December 31, 2010

New for 2011 -- Cloth Diaper Outlet has gone Mobile!

That's right...Cloth Diaper Outlet has installed some cutting-edge technology that gives us a Mobile store AND a Facebook store!  You can now shop our complete selection from your phone, iPad, Facebook page, just about anywhere!  Read reviews, browse products, place an order...whatever you need to do you can do from anywhere!

Shop directly from our Facebook page! 
www.Facebook.com/clothdiaperoutlet

Or shop from any mobile device!  Easy to read, easy to navigate!

December 30, 2010

Make some "Green Year's" Resolutions!

As each year draws to a close, people often reflect on the things they did right, the things they didn't, and what can change for the new year.  I'm no different, but rather than vowing to lose weight or exercise more, I want to resolve to do things that can have a more lasting impact.  I call them my "Green Year's Resolutions". 

Un-Paper Towels - For over two years, our family didn't buy a single roll of paper towels.  Instead, I had a tall stack of plain white terry cloth towels that we purchased at Costco.  They were used to clean up messes that paper towels are normally used for, like spills on the floor or stains in the carpet.  When they were dirty, they got washed.  When they were dry, then went into a big laundry bag just for un-paper towels (no folding that way!).  It worked great, but for some reason, when we moved a year ago, my husband bought a roll of paper towels.  When they ran out, we went to Costco and bought a bulk package of paper towels.  I still use the un-paper towels, but not nearly so often.  I want to get back to our reusables and quit buying paper! 

Handkerchiefs - This is another reusable that we've tried in the past.  They never stuck with the grown ups because I couldn't find any soft enough.  My daughter loves cloth baby wipes and that's all she'll use if she has a cold, but hubby and I stick with good old Kleenex.  I'd like to drop that off my Costco list as well and find a really good soft hankie.  I'm willing to make them, I just have to find the right fabric.

Rechargeable Batteries - When our daughter was born 5 1/2 years ago, I quickly realized we either needed stock in Energizer, or we needed rechargeables.  For $50 on ebay, I bought a stash of batteries and a charger.  Over the years, we've added more batteries to our stash and I had to replace a charger, but we haven't bought a single disposable battery (except once at the zoo when I forgot extra batteries for our camera).  Now that we have two kids, we need more batteries and a second charger.  There are things we should ALWAYS have spare batteries for (like my daughter's nightlight). 

Family Cloth - okay, I'm mentioning this one just so it's out there, but I admit right off that we won't make this switch.  I gave it a really good try a couple of years ago.  My hubby flat out refused to try it, despite me purposely running us out of toilet paper.  Instead, he ran to the store to use their bathroom and buy more toilet paper!  I was okay with it, but washing the wipes and stacking them was the straw that broke the laundress's back.  But, I think YOU should give it a try!!  Can you do 30 days?  7 days?  I'd love to hear how it turns out for your family!

December 28, 2010

Positive Motivation for Children

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A friend of mine blogs at Sparrow Journey.  With permission, I am reposting it here.  


My sweet friend Rebeca blogs over at Carried On The Wind, and she left this comment last week:

Have you ever written about the system you use(d?) with your boys with the little tokens? I thought it was brilliant when you explained it at your home years ago. I was thinking I need to implement something like that but of course can’t remember. :> So, your readers are practically BEGGING you to do a post about it. 

and when I said “tell me what you want me to write about.” I was serious (smile) We haven’t used this system in a while, as the boys have outgrown it but when we did? It was nothing short of miraculous!
 
First, you find something all your children really love. I was blessed with three BOYS, so that part was EASY. I do not understand what is in testosterone that makes a flickering screen so mesmerizing? but both my husband and father-in-law have the same love for TV, computer, and video games…so our sons come by it naturally. That was the juicy carrot I had to dangle out in front of the stubborn mules…”Electronics Time” It could be the Nintendo DS, a computer game, Wii or a TV show but if it plugged in? It counted as “electronics”. Your kids might be motivated by a new Latin verb phrase book, or taking soup to the homeless but if that’s true I don’t want to hear about it..

Then I printed out a paper (on Microsoft Word) and cut into strips a bunch of  long “tags” that all said 5 Minutes, 10 minutes, 15 Minutes. I laminated them and punched a hole in the top to make them easy to hang. I used “Command” hooks from the store and put each childs initial on, then hung them on the inside of a kitchen cupboard door. The strips I put in separate sandwich bags, in the same cupboard. I explained the system to the boys and we started it over fresh, each Monday. Here is how it worked:

1. You earned a 15 minute tag each evening when you had done your required chores and schoolwork ON YOUR OWN, without reminders. Being responsible and self initiating earned you over an hour of electronics time on Saturday morning!

