Friday, September 2, 2011

Cloth Diaper Snowball plan

Cloth Diaper Snowball Plan 

Say you are currently using disposable diapers for your baby but, you really would like to make the switch to cloth diapers. However you don't have enough cash to buy enough cloth diapers all at one time to do a complete switch. That's OK! You can still start now!

I'm taking this concept from Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball plan and applying it to cloth diapering.

Month one. Buy one cloth diaper. You can pick any brand that you can afford right now. This may be a prefold or a more expensive brand or maybe something in between like an economy line.

Going with the mid cost economy line. You paid $7.99. Use this diaper each day in rotation with your disposable diapers for one month. Each day you use this diaper for just one diaper change, you have saved yourself approx. 25 cents. After one month, you have saved 30 changes which is $7.50 plus tax. Your cloth diaper paid for itself! That is enough to go buy another one the next month without spending any extra. Now month two you have $7.50 plus tax saved from month one. Go buy your second cloth diaper with that money saved. Now you have two cloth diapers for month two so you have twice the savings on month two, $15. Now Month three you have $15 dollars saved so you can buy TWO diapers this month. You now have 4 diapers by month 3. So month 3 you save $30. Now for month can buy FOUR cloth diapers! Now you have 8 cloth diapers in just 4 months. Do you see how this works? It builds and builds and before you know it, you are not buying disposables AT all and it is all savings. The only month you spent money out of pocket was month 1 and only $7.99. Each subsequent month you bought diapers with your savings.  So in a sense, you can build your entire stash for just $7.99!!

1st month-Buy 1diaper
2nd month- Buy 1 diaper with savings from not using your disposables for 1 change a day. You now have 2 diapers by month 2.
3rd month- Buy 2 diapers with your savings. You now have 4 diapers by month 3.
4th month-Buy 4 diapers with your savings. You now have 8 diapers by month 4.
5th month-Buy 8 diapers with your savings. You now have 16 diapers by month 5.

Note: you can do this with any diaper/cover and any amount you are comfortable starting with. This is just an example of  how you can start with just one and build up. The pace you go and the amount you start with depends on your own personal goals. 

Baby Boom in a failing economy?

It really seems just about every woman I know is pregnant lately!  If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the term "there's something in the water" I'd be a rich woman by now! This got me thinking about how many of the people I know are also struggling financially. The U.S. is in one of its toughest economical times, yet, I see families growing. This left me wondering why families would be expanding at such hard times. Allow me to share some of my thoughts with you.

During these tough times, many families have a mom or a dad staying at home because they are out of work. I am seeing a turn toward more one income families where we haven't seen this in a while. I am starting to think that this may actually be a positive thing!  Could it be that as we have a parent back at home and less work that we are realizing the value of family? With a loss of one income, there often will be downsizing to allow for the loss in finances. Maybe a family moves into a smaller home, or in with family. Maybe the family goes down to one car when they previously had two or more. The families are forced to downsize. Maybe even begin to live with in their means.  This is where the baby making starts. I think some families are realizing that they dont NEED to have all that "stuff" to have a happy family. They can be happy with a small home, a modest car (or maybe no car and they take the bus!) and be surrounded by those they love. During tough times, we look for something to inspire us and look forward to. A new baby to many symbolizes hope and a future.

Now, if you fall in this category of expanding your family while the budget is tight, you know that babies are not free. But they dont HAVE to cost you insane amounts. There are ways to be frugal. Here are 3 tips to save you money.

1) Breastfeed.
 Not every mother will be able to breastfeed, but most mothers do have this capability and it is not only very healthy for your baby, but it will save you BIG bucks! Formula is expensive.You can easily spend $100 a month just on formula. Breastmilk is FREE.One of my favorite sites to find lactation information is . There are tons of great answers and help for you to successfully start and continue breastfeeding.

2)Cloth Diaper.
Another big money saver. You may be thinking pins and prefolds and rubber pants, and while you could choose that route, modern day cloth diapering is easy and cute! Once you have a good amount of cloth diapers, you dont have to buy any more disposables! I like the tip that disposable moms give to buy a pack of diapers each week you go to the grocery store while you are pregnant. But instead, buy a cloth diaper each week. If you start at the beginning you could end up with 40 cloth diapers by the time the baby comes! Many cloth diapers cost less then a pack of disposables.  If you wait till baby is born and want to switch from sposies to cloth, with out having any extra money, you can buy one cloth diaper for the month. Use it in rotation with your sposies and by the end of the month you will have saved enough to buy another one the next month. The next month you will have saved enough from the two cloth diapers to buy two more the next month. And now you have four in just three months.  It is a cloth diaper snow ball plan lol! (if you are a fan of Dave Ramsey you will know what I'm talking about here ).
Many cloth diapers companies have an economy line of cloth diapers that you can get for cheap to help you get started.

