of equipment for the challenge. These gloves.

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They cost less than $3 at WalMart, they are pretty, and they are saving my hands! I still need 2 days of handwashing blisters to go away, but these babies should help!

Speaking of babies, mine has 3 teeth coming in, has a low fever, is constipated, and just woke up from her very short nap in tears. That’s my cue.

The End of Another Day

Today is over. It was a day. My heart is breaking for those in Oklahoma. Especially the families of those children.

I hugged my baby tight today. And I hugged my husband tight.

Aside from the heartbreak, today wasn’t bad. Our second day of the challenge was a success. I just finished today’s handwashing load and I have come to a conclusion:

I need gloves.

Working the plunger and wringing out the diapers is starting to tear up my hands.

Also, I have determined my daughter is a ticking time bomb. She hasn’t pooped since before the challenge. Every diaper I change I’m afraid is going to be it. It’s only a matter of time…

But Handsome and I decided to test fate, and we took Bug out. We went to Dairy Queen and Barnes and Noble. No poo! But we did find some fun toys!

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20130521-231844.jpgI love those chubby legs!! Playing at the train table.


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This one is my favorite… We found Star Wars toys! She LOVED the Millenium Falcon! But I think she may be secretly on the Dark Side…hiding that storm trooper behind Daddy’s back!

But it’s bed time now. Hubby heads out on a business trip tomorrow. We will miss him, but he will be back soon. He will miss out on most of the challenge, but he doesn’t seem too upset about that… I don’t know why….

Flats Day Two – The Stash

Bug is napping, so I’ll take this opportunity to tally up my supplies and accessories that I’ll be using this week.

I posted earlier about putting my bucket washer together. Here are the stats:

Bucket and cover: Lowes – $2.78, $1.28
Plunger: Ace Hardware – $4.00 (can’t find the actual price, but this was close. I looked everywhere for a cheaper one!)
Total: ~$8.06

For the diapers:
Kelly’s Closet – 3 Palm Tree Cover, 1 Dozen Osocozy Flats, 1 Snappi  – $54.82 (x2)
Target Flour Sack Towels 4-pack – $3.98 (x2)
Receiving blankets – gifts at our baby shower
EconoBum covers – 4 gifted, one borrowed.
Green Bees cover – $5
Total: $122.60

Grand Total: About $130.

I also use Charlie’s Soap, which cost about $13 at a whole foods store. But that breaks down to $0.13 a load… even less when handwashing!

And Bug is still sleeping! Going on an hour and a half, WOOT! Let’s see what else this Momma can get done before she wakes up! I’ll try to post again tonight about how our day went.

Note: I should add that I had most of this before the challenge. All I bought for the challenge was the bucket, plunger, and the flour sack towels. So $12!

Flats and Handwashing – Day One!

Today was the first full day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge! We survived!

Dirty Diaper Laundry has given writing prompts for those of us who are blogging about the challenge. Today’s prompt is “Why did you decide to do this challenge?” Well, I’ll tell you!

We have cloth diapered Bug for probably 9 out of her 12 months. A friend of mine turned me on to cloth when she began using them for her son. I was impressed with how easy they were to use, how totally adorable a “fluffy butt” was, and how economical they were.

When my Bug was born, I registered for a LOT of diapers, a little bit of everything. We were given some of them, but not much. But we made do. When Bug was about 4 months old, I decided I needed more to be able to keep her in cloth, but not spend every day doing laundry.

However, we are not rich. In fact, compared to a majority of society, we would be considered low-income. So instead of buying the expensive pocket diapers or all-in-ones, I found a bundle that gave me the most bang for my buck, while still looking cute. I ended up with 6 new covers and 24 flats. And I fell in love.

The laundry load shrank down considerably. I could still use the pocket diapers when we went out, or when Daddy was on duty. (Though Handsome has been super with his willingness to learn how to use all of our diapers, including flats.)

However I wasn’t really aware of the awesomeness that is flats. Then I started looking around at different diaper blogs. And I stumbled across this challenge! I figured, hey! That looks like it would be easy, since we use flats all the time anyways! And what’s a little extra work to wash them? Plus, I needed an excuse to ask Handsome to set up a clothesline!

Then I started reading more about flats, different kinds of flats, different folds, and I got really excited. I knew I could do this!

So, the short answer to “Why did I decide to do the challenge” would be because it sounded fun!

Here’s a little insight into our first day of the challenge.

I didn’t get a pic of our first change of the day, but here is the second. This is a receiving blanket, folded into what is called the Kite Fold. I was really happy with how it fit Bug and how it fit inside a cover. It also lasted longer than one of my regular flats, since it’s bigger and more absorbent. Plus, it’s super cute!

