I have been wanting a reusable Advent Calendar for our kids to use, and have been looking online all over the place to buy one. I had a very specific type I was looking for as well as one that has 24 pockets rather than 25 since we celebrate our Christmas on the 24th. After seeing a few different ones I likes and their price tags, I realized it would be worth it to make my own.
2015 was the year to get together with my family at Christmas since we do one year with mine the next year with Grant’s, but since we all got together for an early Thanksgiving instead, we were able to have our first Christmas as a family since Grant and I have gotten married and at our home as well. It was very low key,but we loved it. So here are some of the things that we were up to.
We have slowly been working on updating different areas of our house. Having a young child, lack of excess money, and lack of excess time are the main reasons that the updates take us so long. Also, there are always other things that need to be done, and honestly, sometimes it is hard to be motivated to do anything once your little one is in bed. 🙂 However, here is the update of our living room and foyer update.
This year for Halloween, we decided to keep things a little bit more low key. We decided to buy Reese’s costume as well as not have Grant or I dress up since we figured having a newborn was a good enough excuse. Our church has Trunk or Treat, but we ended up skipping because it started past Reese’s bedtime,but we are hoping next year we can make it. Reese’s school had a Halloween program and trick or treating in the school as well so Sebastian and I joined the fun.
So we have been cloth diapering Reese since she was around two months old. We chose to use disposable diapers while she fit into newborn and size 1. The main reason behind that is I didn’t want to have to buy newborn size cloth diapers that we would need a ton of, and I would be washing all the time. If you have never had a baby or newborn, they pee a lot, and lots of times tiny amounts. However, you don’t want them in their own pee or poo otherwise they will get diaper rashes so we went through 12+ diapers a day, and they also have lots of dirty diapers at night as well. Also, at this stage in parenting, the last thing we wanted to worry about was running out of diapers. So, we waited until Reese was big enough size wise to really fit into her cloth diapers; we also plan to do this same approach with our second baby.
There are lots of different reasons for cloth diapering, and you really need to decide what they are to make sure it is worth it since there is some investment up front for cloth diapering. Cloth diapering is not for everyone! Also in some areas it is more expensive than others to cloth diaper. For instance, my friend lives in Cedar Park, TX, and they pay almost 2-3xs the amount per gallon of water than we do here in AL. If you plan to cloth diaper, make sure that your significant other is also on board especially before you buy a lot of stuff. Most of our diapers that we got used or brand new were from people who bought a ton of diapers, and then realized that their spouse was not on board. We also chose a diaper that could be air dried so we don’t have to pay to dry them in a dryer. Of course we can dry them in the dryer in a bind,but this also helps keep our diapers looking better since the heat of the dryer can wear out the fibers and materials faster. Are you in it to be green, save money, or use less chemicals on your child? There are so many reasons you can cloth diaper. For us it was money savings, but we started off very very small to see if cloth diapering was even a fit for our family before we really invested a lot of money.
There are a TON of different cloth diapering types out there some cheaper than others. HERE is a great break down of all of the different kinds out there. We ourselves didn’t try a whole bunch of different kinds of diapers, but we did ask advice from friends who had cloth diapered, and then bought a very small amount to actually test out to see if we felt it could work for us as a family with the least amount of investment up front. We started out buying 7 cloth diapers on craigslist used in the type that we wanted so we could try them out. I found these for around $7-10 a diaper. Brand new on the bumgenius website they are about $20 a diaper, and roughly the same on Amazon. We wanted diapers that were very user friendly, all the same kind and brand so there is little confusion, and as close to disposables as possible. Our other main goal in cloth diapering was to save money since diapers are also so expensive. The best way cloth diapers pay off is if you can get them cheap in the beginning, then you can use them again for more children to really get even more savings, and be able to resell them once you are done with them.
We chose to go with Bum Genius Brand diapers, and we tried three of their versions out to see which we preferred.
The three different kinds of versions that we tried of the bum genius brand were the Flip, the Freetime, and the Pocket diapers. There is also an elemental version which uses only organic cotton, but this gets very rough and scratchy when line dried which is why these didn’t appeal to me.
On the outside they all look the same, we chose to use the cloth diapers with snaps rather than the velcro. The snaps tend to resell better, and the velcro wears out over time. Most of the companies that sell diapers with velcro tabs sell replacement tabs, and that is just something I didn’t want to have to mess with replacing a lot.
