Now I Know Why The Mayans Worshipped It…

Oh, glorious sun.. how I love thee. Not only do you clear up my face in the summertime and bleach my hair to make it look less graytastic, you also get poop stains out of my cloth diapers.

There seems to be a running theme in my posts lately. And yes, pun was intended. Leave me alone, I’m up to my eyeballs in Ruth’s diaper antics and must put other people through my pain as well.

Actually, it’s not all that bad. Even with cloth diapers.

Right now the poo washes right out, but after two rinse cycles as well as a wash cycle, it can still leave stains on them.

Here’s a close -up:

See the yellow stainage? Not horrible, but it’s still poo stains, and who wants to see that.

So I load them up on my expandable clothesline that is in front of a very sunny south-facing window. Did I mention how much I love this set up? It has made my life so much easier.

I basically wash the diapers once every other day, in the morning. I rinse, then wash, then rinse again. Afterwards, I throw them up on the line until dried. For those with stainage, I make sure they are front and center to soak up that sunshine.

And then only a couple hours later (maybe sooner, that’s just when I remembered to check)

….out came the stains! This is not a doctored photo, nor is it a different cloth insert. You can tell by that little cotton nub on the left-hand side.

Why does this amaze me? But it does.

Thank you Sunny McSunnershine!

WARNING: Graphic Content

Ruthie you really take us for fools, don’t you. But I’m on to you, little girl.

You slept in grandma’s arms all sweet and cuddly-like that night. Never a whimper, just a little smile here or there as you dreamt of your plan. You even had grandpa fooled into taking a nap. Though I bet he sensed the impending eruption of Mount Ruthsuvius and was only pretending.

Because before long, you “woke up”, if you were even sleeping in the first place. You knew what you were doing, because beneath those cries was maniacal laughter. “These fools will never know what hit them,” you thought.

To be honest, we should have seen the signs of this volcanic explosion. Maybe the fact that you hadn’t gone #2 in several days should have alerted us. But no, we stayed in our homes at the base of your mountain, blissfully sipping hot cocoa in front of the fire. Mount Ruthsuvius would not blow today of all days.

Then we had an earthquake, which caused some alarm. Not enough, though, because we continued chit-chatting as if we had all the time in the world. Following the earthquake were the aftershocks that only the person holding you felt. We laughed and congratulated you on expelling that gassiness. We had no idea.

You waited. Oh yes. You bided your time for, of course, the moment I started nursing you.

And as I sat talking with my mom about how laundry is caught up, how I just changed you, how I’m really glad we haven’t had a blowout for a while… out the mustard magma came.


So slowly that I didn’t notice that it got onto my hands.

But then I did notice, screamed and immediately yelled for the camera. Because that’s what you do in dangerous and scary situations, Ruth. Forget running for safety (that didn’t even help Pompeii), let me get a shot of that lava.

As we laid you on the changing table to wipe you down, that’s when I noticed the laughter and the “I got you, fools” look.

You were so smug about your joke. You laughed and smiled as your master plan unfolded in front of your very eyes.

It was funny, wasn’t it, hearing me scream and run around, then wiping you down from chest to toe. It was hilarious, right, when you heard your dad spraying that diaper down with our new diaper sprayer. You were tickled to death, huh, as you watched your grandparents stand there wide-eyed.

You got us good, daughter. But in the end we won.

Because there is nothing so fun as a baby taking a bath. Oh yes, you won the battle, Ruth, but we won the war.

Keeping it real, folks. Just keeping it so very real.

Cloth Diapers

Even though we had registered for them, I was absolutely terrified of using cloth diapers. I thought it would be twice as much work. I mean, there’s a reason they call them disposables, right? You can just toss it away, and that’s the end of your relationship with that particular one.

I have to say, though, it is incredibly easy. I have partly to thank Juice, a girlfriend of mine who has been using cloths with her little one. She was my cheerleader.

But first I had to get into a cleaning rhythm, which was easy to do, because I am hooked up in the diaper department. The more we have, the less number of times we have to do the wash. If you are expecting, and think you might get into cloths, be sure to register for them. It will save you so much money, it’s unbelievable. R’s coworkers went above and beyond with their gift to us.

