Aug 31, 2009
Let me tell you from first hand experience - this smell is on par with open sewer smell, a major stink. It seemed to come out of no where. One evening I had changed Logan and was breast feeding him. All of a sudden he peed and the smell of the urine hitting the diaper was unreal. I struggled through the remainder of the feed with the awful smell coming off the diaper. I apprehensively smelled one of the clean diapers in my stash, the smell wasn't strong - but it was there.
I then went to find the diaper cleaning instructions that had come with my Kelly's Closet order, which conveniently comes with directions for stripping diapers. I washed all my diapers with my normal wash settings (cold prewash with no soap, hot wash with 1/4 detergent, two cold rinses). When the cycle was done I added 1/4 cup white vinegar to the dispenser and washed another full cycle (prewash, wash, extra rinse) with no detergent. To my amazement there where still soap bubbles on the gasket of the washer, I had only noticed this once before and thought it was a fluke. So I ran a quick wash again with no detergent. There were no more bubbles but the diapers still had a light scent (and not a good one).
So I got to thinking. Why would there be soap bubbles after several washes? Ding Ding Ding...my cloth wipes! I have been washing my wipes with the diapers, and I have been using a very dilute solution of baby wash. Apparently, the extremely small amount of soap on the wipes was enough to mess up my diapers. I have switched to wiping him with only water, which actually works fine - even for poops. I'm stripping the diapers again right now so I can hopefully eliminate the stink for good. The wash I'm running right now is 1 Tbsp Baking Soda in the prewash, 1/4 detergent in wash, 1/4 cup white vinegar in rinse, extra rinse with nothing. I'll check for soap bubbles and smells when it is done and run additional hot washes with no detergent until there are no bubbles (and hopefully no smell!)
So for your cloth wipes - water alone is your best bet for your cloth wipes solution- unless you are going to wash them separately from your diapers!
Aug 28, 2009
Aug 27, 2009
1 chicken breast, sliced into thin bite size pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 jarred roasted red pepper, rinsed and diced
1 chipolte chili in adobo sauce, finely diced (remove all or some of the seeds to control heat)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper
2 c shredded Mexican cheese mix
10 flour tortillas (8")
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned chicken and onion to the skillet and cook until chicken is cooked through and onions are softened, 5-6 min - stirring occasionally. Stir in the paprika and parsley, cooking about 1 minute. Remove skillet contents into a bowl and stir in the red pepper and chili. Assembly the quesadillas by spooning about 2 Tbsp of the chicken mix over a tortilla, covering it with cheese, then top with a second tortilla. Wipe out the original skillet and return to medium heat. Cook one quesadilla at a time, about 3 minutes per side (or until lightly browned and cheese is melted). I served these with a side of fruit, but you could go with the more traditional (and usually fatty) side of rice and beans.
Makes about 5 quesadillas, depending on how much filling you use.
My older son doesn't care for red peppers, so I reserved a couple tablespoons of the chicken and onion mixture before adding the pepper for his.
Also, if you don't have jarred red peppers you could use fresh in a small dice - just cook it along with the chicken and onions. For the same flavor without the canned chilis in adobo, add 1/2 tsp dried chipolte chili along with the paprika and parsley.
Aug 26, 2009
Aug 24, 2009
I have been thinking about making fleece liners for my prefolds so he doesn't have wet cloth against him between changes - but my husband is not a huge fan of the prefolds. I have to figure something out that both of us will be happy with. So, I have purchased all the materials I need to make my own cloth diapers from various online stores.
I am going to design the pattern myself so it will have all the features I like combined together. This is a pretty ambitious project for me, so we'll see how it goes. I'm not expecting the first diaper to be fabulous or pretty, but I hope it will at least work great! Who knows, I might become a WAHM selling these fluffy butt creations!
