Category Archives: Granola Living: Tips & Tricks

Cloth Diaper Rash Troubleshooting

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Finding the cause of rashes can be a daunting task.  Some rashes I’ve found out right away, and some took a week or more.  I have compiled a list of troubleshooting ideas to help get you started finding that pesky problem causing your little one’s rash… I hope this list helps you find the source of the problem so you can continue to Cloth Diaper successfully.

Here’s some ideas:

1. Are you using a good cloth diaper friendly detergent?  Either something specifically for cloth, or this homemade detergent has worked well for me.  Perhaps the detergent is building up in the diapers or maybe baby is sensitive to the detergent in the first place.  Ruling out detergent sensitivity is simple: wash her clothes in it for a while, if the rash doesn’t show up anywhere else, this probably isn’t the issue.

2. Your diapers need disinfected because there is bacterial buildup… run them through a load with some bleach, then rinse rinse rinse.  Or hang in the sun for several hours.

3. Has she started solids?  It could be a reaction to a new food that she may be sensitive to.  Sensitivities that I’ve noticed causing rashes are wheat, dairy, eggs.

4. Do you need to strip your diapers?  Have you done this recently?

5. Could be a yeast infection… but if it goes away & comes back, maybe not?  At the same time, maybe there is yeast in only some of your stash.  If that’s the case, you NEED to strip them & disinfect them.  Here’s an article on yeast in diapers.

6. That being said, did you buy the diapers used?  I’ve haven’t known many people who buy used (from people they don’t know) who have success with the diapers… they usually end up infecting their whole stash with something or other.  Yeast being the major culprit.  People who get rid of their cloth diapers before the baby is out of diapers are probably running into recurring rash issues and need to de-yeast their diapers – if they can – or toss the whole lot.

7. A word about rashes… is the rash on her bumcheeks or inside the labia & around the anus?  If it is on the cheeks, you most likely have a DIAPER issue (try the stuff above), if it’s inside the cracks, you most likely have a FOOD issue.  That’s not 100%, but it’s a great place to start.

8. Do you use disposable diapers at all?  Are the disposables scented?  Some babies are really sensitive to fragrances and some are just sensitive to paper diapers in general.

I really hope this list has been helpful… I know it is not complete… mostly because I just found this AMAZING troubleshooting guide by Cheeky Bums Blog.  It is the most thorough troubleshooter I’ve found to date!  Head over there & take a look.

Please, if you have a tip I have not listed here, leave a comment & I will add your tip to the list.
I would like this list to be as comprehensive as possible so we can help
as many people as we can have success with Cloth Diapering!

Summertime Treat: Popsicles

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I’m a sucker for not wasting anything… call me cheap, call me frugal, whatever… I can’t throw stuff away if I find that it still has use left in it, even if that use is not what it was intended for in the first place!

So, I have TONS of leftover Playtex Drop-In Disposable Bottle Liners that just never got used when my kids were taking bottles… I couldn’t return them to the store, so I had to figure out a way to re-purpose them. I also have a bunch of wooden Popsicle sticks!

My kids eat smoothies in the summer… A LOT OF SMOOTHIES!  Ever since we burnt out two blenders making baby food & my husband got me a Vitamix (Heaven I tell you!), I’ve been blending like a maniac!  I never add sugar to my smoothies (a banana or two does the trick just fine!), so I am not opposed to giving them to my kids as often as they want!  We have smoothies for snacks, smoothies with meals, smoothies as Popsicles!  Yeah!  I really want to try this Sweet Potato Smoothie from Money Saving Mom!  Doesn’t that sound delicious!

RE-PURPOSING TIP :

Whenever I make a smoothie there is usually some leftover.  So, I press a popsicle stick into a chunk of fruit (banana, apple, pear, watermelon…), put that into the bottom of a liner so the stick stands straight up, then fill the liner half full (or full… as my kids will eat a LARGE Popsicle with no hesitation)! Then I stand those up in a container & put them in the freezer.  After they are frozen, I take them out & put them in a ziplock, or just on a shelf – they’ll get eaten fast enough!  I have three eating popsicles now, and having a shelf full is a must for us!

