Friday, January 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday: The Gross Edition (mice? diapers? barf? yep.)

(1)
For the love of all that is holy and good, please tell me that one of you has a) had mice make their home in your vehicle during the winter months and b) you found a way to get rid of them.  

It.

Is.

Disgusting.

Seriously, we have cleaned and wiped and vacuumed every inch of that dang van and still we go to climb in and there are TURDS in the cup holders.  Real TURDS.  Not just the synonym for "jerk", which would still be weird, but way less gross.
I mean, do you guys even KNOW my mouse story from elementary school?  Shudder to the max.

(2)
Speaking of gross, you know those shopping cart covers you get that can also cover high chairs in restaurants and stuff?
Shopping Cart Cover - Fluffy
Well, we just learned a new handy-dandy use for them today.  See, if you go ahead and keep yours in the van, when one of your children suddenly needs to vomit, you can have them vomit right onto that instead of onto the upholstery in your vehicle.  Super sweet, am I right?

(3)

Hey, about that laundry soap we made last week.  People have been asking for an update on its performance, so here you go: I love it!  I'm thankful that we made it a little stronger than the recipe called for (1/2 bar instead of 1/3 bar of soap per 2 gallon batch), 'cause of ye olde slob factor in our house.  Also, I never pre-treat stains (bad mommy), so if the clothes come out even moderately clean, I consider that a win.

I also use white vinegar instead of fabric softener, which also has a lovely whitening  and brightening effect.  No bleach.  And I wash in cold water always.  And the clothes look great!  And no, do not smell like anything, least of all vinegar.  It really is the liquid of the gods.  So anyway, I'm sold.  Making it was way quicker than I thought it would be and I know it's safe for our septic system, which is a definite plus.

(4)
You know that thing where I'm afraid to say something, because as soon as I say it I know it's gonna have to actually happen?  Without fail, folks.  Without fail!  But here I go anyway, 'cause I'm a masochist like that.

Ahem.

I've been sorta kinda a little bit considering perhaps beginning to research the possibility of potentially learning a tiny bit more about the idea of using cloth diapers.  Tommy, shield your eyes!  Or wipe your tears!


Because I'm a cheapskate, of course.  But I don't know anything about them.  I start reading stuff about "pre-folds" and "covers" and "multi-size" options and my eyes start crossing and I start sweating a little and then I just close my browser and run away.  So I need help, cloth diaper friends.  Help me!  Super basic stuff- what you like, what you don't like, how to start, favorite sites.  Stuff like that.  Ugh.  I'm stressed just thinking about it

(5)
And on the topic of baby, we finally have our first and only ultrasound appointment scheduled: Thursday, February 2nd.  Less than a week away!  I can't wait.  This baby better be a human, that's all I can say.  Because if it's not, I'm gonna need to buy a WHOLE new wardrobe instead of using all of our hand-me-downs, and that is gonna be a huge bummer.

So, please say a prayer that baby is healthy and happy and that we get cleared for our homebirth!

(6)
Still no news on the job front, though.  Which is poop, I'm tellin' ya.  BUT everything always works out.  It really, really does.  So something HAS to work out before mid/late February because um, yeah, that's when Tommy's unemployment insurance benefits expire.  And it would just not do, oh no it would not, to have those run out without a new job lined up.  So a job will get lined up in the next month.  I can feel it!

(7)
Oh, unrelated: I'm also taking suggestions for favorite songs-to-memorize-multiplication-facts.  Because the flash cards and the drills and the practice are just not cutting it for my 4th grader.  She totally GETS how to do all the math work up to, and a bit beyond, her grade level, but every time it involves copious amounts of multiplication or division, it takes her SOOOOOOOOO long, like, Methuselah long, because she's adding the numbers up individually and stuff like that.  Especially 6s, 7s, and 8s.  Those are the bane of her existence right now.  Poor thing.  So math songs.  Yep.  That's what we need.