It’s a gift that just keeps on giving. I guess Ruth is too. At least, she’s the gift that keeps on giving to the gift that keeps on giving. Nevermind. She poops, people. A lot.

We are using a combination of Fuzzibunz One Size, Fuzzibunz Small (I misread an ebay description and thought I was buying One Size. I like them, though. And will be looking for the Mediums/Larges/XL in the future), and BumGenius One Size.

The BumGenius ones are velcro which I didn’t think I’d like, but I do. It lets me adjust to her perfectly. See the Fuzzibunz in the photo above? And see the little gap by her thigh? This was taken before I really grasped how tightly to snap them. After two leakages, let’s all give thanks above that it was not a #2 leakage, I am now the snapper psycho. Once the velcro starts to lose its luster, it can be turned into snaps.

Look at her, though. She likes them. In fact, getting her diaper changed is perhaps the highlight of her day. No kidding. I’m slightly in awe, because I can go on a camping trip and not shower once, and be okay with it. She must have gotten her cleanliness from R. But then again, have you seen his goatee lately? Yikes.

We think that part of the reason she loves getting her bum wiped, is well.. because of the wipes. And the “wipe juice.” No really, that’s what’s it’s called. Baby wipe juice.


It smells heavenly and is organic. I’ve grown to hate that word. I love what it produces, but the actual word now just rubs me the wrong way. Every time I say it, I have to say it as though I’m an English aristocrat. Orgaaahhnic. (and be sure to put your nose in the air.)

I put a capful into a travel spray bottle and fill to brim with water. Ba Da Bing.

My sister had hooked me up with a gigantic tub full of clothes, blankets, burp cloths etc. There were quite a few receiving blankets in there, much more than I needed. So I cut them up in 8″x8″ squares. Ba Da Boom.

And my mom sewed two pieces together. No, I didn’t do it, she did. You remember the last time I took a crack at sewing. If you don’t recall that lovely creation, check it out here: The trapezoid baby blanket.

So, you either spray a couple times on the wipe, or spray directly on your child. Either way, I’ve found that I use less cloth wipes than disposable ones. Maybe because they’re thicker? I don’t know, but R and I both agreed that it hasn’t been a hard transition for either the wipes or diapers.

Now on to the dreaded cleaning part. Yes, I wash every day, but I don’t think I’d need to if I didn’t want to. That’s why the more diapers the merrier. It gives you breathing room.

You can either dry them on low, or air-dry them. The sun bleaches out any stains, so that’s the preferable way. Problem is, we don’t have a clothesline. All we have is an expandable one, which does not hold up well with this wind. I’ve had to rewash countless loads after finding it face-planted in the front lawn.

But then I discovered the perfect spot for it. Wait for it…. In our dining room! Now who wants to come over for dinner?  You know, and stare at diapers that 30 minutes prior was holding human excretions. Brownies anyone?

No, but this is perfect. This particular window gets great sunshine and of course it can be opened for the breeze on nice days. Plus, I’ve found my winter solution, which makes me ecstatic.

And yes, I’ll put it away if you come over to play spades. Promise.

Unless I lose. Then game on.


I mentioned a while back that I had tweaked my laundry detergent recipe to make it even cheaper.

Well, here goes.

The actual recipe is so easy to remember, it’s the identification of each powder that was difficult for me. Maybe because it took me 2 years before labeling each of the jars? I’m pretty much a genius when it comes to those things.

It’s just 2 to 1 parts, soap to other ingredients.  So if you do 1 cup soap, throw in 1/2 cup Borax, Washing Soda, & OxyClean. Once mixed, use 2 tbls per load.

The soap is what changed. You can’t buy soap flakes off the shelf anymore (which I think is a conspiracy, but I think everything is a conspiracy right now. I can’t go for a jog 9 mos pregnant? Conspiracy. I can’t make it through the night without eating a meal at 2am? Conspiracy.) So I’ve had to buy the flakes either off ebay or through a distribution center based in Michigan that imports them from England. Tell me how this is cost-effective.

Then I discovered that Ivory soap is the most similar to boxed soap flakes due to it being almost (sigh) made out of 100% vegetable oil.