Aug 22, 2009
Over the last few weeks I have found myself thinking more and more about items I could make. It started with the cloth wipes I made and has moved on to a reusable bag for my husbands' lunches, reusable produce bag (though I need to find a different fabric - voile is not shear enough, makes a good lingerie bag though!) and I am crafting the perfect AIO diaper in my mind. If I keep this up, I'm going to have to start selling my wares on Etsy!
This lunch bag is styled after a plastic shopping bag, just slighty smaller.
The bottom container is 9" square, for perspective.If you are interested in a tutorial on how to make either of the bags (sorry, I don't have an image of the produce bag on my computer yet) let me know and I'll put it up!
Aug 21, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I posted about the "Dirty Dozen," the top twelve fruits and vegetables found to have the largest amount of pesticide contamination. I referenced the term "Organic" in that post, which can actually mean a few things. The USDA created the "National Organic Program" which, according to their website is:
The National Organic Program (NOP) develops, implements, and administers national production, handling, and labeling standards for organic agricultural products. The NOP also accredits the certifying agents (foreign and domestic) who inspect organic production and handling operations to certify that they meet USDA standards.
I am going to highlight some of the information on their website as an overview of what the term "organic" means when it is on a product.
- "100% Organic" - contain only organically produced ingredients (except water and salt)
- "Organic" - must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients, the other 5% must be non-agricultural or agriculturally that is not available as organic
- "Made with Organic Ingredients" - contain at least 70% organically produced material
Producers of organic material that have a gross income from organic sales is below $5000 are exempt from the certification process put in place by the USDA. Otherwise, you will see the certifying agents information in the information panel on the product. There are quite a few chemicals that are allowed under certain conditions that will still allow for an organic certification. If you are interested in that list please click here.
To me, the government seems pretty good at providing loopholes. I am, by no means, an expert in organic food or farming. I do what I can to keep my family healthy, happy, and with the least chemical exposure possible.
We are a family on a budget that tries to eat as much whole food as possible. That means that I shop mostly to the "outside" perimeter of the store. We buy a lot of fruits and vegetables, some meats, dry beans and pasta, bread, eggs and dairy. I don't shop exclusively in the organic section, it would take too much of our food budget. I have to be thrifty living on a single salary, so I shop the produce that is on sale, always trying to buy local produce when I can. I do clean all of my produce before consuming it under running water and discard the outer leaves of lettuce. I have made a spray bottle of "Veggie Cleaner" for next to the sink. It is just equal parts water and white vinegar. You spray it on, let it sit a minute, scrub (if a hard skinned fruit or vegetable) then rinse well under running water.
I do believe that it is more important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than worry about pesticide contamination. Even the non-organic produce is monitored and there is a "safe" threshold it cannot exceed. So, eat your fruits and veggies - organic or not - and make sure they are washed!
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 18, 2009
Being the scientist I am, I needed a more "apples to apples" comparison of the one-size diapers in my stash. So I stuffed and set all my one size diapers to their smallest possible settings and measured from the center of the back elastic to the center of the front edge with the tape measure following the inside of the diaper. I then repeated this process with the diapers set on the largest setting. All of the diapers are fairly close in size, but some are more adjustable than others (for example the Fuzzi Bunz with the numbered button elastic, or the Wonder Wrap which offers 4 rise settings). Below are my findings: (sorry I couldn't format a table as I wanted)
Diaper: smallest setting (in.), largest setting (in.)
bumGenius 3.0 Organic: 12, 15
Knicker Nappies Side Snap: 13, 16
GroBaby: 12.5, 14.5
Blueberry: 13, 17
Fuzzi Bunz: 13, 16.5
WonderWrap (Diaper Cover only): 12, 18
I don't know if there is anything conclusive you can extrude from this data considering how close all of the values are. I guess you should just take the data at face value. The only one that raises a flag for me would be the GroBaby, having only a 2" difference in size range were most of the others have at least a 3" difference. I really want to love the GroBaby, but it is just falling a little short. It is to bad, especially seeing how they are now selling a biodegradable/compostable soaker pad that would be great on vacations were you wouldn't have access to a washing machine.
