Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Christmas morning started with Desmond SLEEPING IN - of all days!  He’s usually a seven-on-the-dot riser, but it didn’t take long to get him downstairs when Davin told him it was Christmas.  Each year gets more fun with him, and his excitement is contagious.  We read the Christmas story, opened gifts, and had a yummy breakfast. 

Later that morning we went to church for a special Christmas service and I sang a solo called “Winter Snow.”  Some of my family joined us for the service which was really nice.  Then everyone came over to our house for a scrumptious clam chowder lunch made from scratch by chef Davin. 

It’s hard to believe this year is coming to a close and a new one is right around the corner.  I enjoyed spending time with both our little family and extended family.  Life is rich because of the people in it.  Merry Christmas!


Cloth Diapers are Easy and Inexpensive... Really!

I am new to cloth diapering and must say, I love it! For any of you considering going this route, I think it's totally worth it. It's easy once you're set up to go and learn the new routine, and it saves so much money. Even getting started with baby number two, we're still going to save a ton of money. And believe me, I've done my research!

Earlier this week I went to Cotton Babies, the best place to buy cloth diapers (and also where you can find the best price on pumps if you need one of those). I love shopping there! The staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They walked me through all the cloth diaper basics and showed me samples since I went in knowing nothing. There are so many more options out there than when my parents were diapering me. You can definitely find something that works for you practically and for your budget. They also don't try to sell you something you don't need. They really are out to help you save money.

Now about the cost: I walked out of Cotton Babies with a full set of diaper covers, inserts, some prefolds and wet bags to last me until Kaylynn is potty trained for a whopping $177 plus tax. I meticulously track all my spending so I know that since Desmond was born three years ago we have spent $1830 on diapers, wipes, and diaper genie refills for both kids. That's with shopping sales, using coupons, and trying all the discount brands. And all these items have gone straight into the garbage. Ouch! I've noticed a drastic increase in cost with having two kids in diapers this year. Since we live on one income I'm constantly analyzing where we can save, and this is one change that can make a huge difference. Also I can sell the cloth diapers once I'm done with them for even more savings! Now if only we had used cloth when my son was born the savings would pay for a family vacation.

This chart shows how much I have spent on Desmond's diapers (hover over graph to view specific amounts) and how much I will spend on Kaylynn's cloth diapers assuming she's in diapers as long as Desmond has been although I anticipate her potty training earlier as most cloth diapered babies do.  Buying the flushable liners for three years is more expensive than the cloth diapers so if you're okay with rinsing the poop off, you can save quite a bit more.  Also you could spend more on diapers if you want a bigger stash so you can go longer in between washings.

When I first mentioned my thoughts about switching to cloth, Davin was less than thrilled. "I'll have to think about it," was all he said. He likes to save money too, but not at the loss of everything convenient and easy with disposables. Truth be told, no, it won't be as simple as folding up the mess and tossing it out, but using cloth doesn't mean you have to live with stinky diaper pails and your hands in the toilet dunking off poop.

I'm impressed with how far cloth diapers have come to make the process really quite easy. I chose to go with the Flip hybrid diaper system (now doesn't that sound fancy?) because it was the perfect balance for me in terms of cost and efficiency. The Flips use an insert that comes in either stay-dry microfiber, organic, or disposable material. I like how the stay-dry inserts keep much of the moisture away from the skin and are less bulky than a traditional prefold. If you have prefolds you can also use them in these covers so they're very versatile. These diapers grow with your baby so you never have to buy a new size. You simply adjust the snaps and you're good to go.  I like how these fit, too.  Disposables tend to gap in the back but these hug nicely.  They are obviously a bit thicker than disposables, but Kaylynn gets around just fine.

I purchased a pretty wet bag that hangs on Kaylynn's bedroom doorknob, and it's been great for holding all the used, ready-to-be-washed diapers. I can even throw the bag in the wash when it's time to do a load. I haven't noticed any smell either, but my husband has a more sensitive sniffer, so I'll have to double check with him on what he thinks. The lady at the store said the key is to have good air circulation and not seal off your soiled diapers.

