Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life with two kids = cRazInEsS

Having a new baby is very taxing on any new mother.  When you already have a little one at home (for me an 18 month old) it's no exception.  You may have a little experience in the new-mom department, but you're clueless on how to handle them both & keep some sort of sanity let alone a schedule that includes you showering everyday! :)  I have to say that it takes awhile to get into the swing of things.  I had excellent help when our baby boy was born 5 weeks ago, and we're just now getting into a relatively normal groove of things.  I did have an especially difficult delivery (I had a 10 lb, 12 oz baby naturally & he was facing up instead of face down) so I needed the extra help more this time than last time; however, I still think all new moms need this extra assistance!  If you're about to be a new mom - LINE UP HELP when you get home from the hospital.  I think this is the best piece of advice for new mom's.  Even if it's just someone to change the baby's diaper before you nurse in the middle of the night, or get you a nutritional supper or put the dishes in the dishwasher, sweep the floor, throw a load of laundry in - all of those things are amazing help when you have a newborn!

cRazInEsS at our house:
I have a 19 month old daughter along with a 1 month old son.  I wasn't sure how M was going to handle being a big sister but she is amazing!  I am so impressed with how great she is.  She shares her toys, gives him oodles and oodles of kisses and actually listens to our 'rules' pertaining to P pretty well (including that she doesn't touch his face which is really hard for her right now because she loves pointing out people's eyes, nose, etc!) :-)

One day M was digging through our drawers (common occurrence around here!) and found some of her old baby bottles.  She was of course sucking on them, and I said "No those are for babies, you don't use those" and later when I went to check on P, there was the bottle she was sucking on!  She had made the correlation that bottles are for babies and P's a baby so it must be for him! ...so cute!

When he cries, if I don't get to him right away, she'll give him a toy - her favorite book, a car, she's even given him her hairbow before! :-) That's not to say that she doesn't also throw her tantrums though either.  Once in awhile, it will all get to her and I have to remember to stop doing the housework and give her some one on one attention.  Usually she doesn't even need too much time, just a little story read or building a few blocks.

When it comes times to nurse, I've learned that it's easiest to do it while sitting on the couch.  That way M can climb up right next to us, and I can read her a book or interact with her somehow so that she doesn't feel left out.  She also started a habit where if I lay with my legs on the couch, she'll sit between them and put her head on P's back - it's pretty darn cute!

Well I know that's a pretty random message here, but I'm trying to type something up quick while they're both napping, in between my cloth diaper laundry loads (which I'm SOOO glad I chose to do now that I have 2 in diapers especially!) and decorating for Christmas and nursings...just wanted to put a little update up since it's been so long!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers


Washing cloth diapers can be a little intimidating but there are so many different ways to do it that you'll soon figure out what works best for you.

Here's my routine for my LG Wave Force WT5101H top loading HE Washer:

(I just copy and pasted from my sign posted by my washer for those that may be helping me with laundry once baby comes so let me know if you have any questions)

RINSE
1.    Put in all diapers & wet bags (check diaper bag)
*Make sure nothing with desitin, a&d, resinol, etc on it goes in*
2.    Take inserts out of diaper & fasten velcro tabs to laundry tabs on backside of diaper
3.    Add 1 T. of Country Save detergent in tray with a small amount of Rockin Green's Funk Rock
4.    Hit Special button (under screen) until on Rinse & Spin
5.    Start (Play button on right) (takes about 25 minutes)

WASH
1.    When that's done, add Country Save (to line on blue scoop in box) to tray
2.    Turn washer dial to Heavy Duty
3.    Push Wash/Rinse button to Hot/Cold
4.    Push Extra Rinse button TWICE
5.    Start (takes about 1 ½ hours- don’t let them sit in washer overnight!)

 There are many different ways you can wash your diapers but these specific cycles & times I've found to work best for me.  Basically I do a prewash in cold water - just rinse and spin and then a HOT wash with 2 extra rinses (3 rinses total).  