2. The 5 and 10 minute tags were “bonus” tickets for Mom and Dad to hand out as we chose. This gave us opportunities to “catch” our boys being good. When we overheard a brother encouraging another, or noticed an extra effort given while making the bed, or someone persevered through a math test without grumbling? We could spontaneously say “Wow! I think you deserve a 10 min ticket! I loved seeing you being (responsible, patient, diligent, kind) and I am proud of you!

3. The tickets were added up on Friday night or Saturday morning, and the resulting reward was given, then the tickets put back into the sandwich bags. It was a fresh slate for the coming week.

4. The boys could choose to bless his brother with one of his tickets, if he wanted to. (I was shocked that this actually happened a few times!)

5. We could offer tickets as “pay” for extra chores outside or around the house.

6. We could remove a ticket for really disobedient or disrespectful behavior.

The MAIN RULE: boys weren’t allowed to ask for tickets. If they did something and said “doesn’t THAT get me a ticket?!” they would automatically lose one.

It was up to them as children, to do the right thing, simply because it is the right thing (virtue being its own reward). It was up to us as parents, to teach, to observe and then to bless or admonish, as needed…

This little reward system is just a tool for positive reinforcement and a way to help children feel that truth glow of “I did the right thing and it feels good!!!”

However, let me state clearly that it has to be done carefully because taken out of context, it can just be another form of bribery and manipulation which is terrible parenting. The overwhelmed Mom in the grocery store who is begging/pleading with her preschooler for good behavior but the child doesn’t buckle and so it escalates into yelling and demanding? That Mom sees this type of idea and says “ok! This might work-I will FORCE my child to behave or they won’t get xyz” (and there are a thousand variations on that system…counting to 3, time-out, no dessert etc.) They are all different flavors of the same parental message “Make my life easier, kid or pay the price.” and I hate that.

That is not what this is about. The idea is that you have already taught your children the basics:

respect for your authority.

manners.

conflict resolution (forgiving a sibling and asking their forgiveness).

being an encourager, not a grumbler or whiner.

waiting your turn, patiently.

sharing.

not spitting at Grandma.

not drawing on the cat with a Sharpie, etc.

No ”system” teaches them that. The system reinforces the lessons you have already been teaching since birth. Whatever methods we use in parenting–

(and we all use SOMETHING, even if by default or non-choice, it slides back to whatever threats our own parent used on us…)

Our kids need to be CAUGHT BEING GOOD more often than they are disciplined for being bad. The message of whether or not we see them? It gets through to their inner being. What do they hear? If the majority of our interactions with them are

stop that. no. I told you! go to your room. that’s enough. I am so tired of this. no. Why won’t you listen? that is not allowed. no. don’t talk back to me. be nice. sit up straight. I am counting to three. finish your lunch. be quiet. no. do you want a time out? then stop it!

those words. that tone. the message you never meant them to hear, but gets through is this: “you are too much work. there is something wrong with you. love and affection have to be earned. you are a bad kid. it is hard to be around you.”

kids are looking at us, their parents, and aching to hear this:

I see you. I like you. You are a good kid. You sin, yes. But it doesn’t define who you ARE to me, and I am able to handle you at your worst. Because you are loved. treasured. precious to me. and worth any sacrifice.

wouldn’t that have changed your life, to have had that experience, as a child?

yes.

and do you know how to recognize good parenting?

It is by looking to how the Father parents…

He has high standards.

He speaks truth, faithfully and gently.

He lets us face the consequences of our actions, and learn from them.

He blesses beyond what we deserve.

He leads us to repentance and change by His kindness towards us.

His love is unconditional and sacrificial.

and often on Mondays, when I am making the Gratitude List, I am feeling those are kind of like my little tickets, hanging on my “hook”.  Encouragment from my Daddy who is always watching me and says “I like you, Brenda! and since I know you enjoy sparrows, and coffee, and Danskos and the smell of rain, and friendship and Mozart and buttered popcorn? I am blowing those kisses at you today, just to say:

I see you. I like you. You are a good kid. You sin, yes. But it doesn’t define who you ARE to me, and I am able to handle you at your worst. Because you are loved. treasured. precious to me. and worth any sacrifice.

December 17, 2010

Tips for a Greener 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.  TIP: shop after Christmas fabric bargains for the very best deals...up to 90% off!

Wrapping Paper - My daughter loves to paint. One 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.  TIP: using newspaper to paint on saves the cost of easel paper and reuses newspaper in a fun way.

Batteries - When my daughter was born, practically all of her "gadgets" required batteries. I thought we could 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 5 years later, I think I've bought disposable batteries once...at the zoo when we forgot fresh batteries. TIP: Look for chargers that hold 8 batteries and accept all sizes.

