Ditch the Disposables – Earth Day Challenge

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Some of the awesomest (yes that’s a word) brands in cloth diapers have joined together to host a “Make Cloth Mainstream” challenge for Earth Day.  I’ve jumped on board and even though I don’t have a little one in diapers I’ve challenged myself to look for ways to ditch the other disposable things in our lives (paper towels, plastic bags, etc.)  SO…

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Join us! 

If you have a little diaper wearer consider making a switch to cloth diapers, if you already cloth diaper part time than try and go full time.  I’m here to help answer any questions you might have, point you in the direction of brands / products to try out, and if you live local you can even borrow some of my diapers!  Visit my Diaper Parties page for more detailed information about cloth diapers and why you should give them a try.

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If you are past the diaper stage consider ditching some other disposables.  Trade out paper towels for cloth, plastic bags for storage containers or reusable grocery bags, you could even ditch the to-go cups for a travel mug! Every little bit makes a positive impact on the environment and on your wallet.

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Head on over to our facebook page and tell us how you are ditching the disposables! We’ll be sharing information for the next 3 weeks to help and we’d love it if you posted updates and questions for us too.

Let’s ditch the disposables and #MakeClothMainstream !

3 Ways to Save Money With Kids

Everyone always says that kids are expensive, and to some extent they are right.  But, raising children doesn’t have to be quite as expensive as its made out to be.  Here are 3 ways that we save money on all that ‘stuff’ that kids need.

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1. Cloth Diapers

The average family spends $2500 on disposable diapers for one child…That is a lot of money going right into the landfill! Switching to cloth diapers can easily save you $2000 dollars or more! Plus, since they are reusable, you can use them on future children and save even more.  I love being an educator and consultant with Squigglybugs, teaching people how to save money, help the environment, and naturally care for their little ones is a huge passion of mine.  If you want a hand switching to cloth or have any questions please email me at DiaperPartiesbyKailyn@gmail.com or visit our facebook page.

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2. Consignment Sales

A few moms got together and started a large (twice a year) kids consignment sale that happens locally for us.  These big consignment sales take place all over the country though so go ahead and google “kids consignment sale in _______” and see what you find! I absolutely love these sales and find amazing deals on clothes, gear, toys and everything else you can possibly need for little ones.  I’ve even started consigning Tilly’s old stuff so this past fall I managed to walk away from the sale having broke even…that’s right I got all of Tilly’s fall and winter clothes / gear and a few presents for her birthday and Christmas for FREE! It does take a little work to get items ready to sell but that time was so worth it.  Our big spring sale (Be Green Consignment Sale) is coming up next weekend and I can’t wait!

3. Library Trips

We love our local library! We usually try and plan a trip every two weeks so that we can return books and pick out new ones.  The kids room in our library has a ton of great books as well as puzzles, blocks, felt toys and perfect little kid sized furniture.  Tilly loves going and I love that it’s a free way to spend an afternoon, especially this winter when the weather was often bad.  We always bring home a few books that we keep upstairs in Tilly’s room for bedtime, it keeps our bedtime routine fresh and gives her something to look forward to, which has helped to make bedtime quite a bit smoother.

How do you save money? I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments below

*This post contains an affiliate link for Diaper Parties by Squigglybugs, if you choose to place an order I’d appreciate it if you listed Kailyn Shippee as your consultant as it helps fund our homesteading adventure. Thank you! 

Potty Learning or Training with Cloth

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“Cloth diapered babies potty train faster”

Or so the old wives (or is it wise?) tales goes and perhaps there is some truth to it.  You see, cloth diapers allow a baby to feel that they are wet a little bit more than disposable diapers do.  Over time the baby begins to associate going potty with feeling wet and that can make learning to use the potty easier since that is one connection that has already been made.

Now, sure there are lots of other factors and it definitely isn’t a sure fire way to get your child to use the potty but I took a little survey of my Squigglybugs consultants and got the sense that they considered the use of cloth as a help in getting their child potty-ing like a big kid…and let’s face it we all need a little help.

Our little Matilda is now 27 months old (yikes! that was fast) and completely potty trained.  She wears a simple diaper cover with a hemp insert to bed at night but most mornings wakes up dry (we’re working on eliminating those too) but during the day (even out and at day care) she wears real-deal big girl underpants…and I mean big the smallest size Target had was 2t/3t and there is definitely “room to grow”.

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To teach Tilly to use the potty we started by bringing home a little potty chair and talking a lot about going potty.  Any time we changed her diaper we would point out that she had gone potty “Your diaper is wet, you went potty in your diaper” and so on.  They started doing the same thing at day care and then added bringing her to sit on the potty before her scheduled diaper changes.  Once she started using the potty occasionally we invested in cloth trainers.  These are like disposable pull ups but way more cost effective, look and feel more like underpants (making the switch to underpants that much easier).  After another week or so of keeping those dry we switched to underpants and have never looked back.

