Friday, July 30, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - Inspired by Soulemama. In her words: A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you want to participate head over to her blog and enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Busy

Sorry for the blog silence, but the last couple weeks have been busy and blogging has taken a back burner. Here are a few pictures of the things that have been keeping us busy. Enjoy!





Friday, July 23, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - Inspired by Soulemama. In her words: A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you want to participate head over to her blog and enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Easy Fresh Salsa

When it comes to tomatoes "our cup runith over" of late. I love tomatoes as much as the next person, but we have been getting two baskets of tomatoes from our CSA for more weeks than I can remember now. These are great sauted with squash and some onion and served over pasta. I love them eaten fresh both in salad and on their own. However, there is a limit to everything. If I had more I would can them, but we never get enough at one time to fire up the canning pot. Then I saw the post on Food in Jars about making homemade salsa. We had a big bag of chips to go with our summer favorite of tomatillo salsa so this pico de gallo is perfect, or would be if I had all the ingredients. Since necessity is the mother of invention I fit the recipe to work with what I had on hand. Here's what worked for me:

I used:
1 pint of tomatoes (this is how our CSA tomatoes come, just visualize how many would fit in a pint basket)
1/2 a small onion
1 small handful of cilantro (in a real pinch fresh parsley could be used)
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice
Chop up each ingredient and put it into a wide mouth quart jar. Once everything is in there put on the lid and shake it to mix everything together. Let it stand in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to meld (or as long as you can stand if a few hours are out of the question). Enjoy!
A few notes. You may have noticed that I didn't add any sort of chilies. I like my pico de gallo to be really mild, if you don't you might want to finely chop a chili like a serrano or a jalapeno and add it depending on what you like. This is especially important if you use parsley either because that is what you have on hand or because you are one of the unfortunate souls for whom cilantro tastes like metalic soap. Also, I used lemon juice because that's what I had, if you have it lime juice would work better. Finally, I didn't add garlic because we'd just run out. If you have garlic you might want to add that too.

Try making this salsa, it is a quick, easy and tasty way to use up some off those overly abundant summer tomatoes. The best part is that as long as you don't go crazy with the chips it is pretty healthy too since it has no fat and is just fresh veggies. It is also cheap because it uses foods that are frequently in season at the same time and is a great alternative to store bought salsa.

This recipe is linked to Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet. Head over there to check out other great recipes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Felted Balls

I just realized that I haven't been talking much about where I find specific projects, just how neat they are to do so I wanted to start talking specifics. If my post on Monday inspired you to make toys, but you don't know where to start these balls are a good place. (Thanks to Micha for the idea.) They don't need much in the way of specialized equipment and you don't even need to know how to thread a needle which means children can help. They are great toys for babies, children, cats and dogs (as long as none of them have destructive tendencies). You can make them any color or combination of colors you choose and you can make them any size. These ones are just the right size for little hands to pick up and squish and the basic ball can be made in about 30 minutes, though it will take a couple of days to dry when you are done. I want to make these in every color of the rainbow.
What you need:
dish soap
hot water
sink or large bowl
1/2 oz. - 1 oz. wool roving

Put 1-2 tsp. of dish soap in the sink and put about 4-5 " of the hottest water your hands can stand. While the sink is filling take your wool and form it into a ball (roving can be easily rolled up like a yarn ball) about 130%-150% the size you want the finished ball to be. Once the sink is full put your hands around the wool and put it into the water and start gently squishing the wool to get it fully wet and then pull it out and mush the fibers together. You will want to be careful to keep it as ball shaped as possible. Don't squeeze too tightly at first or you can get lumps that will be a pain later. As the ball starts compacting down you can squeeze a little harder. Once it starts feeling more like a ball and less like a pile of fluff you can start rolling it around in your hands, pausing every minute or so to re-dunk it in the hot, soapy water. If your water starts getting cool you may want to pour some boiling water in to keep the temperature up. The hotter the water the faster the ball will felt (which is why you don't wash wool in hot water). Keep rolling until you have a firm outside, the middle may be firm too, but it will depend on how hard you squished the wool in the very beginning. Once the ball is to your liking rinse it under cold water, squeezing all the soap out and reshape it. Then put it on a sunny windowsill until it is dry. The texture and colors are interesting for babies and it is soft enough that you can throw it around without hurting anything. They are a hit at our house.
Let me guess, now you are interested in the project, but don't know what I am talking about when I say "wool roving", right? Don't worry, unless you are a spinner or know one (or know enough about felting that you didn't need this tutorial) there is no reason you would have dealt with roving before. Basically roving is fiber that has been carded and prepared for spinning. Since hand spinning and felting have become popular many large cities will have at least one or two places that you can buy it. Look for a spinning shop or start calling local yarn stores and asking them if they know where you can buy fiber. If that doesn't work there are a ton of places you can find stuff on the Internet. Two that I like are A Child's Dream Come True has "Eco Wool Batting" in their doll making section which is cheap and can be wadded up and used in place of roving as well as roving for felting. Also Halcyon Yarn has a whole section of felting fiber. There are a ton of other places out there, these are just two I know of. If you have time to kill I'm sure you can find more via Google.

