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Dec 17, 2013

*Powerocks Magicstick {Review and Code}*

I have been very quiet on here. Life has been busy. What mom would not say that, especially around this great time of year. We all get busy and some things are left undone. A big part of life these days is technology. It seems everyone has at least a cell phone if not a cell phone, a laptop, and a tablet, or some other form of electronic device. Now, how often do you find yourself away from outlets all day, and while heavily using your phone, you are notified that you have almost no battery life left?
My phone is not very old (less than two years). It isn't top of the line, either. I have to charge my phone every night. If I need to use it for more than the occasional call or checking email, it very well could be dead before the end of the day. If I am out, I am done. At least, I was.
Now, I have a great little life saver! Enter the Powerocks Magicstick!
I was contacted by Powerocks about checking out their Magicstick and then telling you all about it. When I checked out the website a bit, I knew I had to try this! I jumped at the chance really. It sounded like something I really needed. I have a feeling some of you might be thinking the same thing. 
The Magicstick by Powerocks is a portable charger for your USB electronic devices. You charge it through USB and charge your device using the same cord. 
If you need a special cord to fit your device, that is fine. You can use basically any USB cord you need to. So, let's go through this. Here is everything that came in the box:
I love that they sent me a red stick. Love it. And it is about the size of a larger lipstick tube. Then you get a short charging cord, a travel pouch (nice touch), a reg. card, and the little booklet telling you how to work it (though really, even with slight tech abilities, you figure it out on your own). 
This is super simple to use. The end of the stick has a light telling you how charged it is. Mine was glowing green so I even got to do a little test run with my tablet to get some pics for this review.
I fell in love very quickly with this. It is nice and compact. I can actually hook this up to my cell phone and put everything in my front pocket. Only a little bit of each item actually runs above the pocket line. Perfect.
If I had to find anything that could be a con to this product, it would be that it can quite a while for the Magicstick to charge. But for this, you have to consider that one charge on the Magicstick could give you up to two full charges depending on your device.

All in all I think this is a great product. It would make a perfect last minute stocking stuffer too. Like I said, who doesn't have some kind of electronic device that travels with them everywhere? It can really be a life saver if you keep it with you. Being a USB charged item itself, charging in the car wouldn't even be that difficult to do. 

If you would like to look at these more, check out Powerocks Magicstick's website. The Magicstick I received retails for about $49.99. 
Want a better deal? Just for my readers, I got this message: "Here is a promo code for 20% to your readers for the Magicstick: Powerblog20." 
That's right! You could get 20% off your order if you use the above promo code. Better hurry though, you only have 8 days until Christmas to get these and fill everyone's stocking!

Disclaimer: I received the above product free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. 

Jun 13, 2013

Cascade Platinum Pac Review

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
Cascade has come out with an all new powerful dish washing detergent. Not only will it get your dishes sparkling, but it will help to keep hard water build up to a minimum in your dishwasher itself.

There have been plenty of times that I end up with some left over "stuff" on my dishes if I let them sit a little too long without pre-rinsing them. And let's face it, who really likes pre-rinsing when you are just going to put it in the dishwasher any way? That is one thing I am liking about Cascade Platinum over what I have used in the past. I have a lot less re-washing than I had before. Now, I must say, that there are still plastic items that have needed some wiping down to remove a slight film. But as you can see in the picture below, the ketchup came off the plates nicely, and my glass dishes were sparkling.

All the sparkling plates got me wondering, what makes this new Cascade Platinum so special? Luckily, though, for me, I had some fact sheets to help me learn more. ;) The new Cascade has a triple action power-pac that:
Delivers Cascade’s ultimate clean for dishes
Scrubs away tough 24 hour stuck-on food
Eliminates the need to pre-wash dishes
Provides exceptional dishware shine
Contains the Grease Fighting Power of Dawn

