Saturday, May 16, 2015

Flats Challenge Day 6: Flat Style

Today we are talking about folding and closing flats :) 

This is my favorite part of flats!  I love experimenting with all the different folds and finding out what works best for us.  FYI if you are just starting out your favorite folds will change as your baby grows.  Some folds that I loved when our LO was a newborn just didn't cut it 3 months later.  Some folds I loved last year don't work this year.  So don't get discouraged if what was working all of a sudden doesn't work any more.  

So what are my favorite folds? 

Classic Pad Fold- this is the easiest to do!

Origami

Kite Fold (This has been my absolute FAV this go round)

Need more ideas
My Flat Fold Pinterest board is full as well.

Until we meet again...may God bless you and keep you!

Caci

Flats Challenge Day 4: Out and About!

Today's topic is how do I travel with flats when running errands...

I don't think using flats when running errands is any more difficult than any other diaper, especially if your toddler is like mine and constantly moving!  
For me no matter where we are, what kind of diaper we are using, changing a diaper is a challenge!



To make life easier and diaper changes quicker I pre-load one cover (typically a Flip) with a pad fold prior to leaving the house.  I also make sure I change him just before leaving.  If I think he might fall asleep or I might be gone a while I will add extra absorbency to this diaper.  

I use a flannel flat or a receiving blanket in the origami fold and then pad fold a flour sack towel on top (this is also our overnight solution).

Typically I don't need to change him prior to getting home.  However if I do I always carry around a wet bag.  After the change I stuff both the diaper and the cover in the wet bag.  As soon as I get home I will toss the flat into the wash bucket it and rinse the cover if it's not soiled.  Once the cover is rinsed I hang it to dry.  

Now let's say it's Sunday and I'm going to leave home at 9 to head to Sunday School followed by church as 10:30, lunch with the family at 12, hanging out with my farmer, taking the kids to the park, and then heading to my Sunday night group at 6...what do I do???

I prepare!  I take at least 2 extra covers and 6-8 diapers (you never know when he's gonna blow).

I start at home by using the doubled up diaper and have one cover pre-loaded and ready to go with the pad fold so whoever changes him in the church nursery can just throw everything into the wet bag.  Once we leave church he typically falls asleep so we are sure to change as soon as possible after we pick him up.  Since this typically happens at the barn where I have access to a sink and such I will grab the snappi from the earlier diaper and the cover.  This gives me a chance to wipe out the cover (rinse if soiled) and for it to dry before I need it again.  Then our day goes on normally just as if we were at home.  

You see flats aren't difficult....they are really quick and easy to use.  If you aren't into fancy folds the pad fold is as basic as you can get and gives you 12 layers.  Think it's not enough?  Add an extra layer...it might be a little bulky but it works.  

Until we meet again may God bless you & keep you!

Caci

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flats Challenge Day 5: Wash Routine

Washing diapers is similar to washing any clothes.  
It's important that you are using enough detergent to get them clean but no so much you are leaving a residue.  If you are like me an live in an area where you have hard water this makes it even more challenging.  

I love Fluff Love University!  It's a great resource no matter if you are handwashing or using a washer and dryer.  When I first started using cloth diapers there were so many places on the web saying to add extra rinses, just a teaspoon of detergent and everyone had their own homemade concoction that "worked."  The scientist in me questioned this often...but I was sure these ladies knew what they were talking about...they had been doing it for years.  I found that just because it works for them doesn't mean it works for me.  

So what have I been doing this week? 

I washed in the sink using a make shift wash board on Monday & Tuesday.  But honestly that made my back ache and seemed to waste a lot of water.  So halfway through the week I changed.  I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket (we only have 1,000) and washed it out really well.  Bought a new plunger and some Foca detergent.  I keep borax at home.  

I used our cordless drill to drill a hole in the top of the bucket just big enough for the plunger handle to fit through.  I also drilled holes in the plunger itself.  

Handwashing Routine
Cold Rinse- place bucket in bathtub and dump in diapers and covers (fill the bucket 1/2-3/4 full) add cold water until about an 1 inch below the top of the bucket.  Plunge the diapers 50-100 times wait 5 minutes and plunge again.  Remove diapers from bucket, set aside. Dump water.  

Hot Wash #1- add hot water (about 1") then add 2 TBSP detergent, 1 TBSP Borax swish it around to dissolve.  Plunge the diapers 50-100 times wait 10 minutes and plunge again.  Remove diapers from bucket, set aside and dump water.

