Friday, July 30, 2010

CSN Stores $20 winner! picked number 35

Congratulations to Camille of Life and Times of the Sullivan Family!

Winner has been notified and has 48 hours to respond to my email until a new winner is chosen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fluff Talk Thursday: Cloth Diapering on a Tight Budget

Thanks again to Beth over at Happily Domestic for hosting Fluff Talk. Such a great resource for us cloth diapering parents.

One sure conversation starter is to mention that you use cloth diapers. I've found that people react one of two ways. It's either something like, "Wow, you're brave." and "Really? Gross!" Or, the more rare (but my favorite), "Cool! Me too!! What's your favorite?" When I'm in a discussion with a parent who hasn't used cloth and the topic comes to cost, they often look shocked when I tell them the price of one diaper. I always have to explain that, yes, $15-25 for one diaper can be expensive, BUT you have to keep in mind that (if taken well care of) you can use that one diaper over and over. It's well worth the money!

I've often found that one reason people choose not to cloth diaper is because of the potentially high start up cost. It can be difficult to come up with two to four hundred dollars all at once to put up for diapers. Or, as in my case, convincing my husband that we should spend that much money on diapers all at once. By they way, it took a lot of convincing and deal making, but we did eventually come to an agreement and I now have a pretty decent stash.

My advice for starting up a stash as financially painless as possible:
  • Prefolds and covers! While this is not my favorite option, it's the one I started with and it works! Prefolds are cheap. In my case, I was lucky and found a big bag of about 40 of them at a thrift store in Missouri for $5! They were really thick and worked great under my Thirsties and Bummis covers. You will need quite a few prefolds, but just a few covers, as they can be wiped out and reused until baby poops.
  • Enter giveaways. There are a ton of mommy bloggers who review and giveaway diapers, myself included. I won my Katydid this way and I love that diaper! There are also many online cloth diaper stores which host giveaways weekly. Kellys Closet is one of them. These sites also run deals all the time. I got 6 brand new, pink, Bum Genius all in ones for $106 on a closeout deal. I was really proud of that one!
  • Along the same lines as entering giveaways, look for deals. This takes some time and effort, but it's definitely worth it! I'm constantly looking for sale and clearance diapers. Most every cloth diaper site has a sale or clearance section. I've also found pretty good deals on gently used diapers. If you buy one or two diapers at a time and build your stash slowly, you can save a ton of money.
  • Take good care of your diapers! The longer your diapers last, the less of them you'll need to buy. You'll especially want to take good care of your diapers if you want to use them for more than one child. And, yes, that is very possible. I use Rockin Green detergent for all my diapers, hang my covers and throw the inserts in the dryer. When the sun's out, I put everything outside and it comes in so fresh and white! Just imagine the savings over disposables if you were able to use a stash for two babies!
  • If all else fails, make friends with a cloth diapering mama and let her know you'd be happy to take her stash off her hands when she's done with it :)
I know there are other and better ways to build a good stash for little money, but these methods worked for me. I truly plan to use my diapers on another child, if one should come along. I haven't done the actual math for this scenario, but I'm sure the savings will be tremendous!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CSN stores $20 giveaway!

Do you like online shopping? Do you like finding everything you need in one place? Then you really should check out CSN stores! There are over 200 stores you can shop from and find anything. Seriously. Anything from bedding and barbecues to dog beds and dining room sets! Plus, everything in between.


How would you like to have $20 to spend any way you'd like at any one of CSN's stores? They have generously offered one of my readers a $20 credit to use for whatever they'd like. How cool is that?! I have to say, this is one of the coolest sites ever. They layout is very user friendly, neat and easy to read, you can find anything you want quick and easy. I also really like that you can browse by category, brand, pattern, style or sale items. I love it!

If you would like the chance to win this great prize head on over to CSN stores and leave me a comment letting me know what you would love to spend 20 dollars on or what you would put it toward.

How to enter

Each action counts as one entry unless otherwise stated. Leave a separate comment for each entry and please include your email address. You must complete the mandatory entry before you are eligible for any other entries.

**Mandatory Entry**

Make sure you complete the mandatory entry, which is to visit CSN stores and let me know what you would spend 20 dollars on.

Extra Entries

•Follow me publicly through google friend connect-counts as 3 entries! Leave 3 separate comments.