Now, Dawn, I use often. But that is mostly for handwashing at my sink. Knowing that these new Cascade Platinum Pacs have Dawn in them, makes me feel better that my dishes will get nice and clean. When I make dinner for everyone, I like to know that when I put the food on the table, the plates will make the food look even better. We all eat with our eyes. That is a sentiment shared with Gail Simmons, from Top Chef, who has joined with Cascade to emphasize how much we really eat with our eyes. One thing Gail reccomends:
“The easiest recipes pop with unexpected, gourmet presentations. Drizzle bright sauces on sparkling white plates or layer desserts in crystal-clean glassware. Keep your presentation sparkling with Cascade Platinum, which keeps dishes perfect for anytime entertaining and impromptu guests. ”
You can hear more of what Gail has to say at Cascade's Facebook Page.
Now, to make this debut even better than just getting your dishwasher and dishes clean, you can win prizes! Cascade Platinum is hosting an Instagram contest. You can get full details at their main landing page here. Each week of the contest, upload your photos that match to the week's theme.
Week 1: My Platinum Plate (Entry Period: 6/3-­‐6/9) Show us your best dish styled from the sparkling plate up!
Week 2: My Platinum Bite (Entry Period: 6/10-­‐6/16) Show us your best bite and most creative use of sparkling silverware!
Week 3: My Platinum Clink (Entry: 6/17-­‐6/23) Show us how you serve up creative concoctions in sparkling glasses. Cheers!
Week 4: My Platinum Table (Entry Period: 6/24-­‐6/30) Show us your sparkling tablescape for your most special celebrations!
Grand Prize Winner (Entry: 6/3-­‐6/30)

May 26, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Wrap Up

Today is the final day in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. I can't believe it ends tonight, already. I think that is part of the awesomeness of this challenge. When you begin, you think it may never end, the end of the week looks so far away, but it isn't. By the time Saturday and Sunday roll around, you want to keep going. Yes, I may stop with hand washing absolutely every diaper, but I love this challenge. I know I will continue to use flats. I did after the first challenge two years ago. I may keep using the larger quantity that I have been and not use microfiber near as much. These flats have been staying so nice and clean with no smell issues and they do dry so quickly. It is nice.

Don't they look so nice hanging on the line like that?! I do love hanging all my laundry on the line when it is nice out. But back to the topic at hand. 
This week has been nice really. I have talked about to a few people, though it has mostly been family or close friends. I do not know many who cloth diaper or who have little ones in diapers. But I know that some day, I may have those families close and I can talk to them about cloth and about flats. 
If something were to happen at home and I needed to, I could do this for as long as needed and help those around me in need of diapering options when all else fails. I think the events of May 20th in Moore, showed some of us exactly why we were challenging ourselves to do this. If that ever happened, would we know what to do? Would we be able to come along side those who needed help and offer it to them? This is the time to get the information out there! This is when there is a big need that we need to know how to fill. 
One thing that I am taking away from this week didn't even happen to us. It was a suggestion or idea made in the Facebook group. One lady said she was thinking of putting together a bucket with supplies and a pamphlet that could be used by a local crisis pregnancy center. Cloth does not get much attention. This is a perfect place to bring it out more. Women who visit these centers need help. One thing that could quite possibly save them a lot is to teach them about cloth diapers. Teach them about the cheap or free diapers and how they can diaper their child for almost nothing. Teach these women that they do not have to forego paying a bill so that they can buy disposable diapers for their baby. They do not need to dry out a disposable so they can re-use because they cannot afford to buy more diapers. A simple bucket with supplies like the one I have used now could mean so much to a woman who has no idea what she is going to do next with her pregnancy or new baby. 
For me this week was truly not a big challenge. But what if one day I am challenged to do this because I have no other option? Now I know I can do it. I can do it full time. I can teach those around me that they can do it too. That is what this challenge has been.

Do you struggle with buying diapers for your little one? Would you let me or someone close to you help you learn of your options? 

Until next time... Challenge yourself with something new!

May 25, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 6 - Well, but what do you do at night?

