Button Scarf

So remember a few months ago I posted this work in progress?
It was a Christmas present for my mama, and I’m finally getting around to posting the finished product:

A chunky green scarf with a wooden button modeled by my Mom. Doesn’t she look great in it?
She loves green, so I knew this yarn would be perfect. Adding the button not only adds a bit of flair, but it also keeps the scarf nice and secure to keep your neck snuggly!

I LOVE how this turned out. I saw something similar to this for sale on etsy and took a picture of it into my local yarn shop to see if they new of any patterns that could accomplish this look. I’m thinking about posting a tutorial/pattern for this scarf, but only if people are interested.

So, would you like to see a pattern for this scarf?
Let me know!

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Where the Boys Are

I love being a mom to boys.

I never thought I would. Growing up, my dad was the only guy in my life. Boys have always been weird and foreign to me. I was just getting used to living with a man (it was 3 years into our marriage, but still so much to learn about him!) when I found out I was having my first boy.

Oh, how I love my little man — Parker Thomas!

He is such a sweet boy. Spunky. Energetic. Stubborn. Cuddly. Affectionate. Smart. And without a doubt, All Boy.
He loves rough housing, building forts, knocking down towers, playing drums, trains, cars, motorcycles, planes, and always being loud.
He just recently has gained the patience to work on puzzles (see above) and enjoy books. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a puzzle and book addict, so these new developments make me so proud!
I still feel inadequate to keep up with him and his boyish ways, but it is so much more awesome (and fitting) than I ever thought it could be.
I love being his mom.

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And now there is this guy. My new love — Nolan Scott.

I was totally, 100%, completely convinced he was going to be a girl. I was in shock when the ultrasound tech informed us otherwise. It wasn’t that I was disappointed, I was just so utterly unprepared for another boy.
But now that I am beginning to know him, I couldn’t imagine it being any other way. He is so sweet and patient. He’s still a hefty boy (11 pounds at his 3 week check-up!), but a little less stubborn and vocal than Parker was at this age. Who knows what kind of boy he will become?

I love our family of four.
I love saying “my boys”.

So I bought myself this book to celebrate the boy-hood that is flourishing in these parts. I am so excited to start making more boy clothes for my guys. I have all these visions of my boys wearing clothes that I have lovingly stitched together for them. Even though I know they will get worn and dirtied before I can say, “Don’t jump in that mud puddle.”
Because, after all, they are BOYS.

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80/20

AKA – Why cloth works for us.

We don’t cloth diaper 100% of the time. Gasp. Originally that was my goal but I realized cloth diapering all-of-the-time-without-exception made me not like cloth diapering. And when you don’t like doing something, you tend to stop doing it. So, I decided on the 80/20 rule. I will try to cloth diaper 80% of the time, the rest I won’t stress about and will use disposables.

What falls in the 20% for us?
Night time diapering — We were never able to find something within the world of cloth that worked for Parker. He did okay when he was younger, but after 18 months or so he would just soak through every.single.night. Using a super heavy duty soaker disposable is the only thing that keeps me from going insane washing sheets every day. It’s totally worth it.
Traveling – I think our families would be okay with us using their facilities to cloth diaper while traveling, but for me it isn’t worth the stress. I want a vacation when I travel. Not to mention, adding an additional bag for diapers sounds more expensive than just picking up a box of disposables for a week.
Illness — Cloth diapering when a little one is sick or while I’m sick is not the best use of my time. Early pregnancy and the first weeks with a newborn falls into this category.
Caregivers — We use disposables when we have babysitters or for church nursery. I don’t expect anyone else to have to deal with my kid’s poop more than absolutely necessary. And it’s nice to not come home to a pile of wet/dirty diapers that weren’t taken care of properly by the caregiver. It’s just easier.

And the rest of the time, the 80%? I happily keep my kid’s in cloth. It still saves money. It’s still better for the environment. And it still minimizes my boys’ exposure to harsh chemicals. And since it doesn’t stress me out, it keeps me cloth diapering. If you are interested in cloth diapering, keep the 80/20 rule in mind–it just may convince you to keep going!

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Washing Cloth Diapers

So it turns out I have more posts about cloth diapers than could fit in just one week! I have at least two more posts with stuff I want to share, but have been struggling to find the time. So, we’ll see how long it takes me to get around to them. Hopefully this won’t end up being cloth diaper month!

The biggest concern I had going into cloth diapering (aside from being considered a weird-o) was the wash. How would I know if the diapers were really clean enough? Would there be smell? Would there be solids in my washing machine? Where do you keep the dirty diapers before washing them? How much extra work and expense would be added by the extra laundry loads?

