December 27, 2008

Our Christmas gift!

Merry Christmas! I haven't posted for a while because there's only one topic I wanted to post about and it had to wait until after Christmas. My husband and I got the best Christmas present of our lives...we found out on Dec 16 that we're finally expecting a baby! We're due Aug 27 and after 22 months of waiting, we're beyond thrilled!

This brings a whole new dimension to my business. I'll finally have a baby bum to diaper again. I'll be able to pick whatever diapers I want this time around. I have never diapered a newborn (we started at 7-8 weeks with Camille).

It's funny, I started this business literally with a baby at my breast. I had so much time breastfeeding and I found it easy to nurse and use the computer at the same time. I'm not much of a chatter, so it was a natural course to use my extra time to start a business. Back then, it was a whim, a hope, a "hopefully someday this will be something." Now this business is our livelihood, our bread on the table. And I will come full circle, again nursing while I work. What a blessing!

December 13, 2008

A green Christmas?

This post is all about Oregon! And for probably the only time this year, when you hear the words "green Christmas" it's not about environmentalism. It's about our literal green-ness here in the Willamette Valley!

I will admit, we did get a dusting of snow last night (it melted by 9 am) and more is expected tonight. But in general, rain is more the norm and we get lots of it. Normally by this time of year, we've received 11 inches of rain from Sept-present. This year we've received a measly 4 inches or so.

Everything has greened up nicely with the rain we've gotten: the grass is growing (mowed last week, will mow again next week), the Douglas Fir trees make the hills around town perenially green, and most of our bushes are still leafy. It's beautiful and it's no wonder the settlers called it the "Emerald Valley". I'm sure for them, after the dusty trek across Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and eastern Oregon, the sight of trees and grasses as far as they eye could see was refreshing and amazing.

What's Christmas like where YOU live? Warm & sunny? Cold and snowy? Are you decorating palm trees, douglas firs, or prickly pines (like we did growing up in Missouri)?

December 11, 2008

Ammonia issues

As most everyone cloth diapering a toddler can tell you, sometimes ammonia is an issue. A BIG issue. The morning cloth diapers of an 18+ month old can stink up a house. Usually, this can be traced to detergent or washing issues and thus fixed. But some kids, due to their drinking habits and the chemistry of their urine, make those morning diapers a tough problem to solve.

My daughter is one of these kids. We've had ammonia issues for about 1 year now (she's 3 1/2 years). I've tried lots of ideas. Some work better than others but none have solved the problem. I'd settled on 1/4 cup of bleach in every wash load, but I soon found out that this dissolves PUL (so don't try that at home!).

However, I think we finally have it. Bac-Out. I'd heard it was amazing and I finally bought a bottle to try. The first day I squirted it on every diaper and both sides of every insert. That took way too much Bac-Out, though. (I've since heard to cut it 50/50 with water and spray it on) Now I'm adding 1/3 cup to my final rinse cycle.

The 1/3 cup doesn't have any real science. It's the only size measuring cup I could spare out of my baking drawer. But it works. Would 1/4 cup work as well? Maybe. I'll try it next time I do diapers!

I've now washed diapers 4 times with Country Save detergent and 1/3 cup Bac-Out. Her morning dipes still smell slightly of ammonia, but you pretty much have to stick your nose way closer than you normally ever would.

I do carry Country Save detergent (as well as Planet, Vaska, and Allen's) but you'll soon see Bac-Out available in my stores. Until then, you can often find it at natural groceries or sometimes in the laundry aisle at your favorite store.

December 4, 2008

LoopyDo winners!

We have our winners for the 6-pack LoopyDo giveaway!

The winner for Cloth Diaper Outlet is Jaimee W.

The winner for NoPins4Baby is Christine, who entered via this blog!

Congratulations to you both and for everyone else...keep your eyes open for more promotions at both Cloth Diaper Outlet and NoPins4Baby!

Thanks!

December 3, 2008

More diapering tips

I promised more cloth diapering tips and so here are a few more!

Pocket Diapers - If you're new to pocket diapers, here's my favorite method of washing them...when you change your baby's diaper, take the insert out right then and lay it inside the diaper, along with any cloth wipes you've used. Fold the diaper in half, then use the dry outside of the diaper to carry it to the diaper pail. Toss it in! That way you don't have to touch wet dirty diapers a second time. On wash day, dump the pail into the washing machine.

