folklife festival.

Dhara, myself, and my mom went to the Folklife Festival this past weekend in DC — this year the main focus being the country of Columbia, the Peace Corp, and Rhythm + Blues.  The demonstrations were super interesting.  It’s always fascinating to learn about age old traditions of various cultures, and be inspired to begin our own traditions.

We stopped at DC’s farmer’s market, which was adjacent to the festival, for a loaf of tasty bread and some local honey.  [I SO wish we lived within walking distance to a farmer’s market!]  For lunch we had authentic Thai and West African food — yum.  We listened to amazing folk music.  Dhara loved running free and partaking in the neat children’s activities.  Although she did freak out when we put her on the old carousel located on the mall — I guess she’s still too small for it.  The only drawback to the day was the heat — they really should have the festival in the fall when it’s cool outside so people can be out all day.  All in all, can’t wait for next year’s festival!

my little folk girl

bread making is such an art — an art I want to perfect

tongan woman

spinning using a drop spindle

learned some neat homespun farming techniques

munching on some freshly baked bread

if only I had the right figure, you would find a version of this dress on me

teaching kids the age old art of basket weaving

she needed some time to herself

cloth diapering: my daily system.

One of the biggest drawbacks of cloth diapering [CD] is going into it without a system.  Trust me, you’ll give up in no time because it can become too much.

Some recommendations:

After the constantly-changing-a-diaper-newborn stage [which prefolds + covers are probably best for], I think it’s safe to say that 18 diapers is a good number to start off with for babies 3 months and older.  I personally like the pocket diapers or the all-in-one’s [AIO’s] over the prefolds and fitteds for after the newborn stage.  They are so easy, and are the most similar to the way disposable diapers work.

Here’s what my daily system looks like:

1.  Let’s assume we’re beginning with a brand new lot of cloth diapers.  After following the directions for washing and prepping your new diapers with a CD safe detergent, I usually hang them up to dry outside as long as it’s not raining or too cold.  Otherwise, I just toss them into the dryer.

2.  After they are fully dry, I assemble all my diapers and fold them the way I want them for when I change Dhara.  I then stack all my diapers nicely on the shelves of the changing table.

3.  I usually change Dhara’s diaper around 5 – 6 times a day, about every 3 hours. Before putting the diaper on her, I lay a disposable liner over the diaper in case she decides to poop.  I don’t always do this, but it does help in the clean-up of a poopy diaper.

Nighttime: For nighttime, I put Dhara in what I’d like to call “our nighttime diaper.”  There isn’t a specific diaper for nighttime out on the market, but we use the Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper, or the 4.0 One Size AIO with an added sherpa AND hemp doubler for extra absorbency — this usually lasts the whole night without a diaper change.  This is what works for us.  I have a total of 3 “nighttime diapers.”

4.  Here is what I do with a pee or poo diaper:

For a “pee diaper change”, I take the diaper off and stick it in the pail liner hanging right next to the changing table, and clean her up with some wipes and a spray of Mama Rose’s Sunshine Spray.  Please note that if the diaper is a pocket diaper, I take the insert out first and then toss them both into the pail liner.  Another thing to take note is that if the diaper has a hook and loop closure, it’s important that you attach the washer tabs so that the velcro doesn’t go crazy in the washer and dryer.  This will help with the life of your diapers.  If your diaper has snaps instead, put it in the pail liner without worry.

For a “poo diaper change”, I take the diaper off and put it aside on the changing table while I clean Dhara up with wipes or a wash at the sink.  Once she’s all cleaned up and changed, I go back to the poo diaper.  I take the poo diaper to the bathroom and pick up the disposable liner (now filled with poo), and chuck it into the toilet.  Most of the time, the poo is all contained in the disposable liner — in this case, I just spray a couple sprays of Bac-Out spray and toss the diaper into the pail liner — making sure to take out the inserts and attaching the washer tabs like with the pee diaper above.  If there’s poo on the diaper, I wash it out with cold water at the bathroom sink, and then spray it with Bac-Out, and then stick it in the pail liner. I’ve decided to wait on a diaper sprayer for when we have our next child — the sprayer helps to spray and wash down the diaper in the toilet versus the bathroom sink.

