Cloth Diapering Essentials

We have been cloth diapering since three days after we brought A home from the hospital, and so far it has been everything we hoped it would be.  She has had few, if any, rashes; we’re not contributing excess trash to the landfill; and – above all – we’re saving money.  Here’s a quick list of our essential products to precede a post on how we’ve set up her cloth diapering station in her bedroom and another post on cloth diapering and daycare (yes, our provider uses prefolds and seems to like them!).
Cloth Diapering Essentials

Cloth-eez Prefold Diapers from Green Mountain Diaper

These are the cadillac of prefold diapers, made from 100% cotton twill.  Although I always thought we’d move to BumGenius or another one size pocket option as A got older, we are so happy with prefolds, that we just ordered a bale of medium for the next several months of diapering.

Cloth-eez Workhorse Diapers from Green Mountain Diaper

These are similar to the prefolds, above, but instead of folding them, you just fasten them around baby and secure with a snappi (they are fitted and you order them by size).  They are our go-to diaper for car rides, naps, and bedtime because they do such a good job of containing moisture and keeping it further away from our precious girl.  We also ordered eight more of these for the next few months.

Peri Bottles

I got this idea from another cloth diapering mom.  We really didn’t want to use chemical-laden wipes on A, particularly given their propensity for containing aloe (which I’m allergic to).  Instead, we fill a peri bottle up with water and use it to wet the homemade cotton flannel wipes that I made myself.  So far this system has worked great!  And the bottle makes bringing water with us on the go even easier!

Kanga Care Wet Bag

We ordered a few different kinds of wet bags, but by far, this type is our favorite.  They are small enough for her daycare bag, but large enough to contain a day’s worth of diapers.  We usually air dry them, but they can also go in our dryer on low heat if we’re running late and need one (they dry in about ten minutes).  Hands down, this is our favorite wet bag!

31 Gifts Utility Tote – Our Daycare Diaper Bag

I received this gem for Christmas from Jason’s cousin, and it has been a great daycare cloth diapering bag.  Every morning, I am able to stack eight lined prefolds into the bottom with a pile of cloth wipes, a wet bag, and a few extra Thirsties covers, and A is good for the day.  The outer pockets easily hold her peri bottle of water, change of clothes, mason jar full of (so far unused) pacifiers, and the variety of other things she needs.  I snap a small cooler of frozen milk right onto the handles and we’re good to go!

Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap

These are the only brand of wraps we’ve used since retiring some (great) bummis that we were loaned by friends during A’s newborn days.  They fit her as soon as she was about ten days old and size one is still going strong at almost four months.  We might need to size up to size two sooner than later, but the quality is excellent!

BabyLegs Newborn Leg Warmers Organic Over the Rainbow

A has a huge wardrobe thanks to generous family members and a mom who loves a good sale, but these are her dad’s go to choice for bottom wear.  While I love a good pair of jeggings on her (I NEVER thought I would have said that pre-baby), he loves the ease of BabyLegs.  She grew out of the newborn size within a few weeks, but the one-size-fits-all model look like they’ll last us a good long time.  Super cute and so easy!

Amazon.com: JJ Cole Caprice Diaper Bag, Silver Drop: Baby
Jason bought this bag for me as a pre-baby gift, and it has been a great cloth diapering diaper bag.  Although it is a bit ungainly (doesn’t stay on my arm with the smaller straps), I love the look, and it came with a great pair of hooks that attach to our stroller.  All and all, the size is excellent given the added bulk of the diapers, and I can’t complain too much given all of the organizational possibilities it provides.
Snappies are used to secure prefolds in either a specific fold or to hold the workhorse diapers together.  They work great and protect baby from the pokes and prods of a safety pin.