One thing that makes these cloth diapers a breeze is the biodegradable liners. This is what made Davin give me the green light. I have found I can get away with using half of a liner so that makes them only $0.03 each. Totally worth it to be able to pick it up and flush the poop. No mess, no rinsing, perfect! I've also made my own wipes with baby wash cloths soaked in a bit of water and baby soap. I keep them in a small tub so they're ready to go, and now after I use a wipe I can toss it in the wet bag with the diaper for washing later.

The biggest step for me will be keeping up with laundry to make sure I don't run out of diapers. Since I can reuse the Flip covers multiple times, there's not a lot of bulk to wash so I'll only need to do a small load every two or three days. Maybe this will encourage me to keep up with the rest of the laundry as well. You do need to use soap with no additives or softeners so you don't damage the absorbancy of the diapers, but this is all well worth it.

In a little over four months I spend as much on disposables as I have on my cloth system. I'm looking forward to enjoying pure diaper savings. Hurray for cloth diapers and starting a new year saving money!

Leave me a comment if you are considering cloth and I could help you start your cloth stash.  

I haven’t received any form of compensation for the content of this post, but I am entering this post in a contest. If I win I can choose a person who commented on this post to receive a gift of 12 bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diapers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cloth Diapers: Day 1

Yesterday I went to Cotton Babies with Kaylynn’s Christmas money from her grandparents to buy a full set of cloth diapers.  I went with the Flip “hybrid” diaper system.  It’s a microfiber and suede insert inside an adjustable diaper cover that grows with DSC_0851your baby.  I even found some used Flip covers in excellent condition that saved me even more money.  (Every Tuesday Cotton Babies sells the gently used stuff they’ve bought back from people, so if you need an even better deal, check that out.)  I picked up some $0.75 prefolds (the kind of cloth diapers my mom used to put on me) that can be used in the Flip diaper covers as well.  I added two wet bags to my stash, one for the diaper bag and one for home. 

The flushable diaper liners sold Davin on the whole cloth diaper DSC_0895idea.  They’re $0.06 each and I think I might be able to get away with using half of one in each diaper so that would make them $0.03 each!  I even got to test it already since Kaylynn pooped in her first diaper.  It was super easy to pick up the liner and flush it.  No mess, no washing off the diaper!  So far so good.  The first diaper didn’t leak at all, and I’m so excited to save money. 

It’s hard spending all the money up front, but I picked up 7 covers, 13 stay-dry inserts, 9 prefolds, a snappi, flushable liners, and a large and small wet bag all for $177.03.  This includes a free diaper cover and insert because I spent over $150, and they had a special going.  Hurray!  This supply should last me until she is potty trained.  I spend this much money on disposable diapers for one kid in about four months.

We’re planning to potty train Desmond over the three-day new year’s weekend, so hopefully he’ll be down to just diapers at night soon.  It’s time.  Wish us luck on that one.  Here’s to saving money!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh, Jingle Bells

I was folding laundry yesterday while Kaylynn played on the floor in front of me.  I looked up and had to do a double take to figure out what was in her mouth.  It was a huge jingle bell that I had no idea would fit in there.  It fit so snug I couldn’t even get my finger in there to pull it out, and she had to get it out by pushing with her tongue.  Silly girl!  She looked so ridiculous though I just had to laugh.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kid Browser

Desmond always amazes me as to how much he can grasp. Kids are such sponges and they can do way more that we think they can do. For example we let him go to a few websites that we have deemed safe for him to look at. I am amazed that he picks up how the games work without Melissa or I telling him how to do them. He has gotten really good at using the mouse.

Anyway, occasionally we would let him look at these sites and then later we would find that he minimized the browser and Quicken or something else that we didn't want him messing with was up on the computer. So, I decided to make a web browser specifically tailored to his age so that he can only go to the sites that we say are ok and he cannot click out of them into anything else. Also, I didn't want him to easily be able to minimize the browser or close it. Thus, KidBrowser was born.

I don't claim that it is any great work of programming, and it could probably be more visually appealing, but I am no graphic designer. Anyway, if you have kids and you want to use it yourself feel free to grab a copy and set it up on your machine. I don't claim that it will work perfectly on your machine. I have only tested it on my box, which is a Windows 7 machine. However, if you have issues let me know and I will try and fix it.