Oh well, I'll figure out what works for me (hopefully soon!) In the mean time I get to try out a new prototype from Kissaluvs. They are expanding their line and it is really exciting! I have to check with them before I post an actually info. In the mean time you might want to check out their website to look at their new Marvels line. The patterns are adorable!
Aug 17, 2009
Now, I didn't measure any of the ingredients so the following are my estimates of how much I used.
1 1/2 c. roasted chicken, shredded
1 oz. salami, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1/4 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
I mixed all of the ingredients for the dressing first then added the meat, peppers and raisins. It makes a wonderfully flavorful chicken salad with a nice fusion between Italian and Indian flavors. Try it for yourself and tell me what you think!
Aug 14, 2009
My focus for today is the reduction in consumer waste. I am amazed by the amount of waste some families in my neighborhood produce. Once Logan came along and we were using the disposable diapers, our trash output increased to two full bags twice a week! I couldn't believe it. Now that we are almost completely disposable free (except for the occasional between washes) we are down to only one full bag every week to week and a half. I'm expecting that number to drop even lower once we start our composting bin, as most of our trash is hard vegetable scraps that our garbage disposal would choke on. What could be better? Saving money AND reducing consumer waste all in one fell swoop!
What do you do to reduce your consumer waste? Please share your tip(s) in the comments section!
Aug 13, 2009
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes
What I noticed is that most of these items contain a large amount of water, which is probably why they are on the list. If the farm is sprayed with an insecticide it will get into the soil and the water supplying that crop, the crop will use the water and voila - insecticide laden produce.
The USDA itself has stated that certified organic produce has required tolerance levels much lower than standard produce (check out their statement here).
So, what it comes down to is this...do you believe that the "pesticides are safe" as has been stated or will you hedge your bets in the 100% Certified Organic corner to keep your family pesticide free (for the most part).
Aug 11, 2009
Update on Cloth Diapers:
I finally (after almost 3 weeks and a second call to customer service) received my replacement GroBaby cover for the one that had the leg elastic go out after the second wash. This new one has been washed 3 times now and is still holding together. It's not a bad little diaper. For the most part it is trim and the liner is very absorbent. The mesh does get a little wet behind the insert, but dries quickly. The first time the diaper was on after receiving it, we had a big ol' poop. The diaper held the mess, though a little did get on the cover - both washed clean with no visible staining. Those of you who are squeamish about touching pee soaked items would not be up for this diaper. The snap at the front is right behind the wettest part of the liner and it does wet right up to the top with my boy. You cannot unsnap the front without at least holding the top of the liner, the closer to the snap the easier it is due to the give of the mesh the snap is attached to. The liner gets bunched up a little bit and can be hard to position perfectly on a squirming baby (though there are a lot of diaper that have this issue.) I believe that this diaper would be quiet bulky on a newborn (haven't personally witness this though!) To have the liner fit on the newborn setting you need to fold down the top edge of the liner to make it fit under the cover. In the newborn setting the leg openings are small and the tabs can overlap so you should be able to get a good fit. On the opposite end of the spectrum, on its largest setting the rise looks like it could be an issue. I have it on the medium setting for my 8 month old, but will need to move to the largest setting soon. The largest setting only adds 1" to the rise, which I cannot imagine will last until 2 years of age. Anyway, I don't think this is going to be my favorite diaper in my stash, but I will continue to use it.
I have also used the Knicker Nappies a few times now, and have had leak issues most of the times it has been on. The leak is occurring where the rise is adjusted in the front, as a gap is created by the folding of material at the leg opening. Being aware of this I have been very careful when putting it in and have cut down on the leaks. The other location of leaks has been wicking of moisture on the cover. With boys, the wings are inside with no insert very close to the wetting zone. This wings to tend to move and pop up above the upper edge of the diaper with active boys like mine, exposing a wet area at the waist. Due to its drawbacks, I mostly use this diaper around the house when leaks won't be a major issue.