Hot Wash #2: Repeat hot wash #1 but this time as you remove the diapers from the bucket wring them out well.  We do an assembly line (if the boys are "helping").  The little one grabs a diaper or cover and gives it to our oldest who "wrings" it out and then he passes it to me and I actually make water come out of the diaper.  Yes including them takes longer but they enjoy helping.  
Dump water and rinse the bucket well. 

Cold Rinse- place diapers back in bucket and fill again until it's 1" below the top.  Plunge 50-100 times wait 5 minutes and plunge again.  Remove diapers/covers and wring out thoroughly.  At this point I put the wet diapers into a laundry basket so I can carry them to our porch to hang to dry.  

From start to finish it takes about an hour.  I will say there are days that ours sit a little longer than the 5-10 minutes or get more/less plunging than others.   It all evens out.  If I am at home I will fill the bucket up about 1/2 way with cold water after the mornings first diaper change and drop the flats into the bucket as I got throughout the day.  This seems to work well for us however this only happens about once a week so I am sure the diapers could use a soak.  

I adapted my routine from Fluff Love U.  Here's a link to their instructions which includes a video

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#FlatsChallenge Day 3: Simple solutions for child care & DIYs

Today is day 3 of the #Flatschallenge from Dirty Diaper Laundry.  
I am really enjoying the challenge, even if it means staying up a little later to handwash diapers.
The whole idea for me is to show others that you can cloth diaper on a budget and without a washer or dryer (if needed) and while having other commitments.  I hear a lot of moms say, "I would cloth diaper if I stayed home but I work."  Well news flash I have a full time job, a 7 year old who plays baseball at least twice a week plus has Cub Scouts one night a week, I lead a group of 5-10 year olds on Sunday nights at church, and my husband farms full time and expects me to help out when and where I can.  I'm not trying to "mom shame" anyone but if you are struggling and need to diaper your children cheaply there is a way to do it...no matter your schedule.  As the farmer would say, "You just need some want-to."

Feeding a baby calf last night after a 10 hour work day.


So how did my first washing go?

On Monday night I washed the day's diapers.  I had 10 diapers.  It was a combo of flour sack towels and flannel flats along with 2 covers and 4 pockets I sent (stuffed with FST) to my mother in law.  I will go into my wash routine later this week but really it wasn't bad.  The flats that hung as they would on a line outside were dry this morning however the ones on the "drying rack" were not.

How do I handle child care while doing flats?

For one you should know that my childcare consist of my mother-in-law, my husband and one of my closest friends.  While I'm not going to say any of the above love the idea none of them buck it either.  For my husband and MIL I send FST stuffed inside of pocket diapers.  This makes it easy and quick to change the farmboy no matter if they are at home, the silage field or the milk barn.  When my BFF keeps him I sent flats and covers.  The flats are already pad folded and ready to load into the covers but she knows if she wants she can use any fold she is comfortable with.  Honestly I'm about the only one who uses various folds and a snappi.  If you want your childcare provider to use a certain fold because it works better you just need to take a few moments to show them how to put the diaper on and be sure all the diapers are prefolded.  It makes life easier on them if they aren't trying to remember how you make an origami fold or did you say a j-fold?

So what about that DIYs you mentioned?

Part of my flat stash is made up of homemade flannel flats and homemade fleece covers.  The flats are simple and quick to do and you can even do them if you don't have a sewing machine (they just might not last as long).  The covers require some basic sewing skills and a machine.  However there is an option even if you don't have a sewing machine for a cover.

Check out these tutorials

DIY Flannel Flats
DIY T-Shirt Flats
Fleece Cover
NO-SEW Fleece Cover

I hope today's post gave you some encouragement on trying flat cloth diapers.  Come back tomorrow to see how I make flats work while we are out and about.

Until next time may God bless you & keep you!

Caci


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

DIY Flannel Flats Tutorial

I'm not sure I can really call this a tutorial as it's very simple to make your own flannel flats.

Materials:
flannel material (finished product will be approximately 27 x 27 inches)
Ruler, measuring tape, or yard stick
Thread
Scissors
Sewing Machine or hem tape
Iron

Note about flannel: not all flannel is created equally.  You can get flannel cheap at many craft stores and even my local Wal-Mart carries it.  You can even find old flannel sheets and cut them up from thrift stores.  But my favorite flannel is diaper flannel.   Diaper flannel is double napped meaning it's been brushed on both sides.  So both sides are the same. I find it to be more absorbent and to hold up better over time.  The diaper flannel I use to is $4 a yard.  4 yards of fabric will get you 5 diapers with some left over for doublers or wipes.  Also the diaper fabric comes 27 inches wide which means 2 less seams you have to worry about!!!

