Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun in the Sun with Swim Diaper Reviews

It's getting hot in Florida and that means its time to put our pool to good use and break out the swimsuits.  Having 2 kids that are still in diapers also means that we need to have a few swim diapers on hand as well.  I only started using cloth diapers about a year ago but I have been using reusable swim diapers since the beginning.  I had extreme sticker shock when I went to purchase disposable swim diapers for the first time and at that point set out to find a reusable diaper.  Since then I have accumulated 4 different brands and also recently made my own.  I haven't found a lot of reviews about reusable swim diapers out there so I wanted to provide my thoughts here.

iPlay swim diaper
We have probably used the iPlay swim diaper (aff) the most, it was the second one I got and since we have the white one it goes with every bathing suit the girls have.  Some of the key features are the snaps on the side (one side only) and the added absorbency in the center that will protect against small wet accidents when not in the water.  This diaper does give my skinny girls a bubble butt but other than that the fit (we have a medium) is pretty good.  We have never had a leaking problem with this diaper but I do wish it had snaps on both side of the diaper.
Charlie Banana Swim Diaper
The Charlie Banana Swim diaper (aff) is another diaper that we bought last summer.  I found it at Target on sale so I went ahead and bought one so that we would have a back up swim diaper.  This diaper also has a little absorbency added to it (they also say this can be used as a training diaper) to prevent leaks while out of the water.  One of the things that I don't like is that its a pull on diaper which would be fine if your child is only wet but since the main purpose of a swim diaper is to hold in the mess the last thing I want to do is pull down a wet messy diaper and make an even bigger mess.
Blueberry Freestyle Swim Diaper
When I saw the Blueberry Freestyle diaper online I knew that I had to try one when I saw that it had snaps on both sides of the diaper.  I ordered the medium because both of my girls are in the 19-24 pound range and I figured this would be the right size.  Some of the things I like about the diaper is the the snaps on both sides, elastic around the back and the front and the light padding for small accidents.  With all of this said I don't really like the fit.  I think that it would work fine for containing any messes but it just looks funny on my girls.
Homemade Swim Diaper
Trying out all of these diapers it finally occurred to me one night that I could probably make my own (I don't know why this epiphany was so slow coming to me).  Of course one of the best things about making your own is that you have more control over the fabric, styling and features.  I posted earlier this week about the tutorial I used and tips and tricks for sewing your own swim diaper.

Overall whichever reusable swim diaper you pick you will be saving a lot of money and putting something much cuter on your baby.  For me, the swim diaper was the gateway to full time cloth and I am glad that I tried it out.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trying to Get My Body Back

I am excited to have a little something different to share with you over the next 6 weeks, my adventure with the Body Back program.  It is a 6 week program and I will be blogging about it throughout the program but today I want to cover why I am doing the body back program.
Our Instructors results - stay tuned for mine!
I've been attending Stroller Strides classes for the past year and I love it because its the perfect way to fit in a workout and not have to worry about childcare (especially the scary gym kind).  As most of my readers will know, I have two little girls that are 2.5 years and 14 months (17 months apart).  I thankfully lost all of the weight I gained with my second child by the time she was 9 months old but I am still holding onto the 10 pounds I didn't lose from my pregnancy with my first daughter.  After losing the initial weight I have hit a plateau and I knew that something dramatic needed to happen to get over the hump.  Thankfully the Body Back program was starting up and I knew this was exactly what I needed to get to my goal so here are the main reasons that I will be doing Body Back.
My first class - you can do anything for one minute!
1. Like I briefly mentioned before, I had hit a weight loss plateau and it seemed like my own efforts were not enough.  People kept telling me that the last weight would drop off after I stopped nursing my baby, but even though we are down to just night nursing it's still holding on. 
2. The program encourages exercise and healthy eating.  My mom always says that these are the key to weight loss/management so I knew that this program could work for me.
3.  Other than eating healthy there aren't a lot of food restrictions which is perfect for me.  I LOVE food and I don't think I would survive 6 weeks let alone 6 days on too restrictive of a diet.  The program also provides some meal suggestions and a lot of info about healthy eating.  I have tried out some of the recipes on my family and we all agree that they taste great.
4.  I love that the program is in a group exercise setting.  I have a hard time exercising on my own so I love that we not only exercise in a group but also have each other for support through the program.
I am really hopeful about the results I will see in 6 weeks and I hope you will follow along with me for the journey.  I took before pictures and will take after pictures when it is all done and I will share them here when the program is done.
In return for my honest review I have been provided complimentary in the Body Back program.  All results and opinions are my own.
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Swim Diaper Tutorial Review and Tips