I have created a bitbucket project for this browser, so feel free to download the source and make fun of my coding abilities if you want to.  Links and screenshots are below.

Bitbucket Project

Latest Compiled Version

This is what the browser looks like. The left navigation is the web pages that we have deemed are ok for him to look at. You can add as many as you like.  If you add more than will appear in the column you will see scroll arrows appear so that you can scroll the nav.

This is the config module.  You can use this to add sites to the navigation menu. Currently, I suggest using the Gecko browser option as IE seems to have an issue with at least one site I that I know of, Disney Junior.  The configuration module isn't pretty and I will probably work on it a bit more, but I wanted to get something made so that the browser could be easily configured. I think most everything is pretty self explanatory. There are a couple things that I will explain below.

Resolves To:
This is mainly used in conjunction with the "Allow Sub-links" checkbox. Sometimes if you put in a web address it will redirect you to another page. For instance if you put in it might redirect you to If you have allow Sub-links checked and your "Site URL" is set to then you would be able to visit any links that start with, unless specifically blocked in the block section.  However, if the site automatically redirects the home page to something else such as then in order to get all of the pages under and the home page you would need two different entries. That is why implemented the "Resolves To" so that the browser will consider the redirected first page to be apart of the rest of the site.

Allow Sub-links:
This will allow any pages that start with the "Site URL" to be viewed.  Thus is the "Site URL" is, then would be available as well.

Blocked Sites:
Blocked sites take precedent over the Allowed Sites.  By default everything is blocked except what is specifically allowed.  However, if you allow sub links for a certain site there may still be a couple undesirable pages. You can block these pages specifically. Additionally you can block sub pages or any pages that start with a certain URL. Thus, if was allowed with sub-links, you could block the Winnie the Pooh video page by putting in for a blocked url. If you clicked "Block Sub-links" then anything under would also be blocked ... such as

Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Girl’s First Christmas–Then and Now


Here is a picture of my first Christmas, December 1980. Mom kept this little dress so I sewed new elastic in the sleeves and put it on Kaylynn to recreate my Christmas photo from 31 years ago. 

Kaylynn does not like sitting on this little chair!  Of course, the crying came after falling off face first so I can’t blame her for not having anything to do with it after that.  She is two months younger than I was at my first Christmas, so her sitting skills aren’t developed enough for stable chair sitting and she know it. 

I see so many of Davin’s features in the kids especially the mouth and chin, but it’s fun to compare with my photo and see that my features are in there too.  She’s definitely a blend of us both.  Merry Christmas, darling!  You are the best gift from this year.





Friday, December 09, 2011

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

We went to Thornton’s Treeland again this year and found a beautiful Nobel to bring home.  Desmond ran up to the first scrawny little tree he saw and said, “Here’s one!”  We convinced him to keep looking for a tree that could hold more than three ornaments.  He played with a stick and Kaylynn slept while we found our tree.  We then enjoyed the farm including the live animals, a hay ride, hot chocolate, and apple fries.  A fun family day!


The week has been filled with Christmas preparations.  I enjoy telling Desmond about the birth of Jesus and why we have Christmas in the first place.  We’re also counting down the days with the bear advent calendar I made in high school. 

We got our tree up, and of course none of our light strings worked from last year.  We finally decorated the tree after our third trip to the store for lights.  We discovered neither LED or energy saving incandescent lights would do.  They aren’t strong enough to power our talking shuttle crafts or astronaut.  It isn’t right if the tree doesn’t talk when we plug it in, so we had to buy the good ol’ energy sucking cheap lights.  (Not that they use that much electricity.)  I also made a door wreath from the extra tree branches, and Davin indulged me in stringing lights on the rooftop.  Now we’re festive along with many of our neighbors.  It really is quite cheery driving into our cul-de-sac at night. 

A new holiday tradition is Hot Buttered Babies, a winter special drink we discovered at Gustav’s.  Neither Davin nor I are one’s for alcohol, but this… oh, this is pure deliciousness.  We bought our own ingredients to make them at home.  Mmmm, mmmm!  It’s an after-the-kids-are-in-bed treat.

May your Christmas season be merry and bright!