•Subscribe to my blog through email

•Grab my button and tell me where it is posted

•Blog about this giveaway, link back to my site and leave me the URL of your blog

This giveaway will end Friday, July 30, 2010. Winner will be drawn by an online random number generator and will be notified by email. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Must be 18 years old or older to win.

Good luck!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Smartipants winner!

Congratulations! picked number 210, Katie S, and she said...

I follow you publicly via Google Friend #3

The winner has been contacted and will have 48 to respond to my email before another winner will be drawn.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Toddler Tuesday-watering the garden with daddy

Emma LOVES helping. Really, though, what toddler doesn't? It's actually a very nice distraction when we can find something for her to help with, plus she's learning and building confidence. I needed some time without toddler under my feet the other day so I could clean the kitchen. So I sent her outside with daddy to help water the garden. This was during the heat wave so she's just wearing her sandals and organic, all in one, pink bum genius (we love these diapers!).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I cleaned my kitchen in 14 minutes! - Streamlining your cleaning

So, why should you care? I know I'm a dork, but I actually think about things like how to make cleaning more efficient. I love cleaning. Before I was a mother, I could spend hours and hours cleaning. Cleaning was my passion and I was very thorough! It wasn't unheard of for me to be up until the wee hours of the morning on a weekend reorganizing the junk drawer or taking apart the fans and scrubbing them clean.

I'm still passionate about cleaning, but now that I have a daughter, my focus has shifted somewhat. Of course I think having a clean and orderly home is important in raising children. I was raised in a VERY messy and chaotic home (my mother is a hoarder) and know how difficult it is to function in an environment like that. I don't want that for my daughter! But, I also don't want to spend so much time cleaning the house that I end up neglecting her. I struggle sometimes to find a good balance. So, I've actually been thinking about how to make cleaning more efficient. Specifically, my kitchen.

My kitchen is kind of a thorn in my side. Being a stay at home mom and preparing all the meals for our family, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it gets really messy. One huge pet peeve of mine is waking up to a dirty kitchen. The kitchen MUST be clean before I go to bed. The last thing I want to have to do after getting my daughter up from 12 hours of sleep is to tell her she has to wait another half hour so I can have some workable space in the kitchen to make her breakfast. She wakes up super thirsty and hungry, demanding a banana ("nana") immediately.

The only real "me" time I get is after 8, when my daughter goes to bed. I had been spending up to an hour cleaning the kitchen, which meant I wouldn't even be able to sit down until 9. So, in order to have more time for me in the evening, and honestly, to watch Big Brother, I came up with a plan to hopefully help me get the kitchen cleaned quicker but still thorough. Approach it methodically, I though! Here's what worked for me:

1. gather all the trash and recyclables and put them in their containers, we also collect food scraps in the bucket to be put in the yard waste bin
2. throw all the dishes in the sink (to be rinsed and put in the dishwasher in a minute)
3. packed up all the leftovers and put them in the fridge along with the condiments and milk
4. put dishes in the dishwasher and/or hand wash
5. wipe counters
6. sweep/vacuum and spot clean the floor (yes, I do this every night)
It might sound simple, but before I was dashing around picking up trash, washing a dish, wiping a counter...etc But, using the above method I was able to clean my kitchen in 14 minutes (and we even barbecued and ate outside)! There's not many other household chores I can do in under 15 minutes.
Take it or leave it, hope it helps someone!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Blog hop!

This blog hop is hosted by Melissa at Home Grown Families and Nicole at Mama to 3 blessings. Join me in following them and finding more blog friends!

How to join in on the fun:

Add your main blog link to our McLinky, follow the hostesses in the first 2 spots (Home Grown Families and Mama to 3 Blessings) and then start blog hopping! This is a great opportunity for you to visit other blogs on the link up and comment on their blogs! Take a few moments to follow their blog! - this is a great way to get to know one another! Please only enter your blog link ONE time and G rated links ONLY please. Home Grown Families and Mama to 3 Blessings are family friendly blogs.

When people comment on your blog please let them know that you are part of Friday Blog Hop then return the favor and follow them back! This way everyone gets blog traffic and followers out of participating! Please feel free to grab our Friday Blog Hop button and add it to your blog and spread the word! The more who link up the the bigger the blog hop!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fluff Talk Thursday-ammonia, ewwww

I'm very excited to get tips and advice from other cloth diapering mothers through participation in Fluff Talk Thursday, over at Happily Domestic. Link up to share you best cloth diapering advice/tips/solutions and get some from other mamas. Thanks, Beth, for hosting this great resource!

