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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cloth Diaper 101

I promised future posting on cloth diapers, and so here we are. This should give you a better idea about how cloth diapering works. I wanted to go over some cloth diapering basics: different kinds of cloth diapers, cloth diaper care, and then end with my personal favorites.

Types of Cloth Diapers:

-There are three main types of diapers: all in one (AIO), pocket, and prefold. AIOs are just that: the entire diaper in one piece with no prep work required. These are available in snap or velcro closures. It’s pretty obvious that AIOs are the easiest to use because they are one piece and work just like a disposable, except you wash it. The downside is that AIOs are usually the most expensive diapers on the market. These also come in different sizes or you can purchase a one size (OS) diaper that is adjustable as baby grows.

-Pocket diapers are diaper that have a “pocket” (opening) the back of the diaper to place an insert that adds absorbency. This insert is removed before washing and then once cleaned, placed back in the clean diaper. These also are available in snap or Velcro closures. Pocket diapers are also extremely easy to use, except they just require a couple extra steps before using. A great feature about pocket diapers is that you can add an extra insert for nap time or nighttime use for extra absorbency. I find that these clean better than AIO and take less time to dry.

-Prefolds are a piece of cloth (the prefold) that requires a waterproof cover and uses pins or snappis ( plastic closures) to seal them. There are different fold the prefolds can be put on the baby to find the best fit. I personally do not have experience using these, but they are extremely cost effective.Cloth Diaper Care:
-What on earth do you do with the poop?! This is a question most often wondered and the answer is simple: down the toilet, just like your poop! Now, if you are exclusively breast feeding, then it can all be washed and is safe for the washing machine because it is all water soluable, but once solids are introduced you should flush it. Many major companies make diaper sprayers that I hear makes that part easier, but I never purchased one because I didn’t see it as a need. It really is a step that takes less then 30 seconds, so it’s no big deal to me.
– Cloth diapers are very easy to care for and only require a couple extra loads of laundry a week. You want to wash cloth diapers every 2-3 days and with a manufacture recommended detergent with that detergent’s recommended amount. That being said, I make a homemade laundry detergent (be looking out for the recipe next month) and I will be trying this on my diapers because it is chemical free and extremely mild.
– My washing regimen looks like this: Rinse on cold, Wash on hot, Rinse on cold.
– I line dry all my diapers and inserts, but some can be put in the dryer. Line drying is just my preference.

Personal Favorites:
– Please note I do not receive any sort of endorsement from these companies, so take comfort in knowing this is my honest opinion.
1.) Bumgenius 4.0 One Size (Pocket): I haven’t had any problems with leaking, they are a great quality, fit well, and are a good value being one size. I love just buying one size that can be used from newborn-potty training. These are pricy, but look out for sales. I was able to score a great deal by purchasing 5 and getting 2 free, so it was well worth it.
2.) Fuzzibunz One Size (Pocket): These come in second because although they are one size, finding the right adjustment can be tricky. Once the right adjustment is found though, they are AMAZING. They are a bit more trim than the Bumgenius 4.0 and, in my opinion, have a better selection of colors (which is always fun!). After using with two babies these diapers are still holding up great!
3.) Bumgenius 3.0 (AIO): These are great for dads, grandparents, or babysitters because they are just as easy as disposables. All one piece and with Velcro it is so easy to put on and off even the most wiggly baby! Now the sad news, they are discontinued. Also, after using these with two babies they have an issue with holding smell sometimes and the Velcro is wearing out.

Hopefully this helped give you a better idea about the details of cloth diapers. I hope to get my act together and take the time to figure out how to insert pictures to give you a visual. Thanks for your patience!

With a “Cluck, cluck” Here…

My first chicken post! I have been looking forward to this post for a while now. Let’s just get a couple questions out of the way that I get asked a lot… Yes, I have chickens in my standard sized backyard… No, they don’t stink and they aren’t loud… Yes, you can get the benefits of their eggs without a rooster… No, I haven’t gotten any yet, but I will! Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.

I had been wanting chickens for over a year for various reasons: better quality eggs, getting closer to my food source, one step closer at self sufficiency, and I love that my boys will be able to have the experience of caring for chickens and reaping the benefits of their eggs. For other various reasons we kept putting it off: lack of knowledge about chickens, start up cost, and for a while when my sister was living with us we weren’t quite sure how her dog would respond ( we now know her dog did just fine).

