Day 3 The Flavor Of Flats

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 Today is open topic for those of us blogging about our experience during the Flats and Handwashing Challenge being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry So I figured I would share how we “spruced” up our flats to add a little flavor to the the mix. For some the cuteness of the fluff is part of the appeal of cloth diapers. I decided to tie dye some of our flats though I will admit I should have planned ahead as handwashing newly dyed diapers isn’t the easiest thing to do.

 We did several but I will spare you all the pics. Like any other tie dye we tied/folded our diapers in preparation for dyeing, once tied we added the dye and they looked a little something like this.

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After letting the cure for 15 hrs it was time to rinse and wash which was a lengthy process considering they all had to be had washed for the challenge.after rinsing until the water ran clear we unwrapped them which was like Christmas morning waiting to see what we had created and they looked a little something like this.

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 After many washed and rinses they were ready for the line and I was anxious to get them on the bum. Here is what they looked like once they were done. considering it was the 1st time ever tie dyeing I think they turned out pretty well.

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The kit originally cost 20.00 but I had a 50% off coupon for micheals so the cost was 10.00 which is very doable if one on a fixed income like myself wanted to shake things up a bit. And my little one loved them as well check out my future post of favorite folds when he gets to finally wear them.

Day 2 Of The Flats And Handwashing Challenge…….. What’s In Your Stash

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Today is stash shot day. This year I didn’t have to purchase anything for the challenge as I had all supplies  I have however added 4 Orange diaper Co. bamboo terry squares to my stash after hearing the rave about them from others participating in the challenge. I bought them during a seconds sale. Pictured is 15 flour sack towels (I have more not shown but they are being spruced up, more on that later in the week), 6 covers mostly flips as I can use them multiple times, 2 sets of boingos, 2 snappies, and 1 set of diaper pins, 1 bucket for the camp style washer, and one plunger, home made cloth wipes made from old towels, I will also be using a diaper sprayer that my husband made last year. for a complete break down of the supplies used please refer to my post from last year crunchycritter.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/day-2-of-the-flats-and-handwashing-challenge/ . For someone starting out the cost would come in under $200.00 at around $178.71. Imagine less then $200.00 to diaper your baby from birth to potty training.

Feel free to hop on over to Dirty Diaper Laundry to see what others are using for the challenge http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/4th-annual-flats-and-handwashing-challenge-day-2-show-us-your-stash-and-tell-us-what-did-it-cost/

Yesterday Marked The 1st Day Of The 4th Flats And Handwashing Challenge. Why why you ask?

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Once again I am participating in the Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats and Hand Washing Challenge, why you ask. Well like last year I want to spread awareness that there are options for low income families to diaper their babies without having to sacrifice other essential needs. As a result of what I learned through the challenge last year I was able to confidently cloth diaper last summer while on a camping trip never having to worry about running out of diapers or having to “make them stretch.”

This year I hope to fine tune my hand washing skills and to gain additional knowledge to be able to help others should the opportunity present it’s self.Not to mention that I found it somewhat relaxing last year to hand wash I even continued doing so for a while after the challenge ended but like many gave in to the convenience factor of the washing machine.

I have personally watched family members struggle to provide disposable diapers for their children and extend diaper changes in an attempt to make them last. It saddens me to watch their children walk around in droopy diapers that are way past their prime especially when their are other options. I have even used our cloth diapers while they are at my house to replace the disposables either due to them running out or to just try to help their parents stretch them a bit further.

I have offered to help establish a stash of cloth diapers for them but they have opted not to use cloth because for them they feel that it is more work then they are ready/able to put into it. SO it is my hope that yet once again I can lead by example and let them see it can be done no matter how crazy they may think I am. I respect their choice however I remain hopeful that those around me (Especially my children) take note just so that if ever faced with the dilemma they will know that they have options should they so choose to explore them.

Day 7 Of The Flats and Handwashing Challenge…… What Did We Learn

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Yesterday was the last day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenege that was hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry, All gave some and some gave all. While we ALL started out with the best of intentions some had to withdraw from the challenge all for varying reasons ranging from illnesses, family emergencies, to some having a difficult time with the hand washing aspect of the challenge and everything in between. I am happy to say that we competed the challenge even with our family dogs sudden and sever illness and will probably continue for some days to come as I really like how clean the diaper get with hand washing and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how quickly the flats dry.

I have learned that almost any kind of cloth can be made into a cloth diaper one of my favorites is the t shirt diaper and the flannel receiving blanket. During the challenge I found a new night time solution that works great for my little one which is the flannel receiving blanket doubled with a flat pad folded into a flip cover. He woke every morning dry with this combination which is something we didn’t have with our prefolds even when doubled and might I add with far less baulk.

