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How a Preschool Teacher Chooses Toys

Ever wonder how a professional picks out their children’s toys? On today’s post I let you in on a few secrets.

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Using up all those plastic grocery bags

I try to be good.  I really do.  I try to remember my reusable bags every time I go to the store. But somehow I end up with a cabinet full of plastic grocery bags.  Even when you bring a bunch of your own bags it always seems the bag person finds some excuse to put something in plastic.

So we tried to reduce, now it’s time to reuse. I have a few ways to use up my plastic bags.

As bathroom garbage can liners- at least it’s getting one more use before getting tossed, right?

 

As fabric. You can iron your bags together and make a sewable fabric.  Here’s a tutorial on how to do that: http://letitunravel.com/2011/02/28/recycled-plastic-bag-to-fabric-tutorial/

And here they make plastic fabric in cool colors, https://dallasmakerspace.org/wiki/Recycled_Plastic_Fabric

What to do with your new matieral? All kinds of things.  Wet bags come to mind. If you cloth diaper you know how important those are.  Even if you don’t, a waterproof bag could be really useful for the beach or pool.

 

As stuffed animal stuffing.  I figured this one out one day when I really needed something to stuff a toy I just made for my daughter. Cut up the bags, roll them in tubes, or just jam them in.  It makes the stuffy surprisingly squishy soft, while still having a slight crinkle sound that babies eat up.

 

What do you do with all those plastic grocery bags? Share your creative ideas!

Changes are acomin’

If I’m quiet here for awhile, it’s because I have BIG things coming. Yes, bigger than 100$ giveaway. It’s all very exciting, but takes a lot of work! I’m hoping I can reveal in the next week though, so please be patient with me. And in the mean time, enter my raffle copter contest for a chance to win 100$.

My Cloth Diaper Wish list

Aside

I have a lot of fluff.  But I could always use more! Buy all the diapers!

  • Sloomb wool longies (some are in the mail)
  • Softbums omni shell
  • Swaddlebees simplex
  • Grovia shells
  • Itti Bitti D’lish
  • Hemp Baby Flats
  • Planet Wise covers
  • The old generation bg elemental
  • Best Bottoms
  • Moraki’s (especially the Hippy rainbow all in ones!)
  • Grovia Kiwi Pie fitteds
  • Green Mountain prefolds
  • ANY newborn diaper (no, I’m not expecting.  I just didn’t cloth diaper from the start with this baby and would like to next go around)

I have some mystery fluff coming.  And I’m enrolled from the Kissed By the Moon monthly mystery fluff, so I hope at least one of these things ends up my my mailbox!

A few thoughts on Prefolds

When I first started cloth diapering I tried a lot of different things.  I bought a large box of econobum prefolds with some covers and snappis off of E-bay.  After waiting forever to get them I put one on my daughter and…..hated it.  I just couldn’t get it to fold right.  And the snappi? Fail.  I guess I didn’t read the package, because I had no idea you are supposed to stretch them a few times before use. The box of prefolds went into a closet, not to be seen for weeks.  At the same time I was beginning my love affair with pocket diapers.  The prefolds just got left all by their lonesome.  At some point I traded the whole prefold/cover/snappi lot (holding back 1 econobum pre fold, just in case) for a bunch of pockets.

There, my journey with prefolds stopped until this spring. Once the baby started “helping” with the laundry, see Wordless Wednesday, stuffing pockets was becoming a pretty big pain. I would have everything stacked and ready for stuffing, only to have the baby spread my neat piles all over the living room.  Clearly, I need an alternative.

So I started back into the prefold journey. This time I had a better understanding of the hole prefold system.  For one thing you don’t need to know how to fold or use a snappi- just pad fold (fold the diaper into thirds) and lay on top of the cover.  So I bought the Econobum trial pack (this is a great deal by the way, under 12$ for a cover and 3 prefolds.) See my button at the end of the post, or sidebar, for where to buy! This time things went much better.  So I invested in a few different sizes of prefolds to see what would work. Now I have some really nice ones (think SustainableBabyish).

Some things I love about prefolds:

Economical: you can get the smallest size for around a dollar a piece.  Less if you wait for a sale.  Plus, you can make a variety of sizes work.  If the diaper is too small to wrap around baby, just pad fold it.  If it’s huge, just fold it to size and stuff the extra into the cover.  May be a bit bulky, but it works in a pinch.

Super practical: these babies wash well, can be boiled if you run into the stinkies, and dry fast.  Plus you can use them in a bunch of ways once baby is potty trained.  They make great rags.

No Stuffing! enough said there.

Pack small: good for travel.

Breathable: Paired with a wool or fleece cover these are super breathable and great when baby is getting rashy.  If the rash is really bad, but you can’t stand cleaning baby messes off the floor, then you can just leave these uncovered (change quickly! they will leak when coverless).

Open ended: Prefolds can be used in a lot of ways- so many fancy folds! Youtube it- so many good videos on all the folds.  Or, just fold it into thirds and put it into a cover.  Whatever works for you.

