I’ve kind of hit a brick wall with the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. It’s losing its novelty. It’s feeling like a bit of a burden at times. I’m still liking the flats part, overall. But boy, handwashing can be daunting at times.

I didn’t mind it so much the first couple of times. Especially when I was just home with my son during the day. But when you’re having a bad day (*cough*Wednesday*cough*) or you get busy doing other things… it’s just kind of a pain in the butt.

I’m so glad that I have a lot of flats, though. (Major thanks to Diaper Junction for giving me a dozen flats to try, I have loved and needed them!). I’m probably not going to get a chance to wash today, and didn’t yesterday, so I’m going to have a GIANT load to wash tomorrow. But it’s nice knowing I have enough flats to get me through, and don’t have to cheat, or skip out on doing something fun just because I really need to wash.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve almost given up a couple of times. I thought, ‘No one will know if I just toss this one load into the washer.’ I would really love to use our other diapers today, when we have to leave on a 30+ minute drive to visit the in-laws and will be gone for the afternoon before driving back home. But I’m pushing through, and I’m still committed. And then I feel like a total wuss after I read something like this.

This has given me a whole new respect for anyone who always does it this way. Perhaps it’s different if you always do, or you don’t have an “end” in sight (besides potty training). It does give you a skewed view of things, when you know that, come next week, you can go back to using your (beloved) washing machine. And modern cloth diapers.

I didn’t realize how oddly attached I was to our cloth diapers. A couple days ago I put away a load of cloth diapers that were clean but in a laundry basket (the last load of his regular diapers that I washed prior to the challenge) and I was surprised how much I missed them.

That said… I think I’ll be using flats a lot more now. I love letting my son go coverless, and they really are such a simple diaper. I already use them as inserts for all of my one-size FuzziBunz pockets. But this has motivated me to start pad-folding them more often into covers. And, yes, pinning them on. There’s just something classic and adorable about a pinned flat diaper on your baby… but I think it would be even cuter coming out of the washer and dryer!



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Where has this week gone? I can’t believe it’s almost Thursday already!

I am currently enjoying some much-needed downtime. My husband is playing softball, my son is sleeping (and so are the dogs!) so I am enjoying a cocktail and watching some girly stuff on tv (since I don’t have to share with my husband). And, of course, I’m tinkering around online.

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is going really well. It’s been a nice change up to our usual routine, and has made me appreciate things (like my washer and dryer) a lot more. It’s an interesting experience, but in a fun way.

I was a guest blogger on the Rockin’ Green blog yesterday! So that was exciting. Check out how I approached handwashing my diapers for the first time (and what I learned along the way).

I washed again today, making a few tweaks (like actually doing a good job wringing out the flats) and it was much easier and didn’t take as long. Pre-rinsing everything really helped. Things dried much faster, too.

I ran into one snag, though… my hemp and bamboo doublers take a loooong time to air dry. I almost had to throw some in the dryer. I only use them for overnights, but I didn’t realize how long those would take to dry.

The flats were definitely “crunchier” after being air dried, too, but not nearly as bad as I expected. I found the Diaper Junction flats were a bit softer than the Target flats after being air dried… but I’m not going to lie, I had to fight the urge to throw everything in the dryer to fluff them up a bit!

I’m really enjoying the flats part of the challenge, though. I’ve used them in the past, but not for every diaper change like this. My pinning skills are getting quite good, and when he’s being sassy I love the easy of a pad-folded flat tucked into a cover. I’m not having any troubles with the 5 cover limit. I’ve been letting him go coverless as much as possible at home, though, so that helps.

If you’re participating, how is it going for you so far?

Oh, and I got to try out my new Green Line diaper cover and am really liking it so far! I think I’ll be getting another in the future. Not the best picture, but isn’t it adorable?



Day One: Easy Peasy.

I made one change, though… my Green Line diaper cover came in the mail today, and it’s super cute and there’s no way I can wait a whole week to try it out. So I’ll be substituting that for one of my sbish wool covers (the longies are staying, since the weather is on the cooler side this week). My five covers for the challenge are now the Flip, the GEN-Y Universal, a pair of sbish longies, a Blueberry Coverall, and my new Green Line cover.

Anyhow, so far so good. I will update again tomorrow after I handwash them. I’ll also take a few photos (including one of my adorable new cover). Other than a couple of sloppy folding jobs (with a wiggly baby), everything went very well today. I absolutely LOVE the trimness of the flats. He was sitting there playing today with a pinned flat inside of a Flip cover, with a onesie over the top, and it almost looked like he was wearing a disposable. We also went out on an outing this afternoon (lunch with my friends, then to Target) and had no issues. I actually prefer the natural fibers when we go out and about, because I never have leaks with them. There was a span of time when my son was a few months old where I only used prefolds when we left the house.

