Friday, December 5, 2008

Everything you ever wanted to know about wool diaper covers and soakers...

Ok, at least everything I can think of. I am not going to write a huge amount of information because there is so much out there, but I am going to add my input and tons of links for everyone. Hope you learn something new.

The first reason to buy wool is because they are just so darn cute! See the pictures of Kenton above?

One thing to add is my all time favorite website for wool and organic clothing Cambridge Baby- UK. You simply must shop there to see the prices. Use a currency converter to figure out the cost in US dollars and don't worry about shipping- it's cheap and your items arrive in less than a week. View it here.

Also my favorite Etsy knitter: Amy from True 2 Ewe.

First things first. Let's talk about why you would chose wool? It can hold up to 40% of extra fluid without feeling wet, it's natural and non-flammable, it rarely needs washing without smelling bad, it keeps your baby warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and it is the most breathable for babies bottoms of all the different fabrics.

Here are some good links explaining why to choose wool:
~eBay Guides - Wool Cloth Diaper Covers The Comprehensive Guide
~why wool's cool
~diaper pin-why use wool
~firefly- why choose wool
~Why Wool Diaper Covers? - Attachment Parenting
~ Real Diaper News Why Wool's Cool" by Heather Sanders
~danish woolen products- why wool
~Why Use Wool Diaper Covers?
~Why Wool? | Sunshine Diapers
~How to Use Wool Diaper Covers |

All right, now that you know how wonderful wool is you probably want to know what products are out there, which brands are offered and what's different about them. This is my quick version of the different styles. Each site goes into more depth about their style of cover.

~Felted wool covers are made from wool that has been pre-treated and felted. They are thinner than knitted ones and most can even be machine washed. Check with your brand before machine washing though. They usually come in a wrap style that has a snap or velcro closure.

~ Knitted wool covers come in three basic styles with all sorts of interpretations in between.
1. Wool soakers for day and night. Some are single layer and some are at least double layer for night time.
2. Wool "shorties" which are a more like a pull-on wool diaper cover. They can be lanolinized to use a diaper cover or used as a decorative cover over a regular cover.
3. Wool "longies" are a pull-on wool pant. They can be lanolinized for use over a diaper/cover or used as pajama bottoms.
4. Variations of shorties are board shorts and variations of longies are skirties which is like a skirt over a pant but all-in-one, capri pants, and ruffle pants.

Here are some of the brands out there. Remember the websites are endless so I am just listing the ones that I am the most familiar with:
~Better for babies- Little Beetle
~Tiny Birds Organic Wool Diaper Covers
~Green Mountain Diapers: Wool Diaper Covers, Wool Diaper Wraps
~Thanks Mama wool covers wool diaper cover: Apparel
~Vermont Diaper Company - wool covers
~kelly's closet wool covers
~Fuzbaby wool covers
~Babyworks: Product: 'Nikky Wool Diaper Cover'

There are so many more out there- too many to list. Just Google or Yahoo for "wool diaper covers" for more. There are two more sites to recommend which has multiple listings for WAHM made products. They are some great deals here and beautiful workmanship:
~Etsy :: Search Results
~Hyena Cart :: Search

Here are some sites that highlight the big names in knitting covers which are made by machine:
~Aristocrats Diaper Cover
~Disana wool

How to wash and care for wool? You can hand wash or use the gentle cycle on your washing machine. First I will list sites that teach you all about caring for wool, then I will list products for caring for wool:
~natural family online- wool care
~Cotton Babies how to lanolinize
~How To Care for Wool - Cut of Cloth
~ehow to wash wool covers
~GMD video on how to wash and lanolinize
~info_on_sudzndudz.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Products for caring for wool:
~Eucalan | clean clothes , clean planet
~Imse Vimse USA: Laundry Accessories - Wool Care liquid lanolin
~Northern Essence wool products
~Sonett wool wash
~Sudz 'n Dudz

Want to make your own wool covers? Here are some free patterns:
~ottobre diaper cover pattern
~soaker pattern

Some wool review sites:
~Wool Cover Reviews
~Diaper Pin - Cloth Diaper Reviews - List
~Safe mama wool reviews

Some WAHM made covers that I really like:
~Adorabubble Knits Online Shop
~green way wool covers
~Llamajamas, Llamajama wool diaper covers longies soakers

Here are some really neat wool products worth mentioning for baby:

~Ruscovilla wool
~recycle wraps
~MamaPoncho - Birdie's Room
~Baby Carrier Blanket

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I am not going to update all of these links unless you drop me a comment that something is wrong or missing. Thanks and enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thrift Store Deals..

