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.



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)


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.


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



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:

Diapers (2)

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.


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!





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



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


  • 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)


  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.


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.


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



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.


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!


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



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!



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!



Family Activities · Lydia's Nest · Parenting

Baby Led Weaning

Lydia is beginning the transition to solid foods with a method that I had never heard of before, called Baby-Led-Weaning.  When Deacon turned six months, instead of starting with rice cereal like I did when Lyddie was 6 months old, she is giving him real, unpureed solid foods from the get-go. Naturally, I had questions but after observing the results and watching it first hand I am a believer. Come and eavesdrop on our mother/ daughter conversation:

Gail: What is Baby-Led-Weaning and where did you hear about it? (Thinking, “WHAT are you doing to my grandson!!”)


Lydia: Baby-led Weaning is an alternative method of teaching a baby to eat. Instead of spoon-feeding him cereals and purees, I simply put some of whatever we are eating in front of him, and let him touch it, pick it up, put it in his mouth, and taste it. He is in complete control of what goes in his mouth. This is different than traditional weaning because of the order of things babies learn: when they are spoon fed, they learn to swallow first and then chew later. This way, Deacon is learning to chew, move things around his mouth, and use his mouth muscles before he learns to swallow. He spits almost everything out at the moment!

I don’t remember where I first heard about it. Probably somewhere on the internet. But as I was learning about it, I bought the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook. This was a super helpful resource – the first five chapters or so explore what it is and how to do it safely.

Gail: Why did you choose this method (thinking, “Why aren’t you doing it the way I did it?”)?

Lydia: BLW has a lot of benefits – by exposing him to flavors and textures now, he will hopefully be less of a picky later on. Also, by not taking the time to spoon feed him, we all get to enjoy meals as a family. I get to eat while my food is still hot! Another factor for us is that it is cheaper and takes less time. I don’t have to buy baby food, or spend hours making homemade purees.

Gail: Isn’t he at risk of choking (picturing a vision of baby gagging, turning blue, and dialing 911)?


Lydia: No more so than purees. Because he is learning to chew first, he is learning to handle foods before they get anywhere close to his airway. He might gag, but there is a big difference between gagging and choking – a baby’s gag reflex is much further forward in the mouth than an adult’s, so their little bodies are designed to protect them!

Also, we definitely take common sense safety precautions. Before we started, we took an infant CPR course to prepare ourselves for the worst (hopefully we’ll never need it!).  I also have yet to give him anything that is too hard to gum – no raw apples or carrots. Other major choking hazards are things the size of grapes or cherry tomatoes. These can be quartered lengthwise to make them safe, but I’ve just not introduced them yet.

The other important thing is to simply make sure everything is washed down, so he gets water during the meal and then I usually nurse him for a minute or two afterwards to make sure his mouth is free from obstructions.

Gail: Does he get enough nutrition? It seems like he spits everything out!

Lydia: At the moment, all of his nutrition is coming from breastmilk. I nurse him before every meal. This is totally fine for him – he doesn’t really need much else until he’s a year old (the saying is, “food before one is just for fun!”). The biggest concern is his iron intake. Breastmilk does have some iron, but not much. I remedy this by keeping my own iron intake up, and making sure to give him iron rich foods like red meat, broccoli, spinach, and eggs.

Also, it might seem like he spits every single thing out, but I know he must be swallowing at least some things, because they come out the other end!


Gail: Giving him foods willy-nilly seems extreme. Can his system handle strange tastes?

Lydia: Yes! It is important to wait until six months for his digestive system to finish developing, but after that, he can handle anything. Breastmilk adopts strong flavors, so he has actually already been exposed to some things. Just like an adult, there may be things that are too spicy for his taste, but it’s all part of the learning experience (his and mine – I’ve been learning what kinds of things he likes and doesn’t like).

Gail: Will you ever give him pureed foods?

Lydia: Not unless I would eat it pureed, like applesauce or smoothies. We haven’t given those yet, but when we do we will use “pre-loaded spoons” which basically means I will dip the spoon in the applesauce, and them lay it in front of him so he can pick it up and put it in his mouth himself.

Gail: Look at him! He’s totally loving that avocado! Meal time sure is a happy time. I am remembering parents of my preschoolers complaining how they can’t get their kids to eat, or that the table is a battlefield.

Lydia: That’s one of the best parts of Baby-Led Weaning! Obviously there will probably come a day when I need to tell him to eat his dinner, but for the moment he can learn to love food and taste different flavors and textures without any stress or pressure. There are some days when he doesn’t try much, and that is ok!