We are now entering the swim season and I have been getting out my swim diapers and complaining about how I would make them better.  It finally occurred to me that I could probably make my own swim diaper (better late than never) since I have made a bunch of reusable diapers for my girls already.  I searched online and pretty much the only tutorial out there for swim diapers is the Aquarius Swimmer.  I printed out and followed the pattern provided and found that the small fits my girls perfectly.  If you are sewing something yourself you have so many options to customize so here are some tips, tricks and changes that I made to the pattern/tutorial.
1.  I only used 3 layers, PUL on the outside and Athletic Whicking Jersey (AWJ) on the inside.  I but all of my diaper supplies from Diaper Sewing Supplies
2.  Before applying my FOE I did a baste stitch to tack together my PUL and AWJ.  This helped make sure that  it didn't move around when applying the FOE and also helped to make sure that the FOE caught both sides of the material.
3.  I cut the extended tabs per the pattern for both layers of material.  I then didn't not put FOE on either of the ends (just along the front, back, and both legs) and folded all 4 ends down to reinforce for the snaps. 
4.  I like having a little flexibility so I added a second (or third) row of snaps.  That way you can adjust to whatever baby you are putting it on and it can also grow with them a little bit.
5. I don't think this is actually necessary but in my swim diaper reviews I noted that they all had a layer of light absorbency added. By making your own you have control over adding none or a little bit to help with small accidents.

After  making my first one I cut the pattern a little larger for a seam allowance and turned and top stitched the second one and used regular braided elastic.  I added elastic not only at the legs but also at the front and back of the diaper to help keep things in.  I think both versions will work well and I didn't like the the FOE gets pulled from the pavement.
Overall I thought this was a great pattern.  I made it for my daughters to just wear with a sun shirt.  I love that its not super bulky for my girls and that it is so easy.  I will be making a few more of these!
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Friday, May 23, 2014

Hair Bows

Today I "taught" a group of moms how to make hair bows using different flowers.  We had a lot of fun and enjoyed all of the different color combinations.  We also took some of the headbands and donated them to the Children's Cancer Center for their upcoming dance.
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 7: Flats and Handwashing Overall Experience

Today is the final day of the flats and handwashing challenge and as this was my first year I really think it was a success.  I have been using flats for the past month so that I could report the results of my flats diaper trial but of course the hand washing was completely new to me.  Today blogger are covering their Overall Experience so I figured I would cover some pros and cons from the experience as well as any tips and tricks I have learned this week.
Using Flats-
     - Easy to use and easy to wash
     - Relatively trim, especially in one layer
     - Very inexpensive
     - Easy to customize absorbency
     - Not as daddy or babysitter friendly (although mine did figure it out)
     - Require more laundry folding time to prepare for baby's use
Hand washing compared to machine washing:
      - Inexpensive
      - Faster than using my washing machine
      - More control over each cycle, you can actually see what is going on as you wash
      - Good work out :)
      - Loads need to be smaller so potentially washing more frequently
      - Longer drying time
      - More time consuming
      - Labor intensive, hard on back and tiring
      - Flats not as soft as when put in a dryer
Tips and Tricks:
Here are some of the things that I have learned this past week.  I started thinking about what changes I would make if I was going to be using flats and hand washing for the long term and wanted to share them here. 
1. Keep it simple, I like to just pad fold so that I don't have to struggle with a squirmy baby or worry about getting it right.  You also don't need a fastener if you pad fold.
2. To make it easier for other people that may be changing your baby, have a few covers with flats in them and ready to go and your other flats pad folded and read to be placed in a cover.
3. Buy real flats.  Based on my diaper trial I would say that its worth while to spring for some real flats (but it can't hurt to have some FST or blankets for back up).
4. Buy a Mobil Washer, this contraption was amazing and I never had any problems getting my diapers clean.  My flats come out of my washing machine still folded in half but there was so much agitation with the Mobil washer that they were completely unfolded when I was done.
5. Change the handle on your Mobil Washer so that you can stand up straight and agitate.
6. Buy or make a diaper sprayer, getting everything rinsed off right away will make your washing easier.  I also would rinse REALLY, REALLY well with my sprayer.
7. For the long term I would want to wash every other day so I would buy a second bucket and keep the first days diapers in the first bucket and the second days in the second bucket.  Then when I am ready to wash just put both buckets in your tub and perform the same steps on each.  It will take a little longer to do each "cycle" but at least you have every other night free.
8. I used a drying rack which didn't have a lot of room for more than 7-8 flats, so I would get a line or something else that holds more to dry.
Overall I really think that hand washing is very doable.  Maybe I just has crazy expectations, thinking that it would be miserable, but I didn't find it to be exceptionally hard, time consuming or gross. 
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 6: Results of the Flats Trial