The hardest part about cloth diapering is finding a good wash routine. There is a lot of science involved in this step, and it took us a few months to get a hang of it all. Some kids are more sensitive to different detergents, so that might make the process take longer as well. I used this cloth diapering group which is amazing when it comes to finding your wash routine.
LG HE Front Loader
Model #: WM2101HW
Prewash: Speed Wash, Heavy Soil, Extra High Spin
Main Wash: Normal, Heavy Soil, Extra High Spin
You look up your washer, and they will tell you the correct way to wash. Above is their picture for my machine, and the wash cycle.
Just make sure you use a detergent that they have on their approved list.
When your baby is breastfed, their poop doesn’t really smell and is very easy to get off of diapers. So, all you do it put the dirty diaper straight into the container you store them in until you are ready to wash them. If you use cloth wipes, you leave those in the pail or container as well. If you use disposable wipes like we do, then throw those into a real trash can as you don’t want them going through the wash. I understand using cloth wipes would save us even more money, but we just like the convenience of using disposables.
We use THESE wipes because we like them the best, but Aldi sells really nice ones for even cheaper that are very similar if not identical to Huggies wipes.
Once your baby starts eating solids, their poop get firmer, smellier, and more of a hassle. You want to scrap as much of this poop into the toilet before washing the diaper so everything can get cleaner.
Some people buy a diaper sprayer which are very nice to have, but we waited to buy one because they are expensive. Using toilet paper or a designated plastic knife works just as well. Then once your kid gets a little bit older say over 13 months old, their poop starts getting even more firm to where half the time it will just fall right into the toilet with a shake which is very nice. We now have the diaper sprayer which I use when the poop won’t just fall into the toilet. It is really nice to have now that we have it, but again if you are on a budget you can easily cloth without it.
So, once you have dealt with getting as much of the poop off as possible, you then remove the liner if you are using a pocket diaper or flip diaper, and throw everything into your container until you are ready to wash. A lot of people get grossed out with the idea of having the handle the poop in cloth diapers. You do handle a little bit more poop, but honestly, if you have a kid you will just need to get used to the fact that you will handle poop no matter what kind of diapering system you use.
When we first started out with the least money invested, we had 7 diapers, 2 wetbags(one large, one small), an old trash can to store the dirty diapers in, detergent(We use Tandil from Aldi), and wipes. That system worked for us, and as we started getting more comfortable with cloth diapering we added more and more things to our stash for convenience.
Right now we have a stash of about 45 diapers which is only so large because we found a lot of them used, and we knew once we were diapering baby #2 we would need extras to keep us on the wash every other day cycle.
We have 3-4 trash can liners. (We only need 2, but when we bought our most recent lot of diapers brand new for used prices on craigslist, they had extra liners included.)
1 foot pedal trashcan to store dirty diapers in.
1 drying rack that is collapsible to save space and makes it easy to move around the house.
2 Planetwise wet bags, one small and one large.
2 Harry Potter wet bags
2 other wetbags
Extra Charcoal Bamboo liners (We bought these so that I don’t have to worry about them getting as stained since the stains don’t show, and now that Reese is older, she pees more. So at night she gets one large microfiber liner and one charcoal bamboo liner. However, we didn’t buy these until she was at least a year old. Before that we would use one small and one large microfiber insert together. Or you could use 2 large microfiber liners, but then I noticed I would have more dirty liners than pocket diapers so that is why we bought one set of these to help with nights.)
1 Diaper Sprayer
1 Diaper spray pal
Tandil Aldi Detergent, but you can use all kinds of detergent, just make sure to check the approved list.
Coconut Oil (You don’t want to use diaper creams with cloth diapers as they tend to stain the diapers or never really come off in the wash. Reese doesn’t get diaper rashes in cloth unless she is teething really badly. If she does get a rash, we just put a little bit of coconut oil on it, and we are good to go.)
Phew, I feel like there are so many things that I could still cover, but for now I will leave it at this. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment so I can alleviate any confusion.
Last year for Halloween, we knew that we(as in I) wanted to dress Reese as an Ewok. I already had part of the costume, and so that made me decide to do a whole family Star Wars Theme for our Costumes. I decided this before even knowing that there was another movie coming out. Below are links to the tutorials I followed to make our costumes, and some pictures of the process.