Lydia's Nest · Parenting

So You Want to Use Cloth Diapers?

I (Gail) put my kids in disposables. Cloth diapers always were a mystery to me. My mother used them on me but in the eighties and nineties disposables were the thing. It’s not that I didn’t try cloth – I did, but washing them was awkward, inconvenient, messy, and time-consuming. And I wasn’t convinced that cloth was any better for the environment when you considered the cost of soap, water, and electricity.

But twenty five years later young moms have more options, including the internet that give instruction, helpful tips, equipment, and support. Naturally Lydia is drawn to the benefits of cloth diapering. I admire her tenacity, her organization, and especially her knowledge of the subject. So it’s time for another mother/daughter interview that I hope will help all you other moms out there as you consider the “To-cloth or Not-to-cloth” debate. (You can view our other mother/daughter post on “Baby-Led Weaning” here.)

Gail: What inspired you to use cloth diapers in the first place?

Lydia: As I was preparing for the birth of our oldest (Deacon), I did a lot of research and reading on various parenting choices and the pros and cons. One big thing I came across was how much disposable diapers cost over the time they are used – potentially as much as $2,500, depending on the brand used (source: Consumer Reports). I was drawn to the fact that cloth diapers are both significantly cheaper, and reduce landfill waste as well.

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Gail: Why did you choose cloth instead of the convenience of disposables?

Lydia: Personally, I find cloth to be pretty convenient! Cloth diapers today are very different than the fold-and-pin-rubber-pants style that most people think of. Now, there are a number of different styles, from All-in-Ones that go on and off exactly like a disposable, to Pockets that have a slot to place absorbent inserts, to hybrids that blend all of them. The other big question people have is washing. I find that diapers really only add an extra load about once or twice a week – it’s key to have enough diapers to fill your washer, so you really get your money’s worth out of each wash.

Gail: Give me the Diapering 101 on exactly how you do this. What is your routine?

Lydia: I try to keep diapers stuffed and ready to go both in the living room and in the nursery. When I take a diaper off of Annabelle,  I take the insert out and put it in the wet bag (a special bag that is lined with water-resistant material to keep in any wetness). If it is a poopy diaper, it goes in a this special plastic poop bucket. It is important to flush poop down the toilet – nobody wants that in the washing machine! When I’m starting to get low on diapers (only 4-5 clean ones) I round them up from around the house and put them in the washer. I follow a Fluff Love University wash routine, and I have never once had issues: First, a short, cold cycle with a small amount of detergent (For me, that’s line 2 of Tide Plus Bleach), then a long, hot, heavy duty cycle with more detergent (line 4). Then if I have time before I will need them again, I hang the wet bags and shells on the drying rack to air dry, but more often I just throw everything in the dryer. When they are dry, I fold and stuff the inserts, and they are ready to go again!

Gail: What do you recommend to purchase and where are your favorite places to purchase?

Lydia: Everyone has different preferences as to style and brand. In the same way that different jeans fit different people, different brands of CD’s will fit different babies. But this is what I use: I really like ALVA brand cloth diapers. They are a pocket style, which I prefer because they are fast to put on, easy to customize the absorbency, and they dry quickly. ALVAs are very reasonably priced, and they are also super cute – Many smaller companies in the US will do custom designs on ALVA diapers. I love this one that says “I love my Mahh Mahh”! (buy here)

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I have around 25-30 diapers, which equals a full wash for my machine. This lasts me 4-5 days. Besides that, I have two large wet bag pail liners, one smaller hanging wet bag for down stairs (I need a second though), and two small wet bags that stay in the diaper bag. I also use cloth wipes – they just get washed along with the diapers, so its a simple process. I made mine by serging flannel. I have about 50 of those. The only other thing you really need to cloth diaper is a good, strong detergent.

As for where to buy, you can actually find some cloth diapering supplies on Amazon. Some of my other favorite resources are Happy Beehinds, Nicki’s Diapers, and the Fluffy Penguin.