Natural fibers.  These are made with cotton, bamboo or I think some come in hemp.  Many come unbleached.  This means no synthetics against baby’s skin. Great for sensitive skin.

Better with use.  Prefolds actually get softer and more absorbent each time you wash them.  So if your diaper feels stiff and does not absorb very well, give it time. It may just need a few more washes.

The bad.

Huge learning curve.  At least there was for me- it took me six months to figure these out.  In fact, I gave up on my first attempts. It takes awhile to figure out how to put these on without getting leaks or blowouts, especially on exclusively breast fed baby poo. I still don’t trust my folding to hold up when outside of the house.  I haven’t had a leak yet- but I know I will as soon as we get in the car.

Wet on skin.  Unless you get a stay dry prefold, or put a fleece liner between it and baby, the wetness stays up against the baby’s skin. This seems to be a problem more for smaller baby’s then bigger ones.

The Bottom Line. 

Prefolds are a great diapering solution in general. They may not be quite as simple to use, at first, as a pocket or all in one, but once you get the hang of it they are pretty awesome.

Even if you choose not to use prefolds as a full time system (I don’t) you should probably have a few around.  These are good to have on hand when you are stripping your inserts and need something to stuff a pocket with.  Or when you can’t do laundry for a few days and need a backup diaper.  They are great to have around for when a rash develops and you want to air baby out a little.

If you want to try a few prefolds, but are nervous to, I suggest Kelly’s Closet.  They have a 30 day guarantee, and sell the econobum trial pack for just under 12$

Click here to visit Kelly’s Closet

*disclaimer* affiliate of Kelly’s Closet.  I did not receive any refolds free for review however- all my own honest opinion.

Throwback Thursday: On the Line

When  you step into the cloth diapering world you will find that there are some pretty heated debates.  Bring up the word dryer and you will get as many sides to the story as there are cloth diaper types. Put your PUL in the dryer on hot- it needs heat to seal it.  PUL should never be put in the dryer it delaminates.  Similar story for cotton, hemp, bamboo and microfiber. Most of the cloth diapering world seems able to agree on one thing: line drying saves you energy, money, and is probably better for your diapers.

I don’t know about you, but I just love the look of laundry out on the line. Especially all those pretty cloth diapers.  The cute patterns- or the old fashioned look of flats.  Maybe it just brings me back to a simpler time. Either way- this post has some serious eye candy if you like the look of hanging diapers.

Now I put all my diapers in the dryer, on low, all winter.  Drying the wipes and microfiber on hot after the pockets were done.  No ill effects. But I did this because I thought line drying was out of the question- most days the thermometer never got above freezing. No one wants frozen diapers.  But it turns out- you don’t need a big yard.  Or a yard.  Or a fancy system. Or nice weather. Or really, anything special at all, to line dry your diapers.

This Momma found a drying rack at a thrift store and puts it on her small porch.  When the weather is bad she brings it in.  She adds a fan to speed up drying and keep them from getting stiff.

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These next two Momma’s use their decks to hang diapers.ImageImage

Hanging diapers can get you outside, enjoying the sun, if you have the space to do it like these next Mommas. ImageImageImage

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Those are some pretty places to do your laundry, no?

But I don’t have a place to hang a clothes line! This Momma doesn’t have a line- and doesn’t need it! she uses her fence and some hangers. Image

But I don’t have a yard, you say.  Or a porch.  Or a deck. I just have to use a dryer. No, you do not! This next Momma hangs diapers indoors.  She has them in front of the windows.  I never knew this, but guess what? The sun will take out spots even through the window pane.ImageThis next family clearly figured out the hanger and the window trick, and combined the two.Image

Ah, but my weather is so unpredictable! It may rain on my diapers.  This system is a hybrid- start them outside in the nice weather, and move the whole thing inside when the weather acts up.ImageThis next Momma shares a space with extended family.

She writes: “We are temporarily cohabiting with my in-laws, so space is limited. There are 3 dvd racks holding up the coats and bags in the back. And a baby gate supporting the front rack. And the rods are cheap curtain type rods. Hence two being taped together”.  Not only is this Momma not able to hang outside, but she is cramped for space too.Image

Oh, my HOA would never allow such a contraption in the yard!  This Momma’s doesn’t either.  So her line is retractable- that way she can pull it in when the diapers are done and none are the wiser.Image

 

So now I think I’ve eliminated just about every excuse to not hang dry your diapers.  And I hope I’ve inspired you to figure out a way to hang dry your diapers. Never underestimate the ingenuity of cloth diapering families!

 

I want to send out a big thank you to all the Momma’s who sent in their pictures of diapers on the line (or fence, or deck, or cd rack, for that matter)! Could not have done it without you.

 

Disclaimer: I had permission to use these Momma’s photos.  YOU DO NOT.  So please, no copying! These are all property of the kind Momma’s on the cloth diaper support group. Thank you.