Saturday, February 27, 2010

Date Night!

Tonight Tyler and I got to go out on a date.  Our first one since my dad left right after Christmas.  It was great!  We finally got to use that gift card my sister and her husband gave us 2 years ago for Christmas and go out to a nice dinner at Olive Garden.  Afterward we went and walked around Books-A-Million, finding books and sitting in the middle of the aisles as we browsed through them.

We think it's funny that most of our dates end up to be that way.  Just sitting on the floor looking at books.  But it's what we like and something we've just always done.  On the way home we talked about it and how great it is that we can be interested in different things, but still find a way to enjoy being together.  And being excited for each other in our different areas of interest.  Tyler will usually wander around looking at 50 different types of books, then bring a few back to where I am mentally memorizing crafting projects I'm looking at, then we just sit and show each other what we've found.

I'm really grateful for the differences we have in our marriage.  That we each have different roles, different interests, different strengths - but that they are great complements to each other.  There is just no way our home could function if we both did everything the same.  I like that Tyler does things differently than I do.  Heavenly Father really knew what He was doing when He made men and women different.

Anyway, a GIANT thanks to McKenzie (our fantastic niece who is now "of age" to babysit!) for watching the kids for us.  Date nights are always easier when you don't have to worry about what you'll be coming home to.  We figured if she could handle the Johnson's kids, she could handle ours.... ;)  (We love you guys)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

A few weeks ago I did a post about cloth diapering and had a lot of people tell me they were interested in getting started.  Well, here's your chance to enter for a free cloth diaper!  There is a new company called Envibum that is doing a free giveaway.  Here's their site, so check them out here.

If you want to enter, head over to Passionate Homemaking and enter for your chance to win!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Ridiculous Amount of Snow

As you know, about a month ago my grandma took Cade to Utah so he could experience what snow was like.  Little did we know what was in store for us.  Friday late afternoon it started snowing (it's been known to happen every now and then)... and then it started sticking... and then it wouldn't stop.

The kids wanted to go out in it, so of course I grabbed my camera for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Catching the HUGE snowflakes.  Ali always has to check she's doing it exactly like Cade.

I thought we wouldn't get much more snow than this, so I made sure to document what would certainly shut down the city had it not already been President's Day weekend.

About 30 minutes later...

Then it was time for dinner and movie night, plus the kids were soaking and freezing.  And the snow just kept coming.  It was really pretty, but I was worried about Tyler having to drive home from work in it at 10:30 at night.  He made it home safely and the by the next morning we woke up to this:

Looking down the driveway-

Out at the chicken coop - 

Since Valentine's Day was on Sunday this year, we did our annual tradition of breakfast at IHOP on Saturday.  On our way, we saw several cars on the side of the road that had either spun off the night before, or that morning.  Once, a truck in front of us actually got stuck on some ice, then us, but we were able to make it through ok.  When we got back we went out back to let the chickens out and see what they thought of all this whiteness.

They kept very close the coop... and the one hen that decided to venture out was slow enough that the kids were able to chase her around (and keep up with her) for a bit.  They spent the rest of the day inside the coop.

And what does every kid need after a good chicken chase?  A nice, cool refreshment.  Cade and Ali spent the rest of the time digging in the snow until they could find the dirt and then eating the snow off the trees.  

Right off the trees.

So, now Cade and Ali have BOTH experienced snow!  And, although it was beautiful, I'm glad it was warmer and it's almost all gone.  Time for spring already!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Lately I've had a few people ask me about the whole cloth diapering thing, so I figured this would be a good place to answer questions and tell what I think about it.

We looked into cloth diapers when our daughter was just a few months old.  After a lot of reading and figuring out what kinds of cloth diapers were even out there, we decided to try a few different types/brands out.  I knew I wanted a "pocket" diaper, I just didn't know anything from there.  A pocket diaper is one that has the "shell" (the part you see) and comes with an insert (like a little towel) that you put in to soak up everything.  You can stuff it with another insert at night, or something like hemp that will soak up more so you can avoid those nighttime changes.  There are also all-in-ones (AIO) which are basically like a disposable (no stuffing required) where everything is sewn together.  I just liked the idea of being able to control the absorbency level.

We bought a few of the Happy Heiny's in 2 different sizes.  I hated them.  They leaked all the time.  The way the legs were sewn, everything just seeped out the sides.  Since then, I hear that they have come out with a new and improved diaper and I actually kind of want to try it... but we'll see.

Fuzzi Bunz was another brand we tried.  We also bought this in 2 different sizes.  It worked ok.  I liked the snaps, but I didn't always get a great fit, so sometimes it was too big and other times a little too tight.

bumGenius - Grasshopper We also tried out some bumGenius diapers, fell in love, and never looked back.  I preferred this for several reasons.

1) It is a one size diaper.  This means that the same diaper will fit a small baby (they say 8 lbs, but I didn't try it) all the way through potty training.  Which, so far, is true because Ali still wears them at night.  There are snaps that adjust the height of the diaper as well as the insert.

2) No leaks.  I never had a problem with her leaking in these diapers.  Even really messy diapers were well contained in these suckers.  No more of that poop-shooting-up-the-back stuff.  The elastic isn't too tight around them, but tight enough for a good, solid hold.

3) Double inserts.  Every bumGenius diaper comes with 2 inserts.  One is a "regular" insert and the other is a "newborn" insert which is a little smaller, but perfect for doubling up at night.  I ended up buying a bunch of hemp inserts for our other diapers to use at night that now I don't need because 2 of the bumGenius inserts work great.

