Nuts About Soap Nuts!

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With a family of four  I find that I do a LOT of laundry!  Since we’ve taken on cloth diapers and since our newest addition was born, I do at least a couple of loads per day.  Really, I don’t mind it too much.  It’s part of the routine.  However, when you are doing that much laundry, you really start to consider how much you are spending on laundry detergent.

Because I had severe eczema my whole life, we found out when I was young that plain ol’ Tide was the only detergent we could use that wouldn’t break me out.  I believe that my skin got used to it, not so much that it was the best solution for my sensitive skin.  When I started getting into a greener  lifestyle, I realized how many chemicals are in laundry detergents and thought maybe that was part of the reason that I had so much trouble with my eczema.  Since my son has shown the same symptoms of eczema that I used to have, we decided to go for an all natural approach.

I made my own batch of all natural laundry detergent, which made me feel wonderful because I wasn’t putting any harsh chemicals onto our clothes to soak into our bodies.  I found, however, that my messy 2 year old and newborn baby girl’s clothes were not getting as squeaky clean as Tide had done for us before, so I began looking for another natural alternative.

If I thought I was doing something right by making an “all natural detergent” before, I was wrong!  While the ingredients that I used in my homemade detergent were natural and safe, I found that it didn’t have much stain fighting power.  Enter Soap Nuts.

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Natural Cloth Wipe Solution

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When I started thinking about using cloth diapers, I immediately knew that I was going to use cloth wipes as well.  I ordered a few from Charlie Banana, but most of my wipes are old baby wash cloths that I had laying around.

When we first started using them, we would just walk to the sink and wet them with warm water.  It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t too much trouble either.  My son gets extreme diaper rash, and I was hopeful that when we started using cloth diapers and I began making his baby powder and using an all natural diaper cream the issue would be solved.  Unfortunately, he still got diaper rash after the switch, so I started thinking about making a recipe for a cloth wipe solution that would soothe his sensitive bottom.

It has been a success!  He hasn’t had a diaper rash breakout since I first made this solution!

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Honey…more than Pooh’s favorite snack

I don’t know about you, but as soon as my kids were born, all of the money that I had spent on myself previously seemed like nothing but waste.  Of course we ladies still need to indulge and pamper ourselves every once in a while to keep our sanity.  Pampering nowadays consists of half a bottle of wine and maybe an interrupted hour to take a nice, hot bubble bath.  Spending obscene amounts of money on beauty products just didn’t make sense to me anymore.  It’s easy to find affordable beauty products, but looking at the labels is a bit scary.  Do I really want all that junk that I can’t even pronounce seeping into my face?!  I don’t think so!  I started looking for alternatives and what I found was a little shocking.

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Honey.

You know, what bees make.  The same sticky sweetener I have in my kitchen to put in my tea.  All of the research I did to find the easiest, all natural face and body wash lead me back to honey.

So…how does it work?

Have you ever seen The Bee Movie?  I justify watching it as much as I do because I have a 2 year old, but let me tell you, Jerry Seinfeld knew what he was doing with that movie!  Basically, it divulges into the life of worker bees and all of the work that goes into making honey.  Pretty empowering stuff.  Anyways, there is some merit to what I am getting at.

Bees use nectar and nectar contains over 600 different compounds.  Honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a gentle antiseptic.  Basically, when you put honey in your beauty products, it actually cleans!  It also contains other antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals and encourage growth of new tissue.  That means that it heals irritated and damaged skin and also prevents scarring.  Honey is a natural humectant which means that it attracts and retains moisture, leaving your skin hydrated and fresh!

What skins types does it work on?

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Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper

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The amount of different cloth diaper brands and styles  is baffling, and the number of opinions about the best cloth diaper is even more overwhelming!

I am going to go over a few different styles  and brands of cloth diapers, hopefully making your choice a little easier!  Because there isn’t a store that sells cloth diapers anywhere in my area, I did all of my research online before purchasing.  What I chose to use, I immediately fell in love with, but keep in mind that my favorites may not be best for you and your family.  It’s all about preference!  No one diaper is better than another, it’s really just about what works for you!

Prefolds

These are what your grandma used.  And these are what people think of when they first hear “cloth diapering”. Prefolds are just that, prefolded pieces of fabric that need to be held together with either safety pins, covers, or a type of elastic fastener that you can purchase. The waterproof covers for these can be found for only a couple bucks, making this the cheapest way to diaper.

