Sunday, November 30, 2008

I took a bit of a break from posting this weekend for a variety of reasons.

Currently, I'm feeling quite unsettled by the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the fact that I live in a country where people are so obsessed with stuff that they're willing to trample a man to death to get the items they're coveting.

I know there are good things going on out there in the world, no matter how small.  I'm just having trouble seeing them...

Tell me a story, will you?   Tell me something good.

And perhaps by tomorrow, I'll be back to my good old quirky posting self. 

Friday, November 28, 2008

This might make me a big dork, but I think it's HILARIOUS

(Again, via swissmiss)

Christmas Card Rejects - Episode 2

Since we were all together and all dressed, we decided to give a family Christmas portrait a try.

It um, was interesting.  Nothing perfect, though this one CRACKS me up:

You see, off in the distance, Shaun noticed his turkey dinner escaping for freedom.  And that resulted in his look of extreme longing. You don't expect a smile from a man whose food is running away.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Some things I'm thankful for:

*  Delicious baby smiles first thing in the morning. 
*  Hearing the words, "Mommy, I want to hold you and snuggle!"
*  A husband who takes the time to make each of us smile and laugh every day.
*  Wonderful, supportive friends who walk the path of motherhood with me and those who cheer me on as I go.
*  A place to watch the snow falling while wrapped up in a giant blanket.
*  The heavy weight of a baby asleep on my shoulder.
*  A quirky family who loves each other even when we get on each other's nerves.
*  The smell of crisp leaves and fires rolling through the air
*  Mashed potatoes.  And cranberry sauce.
*  These guys:


I'm blessed.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Slight Delay

Due to a myriad of random, pre-holiday circumstances, the next cloth diaper post won't be up til Friday, (maybe tomorrow night if I'm not too stuffed with mashed potatoes.  (Because we all know that is the true BEST Thanksgiving dish).

Have a lovely Thanksgiving!  See y'all Friday!

If Only

Loved this:

Welcome Back from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

(via Swissmiss)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cloth Diapering 101: Getting Started - Materials

So now that you've got the lingo down, you're either gung ho and ready to cloth diaper every baby from here to Toledo, or you're running towards Target for the nearest case of Huggies.  I'm figuring most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Cloth diapering seems to be an incredibly huge investment at first glance.  So many people are scared away at the prospect of having to dump hundreds of dollars down and not being sure they will like it enough to continue in the long run. 

But it doesn't have to be that way!  

First off, if you're interested but not sure you want to jump all the way in, it's perfectly ok to only buy a cloth diaper or two to try it out.  If you enjoy having one or two less diapers a day to have to buy, you might continue building up your stash. 

But what kind to try first?

A very smart idea for deciding the type of diaper you'd like to use is to go through a website such as Jillian's Drawers.   For $112.84, they will send you a starter pack of diapers.  Go to their website for the variety, but there's at least 6 different kinds, (7 total diapers), with the inserts and fasteners needed.   You use these for 21 days.  Then, if you chose, you can keep any number of them and Jillian's Drawers will take the cost of those diapers out of your refund and you mail the rest back.

This is a GREAT way to try a big variety. 

Another way to start sampling a variety of diapers without spending loads of money is to look at consignment sites.  I bought my first cloth diapers second hand on Craigslist and they are still in excellent shape.  I paid a quarter of what they would have cost brand new.  Ebay, Jillian's Drawers, DiaperSwappers, and other forums are great resources for a nearly new cloth diaper stash. 

If you're still planning to purchase new, use these sites to see what the likelihood of a high resale value would be for the diapers you're choosing.  This might make the difference between two brands if you're wavering.

Now, let's assume that you're ready to take the plunge and cloth diaper for most situations in your baby's life.
In order to cloth diaper your average baby at almost all times without having to wash for two days or so, you will probably need about 12-16 diapers.  This number obviously increases with newborns (who need changing more often), and older babies who might be heavy wetters.   Otherwise, plan on changing your baby about 6-8 times a day.  (Definitely more than a disposable diapered baby would need changing).

In addition to the diapers, you need a safe detergent to wash them in.  Most people swear by either Charlie's Soap or BioKleen.  Other people just use their regular detergent.  Though it is suggested, (oddly enough), to stay away from any detergent labeled free and clear or free.  I'll be posting about the care and use of the diapers tomorrow. 

Once you have these things, you're pretty set to begin.  Though there are additional accessories that may make the cloth diapering lifestyle a bit easier. 

A Wetbag - If you're storing dirty cloth diapers in a diaper pail in your child's room, you might want to invest in a wetbag.  These are waterproof bags that you can cinch the diapers into containing odor.  When it's time to wash, just turn the bag inside out and wash with the diapers. 

In addition to a big one, some find it helpful to have a wet bag for the diaper bag.  This ensures that you have a place for the dirty diapers when you're out while cloth diapering.  I have one, but I've found that a gallon sized freezer bag works in a pinch.  (The bonus of a wet bag vs. the freezer bag is that you can really clean the wet bag while the freezer bag might get kind of gross after time.

A Sprayer - Once your child has reached that golden age of solid food poops, you'll probably want a sprayer which you can attach to your toilet.  This will allow you to spray off stubborn solid waste when necessary.