If you have any questions please ask and if you'd like to see more instructions like this please let me know. Also, if there are any projects or items pictured that you'd like to see instructions for let me know that too. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Milestones aka. Growing-up Too Fast

Almost a week ago now A. started crawling. This milestone felt like it took forever to get here, not because she was behind, but because she had been "army crawling" for a couple of months before this and showed no signs of ever wanting to crawl properly. I had given up on expecting her to ever crawl normally as she was getting around well enough and was starting to really pull-up and cruise. After all, why crawl when you can walk? Every once in a while she would get up on her hands and knees and go a couple of feet, but then she'd drop down on her belly and take off. Her doctor wasn't worried so I decided not be either and had gotten used to my army crawling girl. Then one day my world changed. I woke up and she was crawling. (Quite literally, she'd been playing with my husband when she started crawling and I was still in bed getting a few extra minutes of sleep.) I was really proud of her and tried hard not to focus on how much more of a big girl she looks like.

Then over the weekend we attempted another new thing. We never did buy a baby bathtub and when she was tiny we just bathed her in the kitchen sink. By the time she outgrew the sink she could sit up reasonably well, but wasn't stable enough to be trusted in the tub on her own so I would get in the bathtub with her. She could sit and play while holding onto my legs and it was a great way for us both to get clean. At this point it has been a while since she has needed to grab onto me and she is quite comfortable in the water so we decided to let her try being in there on her own (with close supervision of course). She loved having the extra space to play with her boat and we now have a new bath-time routine.

If all this growing up wasn't enough yesterday afternoon I got confirmation that her recent crankiness is the result of teething. Her first tooth is now poking through her gums! At 9.5 months it's about time and having a tooth will let her eat some things that she hasn't been able to handle yet. I am happy for her and jumped for joy when I felt that tiny tooth, but at the same time all these things happening at once make me feel like I'm loosing my baby. I am loving watching her grow up, but I miss the tiny baby that I cuddled in my arms for so many months. That said, I am loving the little girl she is becoming.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sewing For Baby, Part 4: Toys

There are so many baby toys on the shelves that you might wonder if it really makes sense to make your own. After all, you can buy plastic toys that are brightly colored and light up and ones that talk. Or you can go the more natural approach and buy toys that are hand crafted from wood by family owned businesses. Some people (myself included) have a worry in the back of their minds about toys produced in China containing lead or other harmful toxins. However, I can buy toys produced in Germany under good working conditions and strict quality control standards. So why would I bother making toys?

There are many answers to this question, but the one that springs to my mind first is "tradition". When I was a kid my granddad made my sister and I cars for our Barbies out of wood, empty shoe polish tins and old lids. My mom made us dinosaurs out of scraps leftover from various projects and remnants (I'm assuming). My dad helped me make a swing in the back yard and let my sister and I build things with scrap wood. One of my earliest memories of my mom sewing was when she was working on a larger version of the ball you see to the left. The ball was probably about 6" across and belonged to my little sister. It had some of the neatest fabrics, various scraps that went together to make a pleasing whole. As a kid I always thought this ball was really neat, not just because it was neat in and of itself, but because my mom was clever enough to make it. I would love it for my children to remember me that way.

This alludes to a second reason to make toys for your children. Even the simplest toys are special when they are made with love. Add a dose of creative play and special memories are created. Even a simple gauze swaddle blanket, made at home because Target didn't have them for sale when we needed them, can become a fun toy. We use ours to play peek-a-boo, build forts, provide shade and act silly. I can only imagine how much more fun we will have as my daughter gets older and starts playing pretend. The best part is that since I made it myself I was able to pick colors like coral, melon and kelly green that are so saturated that they are fun in and of themselves. I love that they things that I make to fill my need to be creative can help my daughter fill hers.

