Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Navigating a Sea of Cloth Diapers

When you first start researching cloth diaper options it can be a little overwhelming. I know. I've been there. At some point you lay down your iPad and say, "The heck with it, I'll just use disposables!". But you don't really mean it. You're just pregnant and hormonal. And back to the internet you come. (Welcome back!) 

Hopefully, once you've read this little summary, the urge to run out and buy a Sam's Club membership and 27 jumbo packs of disposable diapers will have dissipated. You can do this cloth thing. I promise. 

Pocket Diaper

This diaper is the quintessential "modern" cloth diaper. It has an opening in the front, back or both, depending on the brand, that you stuff with an insert. Once stuffed with an insert the diaper is ready to use. It's user friendly and very close to a disposable. Pocket diapers are great "daddy diapers" or for when you're out and about. Pocket diapers dry very quickly after washing. One huge downside to pocket diapers is, well, the pocket. Fishing that insert of of a dirty diaper can be downright nasty. (The inserts must be removed before washing). And I do mean nasty. If you decide to go the pocket diaper route you should invest in some Diaper Dawgs. The diapers also need to be restuffed before each use which can be time consuming if you use pocket diapers exclusively, but definitely not a deal breaker! 

{Note the pocket opening at the top}

Pros: easy to use - daddy friendly - dries quickly

Cons: stuffing - unstuffing - ick factor

All in One

AIO diapers are just that, all in one. They have a soaker pad that is sewn into the diaper that can be folded or snapped into different configurations. AIO's are considered the "Cadillac" of the cloth diaper world. Nothing to stuff, just wash and wear. Very user friendly and great to have on hand for trips out and about when you don't want to be fiddling with multiple diaper components. Because they don't come apart they can take a long time to dry. Especially if they are made of natural fibers, like bamboo. They are also a pricey option. Each diaper can cost $20 or more. Probably not a good choice if you are cloth diapering to save money. Price isn't an issue? Buy them. All of them. Just kidding. 

{Soaker pad opened all the way}

{Folded and ready to go on baby}

Pros: easy to use - time saver

Cons: cost - dry time

All in Two

{Best Bottoms One Size Cover and Medium Insert}

AI2 diapers are a waterproof diaper cover that you snap inserts in and out of. They are a very economical option because the diaper cover can be used multiple times before washing as long as it was only a wet diaper. Very easy to use, and once the inserts are snapped in they are just like an AIO or pocket diaper. They also tend to be a trim diaper and dry quickly. Most AI2 covers are one size so you won't need to buy more covers as your baby grows. The inserts are usually sized in order to properly fit your baby though. So you will eventually need to buy more inserts. 

{Snaps at front and back to keep insert secure}

Pros: easy to use - economical

Cons: multiple inserts to buy


{Newborn Imagine Bamboo Fitted}

A fitted diaper is a diaper that is made entirely out of absorbent material and must be covered with a diaper cover. They are NOT waterproof. They do an excellent job of containing messes because you are essentially using two diapers (the fitted diaper and a cover). If anything escapes the fitted diaper chances are it won't escape the cover. These diapers work wonderfully at night. They are also a great choice for newborns. Building a complete stash out of fitteds would not be the most economical option (hey, a girl can dream!), but adding a few as nighttime diapers is a great idea. They can be a bit slow to dry. 

Pros: absorbency - ability to contain messes

Cons: cost - dry time - extra step of putting on a diaper cover

Flat, Prefolds and Diaper Covers

These diapers are the best option if you are on a budget. Flats are a single layer of fabric that are folded and placed in a diaper cover. They can also be fastened onto baby with a Snappi or pins and covered with a waterproof diaper cover. Extraordinarily easy to keep clean and very affordable. Prefolds are essentially a flat that has been folded for you. They are several layers of fabric, usually cotton, sewn together with the most absorbancy in the middle. Prefolds are easy to care for but do not dry as quickly as flats. A great option if you are busy and don't want to bother with folding flats. Diaper covers are waterproof covers that you will need to use with flats and prefolds. They are very affordable and can be reused several times before washing or until soiled in. They dry very quickly after being washed. These diaper options aren't as user friendly as some of the others but with a little practice they are no trouble at all. Folding the flats can be time consuming so if you are short on time they probably won't be your first choice.