Other than that, you're pretty set.  I think anything additional, (aside from cloth wipes and wipes solution if you chose to go that route), is pretty superfluous. 

Check yesterday's entry where we ran down the list of terms used most often in cloth diapering.  Also check out my review of some popular brands and a giveaway of my favorite.


We had snow the other day and it happened to start falling 25 minutes before we were supposed to leave for a Fun! Outing!

Bean draped herself over the back of the couch and exclaimed over the snow every 11 seconds.  I sat with her for a few minutes before resuming my breakneck pace trying to gather materials, dress children, ready myself, and head out the door.

Once we were all properly dressed and ready, I hustled us out the door with hopes of arriving at our destination at the decided time.  (This hasn't happened much with the birth of C... but it's getting better).

I bustled C into the car and turned around to get Bean into her seat. 

And I stopped short.  She was 100% enamored with the snow.  It didn't matter that we had to be somewhere, even if it was for a Fun! Outing!  To her, the fun was right there, at that exact moment.  And after a few seconds, I realized how right she was.

Her joy in the moment took my breath away.

  Why is so hard for us to be the same way?  Where's our joy about being in the moment?  Why don't we spin in circles, dance for no reason, laugh out loud, or just stop to consider how beautiful it is to be alive?

Bean does it every day.  And I'm going to start taking notes and doing it too.

She fluttered around for a bit longer that day and instead of hurrying her as I might have on any other day, I let her linger.

And I might have caught a few flakes on my own tongue, too.  

Monday, November 24, 2008


Bean got a hankerin' for some winter accessorizing today. 

And she dragged her sister into it.

While Bean was merrily modeling,

C was not amused. 

(I think Bean's fashion sense is spot on.   Note C's matching cowboy boots :)

Cloth Diapering 101! AIO, DSQ, Fitted, Pockets, WHAT!?

If you would do a google search for cloth diapering, you would come up enough information to make your head explode.  It's so daunting to some people that they give up altogether before they even get started. 

But it's not as bad as it sounds.

For this week, my goal is to expose the mysteries of cloth diapering so that anyone can read along and come out feeling like that have enough knowledge to make an educated decision as to whether they'd like to cloth diaper their children.

As always, if you have hints or information to add, please comment!  The more the merrier.

As with any niche, cloth diapering comes with its own quirky terminology. 

But before we delve into that, let's talk about what makes a cloth diaper, a cloth diaper.  :)

Nearly every cloth diaper has an absorbant component, a waterproof outer component, and some method of fastening.  There are extras to certain types of diapers, but that's the bare minimum. 

Below are the most popular types of  cloth diapers on the market today:

Diaper Types

AIO - All-in-ones - These are diapers where all of the components are held together to make one whole diaper. Some have a microfiber inner layer to wick away moisture, others are cotton.  (Some AIO diapers are also separated into a more specific catagory:  AI2s, or all-in-twos...  this just means that the layer closest to the baby's skin is more like a flap, allowing it to be positioned in different ways, as well as allowing it to flap around in the wash.  Kushies are good examples of this)  Examples:  Kushies, BumGenius 2.0, Green Mountain, Swaddlebees, Bumkins  Pros:  Easy, easy, easy to put on.  Everything is together so you don't have to do a lot of word to get them on your child.  In the same vein, they're easy to pack and transport since you never have to worry about remembering all of the components.  Cons:  Often expensive (Kushies are the exception), they take longer than other types to dry.

Pocket Diapers - Very similar to an AIO except that the "soaker" layer (see below for definition) is in the form of an insert to fit into a pocket in the diaper.  The pocket is formed by leaving either the seam in the top back or both the top back and the top front open to allow insertion of the soaker.  Examples:  Fuzzi Bunz, Tiny Tush Elite, BumWear, BumGenius 3.0, Happy Heinys, Blueberry, Snap EZ Eco  Pros:  You can customize the amount of absorbency based how big of a soaker you use.  Some newborns don't require an insert at all.  Convenient and dries fast.  Cons:  Also can be expensive, takes time to stuff inserts.  You also have to shake/pull out the inserts for washing, which some people find kind of gross.

Prefolds- These are rectangular shaped diapers that are made of multiple layers of absorbent materials.  In order to use these, you have to fold the sides in towards the middle and fasten with pins or something like a Snappi (see below).  These are the most basic of basic diapers and are often the cheapest.  Sometimes you will see them descibed with three numbers.  3x5x3.  This refers to the number of layers each diaper has in each section.  The first and last numbers are the outside layers and the middle number is the middle of the diaper.  Layers vary based on the size needed.  You can buy prefolds on your own, or you can hire a diaper service which will wash your diapers and provide you with a clean set.  These must be used with a waterproof outer layer to prevent leaks.  Note:  DO NOT USE THE PREFOLDS YOU CAN FIND IN TARGET OR WALMART OR THE LIKE.  These are not quality prefolds and are really more suited for burp cloths.   Examples:  Chinese Prefolds Pros:  They are cheap, cheap, cheap.  They're pretty foolproof with care and often last forever.  Cons:  Can be somewhat difficult to learn to use.  Might be hard to wrangle a toddler into one.  These are fairly bulky.