Another reason to make your own toys is that you can make something that can't be found in stores. My daughter is small for her age which means she has small hands. When she reached the stage where she wanted to grab, hold and toss toys they were all too big for her hands. I found a pattern for this puzzle ball in Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts and realized it fit the bill perfectly. I checked out a copy from the library and was able to use the instructions and scraps from old projects to make this ball for free. The ball is big enough to have some real substance, while still having surfaces that can be grabbed with small hands. Add to that the bright colors (or make it in black and white for a young baby) and it is a real hit.

The final reason to make your own toys is, obviously, cost. Good toys are expensive and even cheap toys add up quickly. While I definately try to limit the number of toys my daughter has and only offer a few at a time so that they stay interesting and engaging, the cost still adds up. Given a choice I would rather she play with sturdy toys that aren't going to break. Toys that are not made in sweat shops, but instead giving what money I do spend to companies that treat their workers with respect and provide them with a living wage and safe working conditions. I want toys that are made by someone who cares, not by the lowest bidder. These toys cost more and for good reason. Unfortunately, I can only afford so many and my daughter does need enough to keep her entertained and stimulated. I don't want her to feel that she has to sacrifice because of my ideals so I make up the difference as best I can and she seems to like the arrangement. If she seems to be really drawn to a given fabric I use some in a toy that she can play with. I focus on how special each individual toy is instead of on how many she has or doesn't have. This is the balance that works for us. What about you? What kind of toys do you buy for your babies and children? Do you think about the impact that those toys have or how your child will receive them? Do you try to teach lessons through play or do you feel it is better to let your child discover them on their own? I'd love to hear the thoughts of anyone who has time to answer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - Inspired by Soulemama. In her words: A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you want to participate head over to her blog and enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baby Proofing

It seems like every "good" parent starts baby proofing before their first child ever gets here. There are tons of gadgets and gizmos available to make this easier. I don't know how many friends have had a whole slew of baby proofing gadgets on the registries for their showers and in some cases these gadgets are quite handy (though maybe not shower appropriate, I'm sure they are in it for the discount). That said there are other things that I find rather crazy. I really don't know that posting a sign on your car stating that it contains children will do anything to enhance their safety and posting anything on the windows can impede your visibility. I also feel that spending $3.50 for two little gizmos that will prevent a door from closing all the way to prevent pinched fingers is a bit much, if I'm worried I throw a cheap prefold in the door frame on top of the top hinges (the Gerber ones have to be good for something, right?). Given a choice I would like my home to continue to look like a place where grown-ups live too instead of like an exploded playroom.

To that end I have been taking a bit of a different approach to baby proofing. I've been doing it on an "as needed" basis. Now, before I get emails and comments telling me that I'm putting my baby in danger or some such, let me state that I have a very hands on parenting style. It is hard for a little girl to get into trouble when Mommy is close enough to grab her before she reaches the electrical outlet/entertainment center/sleeping dog/cabinet full of glass/climbable bookcase. For the most part I try to let her explore her world and give her space when she is playing quietly (or loudly for that matter) in the middle of the living room floor. If she starts moving towards something that could be a problem I quietly move closer and watch what she's doing ready to intervene at any moment. Frequently she will lose interest after a couple of thwarted attempts, but if she doesn't then I "baby proof" it. This may mean securing an item in some manner or moving a chair in front of it or even just putting it on a higher shelf or in another room. For the most part this works really well for us. An old milk crate in the living room to house her toys and some creative furniture placement (most of our living room furniture is light enough I can easily move it on my own) and we have a space that can go from kids play area to grown-up entertainment area in 5-10 minutes. This arrangement has led to minimal baby proofing while still allowing a safe environment for exploration. I don't know if anyone else is interested in this or not, but here are some of my minimalist suggestions.

