Why am I participating in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge?

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This is the first year that I have participated in the flats challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. We have been cloth diapering our daughter for just about a full year now and are so glad that we have made the switch. Most people only gave us a few months of cloth diapering before we would switch back to disposables. Man have we proved them wrong! Cloth diapers are something that both my husband and I love, because it definitely makes diapering more fun and entertaining.

I have decided to participate in this challenge for two main reasons, to show parents that you do not need to spend a ton of money on diapers (cloth or disposable) to diaper your children, and to let all the moms that work outside of the home (and think they are too busy to cloth diaper) know cloth diapering is not as bad as they might think it is. These two reasons mean quite a deal to me, you don’t have to buy a huge stash of diapers to diaper your children and it can fit into your daily/weekly routine with ease. I want to talk a little about each reason in more detail for this post.

Reason 1: You do not need to spend a ton of money on diapers (cloth or disposable) to diaper your children.

The reason my husband and I started cloth diapering was to save money. I had quit my job when my daughter was about 4 months old, to stay at home with her and look for a job where I could use my college degree. During that time my husband worked two jobs and we ended up falling behind on our bills. We had to look at where exactly our money was going and how we could cut back on different items.

I had seen a few different posts online from my sister in law who was starting to look into cloth diapering, and sent her a message to find out if they had gotten any cloth diapers to try out yet. She informed me that she hadn’t started but would send me some information that she had found on them. I later mentioned switching to cloth diapers to my husband and he was quick to remind me that he suggested when I was pregnant that we used cloth diapers on our daughter. So I started doing my research on cloth diapers, even asked a lady from the WIC office about them and that is when she let me know about Heiny Helpers. Heiny Helpers is a group in Bloomington that will lend out a set of cloth diapers for family’s that need diapering assistance. This was a blessing, and I am thankful everyday for their help.

1st Flat Cloth Diaper!

1st Flat Cloth Diaper!

Heiny Helpers gave us time to build up our stash of cloth diapers to a size that fit our family best and allowed us to wash them every other day. After discovering the cloth diapering online community, I realized there is a great deal of support and help out there for anyone who would like to make the switch to cloth diapers.

Reason 2:  To let all the moms that work outside of the home (and think they are too busy to cloth diaper) know cloth diapering is not as bad as they might think it is.

Of course when I started cloth diapering I was home with my daughter and it was very easy to fit cloth diapering into our everyday routine. When looking at cloth diapering over all it has been more of a blessing than a burden.  I will admit when I found a new job I was nervous that I might be too busy to cloth diaper, but that was not the case at all.

Working full time, outside of the home, and cloth diapering is no different than being a Work at home mom or a stay at home mom. Cloth diapering is very easy to fit into your weekly and is not that noticeable. You might think it is just one more thing to add on to your to do list, but I bet you hardly notice. When you decided that cloth diapering is something that will work for your family it does not become a burden, because you will make it work for your family. I absolutely love my current job and I love being a mom, both bring happiness to my life that I did not know could be a part of it.

I am very excited to participate this year in Dirty Diaper Laundry’s Flats and Handwashing challenge. I know that it will set a different routine in our daily lives, but for some people this is their everyday life. I am also excited to explore flats for the first time and see if they will be a happy addition to our current cloth diaper stash.

Check back every day this week for more updates on how the challenge is going for our family. Also be sure to check out Dirty Diaper Laundry’s page to see how others are doing with this challenge.

Taking the Flats & Handwashing Challenge!

I first want to apologize for my absence. There have been quite a few things happen in our family recently and I have not been able to blog for a bit. But I am back now and very excited about my next series of posts that will be coming up.

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I have decided that our family is going to participate in this year’s Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For one entire week participants only use flat cloth diapers and covers to diaper their children. Participants will also be handwashing and line drying all of their diapers as well. Yes that means NO WASHER, and NO DRYER!

Why in the world does she want to do this, may be a question that has now popped into your  head. Well I am doing it for two reasons, to show that you can cloth diaper your children without spending a lot of money, and to prove that cloth diapering is something that even working moms can do it is not as complicated as many make it out to be.

The main reason we switched to cloth diapers was to save money. Cloth diapers can seem like a giant investment that in the long run keeps money in your pocket and not in the pockets of supermarkets and chain stores for disposable diapers. This challenge will so that you don’t need to buy an expensive stash of cloth diapers to diaper your baby, all you need is some flat cloth diapers and covers. Think of it as “old school” cloth diapering at its best!