Contour Diapers - These are similar to prefolds except they are shaped and don't require folding.  They still need fastening with something like a Snappi and they also need a pair of waterproof pants on the outside. Examples:  Kissaluvs.  Pros:  Easier to use than a prefold, and yet still cheap.  Cons:  Still require the ability to use a fastener. 

OS - One Sized Diaper - This refers to a diaper that has snaps to allow for a one size fit.  The user is able to snap the diaper in a particular way to set it to large or small.  Pros: These diapers are that they can last from birth onwards, (most types).  Cons:  They can be a bit expensive to start up and they can also be a bit bulky in the beginning.  Examples:  Tiny Tush, BumWear, BumGenius 3.0, Green Mountain, Prefolds, Happy Heinys, Cuddlebuns

Some diaper types require some extra materials:

Extras and Terms

Snappi - This is a fasteners made of plastic that are used with prefolds or contour diapers in place of pins. 

Soaker - This is the absorbent part of the diaper.  In an AIO, the soaker is attached.   In Prefolds, there is no technical seperate soaker, so this refers either to the middle layer or to the wool pants used on the outside of a prefold.  In pocket diapers, this is the multi-layer absorbent pad that you stuff into the diaper to hold the liquid.  You can also put a seperate soaker in any kind of diaper for extra absorbency.  There are tons of differnet kinds and shapes, so you have to either get one in tandem with your pocket diaper or search around to find one that works for you.

Hook and Loop or Aplix - For most diapers, the actual Velcro brand velcro is not used because of its roughness.  Thus, to prevent confusion, many will refer to their enclosure as hook-and-loop instead.  Aplix is a softer brand of hook-and-loop closures.

Liners - Either a piece of washable material or disposable material that is used to line the diaper so that waste is captured before hitting the main part.  This allows for easy disposal of solid waste.  Kushies Liners are a good example.  The disposable liners can be flushed as they are biodegradable but they are NOT safe for all septic systems. Convenient, yes.  Necessary?  No. 

DSQ - Diaper Service Quality - This refers to prefolds that are made with the best materials available to stand up to many uses and washings.  If you chose prefolds, it's advised to search for diapers of this quality to ensure the best performance. 

Diaper Cover- This an outer layer that is put on after a cotton diaper such as a prefold or a contour.  (There are some one sized cotton diapers like the TinyTush as well).  These pants are either a waterproof material or wool.  Wool is made to absorb moisture, while the regular diaper covers are made to keep it from leaking outwards.  (Wool generally doesn't leak).  You can use these more than once before washing, particularly the wool ones. 

You should now have enough of a working knowledge of cloth diaper terms to be able to browse around on some cloth diaper bulletin boards or websites. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for "Getting Started:  Cloth Diapering Essentials (And then some!)"

Also, check out my cloth diaper review and giveaway here. 

'Tis The Season

For mashed potatoes.

No, I'm excited for more than that.

In any case, here are the things that are going to be going on around here:

Cloth Diaper Week!  Due to the incredible response to my cloth diaper review and giveaway, I decided that this week, I will be posting an entry a day about the ins and outs of cloth diapering.  (Yes, today...  I'll post it this evening).

Playful Chef Review - This week I'll also be reviewing a cute chef kit that my oldest is in love with.

And in addition to all of these great things, you'll be getting your usual dose of random from yours truly.

Check back!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Card Rejects - Episode 1

We're attempting to get the oh so elusive Christmas card picture.  I figure that we'll post some of the rejects up for awhile, at least until Christmas when I'll post the real thing.

And at the rate we're going, I might be able to do one a day.

Somebody has a case of the Mondays.  (And it wasn't even Monday)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dandelions are FIERCE

Yesterday, Bean was wandering around saying over and over that she wanted me to tell her the story of "Daniel and the Dandelions."

I would have.  I really would have.  Except I had no earthly idea as to what she was talking about.

Bean's a pretty clear speaker, and she was definitely saying Daniel and dandelions. 

I kept trying to make up stories about my brother, (the only Daniel we know), running around in a field of dandelions. 

And she kept cutting me off saying, "NO!!  DANIEL AND THE DANDELIONS!" 

When I wouldn't, (rather, when I couldn't) tell her the story she demanded, she contented herself with setting up her dinosaur figures and making them run away from a mysterious spot on the carpet while shrieking "AHHH!  THE DANDELIONS!"

I really thought our summer was pretty low key.  But apparently she had a run in with a bunch of dandelions that really stuck with her.  

And then Shaun came home and said his hellos.  Immediately, Bean ran and grabbed her pink Bible and thrust it at him saying,

"Read me the story of Daniel and the dandelions!" 

Shaun and I looked at each other, puzzled.  Impatient, she repeated herself.  All at once, we got it.

"Daniel and the den of LIONS!"

She looked at us both with a completely bewildered expression and said, "Yes! Daniel and the DANDELIONS!" 

I'm just glad that we don't have to worry about an irrational fear of small yellow weed flowers.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lesson Learned

I learned something today.  (I know, wonders never cease!)

No matter how big or independant your child is, pack a change of clothes to keep in the car for them.