Today is Day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing challenge and an open topic blog day.  When the Challenge was announced a few months ago I knew that this was not only a perfect opportunity to see if I could handle the hand washing but also a perfect time to do my diaper trial on different kinds of flats.  I have put almost every style (just need to do fitteds now) through my trial but had yet to try flats so I was excited to see how they perform.

Bummis Cover with a Imagine Bamboo Flat - so trim!
As I noted in my flats and covers stash post, I wanted to include both flour sack towels (FST) and receiving blankets in the mix since I see those frequently recommended as inexpensive diapering options.  I was curious how materials not meant for diapering (FSTs and blankets) would stack up against traditional cotton and bamboo flats.  I started using the four types of flats I had for the challenge about a month ago so that I would have enough time to report full results of how they did.  I also did something a little different this time and used the various flats I had at night.  Both of my girls sleep from about 7:30pm to 7:30am, so all results are for a 12 hour period. So without further ado.....
Traditional Flats
OsoCozy Birdseye Cotton Flats
Number of day uses: 7
Number of night uses: 13
Number of day leaks: 0
Number of night leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak (day): 5 hours
Big Booty factor : 2
Best Use: Day time, night time doubled up, out and about

·        These are a very nice size and thickness
·        Very absorbent and easy to wash
·        Best "bang for your buck" at only $2 each they are a great choice for any budget

·        Stain easily (this is very common with natural fibers and specific to these flats)
These flats are amazing.  For daytime they are perfect and will easily last 3 hours or longer.  I would just pad fold them and they fit easily in all of the covers I had. Even pad folded they looked really trim on my girls and when I did try different folds they were even trimmer!  I previously only used disposable diapers on my girls at night but since trying these out I have been using these at night (doubled up for my heavy wetter) and have less leaks than with disposables so I am one happy mom!  I listed staining as a con because I honestly couldn't think of one.  All natural fibers stain easily and with the OsoCozy flats they stains washed out within a few cycles.

Imagine Bamboo Flats
Number of day uses: 4
Number of night uses: 8
Number of day leaks: 0
Number of night leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak (day): 3 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor : 3
Best Use: Night time use

·        These are very soft and larger than my other flats
·        Nice absorbent bamboo that works well for night time

·         Larger than my other flats so I had to fold them down a bit to be able to pad fold them.