In this way, I always have a supply of nutritious popsicles during the summer!  And they often have spinach, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli!  You can put soooo many veggies in a smoothie, disguise it with fruit, and vwalla… a nutritious treat for everyone!

The best part for my frugal-lishious self, the liners are reusable since there is no heating involved. I put them in the top rack of the dishwasher or just rinse by hand for the next time!

What is your favorite smoothie concoction?

Pregnancy Survival Tip: EAT BREAKFAST!!!

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So far this pregnancy has been nothing but nausea.  If I cough, I lose my lunch.  If I brush my teeth, I lose it.  If I am too active, you guessed it.  I’ve been spending a LOT of time on the couch.  For a time, I keep telling myself!  This too shall pass.

So… I know one of the best things I can do for the sickies is to eat breakfast… IMMEDIATELY!  Thankfully, I have an AMAZING husband who does ALL the other morning stuff, including making the kids breakfast, while I eat a leisurely bite before the kids wake up.

I’ve always practiced this morning ritual of eating immediately after getting up… but Honey Bunches of Oats (my go to breakfast choice because it’s easy to give it up a moment later), has become sooooooo boring!  I’ve used it for four pregnancies so far and I’m.sick.of.it!!!!  But, a stroll through the cereal aisle reveals nothing more appetizing.  In fact, anything dry & bready/crunchy is rather nauseating to me this time around.

Anyway… 15 years ago (yikes!) I went to Guatemala on a short term youth group mission trip.  One thing I remember about that trip was this drink we had in the town of Holca… a small mountain town where we experienced a GINORMOUS rain & thunderstorm & slept on the concrete floor of a room with a spider in it….. A spider as big as my hand…. Let me tell you, that was the scariest night of my young life!

Oh yeah, the drink.  I’ve thought about this drink a lot since then… researched on the internet for recipes…. but could never find anything that resembled it!  I remember thinking it definitely had cinnamon in it… and some sort of grain but I couldn’t distinguish if it was barley, oat, rice or what.  So, on one particular day a couple weeks ago… after puking my guts out twice before Jesse even left for work… I browsed the internet again with a craving for this drink I remembered.  Guess what!?!?!  I FOUND IT… it’s called Mosh, and it’s a slow-cooked oatmeal with cinnamon!  Ha!

Anyway… thought I’d share with you the recipe.  I found it here, but I’ve modified the recipe slightly to make it more like what I remember.

Guatemalan Mosh

  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 4.5 Cups Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (these are the ones we get)
  • Mix in a saucepan & bring to a boil.

Pour into a crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hours stirring occasionally, until the oats are quite broken down & the Mosh is runny.

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Add to crock pot, stir, cook another couple hours.Allow to cool, pour into mason jars, cover & store in fridge.  In the morning, put 8oz or so in a mug, heat on stove or in microwave, and eat immediately.

If you need more protein for your morning meal (this recipe only has about 2g per serving) just add an additional cup of water & 5 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds to bring the protein up to 5g per serving!  Chia Seeds also contribute a ton of omegas which is great for pregnancy.

So, this has really helped sooo much!  Yes, I’m still super nauseous… but since I’ve switched to Mosh from HBoO I have been able to get the morning chores done before taking a break in the morning!  That alone has been quite helpful!

I hope all my preggie friends have been able to find a “miracle help” for those morning yuckies as I seem to have found.

What has been your go-to food for conquering the sickies during pregnancy?

My Pantry Staples

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For the pantry I recommend keeping a supply of everything you use on hand.  Anything that needs refrigerated after opening, keep what you’re using in the fridge, but keep backups handy in the pantry.  Buy when things are on sale & buy in bulk.  It takes practice to remember what’s in your pantry while you’re at the store if you run into a surprise sale, but you’ll get the hang of it!  Hope this list is helpful.

