Friday, February 20, 2015

Cloth Diapering Journey Thus Far

I originally wanted to share my cloth diapering journey in some regular posts but with the lack of time now, here's the Cole's Notes (do they even still make them?) version. Even though our peanut is 6 months old (!) already, we have only been able to cloth diaper her little booty for approximately 3 months. She had this unrelenting diaper rash that is still not fully healed yet so we were in disposables for 3 months, trying cream after cream. Everything I read and everyone I spoke with, highly advised against making a huge purchase of one brand of diapers before testing one out first on baby's bum. Being the true Asian that I am, a sale got the best of me and we splurged on about 12 pairs of Applecheeks diaper covers and 30 bamboo inserts. That set us back over $500 right off the bat and I just hoped that they would work out for us because there seemed to be so much Applecheeks love in the cloth diapering world. Well they sure did not disappoint. I absolutely loved cloth diapering from day 1, although I did not love the gDiapers that we borrowed from a family member. Regardless, it got us through the first couple of weeks when Charlotte was itty bitty. Now I realized as I was typing, this is not looking very Cole's Notes like so I'll just share a few things that I want to share. 

1. Disposable liners can probably convert a lot of non-cloth diapering folks to switch over because it makes handling poop so easy. Just pull off the Bounce fabric softener like sheet out of the diaper, chuck that out and you're good to go! The Applecheeks liners cost about $0.08/liner but we cut them in half. If you're uber Asian green, you can hand wash the liners that have only been peed on, hang dry them and reuse them. I misread and thought I could throw them in the washer and reuse them. That does not work. 

2. I don't think Charlotte's rash was ever ammonia burn but it sure got me reading into all the issues that cloth diapers can have if the wash routine isn't getting them clean enough. Ammonia burn, mineral build up, barn yard stink, the list is huge! Now add on all the diaper creams on the market that are not cloth diaper safe and the things you have to do to your diapers to get the creams out, it'll make your head spin.

3. I like the idea of a one size diaper but I really do prefer the trimmer fit of the Applecheeks' sized diapers vs. one sized diapers like AMP. AMP snaps also drive me a little crazy and I hate them! 

4. We had an old top loader that I made Jamie sell and we purchased a nice HE front loader. Only after, did I find out that old school top loaders supposedly work better for cloth diapers. I don't regret it though because we redid our laundry room. The new washer and dryer look fabulous and we all know a fabulous looking laundry room, like all the ones you see on Pinterest or Houzz, make doing laundry seem less like a chore. Jamie put up some hanging racks we purchased at Ikea and I found a cute little metal tin at Winners that says "Laundry Detergent" on the front. You might not believe me but I can honestly say, the new laundry room makes me actually enjoy laundry. What I even enjoy more is stuffing inserts into diaper covers. It's amazing the number of moms that find stuffing diapers relaxing.

5. So has cloth diapering saved us any money so far? Absolutely NOT! As so many cloth diapering memes say, I just want to BUY ALL THE DIAPERS!!! There are so many cute prints that I have to constantly resist the urge to make purchase after purchase of these dang cute diapers. We didn't decide to cloth diaper to save money, but rather to try and decrease our contribution to the landfill. After using disposables for almost 3 months, I'm so happy to be back in cloth because I felt awful every time we had a full bag of dirty diapers to throw away. I feel like we went through them extraordinarily fast because of Charlotte's rash so that didn't help matters. What I am hoping for though, is if I do stop buying more diapers, everything should last us at least another child so we might break even in 5-7 years. 

6. If nothing else, just the sheer cuteness of cloth diapers might just lure you in! 

  

Friday, February 6, 2015

The View From the Top

I'm about 2 years behind on my Project Life albums when I finally decided to skip ahead and work on 2014. I'm not making a lot of headway since I'm only working on it 1-2 hours a week, but as +Cynthia Chau pointed out, that's more than when I didn't have a baby. We did a hike at Diamond Head and the view up there was so spectacular. I tried to capture it the best I could and here's my pieced together attempt. It's choppy but still breathtaking. Besides the view, the second most memorable part of the hike was when we were half way up, in the blazing sun, 20 weeks pregnant, I ask for water, and we have none. Not one drop. We forgot to pack it even though we did a mental checklist of everything we needed. Needless to say, pregnant mental checklists are not dependable. It's a good thing we packed a small container of mixed berries so that gave us a bit of sustenance. I was so excited to gulp down some water when we made it back to the car, but we didn't even have nasty hot car water to drink!!! Epic fail. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Random Update

My BFF asked for a blog post and it's been a while so I'm taking a bit of time to do a quick update for my dear buddy and fellow readers in the blogosphere. Before Christmas, I got really into crocheting and found that the Michael's crappy hooks just weren't cutting it so Jamie and I put in a big order on KnitPicks and I made a sweet hook holder for all my new toys using this pattern. 
We also made Charlotte's first Christmas ornaments using a simple salt dough recipe. It took a lot of tries to get her little hand and foot to cooperate. I'm glad that salt dough is very forgiving and easy to work with. I think they turned out adorable and I can't wait to hang them on our tree next year! 
I did my very first DIY RLR diaper insert strip because Charlotte got this terrible rash from having diarrhea and I thought it wouldn't hurt to strip the diapers just in case there was some ammonia build up. I absolutely love cloth diapering and have been very sad that I haven't been able to for the last 3 months because Charlotte's poor rash just isn't healing and I'm using all these non-cloth diaper safe products to try and protect her skin. She's got extremely sensitive and finicky skin so hopefully we can make our way back to cloth soon. 
We also picked up a bunch of picture frames from Ikea when they had a sale. I was envisioning this wall for quite some time and Ikea just happened to have frames on sale and a display conveniently put up that I fell in love with so we just stole the whole idea. Jamie didn't really have a choice but to put it up because we had no room to store the frames since we were hosting Christmas dinner for 20 people. Unfortunately, the frames are still sitting empty. Yet another project to tackle. 
With the amount of hoarding I do with crafting goods, I knew I wanted to make some tag blankets with the vast, VAST amount of ribbon I own. I managed to sneak away one Monday night to a friend's house and hunkered down for 2 hours. I think I used about 0.02% of my ribbon. 
We've been doing a lot more cooking since I started maternity leave. A new salad dressing that I've been obsessed with is this lemon garlic concoction. I don't remember where I found the recipe, but those who know me know that I'm not good with measurements so I'll just list off the ingredients. 