You do want to be sure to include a prewash, hot wash and most often at least 1 extra rinse.  If you have an HE washer, your wash routine tends to vary and get a little trickier since it uses less water and doesn't have the agitator in it.  I however haven't had any issues since I started this wash routine.  Some people say to add a soaked towel in with your diapers to trick your washer into adding more water - I haven't found the need to do this as long as you use either the Heavy Duty or Bulky/Bedding cycle.

DETERGENT
You don't want to use just any detergent when washing your cloth diapers.  As you can see above, I chose to use Country Save detergent - this is basically because it's so cheap that I can use it on all my clothes and not have the confusion or necessity of buying different kinds of soap for different needs.  I bought mine on Amazon a year ago and I got 4, 10 lb boxes (160 HE loads) and still have not run out.  As I said, I use it on ALL our clothes and still have 1 box that's not even open yet so I spent about $60 on all our detergent for the past year and still used cloth diaper safe detergent on our diapers.  (Pretty good deal I think!  I find this site to be an excellent reference on what detergents to use/not use.  Also if you look around it, there's tons of other helpful information there too!  

I started out using Rockin' Green Classic Rock and really liked it until I switched to the HE washer - then it didn't work well.  We also moved at the time though and got really hard water, so I'm sure that was part of the problem.  However, it's much more expensive than Country Save so I'm glad I switched anyway!  I've heard of lots of people using Charlie's Soap, Ecos, and the make your own detergent as well with good results.

Here's a make your own detergent that was shared on my cloth diaper group on Facebook: (I haven't used it so can't give you any helpful hints - sorry!)

Powder detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
I  cut my bar into slices then ran through the blender or food  processor then when it looks smaller than rice I dumped it into a bowl and added the washing soda  and borax and mixed till it was combined really well.
Use 2 tablespoons per full load!

Liquid detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

I hope that at least gives you a little overview of what to expect when it comes to washing. I tried to hit the basics but also give you a few tips along the way for those that might be trying to troubleshoot so hopefully it helps you out. If not, post a comment and I'll see if I be of any assistance!

OTHER TIPS 

You will want to wash about every other day - to cut down on number of diapers you need to buy and also to cut down on smelliness and chance of ammonia issues occuring.

The recommendation is to wash no more than 24 pieces in one load - but I usually wash about 16 pockets (plus 16-25 inserts) in each load and have not had problems - again I'm sure this depends on your washer.

ALSO - BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR DIAPER'S MANUFACTURER'S DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO WASH YOUR SPECIFIC TYPE/BRAND OF DIAPERS. THIS IS WHAT I GENERALLY USE ON MY DIAPERS BUT YOU MAY WANT TO ALTER THE ROUTINE SO THAT IT WORKS PROPERLY FOR YOU. IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW YOUR MANUFACTURER'S DIRECTIONS, THE WARRANTY COULD BE VOID SO BE SURE TO CHECK THAT OUT PLEASE - THIS IS BY NO MEANS A REPLACEMENT ROUTINE.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Personal Cloth Diaper Stash & Reviews

Many of my expectant friends have expressed an interest in cloth diapers and want to know what I use....So here it is!

My go-to diapers:
Mostly my stash consists of BumGenius 4.0 one size pockets. These were recommended to me by my good friend, and I've been pretty happy with them.  They are a little bulkier than the sized diapers because obviously they're one sized so there's a little extra fabric in there when it's snapped down on smaller babies. However I like the one size because it's way easier on your budget - you buy 25 or so of them and your stash is complete. You don't have to buy 25 more when it's time to size up, and then size up again...  You can choose either hook & loop closure (Velcro) or snaps. I have both & love the convenience of the hook and loop but some of M's diapers are showing wear at 16 months, and I am in the process of replacing some of the laundry tabs. Also she's figured out how to take off these dipes and still can't take off the snaps - so if I had to do it over, I guess I'd probably get mostly snaps.  (Although the velcro is easier on grandparents and others that might assist in diaper changes once in awhile)
M's diaper drawer - this is all BumGenius 4.0s or Rumparooz
(RaR's are the bright yellow and purple on the middle left) 