I have looked into the cloth inserts for the gDiaper, but they are back ordered for some time. I have tried with pre-folds several times and always end up with some moisture wicking at the leg opening. This is a good diaper with the compostable liner - no leaks with that. You do have to be aware of possible rubbing of the snaps that hold the nylon liner and the liner being in contact with the skin. The diaper is very trim though, and fits under all his clothes with no issues.
Update on Cloth Wipes and Wipe Solution:
The cloth wipes (after turning all the edges) are holding up very well in the wash. I have cut out the tea tree oil from the wipe solution as Logan was getting a slightly red bum. Now, I have a very dilute baby wash solution in one of the cleansing bottles (squeeze bottle) I have from my delivery to moisten the wipe and sometimes I just wet the wipe in the sink with no soap. Another thought I had about the oils in the solution - the oil might adhere to the diaper and could cause absorbency issues, requiring you to strip your diapers more frequently.
If you are a cloth diapering mommy blogger or just interested in finding more blogs focused on cloth diapering, you might be interested in a social network I just found: Cloth Diapering Bloggers. It is geared as a place for bloggers to network but there is a message thread filled with blogs with at least a partial focus (if not full focus) on cloth diapering.
Aug 10, 2009
Toddler Teasers offers a selection of quizzing applications that have subjects such as letters, shapes, numbers, etc. When the child has finished a set of quizzes they are able to choose a "sticker" they get to place on a special scene.
First Words Animals is a neat spelling game. There is an image of the animal, the animals name spelled and tiles with the letters of the animals name. The child touches a tile and the letter is voiced. The child drags the letters to their proper place in the name and once the name is completed all the letters are voiced and then the animal makes its' sound. This program has been Aidan's favorite so far.
AniMatch is a memory game with animal faces and sounds. There are tiles they press on which flip over to show the animal, shake and make the animal noise. Just like a standard memory game once a match has been made the tiles stay flipped over. This one is moving up quickly as a favorite.
I just discovered a new program that looks promising. It is actually a web app that is for toddler videos. You can optimize the video selection for age ranges such as infant, toddle, preschooler, etc. and it offers a parent lock feature. The program is called Totlol and you access it through Safari to install a button on your home screen. They have videos like Sesame Street, Baby Signs and others available.
We have just been using YouTube and had favorite videos he would access, or we would run a search for him. He generally wants to watch videos of trains or train crashes which there is an ample selection of on YouTube.
Does your young child have a favorite application on the iphone (or other device)? If so, leave a comment sharing the name of the program and a short description so we can check it out!
Aug 8, 2009
Aug 7, 2009
We have become accustomed to having staple items available throughout the year, but have you noticed that the strawberries you buy in January just don't taste right? I sure have! We need to move back to seasonal eating - and I admit that I don't even know when some of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season any more.
So what brought all this on, you may ask? Well, I have watching my local PBS station during lunch and they had a show about fresh produce suppliers to the New York City area in a program called Taste of New York. As part of it, they highlighted Roxbury CSA (community supported agriculture). This was a farm that sold shares to local residents and in return those shareholders received fresh produce during their growing season. This really struck a note with me, and I quickly googled "CSA." The very first listing that appeared was for Local Harvest. This site provides information farms, CSA's, and local Farmer Markets, and includes a search tool to help you find local food sources in your area. I have found a CSA about an hour drive from my house, with a drop location even closer. It is quite an initial investment so I'm not sure it is the best option for me at this time. I might try one of their Market Days first (farm is open with tours and other local farms coming in for a farmer's market of sorts.)
We will, eventually, have our own mini garden in the back yard to grow some of our favorite and most used produce. When we have the time (and money) to build the raised bed I will photo blog the progress. Hopefully we will get our compost bin started soon so we have healthy soil to plant in!
Do you know any other sites for finding local farms or farmer's markets? If so, please leave the link in the comments!