Kick Butt Lemon Dressing 
- olive oil
- lemon juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- mashed garlic
- oregano 
- a tiny bit of sugar if you want

It's seriously so yummy that it got Jamie actually enjoying salad! One thing to note though, the garlic is what makes the dressing so one must be okay with stinky raw garlic breath. Below are just some random shots. I attempted to make this White chicken Chili and although it didn't turn out like the recipe, it was still delicious. 
A few girlfriends and I are trying to get back into shape post baby so I've been doing baby barre class where you strap baby to you while doing ballet moves and strollercize (which is essentially working out while baby stays in the stroller). I've also managed to get in a couple walks with the warm weather we were having. Whatever little time that Charlotte is napping and I have my hands free, I'm trying to catch up on my Project Life. I'm only about 2 years behind now. Jamie is de-cluttering the basement and finally recycling all his university textbooks. Makes me sad knowing we both spent thousands and thousands of dollars on those damn things that we can't even use as firewood. They are literally worthless paperweights that are taking up valuable storage space, but yet I cringe at the thought of dumping them. How Asian of me. 
To end off this random update, say hi to the puppies! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Grateful

I cannot believe our wee little baby is almost 5 months old. I found some time today to edit some photos and it brought me right back to the NICU. It amazes me how resilient babies are, and people in general. I am so grateful for our health care system, that I did not have to worry about how I was going to pay for the care my baby was receiving, and that I get to spend an entire year with my sweet girl. What an incredible life I have and I am thankful for every minute of it. Sure we do not drive fancy cars, or have many expensive things, but with our health, a loving family, amazing friends, a roof over our heads on this cold, cold day, and full bellies, I am fulfilled. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

3 Months

I cannot believe how quickly time is moving. Little Charlotte is already 3 months old and my maternity leave is 25% over!!!  Our days are spent pumping, feeding, changing diapers, snuggling, and getting together with friends whenever we can. Jamie and I are both sneaking in some crafting whenever we can. He's the knitter and I'm the hooker, also known as the crocheter! Some projects we've worked on include a knitted poncho, some cute baby booties and a baby quilt to match my massive queen quilt. If you want to find some great patterns, Ravelry is fabulous. I love wearing Charlotte and although I might be breeding some bad habits of having her sleep on me, I relish all the chances I get to have her close to me. I know she isn't going to sleep like this with me forever.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Baker's Dozen Yeast Rolls

Who doesn't love a fresh, warm baked bun with their dinner? I was searching online and found this simple recipe at Taste of Home. It's quick to make and tastes oh so fabulous with a bowl of turkey chili. 

Ingredients: 
- 2-2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (You can substitute in 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 package (1/4 oz) of quick-rise yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup of warm water
- 2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons of melted butter (divided)
- 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions: 
1. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and 2 tablespoons of melted butter, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and remaining flour to form a soft dough. 
2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 4-6 minutes. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then divide into 13 portions, forming each one into a ball. Place them into a greased or lined 13" round pan and let them rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. 
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake 11-14 minutes or until golden brown. Combine honey, the remaining melted butter and garlic salt and brush over rolls. 

(I don't find the cheese adds any extra flavor so I skip the cheese.)



Monday, October 13, 2014

Thankful

I can't believe my wee little baby girl is almost two months old already. People aren't kidding when they say children grow up way too fast. My maternity leave is flying by and I feel like I haven't truly been able to enjoy it yet because of all the challenges I've had with breastfeeding. Hopefully by three months, we'll have a better idea of what road we want to continue down with nursing, or rather, the lack of nursing. 
I am often thankful for all the amazing things in my life and grateful for all that we have but as like everyone else, it's nice to list some of it for Thanksgiving. Our relative, Mai, had a blog post about taking the time every 30 minutes in a day to think about the things to be thankful for. I didn't do that today but I'll just take a few moments to tell the blogosphere just a few things I'm extra thankful for today. I'm thankful for a healthy beautiful daughter. I often think that with a poorly functioning placenta at the end of a pregnancy, she could have easily been stillborn. I am thankful for my amazing husband who puts up with all my rants, raves and outbursts. I am thankful for family, our health, and that we all have full bellies tonight in our warm house and a soft bed to crawl into afterwards. I am thankful for all my amazing friends and their healthy babies and sending prayers to the ones that need it. I am thankful for the gorgeous view we have from our kitchen and the amazing sunrises I get to see, despite having our daughter keeping us up all night long. I am thankful for the gorgeous park that we live near and that our "backyard" park is so amazing during the fall. I'm sure Jamie is thankful for getting to use his electric carving knives (that I gave him crap for buying). What do you have to be thankful for? I would love to hear it.