  • Refried Beans
  • Chili
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Cream Corn
  • Peaches
  • Olives
  • Pineapple
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Chopped Green Chilies
  • Jam
  • Applesauce
  • Pickles
  • Rice Milk
  • Peanut Butter

  • Napkins
  • Trash Bags
  • Ziplocks – selection of Quart, Gallon, Sandwich & Snack sizes
  • Foil
  • Saran Wrap
  • PAM Spray

  • Homemade Granola (see my bulk recipe here)

  • Bread Flour
  • Wheat Berries 1
  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered (confectioners) Sugar
  • Baking Soda 2
  • Baking Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice 3
  • Cous Cous
  • Crutons
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Oats
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dry Pintos
  • Cake Mixes (Various Flavors)
  • Teas & Coffee
  • Split Peas
  • Crackers – Saltines, Graham Crackers, Animal Crackers
  • Noodles – variety of types
  • Nuts – Raw Almonds, Walnuts & Sunflower Seed
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins & Craisins
  • Freeze Dried Fruits – Strawberries & Raspberries 4
  • Bread Crumbs 5
  • Cocoa Powder
  1. Because I grind my own Whole Wheat Flour
  2. Baking Soda – Costco size because I use this for cleaning & baking
  3. White Rice – because it’s great to toss dry into a bottle that needs cleaning… dry rice, touch of soap, hot water, cap & shake shake shake = clean bottle!
  4. Freeze Dried Fruits – because they are great for breakfast cereal add-ins!
  5. Bread Crumbs – homemade dried
Those I keep in bulk…
  • Chicken Boullion
  • Beef Boullion
  • Sea Salt
  • Rock Salt
  • Pepper
  • Peppercorns
  • Chopped Dried Onion (Onion Flakes)
  • Parsley
  • Cinnamon
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Cream Soup Mix (see my bulk recipe here)
  • Dill Weed
  • Thyme
  • Garlic Powder 1
  • Basil
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Chili Powder
  • Seasoning Salt (we make our own here, it’s not spicy & makes an awesome meat flavoring)
Those I keep a small spice jar of…
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • All Spice
  • Cloves
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Marjoram
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Celery Seed 1
  • Curry
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Cayenne
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Lawrys Seasoning Salt
  1. Garlic Powder – whenever you can opt for the pure seasoning rather than with salt added.  You can always add the salt but you can’t take it out.
  2. Celery Seed vs. Celery Salt – Again, opt for the seed itself without the salt.
  • We eat A LOT of Mexican & Italian foods here, so I do keep bulk amounts of Mexican & Italian spices.  We also do a lot of garlic, so I keep that as well.
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Relish – Sweet & Dill
  • Pickles – Sweet & Dill
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Salsa

  • Rice Milk
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar 1
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pure Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Pure Olive Oil – cooking, baking, etc.
  • Coconut Oil – cleaning, moisturizing, cooking, etc.
  • Vegetable Oil – cleaning, frying
  • Garlic Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Crisco – gross, but sometimes I use it!
  1. White Vinegar – I usually have 6-10 gallons of White Vinegar since I use it for cleaning supplies, laundry, dishwasher, shower cleaning, etc)
  • Potatoes 1
  • Onions 2
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam
  • Bacon Bits
  1. Potatoes – I buy in Costco-Bulk.  Whatever we don’t use in time I make into Mashed Potatoes for the freezer!
  2. Onions – I buy in Costco-Bulk as well.  Whatever I don’t use, I dry to Onion Flakes (chop & dehydrate).

 

For my list of Freezer Staples click here.

What foods are staples in your pantry?