I am loving my Diaper Junction flats. They are a great size and a bit thicker than my Target flats. I’m getting a nice fold with them, with a good cross-over in the front so I can secure it with one pin. I am leaning toward using them when I want to pin and saving the Target flats for padfolding into covers.

Are you taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge? How did your first day go?

”#flatschallenge”



I can’t believe how quickly the Flats & Handwashing Challenge is coming up! Less than a week to go now. Are you participating? It’s pretty straightforward: all flat diapers, all handwashed, all air dried, a five cover limit, and liners are okay but diaper sprayers aren’t. Got it?

I am starting to prepare, or think about how I want to prepare.

The day before the challenge, I will do my usual diaper laundry but, instead of stuffing my FuzziBunz with flats like I normally do (I’ve done away with most of our microfiber inserts) I will be putting the empty pockets in the diaper storage and folding up all my flats for use on Monday.

I almost forgot about the 5 cover limit… so now I’ve decided on:

1) GEN-Y Universal in “Dinomite”
2) sustainablebabyish wool cover in “squash”
3) sustainablebabyish wool longies in “air”
4) Flip in “ribbit”
5) Blueberry Coverall (my only cover with velcro) in “blue on chocolate”

I figure this will give me a good range of what I want to use. I’ll use the GEN-Y when I want to padfold, the Flip will do well for padfolding or using pins and snappis, and the wool is nice in general. I love the Blueberry for overnights.

This weekend my bathroom will be getting a good scrubbing. I plan on washing the diapers in the tub, so I want it very clean (and it will certainly stay clean since I’ll want to disinfect it after washing diapers). Hmm, I like this part of it!

Finally, I will be washing my wool and relanolizing it. I should do this soon, since it takes a couple of days to air dry.

I still haven’t told my husband about this challenge. He’s a pretty good sport, and I change most of the diapers, so I don’t think he’ll balk too much.

I’m feeling pretty good about it all. I’m not too worried about the flats part of the challenge; there was a period of time when I had taken a break from “modern” cloth diapers and was using mostly prefolds, and I have had great success with our flats when I’ve used them (and padfolding in a cover is super easy, and will be vital for when my son initiates the alligator death-roll during diaper changes and inevitably screams bloody murder while I try to pin). The part that worries me is the handwashing… will I get them clean enough? How long will they take to air dry? Will they be “crunchy” after air drying? What if the weather doesn’t hold up and I have to dry them inside (which is a good possibility)?

I plan on washing every other day. I don’t want to go too long and have tons of diapers to wash (which have been sitting for days) but I also don’t want to undertake the washing process every day. We’ll see how it goes, though, I might be surprised and find it isn’t as much of a burden as I expect. Since I haven’t just used flats before, though, I don’t know how long my stash will last me. I plan on changing frequently, so they might add up quickly.

Thanks again to Diaper Junction for sending me a dozen of their birdseye flats to use. I’m excited to compare them to the Target flats that I’m used to using. I can already tell that they are better quality.

If you’re joining the challenge, what have you done (or what do you plan on doing) to prepare?



I recently mentioned that I would be taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. We will be using flat diapers only, and they must be handwashed. Diapers must also be air-dried. Click here for all the rules and information.

Why am I doing this, you may ask?

1. Because it’s a challenge. Springtime makes me want to change things up, and challenge myself. This week, I challenged myself by buying my very first sewing machine and taught myself how to use it. That week, I will challenge myself to have to do our diapering differently.

2. Because our current diapering situation is a luxury for some people. What better way to appreciate the ease of pocket and all-in-one diapers, and the modern technology of my lovely washing machine, than to have to do things the “hard way”?

3. Because it will make me feel more prepared. What if something happens and we are in an emergency situation? What if we don’t have access to our washer? What if I am somewhere and need to put on a makeshift diaper? This will help me realize that I can do a lot with very little.

4. Because it’s something different. What stay at home mom couldn’t use a break from routine?

5. Because this is how my mom had to do it. When she cloth diapered my sister (full-time) and me (part-time), this is how they did it. My son won’t have to wear those ugly rubber pants, but he’ll have the same diapering system that the generations before him did. My mom used flats and pins and handwashed for financial reasons… and did it all while also working full time. I have a feeling this will make me tip my hat to her!

6. Because disposable diapers are expensive, and this is proof that cloth diapering can be cheap from the start and that there’s no excuse not to do it! Even if you don’t have a washer and dryer, or you can’t afford modern cloth diapers. There is no need to literally throw away money when you are struggling to make ends meet.