Tree - I'll admit that we use a live tree that we cut down each year.  But there are other fun options!  There's always a fake tree, but they can be full of chemicals.  My favorite alternative to a cut live tree is a living live tree!  A friend of mine does this.  She bought a Norfolk Island Pine, which is a slow-growing tree that can live indoors year-round.  She's had it now for about 5 years and every Christmas, she decorates with ornaments and tinsel. 

Gifts - this is both the hardest and the easiest, in my opinion.  I like to try buying hand made and/or natural gifts...things made of wood, wool, fabric, etc.  Things that don't require batteries and that will last for years.  Investment toys, I call them.  This is easier than ever since most stores now carry at least a small selection of such toys.  I also prefer to buy local whenever possible, which is also relatively easy for me since I live in a good-sized town.  But gifts like these are usually more expensive, sometimes making them the hardest gifts to buy.  I can buy a rattle at Target (plastic, made in China) for about $3.  Or I can go to my local boutique and buy a locally-made, locally-sourced, sustainably-harvested wood rattle for $14. 

That's it for now, but I might write a follow-up post with more ideas!

December 16, 2010

Welcome to the "New" blog!

For two years I've written our blog under the Cloth Diaper Outlet name, but today we change to a new name and new era!  Since my blog is no longer tied directly to our store, I can do a lot more things with the blog...product reviews for instance. But I'm still the same me writing as I always have, so other than the name and theme, this blog will stay pretty much the same. 

I'm going to celebrate this event with a journal in pictures of how our website has changed over the years.  Might toss in a family pic or two as well!

February 2006, about 4 months after we opened  

Nov 2006 - after 1 year in business and we were the debut store for Knickernappies diapers
Nov 2007 - 2 years in business - release of Happy Heiny One Size diaper  
October 2010 - 5 y ears in business
Oct 2006 - family of three
Nov 2010 - family of four!  (I'm wearing LOTS of layers...I swear I'm not pregnant again!)

December 6, 2010

New blog design and site coming soon!

Before long, you'll see a new page here when you visit.  http://www.iloveclothdiapers.com/ will be our new blog site.  If you're already a follower, you'll still be a follower.  Same writers, same basic content.  But moving it away from our store's name will allow us to do other things with our blog...reviews, giveaways, etc that aren't necessarily associated with our website.  It'll all be good and it's coming soon!

December 2, 2010

Hand made wooden teething rattles - just in time for Christmas!

A few months ago, while I was pregnant with Colby, a locally-owned home-based company in Kentucky contacted me about carrying their teething rattles.  They sent me a sample so I could see firsthand the quality and eventually try it out on our baby.

As soon as I saw the rattle, I knew we'd carry these in our store.  Top quality, hand made right in their home-based workshop, sanded smooth and finished with a food-based wax.  These are premium teething rattles and beautiful, too.

Fast forward almost 6 months (sob!) and our little guy is gnawing on everything in sight, including his wooden teething rattle!
It is easy for him to hold, lightweight, and just the right size.  It has a gentle rattling noise (not annoying!) from tiny ball bearings sealed tightly inside the hollow base. 

These are available in 6 types of wood: bloodwood (a gorgeous red color), osage orange (a beautiful orangy-yellow wood), maple, oak, walnut, and cherry.
For just $14 each (3 or more are $13 each), these are a perfect stocking stuffer, new baby gift, etc.  And I think these are nice enough to become treasured keepsakes.

November 16, 2010

Sunning in the rain - works on baby food stains!

We've had such a great response to our "Sunning Diapers in the Rain" post that I decided to follow it up with sunning out baby food stains. 

My husband, for reasons known only to him, refuses to use a bib when he feeds Colby.  This results in techni-color stains on clothes. I don't stress the stains because I know I can take care of them easily...the same way I take care of diaper stains!

Yikes!  Sweet potato remains after TWO washes and a long soak in OxyClean.
I laid this out on our patio, again in the rain, all day yesterday.  Stains are gone!
I love the power of the sun!  Even on days when it's not sunny, it still works!

November 11, 2010

"Sunning" your diapers in the rain

I live in a part of Oregon where it rains approximately 400 days a year.  Okay, not that many, but it feels that way!  We do get rain most days during the winter and spring.  That makes sunning diapers difficult.

Or does it?

I often tell customers they can sun their diapers anytime, even on cloudy or rainy days.  I've done it before, but thought I'd do it again and post pictures along the way.