I only had 2 of these flats so I didn't get to use them as much as the other types but I had good results.  I noticed that I relied on these for night time a lot so they were frequently dirty when I wanted to use them during the day.  The leaks were both with my heavy wetting toddler so not very surprising (and were also not doubled).  I actually really love these at night now with a "half flat" that I made.  I will be buying more of these for night time for sure!  The only downside for me was that since they are larger than my other flats I had to fold them more (4 layers instead of 3) to get them to fit inside my covers and I also had to fold down the back so that it wasn't too long.  This made them slightly more bulky in the covers.  Overall though, this is a great flat, especially for night time.
Non-Traditional Flats

Flour Sack Towels
Number of day uses: 8
Number of night uses: 4
Number of day leaks: 1 (at 3 hours)
Number of night leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak (day): 3 hours
Big Booty factor : 2
Best Use: Day time, around the house

·      These are definitely the cheapest option at only $1 a piece
·        The material is relatively thin so its still very trim pad folded

·         Not as absorbent

Overall FSTs were just average for me.  I honestly was surprised that they lasted as long as they did averaging about 2 hours which for any cloth diaper is good. After being washed these maintained their square shape and so that are easy to pad fold and fit into any cover I have.They are the cheapest option and the easiest to find as pretty much any large store should carry something similar but in my opinion I would rather spend the $2 and get the OsoCozy birdseye flat. 

Receiving Blankets
Number of day uses: 10
Number of night uses: 5
Number of day leaks: 1
Number of night leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak (day): 3 hours
Big Booty factor : 2
Best Use: Day time use, around the house

·        Readily available
·        Can be more fun (with different colors and patterns) than other white flats
·        Softer than other flats

·         Least absorbent of the flats I tried
·         At over $2 a piece I think there are better options for the cost

I think the biggest benefit to receiving blankets is that most parents will already have them and in my experience you receive more than you can use as actual blankets.  They are also available at any large store so they would be easy to find.  These were my least favorite though when considering how well they worked but are perfectly suitable, especially in a pinch.

I honestly didn't think I would like flats at all but after using them for the past month I actually love them!  My original plan was to donate all of the flats I used for the challenge to Giving Diapers Giving Hope but I have decided instead to keep them and send a check in the amount of the value to GDGH instead.  These will be my current overnight solution and I am so pleased that I found not only a great daytime option but also something to finally use for night with my girls.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 5: The Flats Experience

Today is Day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  Before using flats for the first time a month ago I was skeptical that I would like them at all but I have been proven wrong and actually love them!!  I have found them to be really absorbent (my trial results will be posted tomorrow) and easy to use.  I also have found the handwashing to be pretty easy and not as gross as expected. 

In the beginning I tried out different folds but I honestly just find that padfolding them is pretty trim, very absorbent and the easiest for me.  After they come out of the dryer or off the drying rack I just padfold them right away so that I can put them in my diaper drawer all ready to go.  Having them pad folded also makes it easy to just throw a few in the diaper bad although this is not my favorite style for out of the house.  I love that you can customize flats so easily with the different folds, doubling them up and adjusting where the most layer of material is for your child's needs.
One of the downsides (which isn't really a downside) is that with only 6-7 covers they turn into a utility and not an accessory.  If you have been following my blog or know me in person you know that I love all of the different colors and prints.  I love to coordinate my diapers with outfits or holidays and doing this is part of the fun of cloth diapering for me.  Of course this is not the point of the Challenge but for me it does take some of the fun out of it. 
Overall I have enjoyed the challenge, I love to see how clean the diapers actually get with hand washing and its fulfilling to dump out all of that gross water and actually see the results.  Before we started I was worried that I would be putting diapers on my daughter that were not as clean as I would like them to be and this gave me a little anxiety but I can honestly say that hand washing gets them REALLY clean.  I am already thinking of ways that this skill will be useful (e.g. vacations, hurricanes, etc) and I am also hoping to be able to talk to people about how easy it is to cloth diaper even without a washing machine.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 4: The Dreaded Handwashing - My Wash Routine