Gail: For this to work well I know you have to have everything within arm’s reach as you’re changing a diaper. What is your organization?

Lydia: To be honest, most of the time we end up just pulling diapers out of the laundry basket! But when things are put away, this is how I stay organized. Downstairs: with two little ones, I don’t try to go up to the nursery for every diaper change. Instead, I keep a basket of diaper supplies in the living room stocked with diapers, cloth wipes, fleece liners, and hand sanitizer. When she needs a change, I wet a wipe in the bathroom sink, and I’m ready to go.

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In the nursery,  this is how I have the changing area set up in Annabelle’s room:

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Let me break down where everything is and how I store it. The basket on the right is for her dirty clothes. The big basket on the left is for the dirty diapers – you can see the green pail liner lining it. Zooming in on the dresser top:

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I like to be one-handed when changing diapers, so I can keep one hand on the baby. So for the cloth wipes, I have a little dispenser filled with water (it was actually a soap bottle!) so that I can just grab a wipe and squirt water on it with one hand. Beyond that, everything else I might need is within arms reach. If Annabelle’s bum is looking a little red or dry, I love Burts Bees Multipurpose Ointment. Not all rash creams are CD safe, but this one is a great option. Turning left:

Diapers (1)

Since I don’t do every diaper change in the nursery (usually only morning/bed/nap, and any poopy diapers), I don’t need a lot of CD’s in the nursery. So I keep a basket with 4 or 5 handy and that takes care of things. I also have a bin with extra supplies like disposables, extra diaper cream, etc.

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This is the little shelf hanging on the wall. That’s my old Raggedy Ann doll that Annabelle’s namesake made me (my grandmother!), a custom sign my cousin/roommate made for her, and our “poop bucket”. I have to keep it up high so the kids don’t play with it. Not visible is the spatula that stays with the bucket to scrape off solids with. This way, if there is a poopy diaper, I can put it (or if it all stayed on the fleece liner, just the liner!) in the bucket, get the baby all changed and dressed, then take the bucket to the bathroom, scrape/shake the poop off, and carry the whole bucket back without touching the wet diaper much at all.

Gail: What really is the impact on the environment?

Lydia: There is a lot of different debates out there on this topic – does the production and washing of CD’s negate the savings? What about the production of disposables? Does washing them waste water? What about detergent? For me personally, I’ve chosen to use them more for the cost savings than for the environmental impact, but I do think that there is a positive effect. The EPA estimates that 20 billion disposable diapers are added to landfills every year, and that they can take as much as 500 years to decompose. Whether or not cloth diapers are that great for the environment, there is significant benefit to reducing landfill waste.

Gail: Are they comfortable for our baby Annabelle?

Lydia: Yes! I’ve noticed that Annabelle almost never has rashes. When I use disposables for long periods, it seems like she gets red more easily, and the paper chafes her thighs.

Gail: When do you resort to disposables?

Lydia: I use disposables at night. I find it to be easier and more absorbent than trying to stuff enough absorbency in a CD. Pretty much the only other time I end up using disposables is when we travel – packing and washing CD’s on vacation isn’t very relaxing!

 

So I (Gail)  hope you all found this helpful. There certainly a WHOLE lot more colorful options out there that are too cute for words. So cloth diaper on, dear daughter!

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Blessings!

-Gail

 

Lydia's Nest · Recipes

Hulk Muffins

Hey all! I have a yummy recipe to share with you.

I’ve been making these muffins regularly for breakfast lately. I’ve been noticing that Deacon eats the most at breakfast – even if he’s having an ornery day and doesn’t want to eat much lunch or dinner, he ALWAYS finishes his breakfast. This has put me on a mission to find more healthy, nutritious breakfasts. Our go to’s are easy things like toast and fruit, and I wanted to expand our repertoire and get some good stuff in him while I have the chance. These are perfect! They have lots of spinach, without a ton of sugar. They are super yummy too- they taste like banana bread (and not at all like spinach!)