Clean diapers with heavy stains: Hemp on the left, bamboo on the right

11:45 am - Laid them out on our patio...in the rain.
Rain and massive clouds!
4:45 pm - Looking much improved already.  Bamboo is nearly stain-free.  Hemp has a little way to go yet.  You can see that both diapers are sopping wet from the rain.  It rained all day.
11:00 am the next morning - stains are gone!
Freshly washed and dried, they're in perfect, stain-free condition.

All together, the "sunning" took about 10 hours but it worked, even with constant rain and clouds.  And you don't have to put your diapers outside...it works laid in a window or even the dashboard of your car, too.

So why does sunning diapers magically bleach out stains?  The UV rays...terrible for skin, great for naturally removing stains!!  As long as it's daylight, UV rays reach the earth (and they do at night too, but far less).  If UV rays are reaching the earth's surface, you can lay out diapers!

Sunning works on all types of organic stains.  Blueberry stains on a onesie?  Spit up stains on a bib?  Lay them outside and let the sun (or UV rays) work its magic!

November 8, 2010

GroVia vs. Flip - are they the same?

There are so many new diapers coming out...AIOs, OneSize, and now Hybrids--diapers that can be 100% cloth or a mix of cloth and disposable.  Flip and GroVia are two examples of hybrid diapers.  Both are diapering "systems" that can either be used with a cloth insert or a disposable insert. 

Why choose hybrid diapers?  As my husband says, cloth diapering isn't a religion (though it can feel like it!).  Most families do choose to use disposables at least occasionally for vacation, daycare, etc. 

When we had our daughter 5 years ago, I was strictly 100% cloth.  No disposable ever touched her bottom once we made the switch to cloth.  Even our wipes were cloth and we didn't own a single package of disposable wipes.  But now that our son is here, I find myself relaxing about what diapers we use.  Colby had a non-diaper-related rash that required a special ointment.  The same weekend, we were heading out of town for a 3 day trip.  I pulled out a pack of Flip disposable inserts and thought...why not?  I should at least try them since I sell them. 

That started our trial of Flip disposable inserts, GroVia disposable inserts, and even a pack of GroVia disposable wipes.  Here is my review.

Just looking at the packages you'll notice that GroVia disposables are meant for full-time use.  They come in packs of 50.  Flip disposables come in a pack of 18 and are advertised as an alternative diaper for vacations, etc. 

GroVia insert, Flip insert
You'll notice the difference between the two inserts immediately.  Flip are an off-white natural color, long, no elastic, and no plastic.  GroVia are pure white, feature elastic at the leg and in a gusset, are a lot shorter, and are backed with a layer of plastic for waterproof protection.

GroVia insert inside GroVia cover, Flip insert inside Flip cover
GroVia inserts feature two spots of sticky tape to stick the diaper to the cover.  I found right away that you pretty much have to use this sticky tape.  Otherwise, because of the elastic, it bunches up and doesn't provide coverage.  The old GroBaby inserts, I heard, would stick fast to PUL products, meaning they couldn't be used with other covers like Thirsties.  I carry the new version of the GroVia inserts and I've used them now with every cover we own, including Thirsties.  The sticky tape is just the right amount of stick...it holds without sticking forever to the fabric.

Flip doesn't have any sticky tape or elastic.  You fold it under to the length you need, then lay into a cover.  Flip covers are easy because they feature a flap at each end for holding the insert.  But I've used these in all of our covers with no trouble. 

The GroVia feel more like a disposable with the elastic and the plastic backing.  The Flip feel more natural.  Both claim to be compostable, but I don't think I would ever put GroVia in the compost pile.  The package says the elastic needs to be removed first as it may not break down. 

Days: Both do great during the day or for naps. 

Nights: I was never successful with GroVia overnight.  Since they have plastic backing, you can't lay another insert underneath for extra absorbency.  With the Flip inserts, I would put a hemp insert underneath to hold overnight.  Worked great every time.  I did try folding a second GroVia insert and placing inside the first for overnight use, but that didn't work either.  After about 5 nights of trying GroVia overnight, we gave up.  We had leaks every night, some worse than others.  Flip, however, kept our son dry every night, as long as we had a hemp insert for extra absorbency.


Poop:  GroVia does the best at containing runny breastfed baby poop.  The elastic generally keeps everything where it needs to be.  Since Flip inserts don't have elastic, the poop did escape the insert a few times but the cover did hold it in.  We never had an actual poop leak with either brand.  But I wash covers more often with Flip. 

Price: Before shipping costs and not counting any discounts, the Flip inserts are $0.33 each.  GroVia inserts are $0.43 each. 