Pail Liners - Speaking of diaper pails, one item that I recommend everyone buy is a pail liner. These are waterproof bags big enough to fit most trash cans and diaper pails. They protect your pail from wetness and odor plus make it much easier on wash day. Just lift out the pail liner, dump diapers into washer, and toss the pail liner in. It can be washed and dried with your diapers. These are a great investment as they last forever. My oldest one is over three years old and still works great.

More tips coming soon!

November 30, 2008

Tips for a green Christmas

Between environmental concerns and the economy, we're all concerned with "green"...be it trees or money. In our home, we successfully use some ideas that can save a bit of both!

Gift Bags - For Christmas time, I bought 3-4 yards of Christmas fabric for less than $1 a yard. I cut these into about 15 pieces in various gift bag sizes. I sewed them up, strung a ribbon through the tops, and now our family has a set of reusable gift bags. These bags will stay in our house for this year, but if I make a few more each year, we could be wrapping-paper-free in a few years.

Wrapping Paper - My daughter loves to paint. Last Christmas her big gift was an easel. The large paintings she makes are perfect for wrapping paper. When we do use wrapping paper, even for birthday gifts for her friends, we use her paintings. It's a fun way to reuse the sheets.

Batteries - When my daughter was born, practically all of her "gadgets" required batteries. I thought we could either buy stock in Energizer to offset years of disposable batteries. Or, we could spend $75 and buy a stash of rechargeable batteries. I bought them from Ebay, new in their packages, for a fraction of the cost in a store. Now 4 years later, I think I've bought disposable batteries once...at the zoo when we forgot fresh batteries.

I've got more ideas, but I'll save them for another day!

November 27, 2008

For the want of a baby

This post is out of the blue, but it's on my heart tonight and perhaps it will strike a chord with some of you.

My husband and I are experiencing secondary infertility. Our daughter was born 3 1/2 years ago and we always hoped to have our kids 2 or maybe 3 years apart. I thought, in my naive way, that having kids farther apart was too difficult on siblings (I am 7 and 8 years older than my brothers. My husband is 5 years younger than his sister.) Now, due to nature and probably God's will, the closest our kids can possibly be is 4 years and 2 month apart. That's IF we conceive in December.

It's funny, I was just reading an article on secondary infertility. In it, the author states that often parents feel guilty for their failure to provide a sibling for their child. A little lightbulb went on in my head. Yes, indeed, I feel like a bad mother for depriving my daughter of a sibling. I tell people "She's in preschool so she'll get some interaction with other kids." What I really mean is, "I've completely failed in my motherly duty to provide her interaction at home, so I have to pay someone to play with my child."

There are 5 stages of grieving, they say. In no particular order, anger, depression, denial, bargaining, and acceptance. In the 21 months of our infertility journey, I've been through all 5. As I tell my husband, I've BTDT to all five, but now I'm revisiting my favorites.

By far, most of the time, I am truly at peace with our journey. It's not always easy, but I lean on the Lord and I trust in His path for my life. Most of the time I'm fine seeing pregnant moms, new babies, and itsy bitsy diapers. I am so incredibly thankful for my little girl...if she's all I ever have, I'm still fulfilled as a mother.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I'm thankful for:
My family
my faith in God
my church (are you reading this Alisa?!)
Sunny days
Netflix (love getting movies in the mail...watching Baby Mama tonight)
diapers that don't leak
clean diapers
Sunrises and sunsets
hyacinth flowers
Toys that keep my daughter occupied for 5 minutes
cold medicine (yeah, I've got the crud right now)
a million other things

Hope you had a wonderful day and a great holiday weekend!

November 25, 2008

Naturally bleaching out stains

Did you know you can use the sun (or even just daylight) to naturally bleach out stains?

Organic stains, like those caused by poo or breastmilk, can easily be bleached clean. Simply wash the item, then lay it or hang it in the sun to dry. By the time it's dry, the stains will be gone. It's like magic!

What if it rains where you live? You can still lay it out and it'll still work. I've "sunned" diapers in the rain and it works fine. It just takes longer and then I rewash the diapers to get the rain out. Alternatively, you can lay them in a window or on the dashboard of your car.

That last tip works if you live in a cold, snowy area, too. If it's freezing where you live, just lay the diapers in a window. Takes longer, but it works fine!

I've mentioned it before, but I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon where it rains more days than not this time of year. I sometimes get tired of the dreary days, but I love all the green (yes, we mow all year!)