Major thanks to Diaper Junction for generously donating a dozen of their flats to me as part of this challenge! Now I don’t need to convince my husband that, yes, I need more diapers. *rolls eyes*

Want to join me? This challenge takes place May 23-30. Don’t forget that you can also find very cheap flats at Target if you want to find them in town. Otherwise, check out the Diaper Junction link above, they are lovely!



I’m joining this:

Cloth diaper users, would you participate in something like this?

I’ll admit, I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but at the same time I like our flats and they aren’t all that difficult to use. I’m more weary of handwashing everything! haha… but, at the same time, there are many people who have to (or had to) do it like this every single day, often for multiple babies.

I’ve been using my pocket and all-in-one diapers a lot lately, so maybe this would be a fun challenge. Kickin’ it old school.

I might have to pick up an extra pack of Target flats! Read up on them here.

Target Flats

March 10, 2011

Flat diapers are the cheapest, most basic cloth diapers you can use. It’s what our mothers or grandmothers or great grandmothers were most likely to have used. A flat is, essentially, a large square or rectangular piece of (usually) cotton fabric. It needs to be folded up in order to use it as a diaper. There are many ways to fold them. I’m not here to explain that; a quick Google search will give you a lot of tutorials on how to fold and use flats.

What I want to share today is my source for flat diapers, and why they are so wonderful and versatile. I wish I could take the credit for “discovering” this secret, but I read about it on Diaper Swappers from some of the creative, thrifty parents there. However, I thought I’d explain what they are, how to find them, and how they can be used. My apologies, I included a lot of photos.

What you want to look for are “flour sack towels.” I know they can be found at other stores (including some grocery stores). My experience is with the ones from Target. And I love Target, and do about 90% of our shopping there, so… yeah. These are located in the kitchen towel section and are from their Room Essentials (RE) line of housewares.

They run $3.99 for a pack of 4. See what I mean about cheap? That’s about a dollar a diaper. Disposables usually run about a quarter per diaper (give or take) and can only be used ONCE. They also sit in our landfills for hundreds of years, and can contain a lot of icky stuff.

You can use the flat as a diaper, and use a pin or Snappi to hold it shut (you’ll want a cover of some sort, as it won’t have a waterproof outer layer). They are a very trim option.

Here’s one that is “kite folded” and pinned:

And here it’s folded in quarters (fold it in half, and then fold it in half again… it will be squareish, much like a prefold), and then Snappied on after I “jellyrolled” the sides in (which creates a nice tight seal around the legs). I also placed a doubler inside of it, for extra absorbency. See how trim it is, even with the doubler?

To compare, here is a flat folded into quarters (as above) and placed over a red-edged GMD prefold:

Now, if folding up bits of cloth to diaper your baby isn’t your thing, have no fear. There are two more uses for these. If you’re not a fan of microfiber inserts (many people aren’t) these can be folded up to be used as an insert for pocket diapers. Fold the flat into quarters (again, as above) and then fold it in thirds. Here is one you can compare to a microfiber insert:

Cotton absorbs very quickly and can hold quite a bit, and I swear these things fill in my Fuzzibunz and make them fit my son even better. This is kind of a crappy picture, but you get the idea:

If you like the Flip system, or other systems where you place an insert or prefold into a cover, then these are a wonderful, inexpensive option you can try. I like them with my Gen-Y Universal covers. Here’s a comparison. From left to right: folded up flat, Flip organic insert (folded the shorter way), red GMD prefold (trifolded).

And here’s that flat placed into a cover (this is a Flip cover):

So that’s about it. I’d recommend ANY parent have these on hand, especially those that cloth diaper. These are what you want to have on hand if your washer or dryer ever break and you have to handwash your diapers (or can’t make it to the store for disposables). The single layer of cotton is easier to wash and they air dry quickly. Four of them for the cost of a latte… what do you have to lose?

Today I’d like to talk about cleaning. More importantly: cleaning products.

I used to be a cleaning product junkie. Maybe because I spent some time during college cleaning on-campus apartments? But I’ve tried to block that from memory. Anyhow, I used to like having a different cleaner or soap or solution for every possible household surface.

I’ve become more conscious of my decisions and how they affect the earth and my budget. Not only that, but how they might affect my family.

Having a child made me so much more aware of all of the chemicals in just about EVERYTHING. Cloth diapering has changed how I do laundry; I no longer like to use things with dyes, artificial fragrances, etc. and I no longer use fabric softener. At first I only made that change to my son’s clothing (and his diapers) but then I thought, ‘Why should I have that stuff on my skin?’ and ‘That stuff is coating my clothes, and my son spends a lot of time in my arms.’