Bottom line: I wouldn't use either one of these for full-time diapering.  Too much disposable to really be saving the planet, too expensive to be saving money.  After all, I'm a cloth mom!  But for vacations, times when you need to use diaper creams, Grandma's house, etc, these are both perfect choices.  I would use them both again, though I'd probably pick Flip first just because it seems more of a natural option and the package count is smaller.

October 19, 2010

Journey to a better diaper bag, part 2

I got a knock on the door this morning from our postal lady!  She had two lovely boxes for me.  One was full of coffee (thank goodness, just in time) and the other was full of Hot Mama Handbags!!

I haven't had a chance to actually use my new bag yet, but I did spread everything out and fill the new bag.  Tried it on for size.  I think I'm going to love it!

I took scads of photos this morning, starting with my first custom Hot Mama Handbag set.  It included the medium Emma diaper bag (which I'll be using again later on...I love this bag!), a wetbag, a wipes bag, a changing pad, a mama clutch for my wallet and keys, and a keychain.
First set, purchased in April 2010
This is a pic of my bag this morning, with all my stuff crammed into it.  The bag was the perfect size until cold weather hit.  Now that I'm carrying pants in addition to a onesie, and often carrying a small blanket, it's a tight fit.  And our boy is getting ready to need snacks and a sippy cup, which just won't fit in my beloved bag.

Yeah, that's a lot of stuff!  Two cloth diapers, a wetbag, a wipes bag, a changing pad, a nursing cover, my mama bag, a tiny blanket, a hat for my bald boy, a onesie & pants, crayons, 2 tiny notebooks, calculator, keys, pens, etc etc.

Now for the new bag...This is an Emma large with a medium clutch.  To the Emma bag, I added a zipper closure and a cell phone pocket.  My first Emma didn't have either of these, so I'm looking forward to the new features!
The official photo from Hot Mama Handbags

Large Emma bag, medium clutch for my things, matching keychain  
See how much bigger the large Emma bag is compared to the medium Emma?
Comparison with the clutches...my mama bag got bigger too!  Love the size of the medium clutch.

The inspiration for the fabrics came from an odd place.  We were at a coffee shop and a lady came in.  She set her bags down on a table...a lime green plastic bag from a store and her chocolate-colored purse.  I loved the color combo.  Plus I fell in love with the lime hummingbirds and just had to use it somewhere!
The inside of my new bag is a cheerful lime green.  It has 6 pockets on the inside, three with elastic and three without.
With the matching clutch in Lime Hummingbirds.

Close up of clutch.  Lime Hummingbirds outside, burgundy dandelion inside.  My picture angle is odd, making it look smaller than it is.
Finally, after taking all my photos, I happily filled the new bag.  Everything fits inside nicely with room for more.  I can fit the sippy, snacks, and blanket when the time comes.  It's not a huge bag and I think it'll be comfortable to carry. 
The clutch fits perfectly into one elastic pocket...you can see it near the top of the photo.  It's slightly open, showing the burgundy interior. 
I also splurged and bought one of her new Chloe bags, which is similar to a small Emma bag.  I won't actually use this bag for a while yet since it's not quite big enough for diapers, but someday that bag is waiting for me!! 

Hot Mama Handbags is the place to find these great bags.  She has a great selection that are premade and ready to ship.  Or you can do as I did and order custom-everything.  Her Etsy store is BabyEverAfter.  I also bought my nursing shawl from her as part of my very first order.  The shawl is lightweight and works great.  

Finally, Maranda runs specials occasionally.  Right now, just in time for Christmas gifts, she has a "Buy 3 get 1 Free" on clutch/keychain sets.  I'm tempted to take advantage of this offer and give them out to my friends...such a fabulous gift for less than $20 per set!  Or she sells gift certificates...put that one on YOUR Christmas list!


Disclaimer: The review for all bags is unsoliticited and I paid full price for my first custom order and for the Chloe bag.  Maranda did graciously give me a discount on my new bag and clutch in exchange for a blog post. 

October 14, 2010

Winner Announcement - 3 Happy Heinys One Size Diapers

Our winner is #63 Kris and The Frog!  Email me within 48 hours to claim your prize and pick your diapers!  You have your choice of snaps or velcro, print or solids. 

http://www.clothdiaperoutlet.com/happy_heinys_onesize_cloth_diapers.html

October 11, 2010

Journey to a better diaper bag, Part 1

I have very few indulgences, but one of them is a really great, custom-made diaper bag.  I thought you might enjoy reading my journey to the Perfect Diaper Bag!

When I had my daughter, Camille, 5 years ago, I bought a cheapo diaper bag, thinking myself clever for saving so much money.  A week after she was born I was combing Toys R Us and Target looking for a better bag.  I needed one that was big enough for my stuff, but not huge.  I wanted something non-babyish.  I couldn't find what I wanted and I ended up with a backpack diaper bag.  That worked for a while, but the thing was a black hole and I couldn't find anything.  It was around this time that we switched to cloth diapers.  Again, I needed a better bag. 