{Pad Folded Flat in a Diaper Cover}

Pros: cost - easy to care for - dry time

Cons: not as easy to use - time spent folding flats - multiple components to a diaper change

My biggest piece of advice is to TRY EVERYTHING. What works for me might be a train wreck for you! Don't buy a complete stash of any one diaper until YOU have used it on YOUR baby. And please, don't be afraid of flats and prefolds. Give them a chance! They just might end up being your favorite diapers!

What is your favorite diaper to use? And what would you choose if you could start all over again?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan - May 25th Edition

Every week before I sit down to meal plan I take a quick inventory of what I have on hand. Last week I picked up two pounds of boneless chicken thighs for just over $3.00. I've included those as well as some ground beef I have in the freezer in this weeks recipe lineup. Keeping an eye out for meat markdowns is a great way to save on groceries. A few minutes of your time finding out what time the meat department does markdowns is a great way to save at the register!

                        {We are finally enjoying fresh strawberries!}

Week of May 25th
Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Memorial Day Picnic
Thursday - Baked Lentils with Cheese
Saturday - Wedding Reception

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Accidental Love of Rumparooz Pocket Diapers

I never wanted to like pocket diapers. The idea of using a diaper only once before washing didn't appeal to my frugal nature. I was (and still am) all about the affordability of diaper covers and shells that can be used for several diaper changes before washing. When I received a Rumparooz pocket diaper as part of a surprise package I was a little disappointed. Okay, a lot disappointed. I didn't think I would like it, much less love it!

A few months later I gave birth to a 6 lb baby with chicken legs. The only one size diapers I owned that even came close to fitting her were SoftBums. Everything else was laughable. I was kicking myself for not buying any newborn diapers. On a whim I dug out the Rumparooz to try on her. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it not only fit, it fit WELL! And it did a GREAT job at containing all of that newborn poo.

I eventually added two more Rumparooz One Size Pocket Diapers to my collection. It turns out they were designed by a mom, Julie Ekstrom, who had similar fit problems with her daughter. When she couldn't find a diaper that would contain messes she designed one of her own. That was in 2006. They have since grown to include several diapering options (pocket diapers, diaper covers and newborn diapers) as well as cloth diapering accessories like wet bags.

Here are just a few reasons why I have grown to love my Rumparooz;

1. Inner Gussets
Genius. Pure genius. This diaper can contain just about anything a baby throws at it. It has only ever failed me ONCE and I blame that on myself. The gussets are patented by Kanga Care/Rumparooz. They make this diaper truly unique! 

{The awesome inner gussets}

2. Fit
This diaper actually fit my newborn. Besides SoftBums it was the ONLY one size diaper I owned that lived up to that promise. My baby is now four months old with *very* chunky thighs and they still fit like a dream. 

3. Ease of Use
Once the pocket has been stuffed these diapers are just like disposables (except you don't throw them away!). No folding, no Snappi, no making sure everything is tucked in under a diaper cover. Just on and off. I also have the Aplix version which makes them a cinch to fasten. The Aplix is strong and stays put during washing.

{Sturdy laundry tabs}

4. Softness
This diaper is soooooo soft! The inside is unbelievably soft and squishy, even after many washes. I love the feel of the outside of this diaper too. It's just a super soft diaper all the way around!

5. Prints
They have some of the best prints and colors on the market! Seriously! Charlie, Quinn, Preppy, Peacock....they are all adorable! I currently have Tulip and Amethyst for my little lady. But Charlie, I *need* that print!

A Rumparooz G2 One Size diaper can be purchased from many different cloth diaper retailers for $23 - $25.95. They come in Aplix or snap closures. Two soakers are included which can be used together or separately. This is a great diaper to try if you are looking for a bombproof option that is super user friendly!  

{The two soakers}

{I currently use the large soaker snapped down for my four month old}

Have you ever been surprised that you liked a certain style of diaper? If so, what kind?