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After the blanket diaper, we tried out our new flour sack towels. These are bigger than the flats I usually use, but a similar material. Plus, they are super cheap! 4 for $4! Bug made this change a bit difficult by wanting to sit directly in the middle of whatever I was trying to fold. I even thought I could distract her by letting her have this one and folding up another one… but she figured me out and crawled right into the middle of the second diaper! I finally got it folded up into a “Jo” fold and got it on her. It worked pretty well!
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Bug was playing with the wipes package all day, so when I heard it crinkling, I didn’t think anything of it. Then I looked. She had gotten the package open and was very happily pulling wipe after wipe out of the package! Ack!! I scooped up most of them and saved them in a ziplock for later…
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I finally got the wash done after Handsome got home from work. I started the wash about 2 hours earlier, but Bug just wouldn’t let me finish. Since Handsome will be out of town for most of the challenge, I’ll probably end up washing after Bug goes to bed for the night and hanging on the rack over the air vent.
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Here’s my stash for the week! It consists of oSoCozy flats, flour sack towels, and receiving blankets. Plus covers from EconoBum, Palm Tree, and Imagine. I’ll post more about my stash tomorrow.
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The diaper for tonight is an experiment! That is an origami folded blanket, with a pad folded flat as a doubler. It took both me and Handsome to get this on Bug. She was overtired, and kept planting her feet and pushing herself off the diaper. I’ll try a fancy fold again tomorrow, but if she still fights me I may just stick to two flats pad folded together. It’s quick to get on, and I know it works.
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Here’s Bug with her nighttime diaper on. I rolled the legs in after I got it on her and covered it with an EconoBum cover. The cover was having a hard time covering the whole thing. I may try an Imagine cover next time, since they have an extra gusset around the legs, they may cover better.
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That was our day in a nutshell! Tomorrow we start again! Now I’m going to go cuddle my hubby and watch Dancing With The Stars. Goodnight!

Before the Challenge…

I posted before about taking part in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. This is the first year I’ve done the challenge, but I’m really excited about it. As I said before, we use flats every day, so I’m hoping this won’t be too hard.

These are what I have for flats so far. I got these in a kit from Kelly’s Closet that came with 12 flats, 3 Palm Tree covers, and a snappi. I got 2 kits. So far, I love the flats. They are sold as 27x27in, but after prepping them and almost a year of use, they are now 26×23.

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I still really like them, even though they are smallish and very much NOT square. We primarily use them in a pad fold inside a cover, but I’m currently experimenting with different folds such as the origami and diaper bag fold.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

About a week and a half ago Handsome and I went to Lowes and picked up the bucket for my camp washer. I’ll be using this contraption to hand wash my diapers next week. I decided to do a trial run, so I knew what I was getting into before it was too late to back out!

Here it is, complete with a brand new plunger. Handsome drilled all the holes for me, including several in the plunger to make it easier to use.

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For my first run through, I grabbed the first flats I found off the top of my wet bag. Ended up being 2 covers, 3 flats, and a thick fleecy doubler I used overnight. I should mention there were no poopy diapers in my trial run.

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Filling up for my first rinse. I used cold, just like I do in the washer. I may use warm next time. (Dontcha love my bathtub hippo?)

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Plunging… first rinse was about 5 minutes.

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Added detergent and HOT water. I used about 1/2 tsp of Charlie’s Soap, but I need to adjust the amount. I believe I did a washing run for 5-10 minutes… I need to set a timer next time.

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I did a hot rinse and 2 cold rinses after that, but I think I either didn’t rinse long enough or change the water often enough. The flats came out feeling REALLY scratchy. Even after shaking/beating them up once they were dry.

Here’s my new clothes line set up on the back deck. I love it! It’s just right for drying diapers.

I read after this that it helps to roll covers in a towel to get excess water out… I didn’t. So these took a long time to dry.

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And to finish off my post, here’s a pic of my little Bug! She just turned 1, she is 23lbs and 29in. I’ll let you know how the new and different folds fit her and how the challenge goes. Tomorrow I’m making sure all my diapers are clean and ready to go!

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Once Upon A Garden

I would like to introduce you all to our little garden! We opted for a container garden this year, since we weren’t prepared to dig a garden. Next year we hope to do raised beds, but I guess that depends on how this year goes.

So here is a snapshot tour of our garden as it is so far!

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Here it is! This isn’t all we have planned, but this is as far as we’ve gotten for now. We got our bins and our soil at Ollie’s, a discount wonder world here in Chattanooga. Our plants came from Walmart. Discount gardening at it’s best!

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(I took this pic this morning) Here are our Boston Pickling Cucumbers and zucchini.

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Here are two of our tomato plants, with their pals, Marigolds! We also have two jalapeno plants that are being temporarily housed here until we get another bin. Alcott the cat decided that they would be a good snack, so they needed a little TLC.

We are growing three kinds of tomatoes. A yellow cherry, romas, and a yellow and red tomato called “Mr. Stripey.”

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A close-up of a fast friendship!

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We had the window boxes already, and they were perfect for our herbs. This one smells AMAZING.

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Handsome wanted this one. I didn’t complain!

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The cilantro is a pair with the roma tomatoes. Handsome has visions of salsa in our future!

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This one is for me! Another one that smells just wonderful. I’m not sure what I will do/make with it yet, but I’m looking forward to figuring that out!

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My watering can. I love that I have a watering can!

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Ahh, yes. This is what summer should be about.

We still have more we want to do. I really want to grow potatoes. We bought a potato bag, but Walmart was out of red seed potatoes. We will be going back though!

We are also planning to grow garlic. We have a second window box that will be dedicated to garlic.

We love garlic…

I’ll keep you updated as we add more to our little back porch garden. Now I just need to be patient while everything grows!