5.  Washing + Drying: I wash diapers every 3 days — that’s why it’s helpful to have at least 18 diapers on hand.  It is not recommended to go longer than 3 days before washing.  When washing day comes, I grab the pail liner that contains all the dirty diapers for the past 3 days, and empty it into the washer along with the pail liner which is also washable.  I wash the diapers on a cold rinse without any detergent. The cold rinse takes care of taking most stains out.  I then wash it on a hot rinse with 2 cloth diaper scoops of Country Save detergent. After the hot rinse the diapers are clean. I then hang them to dry outside or stick them in the dryer. Letting them dry in the sun helps take out stains that didn’t come out in the wash because the sun acts as a bleach of sorts.  Allowing them to air dry also helps with the life of your diapers.

And there you have it!  This system may sound long and drawn out, but it actually plays out rather quickly.  Once I began sticking to this system, life was so much easier, and my love for cloth diapering began.  I loved how cute the diapers were, and as silly as this sounds I love that I was in control of what went on my daughter’s bum.  And a chemical free bum at that!

easy peasy

cloth diapering: my stash.

indian prefolds infant [36] – I love the unbleached infant prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers.  I didn’t use them much on Dhara, but hopefully I get to use them whenever we have our next baby.  $24/dozen

indian prefolds medium [12] – Again, Green Mountain Diapers is an awesome place to purchase good quality prefolds.  I used these with a Thirsties cover when Dhara was between 9-12 months.  Worked great.  $32/dozen

g-Diapers [6] – I would not recommend the g-Diaper.  They are adorable, but just not practical in my opinion, because the cover is made of cloth, which can easily get wet.  $17.99/each

Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket [1] – We use this as one of our nighttime diapers stuffed with a hemp and sherpa doubler.  Works great for Dhara whose a heavy wetter.  $17.95/each

Bum Genius 3.0 One Size AIO [2] – Another great nighttime diaper stuffed with a hemp and sherpa doubler.

Bum Genius 4.0 One Size Pocket [1] – I like this diaper alot, but it fits a bit small/trim, so should be great for smaller babies.  Supposedly goes up to 35 pounds — we’ll see.

Bum Genius Flip One Size [1] – This is an interesting diaper, I’m just getting used to it.  Not sure how I feel about it yet.  But one thing is for sure, it’s probably a good travel diaper because you only have to carry a couple covers and a handful of inserts.

Rumpa-Rooz Pocket One Size [1] – I love this diaper, it’s great quality.  The double gussets are awesome.  It also seems better for smaller babes because it’s so trim. But I do love putting it on my girl while it fits.  It’s one of the pricier cloth diapers.

Grovia AIO One Size [2] – I love this diaper too, perfect for smaller sized babies. This diaper is different from most AIO’s because the fabric is an awesome organic soft cotton.  Plus, they come in super cute prints.  This is another pricey cloth diaper.  $22.95/each

Fuzzibunz Perfect Fit Pocket [3] – This is my absolute favorite diaper around!!! Because Dhara is on the bigger side, it’s a perfect diaper for larger babies.  And it’s sooo soft!

Fuzzibunz One Size Pocket [9]

Charlie Banana One Size Pocket [2] – A pretty small diaper, probably the smallest One Size I own — it’s a nice diaper, but not nice and big enough for me to purchase anymore for my stash — I prefer the ones listed above over the Charlie Banana.

ES Baby Fitted One Size [5] – The cutest fitted diapers around.  Plus they are handmade by a stay at home mama.  I love her taste in fabrics.

Thirsties Size 2 Covers [4] – I use this cover with my indian prefolds.  So far, so good — no leaks.  The gussets make it an awesome cover.

California Baby Diaper Rash Cream – My preferred choice of rash creams for cloth. Remember that you cannot use any diaper rash cream with cloth diapers.

Angel Baby Bottom Balm – Another great rash cream for cloth.

Mama Rose’s Sunshine Spray – Probably my most favorite accessory.  I love the scent of roses, so a quick spray of this on baby’s bottom smells great, feels refreshing and cool, soothes irritation, and is naturally anti-septic and antibacterial.

Snappis [3] – I prefer these to pins with prefolds.

hemp doublers [4] – Essential for heavywetters and nighttime.

sherpa doublers [6] – Essential for heavywetters and nighttime.  I personally don’t notice a difference using hemp or sherpa.  Sherpa is cheaper.

