Reasons Cloth Diapers Might Leak

1) Cloth Diapers might leak if you do not have a good fit.

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Cloth diapers need to be quite snug around the legs and waist. If you can easily slide a finger under the fabric it is too loose. You don’t want to cut off the baby’s circulation but you do want to seal in all that poo. If your diapers are too loose, try to use a tighter snap or velcro, or you might need to try a different brand that fits better for your baby. Make sure there are no gaps, especially around the legs. On more than one occasion I have put a diaper on too loose (especially with velcro) in the middle of the night when it was dark and my brain was all foggy. This unfortunately led to the horror of waking up to a poop covered child and bed. Blegh!

2) Cheaply Made Cloth Diapers can leak.

Sometimes (not always) cheaply made diapers don’t fit well, and have cheaper materials. In the Cloth Diaper world you often get what you pay for and investing in good quality, well-made diapers is well worth it. They will last much longer and will hold in messes! I’ve definitely noticed a difference between my cheaper diapers compared with higher quality brand names or hand made WAHM diapers.

3) Old, worn out, diapers can leak

loose-fit-diaper

I have purchased a few second hand diapers at a nice discount. For the most part they have been great but on some, the elastic has worn out and does not sit snugly around baby’s waist and legs. This has also led to poopy blowouts. The elastics can be replaced if you have some basic sewing skills. There are lots of youtube videos (like this one) that can sow you how to do this. Or check out this tutorial with pictures. 

Valentine’s Day Kissing Booth Photo Prop

valentines-day-baby-photo-ideasHaving a sweet little boy is fun, especially when you get to dress him up in adorable outfits and take pictures of him! I can already see a montage of all of these awesome pictures being played to his chagrin at his wedding. He was super awesome earlier this week and took a nice long nap so I could get crafty and make this amazing Valentine’s Day Kissing Booth Photo Prop!

Some of you know that when you click on certain links on my blog (Like the SHOP button) and make purchases through Amazon.com I make a small profit. Well this year enough of you lovely people clicked to generate the funds needed to me to buy a fantastic new camera! Thank you readers!! You’re the best in the world. :) This means no more iPhone photos and you will see the images on HomemakerChic drastically improve (especially as I learn how to actually use the thing!)

how-to-valentines-day-kissing-booth-photo-prop-babyThe kissing booth was ridiculously easy to make and cost around $20 since I had a couple of the items on hand.

Everything you need can be purchased at your local craft store.

  • 1 Wood Crate
  • 2 long thin pieces of wood (this could be yardsticks, long dowel rods, or you can find these at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I happened to have some extra scrap pieces laying around.)
  • 1 piece of wood, foam board, or cardboard around 12″x24″
  • 1 Chalkboard wall decal (or chalkboard paint)
  • 1 Cute Valentine’s Garland
  • A few tacks or nails
  • Some burlap

Assembly is pretty self explanatory. Just nail the long thin wood pieces to either the front or the back of the crate. You could do this a few different ways depending on your needs. photo-booth-kissingFor example you could stand the crate up on its side so it looks more like a “booth.” This would be good if you have a toddler or a baby who can sit up on his own. I needed the crate to be open so I could place Luke down in it since he doesn’t sit up on his own yet. You could also nail the sign to the front of the crate instead of to the back like in this photo. Or even to the sides.

I found a Chalkboard wall decal for around $8. You could also use Chalkboard paint. I also found a very thin piece of wood at Michael’s that worked perfectly and was just the right size for the decal, but you could use anything for this that is sturdy enough like foam board, or cardboard, or whatever else you have lying around. I hand wrote the kisses part with chalk. Try a few different fonts in your own hand, or use a stencil. I hot glued the board onto the long thin wood pieces.