Although these may be the most affordable and the easiest type of diaper to clean, I didn’t go with prefolds because they seemed too complicated. Because I was used to disposables, I wanted something similiar to that. I thought it may be hard to teach a babysitter to use them, too. I have prefolds that I love to use as burp cloths! That may be saying something about how absorbant they are!

Fitted

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This kind of diaper is much more similar to disposables.  They fasten with either snaps, velcro, or loops and are fitted to baby’s bottom.  They are not waterproof so they still require some kind of shell.  These diapers are a little more expensive than prefolds, but cheaper than most other styles. Another plus is that there are all kinds of cute designs and colors. Read more

Why Go Cloth?

I started researching cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my son over two years ago. Knowing that I was going to contribute to the overflow of landfills with thousands of disposable diapers just didn’t sit well with me. Unfortunately, two moves in my third trimester (the last one being 10 days before my son was born) had me a little preoccupied. And as soon as my son was here, I was so overwhelmed with him and all of his perfection that I didn’t really think about it again other than the occasional “I wish we would have done cloth”…as if it were too late.

Almost a year ago, when I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I knew that I HAD to make it work! I began researching and found all kinds of websites, blogs, and forums on the benefits of cloth diapering, how to get started, and everything I could ever want to know about using cloth. I was blown away at how many people had the same frame of mind as me!  My husband (being just as environmentally conscious as me) was on board right away. Other people, though, didn’t seem as excited about the idea as I did. My response was simply, “why wouldn’t we use cloth?”

Here are a few key points to why I love cloth diapering so much:

Saves money

  • When you decide to make the leap to cloth, you should be prepared to invest a good amount of money into it. The high end, name brand cloth diapers can reach up to nearly $25 per dipe. Personally, I think that is CRAZY! I found hundreds of different YouTube channels and websites that reviewed every kind of cloth diaper brand and style out there and, based on what I researched, decided what was easiest and most cost-effective for my family. Trying to be as savvy as I could, I decided on three different brands of diaper that I got for as low as $4.50 per dipe that could be used from newborn all the way until potty trained.  And, as a general rule, I never paid more than $6 per dipe (for more info on which brands I chose, check out my blog Choosing the Right Cloth Diaper). There are several different online trading companies that buy, sell, and trade used diapers as well (clothdiapertrader.com and diaperswappers.com) so you could potentially get diapers for even less.  I would count on at least a couple hundred bucks to get started, though, depending on how many you want (I recommend at LEAST 20 as new babes go as many as ten times a day).
  • Disposable diapers are, on average, about $.20 per dipe (we used Pamper Swaddlers for my son which are closer to $.25/dipe). You’ll use about 10 diapers a day on your baby for the first three months before that number goes down to maybe six a day for the next two and a half years! That’s math I can’t even do! In all my research, I found that on average, every child uses about $2,000 worth of disposable diapers which creates over 6,000 diapers added to landfills..that’s PER CHILD! That alone should be enough to convince you, but don’t worry…I have more!

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Getting crunchy

It started with cloth diapers which quickly lead to cloth wipes.  Next was making an all natural laundry detergent. From there, I began questioning the chemically filled soaps and lotions I was using on my babies’ perfect skin, which lead to what I was using on my own skin…and hair…and armpits…and even teeth.  Slowly, an all natural lifestyle creeped it’s way into our home before my husband could say “coconut oil”.

After working as a manager at a major beauty store, and filling my vanity with expensive name-brand make-ups, moisturizers, hair serums, and several other different beauty products, I began to look at the labels.  I’d be lucky to find one ingredient that I could pronounce, let alone have any idea of the purpose for it.  Even the products I had been selling as “natural” weren’t what I had believed they were.

A quick Pinterest search lead me to many all natural alternatives.  And when I say all natural, I mean ALL NATURAL.  I began tossing the bottles of chemicals and replacing them with items I had kept in my kitchen!  I’m talking honey…olive oil…vinegar…cocoa…plain old water…and so much more!  Essential oils played a huge part in the transition, too.  After much research, I found that I trusted my own concoctions  more than anything I had ever bought, even compared to the higher end products.

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