Another of my favorites right now are Grovia's hybrid diaper which is a shell (or cover) with a snap-in insert.  I like these because they are definitely trimmer than the pockets but probably not quite as absorbent. There are different inserts you can get for these - organic cotton or hemp & I have both; however, I definitely prefer the organic cotton. For some reason, the hemp ones seem to be the ones that cause leaks if there ever are any.  These also have the choice of hook and loop or snap closure. I only purchased the snaps because of my issues with the BumGenius (BG), so I can't tell you how the Velcro holds up, but I've heard it's very good!  Also Grovia's have the option of using disposable inserts for those times when you need the added convenience or have to battle diaper rash.  The disposable insert is not as absorbent as a disposable diaper which seems like they can suck in anything, but it's nice knowing that it's made of renewable resources and doesn't have the nasty chemicals of regular disposables...  I use these sometimes when M has a bad diaper rash and I want to use a non-safe cloth diaper cream like Desitin or A&D to treat it.

We also have a few Rumparooz one size pocket diapers that are in regular rotation.  I like these a lot and love the double gusset however they are a little bulkier, so I mostly use them at home instead of haul them around in the diaper bag.  (Note: They are not really that much bigger, but I like to take advantage of every little space in my diaper bag :) )  Also they seem to have a lower rise so I had to size up on the snaps sooner than on the BumGenius however she still fits into them fine at 17 months and 24 pounds so we'll see if she outgrows these sooner or not...I'm not sure why the fit is different!

Other diapers I've tried:

Fuzzibunz one size pocket - I really like the trimness of this diaper - it is less bulky between the legs which is nice however we've had a hard time sizing it right and seem to get leaks.  These not only have a resizable front like the BG's but you can also resize the elastic around the legs and in the back.  I really want to like these but just haven't gotten the hang of it I guess.

GoGreen Diaper - These are also a one size pocket diaper - they have different colored snaps on the front to help get both sides snapped the same.  Inside - the pocket is open in the front and back and they also have double gussets which helps to reduce leaks.  I find them a bit bulky however and don't really care for them.  I'd sell it but my husband likes using it so I just go ahead and use it to - no big complaints really.

Baby Beehind bamboo fitted - M is a very heavy wetter, so I had to try a few different things to get a system that works for me.  I bought one of these and put a wool cover over it as that was a system that was suggested to me by many people.  I thought it worked pretty well, but M seemed to begin waking up during the night needing changing, so I don't think it's quite absorbent enough for her.  Love the diaper though - think she just outwets it!

The Sleepy Sheep wool cover (over Baby Beehind fitted for overnight).  This took me a long time to try as the wool intimidated me for some reason but it was really easy to care for actually and did work pretty well.  I didn't fall in love with it like many seem to but maybe it's just because my daughter is such a heavy wetter.  This brand is from a WAHM in my town so I don't know if other brands would work better or the same but this is what we went with - no longer use it though.

Flip hybrid system: both Organic and Stay Dry inserts.  I bought these to try as well as many people raved about them.  We tried the organic insert for overnight which worked for awhile when she was around 9 months old probably.  It however is SUPER bulky and I felt bad having her wear it all night.  The Stay Dry inserts are not as absorbent as I'd like them to be and usually only get used when we are running low on diapers.  They are very trim however so if you're willing to change more often, they're a great option; however, I definitely prefer the Grovia hybrid system over this one.

