Monday, April 27, 2009

WOO-HOO! My first giveaway!

To whom it may concern:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the gift certificate to Cotton Babies! Cotton Babies is one of my favorite sites to shop for cloth diapers and diapering accessories. They always have a wide variety of awesome diapers in stock, and they're a great resource for lots of cool non-diapering goodies. With competitive prices, they have everything from diapers, to maternity fashion, toddler toys, and baby clothes. They even have baby carriers and wraps, strollers, and haute diaper bags for fashion-minded mamas.

Go take a look around! Cotton Babies is a super cool e-store that has all the things you need - and some things you probably didn't even know you needed - for your growing belly AND your growing babies!


I've been wanting to do a giveaway on here for a long time, and now I have the perfect opportunity to do it!

I want to give away ONE pocket diaper, and the best part is, the winner gets to choose 1 of 3 pocket diapers:

1 BumGenius 3.0 One-Size pocket diaper

1 Happy Heiny sized pocket diaper
1 Thirsties sized Pocket/All-in-One diaper

So one winner, and you get your choice of style of diaper, any colors that are available, and the size you need!

If you want to enter, just leave a comment! I'll leave comments open from today until May 10 - a free new diaper equals a VERY happy Mother's Day! :o)

At midnight eastern time on Mother's Day, I'll use a random number generator to choose one winner! Happy commenting!

Thanks to all who entered - the giveaway "closed" early because I just couldn't stay up any later tonight. I'll post the winner tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stash Purging

Jenney made a good point in her comment on the last post: why don't I show you guys some of the diapers I'm getting rid of? Since none of them have sold yet, I'm happy to post them here! I will receive Paypal and can get you my Paypal email address (it's not the one associated with this blog) if you want to purchase something.

The prices I've listed are for all items in each "listing." I really don't want to split things, because of the cost of shipping. If you want only one item, I'll have to check into shipping costs before I can give you the price for a single diaper. If you choose more than one lot (listing) then I'll knock $2 off the total price. Just leave a comment or email me if you see something you'd like to have!

Okay, first up is 3 EUC Swaddlebee Pockets, size Medium, no inserts. I'm asking $25 PPD within the lower 48.

All 3 are a pale baby pink. I bought these at a consignment sale and they are in pristine condition. Unfortunately, at the sale all bags are taped shut, so when I got them home and took them out of the bag, I saw that there was no way these trim diapers would fit my chub-a-lub baby. I don't have a photo of these, because they got tossed in a tub of stuff for me to sell in a later consignment sale, and that tub got tossed in the attic. But if anyone is interested, I'll get Hubs to bring the tote down for me and post a pic.

Next are 3 GUC Tiny Tush Elite One-size pockets, no inserts. I'm asking $18 PPD within the lower 48. 2 sage, 1 peach, see pic below.

Now, I need to get to my reviews on pockets. I loved these diapers at first. They were my hands-down favorites. But then I started having some problems with them repelling. I contacted the company directly, and they were less than helpful. They recommended stripping (which I tried a dozen times in as many different ways, all in accordance with their recommendations), all to no avail. Now, keep in mind that throughout my ordeal with the TT, I was having NO PROBLEMS with any of my other brands. I told the company owner this, and all she said was, "Well, we've never had any complaints before." I really felt like screaming, "You have one now! Do something about it!" A diaper company - no matter how small - with any integrity, accountability, and business sense should ALWAYS offer to replace a diaper, or at the very very least let you send it to them so they can inspect it and see if they can rectify the problem for you. But Tiny Tush did NONE of that. So as a company, BOO. Big fat boo.

I wasn't able to get my diapers functional through multiple stripping methods, but will surrender them to a mama who thinks she may be able to get them wearable again. OR, I kept a few to use as swim diapers, as they're still perfectly acceptable for that. (And if you read the fine print on the rules for babies in public pools, like at the YMCA, most pools specify that babies should be in tight-fitting swim "pants" - translation, diaper - rather than disposable swim diapers.)

You can see above that all diapers are unsnapped. See below for pictures of the 3 snap settings, so in total Tiny Tush diapers have 4 different size settings. (Sigh). You simply cannot know what a disappointment it was to have these diapers fail so dismally.