I also hot glued the garland and the little Be My Valentine wood piece. I found the heart shaped wood piece in the same section as the crate. I just painted in the letters with a little red paint. You could leave that piece off or find something else just as cute. Finally I added the burlap to give it an old fashioned touch. I got a roll of burlap for $3 and just loosely looped it through the slats of the crate. Finally I stuck a couple rolled up blankets covered with a piece of red felt to keep Luke from falling over in the crate. If you have a red blanket that would be perfect.

Now for the photography. I just put the little booth out in my yard in the early afternoon when the natural lighting was nice. I made sure not to put him in direct sunlight, and used the AV aperture priority setting on my camera. It is NOT easy to get a baby to smile at just the right moment when there is no drool, or spit up, or a hand in the mouth. And when you finally get the right pose, your camera isn’t focused! This process is fun, but hard. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time, have another person with you to help wrangle the baby and make him smile while you are ready with the camera.

Happy Valentine’s Day friends! We love you all!

home-made-mints-homemaker-chic

Homemade Valentine’s Day Mints Recipe

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this year I wanted to make something extra special for my friends and family. I saw a recipe for homemade Altoids a while back and decided I would make my own spin on the curiously strong mint. I’m not a huge fan of peppermint so I decided to make Vanilla Spearmint Heart Shaped Mints.home-made-mints-homemaker-chic

2014-02-06 12.10.33I have these amazing tins from SKS and I knew I just had to use for this project. You could certainly use repurposed Altoids tins but I made this adorable logo to go on the tops of the tins and the altoids containers have ridges on them and you can’t put a sticker on it. mint-to-beYou are welcomed to use my logo for free, because I’m just THAT nice :).

The tins from SKS are excellent quality and made for a lovely gift. This would also make a super cute wedding favor. I would recommend buying a big bag of ready made mints if you wanted to use the tins for a wedding because these are a scoche time consuming to cut out, and not really any cheaper than just buying mints at the store. These are just super fun to make and cute!

2014-02-06 11.39.47The recipe only calls for a few simple ingredients:

  • 1lb Gum Paste
  • Confectioner’s Sugar (powdered sugar) For a sugar free version of these mints try Xylitol.
  • Flavor Oils or Essential Oils
  • Food Coloring

 

Prepare the gumpaste following the instructions on the bag or carton. You can also buy ready-made gum paste. Either will work for this recipe.

valentines-mints

Cut off an egg sized portion of the dough. Add a bit of food coloring (I used a little green for a nice mint color) and 5-6 drops of oils. I used 6 drops of Spearmint Oil and 1 drop of Vanilla Oil for a sweet mint flavor. You could really get creative with the flavors, as long as the essential oil is food safe you can use it as flavoring. Or you can try Lorann flavoring oils in flavors like Wintergreen, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Orange, even Root Beer! The Oils are dirt cheap so get a bunch and try them out. Knead the dough until the oil and coloring is well incorporated. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Now you are ready to cut out your mints!

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I found these fantastic heart shaped cutters with plungers. The plunger makes it super easy to get the dough out of the cutter. The set I found came with 5 different sizes so you could easily do a super adorable mixed size batch of mints. They have other cool shapes besides hearts like stars, circles, squares and more. You could also use a large straw to cut these out if you don’t have the cutters.homemade-mints

2014-02-06 12.38.20Once you’ve cut out your mints, toss them in a little more powdered sugar so they don’t stick to each other, and lay them out on waxed paper to dry overnight. Allow them to dry for 24-48hrs for a nice hard, crunchy candy.2014-02-06 12.48.26

Line your tins with some tissue paper in a complimentary color to your mints. One egg-sized portion of the dough yields about 100 mints which will nicely fill up one tin. The entire container of gumpaste will make about 600-700 mints. You’ll want to make all the mints within a day or so of preparing the gumpaste because it will dry out and harden. I hope you have lots of fun making mints! I know these will make such a lovely valentine gift for all my friends. :)

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cloth-diaper-insert-diy

DIY Dollar Store Cloth Diaper Inserts

So in my last post I talked to you about Modern Cloth Diapers and all the awesome benefits of using them! Today I want to share with you a quick and easy way to make your own Microfiber inserts to use with Pocket Diapers.