Okay, keep it real friends.   Less than 8 weeks 'til spring!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)

post signature

58 comments :

  1. Dwija - once upon a time, many years ago, my car started to stink. Really bad. My husband went out to investigate and found a dead mouse under the clutch pedal.

    True story!
    Claudia in Maple Valley, WA

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  2. Dwija... I have an entire stash of cloth diapers...all different kinds you can try. And I need to give them away. Would you like them? If you are interested I can send you pictures and more details. You could diaper a newborn/infant up to about 25 pounds with my entire stash, and it can be yours for free. I would love to give it to a home where it will be used.

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    Replies
    1. Even better--- why don't I send you some samples of the different kinds I have and then you can see for yourself what is out there. If you like them you can have them, or you can try a few on the baby and if you don't like them you can go with something else and if you do like them I can send you the rest. I have fitteds with covers for newborns and infant and pockets for 15lbs to 25lbs. No all-in-ones (never liked those kind) and I do have pre-folds with pins but I'm keeping those for myself! (just in case )

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    2. WOW! If that is not a sign that this is what we ought to do, I don't know what is. I would love to take your stash off your hands. (poor Tommy). You are too generous! And it's okay...I'll just take whatever you want to give. If I don't like them, I can always pass them onto someone who does!

      Delete
  3. We had mice move into our truck. The vents were closed, so they couldn't get into the interior, just the engine. But still? ICK. There's lots of tips online, like peppermint oil and mothballs and stuff like that.

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    Replies
    1. Okay, so they got in through the vents? The mental picture I'm getting from that is NOT good!

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  4. When I tutored a girl in math, we used a lot of games and fun math activities, but these songs look promising: http://faculty.kutztown.edu/schaeffe/Mnemonics/MultRock/multrock.html
    I was always a big fan of multiplication rhymes also.

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  5. Go ON with your bad self!! Look at you Ma Ingalls! Love it. You impress me every day Dwija.

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    Replies
    1. Where's my floor-length calico dress, Mary Lauren? Every day I check the mailbox and it's not there!

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  6. "This baby better be a human, that's all I can say." I spit out my drink. You are hilarious. And truly, truly gross on #2.

    We use cloth diapers, and have had a mixed experience. We bought the fuzzi-bunz all in ones that grow with the baby (from 8 pounds up) and they have been pretty good. They leak quite a bit, but I think that's more a result of our hard water and my lack of knowing how to fix it than of the diapers themselves.

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    Replies
    1. Ooooh, that is interesting information...about the hard water. We also have REALLY hard water. Definitely something to think about.

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    2. Sarah, for Fuzzibunz (or really any cloth diaper) if they're leaking and you have hard water you need to do 2 things: 1) strip them once a month, and 2) add a capful of Calgon to the wash.

      You can either use the original blue Dawn instead of detergent to strip them OR you can boil the covers and inserts (very quickly!). Personally, I prefer the Dawn method. :)

      Delete
  7. OK, on mice: Find out where they're getting in. Probably (if my personal experience is any guess, and assuming you keep all the windows closed) you have some sort of access from the engine compartment (nice and toasty and oh so inviting to rodents during a northern winter) into the interior of the van. Look down by your heater vents. The plug it up.

    on Diapers: I used cloth diapers on and off with both girls. Key features: adjustability. I like the all in ones (a cloth interior with a water-proofish exterior), but several of my hard-core cloth diapering friends swear by the cloth diaper with separate cover. You *will* have way more leaking that with a disposable, but chubby-legged babies seem to leak less than chicken-legged ones like mine. So hope for a baby built like Ceci. ;-) You'll need a big bucket/plastic hamper for holding the dirty ones until you wash a load of them. Apart from that, it's your basic laundry--with lots of white vinegar/baking soda. And on the plus side, cloth diapered babies seem to have a much higher awareness of being wet/poopy, meaning (if s/he is the sort of child inclined to care) potentially earlier potty training. Godspeed!

