Tuesday, August 25, 2009

50 Best Websites 2009 - TIME

I am mostly blogging this so that I'll have easy access to it in the future. I've had so much fun looking at these sites. I've already bookmarked several of them and gone back repeatedly. I just used supercook.com to decide what to have for dinner.



I heart the internets.



Full List - 50 Best Websites 2009 - TIME

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

I heart cloth diapering.


After I posted the picture of John napping a couple people asked me about my experience in cloth diapering—I suppose since he's pretty clearly wearing a cloth diaper in the picture. Since I'm really happy with cloth diapering, I'll gladly oblige.
My experience has, thus far, been really great. I find that cloth diapering is just as easy, perhaps easier, than using disposables. Disposables hold a lot more liquid, so you have to change cloth diapers more frequently, but that's not really a big deal. I have enough diapers and covers right now to go three days between washing diapers. I just recently ordered some more covers, and when those arrive I'll be able to go four days. It's just not bad at all.
If you're interested in cloth diapering to save money, there are a few things to consider. The cost of cloth diapering one child is about the same as buying disposables for one child for one year. Of course, cloth diapers can then be used on a second child, which cuts the cost of diapering each child in half. And then with a third child… well, you get the picture. If you've had several babies and are on your last one – don't cloth diaper to save money. If you just have one or two babies and are planning one or two more, you'll save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you're interested in cloth diapering because you care about the planet, good for you.

I have used:
Chinese Prefolds—The classic cloth diaper. I love these for newborns and small because they are easy to bunch up around tiny little legs and whatnot. We could use these when John was too small for all of the other diapers. There are several different ways you can use them depending on the size and shape of your baby, so there is some versatility here. I just don't think they are very practical for a growing baby that is learning to move, or moving around a great deal. They make them in bigger sizes for bigger babies, but I've opted for other things as John has gotten bigger.
Kissaluvs fitted diapers—I didn't love these at first, but I realized it was because of the snaps. When a diaper is Velcro, you can always make it fit the baby. When it's a snap diaper, there are going to be stages in between the snaps that it doesn't fit the baby as well. When I first started using them, it was an in between stage. As John grew a bit, I really started to like them. I have them in the small size, and he's long since outgrown them, but I will use them for the next baby we have.
Thirsties fitted diapers—I LOVE these diapers. They are soft, they are Velcro, they have a trim fit that covers fit over easily. I also just have these in the small size, so John has outgrown them as well. I would have purchased bigger sizes, but I got turned onto 'one size fits all' diapers, and sadly, they don't make them in Thirsties. If they did, I would be all over it.
Motherease fitted 'one size fits all' diapersThese are GREAT! Soft, absorbent, a good fit even though they are snaps. They are kinda bulky, but the covers fit over them nicely. We never have trouble with leaks in this diaper (during the day, but I'll get to that later). This is the diaper we use most often. It is the one he is wearing in the picture of the last post. If I could go back to the beginning I would just buy 'one size fits all' diapers. They are a bit more expensive per diaper, but then you don't have to buy more as your baby grows… obviously. Its common sense, but for some reason I just didn't focus on it before John was born.
BumGenius 3.0 'on size fits all' pocket diapers—These are good diapers. We find them easiest to use when we are out and about because we can get them stuffed and ready to go (they don't need covers), and they are fast and easy to change in a public bathroom. And they fit really trim, so they fit the best under his clothes without a lot of extra bulk. The downside to these, I feel, is that they aren't as absorbent as the Motherease diapers, so they need to be changed more often. But, as long as you do that, they're good diapers.

FuzziBunz-These are pocket diapers a lot like the BumGenius. But, the ones I have are not one size fits all, so John has long since grown out of the size small I have. FuzziBunz does make a one size fits all, though. I just like BumGenius better.

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers—Hated these. They fit pretty good over diapers, but they *stink*. I guess the bonus is that you can tell as soon as your baby has peed, because the minute these get wet you can smell it. Thumbs down.
ProRap Classic covers—I love these for the Chinese Prefolds. They're great for just laying the diaper inside the cover. Again, a great thing for new borns and smaller babies. Thirsties covers are similar, although I haven't used those I've seen them and they look the same to me.
Wonder Wraps covers—My favorite cover. First and for most, they never stink! You can use one, lay it out to dry, and then use it again (unless perhaps some "poopies" have gotten out of control). I usually alternate between two on any given day. They are 'one size fits all' so they've covered all of our different diapers (except the BumGenius which, of course, don't need covers). I highly recommend them.
Various brands of doublers—Especially helpful for boys, since they tend to pee in the same spot. The extra padding helps. I primarily use BumGenius, Kissaluv, and Motherease doublers. There are lots of brands and types – cotton, hemp, fleece, etc.
Various brands of flushable liners—This is an optional accessory, but I'd really recommend it. Early on, baby poo (especially breastfed baby poo) does not need to be shaken or rinsed from the diaper. You can throw it right in the wash with no problem. But, once you start feeding the baby solids (or certain kinds of formula) the poo gets really interesting. And can't just be washed out. Enter flushable liners. They are generally biodegradable, so you can throw them in a diaper bin or flush them and it keeps you from having to shake a poopy diaper out in the toilet. Best thing ever.
One thing I would recommend before getting into cloth diapering is making sure you know how to wash them properly. There are certain kinds of detergent that are best because they are free of enzymes and stain repellents (which makes cloth less absorbable – not ideal for a diaper) and you want to use very little detergent in each load. You also need to strip your diapers every so often to make sure there isn't any detergent build up, which makes them less absorbable and causes an odor. I use vinegar and baking soda for this, but there are several different ways. Luckily I had some friends that tipped me off to these things before I got started, so I was able to do the appropriate research before I prepared myself.
Another thing is that cloth diapering takes on a whole new dimension at night. This is, of course, different for every baby, and I've heard its different for boys than it is for girls. My boy pees like a race horse, and I cannot find a diaper that contains it at night. I've tried padding, layering, stuffing… I have resorted to putting a disposable on him because I get SO tired of the leaks, and a disposable holds a lot more liquid. My other option is to wake him to change his diaper, but I'm just not willing to do that. He does wake up to eat at night, which I'm sure is part of the problem, but he doesn't wake up all the way. If we change his diaper he wakes up all the way and it takes forever to get him back to sleep. It will probably be better when we eliminate nighttime feedings—which we've been working on—but for now it's just where we're at. I think babies that sleep through the night without eating fare better in their cloth diapers.
We also use disposable diapers when we're traveling because finding a place to wash diapers is generally not on the agenda.
My final plug for cloth diapering is that they are just way cuter. John's little bum just looks so much sweeter in a cloth diaper than in the disposable.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How did this happen....?