Amazon.com: Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Bottom Balm, 2-Ounce Jar:…
This product is excellent for diaper rash without containing the aloe that I am so allergic to.  We’ve had no rash that this ointment doesn’t immediately eradicate.  It’s also been great for mom’s minor cuts and scrapes and it smells fantastic!
Our Collection of Homemmade Cotton Flannel Wipes

Our Collection of Homemade Cotton Flannel Wipes

As I said before, we just ordered a bale of medium Green Mountain Prefolds (24 flats and 8 fitteds) and are slowly building a stash of Thirsties Duo snap covers.  But if you have any questions about cloth diapering, I’d be happy to answer them!  Do you cloth?  Are you thinking about trying it?  I’d love to hear from you!

Planning the 2014 Garden

A few weeks ago, when the average daily temperatures were lingering around -22 (without the windchill), we placed our 2014 seed order with Park Seed.  Part of the reason we order through Park (despite my heirloom, seed saving dreaming) is their super reliable Tenderette and Soleil green beans, a staple of our winter diet (they freeze like a dream, and we eat them 2-3 times a week).

Young, fresh beans

Tenderette and Soleil Beans in Our Garden

I would like to say that A’s arrival has made us more cautious gardeners, but though we’ve cut back on some things (we might not have terribly over-ordered seeds as we have in past years), we still plan to fill both our primary garden 100’x50′ and our smaller garden 10’x100′, and if you were worried, we’re also preparing for a 2014 chick purchase to add more genetic diversity to our flock of Buff Orpingtons after a 2013 decline in hatch rate.

Chicks hatched in 2012 from our own birds.

Chicks hatched in 2012 from our own birds.

In planning our garden, we made the choice to grow more crops that we use all winter (carrots, beans, peas, onions, garlic, tomatoes) and fewer try-it-out-for-fun crops (though we will be planing parsnips again this year because we’ve really enjoyed having them!).  So what did we decide on?

2014 Vegetable Order

  • Green Ice Lettuce (Free Add-On)
  • Master Chef Blend Lettuce
  • Summer Glory Blend Lettuce (Free Add-On)
  • Green Towers Lettuce (Free Add-On)
  • Sweet Rainbow Blend Pepper
  • Orange Paruche Hybrid Tomato
  • Sugary Tomato
  • Costoluto Genovese Tomato
  • Mr. Big Pea
  • Lincoln Pea
  • Tendersnax Carrot
  • Honey Bear Squash
  • Summer Squash Medley
  • Soleil Bean (Yellow String)
  • Tenderette Bean (Green String)
  • Albion Hybrid Parsnip
  • Yellow Onion Set

In addition to this, we’ll purchase cucumber plants from a local grower because no matter how we try, we’ve never been able to get them to grow reliably from seed; whereas, every year we buy plants from the same mom and pop  greenhouse and they thrive.  Other than that, we’re hoping for another big crop of blueberries from the bushes we planted a few years ago.

A was more than ready to help when we placed our seed order a few weeks ago!

A was more than ready to help when we placed our seed order a few weeks ago!

What are you planting in your garden this spring?

Happy Valentine’s Day

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day and the opportunity it provides for reflecting on the blessing of my loved ones, but this year leaves  me even more thankful for my wonderful husband who is such a fantastic father and partner and our sweet, beautiful daughter.  I hope you are spending the day with loved ones!

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A’s 0 – 4 Month Favorites

Over the past few months, I’ve loved watching other moms post baby favorites because they’ve provided me an invaluable way to sift through the (literal) TONS of baby products out there.  I don’t anticipate this being a monthly post, but at least quarterly, I’ll try to check in with A’s favorites.  A's 0 - 4 Month Favorites

Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Adventure Play Gym

A’s Baby Gym was a Christmas gift from my mother and step-father.  While I don’t think it’s necessarily worth $70 (they got it on sale at half price), A love, love, loves mauling the toys, namely the octopus and the Lamaze Moose we regularly attach to it (we removed most of the toys, including the battery operated lights/music machine that was just too much for all of us).

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Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Bouncer Fisher-Price

The bouncer was my mother’s idea as well, and probably the best gift we received for A from 0 – 2 months.  It was a convenient spot to set her down and she really slept well in it as a newborn during the day.  It also got us through her first cold at six weeks.  Since it doesn’t have a five point harness, it’s not super safe to leave her in now, so it’s primarily just a spot to set her down quickly while I’m supervising her.

