Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flats Challenge Day 7

Today is the last day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country have used flats and hand washed them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer.



This year's challenge was really nothing new for me - this is my 4th year participating, and *yay* my 4th year completing the challenge. After last year's flats and handwashing challenge - I didn't keep hand washing (as I had considered) but I did line dry much of the year - even indoors.  I changed my diapering routine, I used flats and covers until my little man was about 9 months old, then he got REALLY wiggly and strong so i switched to flats and pockets. I wouldn't have switched just because he was trying to crawl away at every diaper change, but I did because I HAD a whole stash of pockets.  After a few months of using pockets stuffed with flats I started to go back to flats and covers at home and pockets for while we're out and for nap time.  I think I will go back to that routine. It feels weird to do the flats and handwashing challenge and not feel like it has changed me - So, how many challenges does it take before it doesn't even mess with your routine to hand wash and use flats for a week? 

4, the answer is 4.  

This year my hand washing routine was a little different.  I washed my diapers in the afternoon instead of in the morning. (yeah, so mostly exactly the same..)  I dried them mostly indoors overnight (only one day did i get around to hanging them outside).  I've heard a lot of complaining about drying indoors but it works fine for me, even when I forget to turn on a fan everything is dry in the morning.   

This system is doable.  Doable as in I could make it work full time for myself - I don't know what i would do with all the other laundry if I didn't have a washer and dryer, but I'm sure I would work that out as well - and being set up to hand wash a small load just might make that easier too.  Hand washing fit in with my other kitchen chores. (dishes, sweeping etc) I didn't feel pressured to get them washed and dry by a certain time because i had so.many.flats.  I think a stash of 2-3 dozen flats is a good idea - they are so inexpensive, it is worth it to be able to give yourself some wiggle room on washing and be able to use one as a cleaning rag, or doubler without having to worry about running out.  I had less help from my kids this year - my 8 year old helped twice, and then she got over it and i just did it myself.  Wringing the diapers didn't seem as hard this year, but I had 7-8 diapers in a load instead of the 12 i had last year so that probably explains that - I also feel like i've finally perfected my wringing skills.  


I did feel a bit silly at times this year, throwing a load of laundry in the washer and then washing diapers in the sink.  Though in a way it was like multitasking and it all got done faster in the end.  I feel like my napkins and my big kids' night time super-undies (cloth overnight 'pull ups') got cleaner this week because they were in the washer without a dozen diapers.  Thinking about that makes me want to keep hand washing my flats - they really do get just as clean, and as i said last year, it shaves hours and hours off the time my washer is running.  In order to make the loads smaller, i would have to wash diapers in the washer EVERY DAY and that would leave not enough time for regular laundry.. or I would be doing laundry pretty much all the time.  What felt extra silly was when we got poop on a diaper cover and could have EASILY thrown it in a load of laundry that I had just started, but instead I waited until later to hand wash it and then it wasn't dry in time to use it for bedtime. (I had other covers for bedtime, so no big deal) 


Ok. now that i wrote this out, just like last year - hand washing diapers (part time or as is actually needed) is sounding like a real option that i am actually considering.  I think I will leave my wet pail of borax-y water under the sink for now and see if i use it. 

  

And PS. once again, blogging is harder to keep up with than the actual challenge.  I even skipped a day (no day 6, ha! didn't notice, did you?) It is much harder to fit in quiet time to think and type than it is to throw some diapers in the kitchen sink. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 5: Flat Folds

WOW. This week is FLYING BY!!

Today is the 5th(!) day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country sign up to use flat cloth diapers AND hand wash them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer.

The topic for the day is flat folds.  Last year I used all kinds of folds on my then 3 month old.  This year, I'm pretty limited just by lack of time and a SUPER wiggly squirmy baby. 

my 2 favorites are the good old fashioned kite fold (pictured below) and pad fold. 




That is a kite fold done with a flannel receiving blanket with boingos to hold it closed - I've found that Boingos work better on flannel than snappis do.  Pins are another option but would be challenging (and dangerous) with the wiggly squirmy baby.  I prefer a double gusset cover over this fold, like a Thirsties or a Blueberry.

For the pad fold, I prefer to use a narrower cover, like a Grovia shell.  