My 2005 custom bag

I met a mom who'd had a diaper bag custom made.  I visited the same online store and bought a very custom, every-detail-made-just-for-me diaper bag.  It was much cheaper than a boutique bag, much better quality and way more fashionable than a discount store bag.  I LOVED it and carried it for the next 3 years.

When I was expecting our son, I wanted the same diaper bag experience.  I just couldn't settle for anything less!  But the seller I'd purchased from had stopped sewing diaper bags, so I went on a hunt for someone new.  Do you know how many hits you get on Etsy for diaper bag? 

That's right...over 26,000 results!!  Egads.  Even using the words "custom diaper bag" yields over 2000 entries.  I scrolled through hundreds of bags and sellers.  And then....

*cue angels singing*

I found this:
Emma Medium in Orchid Ginsing fabric



This bag caught my eye.  The seller is Babyeverafter, also known as Hot Mama Handbags.  I looked around at her other things and knew I'd found my custom diaper bag creator!  Her patterns are simple, classy, and hip.  Her eye for fabrics is unique and fun.  The quality is unmistakable, evident even in photographs. 

I soon ordered a custom bag (the one above!) along with a changing pad, wet bag, wipes bag, mama clutch, and key chain, all in coordinating fabrics.  I added in a nursing cover since I was having so much fun! 

I got my order a week or so later, much faster than expected.  Everything was simply perfect. 

My medium Emma bag holds so much without being huge...changing pad, wet bag, nursing cover, my small mama clutch bag (wallet, cell phone, keys, chapstick), 2 cloth diapers, a full change of clothes, a couple small teethers, a stack of restaurant coupons, baby tylenol, two tiny notebooks and an 8-pack of crayons.  Whew! 

Fast forward 6 months.  Colby is here now and I've used my beautiful diaper bag every day since we came home from the hospital.  But I am realizing that I chose too small...I need a larger bag, especially as he starts needing snacks and a sippy cup.  Guess I'll have to shop again!  Back to Hot Mama Handbags. 

Maranda is now creating my second custom order.  This time, I've chosen some funkier fabrics than I might normally go for, but I know it's going to turn out great.  Here are the fabrics I've chosen:

I've chosen an Emma Large this time, since I love the way my medium Emma bag looks. 

Outside Fabric
Inside Fabric



Then to go with my bag, I ordered a medium clutch to use as my mommy bag. 

Medium Clutch
I can't wait until my new bags arrive.  When it does, I'll take photos and post Part 2.  

Disclaimer: The review for both bags is unsoliticited and I paid full price for my first custom order.  Maranda did graciously give me a discount on my new order in exchange for a blog post.   

October 6, 2010

5th Anniversary Celebration!!

To celebrate Cloth Diaper Outlet's 5th Anniversary, I want to have some fun!  Let's do a couple of giveaways and do some special discounts, shall we?

First up, we're giving away a 3-pack of Happy Heiny OneSize cloth diapers in your choice of colors or prints.  Happy Heiny's was one of our very first diaper brands and I'm proud to carry them 5 years later.

Happy Heiny's cloth diapers - 5 years at Cloth Diaper Outlet!

Use the code HAPPYHEINYS and save 10% off all Happy Heiny products until Wednesday, Oct 13!

Guidelines For Entry-
  • First entry requirement is to comment here and tell me why you would love to win 3 Happy Heinys OneSize diapers.
  • Please comment once per entry so that you are entered the correct number of times in the giveaway.
  • Make sure you either leave your email address, blog or website address in each comment or make sure you are logged in to your Blogger account so that we can be sure to have a way of reaching you should you win.
  • Contest is open to participants in the US and Canada.
  • Contest runs from Wednesday, October 6, 2010 to Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at midnight PST.
  • Winner is chosen via random.org and winning announcements are posted on Thursday, Oct 14.
  • Participants have 7 days from close of giveaway to respond and claim their prize.
How to earn extra entries-
  • Earn (1) extra entry for letting us know what you were doing 5 years ago (kids, job, school, etc)
  • Earn (1) extra entry for becoming a FAN of Cloth Diaper Outlet on Facebook!
  • Earn (1) extra entry for Following the Cloth Diaper Outlet Blog.
  • Earn (1) extra entry when you Follow @ClothDiaperTips on Twitter.
  • Earn (3) extra entries each time you Tweet about the giveaway, please be sure to include a link to the giveaway and use #clothdiapers in your tweet. (Max. 2 tweets per day)
  • Earn (3) extra entries when you invite your FaceBook Friends to become a FAN of ClothDiaperOutlet or Announce the Giveaway.
  • Earn (1) extra entry for each comment you leave to a non giveaway blog post on the Cloth Diaper Outlet blog.
  • Earn (5) extra entries when you Blog about the giveaway in a blog post. Please include a link to the giveaway. 
  • Earn (1) extra entry when you leave a review for a Happy Heinys product on our website. 
  • Earn (1) extra entry when you tell us what your very favorite Happy Heinys product is.  