John is super mobile these days. For about a month he's been crawling... backwards. It's been kinda fun watching him back himself into corners he can't get out of. Yesterday he mastered moving forward. Also fun, but now I feel like I need to rearrange everything in my apartment. And, of course, he has totally mastered sitting up. All of this has made nap time a bit more interesting. I can no longer lay him down and just watch him fall asleep. I lay him down, he sits up, he moves around, he grins and smiles at me like we're playing a fun game... I've learned that if I just put him in bed when he's tired and leave the room (as long as he's not crying) he'll eventually play himself to sleep. BUT, all of the motion means that he's been falling asleep in some of the funniest positions.


This is the BEST. ONE. YET.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stuff I like...

I just bought these and I love them:





My friend Ann Marie opened up a shop for her jewelry on Esty.com. She has some of the cutest stuff, and I felt like I should share it with everyone. You can't find classic, pretty earrings and sets like this in the stores anymore. I'm so excited she's selling her stuff.



If you want to check it out: www.mckenzieoriginalsltd.etsy.com



If you see something you like, and buy it, be sure to blog about it. I think the people who are providing us cool stuff on Etsy deserve the free advertisement. They provide us with homemade wonderful things that you just can't get anywhere else.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Couponing


Towards the beginning of this year, I decided to enter the great world of couponing. I had friends doing who were making spectacular savings, and I wanted in. Over the last few months I've started getting the hang of it. For example, yesterday morning I went shopping and:
  • At Walgreens I spent $17.08 on groceries worth $$31.54, saving $14.46. I also received $9.00 in register rewards to spend on my next purchase at Walgreens.

     
  • At CVS I spent $4.98 on groceries worth $15.36, saving $10.38. I also received $5.00 in extra care bucks to spend on my next purchase at CVS. I'm actually bummed about this because I have—somewhere in possession—about $8.00 in extra care bucks that I cannot find that should have been used here, and I would have spent NOTHING. I would have just come away with the $5.00 in extra care bucks. I don't want to talk about this anymore.

     
  • At Target I spent $3.00 (yes, $3.00) on groceries worth $30.40, saving $27.40.

     
Target was the clear winner this week in combining coupons and sales. I usually do a lot better at CVS, but they just didn't have a lot that I needed this week. Although I do shop to stock (I have enough cereal to feed an army) I don't buy things my family won't use simply because they are on sale.
Couponing has been great, but I do have two major complaints:
  1. If you don't shop o Sundays, you miss out. Most sales start on Sundays, and if it's a really great deal, they are gone by Monday morning. One of the things that we do to set Sunday apart as the Lord's Holy Day is avoid any business dealings—including eating out and shopping. So, when I head out on Monday morning it is with the knowledge that a third of what I'm going to get will be missing off the shelf. Of course, I could rain check (holding the price until they get the item back in stock) but usually it happens with things that go on sale frequently so I don't go through the effort. Still, it irritates me.
  2. Things that are not good for you are the cheapest items to buy. I've always known this, but couponing throws it into sharp relief. In my home we like to eat real food. Healthy, whole, real food. I won't buy things that have ingredient lists longer than my shopping list, especially if I can't pronounce most of those things, even if they are only $0.30 a box. (I'm looking at you Pop Tarts.) We won't eat it, so why buy it? I wish the healthier real foods would go on sale more often and have more coupons available. Alas, that's just not the way it works. I get what I can when I can.
On the whole, I'm really loving couponing. I've saved a ton of money over the last couple of months, and I know that as the years go by, it will really add up!
I've gotten a lot of help from online bloggers, who do most of the work so that I don't have to. I created a blog roll here on my blog several weeks ago so that I can access these sites more easily. Feel free to browse. The best one is www.becentsable.com because of their "grocery gathering". You can look up the store you're shopping at, and becenstable gives you a list of blogs to visit to help you find the best deal at that store. My other favorite site, right now, is www.couponmom.com. If there is something that you need to buy and can't find a sale for, you can search couponmom to at least find a coupon for that item so that you can avoid paying full price.
Rock the sales, people. Rock the sales.

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