All the diapers we own including the cute little newborn diapers we haven't gotten to try yet! :-)
So that is what I've tried and my reviews.  Obviously all of this is just my personal opinion so feel free to take it as you wish.  I do think I'd like to buy a few of the Fuzzibunz sized diapers for this new little one to take along in diaper bags, for pictures, etc where a trimmer diaper would be nice to have but I haven't done this yet.  Also I am going to cloth diaper this baby sooner than I did M.  With M, I started at around 6 weeks when she fit into the BG 4.0s so this time I'm going to start with GMD prefolds and Thirsties covers and probably begin either as soon as we get home or get into the swing of things.  I'll let you know how that goes once I have the experience.  :)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if you have any questions for me.  I can let you know what I've tried or what I've heard others doing or hopefully at least send you to a good resource.  I love to hear what others think of their cloth diaper experiences and am happy to help newbies get started as I love cloth diapering!

I am going to do another post on my wash routine and how I've converted mostly away from the microfiber inserts that come with most one size diapers and why.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cook your corn on the cob without cleaning!

Photo from foodwhirl.com
I found this idea, and I don't think I will ever boil my corn on the cob again!  You put 3 cobs in the microwave for 6 minutes, squeeze it out of the husks and you get a cooked, clean, ready-to-eat piece of corn!  To see full recipe, go here.  How great is that?!?!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Curtain tiebacks

I was trying to find some tiebacks other than either the ropes with tassels or the metal u-hooks that are commonly used today as neither of those styles really fit our house decor. I had purchased some jute ribbon for another project so thought I'd play with it a bit and see what I could come up with.


This is my final result and I think I'm pretty happy with it!  (Sorry the bay window picture isn't the best - hard to get a picture of the whole window because of the layout of the room)

Our bay window in the dining room
Family Room
I made 3 loops of the jute to make it a little more substantial. Mine in my family room are about 9 1/2" halved and on the bay window are closer to 8 1/2-9". Then I took the ends and tied them in a knot so that the ends would lay nice side to side & trimmed each end to about 1". And DONE! Simple as that I had new tiebacks! (after I did it 6 times for all my windows!)
Side window of bay window
Middle windows of bay window
I had to figure out how to hold the tie-back back, so I bought little bronze hooks from WalMart for about $5 for 2 I think, and they work just great!
Hook used to hold tie's back
Do you have any handy ideas you've used as tie backs? Any suggestions on improving mine?

Here are some ideas I found when I was looking on Pinterest:

  • Use an old doorknob to hold the curtains back.  Or you could buy one from here.






    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Happy Independence Day!

    Tomorrow is the 4th of July and weeks ago I started a project to decorate my door.  This is the final outcome:

    Of course I had a little 'Pinspiration.'  Here's where I first got the idea.  And here is a tutorial I found AFTER I had completed mine - so you can use whichever you like I guess! :)

    I used:
    14 inch white styrofoam wreath form
    14 pieces of red felt
    14 pieces of white felt
    10 pieces of blue felt
    lots of straight pins!

    Also need:
    scissors
    pencil/marker - to mark stencil onto felt
    3 inch circle stencil - I used a tupperware lid

    I used a 14 inch white wreath form that is flat on the back.  Stenciled 3 inch circles onto my felt sheets & cut them out.  

    I folded the circles in half and in half again and then pinned them onto the wreath form with straight pins at the corner.  I didn't pay a whole lot of attention or make a certain pattern, I just placed them where I thought they needed to be so that the form wouldn't show through the felt.  (This is where I kind of like the other tutorials idea of cutting them into 2x2 squares - you could just fold the felt sheet up and roughly cut and probably cut down on a lot of time!)


     I also didn't use a certain number of circles or make each section a certain size - I eyeballed it.  But you could probably make a certain pattern if you wanted to ensure that they were all equal.  This is what it looked like partly done.  Make sure when you attached your circles that you vary which direction they go so that you have a fuller looking wreath - it will also cut down on the number of circles you need to fill it up I think.  Also I went to the bottom of the wreath form and left the back blank so that it will sit nice and flat on my door (also why I got the white form with the flat back instead of the green form).