Well, the Saturday before Mother’s Day when I came home from work (I work part time on some weekends and evenings) my husband asked if I wanted my Mother’s Day gift early. Like I was going to turn that down! As he led me to the backyard, I was so confused as to what he got me…I had asked for random things like beeswax and shea butter for soaps. Well, as we walked behind our detached garage I was greeted by 6 chickens (3 months old at the time). While I was at work that morning, him and a friend had built a pen for the chickens! He had been arranging different pieces to the puzzle throughout the week and I had no idea. I was thrilled!

Fast forward two months later and I still don’t have eggs, but it’s still early for the girls to be laying eggs. I am trying to wait patiently and am expecting some in August or September. Now that our backyard is puppy free the girls free range all day and I lock them back in the pen at night. Noah LOVES to hang out with the chickens, and I have to admit, I enjoy going and sitting outside just to watch them many evenings. It has been such a joy to have backyard chickens, and I can’t wait for the eggs to come!

A Little About Me

So I thought this might be a good time to share a little about myself… Well, actually the first or second post would have been a good time to share, but better late than never.  Hopefully this will give you more of an insight on my dreams and direction for this blog.

 
My husband, Nathan, and I have been married for four years and currently have two beautiful boys: Noah who is 2 years old, and Timothy who is 7 months.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by so much love every day.  As a family we strive to follow Jesus Christ and grow with God daily.  We love the beach, good food, and fellowship.
 
A burning desire I have had the past two years is to try to live simply.  I got tired of overcomplicating my spiritual walk and now just try to do a simple command: Love God and love others (Matthew 22:34-40).  The amount of stuff I thought I needed started to grieve me so I started to clean out closets to see what all my family can give away to others.  I want to provide my family with a home with less chemicals that I can’t pronounce so I started making my own cleaners and detergents. The research I have been doing on the food products sold in grocery stores has pushed us to have a garden, making breads in a bread machine, and raise chickens in our backyard.  
 
Throughout these little steps we have done my desire for this simple lifestyle gets bigger and bigger.  There is so much more I want to explore like soap making and candle making, learning how to sew would be amazing, and eventually I would love to get to the point where trips to the grocery store would rare.  I know this journey has just begun for me, so as I keep walking down this path, I hope that you to enjoy watching my simple tries along the way.

Broken bones, a messy house, and poop in my hair

So here was some events that caused a mini-meltdown today… In a matter of minutes this is what happened:

- My husband called to inform me he broke his hand (Beware of Slip N Slides, people)
- Both my kids pooped AT THE EXACT SAME TIME
- I stubbed my toe while putting Timothy on the changing table…
- And while he was getting changed stuck his hand right in the poop…
- Then smeared poop on his clothes and face… I was able to stop him from trying to eat it (Note to all the moms-to-be: This WILL happen to you at least once)
-So I then did the most logical thing and I let a scream
- Noah walked in the room and asked, “Mama, did Tim scare you?” 
- “No, bubba, Mommy is just a mess right now.”  In so many ways, I was a mess.
- And I realized at that moment I was sending the wrong message to my son
 
Sure, sometimes all the dishes are clean and all our bones are intact.  But other times, bones are broken, the house is a mess, and ya get poop in your hair.  That’s ok.  It happens.  Life happens.  I realize that, but I just wasn’t ready for it at that moment.
 
I wish my first response wasn’t to scream, but instead just to laugh about the poop.  I wish my first response would have been to pray for my husband’s broken hand instead of worrying about all the ways this would affect our lives the next few weeks.  I wish I would have thanked God that he had a clean break and only needs to wear a brace and doesn’t need surgery.  I wish I wasn’t feeling so convicted to share my mistakes on the World Wide Web in hopes we will all learn from them.
 
Lord, forgive me for focusing on myself and not on You.
 
If you could relate to my eventful day here are some Scriptures that may help:
- Psalm 80:3 ” Oh, God, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.”
- Galatians 5:22 ” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…”
- John 15: 4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

 

Benefits of Cloth Diapers

When I first became interested in cloth diapering there were so many questions I had, but I think the most important question we should ask is : Why should my family use cloth diapers? There are so many great reasons why your family will benefit from cloth diapers and I will highlight a few. I hope that today I can shed some light on the benefits of cloth diapering.

1.) Better for the environment : This one is a no brainer when you think about all the disposable diapers babies go through in just one week (especially newborns), let alone the amount that accumulates in a matter of two years. It is estimated that cloth diapering can save landfills about 1 ton of waste. It is also helpful to the environment because the chemicals and human waste found in disposable diapers don’t end up in our landfills.

2.) Better for your baby: Do you need any other reason to give it a shot? Cloth diapers are free of chemicals that are found in disposable diapers. There is one ingredient in disposable diapers called dioxin, which is one of the most toxic cancer causing chemicals… against your baby’s skin… all day long (yikes!) Another chemical found in disposable diapers is called sodium polyacrylate which is a chemical that was banned from being used in tampons because it was linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Not only are cloth diapers free of chemicals, but babies are much less likely to develop diaper rash while using them.