I also learned the hard way I might add that less is more when it comes to hand washing and detergent. I had read from those who took the challenge that not much was needed so I went in knowing to reduce the amount but finding the right amount for your water conditions, load size and what not really is a learning curve but I can honestly say my diapers have never been cleaner.

The most important lessen is that this is doable while admittedly it’s not the easiest way to cloth diaper your baby it can be done. Every baby deserves to have clean diapers and every family deserves to know that there are other options out there other then the reuse of disposable diapers. As I stated in my previous post this challenge has prompted myself and another mother whose children are potty trained now to explore the possibilities of setting up a local cloth diaper bank as well as classes to teach the families about the different types of cloth, where to buy them, and how to care for them. I can’t wait to read how the other bloggers made out during the challenge as their experience will be different then mine and I’m sure they will have some great solutions/ ideals that I could use.

Day 6 How Has The Challenge Changed You??

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Today is open topic day for us bloggers doing the Flats and Handwashing Challenege being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry which means we the bloggers get to pick the topic for discussion. So I am curious how this challenge has changed others and thought I would share what it has done for me as well. I’m a researcher by nature if I hear or see something that interest me I research so when I heard about the Flats and Handwashing Challenge for the 1st time last year ( I was pregnant at the time)I did some research to find the reason behind it and was shocked by what I found, The very thought that some families are forced to reuse their disposable diapers saddened and horrified me all at the same time. I seen many arguments for and against such practice but was not able to weigh in on it as at the time I had zero experience with cloth diapering so I vowed I would participate in the challenge this year so I could gain first hand experience that I could later share with others.

Well by day 4 I knew that this could be a very viable option for those who are struggling to diaper their babies. I had heard the arguments low income families not having access to washers/driers, not being able to afford the cost of cloth and so on. It is my experience that those are just excuses. As we have displayed through the last 6 days it can be done and one a very tight budget as well one just has to be willing to put forth the effort.

In light of the information and knowledge I have gained from personal experience as well as following the others who have blogged their way through this challenge. I started reaching out in the community trying to get the word out to those who would be most impacted by this new found knowledge. While I am still in the very early stages of this I have contacted a local business that offers classes/services to families that are struggling to see if we  (myself and another local woman) can share the option of cloth diapers where we will be offering classes on the use and different types of cloth diaper out their.

We are also in the process of trying to get a collection of diaper together to provide a cloth diaper bank much like Giving Diapers Giving Hope. We hope to make a difference here locally and to be able to someday go larger scale but one has to start somewhere. We are currently in the process of finding out what we have to do in order to get this up and running. During the course of the last couple of days because it has only been a couple of days sense we started this motion we have found a local woman that has generously offered to teach local moms how to sew their own cloth diaper and she is doing this free of charge! Hopefully by next year we will be able to share how we have helped some local families who would otherwise struggle to diaper their babies but reaching out and helping them not only with obtaining the diapers but in how to use/care for them as well.

So my question to you is how have you benefited from this challenge and for those who haven’t taken the challenge but still use cloth how has it changed you and your way of thinking.

 

Day 5

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Today is day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry and I want to cover what has worked for me and what hasn’t. this post will be rather short as I haven’t ran into many issues. I would suggest trying the smallest amount of detergent possible, you can always add more if need but once it’s in there it’s hard to rinse out.

As I stated in the previous post I try to wash everyday I skipped yesterday because or dog has been sick and I have been spending time trying to nurse her back to health. Well today we took her to the vet and had other running around to do so I didn’t get the chance to wash the diapers until tonight, I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! I ended up with 3 “loads” of diapers which seemed to take forever and I swear I thought my arms were gonna fall off. I have found that I like HOT rinses better then cold as for me it gets more of the soap out easier which means less rinses and they are SUPER CLEAN so win win.

All and all I am enjoying this challenge it’s not easy but no way near as hard as I thought it would be either. I love learning new things and this has been a learn as you go type thing but I am pretty pleased with the results and find myself smiling when I reach for a clean diaper because I know I DID THAT lol. I know some have given up for various reasons but many of us are hanging in there. I will agree it is NOT the easiest thing in the world to do it but it is not the hardest thing either. It can be done even when life throws you curve balls but it is harder when your schedule is interrupted and you have to play catch up.

For night time or when away from the house I have come to love a flannel receiving blanket doubled with a floursack towel pad folded into a flip cover no leaks yet with that combo. I had tried just doubling floursack towels which worked okay but we still had leaking. During the day I really like floursack towels or t-shirt diapers I never would have guessed the t shirts worked so well.