 
If you are going to use 'fancy' diaper folds - ideally folding a whole basket ahead of time is easier at diaper changes.  But i haven't done any of that lately (I use flats most of the time, even outside of the challenge) I have been grabbing my diaper and folding it off to the side with one hand while holding my squirmy baby down with the other hand.  I'm pretty fast these days, sometimes he is still faster.. 





















Day 4: hand washing diapers

It is (was, i'm late) the 4th day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country sign up to use flat cloth diapers AND hand wash them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer. 

Today we will talk about washing - Hand washing diapers, to me, is really not any worse than hand washing dishes.  I use the kitchen sink and I get distracted so sometimes it takes me all afternoon.   This year, that has not been a big deal since I have so many more diapers than I need because my toddler only uses about 7 diapers a day. 

.
Step 1: gather supplies
This year, instead of running to the laundry room and grabbing handfuls of soap, borax, oxiclean etc - I cleaned and filled glass jars under the kitchen sink with all of the white powders I would need for washing - this year, Charlie's soap, Borax, and sun brand oxiclean made the cut.  

More under the sink cleaning lead to a place to store my wet pail. A wet pail has proven essential for washing larger loads of flats (larger being more than 5-6 diapers) - I put about 2 tbs of borax in my wet pail for the pre-soak


Step 3: dump the wet pail and contents into the sink and begin filling with clean water - I like to do a pre-rinse. Though I skip this step if I'm in a hurry. 

 

Step 4: get your 8 year old to wash the diapers for you...( Optional)

Ok, I've lost track of the steps numbers .. 

after the prerinse, add HOT water, a little Charlie's soap (about a teaspoon, maybe a little more) and a half scoop of oxiclean - maybe some more borax, baking soda, washing soda, calgon, or salt - really, I like throwing random white powders in the sink.. 

Agitate. Walk away (soak) forget what you were doing (soak) go to put dishes away and realize your sink is full of diapers and agitate some more. Drain, squeeze out some water and begin filling again with warm or cold water. 

I've been considering trying a little bleach once a week at this point, I think it would be helpful, but I have yet to find out. 

Rinse, rinse, rinse.  Then wriiinnng wring wring (always wear your dish washing gloves or you Will get blisters by the end of he week) 


Hang diapers to dry, preferably outdoors on a pretty sunny day .. 


But indoors with a fan works too, it just takes a little longer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flats Challenge: Day 3 Looking back on 4 years of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge



Annie 20 mo - 2012
Annie 8 mo - 2011
It is (was, i'm late) the 3nd day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country sign up to use flat cloth diapers AND hand wash them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer. 


Bently, 15 mo - 2014
Bently 3 months - 2013
  This is my 4th year participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  For today's open topic post, I just want to document this journey with some pictures... 
 4 weeks of hand washing diapers
Mollie & Jamie washing diapers - 2011
Annie washing diapers - 2012


 



Mollie washing - 2013
Mollie washing - 2014



4 weeks worth of hanging diapers to dry ...
Mollie - 2011
Jamie, Mollie, Annie 2012











Annie, Mollie - 2013
Annie - 2014


 And all that diapering ...

Annie 2011

Annie 2011

Annie 2012

Bently, Feb 2013


Bently Feb 2013
Bently Feb 2013
Bently 2013

Bently 2014



Bently 2014




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 2 - my stash & cost

Day 2:  My flats stash and how much do these things cost. ... 


Add caption
Today is the 2nd day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country sign up to use flat cloth diapers AND hand wash them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer. 

So how many flats do you need to diaper your baby and how much do they cost? 

Flats
How many you need depends largely on the age of your baby  - Last year, my little man was 3 months old for the challenge and he used 12 flats a day (10 during the day and 2 overnight) so a stash of about 24 would have been ideal. (12 to use, while the other 12 were washing/drying) This year, at 15 months, he is using about 7 flats a day including 2 overnight.  I could make it by with a dozen. I am using slightly different flats this year than last - mostly the slightly thicker, more absorbent flannel blankets.  If I could come up with any excuse to have more diapers, I would try t-shirt flats - they seem like they would be soft, free, and absorbent. 

 Since I've been using flats for 3 years and 2 babies,   I have way more than one would need to start out. 