Steps:
1. Prewash on hot and dry on hot using the same detergent you always do.
2.   Measure and mark out a  28 inches square on your fabric. (To make life easy you can leave the selvages on if you are using diaper flannel.)
3. Cut out the square.
4. Fold each cut side down 1/4 inch and press.  Once you have ironed down all your cut edges, if you are using hem tape: place your tape on top of nice new crisp edge.
Fold over another 1/4 inch (or enough to cover your tape) and iron again.  

5. If sewing fold over another 1/4 and press.  Pin down your folds to ensure they stay in place.  
6. Using a small zig zag stitch sew down your folds.  

Now you should have a 27 X 27 inch flannel flat.   

In a pinch you could stop at step 3 however your flats will fray quickly.  

Think you could whip some up?  Be sure to share some pictures if you do!  

Until next time may God bless you & keep you!

Caci



Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 1 & 2

Blame it on the 2 year old, 
blame it on the 32 week pregnancy brain...
blame on the weather...
whatever it was I completely skipped posting yesterday about this year's Flats & Handwashing Challenge.

Yes...with a very active 7 year old, a wild monkey of a 2 year old, 32 weeks pregnant and helping out around the farm, while working 10 hour days, and trying to maintain some semblance of order in our house....
I decided to take Dirty Diaper Laundry's 5th annual challenge again this year!  (Read about last years Day 1, Day 2, Day 4&5)


So why with a crazy schedule and more on my plate than I can handle did I decide to to this challenge again??  Well honestly because I enjoy a challenge.  Also because I truly believe ANYONE can cloth diaper their baby for under $125 from birth to potty training.  

Now I know that sounds crazy to lots of folks.
1. Who uses cloth diapers anymore?
2. Who wants all that extra work?
and 3. Where do you even purchase them at??

Those 3 questions lead me into Day 2's post...my stash :) 

My stash for this challenge consist of 
15 Flour Sack Towels (purchased from Wal-Mart) $15
10 homemade Flannel Flats- Free from fabric stash
5 Receiving Blankets- Free as gifts from friends
4 Flip Covers-  $55.80 from Cottonbabies (however if you don't care about color you can get them as cheap as $7.50 here)
6 Econobum covers (mine were seconds)- $29.70 from Cottonbabies (a few years ago)
2 homemade fleece covers- Free
1 Plantwise wet bag -$16.50
2 Snappi's - $5.75 (I think they are a dollar more now)

Total: $122.75

Covers (From L to R: Litewrap, Econobum, Flip)


Our stack of covers from last year, flannel flats (including receiving blankets) and flour sack towels.



I have bought the majority of my flat stash covers and accessories from Cottonbabies not because they give me great discounts or even that they know who I am but it's what I started with and it worked well for me.  

Other options:
I have also used ProWraps when the boys were newborns and loved them.  They are cheap as well.  
I also loved the Litewrap diaper covers but they are no longer made (I still have 2 that I plan to use with baby #3 in a few weeks)
Recently I have became a huge fan of Nicki's Diapers.  I can order 2 covers and a dozen flats for less than $45 (including shipping)!

Drop back by my little spot on the web later this week to learn how to make your own flats and covers for an even cheaper option!

Until we meet again may God bless you & keep you!

Caci


**The above mentioned websites and diapers are all my own opinion and preference.  I was not compensated in anyway for "promoting" their products.**




Monday, May 4, 2015

Mommy Monday: What life consist of for a FarmWife in the Spring

Life on the farm in the spring is busy.


 
There are fields to cut for silage.
There are fields to plant.


There are cows to finish calving.
There is grass to cut at home.
There is a garden to get planted.


There are 4-H projects to get started.


There is a boy to get to baseball practice and games.


And there are still cows to milk, a house to clean, and children to love and take care of.

This time of year I love to be outside which means that inside gets neglected, 


but will my boys remember that momma cleaned house so well or that she took the time to spray us with the water hose while checking on new kittens with us?

  Will they remember that I left that load of laundry too long so that we could get to the ball field in time for practice or that I was always on the sidelines cheering them on?

I hope they remember the latter not my cleaning ability :)

May God bless you & keep you!

Caci