November 24, 2008

Life with a 3 year old

Our daughter, Camille, is 3 1/2. She's in preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today they had picture day so we went in all dressed up for pictures. She was so cute. She sat so still and let the photographer pose her. The pictures turned out great and I can't wait to get them in a couple of weeks. Can you tell Camille is my first child? LOL

Camille has been potty trained during the day for a long time, but she still wears diapers for night and naps. Being a toddler, especially one who loves milk and juice, she pees a lot. So what diapers do we use?

Knickernappies make up about half of our stash. I love, love, love the 2G version. It's wider than the 1G version so it's easier to stuff and I can easily fit 4 (yes 4!) inserts into it. Fuzzi Bunz and Snap-Ez round out our stash. While I've tried every brand I carry, my husband swore off velcro a couple of years ago so now we only have snap diapers.

Anyway, inside those diapers I use LoopyDos, Just-Hemps, and SuperDos. For my heavywetting daughter, 2 Loopys with 2 Just-Hemps is perfect. A trimmer option that works just as well is 1 SuperDo with a Just-Hemp.

Camille has been a great tester over the years. She still loves to get new diapers. I hope we're blessed with a new baby soon because she can't wear diapers forever! (Nope, not pregnant, just trying!)

November 23, 2008

Some of my favorite cloth diapering tips

If you've ordered from me and read the brochure I send with every order, then you've seen these already. This is a list of my favorite tips, all gleaned from my own experience.

If you're new to cloth, expect leaks the first few days. It seems, no matter how much people research, how well they wash, how conscientious they are, trying something new like cloth diapering isn't always successful the first few days. I remember crying to my husband that I'd made a mistake and that maybe cloth just wasn't for us. He encouraged me to give it a few more days and he was right. Suddenly I guess everything "clicked" into place and worked the way it was supposed to. In over three years of having this business, I've discovered this is very common. Moms call me and say the diapers arrived yesterday but they're leaking, what are they doing wrong? Nothing! Like everything else, there is a learning curve. Give it a few days and you'll be fine. This is probably my best piece of advice.

Wash all diapers at least once before wearing and dry them in the dryer on regular or high heat. Washing the diapers cleans them of factory dust and handling dirt. Fabric is handled a LOT before you receive the diapers and it's nice to know that they're truly clean before putting them on your baby. And drying items with PUL (the waterproof fabric) helps to seal needle holes for extra waterproofing.

Use two inserts at night. This is a surprisingly common mistake. Very often new-to-cloth moms will call and ask why the diapers leak at night. And nearly every time it's because they're only using one insert. For newborns that are changed throughout the night, one insert is fine. But for older babies that are sleeping several hours at a time, two inserts and even possibly three, will likely be necessary. If you find that two or three inserts is too bulky, I sell several types of inserts that are ideal for trim nighttime diapering. SuperDo inserts is one such insert. This is the #2 rated insert and is a very absorbant, yet trim, option for nighttime.

More advice to come later!

November 18, 2008

LoopyDo giveaway!

LoopyDo inserts are the #1 rated insert on DiaperPin and now we're giving away a 6-pack to two lucky winners!

Microfiber & hemp make an unbeatable combination for leak protection and trimness. LoopyDo inserts will work in nearly every type of diaper.

From now until Nov 30, we're collecting names for a random drawing. You can put your name in the hat by:
*making any purchase at www.ClothDiaperOutlet.com or www.NoPins4Baby.com
*commenting on this blog
*email me with a reason why you'd love to own LoopyDos

No purchase necessary to win! If your name is pulled, then you'll get to choose the size you'd like to have and we'll ship them right out!

November 13, 2008

In need of tiny testers

I need babies under 13 pounds to test a new product ASAP. If you have a baby under 13 pounds, already born, please let me know! Must be using cloth diapers already so you're familiar with how they work, what to expect, etc.

You can email me at heather @clothdiaperoutlet.com (no spaces) or leave a comment to this post.

Thanks!

November 3, 2008

A drizzly day in Oregon

Where we live in the Willamette Valley, it rains more or less nonstop for about 8 months...November through June. October was absolutely beautiful this year...crisp mornings, sunny & warm afternoons, gorgeous foliage on the trees. But November 1 brought rain. Nov 2--more rain. Nov 3--more rain. And our 7 day forcase? Yep, more rain. I guess winter has finally shown up! It does have it's advantages, though. The rain cleans our world, makes it fresh and new. It also makes the valley very green. Grass grows year-round (#1 grass seed grower in the world!) and we have lots of evergreen trees. Flowers even bloom year-round. We live in a beautiful area. If you can stand the rain!