A few years ago, I began using greener and more natural cleaning products in our home, such as Method. I began to cut back on the harsh chemicals I was using. My “harsh” disinfectants of choice include Method and 7th Generation sprays. I use Method mop solution (hardwood floor formula) and have a few of their other products. I like their hand soaps.

The latest thing I am trying is utilizing vinegar as a household cleaner. I already buy distilled white vinegar by the gallon. It has so many uses. I use it for laundry. I use it as an ear wash for one of my dogs (per my veterinarian’s suggestion). I use it to clean out coffee maker. And now, mixed 50/50 with water, I will be using it as an all-purpose spray.

Yesterday, I rinsed out two of my empty Method bottles and added my own special touch with some scrapbook paper (and packaging tape… admittedly, it looked better before the tape was added, but sometimes you have to be practical and I don’t want to wreck the label the first time I reach for the bottle with damp hands). Voila! All-purpose, inexpensive, earth-friendly household cleaner.

I have the following goals to work on in regard to our household cleaning habits:
1) Limit our paper towel use. Use rags for cleaning, cloth napkins more frequently, and hand towels more often (my husband gets a special nudge on this one).
2) Phase out our antibacterial hand soaps, and go back to using our Method soap full-time. Leave bottles of hand sanitizer in the kitchen and bathroom for when hand sanitizing is actually necessary (i.e., far less often than at every hand washing).
3) Switch over to a different type of dishwasher detergent. Something less chemically and more earth/family friendly.

How about you? Do you prefer to scour with bleach and harsh chemicals, or do you like to take the more natural route? Got any favorite homemade cleaners? Did having children change the way you clean your house? (Er, well, beside needing to clean more often yet magically having a dirtier house.)

Happy Monday!

We use cloth diapers, and we love them. Even my husband prefers them and is glad we use them.

That love has followed me into my laundry room. Cloth diapers do require a bit more laundry (duh) but I really don’t mind. To us it is worth it, and I love seeing all of our clean diapers neatly organized in G’s room:

Yes, I could probably use a support group.

Anyhow, my detergent of choice is Rockin’ Green. This stuff is fantastic. I keep mine in a canister in our laundry room and measure it with one of their magnetic laundry scoops, which conveniently sticks to the side of our washing machine. Awesome!


Copyright belongs to Rockin’ Green Cloth Diaper Detergent

Why do I love this stuff? Let me count the ways.
1) It is free of phosphates and contains no dyes (or some of those other ickies found in many detergents), making it better for the environment AND your kiddo’s skin.
2) It is made for cloth diapers, so it is safe to use on them and rinses clean. And, while it was formulated for diaper duty, it can also be used on your other household laundry. I don’t like to use “regular” detergents on G’s clothes or bedding, so I often use this stuff.
3) It works for various water types – just choose your formula and amount based on whether you have hard, soft, or “normal” water.
4) It comes in yummy scents that are natural and don’t stick around. Yup, they rinse clean, too. So nothing is left behind to irritate skin or cause build up on diapers, but the scents make doing laundry a little more fun.
5) Their customer service is among the best I’ve ever encountered. No, seriously. The owner herself will help you if you have any problems, questions, or need to fine-tune your diaper washing routine. Plus, she is so darn nice! And so are the other staff members I’ve encountered.
6) They are FUN. From their rock ‘n roll themes, to their contests and giveaways on twitter and facebook… they keep things fresh, hip, and modern. This ain’t yo’ grandma’s detergent! (Though I must say that my mom, G’s Grandma, is actually quite fresh, hip, and modern.)

Rockin’ Green (often shortened to “RnG” by its fans) also just came out with an ammonia laundry booster called “Funk Rock.” You can also “rock a soak” with the regular detergent in order to help remove build-up and other gunk (you should see the water after soaking sometimes! this stuff gets out a ton of grossness, even from “clean” items like towels and bedding). I love RnG and you should really just try it out yourself. I guess you could say it has a cult following, and its fans get pretty excited about it sometimes.

Alright, this got wordy. But it’s Monday, so how about a giveaway to help you through it?

How to enter? There are several ways. You can get up to four entries total, but you have to comment separately for each one. I will use Random.org to pick the winner. Contest will run for one week, and ends on Monday, December 20th, at 11:59pm.

***Comments are moderated and will not post right away, so don’t panic if you don’t immediately see your comment… please do not post it again.***

Don’t forget to include your email address in your response so I can contact you if you win!

My apologies, but I’m opening this up to those with a U.S. address only at this time.