3)Make your own baby food.
This sounds time consuming, but it really is not. You can go about this a couple different ways. You can go all out and buy fresh fruits and veggies, which actually is cheaper and healthier! You can also buy frozen, which is still cheap and easy.  Once you've decided on fresh or frozen, now you cook it. Either boil or steam, which ever you prefer. Once they are soft and ready to eat, you will place the food in a blender or a small food processor. I found one at wal-mart for just $13.99. If that is too much for you to spend, then go to a thrift store. They have food processors there all the time for $2-$5. Once you have your food pureed, you can either serve fresh or you can freeze. A tip for freezing is to pour the baby food into ice cube trays. Each cube is approximately an ounce. After the food freezes, you can put all the cubes in a ziplock back and store in the freezer for easy and quick servings later. At serving time, simply take a few cubes out and boil in a baggy to de-thaw.

I hope you found these tips helpful and you find your hands and your heart full.
Feel free to leave any frugal tips for raising a baby in comments for others to see ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Does one cloth diaper a day make a difference?

I hear this all the time, "I can't afford to buy a bunch of cloth diapers at once" or "It is easier for me to buy disposables since they cost less upfront."

I challenge you to a little food for thought:

Some things you can buy for $7.99 :

1 month of Hulu Plus
1 wedding magazine
1 Bridgestone golf ball.
Approximately 2 gallons of gas (depending on where you live maybe less gas!)
Approximately 2 gallons of Milk

Now, think of this, you can get 1 Economy Tushie Ties cloth diaper for just $7.99. Say this is the ONLY cloth diaper you have and you are using disposables the rest of the time. If you were to use that one diaper once a day and wash and reuse once a day, in one month you would have saved 30 disposable diapers at 25 cents each. That comes to $7.50 (plus tax) Your ONE cloth diaper nearly paid for itself in ONE MONTH. Every month after that your diaper is costing you NOTHING and you are saving $7.50 every month.  Imagine if you have enough for every day all day! The savings are huge! All of the above items listed are used up. You don’t get to use them over.  You by them once and are gone (or lost on the golf course lol!).Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just one diaper a day makes a difference! If you want to cloth diaper full time, you don’t have to buy all your cloth diapers at once. Buy one a month if you have to until you've built a big enough stash to stop using disposables entirely. After the first month with one cloth diaper, you've already saved enough to by another one the next month with out spending any extra!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Feminism, I have a bone to pick.

Feminism, I have a bone to pick.

While I understand some very important changes have taken place over the course of women's rights and I honestly appreciate those who have struggled to get women's rights out there on lots of things.  I still have a bone to pick and I suggest that we don’t quite have it right yet.

From where I sit, I see some flaws.

Honestly, feminism took mothers from the home to the work force and essentially we have ended up with homes without the very core of what makes them, well, a family.
I won’t say families can’t be raised with their mothers working or that all mothers shouldn't work. Clearly we have several generations who have done just that and well, here we all are, still continuing on as a human race. But are we better for it?

It’s my opinion that we are now often forced doing what we wanted the freedom  of choice to do (work) and now looking for the freedom to be able to choose to stay home and raise our family. For many families it is now next to impossible to survive on one income. Forcing mom to work whether she likes it or not. Meanwhile, many women are STILL expected to pick up the majority of the household duties and child rearing.

Those lucky enough to be able to afford to stay home are well, often ill prepared for motherhood, and "domesticality". In the feminist movement we have shifted our priorities from the home to work field and have lost lifetimes of knowledge that helped us cope with our responsibilities as a wife, as a mother, as a woman.  So you get to stay home now…. but how many of us really know how to do that anymore? In the days of old there were finishing schools and home economics classes. Mothers trained their daughters how to manage their home with grace, balance their marriage, children and house and prioritize. They passed down generations of recipes and fed their families with food they prepared themselves and their families were healthier for it.  Is this sounding like a fairy tale? It should, those days are all but gone. Now these valuable set of skills are hard to find, if not impossible. Women have been left to flounder around trying to figure it out on our own and often failing miserably. This affects our marriages and dare I say, our own self esteem as we feel inadequate and we continue to pass down our lack of skills to our own daughters.