    And with all of my felt squares attached!  I then attached a piece of ribbon to the back to hang it with.  I just attached it to the wreath form with a bunch of straight pins - 4 on each end - and it seems to be holding up so far.  My front door doesn't get a whole lot of use though.

    I thought it needed a little something more so I removed a few of the blue circles and replaced them with white to resemble stars.  These I made more rosette looking to stand out better.  I also think I should have placed one more on the bottom inside of the blue but it hasn't happened yet...I'll try to get to that today.  :)

    Hope you enjoy your Fourth of July!  I always feel a little happier once I see my pretty wreath on my door.  Wonder how long I can leave it up...?   ;)




    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Fathers Day

    Here's the card that M made for her daddy and grandpa's for Father's Day.  I got the idea for the dad one from Pinterest but it didn't have an original source so I'm not sure who came up with the idea.  Then I just adapted that and found a cute Grandpa poem that also incorporated Dad and did the same idea.  They were a hit!


    I must warn you though that you have to print multiple copies of the poems and hope that the handprints turn out well - especially when you're doing it yourself with a one year old like I did!  I had 2 extras for daddy and one extra Grandpa but they turned out pretty decent I thought!

    And here's the gift that M got daddy (I know it's cheesy)  :) Got the idea from here.


    He also got this sweet Star Wars diaper from Baby Boy.

    purchased from courageousinc off etsy

    AND he brought me home flowers - said he wouldn't be a daddy without me....awwwwwwwww.....  ;)


    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Thirsties giveaway!

    Diaper Junction is giving away 2 Thirsties Duo Diapers.  I haven't tried them but have heard great things about them!  Here's the link and information from their blog: http://www.diaperjunction.com/61512-FYSF-2-Thirsties-Duo-Diapers_b_363.html

    Here at Diaper Junction we love Thirsties Cloth Diapers and this week we're giving you a chance to win TWO of their popular Thirsties Duo Diapers!
    Thirsties Duo Diapers, like the Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Covers, are not a one size diaper, but a two-size diaper. Specifically designed to have two generous sizes, the Thirsties Duo Diapers offer the same variability as a one size diaper system, as well as a more comfortable, snugger, leakproof fit for babies on both sides of the size scale;Thirsties will fit a tiny newborn, as well as a much larger, potty training Toddler.

    THE GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

    This week you can enter to win (2) Thirsties Duo Diapers in the size, color/print, and closure of your choice! Your stash will thank you, trust us!
    This Giveaway is open to the USA & Canada only. Winners entries will be verified. Winner has 7 days to claim their prize.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Hair-bow wall hanging

    I was at the Farmers Market a few weeks ago and I saw some cute hair-bow holders. I almost bought one but then decided that I could probably make something similar myself, so I waited until I went to the craft store. I knew I'd always get back to the farmers market so I could always buy it later. Well the other day, we made it out to Hobby Lobby, and I found all my supplies needed-plus I already had some ribbon at home that I could use. Here's my finished product!
    I thought it turned out great! If you'd like one for your little girl, let me know and I'll make one for you too! This style letter also comes in sparkly light blue which I liked but thought it might clash with M's blue walls.  Of course you could also just buy a plain wooden letter, paint/glitter/stencil however you like but I got this letter 50% off so it was a lot cheaper to just buy this then all the supplies for that!

    Now I'm excited to get back to the Farmers Market so I can see how mine compares. I didn't take any pictures or anything of theirs, so we'll see if I end up liking mine or theirs better. :)

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Cloth Diaper Safe Diaper Rash Creams

    There is always a question as to what diaper rash creams are safe with cloth diapers so here is a great link I found that all cd'ers should have on hand.  It's from Pinstripes and Polkadots which is a great online cloth diaper resource!

    I use CJ's BUTTer and have had pretty good success.  I think it's best used for preventing rash rather than curing it once your little one (lo) gets a bad rash but of course it's better than nothing!  I also use coconut oil which works really well - you can usually find this in the organic section of your grocery store.