I wish I could tell you I have the answer to all those questions, but unfortunately washing cloth diapers (like everything else with cloth) is a very personal thing. What works for one person may not be a solution for everyone. I can tell you that with a little trial and error, we’ve come up with workable answers to all those questions and the laundry aspect of cloth diapering takes little-to-no thought these days. I really have no idea how to figure out what the cost savings would be on using cloth, but from what I’ve read, even the added energy cost doesn’t come close to the cost of disposable diapers.

So, here is what we do:

Wet diapers go straight into a Bummis Tote bag. We keep one in the bedroom next to the changing station and one in the sink vanity in the bathroom. Diapers with solids get sprayed into our toilet with our diaper sprayer. Then they go into the tote bag under the sink. (When we used pocket diapers, we had to separate the inserts at this time.) There can be a slight diaper smell as washing day approaches, but no more than what any parents experiences with a trash can full of diapers. I’ve heard that keeping baking soda in an open container can help absorb any lingering smell. Every two days or so it’s laundry day.

I empty the bags into our top-loading, high-efficiency washing machine. High-efficiency washers are great for the environment and terrible for cloth diapers. It is hard to get enough water in there–we have to lift the lid while the load is filling for it to fill the entire way. They key to have really clean diapers is having HOT water. I run an extra HOT cycle with two scoops of Tiny Bubbles (made specifically for HE washers). I also make sure the settings are on heavy soil and extra rinse. I run the washing machine a second time without any additional soap, still hot and with an extra rinse cycle at the end. Then the diaper covers hang dry and everything else (when we used pockets, we put the shell in the dryer too) goes into the dryer. Easy-peasy! Every few months I will run clean diapers through 5 or 6 hot washes to strip them and get rid of any lingering smell. Seems to work well for us!

I used to use Rockin’ Green detergent and really liked it for about a year. Then I realized that it was helping contribute to Parker’s rashes. Apparently that detergent has been known to cause rashes in babies with sensitive skin. Since then I’ve been using the Tiny Bubbles and it has been wonderful. No problems with rashes at all in the last 6 months! That was after battling constant rashes for almost a year with our poor little guy. Cloth diapers are supposed to be better for babies bottoms, but you do have to figure out what works best for them!

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Smartipants

SMARTIPANTS
one-size, snap closure, pocket diaper

Very trim diaper, but still fit my chunky boy. This is by far the least bulky of diapers I’ve tried–I always chose it when fit mattered most. The snaps have less positions, but are still very functional. Same outer material as Happy Heinys and same inner material as BumGenius. Stains a bit more easily than fleece, but not bad as long as you spray the diaper after it’s been soiled.

The selling point on this diaper is easy: the insert comes out ALL BY ITSELF. You don’t have to take the insert out before washing. It is a wonderful feature. The pocket has openings on both sides of the diaper which allow the insert to come out during the wash cycle. This also means you can’t really add additional inserts to the pocket, which is a drawback. Definitely not your overnight diaper. But the absorbency on the insert is remarkable and worked very well, even on my heavy wetter.

Retailed at $14.95. I’m selling this for $7. 

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FuzziBunz

FuzziBunz
medium size, snap adjustable & snap closure, pocket diaper 

This is a very trim diaper for very trim babies. The leg openings really squished my big guy! The snap closures are placed very differently than my other diapers. They didn’t work as well, in my opinion, but again–might work better on smaller babies. Weight range is 12-30 for the medium size, but was less for me. It has similar material and design to the Happy Heinys, which I really like. The color is also really unique.

Unlike the other diapers I’ve mentioned so far, this one only comes with one insert. That was also problematic for me. Parker is a very heavy wetter and one insert would only last him an hour or so. I always ended up stuffing this with other inserts to add absorbency. It is a very trim diaper though and is much less bulky than many others. If that’s important to you–this is a great diaper!

Retailed at $14.95. I’m selling this for $8.
This diaper has been very gently used. Maybe a dozen times.
Like new condition!

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BumGenius

BUMGENIUS 3.0
one-size, velro closure, pocket diaper

The infamous BumGenius. I may be the only person I know who didn’t fall in love with this diaper. I’m pretty sure it’s because of the size of my child. These just didn’t fit him well. He grew out of the super fast because of his ridiculous thighs. Other than that, this is a very easy to use diaper. The velcro makes it the most user friendly — great for babysitters or grandparents. They still have some snaps for adjusting the leg hole, but not as many as the Happy Heinys.

I didn’t love the flap that covers the insert opening. It makes for a bit messier clean-up. The velcro also shows wear and tear much more than the snaps. Even though I didn’t use this one a ton, the velcro looks worn. It still has a strong hold though. The inserts are great and I like the snap feature on the larger insert. It allows it to shrink to the size of the small insert, with a “doubled” area in the front–great for boys! The material on the pocket does show stains a bit more than fleece, but still cleans well. This a super trim diaper and cloths do fit better over it.