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    Replies
    1. Okay, so there is definitely an all-in-one vs. a pre-fold debate that I'm going to have sort through. And I do laundry every day. Could I just put that day's diapers in with that day's laundry? Hypothetically?

      Tommy found a shredded air filter, which is how he thinks they're getting in. But if they can shred it once, they can shred it again. UGH!

      Delete
  8. Kaitlin at http://morelikemary-morelikeme.blogspot.com/ uses cloth diapers and wrote 2 posts about that, so that could be a quick introduction to the subject and ask anyq uestions you have

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  9. Looks like you might be set on the diapers but here's my input in case you need more/want to buy some/are interested. Diaperpin.com Go there, and there are reviews for everything. I buy diapers on: ebay, Craig's List, abbyslane.com, and Amazon.
    I like FuzziBunz or a prefold with a cover, such as Thirsties.
    I started cloth diapering when we were broke missionaries, and it saves money.
    I do a simple wash: rinse cycle, wash with like a Tablespoon of Tide, rinse cycle. Dry on medium, or outside if it's not freezing cold.
    The vast amount of information online is so overwhelming. I've been doing it for 4 kids and 5 years without many huge issues. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have!

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    Replies
    1. The vast amounts of information are what have me reeling! We don't have a dryer right now- we line dry everything on an indoor rack in the winter and outdoors in the spring/summer/fall. That has been my BIGGEST reservation- creating even more laundry. Can barely keep up with what we've got now! Thank you for the sites. I do love reviews!

      Delete
    2. I prefer line drying. I think it preserves the life of the diapers (plus it bleaches them)! You just need more because if you're running out and the wait is longer than the hour in a dryer, you might need a few extra!
      I feel you on the laundry. I think laundry runs my life. 7 people and diapers. It's killer.

      Delete
  10. i remember one winter when mice got in our van! i left a bottle in the van, laying on the seat (it was mostly empty and i was lazy) and the next day, a mouse had chewed the end off to get the little bit of milk that was in it! aaaaaaaah!!! our van is so messy i really wasn't surprised, but i made a point of keeping it clean(ish) after that.

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  11. My sister started cloth diapering and so far she loves it, especially since she's big on saving and has spent only a few hundred so far, and thats the first baby! It can all be used again for the next one so the upfront cost is lowlow. She got a bunch of hers off Craigslist. Also, there is some kind of magnet ball thing you can put in your wash if you have hard water that will make cleaning more effective. I know Norwex sells them, but you may be able to find it cheaper elsewhere. Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. My name is Sonia but apparently my google profile is not...

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  12. You already know I'm a big fan of doing the combo of CD and 'sposies for our babies (since #4). I kind of "solved" the confusion thing by going with the Fuzzibunz, as they are a hybrid of AIO and inserts, but SO SO simple. And, I love the way the "solid waste" shakes right off into the toilet (well, most times!). For us, it adds 1 extra load each week, so it's not a huge laundry issue, and if we went 100% to CDs it would probably be 1.5 extra loads.
    What convinced me to try them is that Jack had constant yeast rashes that bled from birth until 6 months. No amount of herbal, OTC, or prescription remedies cleared it up. They day (I mean THE DAY) we switched to Fuzzibunz the rashes disappeared. Whenever I had to use a 'sposie on him, his rash returned. I was sold.
    Added benefit: no running out of diapers!!!!

    We prefer the Fuzzibunz Perfect Size, as the one-size seem to not fit our guys' chunky gams as well and then leaking occurs.

    My fave website is: www.fuzzibunzstore.com. Free shipping, great customer service, and a "buy used" section.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You know you can sew your own cloth diapers. I have been researching PUL fabric for a different application, but in the process have found lots of info about sewing you own diapers and waterproof diaper covers. Try http://www.diapersewing.com. My older sister had 5 children and used cloth diapers for all of them. She loved using those.

    Good luck!