Every once in a while I like to post about great deals that I find at thrift stores. Personally I think they have even better deals than shopping resale stores, but it takes more patience. One thing to remember is that you are probably not going to walk into a thrift store and pick everything that you need right off the rack that day like Target. Instead you have to focus on buying things that you need as you come across them and I even buy ahead for the next size up. I only buy things that are in great condition, never things that are stained, badly pilled or ripped. If you get home and find a small stain that you didn't see, it's OK because you didn't pay that much for it.

Today was black Friday and I only hit one retail store and the rest was thrift stores. Some of the stores had 25% off or buy one get one free type of sales. Right now we have to buy clothes for 5 children, soon to be 6. I don't have room in the budget to buy everything new, and besides, why would you when you can get so much nice stuff for so little? Plus it's very eco-friendly to "recycle" clothing buy using it again. Americans waste so much including clothing so don't think that it's all pilled and faded junk like it was years ago. You would be surprised how many items still have tags on them.

Everything that I purchased today came to $16.00 at one store and $22.00 at the second store for a total of $38.00 for five skirts, three pairs of pants, three boys shirts, one jogging suit and 7 girls shirts.

Shown here is two girl shirts, two boy shirts and one dress pants. The plaid shirt is Izod, the dress pants are Old Navy, the pink shirt is Kohl's brand and blue one is Old Navy.

Same clothes as above except showing a purple skirt and jeans from The Limited Too.

Same clothes as above except showing a pink Arizona brand suit for Savanna.

My children (at least for now) don't care about what brand something is, they only care about how it looks and the girls like "girly" clothes. I am highlighting brand names because I know that it's an issue for a lot of people. Notice above the shirts are from Candies (Kohl's), Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy, The Children's Place and The Limited Too....

These four skirts are Gasoline, The Children's Place, Old Navy and Talbot's Kids...

Overview of some of the clothes.

Olivia's favorite is the jean skirt with the colored buttons and this pink shirt with lace.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pep talk for SAHM's .....

Here is part of a post with some wonderful wisdom:

If I identify myself as the culture does, as a “stay at home Mom”, one who has no intellectual contribution, gross-national product contribution or status symbol contribution, I become just that: a woman who sees herself as one who has grunted and groaned out another human being and now stays behind her four walls, in self-imposed seclusion. Not much of a vision there---it actually sounds strangely psychotic.

If I deem myself as a woman employed by the Creator of everything ever created, as on work assignment in a sacred domain for the sculpting of souls that will exist forever and forever without end, I have a burning passion of purpose. And a paycheck that is said to be beyond what eye or ear can even comprehend!

I thought this was a great boost for me as sometimes the work load gets overwhelming and, well boring. If you want to read the whole article go here:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New blog

Make sure you check out my new blog just for Olivia dealing with her health and our search for a cure here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 2008 News and pictures...

Logan versus the brownie...

First day of school and everyone wants to be in the picture.

First day of school 2008

Isaac's first day of second grade.

Olivia's first day of kindergarten.

After playing in the garden, Logan decides he can't wait to get into the bathtub.

How many shots does it take to get one where everyone is looking ahead and smiling? Here's a sample of what it takes to get one good shot. We are getting ready to go to a birthday party.

Who's the biggest HAM in our family? Well it's a tie between Logan and Savanna.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ways to nourish your family on a budget....

Since becoming a stay at home mom I have had to really tighten the budget. I would like to share some of the ways that I keep my grocery bill from getting out of hand. We have five children with one due in February of 2009 so it's not cheap to feed all the hungry troops.

Before beginning I just wanted to remind you that even though the prices of our groceries and gas are soaring right now, those of us who are lucky enough to live in the US should remember that the majority of the world pays a lot higher percentage of their income in order to feed their families. This link here shows you families and what they eat for a month, plus what it costs them to buy it.

I'm just going to list a few things that we do to keep costs down, because you can pick up any magazine and get the same money saving tips over and over. I'm going to list some great money saving links at the bottom.

1. Cooking from scratch is the single most thing that I do to cut costs. Besides the money saving aspects of it, my husband has heart trouble and one of our children is on a lot of meds due to epilepsy and cooking from scratch let's you eliminate all of the unnecessary chemicals and salt.

2. I use more of the "pantry principle" that the book "Tightwad Gazzette" suggests. If you don't own that book already it's the best investment you can make to be frugal- or get it from the library for free. In the book she talks about stocking your pantry with the items you use all the time and stocking it with the weekly sales in bulk. Rather than planning week to week solely based on what is on sale, you shop to get the cheapest prices and stock your pantry. I still try to plan a weekly menu because it keeps me on track, but it's loosely planned as things change.

3. Instead of paying for the Grocery Game or (in West MI) the Savings Angel, take advantage of all the websites out there that do the work for you for free, I'll list some later.

4.We plant a garden and I can and freeze as much as possible.

5. We buy 1/2 of a cow and 1/2 of a pig which not only tastes better, but is cheaper by the pound. You can buy what you can afford and split it.