Gro-via disposable liners – These keep the poo from touching the diaper.  Makes it SOOO easy to pick up and throw into toilet.  Keeps messes to a minimum — a lifesaver!  However, I do prefer the Kushies liners over the Grovia liners, because they are thicker and no stains are left on the diaper like with the Gro-via liners. Kushies liners can be put through the wash, and be reused at least once.  I do want to try the rice paper liners from Green Mountain.

cloth wipes [12] – I haven’t begun using cloth wipes.  I’m hoping to use them with a homemade wipes solution in the future.
handmade wetbag – I’m working on a handmade wetbag for day trips — will post pics soon.
large pail liners [2] – A necessary item for dirty diapers.
Bac Out Spray – I love this stuff.  I spray it on a dirty diaper after I’ve washed off the poo.  It’s live enzymes kill bacteria organically.
Country Save Detergent – A great uncomplicated detergent for cloth diapers and clothes.  Unscented.

When it comes to fitteds, pockets and AIO diapers, I stick to gender neutral colors and prints so that a boy could wear them too.  Sad to say I don’t [yet] have any of the cute girly ones out there on the market.  But that’s ok, I love that in a family multiple children can wear the same diapers, which in the end saves money.  I also usually choose One Size because they fit newborn to potty training.  Except for FuzziBunz Perfect Fit, which Dhara wears all the time now.  All of my prefolds, cloth wipes, pail liners, hemp and sherpa doublers, snappis, and thirsties covers were purchased from Green Mountain Diapers.  Love Karen’s dedication + homespun approach to giving her customers the best reviews and prices.  I’ve also purchased diapers and accessories from Cloth Diaper OutletZulilyES, and our awesome local children’s consignment store, Greenberries.

Sorry for the super long post folks!  I’ll share about my daily system after I return from a church retreat I’m off to for the rest of the week!  Have a lovely July 4th weekend!

cloth diapering: my experience.

It’s been sometime since I last posted about cloth diapers.  Many of you have asked and some are probably wondering what’s going on with that.  So I thought it necessary to divulge the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  The truth of the matter is that I absolutely LOVE cloth diapers.  Just ask the hubby — he’d probably tell you that I’ve spent hours watching the Cloth Diapering Channel on YouTube [so informative!].

You could probably call me an addict.  I love putting them on Dhara — they are oh, so cute, and so soft, and so comfortable.  I love hanging them outside to dry in the sun.  I love folding and stuffing them too.  I just love the whole process, [except maybe washing off poo, but hey, it’s not the end of the world].  But my love for cloth diapering wasn’t always like this.

I mentioned in my initial cloth diapering post that I wanted to cloth diaper right off the bat when Dhara was a newborn.  This never happened.  We started with disposables in the hospital, and continued using them at home majority of the time.  They are just so darn easy!  But every time I looked at my stash of cloth diapers on the changing table, my heart still yearned to use cloth; and it didn’t help that Greg would remind me every so often that I should use cloth since we invested in them.  Our cloth diapers were used in bouts — a few weeks here, and few week there, and when we ran out of disposables.

Thank the good Lord He gave me a cloth diapering buddy to talk with about my struggles with cloth diapering, systems, detergents, what worked and what didn’t work, and more.  You’d be surprised about how long one could converse about diapers!  I must say Tina was a huge help.  I needed someone to talk to and show me that it was truly possible.  I realize how silly this may all sound — me needing someone to talk to, and needing the encouragement, but I really had a deep desire within me to cloth diaper, and not just cloth diaper some of the time, but 100% of the time.

So to make a long story short, I’ve been exclusively cloth diapering for 4 months now, and I so enjoy it.  My issue was that I needed to stop dreaming about it, get off my lazy bum and just do it!  I needed a system that worked for me, and the discipline to stick to it.  Once all that was figured out, it was a breeze.  It feels really good to conquer this, and it feels amazing not throwing away a ton of disposables anymore.  We’ve found a system that works for us throughout the day, and at night; however I’m still working on when we travel.

More tomorrow on my ever growing stash of cloth diapers, what diapers and accessories I love, and my daily system.  If you can’t tell already, I am super duper excited I get to talk about this!  : )

18 months old.