A couple of notes, you can be relatively flexible with this recipe. The recipe includes what I find works/tastes the best for us, but you could certainly change it out to your preferences, like dairy milk instead of almond milk (you might need to add vanilla), a different sweetener, or vegetable oil instead of butter. Also, they freeze really well. The recipe makes two dozen so we eat some fresh and then I pop the rest in the freezer for later. A minute or two in the microwave, and they are ready to go! I don’t know for sure how long they would last in the freezer – probably a couple of months, but we’ve always eaten them within a couple weeks. Lastly, the riper the bananas the better. If we have bananas that get too brown to eat, I peel and freeze them until I make these muffins. Just let them thaw on the counter for a bit before using.

I love these muffins because they are super easy to throw together in the morning. First, combine the dry ingredients.

Then, put all the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour the puree into the dry bowl and gently stir to combine.

Spoon into muffin tins, and bake!

I think Deacon likes these.

Hulk Muffins

Makes 2 dozen. Prep time: 20 min, Bake time: 20-25 min

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 4 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Wet:

  • 2 cups spinach (packed)
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cups applesauce
  • 3 large bananas
  • ½ cups butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed (optional, but I love the nutrient boost it adds)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray or line muffin pans.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Place all wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour puree into dry bowl, and gently stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon into muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm but not browning.
  6. Serve warm or cold
Gail's Nest · Lydia's Nest · Sewing Project

Date with my Daughter to a Fabric Store

Sewing lovers will agree that entering a fabric store is like walking into an ice cream parlor. You get a rush when you see all the different colors and textures. And how do you decide?

Couple that with entering the store with your sewing-loving daughter and you have a ready made good time.

Triple that with entering the store with your darling not-yet-two grandson and… well, you can’t linger too long making decisions.

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But… I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

We went to Zinck’s Fabric Outlet in Ligonier, Indiana.

So here was our haul…

This super soft double brushed poly could make great leggings!

I’m planning on making a blouse out of this pretty piece.

I want to make a coat, and I found this fun fabric to test my pattern on! I love the color.

When I’ve worked out all the kinks, I’m going to use these to make a 1950s-inspired coat.

And here’s Lydia’s haul:

Such fun!

These two are for some comfy joggers for Cory. (And maybe matching ones for Deacon!)

You can never have too many basic fabrics – the oatmeal will become a sweater, and the other two are great to have on hand for neckbands and such.

Lydia couldn’t resist picking up some fun fabrics for her baby GIRL on the way!

These last two are very soft – they’ll become leggings and a matching top.

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We had a blast exploring Zinck’s. Highly recommend!

Blessings,

Gail

Gail's Nest · Lydia's Nest

How to Make a T-shirt Dress in an Afternoon

I was blessed to visit Lydia and Cory this past week. And of course I jumped at the chance to give them a night off while I babysat my darling grandson. I was blown away at Lydia’s creativity at putting together a nice outfit for their big date. She did it during Deacon’s nap.

She started with a pattern for a simple tee, as well as a black jersey fabric she found on sale at Walmart for $1 per yard. She used less that 3 yards.

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Using a ruler, Lydia added about 10 inches down each of the sides of the tee to lengthen to a dress.

She sewed up the sides, and added the sleeves. After she tried it on she decided it was too baggy so she cut the back in half and then I helped her take it in by pinning the fabric so as to make it more form fitting. She simply sewed up the new seam on her serger, which cut off the extra fabric.

 

Next, Lydia cut out a long retangular piece which she then folded and sewed up along the neckline to create a cowl neck. For an easy trick in sewing up the cowl neck take a look at this video. You’ll need to go to 3:40 to see the helpful demonstration:

After hemming the bottom and the sleeves she was done! And then off she was with Cory for dinner and a movie!

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I hope this inspires you to bravely venture out to make something new – for next to no money!

Blessings-

Gail

Family Activities · Lydia's Nest

January Update

Whoa, that was a long accidental hiatus! Sorry folks. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to in the meantime!