Today is day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing challenge and today we are covering our wash routine.  Hand washing was definitely the most daunting part of the whole challenge and like any wash routine mine has been developing and evolving as I go. As of this posting I have only washed my diapers 3 time (once a day has been working well) and I don't think I have repeated the exact same steps each time but I have been learning a lot as I go. 
The Tools
As my picture above (taking on the first day) shows I am just using a bucket purchased at Lowes for $5 and a Mobil Washer that I purchased on Amazon for about $20.  I originally had a lid for my bucket with a hole in it so that I had a "camp style washer" but I have found that I don't get a lot of splashing and its just easier to see what I am doing without the lid.  I am also washing in my bath tub so that I have easy access to water and a drain.  One adjustment that I did make on the second night was replacing the handle of the Mobil Washer to an extendable handle.  As you can see in the picture above the handle is very short and it required me to bend over a lot and caused strain on my back.  We had an extendable handle in the garage that I found and it screwed right in (you could also use a broom or mop handle that screws).  This handle was easier to hold, easier on my back and kept my face away from the bucket. (sorry for the terrible pictures, I was taking them on my phone late last night but I wanted you to be able to see the height difference). I haven't tried an actual plunger but overall I am really happy with my Mobil Washer, I can hear the water being pushed and pulled through the diapers and they have gotten really clean (even after a huge poopsplosion).
The Wash "Cycles"
The basics for any wash routine (hand or not) is a warm rinse, a hot wash followed by a warm/cold rinse and I have been keeping to this basic tenant.  I start with warm water (bath temperature for my kids) and fill the bucket so that I have a few inches over the diapers.  I then plunge (even though its not a plunger, it's the same motion) about 30 times.  I dump this water and refill with the same temperature, plunge another 30 times.  I then let my diapers soak in the warm water for about 30 minutes.  After the soaking is complete I dump the water and shake a tablespoon of powdered Tide on top of the wet diapers.  I fill the bucket with hot water (as hot as I can get it) and then plunge about 100 times.  I then let my diaper soak again in the hot water for 30-60 minutes.  I dump the hot water and fill the bucket with warm water again (one time I also added a tablespoon of white vinegar but I didn't really feel like it made a big difference so that's optional).  I plunged about 30 times and then dumped the water.  I continued fill the bucket with warm or cold water after that and plunge about 30 times until I didn't see any more soap bubbles.  Between each "rinse" cycle I would wring everything out before putting it back in the bucket and I think this helped things to rinse faster.  Each night it takes about 3-4 rinse cycles to get to the point that I don't see any more bubbles.  Once I am satisfied that everything is rinsed well I dump them all into the tub and wring each piece, shake them out and put them back into my bucket to carry to my drying rack. 
Overall (from start to finish) my washing takes me about 90 minutes.  Actual hands on time though is approximately 20 minutes so the majority of the time is spent soaking.  I have been really happy with my wash routine.  My diapers have been very clean, I don't find it to be particularly hard or time consuming.  Probably the only thing I don't like is that my flats are not as soft as they are out of a dryer.  After 3 nights of hand washing I would say that it is actually easier and less gross than I expected!
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Day 3: DIY Flats and Covers

Today is day three of Dirty Diaper Laundry's Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  Today is an open topic day and this wouldn't be a crafting blog if I didn't cover some ways that you can DIY your flats and cover stash.  I purchased (or borrowed) a lot of the items I am using for the challenge but if you want to save some money you could easily sew a lot of items yourself. 

You can turn almost any absorbent materials into a flat!  Old Cotton or Flannel sheets can be easily cut up into the desired size (27x27 inches is standard) and then turn under the edge and sew or serge the edges.  Diaper Sewing Supplies sews beautiful bamboo terry material that would make soft and luxurious flats (I use the bamboo terry for all the diaper inserts I make).  In a pinch you can also cut the arms and neck off of a T-shirt and have two flats.  The beauty of the T-shirt flats is that they don't require any sewing to finish the edges because the material won't fray.  One of the things that I did DIY for the challenge is "half flats" (I just made up this name).  I wanted something that I could use as a doubler without having the bulkiness of actually using a second flat so I cut some of the flats that I had in half, serged the edges and they have worked great so far as doublers.

