Welcome to my third blogging experience...created in order to keep my other blogs free of my crazy rantings. This space will be dedicated to the day to day trials and tribulations of motherhood and life in general...as well as the experiences that come with trying to rediscover the many basics of life that have been lost to the constant hullabaloo and cookie cutter mentality that has become the 21st century.

I am a proud mama to our first born, Gracie, who waits for us in Heaven, and her very lively little sister, Jenna. I am a semi-crunchy mama who works full time outside of the home. If you come here to read, expect to find posts related to cloth diapering, breast feeding, homemade baby food, organics, cooking and recipes, day care & working outside the home, baby wearing, natural childbirth, general fitness, general nutrition, environmental topics, etc.

Feel free to ask questions, share valuable information that you might have or share your thoughts and/or opinions. Please do not come here to attack the things that I believe or the way I live. I will respect your opinions as long as you respect mine, even if it means agreeing to disagree!! :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Few More Giveaways

I came across these giveaways today as I was perusing a my blog roll....

Kissaluvs Pail Liner and Diaper Potion Lotion on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

AMP Diaper giveaway on Diary of a Devil Dog Wife

Knickernappies diaper giveaway on Diary of a Devil Dog Wife

Bummas wipes on Feelin' Kinda Crunchy

Oh Katy pocket diaper on Susan Heim on Parenting

Wool Dryer Balls on Life as a Global Mom (from the Willow Store)

Tiny Tush one-size pocket diaper on Life as a Global Mom

Change-Diapers.com is giving away a $120 cloth diaper package giveaway to celebrate 1000 followers. 

And if you haven't checked out Cloth Diaper Addiction's 2000-1000 giveaway on FB, head over and do so!!!


 6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 French baguette
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven on broiler setting.   In a large bowl, combine Roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper.  Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes.  Cut the baguette into 3/4" slices and arrange the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Broil for 1-2 minutes until slightly browned. Divide tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices; top tomato mixture with mozzarella cheese.     Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Fluff Experience So Far...

We have been using cloth diapers for just over 3 months now, making the change when Jenna was about 2 months old.  Although 3 months is certainly not a terribly long period of time, I am definitely getting into a groove with our diapering...and loving it!  I know that there are some expectant mamas reading here that are considering cloth, so I wanted to post a synopsis of our experience so far. 

When I was pregnant with Gracie, DH and I had several conversations about cloth diapers, and had decided that we would start with disposables until we got settled in, then switch to cloth after a few months.  We didn't purchase any diapering supplies before she was born.  When we were pregnant with Jenna, we had the same conversations and came to the same conclusion about when we would start.  But I never really figured out what it was that I needed or wanted to buy.  In fact, it was all kind of confusing to me and I had no idea which direction to go.  No one that I come into face to face contact with on a daily basis uses cloth diapers, so I couldn't sit down and just chat with anyone about it.  I emailed a few friends and got a few suggestions, and I also just looked around at some of the online diaper shops and picked a direction.  There are lots of tutorials out there, but I really wish I had come across this three part tutorial on cloth diapering before Jenna was born...  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I had eyed up gDiapers when I was pregnant with Gracie, and had actually gotten the size small started kit as a shower gift.  We figured that we would start with those as a segway between disposables and cloth, and while we were using the gDiapers we (well, I) would work on getting the cloth stuff ordered.  The gDiapers were okay.  It took a few days to get the hang of opening the inserts to get them cleanly into the toilet, and I didn't like that the inserts basically have the a similar chemical composition as the guts of a regular disposable.  The liners frequently got messy with poo, because the insert didn't hold its shape well in the liner - it tended to bunch up between Jenna's legs.  No big thing - the liners are washable, so we just tossed them into the laundry when they were really messy.  When we switched to the medium gPants, I ordered a case of the med/large flushable inserts, and I think we have used just a handful of them.  I expect that most of them will be left over for the next baby, or perhaps to sell at some point.  Someone had mentioned to me that they used the gPants with prefold diapers stuffed into the liner in place of the flushable insert.  I was intrigued by that, and did a little more 'research' into this.  I decided to buy a dozen prefolds and try this out.  It works okay.

The pros to using prefolds in the g-diapers:
  • easy for the grandparents (this is actually their preferred method, since it's less confusing to them than the diapers with snaps).
  • washing the entire system is not necessary unless the poo escapes from the prefold
  • pretty cost effective - prefolds are cheap in comparison to pockets or AIOs
The cons to using prefolds in the g-diapers:
  • poo escapes from the prefold and makes it to the liner relatively frequently.  No big thing, just toss the liner (and the pants, if necessary) into the washer with the rest of the dipes.
  • the prefolds tend to bunch up between Jenna's leg the same way the flushable inserts did, which aids in the escape of the poo as noted above.  I have found that putting a small hemp or microfiber insert inside the prefold helps to maintain its shape, and obviously, it also helps with absorbency. 
  • unless we use a fleece liner, the prefold holds moisture against the skin. 
  • I don't care for velcro, but so far it's holding up with no issues.  