I must say, one thing that had me very hesitant with taking this Flats and Handwashing Challenge was night time. I would use cloth on BG during the day, but she can be a heavy wetter. I didn't want to have her wake in the night soaked and have to be changing bedding. I was happy when I emailed Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry and she told me that  we could whatever nighttime diaper we wanted (of course flats or cloth of any type was preferred). That made me willing to sign up.
Then as the challenge got closer, I began to think that maybe we could try a night of cloth and see how we do. Other moms were talking of their heavy wetters and what they did to keep them dry through the night. On the first night of the challenge I decided to take the plunge and try cloth.
I wanted to make the combination of elements bullet proof. What could I use to do everything I could to keep this kid dry all night? At least outwardly dry.
First, I doubled up on the flats. Yes, I still used flats. I did a simple pad fold flat inside of (I think) an origami fold. We covered that with our trusty Thirsties cover. I didn't stop there. Then I went even farther and put on a pair of wool longies. They were given to us for review when LJ was in diapers. I have not lanolized any wool items in quite some time. I have not used wool at all on BG. I knew that they might not keep moisture in as much as if they had been lanolized recently, but I gave it a shot.
Do you know how things went?
She stayed dry to touch!
She slept all night!
We have done this every night since!
I just had to show off the back of these longies
(It says lil' monkey under the monkey)
I didn't think we could possibly use cloth all night on our heavy wetting little girl. This challenge has shown me that we can. Now, the mostly full box of disposables that sits next to me as I type this is looking like it will last longer and longer. I love it!
I now know that I could use cloth absolutely full time and keep BG pretty dry. Yes, we have had two wet throughs during this week, but it has only been when she decides to hold it all through nap and then drink even more before emptying her bladder.
I am so happy that I decided to take this challenge this year and that I went ahead and tried using cloth that very first night. I think this has been the biggest lesson learned. This is one thing that I have definitely found that works.
This Challenge may only last a week, but its effects are felt long after it ends.

Do you use cloth? Do you use it at night? What is your nighttime diaper of choice?

Until next time... Happy Sleeping!

May 24, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 5 - How can you even make something like that work?

We are now more than half way through the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. From may 20-26th, I am using only flat diapers for diapering BG and I am handwashing them. Being that it is the 24th, I have had some time to see what is working for me and what isn't. That is going to be today's topic.
What works?
all set and ready to go!
First, having my flats pre-folded and ready to go is a big thing. I need that to be done, and really, it isn't that hard to do.
When I take a diaper off of BG, I am doing my best to wash it right away. This is helping me stay on top of the laundry aspect of this challenge, and I do not run the risk of running out of diapers because last night's batch didn't dry fast enough.
I have also been keeping BG pants-less for much of her time in the house. Then I can use the fleece covers I made and we don't go through so many pants. I may keep this up after the challenge too. :)
I check BG often for dampness and change her a little more often that I did when she would have one of her other diapers on.
I have been using mostly Origami, Jo fold, Angel wing, and the Diaper-bag fold for this challenge. I have also used the pad fold, but that is nothing new to this house. We used it all the time before. :)
If I need to dry my diapers inside (rainy days and at night), having my drying rack sit under our ceiling fan with the fan on second speed, gets them drier faster.

What isn't working?
Really, there isn't a whole lot that is going all that bad for us this week.
I would have to say that one of the biggest things is some of the folds. I have been trying to test out the different folds that all of the other participants are mentioning. I have also been referencing a post on DiaperSwappers. This post has a ton of various folds and fold variations.
Origami Fold on the left, Kite Fold on the right
Some folds might work well for others, but I am thinking that with the flats I am using (not actual flats but flour sack towels and receiving blankets) the folds are just too big. One fold in particular that comes out too big for my taste when pre-folding is the kite fold. Even with the flour sack towels, it is the largest fold I have. That prompted me to unfold those diapers and do a smaller fold.

What are some goods and bads of your diapering journey with your kids? Did you use cloth, or disposables? Would you have changed anything?

Until next time...Happy Diapering!

May 23, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 4 - Handwashing?! Why?!

Well, another day down. Today is day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. From May 20-26 families around the world are using nothing but flat diapers to diaper their children and then handwashing what they use. We all hope to raise awareness that anybody can cloth diaper.  You do not have to re-use disposable diapers because you can't afford to buy more. You do not need to have a washer or dryer to use cloth diapers. It is possible to diaper your child for very little cost. Many have shown it can be possible to diaper a child for no more than one months worth of disposable diapers.