After buying some covers and not being thrilled with the choices I decided to make some of my own.  I used a free pattern that I found online that included front snaps as well as front and back flaps to hold my pad folded flats in place.  The tutorial and pattern are actually really good and I made two covers out of PUL that I had already.  These covers are now my favorite out of the 7 covers that I have.  For each cover they took approximately 1.5 hours to complete and cost me about $8 each. 
Some of the accessories that I either had or made for the challenge included cloth wipes and fleece liners.  I love using cloth wipes and I make mine with one side terry cloth and one side flannel.  These so far have been easy to handwash but they are very slow to dry since they are thick.  If I was making wipes just for handwashing I would probably just do one layer of terry cloth and serge the edges.  I normally use disposable diapers on my daughters at night but in preparation for the Challenge and my Flats trial I actually started using my flats on them at night.  Because I didn't want them to feel the wetness for 12 hours at night while sleeping I cut some fleece liners.  I have micro fleece remnants from making diapers and I just cut them large enough so that I can wrap them around a pad folded flat. 

These are my favorite DIY crafts for the challenge and I like most of them so much I plan on using them as part of my regular stash even after the challenge.
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 2: My Flats and Covers Stash

Whew! I survived the first day of Dirty Diaper Laundry's Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  It was easy using flats and the first night of hand washing them wasn't as bad as I expected.  As I commented yesterday, I enjoy trying different diapers and therefore have a lot of different kinds in my normal stash.  I tried not to buy a lot of diapers for this challenge but I also wanted to try a few different kinds of flats so that when I did my trial I could have different ones to compare.  I especially wanted to make sure that I had traditional flats, speciality flats and then other materials that are used by a lot of people as a flat (e.g. Flour Sack Towels and Receiving blankets).

The Flats in my “Stash”
I have heard a lot about using Flour Sack Towels (“FST”) by people that want to cloth diaper but also save money.  I actually have a ton of these in my house because I love to use them to dry dishes but I bought a set of 5 at Wal-Mart to use specifically for the Challenge and my Diaper Trial.  They cost $5 for a set of 5 towels, so $1 per flat.
I have also heard people recommend using receiving blankets that you already have laying around the house.  Most people find that (especially once baby is a little older) they have an excess of receiving blankets.  I wanted to try these out as well so that I could compare to the actual flats that I would be using.  I had a pack of 5 that were still in the package.  I found them a few months ago while cleaning out my daughters closet and realized they would be perfect for the challenge.  I looked up the price and they are about $10 for a set of 5, so $2 per flat.
Next I knew I wanted some traditional flats to try out.  I had heard in a lot of CD chat groups, blogs and message boards that Osocozy makes great birdseye flats, so I knew that Osocozy flats had to be included in the trial.  I have 12 Ososcozy birdseye flats that cost about $2 each. 
Last I wanted to try some bamboo flats, especially for night time.  I love bamboo inserts for my diapers and because I have not previously used cloth diapers on my girls at night I knew that bamboo for night would be necessary.  I have 2 Imagine Bamboo Flats that are $26 for a set of 6, or about $4.33 each. 
The Covers in my “Stash”
As I said, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on flats and covers that I may not use again so for my covers I used 2 that I had already, borrowed 2, bought 1 and made 2 more, for 7 total covers.
I already owned a Thirsties cover size Medium ($10) and a Bummis cover size small ($13).  I purchases a Sweet Pea Cover ($11) about a month before the Challenge.  From a friend I borrowed a Blueberry Capri Cover ($17) and a Thirsties Size 1 cover ($11).  Lastly I made two covers from PUL that I had already from other diaper projects but all the materials for (about $8 each).
All together I have 24 different squares of material that can be used as flats (plus 4 “half flats” that I will cover tomorrow) and 7 covers.  After the first day I would say that this is more than plenty flats and covers if you are washing every day (which is easier when hand washing).  In total, if you bought everything at full price, the cost of the stash I am using is $125. 
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day 1: My Top 5 Reasons to Take the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