One of the easiest ways I've found to baby proof the shelves is to simply move a chair in front of them. While attaching them to the wall is very important if you have a baby that climbs the shelves our biggest problem is actually the books and such being pulled off the shelves. Eventually I would like to have wall mounted shelves that are start high enough that kids can't reach them (preferably over a piano, that that's a different story). In the meantime a ladder back chair placed in front of the shelves we have removes the temptation. I have also found that in some cases it is just easier to install a baby gate. My husband and I don't want to baby proof our bedroom. It is our space and we feel that children of any age should not be in there unsupervised and without our permission. For a long time we had just been redirecting our daughter when she tried to explore our room and putting up a baby gate when other babies were visiting so that the dogs had their own area. The big problem is that there is a bookcase with a lot of old books just outside the door to the master bedroom that seems to be a magnet for little hands. After more time that I want to think about spent attempting to redirect and frequently physically removing a certain little girl from that space we decided a baby gate was in order. We decided to spring for one of the ones with a door in it so we don't have to worry about stepping over it or removing it. We love it, Audrey, not so much. While we were at Home Depot picking up the gate we decided to get a couple off the outlet covers that have sliding covers on them. After looking everywhere and failing to find them we finally tracked down a person to ask. It turns out that they now have something even better. You can now buy tamper resistant outlets that look just like a normal electrical outlet and work just like a normal electrical outlet if you are plugging in the vacuum, but that you can't stick a bobby pin in. Basically the have a little gate just inside the plug itself that only opens if you stick something in both sides at the same time. This is easy if you are sticking a plug in, almost impossible if you are sticking a fork, coat hanger or bobby pin in. The best part is that these little gadgets are actually cheaper than the sliding outlet covers and you don't have to worry where you put them like you do with the little plastic plugs. The only downside is that you have to install them so if you are afraid of doing your own electrical work you'd have to hire someone to do it for you. (One thing I was seeing said that houses built after 2008 all had them, but if your house is older they are worth considering.)

I'm sure we will install other baby proofing devices as time progresses, but so far these combined with watchful parenting are all we've needed. Audrey rarely goes into the kitchen and when she does she's standing next to me. At some point we will put door latches on some cabinets and rearrange things so that she has a couple cabinets full of safe things to play with, but so far she is not interested enough. Even when I offer to let her play in the cabinets she could care less, so I won't install the latches until she is old enough to care. In the meantime it is one less thing to deal with when I am cooking. The only place that needs a latch right now is the one under the sink where the cleaning stuff is kept (though I doubt the vinegar and baking soda I use for most of my cleaning will do much harm the soap would be less than good).

This leads me to wonder, how much does everyone else actually baby proof? Does anyone really use the soft rubber edge guards for the coffee table or the latch for the toilet (until she's potty trained I see no reason to allow my daughter into the bathroom on her own)? I'm sure I will have to tweak my strategies as my daughter gets older, but for now they work well for us. What works well for you guys? I'd love to hear some discussion from any moms that are reading this.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sewing For Baby, Part 3: Clothes

One of the best parts of having a little girl is all the cute outfits. There are cute outfits for boys, but the selection is nothing like what is available for little girls. From skirts and dresses to rompers and jeans, little girls can wear anything. The problem is that all of these cute outfits can add up to a budget nightmare. So what's a frugal parent to do? Well there is always the garage sale option, and craigslist, and even Ebay. These can all be great places to get cute clothes cheap. The biggest problem I've found with these is that I have to go through a bunch of stuff that I don't want to find something I like. To say I am picky about what my daughter wears would be an understatement. This is where sewing your own comes in handy.

All the major pattern companies have patterns for baby clothes. You can go to their websites and figure out which patterns you like and then watch the sales at your local fabric store. I find that mine generally have at least one brand of pattern on sale every couple of weeks and they rotate through the brands. By being a little patient I was able to get a ton of baby patterns for $0.99-$1.50 each. You can also wait for fabric and notions to go on sale and get everything for a cute baby outfit for half price. The other thing to watch is the remnant bin. All fabric stores have them, these are the bolt ends and the scraps "too small to save". The fabric in the remnant bin is perfectly good fabric, there is just less than 1 yard of it so you can buy it at half price. Since most baby clothes take 1 yard or less of fabric this is a great option. The outfit above was made from a 1/2 yard of fabric I found in the remnant bin. I had to get rather creative with the pattern placement (make sure you follow the grain line and print direction if you want it to look right) and there wasn't enough for the lining, but I was able to pull it off. Unless you looked at the inside or read this post you would never know that the outfit is lined with muslin instead of matching fabric.

One of the other nice things about making your own baby clothes is that it is probably your best bet at getting cute boy clothes. You can pick a fabric you like and combine it with a fairly simple pattern and get something that is both adorable and boyish. This is a great option for all of you who complain about the lack of good boy clothes. All it takes to get custom clothes is a good pattern, a sewing machine and some time. Also, just because the first outfit takes you forever don't assume that all outfits will. The first time I made this pattern took every free moment for a full week. The second time only took about 4 hours worth of naps.