Those of you out there who have had kids vomit, pee, or otherwise soil themselves while in their only outfit on the way to grandmom's house (a three hour drive, of course), are nodding your heads. 

I brought the remainder of Bean's chocolate milk into the car today to keep her occupied while I fed C.  She's capable of handling that on her own, generally. 

Today?  Today she dumped half of the container down her front.  And promptly screamed bloody murder about being cold. 

(Little did she know, she was about to experience cold... and that wasn't it). 

Anyway, we weren't even remotely close to home, and despite looking like I have a toy store in my back seat, there were absolutely no items of clothing aside from a puffy purple coat. 

Let the kid sit there soaked in milk?   She wasn't about to have that. 

So I hauled her out of her seat and stripped the wet clothes off in the parking lot.  She shivered until I stuffed her in the coat and buckled her in.  And then she cracked up.  Novelty of having nothing but a coat and shoes on?  High. 

But then I got home and looked back at her.  She was conked completely out.  So I had to figure out whether I wanted to take her Purpleness and deposit her in her bed in the coat or attempt to wrangle clothing on her, possibly disrupting her nap, (which would be BAD). 

In the end, I ended up getting some clothes on her and she went back to sleep. 

But not before asking me if she could wear the purple coat and her shoes to play tomorrow.  "And nuffin else!"  

I've joked about not letting my teenagers out of the house in anything less than a parka, but I assumed that they would be wearing pants, too. 

This could get ugly. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Because I know you all wait, holding your breath, for the rare occasions where I post what I eat for lunch complete with pictures, I won't torture you any longer.  I present to you, yesterday's lunch in all of its glory:

Flour tortilla with cheesy scrambled eggs, accompanied by fresh tomatoes and avocados.   Topped with hot sauce, but that ruined the picture's appetizing look, so I didn't post that one.
Today, I had this:

Weird color on the food in this picture... it wouldn't quite adjust exactly right.  It's kind of like it was doused in ectoplasm.  But I still get a flutter in my heart when I see it, so I'm posting anyway.  Red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red peppers, avocado, broccoli, cucumber, feta cheese, raw almonds, corn, craisins, all topped with a delicious amount of honey mustard vinaigrette, (not ectoplasm).
And yes, the bowl was the size of a small child's bathtub.  Just the way I like it. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cloth Diaper Showdown and GIVEAWAY!

***  Edited to add - If you have any questions or comments regarding cloth diapering, email me at and I'd be glad to answer them for you.

Also, here's another comprehensive review that involves several other diapers.  So if you're interested in learning more, this is a great place for more comparisons.

And due to the overwhelming amount of comments from those who are considering cloth diapers but finding the choices and methods unclear or unreliable, I'll be posting a Cloth Diapering 101 post in the next week
One more thing:  If you're interested in purchasing any of these diapers, click on their name in the review and it'll take you to a retailer

Keep commenting and good luck!  ***

Before I had kids, I chalked cloth diapers up to be complicated, messy, and gross.  Surprisingly, I've come to find that none of the above is true.  We've been cloth diapering C since she was about 3 months old.  Initially, on recommendation from a friend, we bought a few to try and found that they were remarkably easy.  So we decided to get some more to round out our cloth diaper stash.

And woah, there are some serious varieties out there.

Cloth diapers run the gamut from basic prefold diapers with waterproof pants, to one piece numbers that are as easy as disposables.   Most of the ones we tested are pocket diapers.  The outer layer is a waterproof material and the inner layer is most often fleece which wicks away moisture.  The two layers are open on one end to form a pocket where an insert can be placed.  The insert is what holds the liquid.  I also reviewed one cotton diaper with a liner, and two all-in-ones where the insert is sewn into the diaper.

Some diapers are sized and some are one-sized with snaps to fit to your baby's needs.

A lot to consider, no?

So, in order to find out which we liked the best, we acquired about 6 additional brands to test.  Our month long review consisted of repeated wears by our little one as well as many, MANY washings.

I rated each diaper on an A-D scale on the basis of five categories:  performance, ease of use, appearance, ease of care and durability.  (A is obviously the best and D is the worst). 

BumGenius All-In-One - $15.95   

Performance - B+
Ease of Use - A
Appearance - A
Ease of Care - C
Durability - B- 

These diapers are super cute.  They are almost as trim as a disposable, which is a major boon in our book.  The velcro closures are always a hit with my husband, but I don't like them as much.  Despite having wash tabs, where the sticky sides can go during a wash load, I did find that the velcro began to lose its stick a bit.  A fact that I can imagine will get worse with time.  This diaper didn't leak, though I always felt that I had to adjust it to be sure that C was completely comfortable.  Perhaps this had to do with sizing, though the medium was far too big, so I can't assume that.  I hated drying these diapers as they took FOR-EVER.  Even in the dryer, I often had to run the cycle twice to get the dampness out of the diaper.  In the sun, they by far took the longest of all diapers.  Left at all damp, as with any clothing, they would start to give off a musty odor.
Overall Rating :  B- 

Q Diapers Pocket Diaper - $8.99 (included insert)