Anyway, back on topic. Today I want to talk about washing all of these diapers. Yesterday you got to see some pictures of my nice clean diapers hanging to dry. This year I am doing some things a bit differently than I originally planned. In the beginning of the challenge I noticed that another lady taking the challenge posted her video of how she washes the diapers as she goes, and does it in her sink. I watched and really liked how fast everything went. After washing two buckets of diapers the first day, I wanted to try out the wash as you go method. I am in love. Of course, I do not do this if BG has a messy diaper. Then it goes into the bucket to soak for a bit and gets plunged, not hands on washed. I have been sort of enjoying the washing as I go. It gives me a small break from everything else and then I have a clean diaper hanging up getting ready for the next time that I need it. I have found that this also helps me have enough diapers at all times. I do not have a whole batch of diapers that all got washed together so now I am short on clean and dry ones.
How do I wash as I go?
First I work to open the diaper up and fill my sink about half full of warm-ish water. This is my pre-rinse. I am usually amazed how yellow the water can get (especially when washing a nighttime diaper). I agitate it a bit with my hands and make sure it gets nice and rinsed. Then I drain the water and try to get as much water out of the diaper as possible.
Next, it is time for the hot water and just a little bit of Rockin Green. If you look closely at the picture below (close up of diaper i nwater) you can see the small amount of RnG powder on the top of the diaper, before I began agitation. Sometimes I have to add just a tad bit of cold water just so that I can put my hands in the water. Again, agitate and get the water to move through that diaper to get it all nice and clean. Empty the sink and wring the flat a bit.
Then, a warm rinse.
Followed by a cold rinse if there are still soapy bubbles. Usually by this rinse there are no soap bubbles and the water runs very clear. I drain the sink for the last time and wring out my diaper to get as much water out as possible. This is the one that you really want to get out that water.
Hanging to dry can be a challenge at times. The beginning of the week was pretty sunny and diapers would dry in just a couple hours. Now, we are having clouds and possible thunderstorms all day. This means drying has to be done inside. And when just drying one or two flats and maybe a cover, I just keep them in the bathroom, like in the picture  Yesterday, though, I got a great tip from another Challenge taker. I put my entire drying rack under our ceiling fan over night. They were all dry by morning. YAY! Other mornings, they would all still be pretty damp.
Everything is the same for the bucket method, except you are using the bucket and plunger instead of your hands. the larger the load, the longer you want to agitate and the more detergent you use as well.
How do I feel about the hang washing?
I am not minding it too much. Yes, it would be a ton easier if I could use my washer, but at the same time, I don't have a ton of flats. I would have to build up maybe two days worth of diapers to run a load and then if I didn't want to use my dryer, well, then I would probably run out of diapers before they were all dry. I do sort of miss having my dryer to fluff things after hanging them out to dry. Overall, it really is not that bad, especially if you are able to wash as you go or only do one bucket full a night. Yes, we have done that too. Yesterday we were out of the house most of the day, so I washed at night, but only had one bucket load to do. That really isn't too bad.

Do you think you could hand wash your diapers? What if it was only a week or for a vacation? If you are taking the challenge with me, how have you been doing with your washing? What is your routine?

Until next time... Happy Hand Washing!

May 22, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 3 - Wordless Wednesday - Sort of

I am taking part in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. From May 20-26 I will be joining families around the world in using only flat diapers and only hand washing what we use. No dryers, no washers, no fancy cloth diapers. Just the basics for one week, though this could be done full time if the situation warranted. Join me in spreading the cloth diapering love. :)

Until next time... Happy Diapering and Picture Taking!

May 21, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 2 - What do you use for such a time?

Today is day two of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge that is being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. This is a week where I will be only using flat diapers on BG and hand washing each and every one. I will also hand wash all covers and anything else I use to diaper BG. It runs from May 20-26.
Yesterday I talked about why I have wanted to participate in this event. Today I want to give you an idea of what I using this week. How much would something like this cost a family? Now, keep in mind, I am all about frugality, and I did not let that get in my way, and I had fun finding the cheapest things I could.
Bear with my as we go through some pictures of my supplies.
So, I have most of my supplies in one location. The diaper caddy holds most of my flats, that I have pre-folded. My flats consist of receiving blankets and flour sack towels from Target. I also have some doublers (smaller flats) in side pockets for naps and such. Liners if I really want to use them, but usually we go without. Also, two wetbags (Kushies brand) and a pockets with my pins and snappis. I bought the pins at Baby R Us because Walmart and Target both did not sell pins. I love that I was able to find cute pins for my girl. They did also have solid blue and solid white pins.