9 - large rectangular flour sac towels from sam's club - $9
12 - square flour sac towels, target $12 (3 4-packs for $3.99)
8 - Ikea fluffy, square burp cloths $12 (2 for 2.99)
11 - old flannel receiving blankets $0 (re-purposed baby gifts)

So, my LARGE stash of flats, which also double as burp cloths and cleaning rags cost a grand total of $33

All the covers...
 To use flats, it is also helpful (but not 100% necessary) to have some covers - how many covers you need also depends on the age of your baby and on what type of covers you are using.  Pictured left is my entire stash of way-too-many covers.  (and its not actually my entire stash, it is the covers that are not girly) Pictured below are the covers I'm using for the challenge.  I could  get by with 3-4 covers.  But I am using 7 plus one larger fleece cover for overnight (not pictured).  Below we have 
2 thirsties duo size 2 - retail cost about $28 (I paid $22)
1 grovia shell - retail about $16 (i paid $8)
3 blueberries coveralls, 2nds (total about $30) 
1 up-cycled wool cover (made from a sweater, $0) 
covers i am currently using
Bummis polar fleece cover - (clearance, ~$10)


Bringing my cover total to about $70


You can find covers cheaper, Econobum covers run for about $6-7, and you can find covers that are more expensive.  Shopping sales, 2nds sales and silent auctions is why I have so many covers (and because they are cute and I can't stop buying them...) 

Snappis and Boingos


Another not 100% in my stash - Snappis and Boingos - Boingos run about $5 a pair, (I'm only using 1 pair now, so i will only count 1. )
I got these snappis for $4 recently.

Grand total.  $112

Diapers for the diapered life of my baby and then some.  For $112.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Flats and Handwashing Challenge 2014 - Day 1: Why am I doing this (AGAIN)??

flour sac towel flat, boingos
Today is the first day of the 4th annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  During the challenge, moms all over the country sign up to use flat cloth diapers AND hand wash them.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness and spread the word that cloth diapers are a viable option for families struggling to afford clean diapers for their babies, even for those who may not have access to a washer and dryer.  

This is my FOURTH year participating in the challenge - I have a 15 month old toddler and it is May, so I'm doing the challenge.  The first flats challenge changed the way I diaper my babies - I use flats almost exclusively.  I use them as pocket inserts and also with covers.  I have donated all of my microfiber inserts and my (homemade) hemp fleece prefolds have been folded in a drawer for a couple years now.  

B. 15 months, blueberry diaper cover
I'm not sure WHY I am doing the challenge - I've done it before, 3 times before - I've done it with an older baby (8 mo) a toddler (20 mo), a young baby (3mo).  I've participated with perfect weather, with rain, I've hand washed diapers while traveling, in hotels and while staying with family.  While I normally use my washing machine - I line dry all my diapers year round, indoors or outdoors.  None of this is really a challenge for me anymore - Even my now 8 year old knows how to hand wash the diapers! She has helped me handwash diapers once a year since she was 5 and I am glad she has that skill. I talk to parents about flats (and handwashing) every month at my local Real Diaper Association Circle group meetings.  The challenge has served its purpose with me.   Practicing the skill of handwashing, making this option normal for my kids, planting a seed in the minds of those who may see me washing, drying or using flats and showing that even when you are busy and you have so much on your plate that you can't find room for one more thing, you can still hand wash your baby's diapers if it *needs* to be done.  Just like you can find the time to prepare meals, or to feed your baby, you can find the time to wash his diapers. 




  



Monday, February 17, 2014

vegan Chees-y sauce/spread


  2  cups  water
  1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  2 Tablespoons   potato starch (tapioca makes this slimy, corn works well as a substitute)
  1-2 Tablespoons GF flour
  2 teaspoon lemon juice
  1 teaspoon salt
  1 clove garlic (or a teaspoon of chopped garlic, or a 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder) 


Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan, and whisk over medium heat until it starts to thicken, then let it bubble for 30 seconds after it begins to thicken - remove from heat. Whisk vigorously. If you stop whisking or overcook it will become lumpy (still tastes fine though)


This makes about 2 cups of cheese sauce that keeps in the fridge for about a week - makes great pizza cheese with a bit of Italian seasoning or oregano.