Happy 5th Birthday Cloth Diaper Outlet!

That's right--5 years ago today Cloth Diaper Outlet opened for the first time with 6 boxes of Baby Bits in stock (and that was it!)  Here's a screenshot of an early Cloth Diaper Outlet (circa Feb 2006).


Some of my memories:
  • We opened with just 6 boxes of Baby Bits wipe solution, the minimum order at that time.  Two weeks later we had our first sale--2 box of Baby Bits!  
  • Our second sale happened 2 months later right after Christmas.  A friend bought a few FuzziBunz diapers from me.  These were not the FuzziBunz of today, remember the pointy tabs and larger sizing?  Back then a minimum order from FB was 24 diapers and that was exactly what I bought.  We were on a very thin shoestring budget!
  • Diapers didn't come with inserts back then.  BumGenius hadn't been invented yet.  FuzziBunz and Happy Heinys were the two main diaper brands and neither had a one-size.  In fact, the only one-size diaper that was widely available was Wonderoos.
  • Planet Wise, GroVia, Rumparooz, and Thirsties did not exist yet.
  • Wahmies wet bags were just becoming popular.  The original owner still sewed them herself in her home.
  • I didn't bother carrying covers or prefolds because "they didn't sell" and I didn't like using them.  Same for disposable diaper liners.  LOL  Diaper liners are one of our biggest sellers now!  Covers and prefolds are something I now recommend regularly.  
  • When I started Cloth Diaper Outlet, every store was wahm-run and every manufacturer was either out of the home or just barely into a factory.
  • None of the diapers came with any sort of packaging back then.  
When I started CDO, I had a full-time job working in our family's bookstore.  I brought my daughter to work with me.  While I nursed her throughout the day, I built CDO.  I promised my husband that CDO wouldn't take any time away from my job since I would only work on it while nursing.  Back then, we never ever dreamed that someday CDO would provide our family's sole income or that my husband would quit his real job to come work with me.

I have been blessed abundantly these last 5 years.  I love helping moms and dads be successful with cloth diapering.  I love meeting new people and becoming friends.  I have customer-friends scattered all over the world.  They tend to come and go as their kids potty train or they have new babies. 

Thank you for the past 5 years.  Thank you for supporting our family and making it possible to be the store we are today.  Here's to another 5 years! 

September 20, 2010

The Very Last Time

Years ago, when my daughter was new, I bought a book by Karen Kingsbury called "Let Me Hold You Longer".   Essentially, it's about noticing the "lasts" in your child's life...the last time they wear a diaper, the last time they use a sippy cup, the last batting practice in Little League, etc. 

I cried my way through the book and promised myself that I would always try to recognize the "lasts" the way I do the "firsts".  By the way, I seriously think Karen Kingsbury should come out with a baby memory book...Camille's book is filled in the margins of her "lasts" since there no spaces for such things printed in any book!

I've found that the Lasts can be even more meaningful than the Firsts, if you can only catch them.  Here is the story of one such Last for us:

Camille and I developed an easy and comfortable nursing relationship from the start.  I loved nursing her.  She lingered over her meals, often drawing them out 45 minutes.  It was a relaxing, lazy time for both of us, which was a blessing since I worked 90 hours a week in our family business (not Cloth Diaper Outlet) and took her to work with me.  Life was stressful but our nursing times were great stress-relief. 

When Camille was about 18 months old, I started thinking about weaning.  We wanted to start trying for another child and I thought having my body to myself for a few months in between might be a good thing.  Over the next month, we worked on offering alternatives to nursing and gradually going down to one nursing a day.  Camille took to it pretty easily.  A couple of days before Christmas, I had an inkling that we might be about finished.  She went one day, then two, without asking to nurse.  The day after Christmas in 2006, I knew that Camille was done.  But I wanted my Last and I wanted it to be special. 

We were all alone at home, just Camille and me.  Everyone else was at Grandma's house eating Christmas dinner leftovers.  I cuddled Camille in my lap and she latched on.  While she nursed, I looked into her eyes and told her how much I'd loved nursing her for 19 months, how special our times were to me, and how I would never forget them.  I told her how much I loved her and that I would miss nursing her.  After a couple of minutes, she was done and ran off to play.  That was the final time we ever nursed.  And my sweetest Last so far...