If you think you are too busy and can’t do it, you can! I will be working away from home as always and take this challenge because I know there are other working moms out there that are already doing this every day!

I invite you to check out Dirty Diaper Laundry’s posts on different types of flats that you can use to do this challenge. Even how to make cloth diapers out of old T-Shirts (I will be using about 12 T-Shirt diapers).

So come on and do this challenge with me or at least check it out!

Dirty Microwave…. Clean it up with Vinegar

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Our microwave always seems to get dirty and stay dirty because we never seem to clean it when we make a mess. Today I was doing some research to try and find an easy way to clean our microwave. One item seemed to always pop up to help clean the microwave and that was vinegar. I felt really dumb for not thinking about it before because I use vinegar all the time to clean many different things around the house, and in cloth diaper laundry.

To clean your microwave all you will need it a measuring cup, water, vinegar, and a wash cloth.DSC01754

All you need to do is combine 1.5 cups of water and .5 cup of vinegar into a measuring cup, sit it in your microwave and microwave it for 6 to 10 mins.

Our microwave was pretty dirty so I set the microwave for 8 mins.

After the microwave timer goes off, be careful and take out the measuring cup. CAUTION: It will be HOT!  Take a wet wash cloth and wipe down your microwave. You shouldn’t have to use a lot of elbow grease, if so put the measuring cup back in the microwave and set the timer for little longer.

Once you have wiped it all down, you’re done!

Tip: I dipped my wash cloth into the vinegar and water solution and wiped down the microwave. DSC01756

Best Stain Remover & Energy Saver… The Sun!

When I first started cloth diapering I would dry everything in the dryer. This was a fast way to get my cloth diapers dry so that I could use them since I didn’t have very many diapers to start out with. It only took one time for me to ruin a diaper to vow I would never put my covers and shells into the dryer again! My covers and shells are now always hung up to dry either inside or outside.

Hanging your clothes and diapers outside to dry helps save your money, remove stains from whites and naturally sanitize them. The sun has great powers besides just burning your skin on a hot summer day.

Cloth Diapers Hanging Outside

Cloth Diapers Hanging Outside

If you have any tough stains on your cloth diapers I always suggest putting them out in the sun. The key to getting the stain out is to make sure that your diapers are wet. All you have to do next is put them in a sunny area and leave them. It is really neat to take a before and after picture of your diapers to see the power of the sun.  If your stain doesn’t come out the first time, wet your diaper and leave it out again, just repeat the process until the stain has disappeared.

This past weekend I didn’t have any diapers that had been stained, so I don’t have a before or after picture. As soon as this happens I will write an updated post about it promise!

Do you like hanging your clothes or diapers out to dry? How has your luck been sunning your diapers?

NQH: Woolzies Dryer Balls Review & Giveaway

When looking into different ways to save money around our house laundry (after switching to cloth diapers) was the first place I looked at for different ways to save money. We are always doing laundry and dishes it seems like around here, so any way to save some money and reduce our energy bills, I am willing to try!

Wool dyer balls are something that I have been wanting to try out for a while now. I read a lot of cloth diapering blogs and I kept seeing them mentioned and wanted to know what all the hype was about. I had seen many Woolzies giveaways going on throughout the past month and decided to look a little more into wool dryer balls. While doing some research on dryer balls, Woolzies posted on their facebook that they were still looking for more reviewers, so after giving it some thought I decided to contact them to do a review and giveaway. I was very excited when they contacted me to host the giveaway on my blog.

Woolzies Dryer Balls

Woolzies Dryer Balls

Why should you make the switch to Woolzies Dryer Balls?

The number one reason I wanted to try wool dryer balls was that they stated it would reduce your drying time by 25%. This is something that we need in our household with the amount of laundry we do. During the spring and summer months I line dry our cloth diaper laundry to help reduce the amount of energy we use. Normally we have to run 2 dryer cycles to get all the clothes dry, and sometime 2.5 dryer cycles for our cloth diaper inserts and fitteds.

The first load of laundry that I used the dryer balls on was our cloth diaper inserts and fitteds, and I was able to get them dry in about 2 dryer cycles. Next I used the dryer balls on a medium/large load of laundry. When the timer when off on the dryer I went in to check them and to my surprise they were completely dry. I was so excited that I wasn’t going to have to wait another hour for my laundry to get done drying. I had a pretty large load in the washer next to dry, and it took about 1.5 dryer cycles for them to completely dry. Woolzies recommends 8 dryer balls for a large load so this did not disappoint me.