4) Velcro.  It was a perfect fit every time, much faster to put on, and much more like a disposable so it makes it easier for others to use.  (I usually try and have disposables on hand for babysitters, but sometimes we were just out and only had the cloth, so it was nice that it was very "user friendly")  You'll read that the snaps will last longer, and they do.  Our Velcro tabs have been wearing out, but you can get replacements for them.  More and more online diaper shops are selling the "refresher kits" for $1, or you can just email Cotton Babies
(through the "Contact Us" section on their site) and ask for free ones.  I didn't have to pay a cent and had it at my house in under a week (from the time of asking).

So how many do you need?  We bought an 18 pack, plus 3 that we bought to "test out."  I ended up giving a couple to my sister to try out, so we were left with maybe 19 or 20.  That was enough that I didn't have to wash every single day.  I'd say an 18 pack would be perfect (unless you like washing every day).

We also found 2 other essentials to be a wet bag and a diaper sprayer.  And a diaper pail if you don't already have one.

We have 2 wet bags (one smaller, one larger) to keep in the diaper bag for when we're out.  You just put the used diapers in there and deal with it when you get home.

The diaper sprayer is like a mini-shower head that attaches to your toilet and you can use to spray off the excess mess.  Not only is it really helpful for diapers, but for cleaning up messes while potty-training as well.

For wipes we just used disposables... which was actually kind of a pain.  I didn't want to spend the money on cloth ones, but this time around I'm making my own from old receiving blankets.  It just seems easier to throw it all in the diaper pail and wash it all together rather than have to separate out the wipes, throw them away, then take out the trash for really smelly grossness.   Check out how to make your own here.

I think that about covers it... There are so many options out there, but I love using cloth diapers.  Not only does it save us money, we can be better prepared should anything ever happen.  I think about how the Church tells us to have our food storage and money saved to be prepared for anything, and then I think, "What would happen if I couldn't get to the store for diapers?"  Seriously, what could you do?  I like always having diapers on hand and not having to run out late at night because I'm on the last one in the pack.

Everyone has to make their own choice on what is best for their family, but for us, we love our cloth.

Update:  Thanks for the questions Katie, I forgot to cover those things!
1. Do you remember about how much they cost for the 18 pack? How much was the sprayer, pail, and pail liner?
We ended up spending about $500 when all was said and done.  It would have been cheaper had we known some things like the fact that you can buy a diaper, try it, and if you don't like it, return it for a full refund (check with your seller first, of course).  Also, the hemp inserts I bought and only used a few times were pretty pricey and I wished I hadn't bought them (or maybe so many).  Usually you can find an 18 pack for about $305.  The wet bags range anywhere from $7-30 depending on what you get.  We already had the pail, and I didn't buy a liner.  I just give it a good scrubbing every other wash day or so.  But most sites offer free shipping on orders over $75, so it's smart to get everything at one place in my opinion. 

2. Do you use special cloth diaper detergent, or just add like baking soda and bleach to your wash?

I just use the same detergent I use for my clothes (Tide).  I usually do a cold wash w/detergent, hot wash w/detergent, then a hot wash with a little bleach on the inserts only.  Or a cold wash w/detergent, vinegar and baking soda, hot wash the same way, then one more cold rinse.  I've never had a problem with my diapers being stained.  The inserts do occasionally stain (weird, I know), but bleach gets it out.

3. How often do you have to wash diapers with your 18 pack?

It depends on the age.  In the beginning (when she was about 4 months old) I was washing every other day... maybe stretching it to every 2 days.  As she got older, she didn't need to be changed as often and it was every 2-3 days.

4. Do you order it all online, or did you find a retailer? 

I ordered everything online.  I've never seen any store carry any of the brands I've mentioned.  There might be one somewhere, but I've never seen any.  You can just do a search for cloth diapers and TONS of retailers will pop up. Like I said before, most places will offer free shipping on orders above $75, so check for that.  Also, pricing is pretty much the same wherever you look for cloth diapers, so just pick a place that has everything you want.  Selections (including brands, colors, quantities) can vary a lot from place to place and from time to time.  

*Also****  I forgot to mention that cloth diapering does cause your baby to have a big bum.  So, as cute as it is to have them just in a diaper, some of those cute clothes you want to put your baby in just don't look the same with a huge bulky bum.  Just keep that in mind.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Nursing Pads

As my belly gets larger and our savings account gets smaller, I've been looking for ways for us to save some cash.  With my due date approaching, I've been thinking of all the things we'll need for the new baby.  Being our third child, we don't need much, but there are still some essentials that need to be replenished.

We're already set with diapers since we decided to do cloth with our daughter almost 2 years ago.  But as I was cleaning out our bathroom closet I came across a box of nursing pads and thought about how frustrating it is to buy those things over and over.  I looked briefly at buying cloth ones while I was still nursing before, but the cost seemed to not be worth it at the time since I was nearly finished needing them.  This time around Tyler reminded me I could probably just make my own, so I did a search for patterns and came across this link from Passionate Homemaking.  Just what I was looking for!  The best part?  It cost me just over $2 to buy the fleece, but I had everything else on hand.  Even better is that that $2 in fleece is going a long way to make a ton of nursing pads.

Obviously, I don't know yet how well they do, but it sounds like it should work out.  I am really happy with how mine turned out (should have taken a picture...) and excited to try it out!