These patterns are more complicated, if you have a girl there are some dresses that can be made in under an hour. Please consider sewing for your children. You never know, their favorite outfit might well be something that you make yourself. I know I always loved the clothes my mom made me (we won't discuss some of the vocabulary I may have picked up while she was doing so). ;-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Easily Amused

video
I don't know who was more amused, her or me. However, the curtains seem to provide a lot of fun for everyone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sewing For Baby, part 2: Feathering the Nest

Have you ever had an idea for what you want a room to look like, but couldn't find the furniture, curtains or accessories to make it happen? Perhaps you want a particular fabric or color scheme, but it isn't this year's fashion. (Until I started working to feather my own nest a year ago I never imagined that there was such a thing as trends in baby gear.) Furniture can be painted if all you want to change is the color, but bedding and curtains can't. This is where sewing can come in really handy.

I love white muslin curtains. They are a classic, they are pretty, they are practical (aka machine washable). Unfortunately, they can be hard to find. (Though this may be because I hate shopping and thus didn't know where to look.) However, muslin is easy to find and tends to be pretty cheap. If a place sells fabric, they probably sell muslin. All you need to do is to figure out how big your windows are and make two panels that will slide on a rod and have a hem that won't fray. Each panel should be about the same width as the window, though if you want really fluffy, flowing curtains you will want to go wider. By making each panel the same width as the window the total width of the curtains winds up being about twice the width of the window which is generally considered to be pretty standard. Add a valance that matches the rest of the stuff in the room and you're set.

Another thing that I loved the concept of, but could never find just the right look for was a changing pad cover. The bedding set that we got didn't have a matching changing pad cover and none of the others quite went either and I couldn't see spending $15 for something that I didn't love. After using a receiving blanket for months I finally realized that I had the perfect flannel in my fabric stash and made this one. It goes really well with the bedding set and cost less than $5 to make (I bought the fabric when Jo-Anns was having a huge sale on their flannel). It also only took a couple of hours including drafting the pattern. To make the pattern I simply traced the ends of the changing pad and added seam allowances. Then I figured out how much it would need to hang down to fold under like it is supposed to. I cut two pieces that size and then measured out how big to make the middle and side panels. (Measure the size of each rectangle and add a seam allowance each place you want a seam.) Then sew the rectangles together, add an end piece on each end and make a casing around the bottom for 1/4" elastic. Voila, a fancy contoured changing pad cover! I have grand plans for making more of these because I love the look and I love that my wedding ring is no longer catching on the plastic of the pad itself.
The last thing that I made was gauze swaddle blankets. My daughter slept better when swaddled, but the receiving blankets get small fast. We kept using them for a really long time because we couldn't find anything better that wasn't really expensive. Eventually, I found some gauze for a really good price at Fabric.com and realized that I could make my own gauze swaddle blankets. I washed (to pre-shrink the fabric) and ironed the fabric, cut it to 45"x45" and then did a narrow hem all the way around. Now I can have fancy swaddle blankets in any color I want. Too bad I didn't think of it sooner. On the bright side, they make great playthings...

If you look around the internet you can also find patterns for making your own crib bumpers, sheets, slip covers for a glider or nursery decorations. Most of the things that go into decorating a baby's room are composed of rectangles and are a lot easier to make than you'd think based on the prices they charge for them. I love being able to choose my own fabrics to get exactly the look I want. I only wish I had known how easy it was earlier. I wound up making almost all of these things after my daughter was born (the curtains were finished about 30 hours before I went into labor). It would have been a lot easier to have made them before I was also dealing with a new baby. If you are expecting or know someone who is consider helping them feather their nest. If you already have a baby, it is never too late. I made the changing pad cover why my daughter was 8 months old and am just glad to have it. Even if you like what you have, sometimes a change of pace is good. What would you like to make for your nursery (or any other room, for that matter)?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Thank you to everyone who has fought to keep us free and to the families who have stayed behind to keep the home fires burning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

{this moment}


{this moment} - Inspired by Soulemama. In her words: A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you want to participate head over to her blog and enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cloth Diapers

