January 1, 2011

First winner of the year on our new Facebook page!

When we switched to our new blog name and theme, we also opened up a new Facebook page just for the blog... www.facebook.com/ILoveClothDiapers . Today we celebrate our first 100 fans by giving away a Knickernappies OneSize diaper!

More Green Year's Resolution ideas

Need some more ideas for going green(er) this year? Here are a few more...

Hang laundry to dry - the dryer is the most energy-consuming appliance in the house. Did you know that you can't buy energy star dryers? When we asked the salesman for one last summer, he laughed at us. But hanging laundry to dry takes no energy at all, at least not the electrical kind! Hang a clothesline or buy a drying rack. If you have a wooden fence in your backyard, hanging a clothesline is as simple as 2 cuphooks and a few yards of clothesline twine. Total cost? About $3! Drying racks range from $10 to $30 or so.

Toy Swap - instead of buying new toys when your kids tire of the old, get together with some friends and do a toy swap. Try to have all the pieces together in ziplock bags and wash toys first if needed. On the day of the swap, arrange everything on a table or the floor. You can use a system the equalizes toys brought vs toys taken, or you can just let it be a free-for-all where everyone gets to take home "new" toys! I know our family will be doing this at least once later this year! It's a perfect summertime activity.

Yard Sale - have one or shop at one, either way saves money and earth's resources. Anytime you can reuse something old rather than buying new, there is savings.

Swtich to phosphate-free detergents - Many of us probably already do this since a lot of laws have been passed about phosphates recently, but if you're not already using phosphate-free detergents and dish soap, take a look at all the options available now. Planet is always a great choice. We've used that brand for dish soap, dishwasher powder, and laundry detergent and all have worked very well. Planet detergent is also safe for diapers! But many other brands are phosphate-free now. At least in our area, even Tide is phosphate-free. Read the label...they're required to disclose phosphates.

What are YOUR ideas for a greener new year?

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.