Retailed at $17.95. I’m selling this for just $5.
Great price if you just want to give cloth diapering a try!

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Blueberry

BLUEBERRY
one-size, minky w/ terry cloth insert, snap closure, pocket diaper 

These are so soft–luxury diapers to be sure. The outer minky material is such a treat to have against your baby’s skin. These are for a much trimmer baby than the Happy Heinys. They didn’t fit our kiddo that great, but he is quite the exception in size. They have the same adjustable features as the Happy Heinys which takes these from fitting your newborn through potty training. Snaps, again, are in great condition and hold the diaper together nicely. Because of the price, I was expecting a miracle diaper. I had heard these were great for overnight, but found that they are pretty equivalent to the other pockets I’ve used. They work well, but it isn’t anything spectacular. The price is more about style and comfort than going above and beyond other diapers in performance. Still, they are a nice treat. And so cute.

They are lined in terry cloth (which is a bit rougher than the fleece but works well) and come with an insert and a doubler. The diaper and inserts pictured above are yellow, the other (blue/brown polka dot) diaper is white. The yellow one is better at not showing stains. Overall the terry cloth is a bit harder to clean than the fleece found in other diapers, but are still in good condition.

These retailed at $27.95 each. Yikes! I’m happy to sell these for:

$12 per diaper
or
$20 for both

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Diaper Sprayers

For those of you who are on the fence about cloth diapering, knowing about a diaper sprayer might just push you over the edge into cloth diapering land. Yes, we all have heard about the benefits to the environment, to baby’s bum, to our wallets — but really, who wants to deal with the poop? Am I right? Well, if you have a baby, you have to deal with poop. That’s just a given. Cloth diapering only slightly increases your exposure to the stinky stuff. But, if you throw in a diaper sprayer? Things get much less messy.

The whole idea of cloth diapering is making sure that human waste goes where it was meant to go — into our toilets, not our trash cans. But how do you get the waste off of the diaper and into the toilet? It seems like it should be easy, but things aren’t always as “solid” as you’d like it to be. (I’m trying to spare you from the graphic diapering details, but you know what I mean.) In the olden days, diapers were either sent to a diaper laundering service or “swished” around in the toilet bowl. Services are pretty much obsolete now and swishing is just kind of gross. Enter the diaper sprayer.

We use the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer. It attaches right into the water line going to your toilet and hooks onto the side. Easy to install and easy to use. It has a very powerful spray than quickly removes all particles from your diaper and into the toilet. No swishing, dunking, shaking, or praying that the diaper gets clean. This means no solids end up in your washing machine, keeps stink to a minimum, and reduces staining on the diapers. It’s a win-win-win! We love ours, so I won’t be selling it, but I highly recommend getting one!

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Happy Heinys

 HAPPY HEINYS
one-size, snap closure, pocket diapers 

These were our main diapers for Parker’s first 18 months. They are AWESOME for chunky babies. I would not recommend them unless you have a baby with big thighs who is on the bigger side of things. Otherwise I’ve heard people have problems with leaks. Not us! They were great. As you can see, they come in a great variety of colors. The fleece cleans well. We’ve always used a sprayer and Rockin’ Green cloth diaper detergent. The snaps are a little less user friendly but are my preferred closure. They look better over a long period of time and they are baby/toddler proof (i.e., you will not find your baby naked without a diaper after a nap).

Here is what comes with each diaper: the pocket, insert, and doubler. You can easily add additional inserts (for example hemp works great overnight). I love the way this pocket opens at the top, instead of having a flap that comes down. Those of you who have recently diapered a baby know how much solids can travel up the back of a diaper. This design means you won’t be getting your hands dirty when you take out the insert to wash.

As you can see, even after 18 months of use these look pretty darn good! The fleece cleans really well, and the inserts are still in good condition too. I’ve never bleached them, but Happy Heiny’s website says you can bleach every 6 months or so if you want. I haven’t line dried these, but I’m sure putting it in the sun would help with any discoloration.

These one size diapers fit Parker from 8 pounds to 35–just as they are advertised to do. You can see how the snaps have four different positions to change the overall size of the diaper. In the smaller positions the diaper is definitely bulky, but not much more so than any other cloth diaper.

From the first picture you can see we’ve got a LOT of these. 23 to be exact. These retailed at $17.95 when I bought them over two years ago. They are still in great condition. The elastic is good and only one diaper (a black one) has a bit of fabric tearing around a snap. You can still get a lot of life out of these.


I’m going to sell them for $8/diaper
or
$175 if you take the whole bunch 

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