Tonight I’m gonna leave you with a picture of my little man in a t shirt diaper

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He seems to like them too 🙂

Splish Splash……. Day 4 Of The Flats and Handwashing Challenge

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We are already half way through the Flats and Handwashing Challenge being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry . Today I would like to share with you my washing routine and how it’s going so far. Earlier in the week I introduced you to the camp style washer and that is what I have been using to wash the diapers with let me just say I love it!

A month or so ago I bought some used flats when I got them home I found 2 that were badly stained and didn’t clean up even with stripping them so I had set them to the side to use as cleaning rags as they make great rags especially for dusting. Well one of them ended up on the little ones bottom, imagine my surprise when at the end of the wash cycle the stain was almost GONE!!! If I had any clue that the washer would work so well I would have taken before and after shots of that diaper. I am now on the hunt for the other one to see if it will have the same results if I find it I’ll post before and after but at this rate my camp style washer is cleaning the diapers better the my front loader, I wonder if it can do anything for the old boys baseball pants!! I just may continue to hand wash after the challenge because of how clean the diapers are getting not to mention that I strangely find the process of hand washing them relaxing and I’m getting a free awesome upper body workout in the process!

I have been washing daily with the exception of one time when I skipped a day. From that day on I decided it was easier to do every day as my hands get a little campy from wringing all the diapers out. I start out with a cold rinse letting it sit for about 5-10 minutes and the “agitating” it for about 5 minutes

initial rinse

I then ring out the diapers and set them to the side and take the water outside to water my plants!

Once the initial rinse is completed I fill the bucket with HOT water and I’m using a 1/4 tsp of tide original HE, I again “agitate” (read plunge the crap out of it….pun intended) the load which usually consist of 5-6 at a time for an additional 10 minutes or so. Again I ring the diapers/covers out and set to the side. This bucket of water I dump down the drain due to the detergent as I don’t want to harm the flowers.

wash load

water after wash and this load had poopy diapers

water after wash and this load had no poopy diapers

Once the washing is done then the rising begins this part for me is the most time consuming as I don’t want any of the soap left in the diaper it usually takes me 3-4 rinses for me to be satisfied though the hubby says I always do more than what’s needed. I use HOT water for the 1st rinse Warm for the rest.

1st rinse

1st rinse

2nd rinse 2nd rinse

and last but not least

20130521_105929 3rd rinse notice there are no bubbles in the water lol

The water from the first 2-3 (depending on the size of the load) rinses are used to water the flower beds and the last rinse I save for the initial rise for the next load so as not to waste water.

our preferred method of drying is of course on the line so that the sun can act as a disinfectant but if it’s raining which it has done this week we used the drying rack which Howie made from an old drop side crib

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the cool part about the rack is that he made it collapsible so it’s out of the way when not in use

Drying Rack When Not In Use

Setting The Record Straight Day 3 Of The Challenge

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Today is the 3rd day of the Flat and Handwashing Challenge being hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry and today we have been asked to blog about whatever it is we want so I figured I would take this opportunity to set the record straight. I have been surprised by the overwhelming negative responses by this challenge. It seems that many think that we have an underling agenda we are trying to push. Some have claimed we are pushing environmental issues, products, personal agendas, that it’s all fun and games to us, and they have made claims that we have no clue how hard some people have it, After all how is one supposed to get these supplies anyways they cost money we/they don’t have they say. Well we are TRYING to show you and share with you what, where, how. We simply want to show that for those who can’t afford the “LUXURY” of disposable diapers thee are other alternatives that can and should be considered.

I am a mom to 6 wonderful kids and have never had a problem providing for them, well that is UNTIL my husband passed away 6 1/2 years ago. At the time my youngest was 2 1/2 months old and we were hit hard financially. I remember having panic attacks in the store while shopping for disposables for the baby to the point that I avoided it at all cost. I found myself suddenly struggling to provide the basic needs for my family. How could this happen to us? We had always worked hard and we were living the good life. At that time I would have to say I didn’t view CLOTH as an option, why you ask? As silly as this may sound I didn’t even know they STILL MADE cloth diapers. I thought it was just something they did BEFORE disposables came along and now that we had those the cloth were no longer available.

Fast Forward 6 years and I am now a mommy to a 9 month old. When I found out I was pregnant the first thing I did was start looking for an alternative to disposable diapers (imagine my surprise when I discovered THEY DO STILL MAKE CLOTH DIAPERS!) Not only for health or environmental reasons; although they are very real issues but because I NEVER wanted to find myself in the same situation as before. We have adjusted to living with the severe reduction in income and have had to make drastic life changes. But the very thought that at any given moment we could find ourselves back THER again scared the hell out of me.