Next up are 3 EUC Haute Pocket one-size pocket diapers, no inserts. I'm asking $25 PPD within the lower 48. One chocolate/olive (center), one pale minty green (left), and one pale seaglass (right). (I can't remember the company names for the colors, and they change their available colors all the time.) See pic below.

Hautes are great diapers, but I think that they are kind of "love 'em or hate'em" diapers. I didn't hate them, but they just didn't work for us. They are a smaller one-size, so my son grew out of those much more quickly than he did his BGs or HHs. (Remember, my kids are chubby, so if you have a trimmer baby, these may work for you a lot longer.)

Next is a cryin' shame. I have 2 EEEUC MotherEase one-size bamboo fitteds. I'm asking $22 PPD within the lower 48.

These are awesome, awesome, awesome diapers. But they just don't really work for us. They're bamboo, so they're super absorbent, but I just never reach for them. Each one has probably been worn only 3 or 4 times. I thought about cutting them up and sewing them into soakers, but I decided to pass them along to a family who will love them the way they deserve to be loved!

Okay, folks. There ya go! Just contact me if you're interested in any of these.


Please don't tell my husband yet: I ordered 5 more fitteds and 2 new covers last night. *Eep!* I'm waiting to tell him until after my craigslist sales clear of the diapers we don't use anymore.

I know I'm lame. I need to post, and I've had every intention to. It's been a busy "life" week. If you're interested in more than just diapers, come on over to my family blog to see what our lives are all about.

Friday, April 17, 2009

...wait, what?

As I was washing dishes tonight (gag, cleaning the kitchen is my single least favorite house chore), I had a really fantastic idea for a cloth post that I could do after everyone else went to bed. It must have been witty, because I was chuckling to myself like a crazy woman.

Before I posted, though, I was excited to enjoy some downtime with my man. I usually write in the witching hours when everyone else is abed, because I'm a night owl. Do you like my 18th century slang for sleeping?

Anyway, my hubby and I had planned on watching "FireProof." But we chose to have a disagreement instead. Hey, I'm just being honest. And ironic.

Then we watched some tv (too late to start a movie, especially when Dear Hubs is generally passed out cold on the couch by 10pm). Then I updated and worked on our family blog (while Hubs slept on the sofa). Emailed a few friends. Signed into this blog account, got ready to write...

And could not remember what I was planning to write about.

Completely out of my head. Gone.

Man, it's really feast or famine over here, isn't it? I post a whole bunch in a short period of time, and then I'm silent for a few weeks (or months). But I'm no Kelly, I don't have any team writers (yet, hint hint!), and I've still got normal life going on. Please bear with me! :o)

(Hubs just woke up and stumbled to our room, mumbling something that I'm guessing was "Good night, please come to bed soon.")

Anyway, I've been checking my sitemeter referrals to see how many folks are visiting and where everybody is clicking in from. Mostly, it's either Passionate Homemaking or from googling "how many diapers does a newborn need" or "yearly cost of diapers." Still and all, I'm excited that people are visiting me here. Please spread the word to your friends, whether they use cloth or not!

Okay, so here's what I've got on tap for The Diaper Diaries:

First, I'm taking away the table of contents and going back and labeling all the posts, and then I'll put up a label directory. I think that will be more user and search friendly than what I have now.

Second, I may delete/rework some of the older posts that have a lot of information in them to consolidate the info that "belongs" together.

Third, I recently tried out 5 - FIVE - cool new fitteds that I'm pretty much in love with, so I need to add the reviews of those to the Fitteds Reviews post.

Fourth, for posting, I've got to finish out my series on reviews, with posts on pockets, all-in-ones, miscellaneous diaper products, and create a directory of where to buy diapers online and rate the sites I've purchased from.

Finally, for regulars and visitors alike, please let me hear from you! If you read the reviews and discover that there's no information on a diaper you completely love (or hate), please comment and tell us about it! If you have info on stripping, stains, stuffing, sewing, or even a hilarious epic poopie story, please tell us! This will be so much fun "interactive" if you guys participate.