Another set of mothers are the ones who have managed to stay home despite income restrictions. They’ve found creative ways to make money from home and are often tight on the bills and strapped for cash. They can’t afford many of the fun things they thought they would be doing with their children and their idea of a stay at home mom meets reality and their dreams become a sad fantasy. They stress because they always wonder, are we going to make the bills this month, they feel guilty for wanting to stay home and think maybe they should just go back to work. Did you read that? Let me repeat that. They feel GUILTY for something like wanting to raise their own family! It saddens me that what was once a right to stay at home with your child is now a very hard choice that often comes with many sacrifices leaving the mother and father to feel like they aren’t getting things right. It’s a struggle.

We now live in a rushed society, children being raised by childcare centers, schools and I shudder, the media. TV’s baby sit our children while we try to make just enough time to get it all done.  We pop in microwave dinners and sit around the TV, this is our family time as we all crash from a long days work.  Not to mention consuming crazy amounts of unhealthy fast foods.

Is this REALLY what we wanted? I have to wonder, am I the only one that feels duped?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simple Solutions for Diaper Rash

Through the years my house has seen its fair share of diaper rashes. Using cloth diapers presents a small challenge of needing to know how to treat a diaper rash with out staining your diapers or causing repelling issues.

Many of the store bought rash creams are not suitable on cloth diapers with out using a barrier.

The first thing I want to bring your attention to is....away from the diaper! Yes, this is a diaper rash solution, but it comes no where near the diaper! Thus being 100% cloth diaper friendly!

Where exactly are we going you may ask? To the bath tub!

When a child gets a rash, the warm water is very soothing, add some salt to that or even an oatmeal bath and your baby's bum will thank you!

Once in the tub, what you can do is add Tea Tree Oil! Add 3-5 drops to the bath water and just let them play in the tub as usual.

Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial and is great for fighting and preventing rashes, even yeast rashes! Its also great for many other things, including warding off respiratory colds, staph infections when the kiddos wont stop scratching a bug bite, and even treating the bug bite itself to stop the itching and make the site heal quicker!

Another bath additive is Grapefruit Seed Extract. It has the same antibacterial qualities as Tea Tree Oil. Use it the same way by putting a few drops in the bath water.

For continued protection with Tea Tree Oil or Grapefruit Seed Extract you can use it in your cloth wipes solution. Simply mix it in with water and use it to wet your wipes before wiping babies bottom.

Some other natual remedies that I like are straight cornstarch, olive oil, coconut oil (good for yeast rash), and honey mixed with Tea Tree Oil applied to the diaper rash.

To keep any ointments off your diapers, a simple solution is using liners. These can be store bought liners or ones you make yourself!

A couple of ideas for making yourself are:

Cut up an old tee shirt into rectangles and lay on the inside of your diaper .

Cut up a old fleece baby blanket or even go buy one for $1.00 at year nearest drug store. The fleece offers two forms of protection by making a barrier for ointments and also making a stay dry liner so your baby will feel dry!

Simple solutions!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Return of the Wet Pail!

Back in the Day when our Mothers and Grandmothers cloth diapered, wet pails are where  our dirty diapers were kept. As cloth diapering left and then evolved and came back, we have left the days of wet pails behind.

You may even wonder what a wet pail is! In case that is you, a wet pail was a bucket of water, often with some added cleaner (they were more likely to use bleach then the mamas of these days are). When cloth diapering evolutionized, we ditched the wet pails for pretty dry bags. With a mentality that the way it used to be wasn't good anymore. Many thoughts go to stinky, smelly and who knows what else may enter your mind. I've been there too. But more and more I have seen wet pails mentioned once again. When I took the time to think about it, I had to reassess WHY  they were used to begin with. While cloth diapers have gotten so much better and easier, the old wet pail shouldn't necessarily be a thing of the past. Here are the two main reasons I like wet pails:
  • Wet pails help fight staining. 
When we get a stain on our shirt, what do we do? We rinse it off and let it soak with a cleaner. Why wouldn't we do the same with our dirty diapers? We all want those soft diapers to stay smelling nice and stain free.
  • Wet pails help fight stink.
Our first thoughts of stink doesnt need to be so. In fact, soaking your diapers till wash day helps prevent stink. Think about this, you can add what you want to your diaper soak. There are different things you can add. I like to add OxyClean and few other things to mine. It helps neutralize the oders that other wise would be sitting and festering in a dry bag.