My Freezer Staples

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I’m a self-proclaimed freeze-a-holic!  I wish I had more freezers, it’s the only thing holding me back from freezing more things!  I have a 25 cubic foot chest freezer along with the dinky freezer attached to my fridge.  They are both usually pretty well filled up!  Here’s what things I currently have in my freezers! 🙂

  • IChicken Breasts (Boneless Skinless)
  • Chicken Breasts (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Bone In)
  • Chicken Thighs (Boneless – for shredding because it’s easier!)
  • Whole Chickens (2)
  • Ground Beef
  • Beef Roasts
  • Homemade Shredded Chicken (cooked) 1
  • Homemade Taco Mat (cooked) 2
  • Chopped Deli Sliced Ham 3
  • Pepperoni
  • Hot Dogs
  • I prefer buying fresh chicken breasts & freezing myself as opposed to the bags of frozen because they are thicker and taste better.
  • I freeze the meats I purchase in “meal size” bags… in other words, whatever my family will consume in one meal at that time.
  • I stock up on these meats when they are on sale.  Sometimes I might have 5 packages of chicken breasts on hand, sometimes none.
  1. Shredded Chicken – ready to toss in enchiladas, on salads, in soups or white chicken chili or other casseroles.
  2. Taco Meat – ready for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, casseroles, etc.
  3. Chopped Deli Ham – chop & freeze on cookie sheets, separate, toss in a bag for use in omelets, quiches, casseroles, soups, etc.

  • Peas (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Green Beans (frozen 5# bag from Costco)
  • Stir Fry (from Costco – because it’s yummy!)
  • Chopped Bell Peppers 1
  • Chopped Carrots 2
  • Celery Hearts 3
  • Chopped Green Chilies 4
  • Spinach 5
  • Peeled Garlic Cloves (Costco!)
  1. Peppers – Chop peppers from fresh, freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use the peppers (I keep a bag of mixed colors on hand) in omelets, quiches, fresh vinagrette salads, enchiladas, etc.
  2. Carrots – Chop carrots from fresh (or chop & blanche), freeze on a cookie sheet, separate & store in freezer bags.  Use in soups, smoothies, stir frys, etc.
  3. Celery Hearts is that clump of tender celery & leaves in the center of the bunch of celery.  Wash, chop & freeze fresh in a small baggie.  Use in soups!  Yumm!
  4. Green Chilies – How often do you actually use the entire can of chopped green chilies?  Yeah… So freeze the excess in a baggie or ice cube tray for later.
  5. Spinach – Wash & freeze fresh spinach on cookie sheet, break apart, put in baggie & use in soups, smoothies, muffins, breads, omelets, quiches, casseroles, etc.

  • Blueberries (frozen Costco)
  • Strawberries (frozen Costco)
  • Orange Juice 1
  • Bananas 2
  1. Orange Juice – or whole oranges pureed to pulp… frozen in ice cubes for easy smoothies
  2. Bananas – chopped & individually frozen if I’m not going to use them before they go bad for use in smoothies, banana breads, muffins, baby food, etc.


  • Bread loaves (yes these can be frozen, thaw on the counter)
  • Tortillas (flour)
  • Yeast (yes, I keep it in the freezer)

  • Milk (cardboard cartons freeze best)
  • Butter (yes, it freezes well)
  • Cheese (shredded only – I get the 5# bag at Costco)

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Soup 1
  • Split Pea Soup 2
  • Minestrone Soup 3
  • Mashed Potates
  • Pancakes
  • French Toast
  • Refried Beans (see my bulk recipe here)
  • Golden Oats 4 (see my recipe here)
  • Cookie Dough 5
  • Meatloaf 6 (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  • Taco Meat
  • Shredded Mexican Chicken
  • Chicken Pot Pie (see my recipe for a bulk preparation here)
  1. Chicken Soup made without noodles – put these in later or they will be overcooked.
  2. Split Pea Soup – Pureed soup works best here… the texture has always been funny when I don’t puree.  Add some of the chopped ham from the meat section & the carrots from the veggi section when reheating.
  3. Minestrone Soup – without the noodles.
  4. Golden Oats – freeze on cookie sheet, separate, store in a ziplock.  To use, place however much you want in a pan, add a touch of oil & water & reheat.  Or microwave.
  5. Cookie Dough – Prepare a large batch of your favorite cookie dough.  Press into a log inside a sheet of saran wrap.  Unwrap & roll in the wrap again (so there is no wrap stuck inside the log of dough).  Next time you want a cookie, chop of a round and bake!  No need to have a dozen cookies lying around anymore!
  6. Meatloaf – Use as a meatloaf (thaw before cooking), or shape the meatloaf into balls for a meatball & spaghetti dinner or teriyaki meatballs.