Rumor has it that boys tend to use the potty a bit later than girls so that may have factored into it but I definitely think the cloth diapers and trainers played a big role too.

*The cloth diapers and cloth trainers that I talked about in this post are available at Squigglybugs

Did cloth help your child learn to use the potty?

Teaching Young Children to Help

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make sure that Tilly had a very active role in life here on the homestead.  When she was first born we would wear her while doing everything from cooking dinner and picking apples to stacking firewood and feeding the chickens.  From that young age she saw us working and became used to seeing these chores getting done.


Now that she is getting bigger (she’ll be 2 in November, can you believe it?) we have her working right along side us and we love it! She is learning that living on a homestead involves work and she is gaining skills that will help her through out her life.  Even more importantly, she is learning to help.  Sure, I could probably accomplish all these tasks a lot faster by myself but sometimes the lesson is more important than the time it takes (or the quality of the work).

5 Ways to Teach Children to Help

1. Toy or child sized tools: Tilly has her own pot, spoon, little cups and other things that she plays with while I make dinner.  It keeps her busy while I am cooking and also gives her time to practice using those items.  She also has a bucket and shovel for when we are working in the garden.

2. Clean up time: We have clean up time every night before bed.  We go around the house and pick up toys and other items and put them back where they belong.  Tilly has always seen us doing this and now readily helps out when we declare it “clean up time”.

3. Observation: We have always made a point to keep Tilly a part of everything that we are doing.  She has seen us working, cleaning, and cooking from the time she was an infant in the baby carrier.  The more she sees the more she learns so we are sure to give her a front row seat.

4. Start small:  Start with simple things like putting the crayons back in the box or pulling the clean clothes out of the dryer and build up to harder or more complicated tasks.  Always be right there to guide them and make sure they see working along side.

5. Praise:  Keep your tone upbeat and shower your little helper with praise.  Be specific with praise and name the job they are doing “Wow, what a great job carrying the napkins!”.  The more specific you are the better, it keeps your praise genuine and helps the child to know that every thing they do to help is appreciated.

*How do you encourage little ones to help?

The Ultimate Nighttime Diaper

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile now than you know that nighttime diapers have been a bit of a sore subject for us.  We have tried many different options and just recently discovered what I like to call “The Ultimate Nighttime Diaper”.


It’s super absorbent without being uncomfortably thick and that is pure magic.  Every other option we’ve tried has either been trim but not absorbent or absorbent but so bulky that no pajama bottoms in the history of pajama bottoms can contain it.


And so without further ado, I give you “The Ultimate Nighttime Diaper”.

The “Ingredients”


1 flour sack towel: I buy these at Target for like $3.50 a 4 pack. They are in with the dish towels and bar mops (whatever those are).  No, they are not made to be a diaper but trust me they work.  They are 100% cotton, thin as paper, and hold so much water (or not water in this case).

1 square of fleece:  These are just strips from an old fleece blanket and look like garbage but they are my little secret.  The fleece pulls moisture away from the edges of the diaper and single handedly saved our cloth diapering journey, seriously.

1 diaper cover:  We like Flips by BumGenius but there are bunch of great companies out there.  Just please, please, don’t use “made in China” diapers or covers.  The U.S. has specific standards that China doesn’t have. The materials used in China made diapers / covers can end up being very dangerous to your child’s health. Please do your research and make sure you know what your diapers are made of!

1 hemp insert:  We use Thirsties Hemp Inserts, but I have heard good things about a few other brands.  Hemp is the key material so make sure that you have hemp as the main fiber.  Hemp is ultra absorbent but without being super bulky.

Putting it all Together:


1.  Fold the flour sack towel in half and in half again.


2. Lay the hemp insert on one side and fold the towel over it (a hemp insert sandwich, if you will)

3.  Put the towel insert sandwich inside the diaper cover.  I love that Flips have the edges that you can tuck inserts into, they really help hold the whole thing together.


4.  Place the fleece square towards the top / center of the diaper

That’s it! This combo has kept Tilly dry and comfortable each night that we have used it.  While it has gotten a good bit heavier during the night she hasn’t had any leaks or weird bunching.

Hope this helps solve your nighttime diaper problems!  What other suggestions might you have?