6. A lot of the time I stick to Aldi's or Save A Lot and simply cook from what they carry- just stay away from the junk food. The selection is limited, but you can't beat the prices on their staples.

Here is a free PDF cookbook from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension which is called "Saving Money With Homemade Convenience Mixes.

This website shows you videos with step by step canning instructions plus a wealth of other info about canning.

Here is a link from the Hillbilly Housewife where she explains about the Angel Food Ministries and she even includes monthly menus based on what foods are available. You do not have to meet income guidelines to use this service.

This link from Budget 101 has a whole list of mixes to make from scratch.

Here are some of my favorite blogs and websites, some are for money saving and some are for homemaking or recipes:

Money Saving Mom

A Full Cup

Mommy Snacks

Moms Budget

The Nourishing Gourmet

Keeper Of The Home

Tammy's Recipes

Glimpse of Sonshine

The Centsible Sawyer

Heavenly Homemakers

Life as Mom

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blogging update

Sorry that I haven't been blogging lately. I have had back problems with this pregnancy and now they suspect I may have a slipped disc which is causing sciatic pain down my right leg. I have been flat on my back for a week now. I am starting to get some relief from the chiropractor and physical therapy, but I cannot stand to be in a sitting position yet. It's going to be a long recovery.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Remember these: Monster Cookies??

Monster Cookies

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda

4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic

During the summer break I like to give my kids a special treat. I have made some suggestions at the bottom for healthy substitutions, but to me a it's a once in a while treat. I remember making these with my mom as a child and we got to stir it with our hands just like my kids do. Hopefully they will have good memories of making them too.

Two of my "Cookie helpers"

Cookie Batter

Healthy Substitutions:
~Whole wheat flour instead of white flour
~Organic cane sugar (rapadura) in place of white sugar
~Sunspire Drops in place of M & M's
~Dried fruit or more raisins in place of some of the chips
~Carob chips in place of chocolate chips
~If you want a cookie that is not so dense, cut down on the oatmeal and add more flour in place.

Be sure to check out more great kitchen tips at Tammy's Recipes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Savanna's 3rd Birthday.

Savanna and her coconut cream cake.

Savanna wearing her Hawaiian dress.

Savanna's coconut cake with some of the decorations.

Savanna turned three today. We had a really nice party for her. We decided to do a Hawaiian theme. We had chicken and beef kabobs with rice pilaf. Fresh fruit salad with fruit dip. I also made homemade meatballs called "Waikiki meatballs". They were a hit. The sauce for them has pineapple tidbits and green pepper in it and it tastes similar to a teriyaki sauce. I made a homemade coconut cream cake for her that was really moist. We spent a little bit more on this party to get all of the fruit, but the biggest thing was how LONG it takes to assemble that many kabobs. Everything was really nice and most of the decorations came from the dollar store.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gentle hand scrub & pregnancy home remedies....

I love to use items that I already have on hand in my kitchen, plus they cost pennies to make.
I have made the salt type hand scrubs and sugar ones which are nice, but too rough for my hands. I have nurse's hands and mommy hands ie: always being washed or in water and they made my hands too dry. Try this one and if you don't like it you're only out about 5 cents.

Cornmeal Hand Scrub

1/4 cup cornmeal
3 Tbs. milk
1 drop almond oil or almond extract
* I thought this was a little bland smelling so I add a few drops of essential oils
depending on my mood- lavender at night and grapefruit for a pick-me-up*

~In a small saucepan, mix the cornmeal with the milk. Heat the mixture over a low flame on the stovetop until it forms a paste. Remove from heat and stir in almond oil or extra oils. Allow to cool.
~Spread mixture on hands and allow it to sit for up to 10 minutes. Gently scrub your hands then rinse off with warm water.

As you can probably tell by my new ticker on the right- I'm newly pregnant with pregnancy number 3 and child number six. I am too tired still to get pictures up right now, and please excuse all of grammar. Since pregnancy dominates my thoughts right now, thought I would post a few good pregnancy remedies. These are all safe, but use your own judgement please- only you know if you are high risk or not. I would strongly advise you not to use too much during the first trimester. The less chemicals the better, right?!

Soothing Footbath

1 Tbs. Sea Salt (or Kosher salt )
2 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop rosemary essential oil
1 to 3 drops of peppermint essential oil

~Dissolve salt in a basin of warm water and add essential oils. Mix them well . Soak your feet and enjoy.

Momma's Peppermint Foot Lotion

1 Tbs. almond oil
1 tsp. avocado oil
1 tsp. wheat germ oil
10 drops of peppermint essential oil

~Put all of the ingredients in a small, sterilized glass bottle with a tight-fitting stopper. Shake well to combine. Store in a cool dark place. Shake well before each use. Massage into tired legs, especially after a soak.
*Some people cannot tolerate peppermint oil. It will sometimes feel a little tingly. If you're worried about it; do a small patch test on your forearm or cut the amount of oil in half to start.