There are many different types of inserts from lots of different types of fabric, but microfiber is the main type that will come with your new diapers from the manufacturer. It is incredibly absorbent but it is important not to put microfiber directly on your baby’s skin. This is because it SO absorbent, it will actually pull moisture out of their skin and cause drying and rashes. So make sure you only use these as inserts in a pocket, or under another natural fiber insert.

photo-3All you need to do is pick up some of those microfiber cleaning cloths at the dollar store. I have found them in the auto section as drying rags for your car, and also in the cleaning section.

I found two sizes 12×12″ and 14×16″. The smaller ones are great to be used in Newborn sized diapers, or as soakers used with another insert. The larger ones are great for regular sized diapers.

make-your-own-cloth-diaper-insertsFirst cut the tags off and wash the cloths in your regular diaper laundry. Then all you do is fold them over so you have three layers. This will make your insert even more absorbent. Finally sew a simple rectangle stitch around the entire insert. And that’s it! If you have a serger that would be even better but I just have a regular sewing machine. I did make the tension on my machine very high so I could ensure nice tight, close stitches.IMG_8127

I like to use these doubled up, or folded up inside a prefold. Yes you can use prefolds as inserts too! I have some newborn prefolds that no longer fit my big boy and they work perfectly with one of these Microfiber inserts in the center for extra absorbency!

Diy-cloth-inserts

FYI – you could do this with a range of different fabrics! All you have to do is cut out a piece of fabric, fold it up, and sew it just like this. You could use old t-shirts, fleece blankets, towels… Try some different things out and see how it works!

Have you made your own inserts? What fabrics did you try?

Goodbye-disposable-Hello-Cloth-homemaker-chic

Cloth Diapers in the 21st Century

So you may or may not have picked up on the latest craze in cloth diapering in the last few years. If you follow any kind of mom group or Facebook page you will probably have come across someone, who knows someone, who is cloth diapering. You may have even seen them featured on Shark Tank. In an effort to save money, to keep my baby more comfortable, and to seek a more natural solution to disposable diapers I chose to cloth diaper Luke from birth AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

Now, its not what you think. Cloth has come a long way from the archaic methods of the past. These days when I say “Pin it” I’m not talking about diaper pins. A whole new world has opened up and its going to blow your mind.

no-more-cloth-diaper-pins-homemaker-chic

There are several different types of cloth diapers to choose from now. The basic three are All in Ones (AIOs), Pockets, or Pre-folds.  They are made of a state-of-the-art breathable plastic lined fabric called PUL. The insides are lined with highly absorbent fabrics like cotton, microfiber, hemp, bamboo, or fleece.

  • AIOs are virtually the same as a disposable in that all you do is put the diaper on the baby. All the absorbent fabric is sewn right in and you wash the whole thing in one piece. They do take at least an hour, and usually two hours to dry in the dryer.
  • Pockets are similar, but they feature a pocket where you stuff separate inserts. The nice thing about this is that you can change what sort of insert you use based on your baby’s needs. This also means that the diapers wash and dry much more quickly because the inserts come out in the wash. They require extra time to stuff the diapers each time you wash which is annoying to some people.
  • Pre-folds are the old fashioned fold on diaper, but now they come with super awesome diaper covers with a plastic PUL lining that keeps them from leaking. They are also made much better than the old fashioned ones your mom used. They are thicker and way more absorbent. They are also a cheaper option and make great burp cloths.