Our daughter, Camille, started preschool last week. She was on a wait list and they finally called with an opening. She now goes to school Tuesdays and Thursdays. Last week she could hardly sit still she was so excited. She has a little pink backpack with Belle, Cinderella, and Aurora. (For those of you without 3-year-old daughters, Aurora is Sleeping Beauty).

Today Camille is with Grandma. Grandma picks her up most Mondays for a day of cookie-baking and Tinkerbell-watching. She LOVES Tinkerbell right now and is thrilled with the new movie that just came out.

Speaking of Tinkerbell, here's a favorite "Camille-ism": several months ago Camille was back-talking me. I told her she was being a stinkerbell. She thinks for a minute and says "Mommy, I'm not Stinker-Belle. I'm Stinker-Snow White!" It's pretty hard to keep a straight face with something like that!

October 31, 2008

Reusable cloth diapers are proven better for the environment than disposables!

For years, the only studies done comparing the environmental impact of cloth to disposables have been commissioned by disposable diapering companies. The few studies that weren't paid for by the disposable diaper companies were done with diaper-service diapers (many bleach-filled washings and replacing the prefolds after only 6 months of use). Finally, an independent European study has been published using modern cloth diapers.

Reusable nappies better for the environment - it’s official!
The latest report by the Environment Agency confirms that reusable nappies, if used and laundered according to manufacturer’s guidelines, can reduce the global warming impact of using reusable nappies over disposables by an incredible 40%.*
Reusable nappies, if used in an environmentally responsible way, create significantly less environmental impact than disposable nappies.
The new report is an update of the Environment Agency’s initial report on the life cycle assessment study for disposable and reusable nappies, which was released in May 2005. The much criticised 2005 report seemed to conclude that there was no significant difference between the environmental impacts of disposable and reusable nappies.
Guy Schanschieff, MD of Bambino Mio, Europe’s leading reusable nappy brand and Chair of the UK Nappy Alliance said: “I am delighted that this update has been published to correct the misunderstanding created by the initial report. It confirms that responsible use of reusable nappies would reduce the modern parent’s environmental impact. Many people questioned the 2005 report and this led to the government commissioning this latest update. Reusable nappies are not only better for the environment, as confirmed by this report, but can save parents considerable amounts of money, which is particularly resonant in the present economic climate.”
Defra’s findings have apparently been contradicted in the Sunday Times, who have latched on to the report’s findings regarding laundry habits. They state that if parents used tumble dryers and washed the nappies at 90oC the carbon impact could ‘spiral to 993kg of CO2.’ However, most parents wash at more sensible temperatures!
* An updated Lifecycle Assessment Study for Disposable and Reusable Nappies, published 17/10/08.
Copies of the latest report are available from www.defra.gov.uk

October 30, 2008

Moby Wraps & carrying your baby

In September I attended a huge baby tradeshow in Las Vegas. It was amazing...over 1200 booths spread over 7 miles of aisles. Yikes!

One brand I was eager to check out was Moby Wrap. I never used a Moby when my daughter was a baby, but I sure would have if I'd known about them. At the Moby booth, I was able to try a Moby on, using my 34 pound daughter as a test baby. I wore her on my back and was amazed at how easy the Moby was to use. It was comfortable, easy to put on and take off, and comes in several great colors. I picked up an Indigo Moby for myself and Camille got a red Mini Moby for her dolls.

I did go ahead and order Moby Wraps at the show and they arrived yesterday! I just bought a few to start with...some basic colors and some of the gorgeous Moby D (brocade, fleece, etc...they're beautiful!) If you're interested in carrying your baby, or babywearing, then check out the Moby Wraps.

In other news, Camille started preschool this week! She was on our church's waiting list and they called last week with an opening. She started on Tuesday and is having so much fun!
She goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 1/2 hours. So far she's learned the letter "p" and today they had a Pajama Pumpkin Party where they brought their best Pals (stuffed animals) for show & tell. She had a great time.

October 28, 2008

Great Cloth Diaper Hunt starts Saturday!