Performance - D
Ease of Use - C
Appearance -B
Ease of Care - B+
Durability - D

I can't even find a link for this diaper anymore.  I bought it on Ebay while searching for new, lesser known diaper brands to try.  Well, apparently there's a good reason for that.  Superficially, they're cute.  However, upon closer examination, the stitches appear hastily done and crooked and the workmanship is overall sub par.   This diaper leaked constantly.  I couldn't seem to get a good fit with the small pieces of velcro, and even when I got it snug, it still leaked.  Despite the velcro, I felt that this diaper took a significant amount of wiggling to fit onto the baby. It was relatively easy to wash and dry, though an absence of wash tabs generally made this diaper stick to whatever it ended up next to in the dryer.  I stopped using it altogether.   
Overall rating:  D

 Fuzzi Bunz Pocket Diaper Sized Medium $17.95 (with insert)

Performance - A
Ease of Use -B+
Appearance -B
Ease of Care - A-
Durability - A

 These were the first cloth diapers I owned and used on both of my kids, so they have a little bit of a soft spot for me.  They're very cute to see the baby wearing, though they do tend to be quite bulky despite being sized.  My daughter was well within the weight range for the diaper but it came up really high which seemed to make sitting uncomfortable. This remedied with time as she grew taller, but it was still a pain while it lasted.  I also had some problems with the insert hanging out of the back of the diaper.  This wasn't necessarily a problem now, but as she grows and wets heavier, I expect that some wicking will occur when this happens.  They're as easy as any other pocket diaper to clean:  remove insert, wash, dry according to instructions.  No velcro means no sticking to other diapers.  The snaps are easy to figure out, though I often found that it was tough to get a good fit when she seemed to be in between snap positions.  They're super durable and one actually survived a dog chewing.  Not too shabby.   
Overall rating:  B+/A-

Tiny Tush Elite One Size Pocket Diaper - $18.95 (with insert)

Performance - A
Ease of Use -B+
Appearance -B+
Ease of Care - A
Durability - A

This is one of my two favorites from doing this review.  I loved the one size aspect.  The snaps allowed for multiple sizes to wear the diaper, ensuring that it could go from a newborn to a toddler with no trouble. I did find the snaps mildly confusing as there are a ton of them.  However, you can leave the diaper snapped to the size that you use it while washing, cutting down on time spent figuring out the snaps.   There was ample room within the diaper for a thick insert, though a smaller insert stayed put quite nicely.  They're cute, though they can be a bit bulky with a larger insert.  I found that this diaper, when snapped correctly, always gave a snug fit and never leaked.  They have an overlapping piece of microfleece in the back to ensure that the insert remains snugly in the diaper, a feature I found to be valuable considering the FuzziBunz problems with this.   
Overall rating:  A-

Tiny Tush Trim Organic Cotton One Size Fitted Cloth Diaper $16.95

With a Tiny Tush Diaper Cover $11.95  

Performance - A
Ease of Use -B+
Appearance -B+
Ease of Care - A
Durability - A

I was rather shocked to find out how much I really liked this diaper.  It's made of organic cotton which allows for a natural fiber to be next to the baby's skin.  This is a must for many people, though I found that this was one of the main reasons I wouldn't necessarily chose this type as my main diaper.  I change my daughter as often as I feel she is wet, though I don't   always get to her right away.  Thus, she's often with a wet diaper next to her skin as cotton doesn't wick away moisture.  Maybe not such a big deal during the day, but for naps and bedtime, I put the baby in a diaper with a microfleece layer.  The other reason that I would be hesitant to use this diaper is the cost.  Although I imagine that you can reuse a wrap more than once, you would need to purchase a few in addition to your stash of diapers which makes for a rather expensive venture.  However, the diapers are GOOD, and excellent quality, so if it's natural fibers you're looking for, these are the diapers for you.  Each diaper is one-sized to fit from newborn to toddler.  In addition to the diaper, each has a snap in layer for extra absorption.  (And they are massively absorpant to begin with).  The site suggests that you can even use this snap in layer alone inside a liner for small babies and newborns.  This diaper NEVER leaked and always held a ton.  I liked the reinforced side gussets on the cover.  I totally felt like any blowout would be easily contained.   
Overall rating:  B+

Kushies Ultra All-In-One Medium $11.95 single or $45.00 for a five pack

Performance - B-
Ease of Use -C
Appearance - B-
Ease of Care - A
Durability - B

These diapers are made with a waterproof outer layer, several layers of absorbant cotton, and a cotton flap inside the diaper (which you can double up in certain areas for different genders).  The outside fastens with velcro.  There are laundry tabs which helps with the care factor.  In fact, these are the easiest diapers to take care of as they clean easily and dry quickly.  I am not a huge fan of the cotton inside layer as it allows moisture to sit against my daughter's skin.  These diapers are also extremely awkward in how big they are in some areas.  The velcro allows for a significant amount of adjusting; however, I was never able to adjust well enough to really close the leg holes snugly.  And I have a chunky legged little one.  They've leaked a few times, which I'm chalking up to a bad fit rather than poor absorption.  The outer layer is extremely durable and looks brand new but the inner layer is starting to pill badly.  Not a huge deal, but not as comfortable as the initial wearings.  They're super cheap for all-in-one cloth diapers, so if you're looking for a few to have on hand for baby sitters or for a relative who isn't familiar with cloth diapering, these are a steal.   
Overall rating:  B-