  • Popsicles (made from leftover smoothie when we don’t eat all of it)
  • Cookie Dough


For my list of Pantry Staples click here.

What do you always keep in your freezer that isn’t on my list?

Homemade Laundry Detergent

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I love using homemade Laundry Detergent.  I found a recipe on the Duggar Family Website here.  I have been using it for a little over two years & have only made 4 batches!  All you need is a few simple ingredients, a 5 gallon bucket, and some smaller jugs (like the empty gallon vinegar jugs you’ll have on hand if you use non-chemical cleaners!)

EDIT:  I quit making the liquid laundry detergent some time ago. I switched to this creamy detergent… still homemade, and still the same basic ingredients.  Then I switched again!  Now I use the same ingredients… but it’s powder, so prep time is quite a bit less.  I found the recipe here.  Really, there’s a zillion of these recipes out there.  You can even add these scented laundry bead thingys, but I prefer my laundry to smell like clean cloth, not froofy flowers or some such scent.

I get all the supplies I need from here: Borax, Super Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap

Have you made your own laundry detergent?  
What recipe do you use?

Demoting My Chemical Cleaners to the Garbage

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I’ve been wanting to transition to more natural cleaners… but I have sooooo many bottles of cleaners that are perfectly good. My first thought was not demoting them to the garbage… I really did try to give them away first.

Not pictured: 1 Gallon jug Simple Green concentrate, 1 Spray bottle watered down Simple Green, 1 gallon jug bleach, Goo Gone, spray degreaser…

I went back and forth for so long because I had so much of some things & felt it was wasteful to throw them away… but they weren’t getting used!  I like the simplicity of having one spray bottle of cleaner for almost everything.  So, I’ve revamped my cleaning supply shelf – and low & behold, getting rid of all this (above) and replacing with this (below) created a TON of extra space!

Okay… so what’s my system?

UPDATE: The Spray Bottle is important… vinegar will rust the components of most cheap bottles.  I love these from Walmart.

1. ALL PURPOSE DISINFECTING CLEANER

  • 50/50 White Vinegar & Water with two squirts liquid dish soap & one drop green food coloring (WHAT?)  … Well, that’s just to differentiate easily between the few things I have on the shelf!  Color it red, pink, or don’t color at all.
  • Uses: Wiping down counters, tables, walls, appliances, fruits & veggies with the skins on.  Cleaning bathrooms, sinks, inside refrigerator/freezer, windows, mirrors, floors, cabinets, drawers, heck, you could probably wash your car with it!
  • This stuff works really well.  And guess what… no noxious odors that make you nervous when you’re pregnant, or when your kids are around.  And you can store it under the kitchen sink because the worst that could happen is a mild upset tummy if your kid drank the whole thing.

2. DISINFECTANT – 

  • Spray bottle of White Vinegar
  • Spray on anything you want disinfected.  Leave it or wipe it.

3. TOILET BOWL SUPER CLEANER – 

  • 1 slight gallon White Vinegar
  • 1 C Borax
  • 1 C Lemon Juice

Combine in a 1 gallon vinegar jug, shake well.  The jug is empty in the picture as I make this as needed.

To use:

  • Turn off toilet water.
  • Plunge out ALL the water… you may need to use a rag towel to get out the water at the very bottom.
  • Dump in the whole gallon of cleaner.
  • Leave for an hour.
  • Swish with toilet brush.
  • Flush.
  • NO RINGS!!!!