Ginger Morning Sickness Tea
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

~In a large cup, pour the boiling water over the ginger. Steep 10 minutes, strain into another container and refrigerate. Drink in the morning when you wake. You can drink cold or reheat. I have another tea recipe here.

Hemorrhoid Pads

1 ounce witch hazel
5 drops cypress essential oil
3 drops geranium essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
2 Tbs. aloe vera gel
Cotton cosmetic pads

~In an open-mouthed jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all of the ingredients. Saturate several pads in the liquid and place in the refrigerator. Use a pad on the affected area as needed. Especially great for the first few days post-partum. Will keep for about a week.

For more great tips and recipes head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is this the kind of CHANGE that America wants??

I don't usually get too political on my blog, but when it comes to LIFE I have to stand up. Do you think that Senator O'Bama is the change that America needs? Not if you don't believe in infanticide and murder! Read this post: here and here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

PJ Alert...

Anyone who has little ones who need fall or light winter pajamas should check this out. Tonight I was browsing through Meijers and saw some pj's on clearance. I took a look at all the sizes, thought it was a good deal and bought three packages for each of my four older children. When I went through the check-out they rang up half the clearance price; so I went back and got one more package for each child. That's eight pairs of pj's for each kid because there are 2 per package. Here is the breakdown:

~original price was $12.99 for each pack of 2 pj's
~clearance price was $6.49 on each pack
~they rang up for $3.24 each.
~so I got 32 sets of pajamas for $51.84 plus tax of 6%= $54.95
that makes each pj cost $1.72 each with tax

The reason that I'm passing it on is that these were not just a few pj's on an end cap; they had TONS of them left. It was a whole wall of pj's so plenty left for everyone. One more thing, these jammies are like the two piece thermal underwear (long johns) style.

Close-up of tag. Sorry it's blurry- my camera has been acting up.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Old Fashioned Frugality

1942 War Ration Book

Last week on Tammy's website she posted about her frustration with keeping her grocery budget low. A lot of people are struggling with the sub-prime lender problems, unemployment (I live in Michigan which has the highest unemployment rate in the country right now), rising gas costs and higher grocery bills. I had a conversation with my grandma who is my biggest mentor about how hard it is right now. She always has a gentle way of reminding me that things have been worse and that they will get better again. My grandma told me the story of growing up during the Great Depression and marrying in 1942 during the height of the war. She told me how tight her grocery budget was and some ideas of what her and my grandpa ate. It seemed to be a lot of humble and cheap meals, but they were homemade and she always found a way to save her rations for a special treat. I have a large cook book collection and my favorite ones are the really old ones. I also came across this war ration book at a garage sale. I do not know the person who originally owned them. I also have a few old fashioned "saving stamp" booklets. I remember my mom using S & H Green stamps growing up. The biggest lesson about them is delayed gratification. You had to SAVE UP your stamps to earn items that you wanted. You didn't just go and charge them. So my real "tip" for this week is to remind everyone that we all have different reasons for the things that we buy based on what is important to us; ie: allergies, food preferences, number of family members etc.. Just do your best and cook from scratch as much as possible. I have also included two frugal recipes. Even though my grocery budget is pretty tight, I'm grateful that I can go to the store and purchase anything that I like without restrictions. For more great tips check out Tammy's Recipes.

Inside the ration book- notice how they had dated each line to split it up through the month.

Back cover of ration book.

Ration book and stamp saving books.

Front cover of a war ration cookbook from 1941. I imagine it was given out for free or with a purchase of Swans Down flour or Calumet Baking powder.

Grandma DeKraker's Eggless Chocolate Cake

2 squares Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening (during wartime they often used lard)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine chocolate and milk in top of double boiler and cook over rapidly boiling water for 5 minutes, stirring occcasionally. Blend with rotary egg beater; cool.
Sift flour once, measure, add soda, salt and sugar, sift three more times. Cream shortening; add flour, vanilla, and chocolate mixture and stir until all flour is dampened. Then beat vigorously for one minute. Bake in two greased and lightly floured 8-inch layer pans for twenty minutes or until done.
My grandma states that she usually sprinkled the top with powdered sugar to make it pretty.

No-Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together. Mixture will be thick. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 300 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cookies stand briefly before removing to cooling rack. Yields 2 dozen.

Here is the cookbook open. Notice there is an eggless chocolate cake recipe there and other ones that have been modified to reduce rationed items.That recipe uses "soured milk" in it. My grandma states that chocolate cake recipes were the most popular because everyone still had birthdays and celebrations.