*I was not compensated for this blog post in any way.
(This post is linked up at )

Monday, May 19, 2014

Flat Diapers = Old School Awesomeness

When I first started researching cloth diapers I NEVER considered using flats. Not once. Those were the diapers our great-grandmother's used. The diapers you see hanging outside of an East End flat on Call the Midwife. Certainly not a modern solution to an age old problem!

Two months into my cloth diapering adventure I had a change of heart. Ammonia hit my diapers....hard. I headed to Google with my problem, as one does, and soon discovered that my ammonia issue was probably due to hard water and insufficient detergent. Oh, and that darling of the modern cloth diaper, microfiber. Apparently the multiple layers are hard to get completely clean and can start to stink. After trying all of the "cures" Google provided me with I ordered flats. I. had. had. it.

I changed my detergents while waiting on the flats to arrive. Stink, cured. Yay! The flats were already ordered though and I was determined to use them. I needn't have worried. Because I discovered something when they showed up. I LOVE flats! And here's why...

1. Dry Time
Flats dry. FAST. If you hang them on a drying rack to dry before you go to bed they are dry in the morning! And outside on a sunny day? Three or four hours, tops. Only use a dryer? No problem. One cycle. Done. If you've ever tried to dry prefolds or thick inserts you understand why that is awesome. Usually after one cycle prefolds are still damp and need a second cycle or time on a drying rack. If you have a limited budget this is a HUGE benefit because you can make do with less diapers since the turn around is so fast!

2. Affordability
Compared to an All in One or Pocket diaper flats are a steal! I purchased twelve flats for only $24.97. That's just over $2.00 a diaper! Throw in three or four wipe clean diaper covers (such as Flip or Thirsties) at around $10.00 each and you are in business! That's incredible! You could easily have enough cloth diapers to start cloth diapering your baby for under $100.00!

3. Easy Care
This is what convinced me to give flats a try in the first place. Because they are only one ply there is no oppurtunity for stink to build up inside of them like there is with microfiber inserts. They wash easily with no buildup or residue issues. And if you ever need to bleach for some reason? No problem.

4. Versatility
You can fold a flat to fit whatever size your baby is. You can customize the fold to put the absorbency where your baby needs it. I tried several different folds before settling on the pad fold. It is super easy to learn and just as easy to put on baby. Just lay the pad folded flat in a waterproof diaper cover and you're ready to go. No pins or fasteners needed. And they don't slide around in the cover either. That was one of my concerns before trying flats. If you fold the diaper to fit in the cover (not to short or it will slide back and forth) it will stay put. You can also use them to stuff pocket diapers!

How to Pad Fold a Flat
{Open flat completely}

{Fold top and bottom in to the length needed to fit in diaper cover}

{Fold from the side to create the width needed. Keep folding until...}

{ have a "pad".}

{Lay in diaper cover. Done} 

5. Lifespan
Flats are very durable. No elastic to wear out or microfiber to loose absorbency. They usually last through cloth diapering several children! And when you are done using them as diapers they can always be repurposed as rags or towels.

If I could start all over again and rebuild my cloth diaper stash, I would start with flats. I reach for them first now and love how versatile they are. I always keep one in my wetbag for when I'm out and about to throw over whatever I am changing my baby on. They are a breeze to use and I couldn't be happier with them! Learn from my mistake, try some flats!

(This post is linked up to The Homestead Blog Hop.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Meal Plan for Week of May 18th

I am a planner by nature so meal planning is something I have always enjoyed. Now, with a baby in tow, I find it to be a neccesity. A solid plan for the week helps me to stretch our food dollars even further and keeps the 5 PM dinner scramble at bay. We keep breakfast and lunch pretty simple with eggs, oatmeal and leftovers so this is only my dinner plan. Sides will be steamed veggies, salad and whatever else I dream up!

Week of May 18th
Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday - Black Bean Burritos
Thursday - Pork Roast
Friday - Homemade Pizza

{fresh baby lettuce}

Do you enjoy meal planning or do you prefer to take it day by day? 

{This post is linked up on the Homestead Blog Hop!}