Have you heard about the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt yet? It's a scavenger hunt through almost 200 cloth diapering stores and natural living stores. In a nutshell, you go to each site and hunt for a cloth diaper icon. If you find just one in a day, you are eligible to win a daily prize worth $15. The more icons you find, the bigger the prizes you are eligible for. The top prizes are worth over $500! The prizes are collections of diapers, gift certificates, soaps, tshirts, and more. No junk...this is all really cool stuff!

Here's an inviation to register and start hunting:
It’s that time again! We are proud to announce our sponsorship of the Eighth semi-annual Great Cloth Diaper Hunt™!

How does the GCDH work? It’s simple! You register at
http://www.diaperdecisions.com/pages/greatclothdiaperhunt.php on or after October 15, 2008. Then you visit all the participating sponsor sites and hunt for the Diaper Decisions™ diaper, to earn entries to the 65 random prize drawings, including Two Grand Prizes and one Ultimate Grand Prize!

For more details about this great event, please visit the Rules and FAQ pages at
http://www.diaperdecisions.com/pages/greatclothdiaperhunt.php . See you at the hunt!
Cloth Diaper Outlet is participating and the fun begins Saturday! We've donated a $25 gift certificate for one lucky winner!

October 24, 2008

Are you feeling the pinch?

Yikes, the business section of the newspaper is a tough read these days. Are you feeling the pinch? Between high gas prices, high grocery bills, and stock market worries, it doesn't matter if you actually have any money invested in stocks.

What to do? Well, I have one answer. Cloth diapering your baby is an excellent, and surprisingly easy, way to save money.

Prefolds and covers are inexpensive. You can cloth diaper your baby from birth to potty training for about $300 with prefolds and covers. There's a learning curve with folding them, but most parents master this within a couple of days. After all, you'll get a lot of practice!

If you'd prefer to start with something more similar to disposables (ie...as easy as possible!) then there are lots of great options for you. BumGenius and Happy Heinys both have an excellent "one size fits all" diaper. Both fit from about 7 pounds to 35 pounds. These are pricier up front but still save lots of money in the long run.

For the best fit and easy to use, there are pocket diapers and All-in-Ones. These are both very easy to use, easy to wash, and because they are sized (small, medium, large) they'll fit your baby like a glove from beginning to end. Knickernappies, Fuzzi Bunz, Dream-Eze, Thirsties, Snap-Ez, and Drybees are all examples.

A stash of these diapers, birth to potty training, runs from $300 to about $800 dollars. Still a significant savings when you consider the average baby will use over $2000 in diapers from birth to potty training!

Finally, some news to be glad about! Visit my store, www.ClothDiaperOutlet.com, to find out more about these great new cloth diapers. Find out for yourself how easy it can be!

September 24, 2008

Switching Shopping carts

Ugh...I've been working on switching my stores over to a new shopping cart for 9 months now. What an exhausting process! Someone once told me to never, ever switch if you don't have to. She was right! I have to switch but it sure isn't an easy process. The good news is that it will be finished soon and we can all reap the benefits.

For my customers, expect an easier shopping experience. You can now search by manufacturer, by product, or even by price. You'll enjoy having a permanent shopping cart (meaning that when your three year old pulls you from the computer to see the massive mess she's made, you won't lose your order).

For me, the packing list that we print out is MUCH easier to read, thus helping us avoid mistakes in packing. My shipping process is streamlined, which will allow you to look up your tracking numbers easily and see exactly where we are in processing your order.

Anyway, all this is just to say...something better is coming soon! I can't wait for the new cart to be live and for you to experience the new shopping at Cloth Diaper Outlet and NoPins4Baby!

August 25, 2008

My first blog ever!

I'm excited to start blogging. I've never done it before though I've often written newsletters.

To start...my name is Heather. I own two cloth diapering stores on the internet. http://www.clothdiaperoutlet.com/ and http://www.nopins4baby.com/. I started CDO from scratch in October 2005 when my daughter was a few months old. I bought NoPins from the original owner in December 2007. The stores, along with my 3 year old daughter, and my household, keep me crazy busy. I often wonder how you moms with more than one child do it all.

My husband's name is Shannon. We've been married almost 9 years since October 1999. We have one daughter, Camille, who is three years old. I mention her often on my websites because she's my "tester" baby! My husband just started working from home as well, which has been a wonderful transition. We are both available to interact with our daughter and still able to get some work done!

My hope with this blog is to simply help you get to know me better. I will introduce new products, but this is less about advertising and more about interacting with my customers...you!

So here's to blog #1, the start of hopefully a long and blissful relationship!