It feels really odd to have a toddler running around our home.  It was just recently that she joined our family, and she’s already a year and a half.  After a year of monthly updates, I stopped doing them every month because updating after 12 months seemed too much.  So I decided to focus on the next big milestone, 18 months.

So much has happened since Dhara’s 12 month update.  She’s learned the word “no.”  She uses it frequently, but in the sweetest voice possible as she shakes her head and her eyebrows go into a frown.  It’s hard not to scoop her up and hold her tight when she says “no” in that voice.  In addition to “no”, she’s picked up many other words along the way, like: cute, stinky, credit, heavy, and cupcake.  She talks in mini sentences, like, “Dhara sit it”, or a question like, “he’s gone?”  She’s also learning her ABC’s and 123’s.  If you ask her to count something, this is usually what it sounds like, “2,8,2,8.”  We are working on this.  : )

She is super lovable.  She loves to hug and kiss and tickle people.  And don’t worry if you aren’t ticklish, she will laugh for you.  She’s definitely a people person.  My mom tells me I was the exact same way as a toddler.  Dhara loves talking on the phone to her Grandma and Grandpa (Greg’s parents), as well as her Papa and Grammy (my grandparents).  She has so much to say, most of which is unintelligible, but with real words stuck in here and there.  She loves little kids especially and usually finds someway to hug them.

Dhara, you are an amazing little girl and we love you to pieces.  Happy 18 months to my Dhara Dear!  More tomorrow on a quaint celebration we had to celebrate her 18 months.

fruits + veggies from our garden. vintage inspired dress from My Sweet Muffin.

blueberry fields.

blueberry summer

She was super busy picking and eating the unripe green blueberries.  This is the very reason I love blogging — because it documents our life as it unfolds.  The day to day outings, milestones, experiences and hopes.  My trusty camera is usually always by my side — it’s been through alot.  With all the beatings it’s gotten over the past years, it’s stayed true to my love of watching and documenting my daughter taste life one blueberry, or strawberry, or tart cherry at a time.

This afternoon I took Dhara and Hannah [my little cousin] to a blueberry field so we could pick enough berries for a quaint little celebration I’m hosting this Sunday. We went picking this same time last year with Zuma.  I just adore Dhara’s little blueberry top she’s wearing in these photos — she wore it as a dress last summer when she was a wee one.  [I actually purchased it a year before I got pregnant, something I would do here and there.] Wish I had one like it.

[gifty, she’s wearing a camp lighthouse for the blind t-shirt]

until next year

a beach weekend.

We spent time at the beach this past weekend visiting with Greg’s family.  Had a lovely time outdoors on their new stone patio just chatting, enjoying mom’s beautiful garden, and watching Dhara do all her fun little antics.  I spent any free time knitting a shop order and cutting fabric for bibs.  I also couldn’t help but stop at the local yarn store and my favorite antique shop.  Scored some pretty wooden buttons, a lovely vintage leather travelers bag, and a 1961 quilt top (thanks mom!).

Dhara was a water baby all weekend — she loved it! She especially loves having Aunt Beth in the water with her.  Also had a nice father’s day dinner by the grill master himself, Greg’s dad — he loves to cook.  And what an amazing cook — he makes everything taste great.

nightly walk on the beach enjoying an outdoor band

also enjoyed a scoop of coconut (my favorite) gelato + a scoop of hazelnut

greg and mom, a father’s day brunch

happy father’s day to greg and dad!

blowing bubbles with aunt beth

someone’s ready to get back in the water

papa day 2011.

father’s day 2011, in grandma’s garden, bethany beach, DE

To Dhara’s Daddy,

Happy second father’s day to my great love.  You are an amazing daddy who loves with all your heart.  I love watching you with our little girl.  I love how patient and kind you are with her.  I love how you teach and train her in the way she should go.  I appreciate how you wake up in the middle of the night to bring her warm milk.  I love how hard you work so that I can stay home with our little one.  I love making up silly songs with you for her — they are fantastic and should be made public.  I love how you tickle her and chase her around the house on your hands and knees.  I love how you take her down the road to see the rabbit den filled with baby bunnies and a mama rabbit.  I like how you both tend the vegetable garden together.  I love how you pray for her because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much — and I didn’t make that up.  I love how special you think she is.  And, I love how special you are.

love, Dhara’s Mama