I spent the next 7 months researching cloth diapers and slowly obtaining my supplies. I asked for floursack towels as gifts because they are available locally and I bought some refolds and covers when I found sales as I was like many and couldn’t afford to buy everything at once. During the course of my search for AFFORDABLE cloth diapers I stumbled upon The Dirty Diaper Laundry Blog they were doing their 2nd annul Flats challenge so I followed along and learned so much from those taking the challenge. When I told people I planned to cloth diaper I got responses ranging from good for you to eww that’s gross and everything in between even the “they still make those?”. Yup they do and they work better then any disposable I have ever tried and having used disposable on my oldest 5 I have tried lots of different brands of disposables.

So for those who think I/we have an agenda for taking this challenge we do but it’s not the on you think. My agenda is to show others who like me didn’t really know about cloth diapers that they do exist and can be done on ANY budget. For those claiming it’s just fun and games for us well they apparently have never hand washed dirty diapers. Though strangely enough there is something relaxing about doing so. For me I think it gives me time to reflect and to be thankful for all that I do have and the sense of accomplishment when I take a CLEAN diaper and put it on my baby’s bottom knowing that I was able to provide that for him. We are fortunate to have daily access to a washer and drier however we are always looking for ways stay within our budget and we never know when those luxuries will be unavailable to us whether it’s a result of mother nature, finances, or any other unforeseen reasons. I find comfort in knowing that as long as I have water and cloth (of any kind really) that my baby will have a dry healthy bottom free from irritation as a result of sitting in his waist.

 

Camp Style Washer Instructions

This is how we made our Camp Style Washer that was introduced to me from The Dirty Diaper Laundry.

Before Pic of Bucket and Plunger For Camp Style Washer

Before Pic of Bucket and Plunger For Camp Style Washer

Supplies needed

A Bucket many use a 5 gallon bucket but mine is 3 1/2 that I got free from a local fast food restaurant

A Single layer plunger as pictures I bought mine at the dollar tree well for 1.00

A drill

Drill bits (size for lid depends on size of plunger handle we used 7/16 inch for the water holes)

1st we Drilled a hole in the bucket slightly larger then the diameter of the plunger handle

2nd we drilled holes in our plunger

Plunger After Being Drilled

it’s as easy as that total time less then 10 minutes and here is the finished product

Camp Style Washer

Day 2 of The Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Today I would like to share with you the supplies I am using during the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry, where I got them and the cost to show you it can be done even on the smallest of budgets.

1st up is my stash shot and I will break down what is in the photos for those who aren’t familiar to Cloth Diapering

Flat and Handwashing Challenge stash shot

Flat and Handwashing Challenge stash shot

Photo shows

24 Floursack Towels free to me (my mom bought them for my for Christmas) retail at Sam’s Club 12.48 per  dozen for a total of 24.69 (already had)

10 Flats bought used for $1.00 each for a total of 10.00 (already had)

2 Sets of Boingo Diaper Fasteners 4.99 per set for a total of 9.98 (already had)

1 Snappi free retails for 3.95 (already had)

1 Set Diaper Pins free from Green Mountain Diapers (already had)

3 Receiving Blankets free can be picked up at yard sales cheaply (already had)

4 Flip Diaper Covers (1 not shown) 14.95 each I bought during a B1G1 sale (already had)

1 Grovia Diaper Cover 16.95 (already had)

1 Litewrap bought from Green Mountain Diapers 8.00 (already had)

2 Microfiber Towels 4.98 at walmart (in automotive section) (already had)

Cloth wipes (not Shown) free I took an old ripped towel and some old t-shirts and made double sided wipes

Diaper Sprayer (not shown) 24.00 Husband made following the following tutorial  http:/theparsimoniousprincess.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-pluming-project-cloth-diaper.html (already had)

5 Gallon Bucket for Camp Style Washer Free

Bucket and Plunger For Camp Style Washer

Bucket and Plunger For Camp Style Washer

1 Plunger bought from dollar tree for 1.00

Drying Rack 4.00 photos to come (already Had)

Drying Rack Drying Rack When Not In Use

Total cost for ME to take the Challenge 1.00

Total cost for someone starting out 138.71 Please note that this stash is large enough to carry one from newborn to potty training, and allowing for every other day washing or every 2 days washing. This also DOES NOT include the sale prices that I paid although those types of sales happen often so if one had time they could very easily cloth diaper their little one for under 100.00. A diaper sprayer is also not NEEDED although it does make things easier.