5 Things I Learned This Winter

1. The power of immune boosters
Between the students at school and Tilly at day care we’ve been exposed to every cough, cold, and stomach bug that’s out there but despite it all we’ve been relatively healthy.  I’ve been sticking with natural immune boosters and homeopathic remedies as needed and it’s definitely working.  We take elderberry extract every day in the winter time and add echinacea when we feel like we might be coming down with something.  Those along with healthy meals full of fruits and veggies and lots of sleep have been keeping us healthy.

2. Stock up, stock up, stock up, and then stock up some more
We are out of fire wood. As in, the shed is empty.  We cut as much as we could but with the polar vortex and 14 inches of snow our little stove just couldn’t keep up.  All we can do now is run the furnace and plan for next year (watch, we’ll cut a ton of fire wood and it will be unseasonably warm all winter).  The other thing we’re planning for is our garden.  We ate through our canned and frozen produce a lot faster than I thought (Tilly loves her apple sauce).  We are hoping to put in a few rows along side the raised beds and add peas, corn, and strawberries to our usual mix.

3. It’s a good time to remodel the house
Winter is long, cold, and dark and to keep things fresh and interesting we decided to start a whole mess of house projects.  Well, that and we love a good project.  We are currently in the process of replacing all the tile in our kitchen / hallway / stairway and have reorganized both the pantry and Tilly’s room.   Winter is a great time for indoor projects since it’s too darn cold to work outside and it’s nice to still feel like we’re accomplishing things.

4. Know how to drive in the snow
Boarding schools never cancel is a frequent complaint of mine on facebook.  Both Ian and I work at a school with a residential program and staff need to be in to care for the students every day, no matter what the weather.  I am very thankful for our 4 wheel drive vehicles and have learned all about navigating the icy, unplowed, backroads.

5. Have fun!
You have to make the best of what you’ve got and this winter we’ve got snow.  We have suited up and gone sledding a bunch of times and have done some fun art projects with Tilly when it’s been too cold to go out.  Finger painting, coloring, and some water play have kept her and us busy and entertained during even the worst weather.

What lessons did this winter teach you?

Linking Up With: Homestead Barn HopHomemade MondaysModest Monday

Toddler Lunch Ideas

I have been packing lunches for Matilda to take to day care since she started eating solid foods.  When I started out I didn’t think it would be all that complicated…turns out it was.
I don’t know if you know this or not but toddlers are picky and what they decide to be picky about tends to change on a daily basis.  I have to get creative to keep up with her, but that statement is true about everything, not just lunches.

I compiled a list of my most successful lunches, lets call it “Tilly’s Top Ten”.  Hopefully, it will help you with your lunch packing (or lunch serving) should you have to get creative.

*I usually send 1 to 2 snacks along with her lunch.  Her day care typically provides some snacks but I always send some along in case she is being picky and doesn’t want what they have or won’t eat her lunch.   Her favorite snacks include: Apple sauce, veggie sticks or rice puffs (we like Pirate Brand), raisins, yogurt drops (we like Happy Family Brand), and hard boiled eggs.  

Tilly’s Top Ten:

 

1. Pancake with jam

2. Grilled cheese

 
English muffin pizza, rasins, rice puffs













3. Whole wheat english muffin pizza

4. Pasta with tomato sauce 

5. Zucchini bread with cream cheese

Nitrate free turkey & cheese, veggie sticks, yogurt drops



6. Shredded turkey and cheese

7. Black bean (pureed) and cheese quesadilla 

Pumpkin baked oatmeal, applesauce and dry cereal












8. Baked oatmeal 

9. Hummus and crackers

10. Scrambled eggs and toast

The list is always changing but this is what she likes best right now.  What is your little ones favorite lunch? 

Linking up with: Homemade MondaysHomestead Barn Hop, The Modest Mom, The 104 Homestead

Precious Cargo – Car Seat Safety

A guest post by Ruth Van Petten*

Things You Should Know about Car Seats
1: Read the manual! Sounds exciting, I know, but it is important to read about your car seat’s height and weight requirements as well as proper instillation. You might want to peruse the child seat section of your vehicle manual as well.

2: It is a chest clip, not a belly clip. Proper placement is important for keeping little ones secured in their seats.

3. A step ‘up’ in car seats is a step down in safety. I know we get excited as our kids are growing and hitting milestones but we don’t want to rush things put their safety at risk. Keep them rear-facing as long as possible, keep them harnessed as long as possible, keep them boostered as long as possible- car seat belts are designed for adults, car seats and boosters are to keep kids safe in those seatbelts.

4. Rear-facing (something I am rather passionate about) is the safest way for our littles to travel. The AAP and NHTSA recommend that all children stay rear-facing until 2yrs or they reach the weight/height limit of the seat, whichever comes later. Yes, in most places it is legal to forward face at 1yr AND 20lbs but legal does not equal safest. I mean smoking cigarettes is legal but I definitely wouldn’t call it safe.

I have heard a lot of ‘my kid is too big” “my kid will be squished” and that is just not true. My daughter is 2yrs and 9mos, 36ish inches, and 33lbs and she rearfaces just fine. She has no problem seeing things out the window either J

 

5. Infant carriers were not designed to go on shopping carts! They make them top heavy. Even if your seat ‘clicks’ in, it is still not safe, they were meant to click into strollers (which are much lower to the ground and designed for car seats) not shopping carts. PLEASE- put your infant seat in the basket of the shopping cart or babywear  while shopping.

6. Winter coats and car seats don’t mix. Here is a video that shows why:
What to do instead? Fleece jackets are great, warm up your car, use a car seat poncho, blankets, and/or put the puffy coat on backwards after your kidlet is buckled into their seat.

7. LATCH has weight limits! Reading your vehicle manual you may have noticed that there is a weight limit for LATCH. It varies from one vehicle manufacturer to the next but most GM vehicles have a 48lbs limit so once your child weighs more than that you need install with a seat belt. Some vehicles/car seats have a 40lbs limit, check your manual or call a dealership for info on your vehicle.

Helpful links:
5 Step Test for Big Kids is your kiddo ready to move out of a Booster?

*Ruth lives outside of Seattle (waaaay out, in the boonies) and has been a Navy wife for almost 12 years. She has spent most of her adulthood working with kids ages 6 weeks to 6th grade and has spent the past 2+yrs hanging out with her own little firecracker.

Linking up with: Modest MomHomemade MondayFrom the Farm Blog Hop


Chicken Dippers

A Guest Post by Adrianne Gordon*

Like most two year-olds, my daughter isn’t all that adventurous about her foods.  She has her favorites, some things she’ll eat sometimes and will try something new if the mood strikes.  There are a few things she has refused to try – greens of any variety are “salad” and greeted with a quick “I don’t like that”.  Chicken is eyed with suspicion and declined no matter how it’s presented.  I wanted to expand her protein source and decided to experiment with homemade chicken nuggets…..er…..”dippers”. Not only was she willing to try this recipe (with a tiny bit of ketchup on the side), she had eight in her first sitting! I declared them a success and so long as I remember not to call them chicken, I think they will be a regular on her menu.

Homemade Baked (Chicken Nugget) Dippers
1 lb white meat chicken (we prefer antibiotic free tenders)
1 c  whole wheat flour
1 beaten egg
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese  


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces
Season the flour to taste. We eat a lot of garlic and my daughter loves it. Try Italian seasoning or go with simple salt and pepper.
Divide the flour into two shallow bowls.
Beat the egg in a third bowl.

Roll individual chicken pieces in the flour, then the egg and then the second bowl of flour to coat.
Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 18 minutes.
Feel free to freeze what isn’t eaten right away for a quick meal later. 

*Adrianne Gordon lives in Asheville, NC and recently married her partner of 14 years.  She fills her days as a full-time University staff member, mom to a fun two year-old (she swears there is such a thing), birth doula and coupon clipper.  My oldest cousin on my mom’s side, she was the flower girl in my parent’s wedding and taught me to tie my shoes.

Linking up with: Homemade MondayHomestead Barn HopThe Modest MomThe Pin It PartyNatural Living Link Up

The Leaky Diaper Blues

If you follow us on Facebook than you know that for awhile we were having some pretty serious diaper issues.  My tiny, little girl is apparently a force to be reckoned with and our diapers just couldn’t keep up.  

 

It went like this, bed time would roll around and Tilly would get good and fussy.  A fresh “night time strength” diaper would go on, followed by PJs, some snuggly nursing time, and then bed.  Doesn’t sound too bad right? but wait for it…
1:00 am would roll around and we’d awaken to a crying baby and a wet EVERYTHING. Diaper, PJs, crib sheet, the works.  This went on for months.  We tried every combination and suggestion we could find and still we were wet, literally on nights when she was extra fussy and co-sleeping.  
Honestly we tried everything, including…
 
“Night time” cloth diapers, “Night time” disposable diapers, Backwards disposable diapers (She leaks out the top, the back was supposed to come up high enough to prevent that), Hemp inserts, wool soakers, waterproof covers over the disposable diaper…EVERYTHING
 
And then my amazing cousin (and her equally as amazing family) came to visit.  And SOLVED our leaky diaper problems! 

 

A square of fleece folded up on the front of the diaper was all it took to keep Tilly (and everything she owns) dry all night long.  Fleece is a wicking material so the square at the top of the diaper pulls moisture down into the core of the diaper, instead of out the top.  
 
Seriously, That tiny piece of fleece solved one BIG, wet, stinky problem.