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HALO SleepSack Swaddle – Micro-fleece Target Exclusive

The HALO SleepSack was a great registry item that has been worth its weight in gold.  As a swaddle-hater, A was really hard to get down to sleep at night because her legs would twitch and she’d wake herself up.  We’ve only open arm swaddled her with it, but it keeps her cozy and warm and, best of all, asleep!

Bright Starts Lots of Links- Solid Colors

These links were a gift from a former student, and they were one of the first toys A showed any interest in.  We keep them linked above her crib, so she can look up at them while I’m picking up her room or choosing a new outfit.  If she’s sleeping in her crib, however, they are easily unlinked for safety reasons.  They’re also a great way to keep track of small toys in her diaper bag, like the…

Comotomo Baby Silicone Teether Blue One Size 

A has been drooling and chewing on everything (but namely her own hands) for the last two or three weeks.  I picked this up about a week ago, and its the perfect size for holding in her hand and sticking in her mouth.  It is also so easily sterilized, which has made for  a very happy Mama.

Jellycat ‘Cordy Roy Cat’ Stuffed Animal Pink One Size 

My mom sent this for A for Valentine’s Day, and she latched on and only let go long enough for the dog to eat it (and me to order a quick replacement from Amazon).  He’s made of soft corduroy and his tail and ears are perfect for chewing and sucking.  We’re eagerly awaiting replacement kitty’s arrival.  Note: A has the 9” small kitty – it’s the perfect size!

Amazon.com: Carters Easy Fit Velour Crib Fitted Sheet, Blue: Baby

A was born in October, and for the first two weeks refused to sleep anywhere but on me.  I quickly figured out that her cotton sheets were too cold.  As soon as we replaced them with these (we also bought a set for the pack n’ play, she was willing to sleep on her own (right next to our bed).

Jellycat Puppy Tails Book 8″

Of all A’s toys this one has been the longest lived and most used.  She loves the crinkly pages that she can now turn with her own hands.  The tails are great for sucking and the colors are vibrant.  She also has Jellycat’s Kitten Tails (pictured).  We give this toy two paws up!
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We purchased several very expensive “breast simulating” bottles for A, but the only one she’s taken is this Walmart cheapie.  At 97 cents a pop, they fit right onto my pump, so I can’t really complain, and they clean super easily.  They may not be the Cadillac of bottles, but the relief I had when she took it for the first time on her second day of daycare more than makes up for what I spent in bottles that are currently collecting dust in my basement.

Lamaze’s Muffin the Moose

This little fella was a gift from a great high school friend.  He first attracted A with his jingling toes, but later drew her in with his long, puppet-like legs and crinkly feet (girl loves the paper at the doctor’s office!).  He is most often found hanging out in her gym, and now that she has better hand-eye coordination, she loves to suck on his toes almost as much as she wants to suck on her own.
We’ve used this as a bassinet since week one (technically, week three after the sheets), and it has been great.  I was able to move it into the living room when I was staying at home with A, and I anticipate a ton of use this summer in shady spots with a good layer of mosquito netting.
For those of you with older babies, what came next?  What products does your little one love?

Stepping Back Into the Garden

Fifteen weeks ago, our lives changed forever, as Baby A made her arrive three days late.  At seven pounds, fourteen ounces she was, from the first, a delightful little snuggler.  Now that we’ve settled back into our life together, and after much deliberation about whether this was the place to do it or whether I should start a new blog more devoted to the changes our life and lifestyle have taken, I’ve decided to return to the garden, not because everything is the same or because all of the pieces will fit as nicely and logically as they used to, but because this is the place where I’ve written off and on for almost two years.  And as A grows, and we can pay a bit more attention to the chickens and our crops, this will be the most reasonable place for all the pieces to come back together.  So I ask for you to be patient with me in the coming months as I rediscover my voice and stretch the edges of gardening and chicken blogging to include this marvelous new person we are just getting to know.

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