BumWear One Sized Pocket Diaper $17.95 (insert not included)

Performance - A
Ease of Use -A-
Appearance - A+
Ease of Care - A
Durability - A

Definitely my favorite diaper of the bunch.  First of all, this diaper is CUTE!  There is absolutely no denying that fact.  The gorgeous printed outer layer is accented by a pretty fleece layer in a contrasting color.  I love putting this on my daughter.  In warmer weather, this is a cute bottom all on its own.  But aside from the cute factor, this diaper preforms fabulously.  After many wearings and washings, this diaper has yet to leak or to pill.  The outside looks as new as the day it arrived.  The snaps took a bit of getting used to, but there are less than on other one-sized diapers which lessened the confusion considerably.  I loved the fact that this diaper had elastic on both the back top and the FRONT top.  This is highly unusual, but something I craved in a cloth diaper.  I found that on many diapers, the rise made it slightly difficult to sit upright when the diaper was snugly fastened.  I learned to loosen the tops of most diapers for a more comfortable upright fit, but with these, I didn't have to.  The elastic allows the diaper to stretch against my daughter's baby belly without causing discomfort.  The diaper itself allows for small inserts or large inserts depending on your needs.  This diaper also folds to be the smallest one sized diaper I tried.  If you fold down the top of the diaper, the inner layer of the fleece has an additional row of snaps for the tiny baby.  I thought that these snaps might bother my daughter, but she never complains when wearing this diaper.  I will gladly buy more of these.   
Overall Rating:  A

Now, for the fun news!  A GIVEAWAY!  Actually, three!  For three lucky readers, BumWear has graciously offered to give away one of their fabulous pocket diapers reviewed above AND an insert!  Woot!

If you're new to cloth diapering or you're looking to change brands, I can't recommend these highly enough, so enter for a chance to win!

In order to enter, please comment on this post with a valid email address.  If your email address is not included, I will have no way of contacting you and will have to move on to another winner. 
Winners will be RANDOMLY chosen using a random number generator. 

Close of the contest will be December 12, 2008 at 11:59pm.
One entry per person.

If you would like additional entries, please do one or both of the following:

Blog about and link to this giveaway and comment with a link back to your blog entry
Subscribe to this blog via RSS and comment that you have done so.  

Thanks everyone and good luck!

Cloth diapers!  They work for me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer

You'd Think They Were Sisters or Something

They're certainly their own people and look a bit different, but it seems as C gets older, she's resembling Bean a bit more.  Matchy matchy, HERE I COME!

(Hey, roll your eyes if you will, but I've been looking forward to occassionally dressing my kids alike since I was about SEVEN.  So there).  (And yes, I know I can dress them alike even if they don't match, but it's all that much more fun).  (And yes, I will go all sorts of preppy one of these days and monogram something for each of them).  (Imagine what I would have done with twins?!  That's would be after I had to collect my exploded brain from the craziness).  (That's a lot of parenthetical phrases.  Hm). 

Anyway, later this week, I'm going to try posting some baby pics as requested (hi Genelle!!) and you can be the judge of who looks like who.  (Kudos to The Accidental Traveler for the idea as well).

But for now?  Check these out:

I'm sure you can tell who is who... but what's your opinion?  Look alike?  Not so much?  Are they even related?  
Survey says..... ? 

Search Term of the Week

I've had some doozies, but this one was too good not to post:

"planes to looneyville usa"

I'm not sure if you're still reading, but if you are?  Come on by.  There's enough looney to go around :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

November in Black and White: Outside Meanderings

Playing outside with the girls ALWAYS makes for good pictures.  My favorite things about this black and white project?  You can't remotely tell that Bean is ridiculously mismatched :)

Anyway, here are my favorites from the other day.

Um, I want to eat those cheeks.  How could you NOT?! 

Expressions like these make me realize how big she's getting. 

This was one that turned out far better on screen than what I saw in camera.  I like it.

 She seems to be the master of facial expressions lately.  Cracks me up!
They make my day, these two.  (And that handsome guy in the sidebar)

Some Rambles Will Have to Suffice

I'm trying to play catch up on a lot of different things.  Amongst those are a million (or maybe about 11) half written posts that need to be finished and scheduled and about 300 pictures that need to be edited and posted.

Then there's the grading.

The cleaning.

The laundry.

The hiding under my comforter, pretending that I don't have anything to do.

So yes, today I'm cheating by giving you a preview of what's to come in the next week or two around here.

1.  A cloth diaper showdown AND GIVEAWAY!!  For those of you interested in cloth diapering, (or those who already do!), I'm going to be reviewing about 7 different cloth diaper brands.  I'm also going to be giving away some of my favorites.  Stop back here on Wednesday November 19th for the scoop!

2.  In the next week or so, I will be reviewing a great kids' cookware set that has my 3 year old super excited.

3.  I'm also hoping to post a significant number of new B&W photos for the November in Black and White series hosted by Springtree Road.  (If you haven't already been by that way, please head over...  the pictures are awesome.  She's awesome!)