Before my daughter was born I had decided that we would use cloth diapers because I liked the idea of being able to reuse them and I didn't relish the idea of having to drag myself to the store with a baby because I'd run out of diapers. I also liked the idea that we wouldn't be making nearly as much trash with cloth diapers as with disposables. As it is we rarely fill a 13 gallon trash bag in a week and this is something that makes me happy. As I learned more about cloth diapers I also realized how cute they can be which was a big selling point (does that make me shallow?). I had a lot of people tell me that it would be too much work and that I'd switch to disposables in no time. I figured that I was more stubborn than that and decided to prove them wrong. I had one friend who had used cloth diapers for her kids telling me that it was easy and it turns out that she was the one that was right. From the time my daughter was about a week old she was almost exclusively in cloth diapers. We used disposables for one vacation and we have used them as extras in the diaper bag for when we run out of cloth diapers because they take up less space. All in all we have only ever used one package in each size of diapers and we've had to make an effort to finish each small package. For us cloth is just so much easier (not to mention cheaper, more environmentally friendly and better for our daughter's sensitive skin). This leaves me wondering why everyone doesn't use them. I understand that a large part of their appeal for us is due to the fact that we have a washer and dryer in our home. I can understand someone not doing cloth diapers if they don't have this, but what about those that do? All I can figure is that people don't know how great they can be so I am going to answer a few questions that I had before I started. If anyone else has questions please let me know and I'll be glad to answer those too. Cloth diapers may not be for everyone, but they are worth looking into if you have a little one in diapers.

Aren't cloth diapers hard? Don't they take a lot of work?
No, they really aren't. We use prefolds and waterproof covers with a snappi. This is one of the hardest things to get onto a squirmy baby and they are still pretty easy after a little practice. If you are worried about it there are a ton of diapers on the market that work just like disposables except that you wash them instead of throwing them away. We use these (actually, we use the older version, but those aren't available anymore) at night when we aren't awake enough to bother with multiple steps. As for washing we just do a cold water wash with a little detergent followed by a hot wash with 1 tbs. of Charlie's Soap laundry powder. Everything that isn't waterproof goes in the dryer and I pull the waterproof covers out and line dry them. They can go in the dryer, but they last longer this way. When you're done you don't even need to fold stuff if you don't want to. It's not like it matters if your diapers get wrinkled, you can just use out of the basket.

What about when I'm out and about?
Some people use disposables when they are out and I had done this at first. However, I found that it is actually easier to just use cloth out. I even use wet cloth wipes in a wipe case because it is so much easier. I have a wet bag that I put everything in and it keeps the wetness and odor in, even when there is a poopy diaper. When I get home I just dump the whole thing into the diaper pail and toss the wet bag in after. (It helps that I have more than one wet bag.) This is why cloth wipes are so much easier, if you use disposable wipes you have to pull them out separately.

What about the poop?
First of all, I don't know how many of you have read the diaper package, but technically you are supposed to scrape the poop out of disposable diapers before throwing them away. This is to prevent ground water contamination when it rains at the dump. However, I don't know of anyone who does this because most anyone who knows either ignores it or switches to cloth. That said, poop isn't hard to deal with when you are using cloth diapers. If you are exclusively breastfeeding (no formula, no solids) the cold water wash will take care off all the poop. It will wash it safely into the sewer/septic system. (Note: If you use gray water for watering your plants you won't want to do that when washing diapers, the water really should be going to the sewer/septic system for these loads.) If you are using formula and/or your baby is old enough to be eating solids then you have a few options. You can use the old "dunk and swish" method, you can buy (or make) a diaper sprayer or you can use liners. We really like the liners. You can buy either reusable or flushable liners or you can buy microfleece and cut it to size to make your own. We used the last option as I was able to find microfleece on sale at Fabric.com and make all the liners we will ever need for about $4. Another thing to consider with the poop question is whether or not you are having problems with blow-outs. The closest thing to a blow-out we have ever had was when I didn't get the cover on tightly enough and we had a dime-sized amount of poop on the outfit. I have never had baby poop on the car seat, stroller, baby carrier, crib sheet or my shirt. We have never had to throw away an outfit or scramble to get the car seat clean after. I have heard these stories from other moms, but never experienced it myself. The cover has always contained even the largest, nastiest messes including diarrhea! Just a thought...

What about daycare?
We haven't had to worry about this, but it might be worth asking. The regulations vary from state to state and in many cases a daycare might say "no" just because they think cloth diapers are hard. If you supply them with all-in-one or pocket diapers and a wet bag to put them in they may be more willing to work with you. If you use day care and want to use cloth diapers talk to them, it may be more possible than you think.

These are the questions I get most often, but there are a ton more that I'm forgetting. If you think of anything please ask. I know that they aren't for everyone, but they are a lot easier than most people think. If you decide to stick with disposables that's fine, but don't do it just because the marketing campaign has you thinking that cloth is just "too hard". When we used disposables on our last vacation our whole family was really happy to get home and switch back to cloth because we'd missed it so.