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.
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.
One of the smaller DIY projects that I worked on was painting the “smelly” closet as we called it. No matter what we tried it always had a musty smell to it. So, we decided a fresh coat of primer and paint would hopefully do the trick. This is our main linen closet, and so I was really wanting it to be useable!
Our whole house has popcorn ceilings except the closest because who would waste such a high quality texture in a closet?! ;p Our den has painted paneling which was then sprayed with a popcorn texture so that will be fun whenever we try to tackle it. Grant and I are not fans of popcorn ceilings, but they take a long time to get rid of at least in our house. So, I see this being a LONG journey as we slowly depopcorn our house. However, getting rid of the popcorn is very time and labor intensive,but not that costly compared to other home improvement projects so that at least is a plus.
There are so many things that we would LOVE to change in our house, but we had to decide which things were the highest on our list of priorities with the time and money that we had. We decided that we wanted to try and update our kitchen cabinets first. We wanted to remove the corner pieces on the doors, reroute the edges, paint the doors, raise the upper cabinets, and update the hardware. Some of these things we were able to accomplish, others didn’t really get to happen, so I will explain what we were able to do, weren’t able to do, and what we discovered along the way.
As part of the negotiations of buying our house, getting a new roof was a big part of it. We had leaking around the chimney which made small water spots in our den and guest bathroom. We had major leaking above the garage area, and some small leaking on a valley above the baby room. So, at closing we were given a check to pay for the cost of a new 20 year 3 tab roof. We decided to pay the difference and upgrade it to a 30 year Architectural roof. We knew the company we wanted to replace the roof, and the check was already made out to them, but picking the shingles was hard. They give you such a small sample, and the variations are pretty big between what you see and what is installed, but I think our roof looks sooo good now. We kept having to wait to get it replaced due to the weather. It would get super cold, or just kept raining for weeks that it kept getting postponed. We had some major areas that were leaking, so it was driving us and especially Grant crazy.
Here you can see the roof before. I was NOT a fan of them trying to match the brick color since it is already more orangey than we prefer.
In this picture, you can see some of the rot of the worst portion of the roof that needed to be replaced.
Here are some more close up pictures.
Our inspector kept telling us we had a “new” roof.
When inside the attic Grant could see daylight in some spots where the wood was completely rotted away.
Our roof had a few portions of plywood replaced and this beam because of the damage. We are SO glad we got a second inspector out there as well as a roofing expert otherwise this would have cost us a pretty penny.
Starting the roofing after replace the beam, the flashing around the chimney, and certain plywood portions that were compromised.
There was a big group,but they sure were working hard. They got there at 7am and just finished work around 5pm when it started getting dark with only one lunch break.
Here are some after pictures.
It took a little bit of time for the shingles to sit completely flat,but now they look great.
The new shingle color doesn’t make our current shutters and door color look good,but those are things we were planning on changing anyway. Also, I had a hard time finding pictures of other roofs with the same shingles so for reference purposes, we got Shadow Grey shingles from the Tamko brand.
Woohoo, no more rotted wood!
I know this makes Grant especially happy. He wasn’t a fan of seeing water entering our attic while it rained and not being able to do anything at the time to fix it.
The very next day we got about 6 and a half inches of snow so we were very glad to have it replaced.
Grant thinks the color is more green than he would like, but we do plan on eventually painting the brick as well as the front door and shutters, but I think it is a huge improvement to what we had before. We recently met our neighbors across the street who are a super nice couple, and we found out they even go to the same church as us,but they couldn’t stop talking about how much they love our new roof. At first we thought it was kind of strange,but then we realized that looking out of their house, they see the roof more than we do. 🙂 This was one of our top things to get completed before our little one arrives, and boy are we happy it is done. I love how it looks, and feel the outside of our house can only get better looking as we go!