4.  And then you'll have your regular craziness.  As scheduled.  Which means that it's not scheduled at all.  :)

And for sticking by me for that pile of rambles, here's a picture of Miss Bean (who is currently NOT napping and driving me NUTS, but that's for another day).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Procrastination - Part 2

In view of how encouraging y'all were in recent comments, I feel the need to offer a few facts up in effort of full disclosure:

1. If I hadn't done any laundry, we would have had to wear cloth napkins.  And though it was unseasonably warm the last few days, it's darn cold today and I'm all about full coverage. 

2.  There was also the possibility of losing a small child in the laundry pile.  I swear, it looked as if it was sprouting teeth and some legs. 

3.  Not feeding the children usually results in evil attitudes.   C has been known to take matters into her own hands and gnaw on me. (I generally feed my kids though... most of this is speculation)

4.  Not cleaning the soccer bag would have meant that we may have had to call a Hazmat team in to deal with the sock issues.  Um, and I know I mentioned the vileness of Shaun's socks, but again, in effort of full disclosure, I have to admit that mine were in there too. 

5.  And the toy organization?  Had we not gotten a new bookshelf/entertainment unit, I would never have bothered in a million years.  But do you know how hard it is to put something together on a floor covered with toys?  Also, do you know how nice it is to have a place for everything?  Makes me WANT to put things away.  (We'll see how long that lasts)

Anyway, lest you all looked at my self-depricating entry about procrastination and thought that I was some sort of motivated super-mom, I figured I'd let you know the full story.

Heck, next time I might take some before and after pics to really give y'all the true story.  :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Don't Procrastinate, I Just Ignore Things

I told myself that today I was going to ban myself from blogging and stay home with the girls in order to get a million things done.

Lofty goal, right?

OK, I told myself that I needed to get something done.  Singular.

Which I did!

Actually, I've been pretty productive.  Taking my friend Jo's advice, I started off doing one thing. 

I got out of bed.

And it made me feel pretty good, so I thought I might attempt a few other things that needed doing.

So far?

Loaded and ran the dishwasher
Sorted and started laundry
Fed the children AND the dogs (I know, right?  I'm on a roll!)
Put laundry away
Cleaned out the soccer bag (And that, my friends, is a day long task in toxic waste management when it comes to Shaun's socks)
Organized toys
Started a fire (Um, in the wood-burning stove, not with my cooking)
Briefly contemplated what to make for dinner
Stared at the fire for awhile

(Yes, this is where things start going down hill, I know)

Ate a brownie
Ate another brownie, because I don't want the pan to go to waste, of course.
Added a log to the fire.
Admired my fire handiwork

And then?  The culmination of my (in)activity?  I sat down right here to write this entry.

Because I am the master of all things productive.  Obviously.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WFMW: Top Six Toddler Snacks

OK, I'm into the lists lately, it seems.  Anyway, I find that we've been in a rut at times looking for new snack foods for Bean (2) to eat that aren't total junk.  Especially since she asks me 11 million times a day for a snack:  ("Mommy, I'm hungry."  "Mommy, can I have a treat?"  "Mommy, I'm really, really hungry."  "Mommy, I think my tummy wants a snack."  "Mommy?  Do you think it's time for dinner?  I DO!"  "Mommy, I'm in my seat!  Where's da food?"  Etc., etc., etc.).

Here's our top six list:

1.  "Peas and Beans" - Bean likes beans.  But her absolute favorite are frozen soybeans. Couple them with frozen peas and she's happy forever.  Being veggies, they're chock full of good stuff.  And sometimes, if she's feeling nice, she'll share a pea or two with her little sister.

2.  Red Pepper Sticks - Not ever kid will like these, but I have found that once they get past the unfamiliar texture and look, most kids love 'em.  Red peppers are naturally sweet and juicy.  If your kid won't go for eating them plain, dress them up with hummus.

3.  Cheese Sticks - Bean likes her cut into circles.  Our friends like them in string form.  I like them in my belly.  Calcium and protein keep us all on the sane side when we're feeling a little run down from the activities of the day.  Bean is actually involved with a love hate relationship with cheese sticks.  But when she's on a hate kick, I get 'em so I'm not complaining :)

4.  Homemade Popsicles - I was really tired of throwing away fruit when it started to get mushy and I vowed to find a solution.  So, this summer I bought a popsicle mold and some plain yogurt.  Regularly, I'll pop some yogurt and whatever fruit is starting to reach its end into the blender and pour it into the molds.  It's healthy, has no added sugar, and kids are getting their calcium, protein, and vitamins.  (This could be a post on it's own, I think).   If you kid balks at the taste of plain yogurt, add some honey for a bit of sweetness to cut the flavor.