Not bad huh? They are really simple to use and you don't need to rush out and buy anything special. All you need is a pail ( I used an old small trash can), water and your favorite additive(s). Some additives for the water you could use are Oxy-Clean, Tea Tree oil, grapefruit seed extract,  or even a little laundry soap.

Come wash day, simply take your pail and pour it into the wash. This works on both top loaders and front loaders. On front loaders, the water simply drains straight out so no worry of water overflowing. Then run your first water only rinse. You will notice, after you have that first rinse (if your crazy like me and like to smell your dipes each step of the way) that your diapers smell amazingly cleaner already. Then continue with your normal wash routine.

If your curious what I use, here it is:

1 bucket of water
1/4 scoop Oxy-Clean
1/2 cap full tea tree oil
about 2 table spoons laundry detergent

and picture of my soaking diapers in their wet pail

These amounts can vary however you'd like. Its just what I like to do. Rest assured, I do NOT measure things out exactly each time. I'm a "lets see what this does" type of girl ;)

The old wet pail has made its way in my home and has been a fabulous new addition to my washing routine. I believe in this case, and many cases, just cause its old doesn't mean its broke! I like the wet pail and you just may too! Let me know in comments what you think and if you decide to give the wet pail a try !

Saturday, November 13, 2010

RLR Stripping with a Front Loader Washing Machine

Awe! The joys of stripping cloth diapers! I used to strip using Dawn dish detergent, but those were the days of a top loading washer. I now have a nifty HE Front Loader which I LOVE! However it does change some of my old cloth diapering washing routine. For one, I can not use dawn dish detergent any more due to the fact that it suds like crazy and Im not interested in ruining my Nice HE washer. Ive heard rumors of RLR working wonders so I decided to give it a try.
Last week I purchased some RLR from Moms Milk Boutique because they had free shipping and I love that!

It arrived yesterday. I decided to document my experience step by step for you all to see. Hopefully this will help someone out there :)

My first concern was the fact that I wasn't sure if it is safe for my HE washer. After all this is the reason Im trying it out instead of Dawn dish soap for stripping.

So I decided to check the "Suds Level" of this stuff.
I placed a pinch of RLR into a plastic container then added water. Here are the results:

There were definitely suds there. Not as much as say Dawn dish soap, but yes, there were indeed suds and they really did not dissipate like I had hoped.
My curiosity then peaked and I wondered what my HE detergent would do under the same test. There were suds upon impact of the running water but they immediately dissipated.

What was left within seconds was a filmy residue.

Then I had to try one more thing. I had a all natural soap which boasted little to now sudsing so I HAD to try this one to.
I had similar results as the HE made detergent. It suds upon impact of the running water but quickly dissipated but not quite as fast. But still fast.

I was once again left with a filmy residue in the water.

After doing all this, I did decide to still use RLR with my front loader, however I still had some concerns after seeing the clear difference in "Suds Level"

Step 1:
Load washer with your diapers. I decided to go ahead and put all my dirty diapers in as well as my clean ones. The directions said to "wash as usual with detergent..." so I did :)

Step 2:
Pour RLR into your powder section of your HE Washers Cleaner dispenser.

Step 3:
Start your wash as usual. I spent a good amount of time watching for sudsing after this. There never was a significant amount that I could see.

Step 4:
Do as many extra rinses as you need till your rinse water runs clear. Here is what I was seeing after 2 extra rinses after the initial wash cycle.

I ended up doing 3 rinses on top of the original regular wash cycle.

The results:
Diapers looked and smelled nice. I had a few "shot" diapers that I was pretty certain were way past what stripping could do for them. I was right. They still had funk smell issues. However my regular stash of diapers that had regular funk smell going on, they were nice and clean and smelled like... nothing. Just clean.

So all in all, I'd say mission accomplished. I don't think its a miracle cleaner. It does help with up keep and when you start getting a smell even though you've been washing regularly. You should remember that the best way to prevent funk is regular upkeep of your diapers. DON'T LET DIRTY DIAPERS SIT! I will be posting more on this really soon.