4. SHOWER SYSTEM  (Click here) – 

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge

5. GOO GONE replacement

  • 50/50 Coconut Oil & Baking Soda
  • Mix well, apply to sticky stuff & rub with fingers.
  • Effect: Goo Gone + Soft Hands!

I think the coolest thing about defeating the urge to not “waste” all those nasty chemicals, is the fact that I can let my little kids help clean EVERYTHING now… I don’t have to ask them to go outside while I clean the bathrooms or mop the floors.

QUICK TIP: 

Write the recipe for each cleaning concoction on the bottle!   I even go so far as to mark the bottle on the side so I know just how much of each ingredient to put in without having to measure!

Now, my cleaning supply shelf is CLEAN… literally!  Clean & Green!

For more information about why I chose to reduce home chemical useage, check EWG’s list of the most dangerous household chemicals!

What other natural cleaners do you use in your home?

Oil, Vinegar & Showers

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What do oil, vinegar & showers have in common?  Clean!

It was a complete accident I tell you!  My coconut oil (what I use for after shower moisturizer) spilled in the shower one day.  Oops, grab a rag, clean it up… WHAT THE HECK?  Why is this month old scum completely GONE in that one spot?  Hmmmm… try again… this time purposefully spilling the oil, wiping with a damp rag… Gone in that spot too!  Incredible!

Okay, so Coconut Oil is rather expensive thought I.  So, I grabbed the vegetable oil (which we use for deep-frying on the occasional day in which we sin in that manner)… spill, wipe, gone!  WOW!

So, here’s the drill:

  1. Grab a clean sponge & dampen it.
  2. Spray down your shower with warm water.
  3. Spill some oil (of your choice) on the sponge.
  4. Wipe down your shower/bath in circular motions – no need to expend any of that valuable elbow grease here!
  5. Spray with 50/50 white vinegar & water.
  6. Wipe dry with a dry towel.
  7. CLEAN – tada!

For more ways to eliminate checmical cleaning products, click here.

Do you have any natural “scrub free” cleaning product recipes

you use regularly in your home?

Cloth Diapering Made Easy

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NOTE:  There are a LOT of links in this post… I wanted to give you a lot of pictures and examples without having to put so many pictures in the post!  🙂  Contact me if you find a broken link… I’ll fix it for ya! 🙂

I’ve read a lot about cloth diapering.  Read a lot of articles, watched a lot of videos.  The thing that is hard for me is that even when I watch/read stuff it seems so complicated… and I’ve been cloth diapering for going on 4 years!  And I don’t think it’s complicated.  I want people to feel the freedom to cloth diaper without that overwhelmed feeling you get when something seems too difficult.  So, here’s my attempt to take the difficulty out of cloth diapering!

First, let me get this out of the way… I am more frugal than anyone I know… so when I say “Use a grocery sack”, you could translate that to be “Use a wetbag”!… just sayin’!  I’m all about a cloth diapering system that WORKS… but I’m also pretty conscious of the price of said system.

Select Diapering System

I think this is where people start getting complicated.  The selection of diapers & diapering systems is ENORMOUS!  Where do you start!?  That is the question isn’t it?  So many people don’t even make it past this one step.

A quick tour:

As you can see, there are a LOT of choices out there for cloth diapering – the links above are only a sampling of what is available in each category!  There are so many brands and styles and options out there!  This article being my opinion, because, well, it’s my blog, I’ll tell you what I think.

I have used a variety of diapers in my tenure as a CD mom.  And I tell you, I LOVE the system I’m using now.  I started with these prefolds & covers.  Loved it, until I was introduced to inserts!  These inserts are marketed as “doublers” but it’s exactly what I used with my ProRap Diaper Covers.  What a convenience to not have to fold anymore!  I have also used one-size diaper covers (like this one from Sprout Change)… which, truth be told, are not one size after all.  Touted to fit up to 40 pounds, my son outgrew his at 25 pounds.  I did LOVE it until he outgrew it though.