5.  Toddler Trail Mix - This one isn't quite as healthy, but it's not bad.  When we're on the go and I know she's going to have some stroller time to deal with, I pack a bag of this.  What's in it?  Well, whatever's in my cabinet, really...  More often than not, it's cereal (cheerios, chex, etc.), pretzels, goldfish (or cheddar bunnies), a graham cracker, raisins (and other dried fruit), nuts (raw almonds, peanuts), and if Daddy packs it, he'll occassionally toss a few chocolate chips or a couple of M&M's in the mix.  She likes when Daddy packs it.  :)

6.  Foamed Milk - Not really a snack, per say, but it holds off the "I'M SO HUNGRY" for awhile.   Lexi likes when I put milk in the Magic Bullet and use the whipping blade until it's foamy.  I add a dash of vanilla and some cinnamon and it's like a treat.

Those work for me!  For more Work For Me Wednesday Tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer

Monday, November 10, 2008

November in Black and White: Demise of a Bagel

C takes after her sister in her affection for food.  Not baby food, mind you, but real food.  She attacks with an intensity usually reserved for gnawing on my head.  It's love, no doubt.

Hmmm, what do we have here?

Seems to be edible...


Let's give it a try.


I have something on my face?  Me?  Nah.
(I know that last one is kinda blurry, but I couldn't resist.  Happy Tuesday!)

Today's Lunch

Homemade.  And it was as delicious as it looks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One of Those Days

Ah, motherhood.  Chock full of sunshine and rainbows, perfectly prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (cut in the shape of a heart, of course), a spotlessly clean house, carefully planned activities with educational value and FUN, and stunningly groomed and well-behaved children. 

What, your house isn't like that? 

Yeah, mine either.  More often than not, you take everything on that list and reverse it and you have MY house. 

The other day was a doozy.  So many things happened in the course of a few hours, I can't even remember them all. 

However, I do remember having to make a phone call. 

Now, those of you who've ventured over here from my old blog may remember why I fear making phone calls when the kids are awake.

Toddlers have a sixth sense when it comes to phone calls.  Call to grandmom?  They'll whine a minute and maybe climb on you.  Call to boss?  They'll throw toys at their sister, sneak into kitchen cabinets, and shove stuff in the VCR.  Then they'll come climb on you.  Call to someone you don't know?  They'll make sure the person on the other end is intensely familiar with their shriek by the end of the conversation.  Call to someone you don't know after you have to be on hold for more than 10 minutes?  They will scream bloody murder and chase you from room to room for maximum effect

I had to call the doctor's office for some things that had me stressing about C.  They have a nurse help line where you have to go through a few menus and then leave a message and they'll look up the appropriate info and call you back. It takes a few minutes, naturally, to get to the answering machine. 

Bean was quietly sitting in the living room stacking blocks together.  I looked her in the eye and said, "I have to make a quick phone call.  Can you stay here and play and I will be back in a second?"  She smiled, nodded, and went back to her blocks.

I kid you not, the moment I heard the beep and began to talk to the answering machine, she comes flying in from the living room,


I pulled the phone from my face and whispered,

"I'll be right there, hang tight sweetie."  

Generally, that would work.  Generally, she'd go right back in the living room and wait for a second.  Generally, she's a completely rational child who does a fairly good job at following directions.

And then sometimes?  Sometimes she gets taken over by aliens and flips the heck out.

 This was one of those times.  No sooner then those words left my mouth was she on the floor throwing a fit.  A loud fit.  I walked in the other room and continued my brief message. 

She followed.  Come on, did you expect anything less?

And she got louder,


Wash, rinse, repeat. 

Flustered, I finished my message and hung up the phone.  I truly think that there was smoke coming from my ears when I turned toward a very loud and very irrational Bean.  We each froze and sized each other up. 

It was like Doc Holliday and Ringo, staring each other down before their shootout. 

I'm not sure who moved first.

Suddenly, she was screaming and running away and I was screaming and chasing her, (having put C down, who was doing her own yelling), trying to discipline her. 


"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"  She ran.  I caught her.  And in order to preserve my sanity and to prevent me from doing something ultra mean and slightly out of control, I put her in time-out. 

On the top of my dresser. 

Somewhere in my brain, I knew that if I placed her in time-out and she got up, I was going to lose my mind. 

So I plopped the screaming toddler on top of my dresser, and walked out of the room.  

And that kid sat there for a few minutes while I collected myself.  She screamed her head off, but do you know what?  She didn't move.   I capitalized on my kid's cautious nature and used it to my advantage.  Mommy - 1, Bean - 0

You know what she wanted?  She wanted a piece of candy.  A request that I would have refused even if I were off of the phone. 

(And before you get all cranky on how that wasn't safe, it was the low dresser... she was all of 2 feet off the ground)  :)

Sometimes motherhood can get a little insane.  Sometimes the mother can get a little insane.  And sometimes the methods used to restore order are the most insane of all.  But a little insanity never hurt anyone. 

Starting Early

We've always figured that the girls will inherit at least a smidgen of our love for what I think is the greatest sport in the world, (sorry Shaun, it's not baseball).  Anyway, perhaps this second born of ours will be our soccer star?

Look at that form!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November in Black and White - Outside With My Girl

We ventured outside today despite a rather imminent threat of rain.  

Bean and I visited the horses in "her" zoo. 
We watched the polar bears dance, to her great delight.

And we got a little nervous when we got close to the tigers.
And then, we danced in the rain awhile.

And embraced the last vestiges of warm weather.   
All in the space of our backyard. 
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