This is the first year that I will be participating in the flats and hand washing challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. Leading up to the challenge I have had very mixed emotion.  One on hand I am terrified that I won’t be able to keep up or finish, on the other hand I love a good challenge.  There are many reasons that I decided to participate this year but here are the 5 biggest reasons that I will be taking “the Challenge”.
Can I do it?
One of the biggest reasons that I wanted to participate this year is just to challenge myself and see if I can do it.  I love to test myself and put myself out there to try new things.  I always figure that if I can do it anyone can do it, so hopefully my success will inspire others as well.
Hand washing as a working mother
I am a mother of two young girls and I also work “part time” (30 hours a week) so a big part of my interest in taking on the challenge is seeing if a working mother can handwash diapers.  I always tell people when promoting cloth diapers that the washing isn’t very difficult so I am curious how I will feel about handwashing and keeping up with my busy schedule.
I’m spoiled!
I realize this isn’t the most flattering thing to call yourself but the reality is that when it comes to cloth diapers I am spoiled.  I love to buy new diapers and thankfully my husband enables supports my addiction so I have quite a few diapers in my normal stash.  I wash every other day but sometimes don’t even fold my diapers and put them away until a weeks’ worth have accumulated. Cost savings is not one of the reason that I cloth diaper, it’s just a side benefit, so I wanted to better understand the perspective of a lot of cloth diapers users that have a minimalist stash.
I have never used flats before
I have pretty much every diaper style out there in the past year with the exception of flats, so I was really curious just to try them.  I started about a month early so that I could also do my diaper trial on the flats I will be using (results to be posted later this week) and I am surprised how much I really like them, especially for night.
Spread awareness
I am always surprised how little awareness there is for cloth diapers when it comes to diaper shortages for low income families.  I want people to know that there are other options and that you can provider better diapers for your child for very little money.  If just one family decides to cloth diaper because of my involvement in this Challenge I will consider it a huge success!
I hope everyone is excited as I am to try out flats and experience hand washing this week.  I appreciate your support this week and I hope you enjoy my posts.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

DIY No-Rinse Facial Cleansing Cloths

If you have been following my blog for a little bit or know me personally you know how much I love using cloth wipes on my girls for diaper changes.  Every morning when I wipe a cold and wet disposable facial cleansing cloth across my face I think about those nice soft and warm wipes in my girls wipes warmers.  I have been telling myself for months that when my older daughter potty learns that I will take her wipes warmer and make my own wipes, but I just couldn't wait anymore!
A few weeks ago I purchased a travel size wipes warmer, borrowed some of the girls wipes and started experimenting with my own facial solution.  My goals were to keep it simple and to make a solution that I don't have to rinse off. 

The Ingredients
I did a lot of research about what ingredients I should put in my wipes solution including research on the Internet and also asked my local health food store.  I wanted something that was good for my combination (and acne prone) skin and something to moisturize so I included tea tree oil and coconut oil.  Tea tree oil has so many benefits including being antimicrobial and anti fungal and is a great treatment for acne.  Coconut oil is good for moisturizing your skin and can be used as a makeup remover.  Both of these are beneficial when left on the skin.  I decided to use distilled water as my base as using tap or filtered water will make the wipes smell musty.

Using My New Wipes
I "borrowed" some of my daughter's cloth wipes, mixed my solution, wet all my wipes and put them in my wipes warmer.  My small warmer only holds about 5-6 wipes so I just make enough solution for those wipes.  Since I only use one a day this lasts me about a week.  I like the cloth wipes that I make because I like to scrub my face a bit withe the terry cloth side and then wipe it down with the flannel side.  At first I tried to store extra solution in a plastic bottle, but the coconut oil separates from the water and hardens, so you have to rewarm it anyways when you want to use it.  If you don't want to use a wipes warmer you can probably just store your solution in a bottle and warm it in a sink of hot water, but I highly recommend the warmer. 
The Recipe
Over the past few weeks I experimented with a few different ratios in my recipe but this is what I have found to work the best.
1/2 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
5 drops of tea tree oil
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat until warm and coconut oil is melted, about 30 seconds.   Once it has cooled a bit I like to transfer mine to a squirt bottle and shake.  I then wet my wipes one by one by placing them in the warmer and squirting the solution on them until thoroughly wet.  The warmer will keep the coconut oil melted and feels so nice in the morning :).
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