So… what do I use?

I use  what I consider to be the simplest system, easy to care for, durable, easy to store, easy to travel… key word: EASY!  I use inserts & covers.  Sure, AIOs might be “easier”… problem is, they are very expensive.  And I’m frugal remember?!

First, I suggest purchasing ONE brand & style of cover in the necessary sizes.  I have 6 covers in each of 5 sizes.  The reason I suggest this is simply because there is less sorting, stuffing, folding, etc.  I pile up the covers, I pile up the inserts.  Done.  I love the ProRap Diaper Covers & suggest the Classic covers in white… though, if you prefer, they do have an adorable line of colors & even prints now!  These covers are made with PUL (waterproof fabric), durable Velcro closures, and feature a double gusset around the legs which is phenomenal for preventing leaks.  I have tried snap diaper covers, and prefer the ease of Velcro.  It’s difficult to snap 4-8 little snaps on a squirmy baby!

Juicy Tidbit:
BTW… for those of you who are using disposables now & have experienced that “blowout” phase…
Yeah, that doesn’t happen with cloth diapers!  Just a little tidbit.

Second, I suggest Inserts, for the simple reason that you don’t have to fold.  There are a variety of inserts available on the market from organic,wool, bamboo, microfleece, and a basic cotton/fleece insert (which is what I prefer because they rinse cleaner faster than the more exotic blends).  I haven’t purchased any inserts myself so I can’t tell you which is best (although I have used a microfleece insert and hated it)… but I can tell you they are easy to make.  I made all of my inserts… from the plethora of fleece & flannel receiving blankets I had in piles in my kids’ rooms!  I’ll try to get a tutorial up soon.  I love my fleece/flannel inserts because they are sooo soft and comfortable and easy to clean.

Third, I do suggest using cloth wipes.  These can be anything from baby washcloths, to scraps of flannel or terrycloth.  I have also made all my own wipes from two serged together layers of flannel & terrycloth.

These are my homemade inserts… some of them!

Organizing Your Diapers

Once you’ve purchased your cloth diapering system you’ll need to set up a system for organizing your collection.  I have moved my changing area around the house so many times trying to figure out the perfect place for changing.  And I’ve settled on the dryer!  I have a contoured changing pad on the dryer, which obviously sits right next to the washer, you know, where I wash the dirty diapers!

I keep four baskets on the shelves above the dryer.  Since I have two in diapers, I have one basket for LaLa & one for the Little Monster.  These baskets house their size covers, and occasionally some slippers, jammies, whatever. The other two baskets hold the cloth wipes along with a container of water, and the inserts.  I also have another small basket with creams in it.

On the floor I have two trash cans.  One is for trash, the other is lined with a reusable grocery bag (or you could use a wetbag!).  This is where I dump soiled diapers when there is another load of wash running, which happens occasionally around here as you can imagine.  But, when there isn’t a load in the washer – this is the magic!  I just put the dirty diapers IN the washer!  No lifting heavy diaper pails, no smell splashy water!  Easy peasy!

Changing Table
Top two baskets – Kids’ covers
Bottom Left – Wipes & water
Bottom Right – Inserts

Cloth Diapering Basics

So… Onward.  Now you have a baby and you need to diaper him.  My personal preference is to use a non-scented paper (disposable) diaper until the little belly stump falls off.  When that happens, I gladly switch to cloth!

I change at my dryer based changing station.