Aug 6, 2009
Recently a Farmer's Market opened just outside our neighborhood. It is a small operation that has local produce supplemented with non-local offerings. They have started offering a co-op where you pay $20 in advance and get to choose 10 items from a list of offered fruits and veggies(organic items are in addition and cost extra). This last week I ordered my first co-op share and have received it today - the photo above is the produce I received. I am trying to decide between this co-op and a local C.S.A. (certified organic and specializes in heirloom varieties). The C.S.A. works out to be closer to $30 per week but is all local and all organic. It's a tough decision for me now that we are on a constrained budget.
I am hoping that buying local produce will force me to eat seasonally as well as learn about new fruits and vegetables that you do not normally find in the grocery store.
In other news: I think I have found the winner of the diaper wars...quest for the perfect diaper for Logan. The award goes to (at this point in time anyway!)..................................
Don't forget to check back tomorrow for my post about C.S.A.'s on my Eco-Friendly Friday feature!
Aug 4, 2009
If you would like to review my initial experience with some of these diapers please read this post.
I like the Fuzzi Bunz Diapers as they are easy to clean (no staining with multiple poops) and they dry quickly, the draw back is that they are bulky and my babies normal clothing does not fit over these diapers. They will be the night time diapers in our stash.
The Blueberry is very similar to the Fuzzi Bunz with a slightly trimmer fit due to the Terry/Hemp combo liner. They are absorbent, stain resistant, and have a good fit with their adjustability. This is the diaper I am leaning toward at this point, though it is still a little big for some clothing items.
The gDiaper is a nice concept, but as I stated before, I'm not so fond of having the nylon right next to my babies skin in this hot and humid weather. I tried the diaper with a pre-fold and it leaked. I would try it with their new cloth liners, but they are back ordered and honestly I don't know if this would be my diaper of choice. The disposable liners they have are a nice concept though very expensive. I would suggest these diapers to anyone who wants an eco-friendly diaper with the convenience of disposables without the washing required of cloth.
Kissaluv's hemp fitted diaper is nice hemp diaper, but it has its drawbacks. Drawbacks: you have to use a diaper cover, for a boy the area to unsnap the diaper is going to be very wet with pee, would need to buy multiple sizes as your baby grows, have had some poop staining (not a huge deal as it somewhat blends in with the natural color of the hemp), but the biggest thing for me is the extra dry time required. My pro for this diaper is that it is very trim and easy to fit under clothes
Bummis Super Brite diaper cover is a total thumbs down! Every time I have had this cover on over the Kissaluv's pee wicked right through the cover onto his clothes. Not to mention that the Velcro is very scratchy and even with the tabs fastened to the laundry tabs I ended up with tabs stuck to the elastic by the legs causing it to get fuzzy. I would not recommend this cover.
The bumGenius 3.0 Organic AIO is a nice diaper, very convenient. It is pretty trim, though the rise seems a little short. My baby is about average height at 8 months old and need to be on the largest setting. I can't imagine that this same diaper would fit him rise wise when he is two. The fact that you don't have to stuff inserts is appealing. Dirty diapers can be a bit messy in this diaper with the three layers for poop to get caught between, and it has been stained ever since the first poop it saw. This tends to be a "going out" diaper for us with it's small size and good absorbency.
I have had the Knickernappies One Size side snapping diaper, with the loopy-do insert, on Logan twice. I like that this diaper is trim and has ample adjustments. It fits nicely under his clothes. The first time it was on was for night time - gave it the true test, without a booster. In the morning he had wicking at the waist and one leg opening. I just had the diaper on for a second run and had a leak at the leg opening again. When I looked at the diaper I realized that the leg elastic does not adjust when the rise is adjusted. What ends up happening is the other material folds (like with all the one size diapers with snaps up the front) and the leg opening area folds as well, causing a gap between the leg and diaper. I'm going to try playing with this diaper a little more, because I really like the trim fit, to try and get it to stop leaking.