3.) Better for your wallet: It’s important to realize that cloth diapers are an investment upfront. You can pay anywhere from $100-500 to cover the basic essentials, usually most mom’s I have talked to (including myself) spend about $300. The plus side is that these expenses generally pay for themselves by the first 6 months, AND you have diapers for all the little brothers and sisters to follow… nice! One average you save about $1,000, and the cloth diapers can be used again for your next baby (or babies!).

I am planning on doing a few postings on cloth diapers, so be tuned to learn more about : the different brands & types of cloth diapers, laundering and caring for cloth diapers, and more!

What is/was your motivation to use cloth diapers? Did this post help answer some questions you had on the topic?

These facts were found at : http://www.jilliansdrawers.com & http://www.bumgenius.com

Psalm 139 : 13-14

Psalm 139 : 13-14 “for You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”

You know, I look at these two verses and the first thing I think of are my two precious boys. I think of the nine months they spent being formed in my womb by our Creator, I think of the first moment I heard their heartbeat, and I think of the unbelievable moment when I realized the baby that was just inside my belly is now in my arms… And I know without a shadow of a doubt that those boys are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet, that’s not all the Lord wanted to show me.

It’s like it was just a faint whisper, I felt like if I would have kept on reading I would have missed it. “Beloved,” the Voice said, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made… And wonderful are My works.”

My first response is this burning flame that wells up in my heart and I just want to stay in this moment… this precious moment with God… Then I want to shout it out to the world, “Did you hear that?! I am fearfully and wonderfully made! YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made! Wonderful are His works!” … Then it’s been just long enough to where I start to doubt this breakthrough I just had, this huge blessing I just received starts seeming unreal… And the old familiar lies creep in… But right now I am here to silence those lies and declare the truth: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and how wonderful are His works.

I wanted to share this because I am sure I am not the only person who struggles with this… Who struggles with believing that God’s promises applies to all believers but myself. I want to encourage you to listen to His truth and run from the lies. Know that God created you for a purpose so much greater than we can imagine. I pray that you know you are created by God, and oh how wonderful are His works.

Psalm 135: 15-18

Psalm 135 : 15-18 “The idols of the nation are but silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, nor is there any breath at all in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, yes, everyone who trusts in them.”

These verses really made me stop and think when I came across them a few weeks ago. I realize many of us aren’t setting up shop and making wooden idols in our garages to worship, but I think we may still be creating idols that we may not even be aware exist. Idols can be so much more than the figures which were carved during the Old Testament.

What is an “idol”? I looked up the definitions and two really stuck out to me: 1.) a person or thing excessively admired & 2.) a false god. The two definitions go hand in hand. The one true God, Jesus Christ, should get our excessive worship, so anything else getting that excessive worship, attention, admiration is a false god.

I venture to ask, what takes up your free time? I realize many of us have responsibilities that must be met: careers, families, ministries, ect., but what is it that you think about/look forward to/commit to when you do have moments alone? Throughout my walk with the Lord I have been convicted of various things I have put before Him. These things I have had to lay at His feet and beg Him to take, and sometimes it’s a painful process.

It can be difficult in our culture today to keep our priorities straight when society is sending us a completely different message. Money is a popular idol in the American culture, and I myself have struggled in this area. I have never really had the desire to be wealthy, but often times I have caught myself putting more trust in a paycheck than God’s provision (which is so silly, because really He is the One who blessed my husband with his job).

There have also been times when I felt called to fast from media. I noticed that when I got used to watching movies or TV, far too often I started becoming calloused to the things that break my Father’s heart. I am not saying we should all never watch TV or movies, but I have learned to be extremely careful what I watch because it affects so much more than we realize.

The last verse quoted states, “those who make them will be like them,” meaning we will start resembling what we worship. If we idolize money, our jobs, our to-do list, whatever it may be for you, that is what will reflect in our lives. If we take the time and effort to dig and meditate on Scripture, start faithfully praying, and learn to rest in the Lord; a transformation will happen to us and be apparent to those around us.

My challenge for you, and myself, is to take the time to truly examine your heart. God already knows us more than we even know ourselves, so ask Him to reveal any area you may have idolized and give it up to Him. Trust Him and know He is the only God we need.

All Natural Air Freshener

We all love for our homes to smell nice and fresh, but it’s hard to find an air freshener that’s completely natural.  Well, look no longer!  With a couple of ingredients and a few items you probably already have at home, you can make a natural air freshener in minutes!  What more could you want in an air freshener?  Well, since you asked… this air freshener also has various healing effects for your body, thanks to the essential oils.