After reading a ton of information about various types of diapers, I narrowed it down to pocket diapers or all-in-ones.  I narrowed it down to these options primarily because I wanted a diaper that was lined with microfleece or microsuede to pull moisture away from baby's skin without having to add liners on top of prefolds or other diapers.  After narrowing it down to pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers, I debated and debated and finally decided on pocket diapers.  I picked pockets because I felt that there were far more options in pocket diapers (more brands and designs to choose from), I liked having the option to adjust the absorbency level by adding or removing inserts, and I liked that the inserts were removed for washing and drying (in my mind, it just seems like the inserts would come cleaner if they could be removed from the diaper structure for washing).  Before purchasing any of our cloth stash, one friend suggested that I investigate some of the cloth diaper 'trial' programs that are out there before ordering.  I did not, but really wish I had.  Here is a list of some of the more popular trial programs; Fluff Envy also has a Love 'Em or Leave 'Em program.   When I finally placed my first order, here is what I got:
  • One dozen unbleached Indian cotton prefolds
  • One size-1 Thirsties Duo diaper (as opposed to the cover/wrap) 
  • One one-size Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper
  • One one-size Doopsy SD pocket diaper (I believe what I have is now marketed as the 'trim fit')
  • One size-1 AppleCheeks envelope/pocket diaper
  • One one-size RumpaRooz pocket diaper
Since then, I have added to my stash...
  • one one-size Katydid pocket diaper
  • two perfect size Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers
  • one one-size Kawaii overnight pocket diaper
  • two one-size Go Green Pocket Diapers
  • 4 hemp prefolds
  • two more AppleCheeks - 1 size-1 and 1 size-2
  • one set of AppleCheeks waist extenders
  • six more RumpaRooz
  • one more one-size Fuzzi Bunz
  • two more Doopsy SD pocket diapers
  • two more Thirsties Duos diapers - both size-2
  • two sets each small and large Thirsties hemp inserts
  • 2 sets of RumpaRooz hemp inserts
  • two RumpaRooz wetbags
  • Sigma diaper sprayer

The first store I ordered from (Bellalojo Baby) closed a few weeks after my second order.  Since then, I have done most of my ordering from Abby's Lane, Fluff Envy and Kelly's Closet

Check back later to find out what I think about all of this stuff!!

Loving my Fluff

"When she gets a raging diaper rash, you'll know exactly what it's from.  And I'm telling you, it will be raging.  You might as well save yourself the trouble, and her the discomfort, and just go back to disposables now."  That is the comment I got a couple days ago from someone (a man, no less) that saw me changing Jenna's diaper at the fire house and felt the need to sound off on our decision to use cloth.  This man has no problem speaking his mind......to anyone...about anything...at any point in time...ever.  He is never without an opinion about my 'crunchiness'.  He is intelligent and very educated, and 99% of the time doesn't go into a conversation without the ammunition to back his opinions up, but this time I knew he was shooting from the hip and I jumped on it!  :-)   I asked him why he thought this, and he said "Moisture breeds diaper rash.  Fast."  So I schooled him. 

I pulled out the pee soaked diaper and a spare clean pocket diaper.  I told him to feel the inside of the pocket diaper - the fleece was dry.  I showed him how it worked and told him that we had to use butt paste on Jenna with each disposable change during the first 2 months, but that we haven't had any problems with rash since we started using cloth.  I told him that her skin is almost always dry when I open up a wet pocket diaper, as opposed to being damp with a disposable diaper.  All he could say was "Huh.  That's kind of neat.  But it seems like a lot of work."  I told him that over the course of a week it takes up about 60-75 minutes of my time, depending on whether I do it myself or have DH help (Somehow, it always takes longer when I have DH help, because he messes up my system.  Some day I'll learn).  After that, he didn't have anything else to say.  He couldn't come up with a single point to argue. 

We have been using cloth for 3 - 3.5 months now, and I love it.  I have had the opportunity to talk with a few expectant moms over the last month, and offer up some of the things I have learned along the way.  I have started a post about that; hopefully I can get it posted this weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Balsamic Filet Mignon and Cider Cheese Fondue

Balsalmic Filet Mignon

2 (4 ounce) filet mignon steaks
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp brown sugar

Allow steaks to rest for an hour at room temperature before salting & peppering. Broil until done to your liking, then remove them from the oven and allow to rest again. While the steaks rest, combine the ingredients for the balsalmic glaze in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to low to low-med and allow the glaze to reduce until thickened (about 10 minutes).  Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the steaks and serve. 

Cider Cheese Fondue

1 cup apple cider or apple juice **
2 cups shredded or cubed Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded or cubed Swiss cheese
1-2 cloves crushed or chopped garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cubed
In a large saucepan, bring cider to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic. Toss the cheeses with cornstarch and pepper; stir into cider. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Transfer to a small ceramic fondue pot or slow cooker; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes, sliced apples and/or the Balsamic Filet Mignon.

**  I prefer to substitute this wine for the cider/juice. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Upside Down Banana Pecan French Toast

This recipe is used as a demo recipe during Taste of Greeley cooking school (put on by Taste of Home).  There is nothing healthy about it, other than the bananas and pecans, but it is out of this world delicious.   I have a very sweet tooth, and this was sweet enough that I didn't need to use maple syrup. 

Upside Down Banana Pecan French Toast
Yield: 10 servings | Prep Time: 15 minutes + chilling | Bake: 45 minutes

2 packages wheat pull-apart dinner rolls (I used homemade rolls - recipe below)
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup corn syrup (I used homemade simple syrup)
4 medium, ripe bananas
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half  (I read reviews that said whole milk could be used here.  I used the half-and-half.)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Maple syrup
Fresh sliced strawberries

1. Butter (or spray) bottom and sides of a 13-in. by 9-in. baking dish. Slice rolls in half and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup and mix until smooth. Spread mixture into an even layer in bottome of prepared baking dish. Slice bananas thinly and place over brown sugar mixture. Scatter pecans over bananas. Place sliced rolls on top, cut part down. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and vanilla. Pour mixture over rolls. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden.
4. Cool slightly. Run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen sides and carefully invert pan onto a large platter, or slice and serve as is. serve with warm maple syrup and sliced strawberries.

Sweet Dinner Rolls
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

Place water, milk, egg, butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough/Knead and First Rise Cycle; press Start.  When cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in 16 evenly sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover with clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place, let rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden.