Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fluffy Mail Comin' Up

It has now been just over a few weeks since we began our love affair with cloth diapering. Despite washing diapers every night and hanging them to dry we are nowhere near the end of the honeymoon stage. I freaking love cloth diapering. Get that. I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! I can't pinpoint exactly one reason why I do, it I just do. It could be the environmental factor, or the cute factor, or the savings but most likely every factor has a role to play. And overall the why doesn't really even matter anyways.


My game plan was to order diapers that I figured I would like and then I would order more of those ones. I didn't want to be saddled with a bunch of diapers I didn't like and I didn't want a trial package either. I was either going in all the way or not at all. I jumped in like a cannonball and haven't looked back. Well, my game plan kind of blew up in my face when I realized I liked everything. I wanted more of EVERYTHING. 

From basically the day the diapers came I have been grading them. How I like them? How they fit? How they feel?  Ease of use? You get the idea. It was this information that I was going to use later to determine on what I would add to my stash. I was a generous grader and very lenient and while most things floated my boat not everything fluttered my sails. 

Let's start at the bottom of the class shall we?

Bummis Prefolds and Super Whisper Wraps- I'm not going to say anything overly bad because they didn't leak and they did their job. I'm still not a big fan though. They are B-U-L-K-Y. Both the prefolds and the covers. I also found the covers to be the stiffest with the roughest outer fabric. If I had only ordered Bummis though I would probably have been rather pleased as like I said they did their job. Baby E though isn't an overly big baby so they seems especially large on her. They are very economical though. At $13.50 a cover and $30 for a six pack of Baby size refolds ($18.99 Infant) they may possibly be one of the most economical options there is. They were also very easy to use. 

Overall I give the Bummis Prefolds and Super Whisper Wraps a B -

Thirsties -In the thirsties line of products I tried the Duo Wrap, inserts, prefolds and doublers. In a nutshell, I really really liked it all. The cover was much trimmer and not near as stiff as the Bummis. I am definitely getting another one of these. The inserts rocked my world. Rocked it enough that I am getting four more of them. They fit nicely in the Rumparooz and Blueberry covers as well. The prefolds are also great and I will be adding a few more of them to the stash as well. They also fit other covers so it is great that I am not limited to only thirsties covers with either of them so that opens up a lot more versatility. The thirsties pre fold is rather a new and ingenious prefold. I am hoping to do up a video review on the cover, prefold and insert very soon. Lastly the doublers I also really liked. They were soft, didn't add a lot of bulk to the diaper and were versatile enough that I could use them in anything I ordered. 

The Thirsties Wraps, Inserts, Prefolds and Doublers are all at the top of the class with a solid A+ 

Blueberry Wrap-I rather liked this wrap. It was soft and not too bulky. It also fit both the thirsties prefold and insert nicely. 

With another Blueberry wrap on it's way this one easily gets an A

Rumperooz Wrap- This was also a very nice wrap. Not bulky at all. Out of everything I tried this would be the trimmest (aka small). This would be better for wearing under smaller outfits and tights etc. While the thirsties inserts fit this wrap well the prefolds are much to chunky to fit in there. Yes, we are getting another one of these too. 

Since it it loses some versatility because of it's smaller side this wrap gets an A-

Blueberry Minky Pocket- This is a very nice pocket diaper. It is though the bulkiest of all the pocket diapers I tried. The insert though is very big so this makes a really nice overnight diaper. That being the case the size of it doesn't bother me as much as it would pose no hinderance to movement while baby is asleep. I also liked how easy it was to stuff. I haven't ordered another one of these yet as the pattern I really want is out of stock however once it is in stock it is highly likely another Blueberry Minky pocket diaper will make it our way. I only have two complaints with this diaper mostly. First off the velcro adhesive seems a bit weak in a few places but it seems to be pulling no further. Secondly, there is a bit of fraying at the back of the diaper so I am trying to be optimistic that it will keep holding up in the wash.

I like this diaper (especially the luxurious fabric) however it's size and two little flaws drop this grade to a B

Soft Bums Omni- I absolutely love these. If I had to make a stash of only one brand so far this would be it. They are soft, they are trim, the insert is FABULOUS!! They fit doublers well and so far are laundering very well. Since I am a sucker for prints though I ordered up the Soft Bums Echo which from what I can tell is the exact same but comes with some extra pod type things. Although pricy I liked them enough to get two of the packs, one in a gorgeous dark brown and the other in a super cute giraffe pattern.

Soft Bums are the class valedictorian with an A++

Happy Heinys- This was a nice diaper. One of my fav things is that it is very easy to stuff. What I didn't like though was that the outer fabric was a tad rougher than the others. The stitching on the inserts also seems to fray a bit. I am hoping that these ones will hold up to lots of washing too. Regardless though, I liked the style and the way it fit (just a tad puffier than the soft bums). Obviously, we are getting another one of these too (in Groovy Circles). 

The Happy Heiny diaper lost points for the rougher fabric and for the insert fraying. Overall a B+

Fuzzibunz- I really wanted to love these and for function and softness and trimness I do love them. Their down side however is that I find them very difficult to stuff. My hand gets stuck on the inside of the cover while stuffing (and I don't  have overly large hands) and sometimes the pocket seems to narrow for the insert. As much as I love them the stuffing part is getting to me. I'm still ordering another one but that is less than my initial plan to order 5 of them. I need something that I don't struggle with and this one I do. Other than that though they are great. 

Due to it's difficulty for stuffing the Fuzzibunz diaper receives a B

Wipes- I ordered two brands of wipes. The Bumgenius and the thirsties. I'm not giving these a letter grade but a simple pass or fail. Thirsties for the WIN!! They are soft and the two plys of fabric are lovely. I am definately stocking up on the thirsties ones. The bumgnius will be demoted for grabbing out soiled and wet inserts so I don't my hand mucky. 


For cleaning I have ordered some Rockin' Green Classic Rock detergent in Motley Clean as well as a few samples of the laundry tarts detergent. I have been searching high and low for the sweet spot stain remover stick and can't find it. That and the fuzzibunz wipes continue to elude me. 

Other than what I mentioned above for ordering more of  I also have a few more things to try both en route and in another cart to be checked out shortly. Here is a list of the new things coming our way: 2 AMP Duo Diapers, 1 Totbots All in One, 1 Bumgenius Elemental All in One, a 2 pack of Snappis, Fleece Liners and most importantly a Diaper Sprayer. I also forgot to add some cloth diaper friendly bum cream. I'm really excited to try some of these new things out. I would like to say that would be the end of it but I'm a realist so, probably not. I already know I would like to try some Kawaii (they also have a newborn pack that I will keep in mind for in the future) some Charlie Banana's. I for see a long relationship ahead.

At this point as well Evelyn isn't going to be the only one fluffed up. The pull ups aren't doing a thing for potty training Max and I have neither the time or the endurance for cleaning up the messes on carpet (if we had hard wood it wouldn't be as hard). Therefore, I have ordered up 3 pairs of the Imse Vimse trainers for Max (in the patters:farm, zoo and magic dragon). I am confident these will help us get over the potty training hump we are in (that and a new potty for Max). 

I am anxiously now awaiting the arrival of my packages. One should be here tomorrow and the other on Monday. I'll be sure to post an update with pix when they arrive. Until then fluffy, ah, I mean sweet dreams.

Friday, 21 October 2011

SPOOOOKY Times Ahead

A trip into the Dollarama for cheap bristol board ended up with me walking out with this...

That is the contents (mostly) of two bags of Halloween decorations (and sadly they were sold out of the white bristol board I initially went in for). The remaining contents are a few things I will be using to make a little gift for each of the kids for when they get up on the 31st. I feel like we need to go that extra mile to make it special. Especially because they aren't bombarded with the hubbub of it like they would at school.

The prospect of putting up Halloween decorations has me rather excited. See, every year for as long as I can remember I have wanted to put up Halloween decorations. I like decorations, I like fun stuff, how could putting up Halloween decorations not be fun? For some reason though every year it never happens. Sometimes they are sold out of the stuff I would like, sometimes I just couldn't budget something like that in, sometimes life would just get ahead of me and before I knew it, all hallow's eve was upon us. This year though Mama is ahead for once.

I'm not going overly crazy or anything but I did happen to get enough that the boys are already going gaga.  For now it is all put away (they couldn't help but rifle through it and I couldn't help but let them, for a moment least). We have some of the classics. The door hangers, window decals, candy buckets and my personal favourite, the messy ball of "cobwebs" complete with little black plastic spiders. I'm also kookoo for the little spooky themed moonlights to guide little trick or treaters up our little path.

Another part of Halloween I am VERY EXCITED about (sorry, I'm yelling, but I can't help it), is our costumes. You already know I'm a geek so it should be no surprise that we are doing a family theme. Last year it was Star Wars and this year, at Viktor's request, we are Super Mario characters. The boys are Mario (V) and Luigi (M) and Daddy is Bowzer. Evelyn and I going as baby Peach and Princess Peach. We still need to pick up just a few items at the thrift store to complete our costumes and I will be making Bowzer's shell out of paper mache and a laundry basket this week.

I would also love to have a little party when we get home. Nothing crazy, just a little party for our family of 5. Maybe some Halloween popcorn, some Halloween cupcakes, drinks out of Halloween cups. Is that too much Halloween? I don't think so, it only comes once a year after all. Gotta start doing it up right. After our little monsters are asleep in their beds hopefully Daddy and I can finally catch up on a few True Blood episodes.

Until then though we will be doing some Halloween-y things like crafts, singing songs, "scary" stores...
Have a spooktacular weekend!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Review on Books

As someone who likes to read and someone who is more than obviously a mother one would assume that I have a lot of books. One would be assuming correctly. Books are like crack to me. I can't get enough and they blast away at my pocketbook. I love the smell of a fresh new book, the sound of the binding being cracked for the first time. I hoard my books, I rarely lend them out and I rarely borrow (lest you actually WANT your book back). I enjoy series' of books reading it all over again each time I add to it.

I love reading all kinds of books from fiction, autobiographies, thrillers and on and on. Sadly these are the one's I get the least opportunity to read. A few months ago my mommy group formed a book club and I am loving it. It gives a reason to read for fun and actually engage in an adult discussion about something other than our kidlets (wine -or tequila in my case-may or may not be involved). We have been reading a rather eclectic mix of books which is making it all the more interesting. So far we have read Bitter is the New Black (mixed reviews but I liked it and would like to read more in the series) and The Slap (harsher and a bit crude but interesting subject matter). We are currently finishing up The Midwife's Confession (to be discussed soon) and next on the docket is The Help (which I have heard great things about).

I also have a substantially growing collection of pregnancy, baby and parenting books (of course). They cover everything from the hot topics of the care, sleep and feeding babies to even hotter topics such as parenting philosophies, discipline and family relationships. You must read books like this with a whole shaker of salt beside you. In every book it is almost inevitable that parts will have you either nodding in agreement, crying in commiseration, rolling your eyes in annoyance or throwing it out the window in contempt (sometimes it's all of these). While I parent a lot through intuition I would be lying if I didn't say a book has given me some great ideas or coping mechanisms.

Just a snippet of my "Mom" library

Self help books are also high on my must read list. Books that help me grow as a woman, as a wife, as a mother and in my faith have a valuable place on my shelves. I enjoy books that help me "see the light" and give me an alternative way of thinking. With lots on my plate I need books that give me direction and grounding. I especially love the ones that reaffirm I am on my own path and paving it well. Bible and faith studies also rank highly for me. I currently have one in the works and another on the way. Which is my fav though? It's all about The Secret my friend.

With this immense love for books and reading that I have I also have an incredible desire to install this same feeling about the written word in my children. At their young ages they are already showing a great interest in reading and spelling and learning in general. They have a library of books of their own. Books that teach, books that are fun and books that are interactive and make them think. I was elated the day their new editions of the classic Dick and Jane books showed up. I want them to be able to read and escape into a whole new world like I can. I want them to lose hours in a book they simply can't put down. I want them to know the classics from Grimm to Shakespeare (I think we will leave Chaucer for a bit though). I get giddy inside when I think of buying the entire Little House collection for my girl. I shamefully admit I don't know a good series to get the boys into but I will find one, oh yes I will.

Big Brother "Reading" to Little Sister = Very Happy Mamma

With all these books, read (and unread), I feel I should somehow pass something along since I'm not willing to ever relinquish ownership of an actual book. I plan to review books that we read whether they are children's books, fiction for fun or different parenting books. If it is something someone in this happy family reads then I would love to tell others about it. Was it worth the money? Was it a good read? What can I take away from it? Those kinds of things. I say plan too, well, because plans often go astray (you know, the whole Mice and Men thing). I haven't quite decided on what format I will do it yet but I'm thinking a tandem between a page of it's own and a blog post. 

Seeing as how I am anxiously awaiting an amazon order as well as have a list for a friend's upcoming Usborne Books party I am sure that my first review will be on some fun new reading material. Yes, I am a geek...someday I'll have to do a post on my Ode to School Supplies. 

Books. Yes. Books make me happy!!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Miss Fluffy Bum

In just a few days Evelyn is going to become Miss Fluffy Bum. This past week my two orders of cloth diapers arrived and today we went on a trip to the store to get some fluffy safe washing detergent. I have my load of diapers pre-washing this very moment. The first pre-wash in a long line of washes. I'm just winging it too, there was way too much info on the topic to sift through so I figured I would just do a bunch of washes and go from there. Once everything is prepped and ready then it will be all systems go.

I am so very excited about this cloth diapering thing. Those who have never ventured this way may be wondering how on earth it can be exciting. Those who do cloth diaper however know that nothing compares to a cute little bum encased in cotton (or hemp, or bamboo or lusciously soft micro fibre).

Why do I cloth diaper?
I do if for a myriad of reasons. There are the environmental as well as the money saving aspects to consider. Then when you add the cuteness factor, well, why not? Kind of a vague answer I know but I'm not making a case for it. I love the idea in theory, we shall see how it plays out in reality.

Is it hard?
Psh, like I know. I am a total newbie at this. I had no idea where to even begin. I did tons of research on cloth diapering with my first but only 5 yrs later it's a totally new ballgame. I am so thankful for my mommy group friends who gave me lots of direction and recommendations. From what I can tell, it won't be a heck of a lot more difficult than disposables. It might be some added work (and not much really) but when you enjoy what you are doing is it really work?

What's in the stash?
Oh good, I thought you would never ask!!!!!
This is the whole purpose of this post. I want to GUSH about the two boxes of total cuteness that I had delivered to my door. I am such a geek that I took pictures too.

The Stash

As you can there is a good assortment of goodies here. I'll give a breakdown on everything I ordered.

The Breakdown

 Here are the covers that I decided to start with. Covers and prefolds are a more economical route so I decided to have more fun with the girly prints. That way if there are more boys in our future I won't have to break the bank buying more boy patterns and if there is a girl-well, bonus.
Top L-R: Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in Flower, Bummis Super Whisper Wrap in Bloom, Blueberry Cover in Pink Lemonade
Bottom L-R: Rumperooz Cover in Lux, Thirsties Duo Wrap in Alice Brights

The above photo is the pocket diapers. These are a rather ingenious invention for cloth diapering. Simply it is a cover that you stuff an insert into the pocket for. These are very close to disposables for ease of use. As you can see these are more gender neutral colours here. Pocket diapers are more expensive per piece so I didn't want to go crazy with the girly prints. I will get a few in the ones I like best but you get the idea.

Starting clockwise at the green pattern: Blueberry Minky in Winter Sage, Fuzzibunz in Watermelon, Happy Heiny in Latte, Fuzzibunz in Buttercream and Soft Bums Omni in Coconut. 

Since I am wanting to get the hang of things I decided to sample a bit here and there. I decided for prefolds to try the Bummis and the Thirsties. Whichever I like better I will order more of. I also wanted to try the Thirsties Duo Insert to see how that goes over. Lastly there is a 3 pack of Thirsties doublers.

 If I am cloth diapering I may as well cloth wipe too. I don't see the sense in using disposable wipes at this point because then you are just adding to the fuss. With cloth wipes I can just toss them in the wet bag with the diapers. As I am sure you can read I got a pack of the Bum Genius wipes and a pack of the Thirsties wipes. I'll have to get more though. I really want to try the Fuzzibunz wipes but on the sites I all checked they were always sold out. That must mean they are good which makes me want them all the more. The little bag on the left are the wipes cubes. Just dissolve one in a spray bottle of water and there ya go. They smell strange but strangely good. Better than the fake funky smelling disposable wipes that is for sure.

Here we have wet bags. If you were wondering how the laundry part plays into this show well, these babies here are the supporting actors. They contain the smell and wetness of soiled diapers (or so I've been told). My main wet bag is the white and coloured one on the right. It is a half moon shape made by Rumperooz in the pattern Gumball. I do plan to wash every night to stay on top of things so I have a spare wet bag which is the top one on the left. It is from Planet Wise in the pattern Fiesta. On the bottom left is actually a wet/dry bag. I can keep the dirty and clean diapers in separate compartments without any cross contamination. This is for cloth diapering on the go. The wet/dry bag is also made by Planet Wise and in the pattern Cosmic. 

There ya go. My stash. I will be adding to it you can bet on that. Don't tell Daddy but I already have one on pre-order. I didn't realize that new prints being released was a pre-order kind of affair but it is and I am in love the the Bum Genius 4.0 print Lovelace. 

I want to give a shout out to the web sites I ordered from. I have had nothing but great experiences with all of them and while I do like spreading the love (hence ordering from various sites) they have my loyalty for sure. If you are a cloth diaperer or interested in cloth diapering please check out So Green BabyCaterpillar Baby and Baby Bell Hop. I received prompt and very courteous service from all of them (and great shipping deals for order over $100). Can you tell I'm a happy customer?

If you are interested in any of the products I mentioned fee free to check out their web sites. Each diaper company, style, format etc. has it's own advantages and benefits. I did a ton of research. I suggest anyone else looking at cloth diapering do the same. For ease of research here are some links:
Thirsties Baby
Blueberry Diapers
Bum Genius
Soft Bums
Happy Heinys
Planet Wise

I hear the washer is done so I need to run another pre-wash. About the detergent...I picked up the Purex Free and Clear which is supposedly good for cloth diapers (actually recommended by Soft Bums). When I place an order for more stuff in the VERY near future I am going to order up some samples of Laundry Tarts Soap, Rockin-Green Soap and maybe some soap nuts too. I have wish lists miles long. On that note, off to run the wash again. 

Guess what!! Fluffy Bums make me HAPPY :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

This Week at School

I have made mention before that we are a homeschooling family. Sometimes I don't think I deserve to say that yet because we are so new to it. However, that is a direction we have embarked upon so I guess that does make us a homeschooling family to whatever degree. I am not going to get into the rhyme or reason as to how we took this road less traveled because that is not my focus. There are lots of fantastic homeschooling blogs out there though. I swear without them I would be lost.

There are many different parts of our life in our happy family and homeschooling just happens to be one of them. So far it's working out well. I have a general schedule to follow, sometimes we are off and sometimes we are on. With three kids 5 and under that is just how the dice rolls.

With all that being said I am coming to my point. I am going to begin a regular Friday post that will be a re-cap of what we did at school this week. I didn't take any pictures this week but in the upcoming weeks I certainly hope to so that I can show some memorable highlights of our week.

This week happened to actually mark our official start of our homeschooling year. It took me a very long time to decide on a route that I would take regarding curriculum. There isn't a lot of formal curricula for Kindergarten and Pre-school. Yes there are some out there but out of the few options there wasn't anything I particularly liked or saw the value in. Or at least not yet.

So...a few words on curriculum. I put together a pile of resources on my own and am using tons of ideas from various sources. My primary guide though is our provincial curriculum. Along with the provincial curriculum builder I have been able to go through the objectives and goals of the kindergarten year and then have a list of suggested activities or resources with which to accomplish those goals. Based on these provincial guidelines I can also see where we are excelling and where we are lagging behind. I already know that Vik has accomplished several kindergarten outcomes. In years to come I plan to always use a combination of formal and informal curricula. I don't think you get the whole package in one place. There will always be bits and pieces that don't fit with us and that is fine.

I was going to post here what our daily plan consists of but I am toying with the idea of doing that in a post or giving that a page all of it's own. I am leaning towards the latter. Stay tuned for that update.

In the future our school week re-cap will be shorter I promise. This inaugural one though I felt needed an intro. So without further ado here are a few of our highlights:

This week was brought to us by the letters A & B and the numbers 2 & 3. Turns out Mr. Kindergarten can't get enough worksheets. He gobbles them up. For the letters he practiced writing the letter and then doing a few letter find exercises on the first day and then a few letter activities on the second day. His favourite letter activity is using the scrabble letters to spell things. He has such an interest in spelling and reading already. I've led the horse to water and it is drinking the whole pond. We aren't doing a whole lot with Max yet as he is primarily just along for the ride but when Vik is on worksheets Max is colouring in letters and then the activities they both do together. Number worksheets consist of writing the number and spelling the word. There are others that require him to colour or circle the right number of an object. The second day of the number is number activities to reinforce the number.

That covers the core basics of letters and numbers. So next we have social studies and science. As this is the beginning for us we are transitioning slowly into these subjects. This week the boys were slowly introduced to the earth as a whole. We had lots of fun using google earth to look at all sorts of different parts of the world. I loved how on our second day Vik was asking to see France. Next week will be a slow introduction into some science basics then we will begin to delve into a our social studies and science units.

That is some of this week. Doesn't seem like a whole lot but there are also a lot of other bits and pieces of learning that gets done throughout the day. Next week will see the introduction of the fun subjects of art and music as well as physical education/health and religion. I look forward to updating next Friday what we did at school this upcoming week. I'll have pictures for sure.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.  ~Stacia Tauscher

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Big Show

A while ago I mentioned that Daddy and I would be playing a little show for a fundraiser. This past Friday, September 30th was the fundraiser. We practiced and practiced our four chosen songs over and over and over and over again. We organized our babysitting and closer to the day I began to wonder what I would wear (picked up a cute top and earrings and shoes the day before the show).

The day of the show was busy. I had practicing to still do, had to tidy the house and Daddy still worked a full day that day. My sister came over to watch little girl and the boys went over to granny's house for a sleepover. We were very lucky that our friend was available and kind enough to come and video the show for us (she has since said that if we have other shows then she would video that as well).

Seeing as how it was a fundraiser there was a $10 charge for entrance to the "coffee house" and they made extra money through concession sales (I had tea and sugar cookies). The church basement it was being held in was done up with twinkle lights and other decor which made for a nice venue.

Overall it was a FANTASTIC experience and a taste of greater things to come. There were a few mistakes and stumbles along the way but nothing that anyone could tell (or at least I tell me). One thing that I really liked about it was that because of the venue set up there were still people talking which provided a distraction-a distraction that I did not succumb to, that in itself was a great learning experience.

Lastly, I was thrilled at how well my original compositions went over. Getting up on a stage and performing is one thing, but to perform you own work is both humbling and daunting. You never know how it will be received. In this case the audience was in approval.

As I said before we had a friend video tape the show for us. We played 4 songs, each of which has it's own video.

This first video is of the first song I wrote on guitar. I actually have two versions of it. There is piano version which I previously posted the youtube link to. This (obviously) is the guitar version which is a tad peppier.





I hope you enjoyed watching the videos. Please feel free to share them. I need all the promotion I can get.

Rock On!