I also have a wooden bucket that holds all of our cloth wipes and a solution spray. Many of these wipes were made by me. I cut up one or two old receiving blankets I found at a consignment sale for really cheap. I also found the cute fabric that you see in the picture on clearance at the store and bought it to make more wipes. I do have a few in there from a store, but they were sent to me for review on here, so they were free. I like free.
Here you see pictures of my washing bucket (plunger and lid are upstairs, though I have not been using the lid). Also, I have found that using the iron can really soften the flats when they are line dried. It works! The Iron was a great find on Freecycle.
Here are my covers. The two light pink were made by me with some fleece I found in the remnants bin at JoAnn Fabrics. Remnants are 50% off, always. The two one size covers are from a great store (Assunta Store) and really low cost. I really like them a lot! There are two covers missing. A Thirsties cover and another cover made by me (You will see it soon on BG). The last cover is a gDiaper. The "g" has since come off since it has been in our possession since LJ was in diapers.
There you have it! These are my supplies. There are some flats not pictured because they are still drying. I washed them last night and they are still  very wet, because it is very humid around here right now. The sun is shining at the moment, so I am going to hanging them outside to get them drier faster.
My Cost Breakdown:
Iron - FREE
Ironng Board - Bought for the house years ago (no cost remembered)
Bucket - About $5 at Walmart
Plunger - About the same as the Bucket ? I truly do not remember the cost from two years ago (say $5)
Cloth Wipes - Mostly FREE ( say $5 for the fabric I bought for the cute ones)
Wipes Solution - FREE (reviewed item on here) normally $10.50 at Kelly's Closet (affiliate link)
FST from Target - FREE from Freecycle
Receiving Blankets - Mostly FREE (bought maybe 4 for $3 at consignment sales years ago)
Fleece covers - $6 for the fabric tat can still make 3-4 more covers
One size covers - $5 each at Assunta Store (not affiliate, but I love their store!)
gDiaper - paid for itself years ago
Pins - $3 at Babys R Us
Snappis - $5? No clue as they were bought when LJ was still diapered
Total cost that I remember: $53.50 to cloth diaper my daughter. This is enough that I could cloth diaper her full time as well. If you wanted to factor in costs I may not be thinking of, I would maybe round to a max of $75.
As you can see, I have found ways to get things for very low costs. Yes, I can sew, but it is something that is very easy to do and can save you much money in the long run. I use Freecycle as much as I can. If I am looking for something specific, I ask, otherwise I just keep my eyes open when seeing what others post.
Now, to leave you with a picture of BG sporting her red cover that her momma made. :)

Do you think you could do this? If you are unsure, talk to me, I think we could easily find how you can do this. You can save the money you would normally spend on disposable and use it for other things that have to be paid, like bills. Let's chat it up in the comments!

Until next time... Happy Diapering!

May 20, 2013

{Flats Challenge} Day 1 - Why would you do such a thing!

I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  This event Challenges moms around the globe to use flat diapers for one week and only hand wash them. This year over 400 people have signed up. Today is the very first day. Each day of this challenge those who are participating and are bloggers are going to blog about their experiences. Kim from DDL has provided prompts to help us mommas who cannot always think of what to write about. It also helps to guide each one of use to hit some key points during this challenge. 
This is the third year that this challenge is taking place. You may or not may not remember that I participated in the very first challenge when BG was just a few months old. We didn't take the challenge last year, but I had to do it again this year. I was compelled. This all began when it became known that more and more families were going to some pretty yucky extremes to diaper their babies. Even going so far to re-use disposable diapers. Drying them for later use. I am having trouble even understanding this. I mean, those SAP inners swell so much, would they really go back to normal size when dry?
Anyway, I took this challenge a few years ago to see if I could do it. I also had never tried flats and I was intrigued. Now with BG being 27 months instead of 3-4 months, I wanted to take the challenge again. 
I want to diaper a toddler who is a decent heavy wetter with just flats. Flats do not have to be just to little ones who don't wet much at one time. You can use these for any stage of diapering. You can use them for any season of life you might be going through. I have two very active children. BG holds her own when playing with her 5 year old brother. She is squirmy and doesn't always want to lay there while I figure out a new fold with a flat. But I can still do it! Once you use a flat for a few changes, it is so quick and easy. 
I have two children who want to be around mommy and be big helpers. This can make hand washing a challenge, but I can still do it! 
We do not have money to be spending on all kinds of diapers and accessories. I can still do it! I have found different things that I probably have around the house that I can use for diapering BG. Most of my little girl's stash cost very little. If I only look at what I use for say, this challenge, then it is even less. I find ways to cut the costs and it works! 
I can still do this, even though it may not be the most convenient thing in the world. I hope more people see that we can do this. We can diaper our children for very little. The ick factor is not as big as some think it is. 


If money is tight, you do not need to reuse disposable diapers. You do not need to feel like it costs too much money to cloth diaper your child. If you are willing to put in a little effort, you can do this!