September 13, 2010

Stripping your diapers for diaper rash


(guest post by Missy Z)


For the better part of 2 months, my 18 month old daughter (who is exclusively cloth diapered) had a terrible diaper rash. And by terrible, I mean bleeding, ulcerated wounds that have left little scars on her poor bottom. At first I treated it at home with some natural diaper rash cream, changing her as soon as she was wet & letting her air out regularly. I then tried tracking her food to see if she was eating something that was causing the irritation. When that wasn’t working, I made a trip to the doctor & was given a combination of topical antibiotics, anti-fungal cream & topical steroids. After 10 days, the rash was not getting better so back to the doctor we went. This time we were given bactroban. The rash still didn’t clear up after another week & we went to the doctor for the 3rd time. At this visit, her doctor prescribed her oral antibiotics and told me that if it wasn’t improving within the next week, we were going to have to make a trip to the pediatric dermatologist in Portland, OR (we live in Springfield). I was concerned at this point & was willing to do anything I could to clear her rash up. Reluctantly, I put her in disposables and sure enough, her rash was better after 2 days.

Once her rash was completely healed, I put her back into her cloth diapers & within 2 diapers, she was already breaking out again. At this point, I could only conclude that it was her cloth diapers that were causing the rash. I had already battled a cloth diaper related rash due to detergent earlier this year & tried this as a cure so I went to the computer for some other solutions & what I found was very minimal. The only relevant info I found was for odor removal by stripping. I was so ready for her to be out of disposables & figured it wouldn’t hurt anything so I gave it a try. I washed them with 2 tablespoons of original blue Dawn and then rinsed them on hot until the bubbles were gone (7 or 8 times). I was anxious to get her back into cloth, but skeptical since I hadn’t had luck with anything else. I put her in cloth through 2 diapers & was nervous so put her back in disposables. She didn’t have any signs of rash, but I didn’t want to take any chances. The next day she went through 3 cloth diapers & then back to disposables but there was still no rash. By day 3, I had her back into cloth for the entire day & she was still rash free! Now she is back to exclusively cloth. Stripping the diapers clearly removed whatever it was that was causing the irritation & I am relieved to have a clear & fluffy bottom on my daughter again.

August 14, 2010

An Ode to Leaky Breasts

The baby is here
The breasts have grown
Soon the leaking will appear
That much, experience has shown
At first, the breasts will swell
Past the C, past the D, all the way to E
Then you're in nursing bra hell
Engorgement spells misery
When that stage is done
You'll need to have some pads
For now it's time for all the fun
That a leaky breast adds.

Ah, yes, leaking breasts are the hallmark of breastfeeding.  They can be painful, they can be embarrassing, they can even be fun (Mommy, make your boob squirt!).  I can't solve the painful part (grin and bear it, you'll get through!) but I can help with the embarrassing part. 

Knickernappies Stay-Dry pads
If you're reading this blog, then you probably already know about cloth diapers.  Cloth nursing pads is an easy switch to make.  Not only are they more comfortable than disposable nursing pads, they can save money too.  One more thing to NOT buy at the store!

Knickernappies Stay-Dry Nursing Pads - these have several nice features.  Against the skin is soft fleece.  It wicks moisture away from the skin, keep you dry and helping to prevent mastitis.  Inside the pad is a layer of hemp, naturally anti-microbial and absorbant.  On the outside is PUL, stopping leaks before they hit your shirt. A great go-to pad for venturing outside the house or for nights.

Moonbeam Wool & Bamboo nursing pads - I love these pads!!  So expensive but so worth every single dime.  I leak a lot and wear pads 24/7, so these have been fabulous.  Bamboo velour against the skin is very soft, though not stay-dry so you'll need to make sure you change pads if they're at all damp.  Inside is absorbant cotton.  On the back is waterproof (but washable!) wool.  These are also leakproof, like the KN pads above, so moisture won't seep through onto your shirt.  The pads we carry at CDO are extra absorbant, which make them awesome for heavy-leakers or for nighttime.  Moonbeam pads conform to the breast so they don't show, even though they're thicker than the other brands.

Knickernappies Hemp Nursing Pads - a great, all-natural pad with no waterproof barrier.  This is a simple pad with three layers of absorbant hemp.  I love these for nights tucked under a waterproof pad for maximum absorbancy and leak protection.  These also form nicely to the breast so they don't show hardly at all under tshirts. 

All three of these brands are made in the USA and all are about 5" in diameter.  All are machine-washable and dryable.