    I think I might buy some of this to try too - Angel Baby Bottom Balm - sounds pretty good!

    And don't forget - even if you don't use cloth diapers, you could still use these creams as they are a more natural product to put on your little one's tushy.  =)

    Why can't you use any old diaper cream with cloth diapers?  Diaper creams like Desitin or A+D will cause repelling issues with your diapers because of the ingredients in them.  They are made to create a thick barrier on baby's bottom which then transfers to your diapers and causes repelling.  If this happens, you have to 'strip' your diapers which isn't the most fun process in the world...although not terrible if it does!  My mom actually just got some Resinol on one of my diapers and it's currently soaking in hot water and blue dawn to 'strip' it out.

    If you feel that you do need to use a cream like A+D or Desitin, you can use a liner in your diaper so that the cream doesn't get on your diaper.  Just be sure that you wash the liner separate from your diapers and don't throw it in the wet bag with them either because the cream could transfer during washing.  Also be sure not to wash cloth wipes that you use to wipe the cream off with your diapers either.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Cocodot.com

    I heard of this site that lets you send free e-cards, invitations, etc.  It's http://Cocodot.com.  I haven't tried it yet but wanted to share (and post it so I had it handy next time I need it!)  It says they are all ad free also so check it out!

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Herb Garden

    I'm finally getting my herb garden planted but of course my personal one wasn't the first I planted.  For Mother's Day, I decided to make my mother-in-law an herb garden.  Then once I got back home from that weekend, I was able to go out and buy the supplies I needed for my garden as well.

    This is the final product/gift for my mother in law:

    I tried to find a neat galvanized tub like this pin I saw on Pinterest. 
    But I went to Home Depot, Menards, Wal-Mart, called Lowe's & the local nursery Campbells and nobody had one.  Went to Tractor Supply Store and a lady was walking out with the last one as my husband walked in...of course!!  
    So...since I hadn't thought too far ahead of time and needed to plant this that day, I found this planter that I thought would still look really nice.  
    I started by putting just a little bit of gravel in the bottom to help with drainage and so the soil wouldn't wash out - as you can see my little 'helper' was right there throwing in the big rocks from my flower bed as I was trying to work.  :)

      
    Then I mixed Miracle Grow's Moisture Control soil with some potting soil and added it to the level I thought it should be.

    Roughly placed the plants where I thought they would end up and added soil as needed.  
    For mine I also added some of this plant starter to my watering can and watered them with it once they were planted.

     Here's my finished herb garden that now graces my back patio table. :)  Smells soooo good!

    I decided to plant basil, parsley, mint & rosemary for my mother-in-law and for myself I also added cilantro and oregano.  I've never grown cilantro so hopefully I'll do okay and it will thrive because I LOVE making guacamole and it'd be great to use my own! :)  (I'll post my guacamole recipe later)

    For my mother-in-law's I used the plant marker idea from this post on Pinterest.  (Can you tell I love Pinterest?!?)  :-)

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Double Strollers

    I've been researching double strollers lately - still haven't made up my mind yet - and there are sooo many options out there!  I know a few of my friends are looking for these too, so I thought I'd put on here what I've found and you can see how your needs compare to mine and which one will work best for you!  My daughter will be 18 months when new baby arrives so we need something that will accommodate both of them very well.

    Needs:
    2 reclining seats - I'm sure both of my lo's will be wanting to take naps at some point.  They don't have to completely recline but at least some sort of recline
    Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - already have this carseat from baby #1 so going to reuse & being due in October it could be pretty chilly here in Nebraska so I will probably leave baby in the carseat if I'm out and about
    Tandem style - fits through doorways better, I'm just use to it because it's what my brother & sister-in-law had, the side-by-side feels uncomfortable & awkward to push to me
    Cup holders/child tray - Need a place to put lo's snacks
    Adjustable parent handlebars - my husband and I are both tall so we need to be able to put the bars up so it's comfortable for us but it would also be nice for the shorter grandma's to be able to push it comfortably too

    Nice to have:
    Parent tray with cup holders
    Bigger basket underneath
    Lightweight
    Not super long - I don't want to be pushing around a bus

    Here's a few I've been debating about and how they stack up.  



    Needs:
    2 reclining seats - full recline in rear
    Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - yes
    Tandem style - yes
    Cup holders/child tray - cup holders in front only or arm bar
    Adjustable parent handlebars - yes

    Nice to have:
    Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
    Bigger basket underneath: yes but hard to access with backseat reclined or infant seat clicked in
    Lightweight: 34 lbs
    Not super long: 47.25" x 23.5" x 45.5"

    Other to consider:
    Seat weight limits: up to 40 lbs each seat
    Double leg rests:  yes-adjustable

    NOTES: Might have to remove front canopy to fit in smaller vehicles.  I tried this in the store and it seemed really long but that was compared to the Graco Ready to Grow stroller which is smaller (rear seat always faces backwards in that stroller)  I love my Chicco Cortina single stroller - it rolls much better than any Graco I've ever used and I'm sad to give it up, so I'm hoping to love this one but, at the beginning of my research, it seems long...
    __________________________________________________________
    Graco Quattro Tour Duo  $230 at Babies R Us

    Needs:
    2 reclining seats - Yes, rear fully reclines
    Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - NO
    Tandem style - yes
    Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
    Adjustable parent handlebars - I don't believe so - says multiple hand positions...

    Nice to have:
    Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
    Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
    Lightweight: 46.4 lbs
    Not super long: 40 x 22.3 x 44

    Other to consider:
    Seat weight limits: front: 50 lbs, rear: 40 lbs
    Double leg rests:  yes

    NOTES: Says 20% smaller when folded as compared to Graco DuoGlider Stroller.  Listed as Best Tandem Style Double Stroller on consumersearch.com.
    __________________________________________________________


    Baby Trend Sit N Stand Double  $190 at Babies R Us

    Needs:
    2 reclining seats - Yes, rear seat removes to become sit n stand for older child
    Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - NO
    Tandem style - yes
    Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
    Adjustable parent handlebars - NO

    Nice to have:
    Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
    Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
    Lightweight: 32.5 lbs
    Not super long: 43.0 " H x 21.5 " W x 49.0 " D, collapsed: 43.5 " H x 17.0 " D

    Other to consider:
    Seat weight limits: front: 40 lbs, jumpseat: 2 1/2 to 40 lbs
    Double leg rests:  yes

    NOTES: Foot activated brake.  I like that this has the sit n stand feature for later on when your toddler wants to get out and about and be more independent.  
    __________________________________________________________
    Jeep Traveler Tandem  $210 at Babies R Us

    Needs:
    2 reclining seats - Yes - front can't recline with infant seat in back
    Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - Yes
    Tandem style - yes
    Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
    Adjustable parent handlebars - Yes - 3 height positions

    Nice to have:
    Parent tray with cup holders: Just 1 cupholder - no tray
    Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
    Lightweight: 43.6 lbs
    Not super long: 34.5 x 20.2 x 13.2

    Other to consider:
    Seat weight limits: both up to 40 lbs
    Double leg rests:  yes - not adjustable

    NOTES: Bright color is only color option.


    Hopefully that helps you a little on what you might want to consider.  Here is a link to the Consumer Reports stroller buying guide for tips on what to look for when purchasing.  

    Let me know what stroller you like or if you have a recommendation for me on one that isn't listed!  I'm still looking because nothing has fit the bill perfectly yet...  :)


    I went to Babies R Us the other day and saw the Chicco and Sit-N-Stand in the store.