Gail: Ok, I am convinced you’re on to something! I guess there’s always something new to learn and that the way I did it isn’t necessarily the only or best way to parent. How about if you pass me more of that humble pie?

Watch our video to witness BLW in action:

Lydia's Nest

Deacon: Six Months


My sweet boy is six months old! This is crazy! He is getting bigger every day. I’m so proud of him – I’m both super excited for each new thing he learns, and yet sad that he is leaving certain stages behind. That’s motherhood I guess!

Physical Development

Deacon’s physical development is taking off in leaps and bounds. He still loves to stand with help and dance around, and he is getting strong enough to pull himself up. He’s only done this with our hands, but I know it’s just a matter of time before he discovers he can do it with the furniture. He can sit upright on his own if we set him down like that, but he can’t quite get himself in that position yet. He has figured out how to scootch himself around. He’s really good at going backwards, and just starting to figure out how to move forwards. It’s kind of funny to watch him – his limbs go all over the place. Check out this video to see him doing it 🙂


Social Development

My boy is still as sociable as ever. He loves to babble and have a “conversation” with us. He loves being outside, though he is a little skeptical of grass and dirt (I think he has inherited his dad’s aversion to mess!). I just started taking him to a sensory open play time at our local library, and I’m excited to see how that goes. The first one went ok, but he was a little overwhelmed by all of the other babies and adults.



Deacon has started solids! We did end up sticking it out until six months, and are doing Baby-led Weaning. I’m hoping to do a post soon on what it’s been like, but so far its been great, and it’s fun seeing D figure out foods and textures and tastes. He really likes cucumbers and bananas. It is definitely a little nerve-racking watching him chew on hunks of cucumber, but he is awesome at figuring out how to chew it. I’ve also ordered this kit to learn infant CPR so I can be prepared should anything happen. Cory is also certified. Hopefully we’ll never need these skills, but better safe than sorry!

Baby D is also still breastfeeding. BLW advises continuing baby’s regular milk feeds, since they often don’t get a ton of nutrition from the foods they eat until later on.



Sleep has been sort of on-again, off-again in the last couple months. Deacon is still waking a couple times during the night. I’ve been trying to work with him to help him learn to sooth himself back to sleep, but I haven’t had much success because our schedule has been rather crazy with travel, visiting family, and (of course) the time change. It hasn’t been too bad, but I’d really like for him to start sleeping through the night (read, I’d really like to start sleeping through the night!). Fortunately, he goes down wonderfully well for naps and bedtime.


What’s Next

Now that he is figuring out how to move, we need to babyproof! I’m planning on getting some baby gates and cabinet locks, and doing some reorganizing so there are fewer things in his reach. If you’ve got any advice or experiences to share, I’d love to hear your tips!

I’m also hoping to start doing some fun sensory things with him, like playing with different textures and sounds. Pot banging, here we come 🙂



Lydia's Nest · Refashion

Quick Fix: Too-Tight Blouse

Hey guys!

Can you believe it’s March already? I feel like we barely had a winter!

I’ve been working on a few quick and easy projects that I’m excited to show you. Sometimes its hard to actually sew a big project when you have a wee one in the house, so these easy, hour-long (if that!) projects help me get my sewing fix in.

I’ve had this flannel for a while, and I love it. Its super cute, with the fun trim along the front. The problem is, its too tight for me across the chest – when it is buttoned, I can’t lift my arms and I get a bad “button gap”. The dressform is adjusted to my measurements, to give you an idea:

See how it pulls across the shoulders in the back? Not comfortable!

So I decided that I needed to fix this, by adding a panel of lace to the back. Here’s how:

First I measured how long the shirt was, from the bottom of the collar to the hem. Then, I cut up the center back, leaving the collar intact.

Then, I took an old lace curtain I had laying around, and cut out a triangle with the bottom edge along the finished hem of the curtain, and the other two sides the length of the back measurement I took. (sorry I forgot to take pics of that!). I used the finished hem of the curtain in order to save a step, and because it was pretty, haha. If you don’t use pre-finished fabric, then add 1″ to the length measurement and hem the insert piece before the next step.

Also, you’ll notice that the hem of the lace curves slightly. That’s because the center back is now shorter than the sides of the piece I added (#geometry). This doesn’t bother me, but if you want it to hang straight, you will need to draft a curve into the bottom edge, and then hem it.

Then, I sewed it in, first right sides together and then topstiched so the raw edges would stay under the flannel portion and not show under the lace.

And that was all! Easy peasy, and now I have a cute flannel I can actually button!

Have a wonderful day!

Love, Lydia