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  14. Hi Dwija,
    AHH, the diaper dilemma!! I used cloth for my girls, I loved to hang them outside,the sun "bleached" them just fine and my girls NEVER had a butt rash, but for daughter #3, I had to use a receiving blanket at night, How could that sweet little girl pee so much!!! Plus,I HATE disposables!! I feel they are a terrible waste of money. As for the laundry soap ,GOOD FOR YOU!! my girls make it also, the grandkids are sensitive to any "store bought" kind,and it is soo much cheaper!

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  15. Cloth diapers are made of awesome. I spent $200 (no I didn't forget a zero) on my son's three years of diapering. We have a fellow UD alumna (and dear friend of mine) who owns a cloth diaper store and knows tons of neat things about them, if you want me to hook you up with the intro. :)

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    Replies
    1. This is the facebook page for her store: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Babies-Bottoms-and-More/125125817501858

      She's a sweetheart, and a great resource on all things cloth!

      Delete
  16. I used exclusively cloth diapers - with a service - for our first son. Loved them. Until.....he has sensitive skin and every time he would pee he would end up with a big rash - once he started eating food. So after a year, we started using the disposables and never looked back.

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  17. If you are looking to save money with cloth diapering, prefolds and covers are the way to go. Prefolds go for about $2 each and covers (you only need 1 cover for every 3 diapers) vary somewhat. I use Thirsties duo wraps. They have these great leg gussets for holding in poo. And you only need two sizes for birth through potty training. They go for about $12.75 retail, and I love that they are made in the USA! If you check out diaperswappers.com you can find used cloth diapers for a steal, but if you want to buy new you can check out the "sales and announcements" section of diaperpin.com to see who is having sales.

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  18. A few years ago while I was still working and pre-child, a mouse had crawled under my work desk and died there. It obviously chose the best place to pass on.

    I did not smell it, hence did not know there was a mouse corpse under my desk. My coworkers were at once impressed and disgusted.

    (yay for ultrasound soon-to-come!)

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  19. I will ask my mom where she got our multiplication song tape (Which has hopefully been converted to a cd by now...) the only ones I really remember are the 6's so I can always record at least those and email it your way... but that is only if you want yours kids ears to bleed.

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    Replies
    1. I'll take bleeding ears and quick math. 'Cause I'm mean like that!

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  20. I see that an earlier poster is offering you her diaper stash, and I say "Go for it!" We've been using cloth since Teddy was 19 months and Veronica was a newborn. T's toilet-trained now, but it was great when I had two in diapers. It's easier than you'd imagine, truly. We hang they to dry as it prolongs the life of the elastic, and a drying rack is perfect for that. When it's warm enough to hang them out in the sun, you'll be STUNNED at how well the sun bleaches out stains.

    The selection is overwhelming, but it's totally doable. And it's really frugal.

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    Replies
    1. I'm getting that feeling- that once you start doing it it's no problem, but just wading through all the OPTIONS seems so overwhelming. I definitely like a project, though, so I'm a little bit enjoying the research aspect ;)

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  21. So sorry, I don't know any multiplication songs but I do know a *ton* of skip counting songs.

    *hums to herself*

    "The skip kid loves numbers, counting is a ball. And two plus two makes four, he learned when he was small. So early in the morning, before he eats his eggs, he rubs his eyes and stretches and counts the horse's legs: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24. 28, 32, 36, that's fun, yahoo!"

    WAIT. Maybe skip counting is just another name for multiplication! (face palm) In which case, maybe this will help:

    http://www.amazon.com/Original-Count-Musical-Multiplication-Songs/dp/B000ZFNLD8/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327719513&sr=301-1

    We had the whole cassette which my parents used to teach my brother and I back when I was in fourth grade. The songs were silly, but catchy (obviously, as I still remember the entire rhyme nearly 20 years later) and effective. Looks like you can just buy the songs you need too (namely, the 7, 8, and 9s) which is super nice.

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  22. Hah! I am in the midst of writing my manifesto on cloth diapering right. now. on my blog. It's your lucky day :) The Cheap Mama's Guide to Cloth Diapering. Because Cheap is my middle name.

    http://theforsheyfour.blogspot.com/search/label/cloth%20diapering

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  23. Vinegar really IS the liquid of the gods, for sure!