I have had the Wonder Wraps one size diaper cover on Logan once over the Kissaluv. This is a very nice diaper cover, very cute on the bum, and did not leak with its first run (though it was only on for a short time due to a poop). I'm going to give it a run with a pre-fold to see how it handles that (every time I've used a pre-fold I've had a leak with my other covers). It's constructed from the same type of material you would see on the outside of most AIO's or pocket diapers and has the snap adjustments for rise. The Velcro is not too coarse and I hope it will stand up well to use and washes.
The Swaddlebees Ecoliner insert worked well in my Blueberry diaper (essentially making the same diaper as the Swaddlebees without buying another cover). It did not leak during its initial run. It is slightly trimmer than the Blueberry's normal liner, once it was on I couldn't tell a difference in bulk with that cover. I'm guessing that they are about the same, the Swaddlebees ecoliner just being a few dollars more expensive all together.
Aug 3, 2009
Sewing the hem on the wipes
"wrong" side of the finished wipe
"right" side of the finished wipe
Now that none of the raw cut edge is showing, they should hold up to the frequent washing they will undergo.
When I posted yesterday I meant to include a spiel about the wipes solution, so here it is:
Homemade Baby Wipes Solution
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Baby Wash (I have tons of Johnson's Baby Wash from gifts, so I'm using that)
1-2 drops Tea Tree Oil (pure essential oil)
I am keeping my wipes dry until they are needed, then I can control how wet the wipe is and have dry ones available to dry his bottom before putting the new diaper on. In reality, all you need is a wet wipe - the soap is a little overkill unless you have a poopy diaper area to clean up. Most of the recipes I saw online listed a mixture of water, soap, and oil. The reasoning for the oil would be to replace the natural oils that are stripped away from the skin by the soap. My inner chemist screamed. Everyone knows that water and oil don't mix. When you add soap in, all your doing is creating micelles (a drop of oil surrounded by the soap) to disperse the oil through the water - creating a colloid. The oil is not going to be available to the babies bum to replace what was stripped away - it is essentially locked in the soap your using to clean with. If your worried about drying your babies bum by stripping the oils - don't use soap unless the diaper is messy. What I do to prevent dry skin on my baby is to apply lotion or oil after his baths (usually accompanied by a mini massage.)
So what is the Tea Tree Oil in there for?
Tea Tree Oil (from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia) has long been used in alternative medicine for its' antiseptic and antifungal properties. By putting it in the solution it will slow down mildew formation on the wipes if they sit wet for a long time and it *could*, theoretically, help with diaper rash on your babies bottom.
Aug 2, 2009
Oh, and the sewing machine is just fine - I had the bobbin threaded incorrectly. The nice gentleman showed me how to thread it (though, to my credit I thought I was doing it the way he showed me) and even went through some stitches. He then cut some thick denim and showed me that it can stitch through 6 layers of it for a hem without a hiccup!
Now onto the project. For this I used:
- 2 small medium weight flannel receiving blankets (reuse part or recycle)
- Fabric Cutting board (ruler works fine as well)
- Sharp fabric shears
- Sewing Machine
I measured and cut the blankets so I would have wipes that were in the range of 8-9" square, giving me nine per blanket.
Cutting the blankets
I would guess that you could use most natural fabrics for these wipes - and too be green I would suggest using fabrics you have around your house (old shirts, towels, etc.) If you use old jersey knit shirts I would recommend a double layer wipe so you don't end up with messes going through the fabric onto your hand. Seeing how my fabric is a good weight, I opted for a single layer. I didn't even do a double layer hem on the edges - I just did a legs stitch about a 1/4" from the edge of the fabric, then trimmed away the excess.
I'm actually pretty proud of the way these turned out, being the amateur sewer that I am. The wipes are absorbent, do a good job of cleaning messy bums, and they rinse well. My husband even said that he prefers the cloth ones I made to disposables! Boy, do I ever love my husband. He has been totally supportive of this transition to cloth diapering and has "been in the trenches" trying all the diapers along with me.