Ingredients:

- Glass jar, size of your choosing

- Small piece of fabric to cover jar’s opening (a bandana cut to size works great here)

- Metal corresponding ring to the jar (or a rubberband will work if you do not have the rings)

-Baking soda (amount depends on jar size)

-Essential oils of your choice

Directions:

1.) Fill the glass jar with baking soda

2.) Place about 10 drops of essential oil into the baking soda

3.) Lay your fabric over the jar’s opening and secure with ring (or rubberband)

4.) Give it a shake to evenly disperse the essential oils

5.) Breathe in the intoxicating scent of your creation and smile knowing it’s completely chemical-free!

You can place the air freshener in any area of your home in need of a little freshening: the bathroom, nursery, the mud room, ect.  The baking soda works to eliminate unwanted odors and the essential oils give it a lovely aroma, as well as provide some therapeutic qualities.  For example, lavender can help with allergy relief, chamomile can help you relax, eucalyptus can help clear up sinuses, and peppermint can help eliminate a headache.  I am currently using a blend of: orange, lavender, and vanilla.  The possibilities are endless!

Another great thing about this freshener, is that whenever you need a little extra scent (like right before your guests arrive) just give it a shake to release the fragrance again.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Lessons Learned From A Two Year Old

Here is a conversation my husband had with our son a few weeks ago…

 Nathan: “Noah, do you know I love you?”

Noah: “Yes, daddy.”

Nathan: “Noah, who loves you?”

Noah: “Jesus.”

 Oh, the many lessons learned by my son in this small conversation I was blessed to witness.  This truly is a moment I will never forget.  I want to focus on one thing I noticed during that precious interaction and that was this: Noah, in all his two year old glory, knew without a single doubt that Jesus loved him.  We tell Noah that Jesus loves us all the time, but that particular morning there was no priming his brain before the question Noah, who loves you? was asked.  At that time, Nathan and I were both expecting Noah to respond, You do daddy, but what our son said was even greater.  Noah knew Jesus loved him.

 This may seem redundant, but hear me out.  Noah did not have to think back to how he had disobeyed me the previous day and wonder if Jesus still loved him.  I’m sure Noah didn’t think he had to perform obligations and duties for Jesus to still love him.  He just knew, at that moment he was loved, and is loved by Jesus Christ.

 Oh that I may have faith like my two year old son to know Jesus loves me… He loves me today and tomorrow, He loves me during my successes and my failures, He loves me when I obey Him and catches me when I fall… He loves me unconditionally.  I pray today that you will know you are loved by a Savior.  You are loved by Jesus.

The Great Outdoors

The great outdoors… oh, be still my beating heart!  Sometimes I forget how much I love being outside, because of all the time spent inside.  Living in South Texas can be brutal once June hits, then you add two small children in the mix, and your window for enjoying the outdoors is limited to early morning and late evening (which usually means after the kid’s bedtime).

 I was fortunate enough to get to go camping with my parents this past week; hence the lack of posts.  Well, it was actually kind of pretend camping.  My dad recently got an RV so we were able to sleep in A/C and cool off when we wanted to; which was great with two kids.  During this past week I noticed something with our 6 month old, Timothy.  He LOVED being outside.  Whenever he got a little fussy and we couldn’t seem to calm him, we just went outside for a bit and he calmed right down.  The same has been true with our 2 year old, Noah.  Ever since he was a baby he also adored the outdoors. 

The made me think back to how, as a kid, my sisters and I were outside all the time.  We didn’t care if we got all sweaty.  We thought grass stained clothes were cool.  Picking the dirt from underneath our fingernails was a daily ritual, and it didn’t make a difference if it was 20 degrees cooler inside.  We wanted to be outside… Hide and seek was more fun, the tree house and swing our dad built was outside, and you definitely can’t catch lizards and daddy long legged spiders inside.

I truly think there is something God ingrained in our souls that connects us to nature and His creation.  His beauty is all around us waiting to be discovered in the hilltops, trees, and rivers.  In my own personal life, I have found gardening to be extremely relaxing and stress relieving.  There is something about getting my hands in the dirt, planting the vegetables, and then weeks (or months) later being able to reap the fruits of my labor. 

The camping trip was a true blessing and extremely refreshing.  My mom and I took walks and went hiking in the morning before our day began and it really helped set the mood for the rest our the day.  Being in the woods, surrounded by the trees, and getting to hear the birds sing really makes a person come alive again.  

Now… Let’s go play outside!

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