Hey, not to change the subject, but see those flowers on the coffee table?

My sister-in-law picked those from her garden for me! I love what fresh flowers does to a room: instant class.

And looking at our coffee table, we need that. The basket on the left (which I think is a rice steamer, actually) is really our junk drawer, believe it or not. In front of everyone. You walk in – bam! Junk. That’s how we roll, folks.

The chest we bought randomly on our way home from Nebraska one year. We squeezed it into R’s Honda Civic and scraped the ground all the way back.

The year was unknown, but when we had it re-stained, the guy went on and on about the top piece. It was a single piece of wood indicating that it came from a tree that wide. Really old, he said. I’d take it on Antiques Roadshow, but I know they’d yell at me for re-staining it. I can just hear them, “I really wish the original patina were still on it.” And then my heart would break because I do want the Roadshow folks to be my friends. Nevermind the worth, just be proud of how well I’ve taken care of something.

Ah, well. We love the dark color.

It’s where we house our blankets and sleeping bags for now. Probably a future junk drawer waiting to happen, though.

But back to the exciting stuff: Ivory soap. No shipping costs and occasionally I get a coupon in the paper for it. Score!

I really need a good food processor. Instead, I diced up the soap curls as small as possible.

Then stored  it until ready to use!

I diced up 3 bars worth of soap and it almost reached the top of the jar. Good deal.

The ingredients I buy more frequently than others is a) soap and b) washing soda. That you can buy on the shelf. The borax and Oxyclean just keeps going and going.

I’ve never done the cost breakdown on it all, I really should. I’ll just approximate from what I have.  I buy washing soda about once a year ($3.00), soap once a year ($15.00 for the imported soap flakes withOUT shipping. $4.00 for 8 bars of Ivory soap, coupon used), Borax once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($3.00), and Oxyclean once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($18 for 14lb box from Sam’s Club. It was difficult to justify spending that much money up front, but look how long it has lasted!)

So, with the imported flakes I would spend around $28.50 a year. Probably less than that, because I’m still using the Borax & Oxyclean from original purchase. With Ivory soap I’ve cut it to $17.50. We’ll see how this changes with a little one and more laundry loads.

I really just like having all the ingredients on hand. I don’t have to time my run to the store with how many loads I have left in the bottle. I can just whip up a new batch whenever needed.

And it does give you an excuse to buy a vintage tin for storage – Hurray!

Have a great weekend!

Vinegar, Vinegar Everywhere..Not a Drop to Drink

I’ve decided I don’t like choices. They overwhelm me. We’ve already scaled down on our kitchen appliances because of this. I mean, do I really need a cooking gadget for every. little. thing? It bugs me.

So when I started the saga of cleaning the bathrooms (horror of horrors), I looked under the sink to see what we had.

***Warning*** Graphic/Messy content below

Oh, just a bazillion different choices in there. Half of them we’ve only used once or twice and then bought something new because we forgot we had it.

How much money do you think is under there too? And yeah, yeah, yeah… the environment and all that jazz.

But for me, it’s the decision-making process that gets me down. I’d like to open up the cabinet and have one bottle staring at me.

So, what’s next?

Well, you buy about a swimming pool’s amount of vinegar. And then stare at it for a couple days wondering why you’ve done so.

Apart from throwing a bit into the wash every time you get that weird smelly load and need to rewash it, what’s the use?

Oh geez, well you can google “uses for vinegar” and a plethora of lists are made available to you. Vinegar has become my new love!

So I decided to make homemade cleaner that can be used on practically everything. Happiness.

Next step was to make rags. I found an old freebie 5K t-shirt that has seen better days and tore it up.

Later, R confessed that he really liked how that shirt fit him. Whoops. I offered to stitch it up a la his blue shirt written about here.

He politely declined.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp borax (I already have this on hand as I make my own washing detergent. See that incredibly short blog post here. I’m going to do a new post on it, though, as I found a way to make it even more inexpensive.)
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 cups hot water

Add the baking soda, borax, and vinegar in the spray bottle. Then slowly add 4 cups hot water to dissolve all the ingredients.

How easy is that?

Then, use it to clean up all of the ingredients you spilt on the table.

Anyone want some of our leftover cleaners?