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  24. I am a real newby to cloth diapers, so I don't feel like I can really give advice yet, but I will say that I LOVE cloth diapers and they are so much easier than I thought they would be! I was overwhelmed too, so I mostly let price guide me. I wrote a blog post about how we diapered our newborn if you are interested: http://catholicnewlywed.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-we-cloth-diaper-our-newborn.html.

    And sorry about those mice. Ick. Super ick! Way more disgusting than the throw up!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dwija, it doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Here are my thoughts:

    http://lesliesholly.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/diaper-rant/

    I exclusively cloth diapered five babies as described above.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I always hated 6's 7's and 8's in multiplication too. Unfortunately I have no good solution for you on that front. Oh and cloth diapers? Piece of cake. I am cloth diapering my second baby and I have tried many different kinds. I think the easiest ones to start with are all-in-one type diapers (pretty much the same as a disposable diaper) but they can also be a little more expensive. It is pretty darn easy to take a prefold (old fashioned) diaper, fold it in thirds inside a waterproof diaper cover, and fasten it on a baby (by way of snaps or velcro, whichever you prefer). Heck I have a stash of flannel receiving blankets I use as cloth diapers, just fold in half and in half again, then in thirds and lay inside a diaper cover. You can get all fancy and learn how to fold and pin them ( I do this too, when I am feeling especially diaper fancy) under that cover too if you want. Plus flannel blankets wash up really soft and come in all sorts of cute prints. That being said I mostly use "pocket diapers" with our little guy because we battled rashes for the first couple months (disposable or cloth, we used both and it didn't matter, he still got rashes). The pocket diapers (fuzzibunz) I use have fleece next to the baby's skin so it keeps them drier (wicks away moisture to the inside of the diaper) and that was the ticket to getting rid of the rashies. Now that he is a little older I can use other diapers (or flannel blankets :) )on him with no problems. Oh and I love cloth diapers, I recently got my sister hooked by buying her some of these for her baby for Christmas.
    http://www.kellyscloset.com/itti-bitti-bitti-dlish-All-in-One-AIO-Cloth-Diaper_p_4240.html
    I would totally offer to lend you my newborn stash but I sent it to a friend of mine who just had a baby. If you decide you want to try wool covers I can totally knit you one though! Here is a picture of some wool longies ("diaper cover" pants ) I knit for a friend of mine.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113198145137483533158/Knitting#5531602206794190290

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    Replies
    1. You are a knitting genius, Amanda! So, so cute :)

      Delete
  27. Best thing here? In my humble and twisted opinion it's the barf receptacle. Genius, Dweej. Sheer genius. Cloth diapers share the poop out of me. I just heard all the horror stories about cloth diapers from my mother/aunts/ grandmother and got a bit sweaty too. Good luck my thrifty friend. If anyone can deal with figuring it out it's you. Can't wait for baby news post-ultrasound. Muah.

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  28. kay, slightly embarrased as left a comment on your daughter's blog (katie) b/c I thought that was your blog - you all are very confusiing with all your blogs!! Funny post, love your pic on your sidebar!! I do not know what mangaging social networks is, but you sound like a fun and busy mom! Congrats on your newest babe!

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  29. OK, mouse stories: 1) Trapped in my in-law's bathroom in the middle of the night with a mouse running circles around my feet, me standing on the bath tub, and seven months pregnant 2) Dead mouse floating in the crockpot 3) Live mouse in a kitchen drawer 4) Signs of mouse in daughter's car and chewed up shirt. There are more stories that I am trying not to remember. I HATE mice and I so feel for you.

    Oh, and this is going to reveal my age: I used cloth diapers with pins and covered with plastic pants for my three kids.

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    Replies
    1. Oh my. I'm beginning to think I'll have to share my "mouse scars me for life" story!

      Delete
  30. I cloth diapered Elanor. Only advice I have that you haven't gotten already is to use Snappis instead of pins, if you use prefolds + covers. MUCH easier.

    We took Elanor with to my 20-week u/s with Gabe, and we were afraid ahe'd ask to know the sex (and thus our resolve not to find out would crumble). But she only asked, eyes wide, "Is it HUMAN?" Too funny. The tech cracked up and assured her that the baby was indeed human.

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  31. I have memories as a kid of mousetraps under our van seats when we lived out in the country. Had to be careful when you crossed and tucked your ankles I tell ya! I think after awhile my mom just quit parking the van in the barn.

    I am loving your bedroom redo BTW. Your blog is so interesting... I'm always amazed at the variety. I mean, look how many topics you touched on just today!! Love it. And congratulations on your little one :)

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  32. I have two friends who use cloth diapers and they swear by them. The initial investment is big, but the cost after that, not nearly as much as disposable. And the benefit to the Earth?

    Great!

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  33. I used prefolds, snappis, and motherease covers with our daughter when diapered her part time as a toddler a few years ago. With our new baby boy I got some thristie covers that I like so far. I bought a dozen of green mountain littlest prefolds but he's overgrowing those really fast so I'm loving the flats more. If you line dry flats would be really easy to dry. I do a small load quick wash with the diapers then add our regular laundry in if I don't have a full load of diapers. I do an extra rinse just to make sure they are well rinsed don't know if it's really necessary.

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  34. I always direct people to greenmountaindiapers.com because it is a family-owned business and the owner puts a ton of work into discussing the fit and benefits of each kind of diaper. PLUS the site is loaded with adorable babies in cloth diapers! She has pictures for everything she sells. She is a cotton-centered site, too, so you aren't going to see the polyester kinds there.

    You don't have to buy from there but it is a good start because it also has package deals, and "new to cloth info." She is also honest and says that cloth diapering *can* be cheaper but doesn't have to be and it sure adds up quickly if you are buying new. And they have, in my opinion, the best-made prefolds out there.

    We started with prefolds, snappis and covers then when I needed new ones (the prefolds do wear out their top layers after a while and I cut those off and use them as doublers or dust/cleaning cloths) I decided to get flats, which are the absolute cheapest kind and you can handwash them if necessary.

    Whatever you get, it is nice to search on diaperswappers.com or craigslist for something cute, if you don't mind used. I especially am happy with my wool shorts that I splurged on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This website seems to have quite a few good multiplication learning songs for each of the the different tables. You can listen to excepts of the songs and see the lyrics. Most are pretty basic, so if you just write down the lyrics, you can pretty much just sing them to your own melody, so you don't have to purchase anything. Just a thought!! Good luck!

    http://www.songsforteaching.com/math/multiplicationsongs.htm

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  36. I am so late to this discussion, but I just wanted to say that mice hate the smell of mint. Try cotton balls soaked in mint extract/ essential oil, placed strategically around/ in the van. They also will chew through brillo pads, then go back to their nest and die from the steel in their stomachs. Worth a shot!

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  37. Talk about "late to the party", but I am SO happy that I "know" someone else who is going to cloth diaper! I have been collecting free diaper patterns off various blogs and such ever since we found out that we were going to be welcoming an addition to our family (in early October)! My current favorite pattern (this changes pretty much weekly right now) is a "snail shell" that I found on the Diaper Sewing Divas forum (http://diaperdivas.proboards.com/index.cgi).

    The snail shell is a "bowl" made of PUL fabric that holds a flat-fold or pre-fold diaper (the kind you can find at Wal Mart or Babies R Us) and the shell can be made out of anything! I'm liking this one because I can use up my stash of various cottons and not worry about major leaks.

    I'm having trouble sticking to the neutral color schemes right now! We won't find out if we're having a boy or a girl until June, but I am already stockpiling loads of cute baby fabrics in all colors (A pair of blue jeans over a pink diaper on a boy will be okay...right? :-)

    ReplyDelete

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