Like many other cd mamas, I've battled the ammonia blues before. The biggest problem time by far is night time! My daughter sleeps 10-12 hours and is a SUPER heavy wetter, seriously, this girl's diaper must weigh around 3 pounds in the morning. I'm afraid I'm gonna make a hole in the floor from dropping her diaper to the ground in the same spot every morning. As soon as I walk into her room in the morning I get a big whiff of the wonderful aroma.

Even though I pretty much only use Bum Genius at night, which have a stay dry liner, my daughter's skin has been affected ammonia burn. My daughter also has issues with yeast (and that's a whole other post!), but one product I've found that works great for pretty much any bottom issue is Earth Mama Angel Baby's Baby Bottom Balm. And, a BIG plus, it's organic, all natural and cloth diaper safe!!! I also give my daughter some diaper-free naked time at night, after bath time to help air things out. Sometimes I'll use a fitted, natural fabrics are best, without a cover during the day and change often. Airing out the bottom is probably the best thing you can do to help it heal from ammoina burn.

For the ammonia smell issues, my best suggestions are Rockin Green detergent and sunning. I can't say enough good things about Rockin Green (you can look through my past posts for more than a couple praises about it). Soaking my diapers, and wipes, don't forget about them, once in a while and washing regularly in RnG has almost completley wiped out the ammonia stink problem for me. Sunning (line drying your diapers outside) your diapers will help keep them stain-free and smelling fresh. The UV rays of the sun are also know to help kill bacteria, the main cause of bad odor! I live in Western Washington and we don't have a ton of sunny days, but I put my diapers out every opportunity I get, even in the winter!!! It's not the heat from the sun that's helpful (although it will help the diapers dry quicker), it's the UV rays that have the bacteria killing power.  I've read that UV rays can even reach the diapers on overcast days, and we have plenty of those here.

I can't wait to read other mama's suggestions!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July

This was Emma's second 4th of July but last year she was so little that she didn't really know what was going on. Gosh, a lot changes in a year!
My parents always have people over to their house and have lots of food and a TON of big, reservation fireworks. We didn't go over there last year because Emma was only 5 months old and I was in the midst of transitioning her from her Amby bed to her own crib and I was (actually still am) really strict about her sleep schedule. Since they don't start setting the fireworks off until after dark, if we had stayed that would mean we wouldn't get home until long after Emma's bedtime.
I'm still a nap/sleep Nazi and was super nervous about letting her stay up late and watch fireworks, but my husband seemed to think it was fine so we stayed. I had actually told my mom that we would only come over for a little bit and leave before firework time. I'm really glad we did stay, though because Emma was just so cute about it.
My husband laid her on his chest and they snuggled under a blanket while she laughed, clapped and signed "more". I was worried that keeping her up late would throw off her whole schedule, but it didn't and she's just fine. In my defense, though, most of the reason I'm so strict about her schedule is because I worked really hard to set it up almost from the day we brought Emma home from the hospital. She was such an easy baby, sleeping 8 hours at night from the time she was 6 weeks old, and now is an easy toddler. She's easy going, mellow and predictably (unless she's sick or teething) sleeps 10-12 hours at night and 1-3 hours during the day for her nap. I attribute that to keeping her on a schedule, not wavering unless absolutely necessary. Oh my, I almost forgot....this post is about the fourth of July, not sleeping schedules, anyway...
With all that said, we had a great time at my parent's house, eating and watching fireworks. It was all worth it to see Emma having so much fun.
She hasn't stopped talking about it since. When we ask her about the fireworks, she says: "pshhhh" and waves her arms around. Then she covers her ears (my husband was covering her ears during the show). See what I mean here:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Awesome Homemaking event at HappilyDomestic!

Here's an event definitely worth checking out! My bloggy friend, Beth, who runs the blog HappilyDomestic, is having a "Joys of Homemaking" event to celebrate her one year blogiversary on July 17th. She's got some great prizes lined up and promises to teach us moms and homemakers some useful skills. I know I could definitely use some cool products to make life at home easier, how about you? Check it out!