I'm off from blogging (here) for the weekend, but please chime in and I'll have some new stuff for you next week. Cheers!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crunchy Cooking: Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

So, as many of my mommy friends and relatives may know, I made all of the kids' baby food. It was such a rewarding (and money-saving) experience and something I really enjoyed doing. I also attribute my son's love of a wide variety of foods to his baby food - from the very beginning, he was tasting REAL food. I used the book "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron as my primary resource. My sister-in-law used both this book and the website Wholesome Baby Food. There does appear to be a little bit of conflict between the WBF website and the SBF book about what ages to introduce certain foods; I always say when in doubt wait, but consult with your child's pediatrician if you're unsure.

Anyway, "Super Baby Food" is so much more than baby food! There are tons and tons of toddler and family recipes, as well as great arts and crafts ideas. My big man and I like to make yummy homemade granola bars; M helps stir.

But our big favorite snack right now is fruit leather, or homemade fruit rollups. M has always loved fruit - better than cookies, even - and I was looking for a new and fun snack for him, as well as a different way for him to eat his fruit. It is such an EASY snack to make, and he enjoys watching and helping. I love knowing that he's eating real fruit, without preservatives, dyes, artificial flavoring, or high fructose corn syrup. And M...well, he just loves eating it! So here you go, instructions and photos for how to make this delicious Super Toddler snack for your own little crumb crushers at home.

You can start with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. If you start with fresh: wash, peel (if necessary), cook (if necessary or desired), and process in blender until completely smooth and free of lumps. If you start with canned: wash thoroughly all cans or jars before opening (you never know what dust or yuckiness, including pesticides from the grocery store, could be lurking on the lip of the can), strain liquid out, reserving if you wish, place fruit in blender and process until smooth.

Here's why I use frozen: it's cheapest by volume, always in season, already washed, peeled, and cooked (when necessary). Simply let the fruit thaw completely, either by sitting out at room temperature, or by thawing in 30-second increments in the microwave. Using a slotted spoon, strain the fruit into your blender, reserving the juice (if desired; juice can be used to drink, mix with other juices, or make a homemade fruit syrup or jelly).

Look how much juice I have! I'll combine this 1 cup of blueberry juice with 2 cups of sugar on the stovetop, boiling very low until all sugar is dissolved and juice has thickened into a syrup. Yummy on pancakes - homemade blueberry syrup!

Anyway, if you want to sweeten your fruit leather, now is the time to do it. I heated up a few tablespoons of juice in the microwave and dissolved 2 teaspoons of sugar in it. I sweeten fruits that have been frozen, because the ascorbic acid (citric acid, which is basically just lemon juice) used to preserve color in frozen fruits makes them a bit tart. After you have dissolved the sugar, add this into your puree and process again to incorporate thoroughly.

Pour puree into your prepared pans. Use large pans, like 10x15 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans, and either grease with shortening or cover with plastic wrap. I like to use plastic wrap, because you can flip the leather to dry on the other side, shortening your drying time. I used the mondo-huge bag of blueberries from Kroger and it made 2 pans' worth of puree/leather!

Place into preheated 275*F oven for 30-35 minutes (I promise it won't melt the plastic wrap, I freaked out over it the first time too). (**EDIT: Several people have told me that their plastic wrap/Saran wrap did actually melt in the oven. DO NOT use cheap/store brand lightweight plastic wrap if you choose to use some; I use a heavy-weight professional grade plastic wrap from Sam's, so that's all I have in the house. As a plus, it's much easier to work with. You could probably also use parchment paper if you don't like plastic wrap. But don't forget, you don't have to use anything if you don't want to.) Then turn the oven off and let sit for 8-10 hours, or overnight. If you cook every night like I do, it's best to get this ready so you can pop it in the oven as soon as supper comes out. (There are other ways to dry your fruit leather, but they all involve leaving the oven door slightly open while on. Between the little ones around, and the fumes from our gas oven, this is just not an option for us. If anyone would like those directions, post a comment/question and I'll post them for you.)