Entries:
1) Head on over to Rockin’ Green‘s website, spend a couple of minutes looking around, and comment which formula and scent you would most want to try or use. Choose carefully, if you win this is what you will get! (I use Classic Rock and love their new scent, “Mighty Mighty Marshmallow.”)

2) “Like” my blog’s page on facebook. Then, come back here and comment that you “like” it.

3) If you haven’t already, “like” Rockin’ Green on facebook. Comment here to tell me you are now, or already were, a fan of their page.

4) Follow my blog (using Google Reader or whatever else you prefer to use to keep track of the blogs you read). I’ll have to take your word for it, so after you add it come back here and let me know that I have a new follower. 🙂

That’s it! I will close comments next Monday and notify the winner as soon as I sort through the entries. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Rockin’ Green, nor was I compensated in any way for this review or giveaway. I am simply a fan of theirs. The review was 100% my own opinion of their product and company. They were kind enough to donate a bag of soap to the winner.

CONGRATULATIONS SARAH!

I know what you may be thinking… cloth wipes? Really? Cloth diapers aren’t enough?

Hear me out.

When Little Guy was born, I had a very small collection of cloth wipes that I purchased when I bought my FuzziBunz cloth diapers. I figured that I would use them occasionally, but would mostly use disposable wipes. I’d get the scent-free kind, and the amount of trash generated would be pretty negligible. Hey, I was saving Mother Earth by using cloth diapers, remember? No need to go overboard.

Well, my son has a pretty sensitive tush. Even the fragrance-free wipes seemed to irritate his skin. But I made another realization: it’s EASIER to use cloth wipes when you’re cloth diapering. And they work better.

You see, if you use a cloth diaper with a disposable wipe, the diaper has to go one way (into the wet bag/diaper pail) while the wipe has to go another (into the trash). And, if you’re not changing your baby right next to a garbage can, where do you stick the dirty wipe if you’re not rolling it up into the dirty diaper and tossing it all?

When I use a cloth wipe, it goes right into the dirty cloth diaper and it allllllll goes into the wet bag. They can be laundered together, so there’s no extra step there. And it takes fewer cloth wipes to clean up a mess (at least for me). I only use one or two cloth wipes, even for a poopy mess. I always used way more disposable wipes than that if I was dealing with a mess.

The type of wipe you use will be up to you. I’ve tried a few brands out and my favorites are the Thirsties Fab Wipes and the Kissaluvs Organic Cotton Wipes. These are a bit on the pricey side, but they both work great. I also have some Grovia wipes that I like a lot, but I’m not sure how well they will hold up (the thread on the edges have come loose on some of them, and they are a bit pilly in spots). I also have some cheaper flannel wipes and some homemade wipes that my super sweet neighbor made for me out of t-shirt material. Check around on the internet; you can make your own out of receiving blankets, or buy some really nice wipes that are handmade, many by SAHMs. Look on Etsy! That’s where I’m getting my next set.

edit 10/16/10: Check out the wipes from Megaroo’s, they are awesome! So are her extended tab prefolds. Also, I’m liking the GroVia wipes less and less over time.

Now, if you use cloth wipes you do need to use some sort of wipe solution in order to get them wet. You can use plain water, add your own stuff to plain water, or purchase solution-additives or ready-made solutions. You can keep your cloths pre-moistened, or you can wet them as you use them. These are choices you’ll have to make for yourself. There are many solution recipes out there, so search around if you’re interested in going this route (and to see what issues you may encounter and which ingredients may help with certain issues, such as yeast).

Me, personally? I choose to make my own solution and keep the wipes dry until use, and I use a spray bottle to wet them (the exception being when we’re out and about, then I use a small squirt bottle with plain water and keep a handful of wipes in a makeup bag). For my wipe solution, I use mostly tap water with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a splash of witch hazel (or a couple drops of tea tree oil). Yeah yeah yeah, what an exact science. I occasionally use plain water, too.

edit 10/16/10: I just tried the Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion and it’s great. I think I’m going to snag a spray bottle for the diaper bag and get some of the concentrate next time I place a diaper order. But my homemade spray is still good! It’s nice to have a bottle upstairs AND down.

I store my wipes in a disposable wipes container. I keep one container upstairs and one downstairs. Check out this wonderful video to see how to fold the wipes so they pop up like disposable wipes.

That’s about it! At diaper change time I just spray the wipes as needed (after giving the bottle a good swish so the ingredients aren’t separated), and put the soiled wipes into his dirty diapers and it all goes into the laundry together. Simple, effective, and easier on Little Guy’s bottom (and my wallet).

Bonus: cloth wipes are great to have on hand for other messes, too. Like drool, spit up, leaky breast milk, etc. I’m constantly reaching for them!