No TV Update

 

I remember you mentioning a while back that you had gotten rid of your TV? (or at least cable?) I was wondering if that's something you are still doing, and if so, how has it changed your daily life? Do you miss it at all or do you feel the better for it? Share more about how that counter culture decision has impacted your family.

This is a great question, and I definitely owe you guys an update!

We still don’t have satellite TV.  We have been without satellite TV for about five months now.

I have to be honest and say that I still watch more TV than I probably should.  When I feel tired or just want to “veg out”, I end up putting a movie on.  I feel like I still need to work on this, because I think my time would be better spent reading than watching a movie.

That said, I watch way less TV than I used to now that we no longer have satellite TV.  I used to turn on the TV in the morning to watch something while I ate breakfast, and it would just end up staying on all day in the background while I did other things.  When I did this, Wyatt ended up watching the TV more than I wanted him to, and I feel like I was less productive than I could have been.  It also ended up being a huge time-waster for me, because sometimes I would get wrapped up in a show and spend more time than I meant to being completely lazy.

Now, if I do watch TV during the day it’s just a movie in the afternoon (not every day), or a movie or TV show episode on DVD with Derek at night (we still have a Netflix DVD-in-the-mail plan, but not instant streaming).

I feel like not having the satellite TV service available has given me the opportunity to let my creative juices flow.  I like that I’m doing more DIY projects or writing more, instead of watching TV, or even just having the distraction of having the TV on.  Derek and I definitely spend more time playing games together than we used to, because even though we could watch a movie, we don’t have new OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         movies or shows to watch on-demand.  I love that we spend more time playing games together – we have a lot of fun.

I still feel like I need to be more intentional about not watching movies in the evenings though.  We watch less TV in the evenings than we used to, but there is still room for improvement.  Derek would probably watch less TV than we do right now, but sometimes I just feel like I want a break and we end up watching a movie.  The room for improvement is mostly with me, because TV is my time to just sit down, rest, and not have to think for a while, but I could find healthier ways of accomplishing those things. 

If we wanted to go all the way with this, we would get rid of Netflix and that would force us to cut down even more, but I don’t think we’re quite ready to do that yet.  We may consider it in the future.

I do think that not getting satellite TV has made both Derek and me more sensitive to inappropriate references or situations on TV.  Commercials these days are getting ridiculous.  There is still some of that in some movies, but we have a lot more control over the movies we watch than the commercials that come on. 

If we decide to stick with this long-term (we’re still trying to make that decision), this would be a major benefit, because I love that Wyatt wouldn’t grow up seeing that stuff on TV.  If we do get satellite again in the future, I think I’m going to implement a strict no-tv-while-the-kids-are-awake rule when they are little, and just let them watch pre-approved (by me) movies.  But then, what’s the point of that?  Derek and I mostly like watching movies anyway, and Netflix takes care of that, so we don’t really need satellite TV service.

I can’t say we never miss having satellite TV, because sometimes we do miss watching certain things, like football games, or the news.  I’ll probably end up spending election day at my parent’s house next year so I can watch the coverage. My one show that I miss watching is “19 Kids And Counting” – I like keeping up with what the Duggars are doing.  But aside from those things, I don’t think we’d go back to it, at least not right now.  We have our moments, but in the end we are kind of enjoying this time of not having satellite TV.

Please let me know if you have any other questions for me about this!




Cloth Diapering Tips 1

 

I think cloth diapering can be awfully intimidating to start out.  I am committed to this now, and I still have days where it intimidates me!  But I have found a lot of encouragement from ladies in the blog world who also use cloth diapers.  I asked some of my cloth-diapering blog friends (who have been doing this longer than me) for some advice for newbies, and I got a lot of great tips!  Here is what some of them had to say.

 

Hi, I am Danielle and I am very excited that Callie asked me to give my opinions and tips on cloth diapering! I have been cloth for about 6 months, so I am no expert but I will share the main things that I have learned! First of all, don't be scared to give it a try! I was terrified at first and everyone was against it and now, I love it! I wish I would have started sooner! One thing I learned was that you don't have to have the $30 diapers for them to work. I used Comfyrumps (comfyrumps.com) and Go Green pocket diapers (gogreenpocketdiapers.com) which are reasonably priced but work wonderfully! Two websites that I use for cloth diapering accessories because they have free shipping are sweetbottomsbaby.com and jackbenatural.com- and these both have Facebook pages where you can call out to other mamas when you need help! Such a wonderful resource! I love my diaper sprayer, and we went to Lowe's and got all the stuff we needed to make it ( the guys usually know what exactly you need, or there are videos on Youtube) and it was cheaper! My biggest piece of advice is just try it, If you don;t like it you can at least say you tried :) And don't be afraid to ask for help!”

-Danielle at This Is The Stuff

 

"Favorite brand of diaper? Bum Genius 4.0

What you need to get started? To start full time: at least 12 diapers, a pail and wetbag, detergent. If you want to do cloth wipes too (and you might as well!) you'll need about 20 wipes and a spray.

Why you decided to use cloth? Cost of disposables, environmental impact, chemicals in disposables. I am so glad I started cloth diapering. I love it. I love that we don't have a ton of garbage. I love that Henry has been rash free since we started (except for the teething rash we have right now). I love that we've spent about $300 on our cloth diapering supplies and not a penny more. That will be all we spend on diapers.

Helpful resources? Blogs! My Life in Transition and Mama at Home were the ones I first read before I was even pregnant. I also have a cousin and a close friend who cloth diaper so they were good resources too.

Is the laundry difficult to keep up with, and any routines/products that make it easier? No. For some reasons Cloth Diaper Laundry is fun! I look forward to doing it. I just wash every other day using Rockin' Green detergent. Sometimes I use a color safe bleach as well.

Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? No. I think I was pretty well prepared. It really is as simple as it sounds.

I read on a few blogs that it is safe to use vinegar in your rinse to help fight odors. BUT on the bum genius website it says not to, because it can wreck the PUL cover. It IS ok to use bleach once a month and that works great for me. I also came across this chart of detergents and I wanted to pass it on!”

- Rachel at Rachel and John

 

“Favorite brand of diaper? bumGenius. There's a reason they're the #1 cloth diaper brand. They really know how to make great diapers.

Nov 24 2What you need to get started? Diapers, a pail liner, a wetbag, and if your baby eats solids, a diaper sprayer.

Why you decided to use cloth? We decided on cloth diapers to save money, and I'm so glad we went that route! Our budget truly cannot support buying disposables.

Helpful resources? AllAboutClothDiapers.com, especially the "My Recommendations" page.

 Is the laundry difficult to keep up with, and any routines/products that make it easier?  I do diaper laundry every other day, so that dirty diapers aren't sitting around too long. It's not difficult because the machine does all the work. I just switch it from rinse to wash to rinse, and add some detergent.

Is there anything you wish you knew before you started? I wish I knew about those snap-on onesie extenders! I think Sophia could have worn a lot of clothes a lot longer if I could have closed them around her bulky butt! :)

-Jenene at Prairie Girl Gone Coastal

 

When you get past all the pee and the poop and the initial sticker-shock of cloth-diapering, it all comes down to one thing: The laundry.

If I had a dollar for every person that's told me, "But I just don't have time to do that much more laundry. It would never get done," I'd be rich.

Ask any cloth-diapering mama, though, and they'll tell you that's simply an excuse.

The laundry, in reality, is not that bad.  In fact, my workload has not increased by more than 20 minutes a week, I'd say, when it comes to laundering diapers.

The trick, honestly, is having a routine: Wash on the same days, at the same time, every week.

For me, I do diapers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 11 a.m.  I run my four cycles (a cold rinse, a hot wash with soap, another hot rinse, followed by a cold rinse) then I throw all hemp and microfiber inserts, plus my pre-folds and fitted diapers and cloth wipes, in the dryer while laying my diaper covers, wet bags, pail liners, and pockets on a drying rack - outside if it's sunny – to dry.  In the evening, right after my daughter goes to bed, I stack everything up and put it in it's respective places in her room.

In addition, every 6 weeks, over the weekend, I strip my diapers - using several hot soaks and rinses and white vinegar - to make sure the diapers don't get any ammonia build-up.


To keep myself accountable, I pencil it all into my planner, and I set timers so I remember to go back and turn on the next rinse cycle on my washing machine.


Honest to goodness, it takes me no time at all.  And, truth be told, I do not have a huge stash of diapers.  I'd say I have a moderate amount, but most mamas I know run with way more.  And, yet, I've never gotten to the point where my child was wearing her absolute last clean diaper on her butt while all the other cloth diapers were racing against the clock in the washer and dryer.  With a schedule, you just don't get to that point, no matter how few diapers you have.brajchel_headshot

The key is to have a routine and stick to it.   My child hasn't worn disposable diapers since her first week of life, and if I have my way, she never will.  There's really no need.  It's cheaper and, thanks to my laundry schedule, easier for me to cloth-diaper.”

-Brittany at Living In The Moment

 

 

Stay tuned for more tips next week!





P.S.  I tried to get in contact with every blog friend or follower of mine who I knew used cloth diapers, but if you are a blog friend/follower of mine and I missed you, and you have some tips you are just itching to share, you can e-mail me at throughcloudedglass@gmail.com.

Thanksgiving And Decking The Halls 2011

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  We had a fun time!

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Wyatt in his Thanksgiving outfit!

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Napping before dinner.

We had Derek’s mom and dad up for Thanksgiving!  I didn’t cook this year though – we cheated and bought a pre-cooked meal.

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Wyatt with his grandparents!

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I got Wyatt some pumpkin-apple baby food for Thanksgiving.  I thought it would be appropriate!  He liked it.

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We also set up our tree, and it ended up being a three-day process.  Here’s Derek and Wyatt in front of Stage One on Thanksgiving Day.

We had a great time with Derek’s parents just visiting, eating dinner, and playing Settlers Of Catan!

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Wyatt was crawling all over the place trying to figure out what we were doing when we continued decorating the next day.

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Playing with some of the Christmas toys I’ve gathered over the years.

 

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We let Wyatt pick which Christmas stocking he wanted – he liked the green one best!

 

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We set up a little tree in his room.  He was so cute, checking out all the ornaments and lights.

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We have a tradition that I put the tree skirt under the tree, and Derek puts the star on every year!

On Sunday we went over to my parent’s house for a second Thanksgiving!  It was fun to be able to celebrate with both sides of the family this year.

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We had a wonderful weekend celebrating with family and getting ready for Christmas!  It was so fun to have all these firsts with our new family of three.  I’m so thankful for our families and friends, and especially my husband and our sweet Mr. Wyatt! I feel like so many things have changed in good ways since last Thanksgiving, and the Lord has blessed us in such great ways over the past year. So much to be thankful for, and I do thank the Lord for what He has done for us every single day! I can’t wait to see where this season finds us next year!

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From There

I got this idea from Krystle and Claire, and I had to do it myself! 

I think this is appropriate thing to post the day before Thanksgiving, because I am very thankful to live where I do, and very thankful for the upbringing I had. 

I am so thankful the Lord has allowed me to be a wife and mother.

I’m thankful to share this life with a man as amazing as Derek. 

I’m thankful for my sweet and happy son, and the chance to give my children a blessed childhood like I had. 

I truly am eternally grateful that “Jesus loves me” and “family will forever be there”.

I'm thankful that this is where I come from, and that He's not done with my story yet.

I can never thank Him enough for all He has done for me.

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The Place I Come From . . .

I am from feather pillows and teddy bears, from Sleepytime tea and reading with Mom in the middle of the night.

I am from the mountain ranch, wild and free and grand, the smell of fresh-cut hay on the wind.

I am from the quaking aspen trees, fields of dandelions, and rushing rivers, the tall grass, the bright irises, new air and deep sky.

I am from Christmas shopping trips with Dad, riding horses under the summer sun, and hazel eyes, from Daybreak and Rock and Messenger.

I am from the patriotic and the loyal.

From “Jesus loves you” and “family will forever be there”.

I am from streams of mercy and amazing grace.  I am from filthy rags, washed snow white in nothing but the blood of Him who turned the water to wine.

I'm from high altitude and thin air, and the old German country, from salted nut rolls and sweet potatoes and choke cherries.

From the boy who split logs for a penny each, the girl from the city who came to this place and could never leave, and the twins who made the growing years better.

I am from the baby box in the closet, the albums resting on the bookshelf in the corner of a crowded basement, the frames on the walls – all the visible remnants of memories and of a heritage that will forever dwell in hearts.  The places my new memories and the heritage I leave will go as life marches on. 

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Thank you Lord that this is my history!  Thank you for the ultimate gift of taking me from filthy rags to white as snow by Your grace.  Thank you for where You have me now, and thank you, Lord, for all the places You have yet to take me.

Happy Thanksgiving to each one of you as you give Him thanks for what He has done and for what He will do!




P.S. If you want to write your own "Where I'm From" poem, check out the template here.

A Few More Questions

I know I'm being super-slow to answering the questions that were submitted, but here are a few more!

I love the pictures you put on your blog, but how do you put the watermark on the images? Is there a certain program that you use? Thanks Callie!

I use Picnik to watermark my pictures! You can upload your pictures to Picnik and just add text to the image, and then in the drop down menu select the “Overlay” option and it creates a nice watermark. You can put it in the corner of the image if you want to, but I like to put it in the middle or through someone’s face so that it’s not easy to crop out. Then you can either save the image to your computer, or save it to Photobucket or some other service and add the html code to your blog posts.

I addressed all the methods I use to protect pictures in a previous post, so you can check that out if you want more details of what I do to discourage people from stealing my material.

What are you most looking forward to this winter?

The obvious answer is that I’m looking forward to Wyatt’s first Christmas – but I really am! I think it will be fun to send out Christmas cards with a picture that includes him, decorating the house and seeing what he thinks of the tree, watching him play with the wrapping paper on Christmas morning (because I’m sure he will). Just the whole thing will be fun.

I’m also looking forward to Derek’s birthday (throwing him a party this year), and Wyatt’s first birthday party. Other than that, we haven’t made too many plans.

I always look forward to wearing my sweaters and coats and boots, so that’s on my list as well (it sounds frivolous to say that, but you guys can’t tell me you don’t enjoy bundling up for cold weather sometimes – if you don’t, you probably don’t live in a cold state like I do).


What is your favorite movie?

Oh, this is a really hard question. I have a hard time picking a favorite, because there are so many good movies out there! One of my favorites is October Sky, and this is probably my favorite single movie. I think it’s just the setting (sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era), the space exploration aspect, and the fact that the ending always makes me tear up from happiness.

Pride And Prejudice and Anne Of Green Gables are two of my favorite chick-flicks.

I really like some of the epics, like Lord Of The Rings and Star Wars (haven’t watched these in forever though).

My favorite types of movies are family comedies or romantic comedies. I like movies that leave me with a good feeling after I watch them, and I like movies that make me laugh. My philosophy is that life is depressing enough as it is, I don’t want to watch depressing movies too! Any movie that makes my list must at the very least have a happy ending, or it’s a no-go.

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I saved the longest question (or rather the longest-answered question) for last, so keep an eye out for an update to our no-cable commitment next week.

And just because - here's a sneak peek of some of our Christmas pictures! We were trying to keep Mr. Wyatt happy, and my aunt snapped a quick photo.





Falling Behind

Usually I try to get a blog post all ready and scheduled for Monday. Because Monday is the most busy blogging day of the week (followed closely by Wednesday and Thursday), and if I can have a post all ready to go I feel organized and ready for the blogging week.

But that didn't, in fact, happen today.

We had a pretty busy weekend, and there was no time for setting up our Christmas decorations. It's been a tradition in our little family to set up our tree the weekend before Thanksgiving.

So you know that if we didn't have time to decorate for Christmas this past weekend (important stuff!) that there was no time for blogging either.

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I did want to proclaim the Salvation Stories Link-Up last Thursday as a big success! I haven't had a day where I've felt so encouraged in my walk with the Lord in a long time.

I was touched by each and every one of your stories, several of which even caused me to choke up a little - I loved reading about how the Lord has worked in each of your lives to bring you to Him! It was such a blessing to me to read your stories, and a big thank you to everyone who decided to link up!

If you haven't checked out the stories these ladies posted, I encourage you to check it out now - it has been a great way to start the Thanksgiving week for me! And if you want to link up and haven't, you have until (almost) this time tomorrow to do so. Please do! I would love to read your story.

Salvation Stories



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We had our Christmas pictures taken yesterday by my lovely photographer aunt, and because I wanted them ASAP so I could order our Christmas cards, she gave them to me unedited so I could touch them up if I wanted to and then get my cards made sooner. Alot of you already have your cards, and I intended to have mine by now too - I feel so behind.

I'm afraid, however, that I am no editing guru. I got Photoshop Elements for my birthday over a year ago, and I still can't figure out how to make it work.

But lo and behold, I have discovered how to use actions for Photoshop Elements! So I've spent most of the morning finding free actions to download and getting them installed into my Elements program. I feel so computer savvy.

Now if I can just have enough time today to play with my new actions and our photos, maybe I can get the cards ordered! I'll post some of the pictures soon. I'm very happy with how they turned out even without editing.

I'll try to post a little preview later today.

Hope you all are having a fabulous Monday!


Salvation Stories

Welcome to the Salvation Stories link-up! Our salvation is the greatest gift we have ever been given, and it's important to tell others about what the Lord has done for us!

If you want to read about why I decided to do this link-up you can see the post "Have You Shared Your Story?". If you decide to join us, just write a post about how you came to know the Lord and link it up below! See the post "Details (On The Link-Up)" for more information.

I'm so excited to hear everyone's testimonies! I'm going to start the ball rolling by sharing my own.

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I was blessed to grow up in a Christian household. I don't remember a time when I didn't know about Jesus - my mom told me and my brother and sister, about Him as soon as we had the ability to understand her (actually even before we had the ability to understand her).

To be completely honest, I don't remember everything that went through my mind when I made the decision to follow Jesus, but I know I had alot of questions for my mom about Heaven, and Jesus, and when He was coming back. My mom wrote them down because she was amazed at how hard some of my questions were.

When I was almost four years old, I remember riding in the car with my mom on the way home from grocery shopping. My brother and sister were sleeping in the back seat. It must have been on my mind that day, because as we pulled in the driveway I remember asking her if we could pray so that I could ask Jesus into my heart.

She took me right in the house, and we knelt next to my parents bed. I wasn't sure what to say, and wanted my mom to pray for me at first, but she explained that I needed to talk to Jesus myself. She helped me, and I said the first real prayer I can remember - in that moment I became a follower of Jesus.

In the years that followed we continued going to Sunday school, church, and Bible studies. When I was nine years old my parent's started homeschooling us, and I think that decision on my mom and dad's part had important ramifications for my spiritual growth. During the years that I went to public school I was so concerned with what the other kids thought, but as we started homeschooling I remember becoming more conscious of what God thought, and I started wanting to please Him. I was baptized when I was about eight years old in a horse tank at our church, as a public declaration that I wanted to serve the Lord.

When I was ten years old I used my own money to buy my first devotional book, and I started doing daily devotions, which was a huge step in making my walk with the Lord a part of my daily life. My parents also sent us to a Christian camp every summer, and not only did it give me some great memories, but it was always a great spiritual "growth spurt" for me - I think it served to strengthen my resolve to make sure that my personal walk with the Lord remained strong the rest of the year. When I was twelve years old I renewed my commitment to follow the Lord for the rest of my life.

The high school years are often a time when you might expect that a person would rebel or turn their back on their faith for a while, or make some decisions that would affect their relationship with God. But nothing like that ever happened to me. Not that I didn't have my doubts at times, especially as I dug deeper into the Bible and different doctrines, but every time I had doubts or struggled with something I read, I went to the Lord with my doubts - and He always helped me find the answers, or at least gave me peace about the things I didn't understand.

Nothing dramatic happened after high school either. I spent a summer as a counselor at the same Christian camp I went to as a girl - that was definitely a summer of refining and spiritual growth for me as well, the same as when I went there as a camper only amplified.

I started college, met Derek. We got married. My next major trial was when we started trying for a baby, and had trouble. I asked the Lord so many "Why?" questions during that time, and I had some pretty dark days. But I never felt abandoned or forsaken. If anything the Lord used that trial to help me cling to Him more, which I think He does often with trials. And I just knew even on the worst days that He was there, helping me through. He gave me a peace about it when I didn't know what was going to happen, and eventually we were blessed with our sweet baby boy.



That brings us to now. The Lord continues to guide me and show me little things about Himself. He continues to reveal my sin to me, and helps me to improve in those areas. I'm looking forward to a lifetime of learning and growing with Him, and doing my best to serve Him where He leads me. And then there's an eternity with my Savior after that, which will be so much better than I can imagine. That's really what it's all about.

I used to struggle with thinking my testimony was so boring. It's much more interesting and very powerful to hear stories of God calling people out of deep sin or desperate situations.

But I realize now that those thoughts of thinking my testimony was boring were nothing less than a spiritual attack. My sin is no less serious, and my spiritual condition no less desperate than anyone else's.

I need a Savior just as much as every other person on the planet.

The story of how I came to know the Lord is not boring to Him. The angels still rejoiced over that lost little girl asking Jesus to come into her heart. This story is no less worthy of being told than the most dramatic salvation story you can think of, because it is still a story of how the Lord saved someone who was terribly lost.

For some reason, the Lord chose to place me in a Christian family and to draw me to Himself at a young age. I never had to walk through life without Him - I don't even remember the time before I knew Him. Accepting Him as my Savior is (as far as I can tell) my earliest memory. And through my whole life I've felt His presence and His hand guiding me.

The older I get, the more I realize what a blessing it is that I have the story that I do. The Lord spared me from the pain of experiencing the things the world has to offer before coming to know Him, He protected my heart and kept me close to His side, and we've had all these years of sweet fellowship together.

Sure, I have my times "in the valley", and I struggle with sin. But He has always been there to correct me when I'm wrong and keep me on the "narrow path".

As I look back on my life up to now, I wouldn't trade my personal story of redemption for a more dramatic or exciting testimony. It's been a gift, a most precious gift, to have Him leading me through everything I've had to walk through this far, and I know He'll continue with me through whatever trials or blessings life has in store for me.

I couldn't change that for the world.

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If you are interested in learning more about Jesus or having a personal relationship with Him too, or if you have any questions for me, please e-mail me! I will do my best to answer any questions you have, or I'll do my best to find the answers if I don't know. You can also check out the "What I Believe" tab above for more information.

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Now it's your turn! Please make sure that the url you include is the direct link to your post, and don't forget to grab the button or include a link back here so others can join in!

Salvation Stories



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Note: I reserve the right to remove any links that do not fit into the theme of this link-up, or that use innapropriate language, etc. I really don't anticipate that I'll have to, but I have to say that just in case I get a link-spammer or something.






It's All About The Money, Honey . . .



Okay, the post for which you've all been waiting with bated breath! (I kid, I kid.) The cost analysis breakdown for cloth diapers vs. disposables!

Now most cost analysis posts assume that you are just paying one flat fee for cloth diapers, and you'll never have to pay another dime. But unless you would buy cloth-diaper friendly diaper cream and cloth-diaper-friendly cleaning supplies even if you were using disposables, that is not the case.

Unfortunately, cloth diapers do require you to buy special products for washing and to treat rashes, and these products do cost more than the type Derek and I would normally buy.

So my cloth vs. disposable cost analysis is not focusing on the amount spent on the diapers themselves, but the amount spent on each option at the end of the year. I haven't really seen another website compare costs in this way, so I did the math myself.

I'm just going to say right now that I did, in fact, skew my numbers a bit. I figured up the absolute least I would spend on disposable diapers, and I factored a very realistic or over-estimate of the amount I would spend on cloth. I'm one of those worst-case-scenario types. I wanted to know the least amount of money I would save. Just know that most likely we'd save more than the amount I listed.


Other Things To Keep In Mind


These are approximate costs only! I am not claiming complete accuracy on prices or ultimate costs - this is just to give me (and you) an idea of how much would be spent on each option.

This is not the amount that Derek and I are paying for cloth right now. Since I have a limited stash at the moment, I'm washing more often and I'm paying more in laundry costs than I normally would. These numbers are based on what I estimate we will spend once we are cloth diapering full-time.

This is based on the assumption that I'll be doing a load of laundry every other day. That may be an over-estimate.

I did factor in the fact that newborns go through more diapers, and that you get more diapers for your money in smaller sizes for disposables. The laundry numbers for cloth diapers didn't change, because I'm still assuming that laundry is done every other day.

The total number of diapers for each year is an under-estimate. I really couldn't remember our average diaper usage in the early days, so I just guessed, and the numbers always vary alot from day to day.

The first-year numbers are a projection of what we would have spent or saved if all factors had been the same from when Wyatt was born. For example, if we had used the same brand of disposables, got the current discounts on disposables, or started cloth with the same detergent for his entire first year. Obviously this is not what really happened, I'm just estimating.

These numbers are based on the estimated average frequency of use and cost of diapers and other products that Derek and I would use. Obviously this will be different for each family, so if you really want to know your own personal costs, you have to do the math yourself.

Note: Derek and I have a well, so we do not pay for our water usage. If you do have to pay for your water, you have to factor that in to your end-of-year costs for cloth diapering.

Also, we will obviously need to spend more in special situations, for example, if Wyatt gets a really bad rash and we need more heavy-duty diaper cream. I'm not taking into account these situations.

And finally, there are a million different products, and a million different ways to do cloth diaper laundry. This cost estimate is just based on one set of products, and couple of many ways to do cloth diaper laundry. My numbers may be way off for your family because you don't do laundry the way I listed. I would appreciate any tips on how you save money further, but keep in mind that I'm just going off of the general recommendations I found, and once again, it's just an estimate.


The Products


-CJ's Butter diaper cream - $12.25/12 oz.
-Bac-out - $35.99/gallon
-Rockin' Green Hard Rock formula (we have hard water)- $15/90 loads

-Pampers disposable diapers - prices varied, I took the standard prices on Amazon when buying in bulk for the first set of numbers and the best deal I could find for the second set.

-Petroleum jelly (which is what we use for diaper cream with our disposables) - $2.28/ 13 oz.
-Munchkin/Arm and Hammer diaper pail liners - $6/10 liners


The first three items are not actually what we are using right now to wash our diapers, but these are the products we plan on using in the future. I did research after the fact, and the above products seemed most cost-effective for us.

For example, at the moment I'm using water softeners in addition to detergent since we have hard water, which is costing me more. The Rockin' Green hard water formula will eliminate some of the cost for me in the future.

I did not include the cost of diaper pail deodorizers in this analysis - I'm planning on just using baking soda to start with, and since that's what I use for disposables anyway I didn't add it into the cost.


The Basis For The Numbers


Okay, now for the actual numbers! I calculated how much I thought we would spend per year on each of the above products based on an estimate of our average usage (like I said, this isn't completely accurate, it's just an estimate for our family).

I'm including four sets of numbers.

1. What we would spend on disposables at retail value if buying in bulk (which we actually haven't been until recently, so our actual costs are more than this, but this is just an estimate).

Includes price of diapers, liners, and petroluem jelly for diaper cream.

2. What we spend on disposables at the moment. I discovered an incredible deal for diapers with Amazon Mom and the "Subscribe and Save" option - so we pay 15 cents per diaper for Pampers right now. Which is incredible. Normal retail value for these diapers bought in this quantity is at least 21 cents per diaper, and more if you don't buy in bulk. I wish I had signed up for this sooner, but se la vie.

We have paid much more than this up to this point, but I'm projecting how much it would cost if we were able to get the "subscribe and save" deal throughout the diapering years. The price even with the deal is always changing, but I wanted to see if we would still save money with cloth. This deal is a big reason why I broke all the finances down this way in the first place.

Includes price of diapers, liners, and petroleum jelly for diaper cream.

3. Cost of cleaning cloth diapers when spraying Bac-out on every diaper. Some people recommend using a spray of Bac-out on each diaper after each use, and some people recommend just putting a few squirts in your first rinse when doing laundry. Which method you choose makes a big difference in how much you spend.

Includes cost of Rockin' Green Laundry detergent, Cj's Butter, Bac-out.

4. Cost of cleaning cloth diapers when you use 3 squirts of Bac-out per wash. This is assuming you use it this way every time you wash your cloth diapers, which I hear may not be necessary.

Includes cost of Rockin' Green Laundry detergent, Cj's Butter, Bac-out.


Costs Per Year


1st Year (Estimated 2257 diapers)


1. Disposables at retail value when buying in bulk: $583.56/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $423.07/year
3. Cloth when using Bac-out on each diaper: $228.56/year
4. Cloth when using 3 squirts Bac-out per wash: $89.40/year


2nd Year (Estimated 1825 diapers)

1. Disposables at retail value: $532.18/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $423.72/year
3. Cloth when using Bac-out on each diaper: $194.00/year
4. Cloth when using 3 squirts Bac-out per wash: $89.40/year



Now, you have to add to these numbers the start up costs for diapering. This would be 35-40 bucks added to the disposables for the diaper pail, but I'm not adding that because our diaper pail was a gift.

My estimates as of right now (I'll probably post how much I actually spent when I feel I have enough diapers to go full-time) are to add $300 in start-up costs for cloth diapers to go full-time. This estimate includes 2 large wet bags, 1 small wet bag, diaper sprayer, and 15 cloth diapers averaging at $15 each.

If you are cloth diapering a newborn you'll probably need more diapers, and if you have two in diapers you will obviously need more. I will probably need to add more diapers to this stash in order to cloth diaper my next child.

I'm being optimistic here, it may cost more than $300. If you want to see some good estimates on how much it would cost to go full-time with different types of cloth diapers, you can check out this blog post at Musings Of A Homemaker.


Costs For First Year (Includes Start-Up Costs)


Okay, I'll add $35 dollars to the disposables for the diaper pail, just to be fair.

1. Disposables at retail value: $618.56/year
2. Disposables with great deal: $458.07/year
3. Cloth with Bac-out on every diaper: $528.56/year
4. Cloth with Bac-out only when washing: $389.40/year



Conclusions


The first year is the most expensive when you are doing cloth diapers. You may not be saving anything depending on how much you would spend on disposables, and how often you use Bac-out.

You have to approach cloth diaper laundering with a strategy, or you may not save as much money. Obviously we will be going with the 3 squirts/wash Bac-out method.

The good thing? Even though the first year you may not actually be saving anything, for each subsequent year, and with each subsequent child, you do save significantly with cloth diapers.

I'm estimating that we will save about $1,170.30 (as a minimum) if we were to have two more kids and they were each in diapers for only two years. This is assuming we would continue to buy disposables in bulk with the discount if we weren't cloth diapering. And that is accounting for the money I'm losing in start-up costs the first year, and the approximate cost of another 15-ish diapers should I need that many (about $500 total in cloth diapers).

Are the savings as drastic as some claim? Not when you take into account laundry costs.

Do you still save money? Yes. In our case, we will still save quite a bit.

Is it worth the hassle? That's something each person has to decide themselves. For me, I think it is, because I am saving money in the long run, and I actually am finding the whole cloth diaper thing kind of fun.

There is some value to the cuteness factor too, after all.






P.S. I would just like to say a big thank you to Leanna at Thoughts And Whatnots for talking me down off the edge of the cloth diapering bandwagon. When I thought about all the extra costs I was about ready to jump off, but she was very encouraging and gave me some good information! It helped me stick with it long enough to do the math and realize it wasn't so bad.

Budgets, Day Off, And Me Crying Alot

Today is a random sort of day . . .

Derek has a training for work this week at a hotel, so I'm hoping to work it out so that my sister can watch Wyatt overnight and I can go hang out with Derek on Thursday night! I'll take a free getaway at a hotel any day, even if I do have to work the next day.

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I'm taking Thursday off this week, because Derek will be at said training. Derek normally watches Wyatt on Thursdays. I called lots of people and every single one of our babysitting back-up plans fell through. This was a case of poor planning on my part - I should have thought about this way sooner.

I just don't have the heart to take Wyatt to a daycare - I'm pretty sure he would be traumatized. He's at that age where he just wants to make sure that one of us is nearby.

My former neighbor (who I trust) runs a daycare, but Wyatt has never met her before, and he's never been left with someone he doesn't know before. Derek took him to visit family last week, and Wyatt thought Derek was going to leave him there, and Wyatt just bawled until they were safely back in the car.

For the sake of my family, my patients (I would not be able to concentrate if I knew Wyatt was upset at my leaving him), and my peace of mind, we just aren't going to do it. Maybe when he gets older, and he's met the daycare lady, and can understand that I won't be gone long.

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Because I'm taking days off this month and I get days off for Thanksgiving, the budget is going to be a nightmare next month. I get paid hourly, so I don't get paid days off. I can't complain about this, because my hourly wage is really good, but alas, there is a trade-off. I'm just going to have to pay attention to the budget during December, and try not to spend too much.

You know, every year I get paid less during November and December (because of having the holidays off), but I spend more because of Christmas and Thanksgiving. It's enough to make a girl scream "Why!" Usually I come prepared and save up the rest of the year, but that just didn't happen this year with maternity leave and such.

It does help though that most of my Christmas shopping is done already.

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I've been really emotional the last couple of months. I keep finding myself tearing up at everything.

Movies, commercials, songs that aren't even supposed to be sad.

Blog posts about birth stories (I don't think I'll ever be able to read or watch a birth story without getting emotional again).

People losing family members. I should clarify that these are people that I don't even know - people I never met in my life, who I have absolutely no connection to. Just mention someone losing someone close to them, and what used to be me feeling sorry and saying "That's so sad," is now me choked up with a knot in my stomach.

Weddings - oh, weddings. I've cried at every wedding I've attended in the last year. I don't even want to know what I'm going to be like at my sister's wedding.

I promise I'm not pregnant.

Does this have something to do with me becoming a mother? Maybe that's it. I don't know. But I cry alot more than I used to.

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Sorry I don't have a better post planned for today, but this is all I've got. I will get to the rest of the questions you guys submitted either this week or next week, and don't forget about the link-up on Thursday!


Salvation Stories



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Three Quarters

I can’t believe Wyatt is nine months old.  I was just talking with Katie about how nine months seems so old.  I mean, we are on the countdown to one year now!  How does this happen?

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He kept trying to play with his elephant – it’s definitely becoming more challenging to get pictures that aren’t blurry!

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Wyatt has been up to a lot this month!  It’s so fun to see his personality developing.

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He’s an expert little sitter.  He’s also fascinated with his shoes.  Apparently he was trying to figure out how to tie his shoe laces here.

One of his favorite things is looking in the mirror.  Whenever he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror he give this huge grin.  Sometimes when we’re sitting on the bed together he’ll see the mirror behind our bed and he’ll just lift himself up and strain to see himself over the pillows.  If I want to put him in a good mood or help him stop crying, all I have to do is hold him up in front of the mirror and talk to him – he gives my reflection a huge smile, even if he was crying a second before.  It’s the cutest thing.  He also smiles and talks at me through the mirror in the car, and it’s so sweet.

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He’s also completely obsessed with electronics.  He has been for months, but I guess this is the first time I’ve mentioned it.  Whenever my phone, my iPod, or the remote is within reach, he stretches to reach it, and then once he does it goes straight into his mouth.  I think this may be why the volume button on my iPod doesn’t always work.  I try to keep the phone and iPod out of his reach most times, so the remote is the go-to item when he needs to be entertained.

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He definitely army crawls now!  It happened so gradually that I didn’t really write down the exact day he did it, but I wish I had written down the day I first noticed.  He gets around pretty well, but since it’s army crawling he moves slowly enough that I don’t have to worry too much yet.  Even so, I think it’s time to get going on the baby-proofing.  He also likes to get up on his hands and knees.  I always praise him when he does (I’m trying to encourage him to try crawling with his belly off the floor), and he always looks so proud of himself when he knows I noticed.

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Wyatt has probably been too big for his nine month clothes for a month, but I’m stubbornly refusing to put him into his twelve month clothes yet.  I think I’m in denial.  But his nine month pants are most certainly too short.  He’s still in size three disposable diapers, and he’s usually on almost the smallest setting of his one-size cloth diapers.  Mostly because he’s just so skinny!  He’s lean and mean.  Well, not really mean, but you know. . .

And more big news this month – we have two teeth!  Honestly, Wyatt’s teething fussiness was not bad at all.  He was a bit more grumpy, but it was about the same as when he’s going through a growth spurt – I really didn’t notice it much.  Then one Sunday at church (October 16th) I gave him my finger to chew on (the item of choice when I don’t have a toy around), and I realized there was a little tooth poking through! 

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It was so exciting.  And it made me feel like he was growing so fast – I feel like teeth are the first step to growing up.  Oh my.  I couldn’t stop smiling though when I found it, because it was so exciting! I really wasn’t expecting him to get any teeth until eleven months, because that’s when I got my first tooth, so it really took me by surprise, in a good way.  His next lower tooth poked through not too long after (I think on the 19th?  It was a Wednesday, I know that), and I think his little smile is so cute with those two little teeth showing! 

I used let him gum my nose and chin to help with teething, and we can’t do that anymore – it hurts now that he has those teeth!  He still gives me kisses though.  It melts my heart – I’ll pick him up and he’ll grab my hair with both hands and pull my face toward him.  I love his slobbery baby kisses.

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He definitely has been exerting his will more over the last few months – I realized this month that he wasn’t just crying because he was hungry, he was throwing a fit.  I also realized I have been promoting this by just giving him the food anyway, because I didn’t realize he was throwing a fit.  So lately I’ve been making sure I wait to give him his food until he is quiet, and over the last several days I’ve noticed he’s been much more calm when waiting for his food.  I believe training happens now, and I’m happy we’ve worked through this little hiccup pretty easily.  He’s such a good boy most of the time, and every baby starts to test his parents at some point.  He has been doing so much better though, and I’m so proud of him.

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He eats all kinds of food now, but we haven’t done cheerios or anything like that yet.  The one time we tried to give Wyatt little chunks of food, he gagged.  Granted, it was green beans, and they were cold, so I can’t say I blame him.  Maybe we’ll try a piece of banana next time.

He’s so funny though, because he will hold his bottle with one hand.  I don’t have a picture of it, but his hands are not that big yet – he’s actually palming the bottle.  Future basketball star, anyone?  You never know.

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He babbles all the time.  I’m still not quite sure if he’s deliberately called me “Mama” yet, but he says it all the time.  He has alot of his other constanents down as well (all the “M”, “N”, “B”, “P”, “D”, “Y”, “W”, “G”, “H” sounds, and sometimes it’ll sound like he does the “L” or “R” sounds as well), and he says “Dada” now too, but again, we’re just waiting until we know he said it intentionally.  I try to get him to say “Mmm” when I feed him solids, but instead he just smiles and laughs at me while I say it.  Apparently it’s hilarious.

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Right after his nine month birthday (on November 13th), he kind of waved.  Derek was helping him wave at me, and he kept his hand up after Derek let go.  He’s been holding his hand up to greet people, and I can’t decide if it’s a wave or a reach, but I think this one qualified as a wave.  I’m putting it here because it was so close to his nine month birthday, but he’ll probably be waving like crazy in the next couple of months.

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He laughs and giggles all the time, and I figured out that he’s ticklish in his stomach and rib area.  He also has started to laugh when everyone else is laughing, even though he still doesn’t know what we’re laughing about. He gives a big grin and gets all excited when Derek gets home – it’s so sweet.  He greets me with a smile and a slobbery kiss on the days I work, and it just melts me.

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My Sweet Boy,

You are getting to be so fun!  I love your sweet little smile and laugh.  You are so cheerful, and you even smile through your tears at times.  You are my little ray of sunshine every day, and it’s so hard to worry or be upset when I see you smiling at me.  You are a strong boy, and you love to be with your dad.  I love seeing you two together.  You are a happy, go-lucky kind of baby, and I wonder if you’ll be that way when you grow up too.  I think you will, and it’s such a good way to be.  I’m so proud of you, Monkey, and I’m so glad you are mine!

Love You,

Your Mama

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