Woolzies Dryer Balls with regular laundry

Woolzies Dryer Balls with regular laundry

Other Reasons to try Woolzies Dryer Balls!

Woolzies dryer balls are 100% eco-friendly and chemical free. They are also safe for people who have wool sensitivities and are looking for a hypoallergenic option to dryer sheets. Woolzies also naturally softens your clothes, reduces static and helps eliminate wrinkles. Lastly Woolzies are guaranteed to last for 1,000 loads. If I do on average 5 loads of laundry a week, that’s including regular laundry and cloth diaper laundry, my Woolzies dryer balls should last me almost 4 years!

How can you get your own Woolzies Dryer Balls?

Check out Woolzies website at www.Woolzies.com, or their facebook page. You can also enter to win some here on the Not Quite Homemade Blog below.

Visit the Not Quite Homemade Facebook Page and enter in the giveaway tab or simply click Rafflecopter giveaway to take you straight to the entry form. 

 

 

 

Not Quite Homemade did not receive any compensation for this post.  Disclosure: I did receive the product for free to try and am sharing my opinion with you.  My opinion may differ from yours. 

NQH: Broccoli and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Last night’s dinner was super easy, quick and delicious I must share it with everyone. I had found a recipe for Mac & Cheese with broccoli and bacon. They wanted you to pretty much make everything from scratch. There was no way being a working Mom and getting home around 5 every week night that I had the time (or skills) to pull off a gourmet Mac & Cheese Dinner.

I took a trip to the grocery store to see if I could simplify this good-looking recipe. When picking out some elbow noodles in the pasta aisle I spotted some Ragu cheese sauce in the pasta sauce section. This was going to help make this dinner come together quickly, instead of the multiple cheeses that I would have had to combine and melt together for the gourmet recipe. After finding this sauce and grabbing my elbow noodles of the shelf all I needed next was frozen broccoli and some bacon.

I returned home with my groceries and began to make dinner. I was able to get all of the ingredients cooked and together in probably 20-30 minutes. Once the noodles, broccoli and bacon were done cooking all I needed to do was combine the ingredients and add them to a big bowl then mix them together. Bam, dinner was complete!

I absolutely loved how quick and easy this dinner was. If you are looking for something that needs to be done in a hurry or you just don’t have that much time to spend on dinner this is the recipe for you! For a family of 3 we had plenty left for leftover to take in our lunches the next day.  I hope you all enjoy this dish.

Bacon and Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Bacon and Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Not Quite Homemade: Bacon and Broccoli Mac & Cheese

1 lb of Noodles (Elbow/Spiral any kind really)
½ bag of Frozen Broccoli
1 Jar of Ragu Cheese Sauce
6-8 Strips of Bacon

1.       Cook all ingredients according to their packages

2.       Combine all ingredients in a big bowl

3.       Mix well and Enjoy

Tip: Cook a whole package of bacon and add extra to each serving that is dished out if you are a bacon lover like myself.

Cloth Wipe Solution with Essential Oils

Even if you don’t use cloth diapers you can still use cloth wipes. My husband and I started using cloth wipes that I had made from old receiving blankets. They weren’t the best but did their job. We now have some name brand cloth wipes as well as some Work At Home Mom (WAHM) wipes that are amazing.

In the beginning I would make my solution and then put it in a spray bottle and wet each wipe before cleaning up my little one. This was very time consuming, and when trying to change a toddler that does not want to stay still spraying each wipe wasn’t going to do it any more. After doing some research into essential oils I found that I could use Tea Tree oil in my current cloth wipe solution to help keep the wipes fresh, and just have them pre-moistened in the container. This has helped out tremendously and makes diaper changes so much easier. We have also found we use less cloth wipes during a bad diaper change than we do with disposable wipes.

Not Quite Homemade: Cloth Wipes

Not Quite Homemade: Cloth Wipes

NQH’s Cloth Wipe Solution:

Supplies
1. Old baby wipe container
2. 15-20 Cloth Wipes
3. 1 tbs of Baby Lotion
4. 1 tbs of Baby Wash
5. 1 tbs of Baby Oil
6. 3-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil
7. 1 cup of hot water

The first thing you want to do is to fold your wipes to fit into the container and place them in. You can fold them so that they pop out of your container just like baby wipes.

Next you will want a measure out a cup of hot water and add your baby lotion, wash, oil to the water. I find putting the baby oil in first helps the other product slide right out of your measuring spoon.

After you add you ingredients then put in 3-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil and mix it all together really well.

Lastly you are going to pour it over the wipes and you are all finished.