Now, how long it takes to dry out completely will depend a lot on the humidity. Where we are, I put the leather in the oven on Friday night, and it wasn't ready to be cut until Monday afternoon. But because I had lined my pans with plastic wrap, I was able to take it out on Sunday night and flip it over onto waxed paper, and put it back in the oven. (When I needed the oven during the drying process, I just took the leather out and then replaced it once the oven was empty and turned off again.)

Finally! Ready to cut! Here are all my tools: a cutting board, cookie/pastry/biscuit cutters in cute shapes, a knife to score the fruit leather around the cutters when necessary, a rolling pin to press down on the top of the cutters (to save my fingers!), an airtight container to store the leather in, wax paper to layer between the cut pieces, scissors to cut the wax paper.
** I just got done making another batch of fruit leather, and found the EASIEST way to cut it - a pizza cutter! So fast and easy, and a lot easier on my hands. I just cut it all into squares this time, since M is really into squares right now anyway.

Cut into cute shapes - never miss an educational opportunity! :o) M and I talk about the shapes he's eating. Even if you don't have cutters, you can use a sharp paring knife to free-hand basic shapes. Be conservative and waste as little as possible (although I do eat all the scraps as I'm cutting the shapes, mmmmm). Be even more conservative, and reuse the wax paper the leather rested on to cut and layer between your fruit leather pieces! Now, if you have an older child who wants his fruit leather that he carries in his lunch to school to look like "real" fruit rollups, just cut it into larger squares or rectangles and roll up, either with plastic wrap/wax paper, or just roll it up by itself.


Hope y'all enjoy getting crafty in your kitchens!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On prepping natural fibers...

Coincidentally, yesterday I got 2 new fitted diapers in the mail, and I also had some questions about washing different materials and fibers together. It has been my personal experience that all diaper fabrics can be washed together once they're prepped properly. (But then, I don't have any bamboo products, and some bamboo mamas say they wash their bamboo dipes separately. I'd love some input on this.)

At any rate, any diaper, insert, soaker, doubler, liner, wipe, what-have-you needs to be washed before you put it on your child. But prefolds, and many fitteds, need to be prepped first.

Prepping is just washing and drying something several times to get it up to its maximum absorbency. For prefolds, I have in the past done a wash-wash-dry, wash-wash-dry, and then started using them. Some people say you can do the initial preps in with other loads of laundry (i.e., clothes or towels), but if you use liquid fabric softener I wouldn't do this. Most of the times that I've prepped in the past, I've had enough diapers requiring the process to just do them all together.

Now, natural, unbleached fibers (hemp, cotton, bamboo) will require a bit more prepping, because the fibers still contain raw plant oils on them. New, unbleached diaper products should NOT EVER be washed with a load of diapers that you already have in use. You gotta prep them separately. But if you only have 2 or 3 to do, you don't want to run a whole load just for the new ones.

I have a shortcut! (I bet you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

Soak the diapers in cold water, overnight. Drain water and wring the diapers out. Soak in cold water again for several hours. Wring out, then toss in a load of regular laundry, with no fabric softener. Tumble dry on high heat, no dryer sheets. Do the soak again, if necessary, and then wash in a load with your diapers. Tumble dry. They should be ready to go! If they still feel "slick," or water still pools up on them, I would do another long cold soak, hot wash with no detergent, and tumble dry.

The main purpose of prepping is to get diapers up to their maximum absorbency. But if you're like me, you're thinking, "Well, they're just going to be peeing in them. I'll be washing them 2 or 3 times a week once they're in a regular rotation. Do I really need to wash and dry them 6 or 8 times to prep them before he/she starts peeing on them?" My answer is no! Soaking is a great shortcut.

Since yesterday/today I have just 2 new ones, I'm doing the soak in our very small bathroom sink. I took a picture the first time I filled the sink up to show you exactly why you need to prep natural fibers!

See how the water is just pooling and running off the new, unbleached cotton-hemp blend? That's what you're working to prevent...except with urine, and your baby's clothes. :o) You can see that it's not soaking into this diaper yet at all. I had to fill the sink, and press and squeeze the diapers for a minute or two to get them to soak the water in. And this morning when I drained the water off, I could actually see fibers floating in the water, and the water had a yellowish cast to it. (You could also do cold soaks until your water remains clear.)

Happy prepping!