That is some of why I am doing this. If I can do this, so many more families out there like mine can do this too!

If you are taking this challenge with me, why? If you are not, would you consider it? I can help you get started. It is very simple, really. 
Let's hear it all in the comments! 

Until next time...Happy Diapering!

May 15, 2013

Get your covers ready!

We are quickly approaching the beginning of the Flats and Handwashing challenge. It starts in just 6 days. I am so happy that I will be able to participate in the challenge this year.
When this year's challenge was first announced I thought I might not be able to participate because BG is such a heavy wetter, we cannot use cloth at night. There was no way we could use just flats at night and not have her waking every couple hours with a soaked bed and jammies. Right now she sleeps through the night and I really don't want to break that. That is when Kim so kindly pointed out that the rules have changed since the first challenge and I can use my diaper of choice at night. What a relief! I quickly signed up to participate.
Now I have the fun of making sure we have the flats and covers to last us the week. Flats are not too much of a problem. We have a bunch and I have hundreds of t-shirts sitting upstairs unused. I can easily have more than enough flats to last a day or so between washing. I also have my camp style washer from the first challenge.  Now, the covers are a different story. We would have had enough if we didn't have to retire two awesome covers. We have two Mother-ease covers that I really liked. They worked so well and covered so many different diapers. Well, Bg's legs don't like those covers. The elastic around the legs always leave bright red marks that seem fairly irritated. It was saddening when I had to stop using them. I really did like them. I have even considered if I could redo them with new FOE and see if that makes them better for her. Who knows.
Well, luckily I get in kicks of wanting to sew. Yesterday BG got a brand new mommy made fleece pull-on cover. I even put a piece of PUL on the outside of the wet zone to help hold in extra wetness. I literally whipped it up in 30 minutes. It was so easy to do and I may end up making more because of that ease.
So, what does that leave me with for this challenge?
I have these four covers plus two more that are either on BG right now or in the wash. thepink one in the upper right corner is the one I just made. I am thinking of making a tie on patchwork kind of cover to use up some fleece scraps I have filling a drawer upstairs. That could be pretty cute. I want to use things I have already on hand to complete this challenge. Cloth diapering does not have to cost a lot of money. Even my regular stash did not cost as much as some. I got many for free or very cheap (used). I also tried winning as many as possibly. I believe I have maybe 4-6 that were won. This point is one thing that I always try to stress when talking cloth to those who do not know.

Are you preparing for the Flats Challenge? Would you ever consider participating? Tell us your thoughts!

Until next time... Happy Prepping!

Mar 20, 2013

3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

It is getting to be that time of year again. Flats Challenge time, that is! You may remember that I participated in the very first flats challenge when BG was very young. I even cloth diapered and handwashed diapers while camping with her during this time.
I was not a part of "The Challenge" last year, but I am thinking that I may do it again this year. I love my flats. I also think that we need to spread the word that it is not that difficult to use cloth diapers. You can even do it if you have very little money to spend.
The Challenge will run from May 20th through the 26th. Six days is not very long. I think anyone can do this for 6 days. I am posting this because I want to help spread the world about the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  If you click on the picture above, or the link in the post, you will be taken to the very first post for this year's challenge. There you can put your name into the preliminary list of possible participants.
The first year there were 200 families. Last year, 260 families participated. Can we get over 300 this year?

Do you cloth diaper? Would you participate in a Challenge like this?

Who is with me!?

Until next time... Happy Diapering!

Mar 19, 2013

When times are tight...Every penny counts!

courtesy of RambergMediaimages

Times are tight all around. I know we are not alone in this. Factor in one and not two incomes and things can be very tight. After our big Disney trip this past fall and general winter expenses, we realized all our bank accounts were doing was getting smaller. We had to do something and as quickly as we could. One of the first things I did was hit the internet. We also quit a lot of our spending and made a budget. Yes, until now we haven't really had a budget.
When I looked at the budget I knew we would be okay if we stopped spending much past our necessary expenses. We had wiggle room, but not much. We worked to make sure we only spent a certain amount each week. Then I realized our next problem, we weren't taking a set amount of money out on a certain day each week, we would just try to keep it low and only spend the cash as much as possible. We weren't tracking the money either. 
Then I found a site that has helped me out a bit and we are now trying these new methods. In walked (well, I clicked to her somehow) The fun, cheap or free Queen. I now love her site. She has a ton of great tips and we are working on trying out her version of the envelope system. I will let you click on her link and see for yourself the full detail of her system. As for us, I have set apart a specific amount of money we can spend each month of groceries and for fun.
I also cut our costs by couponing. Coupons can be a great thing. Now, by no means to I even want to extreme coupon. That is just too much. I get coupons that I know I will use or for things we need. If I don't need that item, I don't get the coupon. Also, if i cannot get a good price even with the coupon, I don't use it. I know people that think they have to buy the product because the coupon is going to expire soon and they have to use a coupon if they have it. That is not the case! Let it go.
Clipped Coupons With Scissors 2
courtesy of StockMonkeys.com
We also use generic items whenever possible. As a family, we do not mind generic items, and usually I see no difference in taste or quality. I am also excited to start making more and more of the things we use and eat. We have been eating out a lot less. I already used regular household items like vinegar to clean the house, so that was easy. I am also going to try making more of the smoothie drinks that Hubby likes to get from the store. And since I won and awesome dehydrator (Thank you Happily Domestic!) I am going to try my hand at making jerky and other great little snacks. If we get good at making jerky, that can even help with some Christmas presents that we tend to give out each year. 
We are going to see how we do at pinching every penny we can and paying off our debt sooner rather than later. Now, I pass the advice on to you....
How do you save money? What are your budgeting tips? Let's here it!

Until next time... Happy Penny Pinching!

Mar 17, 2013

{31 Days} Day 17 - The Whys and Whens of Blogging

Why and When did you start blogging?
It is sort of funny why I truly started blogging. I was new to the world of online giveaways. I was also just entering the world of cloth diapers with LJ. He was about 18 months old. When I was entering the giveaways I would always see that I could get extra entries for doing a blog post about the giveaway. For the longest time, I would not get those entries. Then I decided, what the heck. Why not? I started a little blog so that I could post about giveaways and get those extra entries. Then I figured, why stop there? I started writing more on the blog and then building it up to possibly be able to host some of my own giveaways and share my life with others.
My first blog posts were in December of 2009. It is hard to believe that I have had this blog now for over 3 years.
My first three posts were:

  1. "Feed Your Stash" fridays button
  2. Leg Huggers Giveaway on The Cloth Diaper Report
  3. FuzziBunz Giveaway on Suburban Saving Momma
Do you have a blog? Why and when did you start?

Until next time... Happy blogging?

Mar 16, 2013

{31 Days} Day 5 - My Favorite Movies

Everyone has a a favorite movie. Some have more than one favorite. There are a few that I have seen and will continue to watch for a long time. Some are newer and some are older. The first is an all time favorite for me. I have watched it so many times. That is Dirty Dancing.

Another really good one is The Avengers. Newer, but so good!

Now, these next two are two that I first saw on broadway. I loved them and now they both have theatrical releases that are really good. Those would be Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. 

Les Mis actually has two theatrical releases, but the new one that is a musical is the one I am speaking of here. I do not mind the first movie to be released, but it is not a musical and to me Les Mis is musical. I crave the score of the production. I have seen the new movie multiple times and would have loved to see it more. i know for sure we will own it on DVD when it is released. I am just so glad that Hubby loves it too.

What are you favorite movies?

Until next time... Happy Film Watching!

{ Days} Day 16 - Accomplishments

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I am not quite sure how to answer that. Possibly one of my greatest accomplishments was delivering my two children with absolutely no pain meds. They didn't really give me much choice in the matter, but after those two deliveries I knew I could do so much. I really had that feeling of accomplishment after LJ since it was so fast, furious, and unexpected.
I also had a great feeling of accomplishment after nursing BG for as long as I did. We could not get things to work out for nursing LJ. I was able to nurse BG for over a year. That was a great feeling after not having that with LJ.

What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

Until next time... Happy Living?

Mar 15, 2013

{31 Days} Day 12 - Missing

This is a tough topic today. What do I miss? There are plenty of things that I miss.Now the question I have to answer for this post is where do I want to take it? Do I want to go sentimental or keep things lighter? To be honest, I don't know. My first answer goes deep. It is a quick gut reaction to the question at hand, and I guess I should run with it.
The biggest thing I miss is my dad. After him, it is my Nanny. I lost my dad when I was 6. He died from lung cancer caused by smoking. It is hard to lose a parent at any age. When you are so young, it can be hard to really process your emotions that well and understand things. One thing I remember from that time is getting a big stack of hand made cards from the kids in my first grade class. I also remember being graveside. It was a rainy day and I hid my tears using my clear froggy umbrella. I loved the umbrella. I also didn't understand why I did not see his casket during the funeral. It was later that I found out he had been cremated.
I was very fortunate to then get a great stepdad. He is pretty great. :)

What is something/someone you miss? 

Until Next time.... Happy Living!

Mar 14, 2013

{31 Days} Day 14 - iPods

Now, today we are asked what is on our iPods. Here is the thing. I don't have one. Technically we do own an mp3 player. I cannot tell you however the last time either of us used it. I had it in my hospital bag for both deliveries, but it was never used. Then again I never really had the chance, but that is a different post.
Hubby and I tend to listen mostly to radio stations (93.3 WMMR in particular) in the car and I will listen to Pandora's contemporary christian station when I am working around the house. That is about it. We don't really do the whole player thing. Bummer, I know. Not really.

What do you listen to?

Until next time.... Happy Listening!

{31 Days} Day 11- Books

Books. Reading. I will admit, I don't do that much. The books I read are children's books, and I am reading them to the kids at night. I can't fully remember the last book I read for myself. I think it might have been a book I read for review on here. That was The Medium Next Door. I did that review back in June of 2011. It has been awhile. I think part of my problem is there is so much more that I do instead of reading. It can also take a lot for a book to grab me enough to keep me reading. It is hard to find those books.

What is the last book you read?

Until next time...Happy Reading!

Mar 13, 2013

{31 Days} Day 13 - Regrets...Live without them

The prompt for today is all about regrets. I am not sure that I truly regret much. Everything that I have done in my life and that has happened has made me the woman I am today. Yes, there are unsavory things in my past, but if they have shaped me. If there is really anything to regret in life it would be not trusting the Lord enough. He has my life planned. He knows all that will happen. if this is true, how can I regret it, for He has determined life events to shape us into who He would have us be.

Is there anything you regret? Are you working towards living with no regrets? 

Until next time... Happy Living!

{31 Days} Day 10 - Our Daily Routine...?

 Our daily routine can truly vary from day to day. I keep some things fluid as it works for us. Hubby and I plan some things, but then when it comes to the little things, we like to let it flow.
Here is the basics of our routine each day.
Hubby gets up and goes to work by 630
Kids and I wake usually by 800
We get up and head downstairs
The kids get some milk and cereal (or what they might like for breakfast that day)
M/W/F LJ has school
School days, LJ is dressed and Mommom takes him to school @ 9
BG and I pick up LJ after school at 1130
Nap-time starts at 1
Hubby usually gets home around 4
Milk and some TV time
Bath time is around 730 (when needed)
Bedtime is 8 for the kids

I have told LJ and he now remembers that I enforce nap-time until Kindergarten. Both kids have to lay in bed for the duration of their lullaby CD. If I have to go up and make them get back in bed or stop playing/messing around, I restart the CD, so they are up there longer. This is some of my best to time to get work done around the house. 
Mornings have the greatest amount of playtime for us. That is most of what we do, unless I have to do some errands while LJ is at school. The kids are up from nap-time by 330 and then it is playtime until dinner, as well.
We keep our weekends very flexible. We still try to get the kids to nap at some point, but the weekends are family time and we usually don't plan that until the day of. 

So, there is our daily routine. What is your routine?

Until next time... Happy Living!

Mar 10, 2013

{31 Days} Day 3 - Happiness is...

To me Happiness is
Warm Hugs from loved ones
"I love you" coming when it is not expected
The smell of freshly baked goods
Smiles on faces
Curling up on the couch with warm drinks and loved ones
New baby smell
Snuggling with children after bathtime
Listening children pray
Faith in God
Fellowship is friends and family
Hearing my son praying the sinner's prayer and asking to be born again so he can one day be with God in Heaven

Yes, I was so blessed and thrilled when my son's SS teacher came to me and told me that LJ was asking to pray the prayer to have God in his heart and be born again. He knew what he was saying and what it meant. Later that afternoon we sat with him and my husband prayed the prayer with LJ. It was such a special day for us. Truly special. 

What makes you happy? What puts a smile on your face? Please share so that we may share the happiness with you!

Until next time... Happy Happiness!

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