  • If the diaper is wet, I replace the insert, and the cover if it is wet as well.
  • If the cover is slightly wet but not stinky, I hang it with a clothespin from one of the baskets to dry.
  • If the diaper is soiled and the baby is breastfed only, I just dump the whole thing in the washer (already filled with water and a Tablespoon of bleach), no need to rinse.
  • If the diaper is soiled and the baby is eating solids, I set the insert & cover aside, change the baby, and then take the soiled diaper to the bathroom to rinse.  I just rinse in the toilet by flushing and swishing (you could use a diaper sprayer), then I carry the rinsed diaper back to the washer in a small bucket (like an ice cream bucket, or you could use a wetbag).
  • To wipe baby, I wet a few cloths in the container of water I have with the wipes (I’ve tried homemade solutions and found that plain old water works just as well and stays fresh longer too… the scented water tends to get slimy faster) and wipe.  I choose to use cloth wipes because there is much less wiping & scrubbing and baby gets quite a bit cleaner.
  • To replace the insert, be sure to fit it inside the gussets of the cover to prevent leaks.  If baby is small, fold the insert over in the front, then pull up the cover so it completely covers the insert.  There’s no need to even move the cover out from under baby when changing unless it is soiled.  Simply remove the wet/soiled insert & put a dry one in it’s place.

Washing Cloth Diapers

It’s time to do the laundry!  Since I keep my washer full of water, detergent, and a disinfectant (bleach or vinegar) and put the diapers in as I go, all I have to do is start the machine.  Then switch to the dryer or better yet, line dry to reduce stains & further disinfect.  This is the regular routine.  You may prefer to do an additional rinse cycle, I don’t feel it’s completely necessary unless there is some serious mess in there.

I wash my diapers with homemade detergent and 1/2 cup white vinegar or 1 Tablespoon of bleach.

Once every couple months I strip my diapers… this involves either hanging the diapers out on the line in a rainstorm, or washing them once with detergent as usual, then once with a couple cups of white vinegar but no detergent, then another time with plain water, and another time in plain water for good measure.  The purpose of stripping is to seduce your husband. Whoops… sorry!  The purpose of stripping is to rinse out any buildup of soapy residue that has clung to the diapers over time.  It’s also helpful if you notice baby has an unexplainable rash… perhaps the diapers just need to be stripped.

I typically wash every 2-3 days.  Usually that’s a full load since I have two in cloth.  When I only had one, I would go 3-4 days between washings.

TIP:
Always close the Velcro before washing!

Traveling / Outings with Cloth

I don’t find that traveling with cloth is terribly different than disposables.  Packing the diaper bag is the same except the addition of a plastic grocery sack (or wetbag) for the wet/soiled diapers. You figure out how much you need as you go.  I usually pack several inserts, a cover for each kid, one disposable for each (just in case!), and a package of wipes (or I’ve heard of packing cloth wipes & a spray bottle of water! – I may just switch to that since I like cloth wipes so much better).  Then I pack those little produce sacks I bring home from the grocery store all the time or some ziplocks… that’s what I pack up the dirtys in.  No need for anything fancy in my opinion.  Keep it simple!

When I travel… like go for a weekend… I pack the whole shebang in a Rubbermaid tote or cardboard box.  Pile of inserts, pile of covers, and a pile of wipes.  Then I set up on the dryer at Grandma’s house, or wherever I’m at.  If your host is offended by CD, bring a wet bag or a large trash bag and bring it all home to wash.

Nighttime… So far I haven’t figured out a system for nighttime cloth.  They always end up smelling of ammonia and I just don’t like that, so yes, I opt for the paper diapers for nighttime.

All in all, I think that’s all you need to know.  I really hope this has helped to simplify the cloth diapering process.  I know it’s a bit overwhelming at first and you wonder if you’ll even be able to stick it out.  At least give it a try… #1 It saves a HUGE amount of money.  #2 It’s way better for babys little buns than all that bleachy whiteness and ultra-absorbency of paper diapers.  #3 It’s sooo cute!  #4 It’s all “save the earth” green!  Come on… give it a try!  You’ll never turn back.  And while you’re at it… ditch the toilet paper and go with family cloth!  Haha!  One step at a time!

 

What are your favorite cloth diapering tips?