-Deacon turned one. My baby is a whole year old! He’s a champ, running all over the house, eating everything that he can find that is edible (and some things that aren’t).

-We moved! Cory has recently been hired as the Lead Pastor at Goshen First Brethren Church in Indiana. This meant a fairly quick move for us, and while we miss friends and family in Ashland, it has been very exciting to see what God is doing here.

-Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. We had a wonderful time celebrating the holidays with loved ones. Deacon’s first Christmas was a blast, and he knew just what to do with all those presents!

But perhaps the biggest news of all, (and part of the reason I’ve been MIA here on the blog)…

-WE’RE EXPECTING! Baby number two will be making his or her appearance at the end of June. (If you’re trying to do the math, that means the kids will be 21 months apart). We’re so excited to meet this new little one!

Thanks for tuning in! Stay warm!

Lydia's Nest · Refashion

Refashion Challenge: The Before (Lydia)

It’s here! I got the package from my mom containing the thrift store items she picked out for me to refashion/ (Confused? Check out this post for an overview of what’s happening!) wanna see?

So these are the items i get to change. I haven’t done anything yet besides try them on.


There are two maxi dresses. They are both strapless. The animal print one is a light peachy nude color, made with chiffon fabric and an elastic waistband. The blue one is cotton and has a stretchy, smocked top. Here’s what they look like on (I kept a comisole on underneath so thats what the straps are).





I like that this dress has a nice drape.  The fabric is light and flowy, whic will be fun to work with! The top part is unlined, so that will need to change. 


This dress has a nice feel- the cotton fabric is very soft. Also, I love the print! You cant see in the pictures, but its a little short. 

I haven’t totally decided what I want to do with these yet. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Love,

Lydia

Lydia's Nest · Parenting

Baby-Led Weaning: Our First Month

Sucking on some pasta

So we have officially started baby-led weaning, and now that we’re about a month in I wanted to share a little bit what the beginning is like. There are a lot of seasoned BLW’ers out there with lots of great advice, but once you’re in it its easy to forget what it was like at the very beginning.

We started Deacon on avocado on his 6 month birthday. Since then he has had things like cucumber, roasted carrots, steamed broccoli, noodles (without sauce), banana, chicken, pork, strawberries, watermelon, things like that. He has done great, picking things up, putting them in his mouth, and tasting.

We have already given him all major allergens, per our doctor’s recommendation. They now say that early introduction can reduce risk of developing an allergy, and since there is no family history of food allergies, we dove right in.
Here are some of the things that surprised me or caught me off guard about the process:

  • They gag a lot. I knew to expect this, but it can be very disconcerting when you’re in it! however, it is normal and is actually a sign that they are learning how to eat. This graphic was a super helpful reminder on the difference between gagging and choking:

  • They make a mess. Oh goodness do they make a mess! Because they are learning how to chew, food gets spit out most of the time. Even a month in, Deacon still spits out probably half of what he puts in.

    Attempting to figure out how a spoon works
  • Get CPR certified. Before we started, I purchased an infant CPR training kit, and I was really glad that I did. I haven’t had to use these skills, thankfully, but it gives me so much peace of mind knowing that I know what to do in an emergency.
  • Make sure baby is in a good mood. We found that if Deacon was tired or hungry (ironically) he would be fussy and frustrated when he had trouble picking up food. I always try to nurse him before each meal so he is full and ready to enjoy exploring new foods.

    Peppers are tasty
  • Food waste. This was definitely something I hadn’t anticipated. When your baby is dropping and spitting everything out, a fair amount of food just goes to waste! I’m pretty frugal, and it felt strange throwing away perfectly good broccoli just because it had fallen on the floor. Some things that helped were only giving him one or two pieces of food at a time, and laying a drop cloth under the high chair so when it inevitably fell on the floor I could just pick it up and hand it back.
Broccoli is a good source of iron

So those are some of the things I learned in our first month! Hopefully it can help you be better prepared for BLW!

Love,

Lydia