    I thought the Chicco was a little bulkier than the Sit-N-Stand but it was probably a smoother ride for walks and such but the Sit-N-Stand seemed to maneuver a little better in the store (mostly since it was a little smaller I think)  


    Here you can see how they compare side by side:

    Sit-N-Stand on left, Chicco on right

    Chicco on left, Sit-N-Stand on right

    Chicco side
    Shows bars in front of seats.  As you can see the front has 2 cups & the back only has a bar.  Apparently the child in the back doesn't get hungry or thirsty?!?!  BUT I know there are attachments you can buy that could probably solve the no snack tray issue - just not sure exactly what!




    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Making hemp/bamboo diaper inserts

    I finally got a couple of my diaper inserts made!  I only ordered the fabric MONTHS ago!  My little one (lo) is currently 1 year old and a very heavy wetter, so I'm trying to get away from the microfiber inserts and go to natural materials which hold more liquid and aren't as bulky.  I thought that I'm handy enough to make them myself (albeit they may not be pretty!) so my friend and I got some cheap fabric, and I thought I'd give it a try.  I don't have a serger otherwise these would be way prettier!  But they go inside a diaper anyway and on my baby's butt so what does it really matter what they end up looking like, right?  

    First I decided that I like using the Hemp Babies insert that I currently have so I thought I'd use it as a pattern.  It's a good size that I can fold it in half to stuff it in and it's nice because that would make 4 layers and it would still dry as fast as if it were 2.  

    I started out by laying the Hemp Babies insert on top of my hemp material, and I just cut around it roughly.

    Once I got that cut out, I pinned the hemp fabric to my bamboo fabric that I'm using as the 2nd layer.  I've never used bamboo but it is a softer fabric than hemp, so I decided to put it on one side in case I ever decided to use it as an insert in a cover sometime because then it would be softer against her bum.  It's also still supposed to be as absorbent as hemp so hopefully this works out for me!  You could also do two layers of hemp though or two layer of bamboo or whatever you feel will suit your needs!  Hemp is also soft and would be perfectly fine against baby's skin but the bamboo is just softer, so why not?!?

    Here you can see the softer bamboo on the outside (whiter fabric) and then hemp on the other side. These are the sides off the fabric I decided to keep facing outwards because: 
    for the bamboo: it was smoother than the other side so I thought it would get cleaner and help decrease on pilling &
    for the hemp: because that's the side that was outward in the hemp inserts that I purchased so I took my hint from the pros. :)

    I cut my bamboo layer out around my already cut hemp layer - like I said I did not do this in a technical manner.  I laid the fabric down and cut around it.  It is not perfectly square but I think it will work (and it was a lot faster than measuring everything out perfectly!)  I then pinned all the way around because that's what I have to do. :)

    Then I took my machine and did a zigzag stitch all the way around to fasten the two layers together.  Again - NOT perfect in any way but it will work....and voila you're done!

    My first finished hemp/bamboo insert.  I discovered that I needed to adjust my tension after the fact - you can see that it sort of curls on the sides, but hopefully I'll get better as I go.  

    My two finished inserts!  The bottom one is bamboo side up and the back one is hemp side up.  I started out making 2 because I want to try them out before I use up all my fabric in case they don't work quite as well as planned.  I think I am going to make a few that are 3 layers and also a few that are just 1 layer to add in as a doubler.  That way, when baby #2 arrives, it doesn't have to use the 3 layers & extra bulk if it doesn't need it.

    SO....try it yourself!  Order some fabric and try it out - as you can see, mine are nowhere close to perfect but they'll work to stuff in a diaper.  And think of the money you'll save!  I'll update this when I use up all my fabric and let you know how many inserts I made and what the comparable price would have been if I had purchased them all pre made.  But with the small Hemp Babies at $6 a piece, I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out ahead!  :)

    Let me know if you have any tips or tricks on how I can make mine better or what works best for you.  

    I had one momma tell me that she made hers in a long skinny insert that she folds up twice instead of in half  - the way she bought her fabric was in a tube so she didn't even have to sew the ends of it!  That way she ends up with 6 layers of absorbency for her lo's.  That sounds pretty slick too! :)