This is what the Modern Cloth Diapers look like:

modern-cloth-diapers

open-cloth-diaperinside-of-cloth-diaper

7 Things I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know About Modern Cloth Diapering

1. You don’t have to use pins –                                                               velcro-or-snap-cloth-diapers

New cloth diapers come in either velcro or snap closures. They’re easy as pie! Its basically just like a disposable. You just put the diaper on the baby and close er’ on up. And if you still want to use pre-fold diapers (which is totally doable!) there’s a new invention for them too! Its called the snappi.

snappi-diaper-fasteners-safety-feature-500

Its sort of like the teeth on an ace bandage, except its plastic and rubber. prefold-snappiThere’s no need to worry about sticking your baby anymore. My mom tells an awesome story about how she was trying to change my brother’s diaper and my sister stuck diaper pins in their water bed and water was squirting everywhere. I picture my mother looking like Lucille Ball, trying to hold the baby and wrangle my toddler sister all while trying to put a finger on each hole. Hilarious as this picture is to me, it is a thing of the past.

2. They’re easy to wash-                                                                             We don’t have a diaper service in my area, but its really not a big deal to wash them myself. You see, there’s this fantastic invention called a Washing Machine that cleans the diapers for you! I know, I know… you thought you were going to have to go down to the river with a washing board and go to town on those bad boys. Nope, you can just throw them in and the machine actually does the work. Amazing, I know. What will they come up with next?! Many people act like washing cloth diapers is a crazy science but its really not. Don’t listen to anyone when they tell you to use special soap, or to only use a tbsp of detergent. Its not true. Because my baby is exclusively breastfed, his poop is water soluble, so there’s no need to rinse the diapers off or anything before I wash them. I use Tide powder, the same amount I would use for a regular load of laundry, I throw the diapers in (poop and all), I do a hot presoak and an extra rinse, and then I tumble dry them on medium heat. That’s all she wrote! There’s no big secret.

3. Chemicals in disposables are toxic!

disposable-diaper-gel-sapYou know when a disposable diaper gets full and you can tell the baby needs to be changed because it gets all saggy and hangs between their legs? Have you ever seen one of those full diapers break open and all the weird gel stuff spills out? Did you know that substance used to be used in Tampons but had to be removed after is was found to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome? The diaper companies claim that these chemicals are in trace amounts and are not harmful to the baby, but when can you ever trust a manufacturer’s claims about anything? Perhaps it does not cause TSS in such small doses (I’m not buying it), but it is certainly a skin irritant and can cause diaper rash and chemical burn. I personally don’t want to take the risk. Read more about some of the toxic chemicals found in disposable diapers here.

4. It is WAY cheaper to use cloth – 

Because these modern cloth diapers are so well made and last for so long they are a little bit more of an investment on the front end. They average in cost around $15 each new and even cheaper if you get them second hand, but that is a one time investment because the diapers are adjustable fit which mean they can be used for the same baby from birth to potty training. And if they are well cared for they can be used for future babies, making the cost even lower. Depending on how often you want to do laundry you will need between 12 and 36 diapers in your “stash.” So for between $300-$500 you can diaper several children from birth to potty. Plus if you decide to go the old fashioned route, prefolds are even cheaper running around $4 each. Disposables are much more expensive as you can see in the infographic below.

diaper-cost-comparison-chart

5. Bye Bye blowouts!                                                                                   I’ll spare you an image to prove my point (although a quick google image search and you’ll find plenty of evidence). If you’ve used disposables for any length of time you’re all too familiar with the good ol’ fashioned blowout. It happens because disposables are flat against the baby’s back and it just can’t hold in a serious poop. I’ve been cloth diapering for 3 months and have yet to have a single blowout. Don’t believe me? Just ask anyone who cloth diapers and I’ll bet you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who has experienced a blowout in cloth. Its because they are so absorbent, and are lined with elastic around the legs and waist. When they are put on properly and tightly they will hold everything in beautifully!

6. The environmental effect of disposable is huge –

Did you know that disposable diapers are the #1 single use item found in landfills? Now I’m not a big environmentalist activist by any stretch but I do believe that we should be good stewards of the planet that God has given us, and we should leave this place in one piece so these babies can still have a beautiful place to live and grow up. Here is an awesome image that shows just how many diapers end up in the trash.

cloth-diaper-vs-disposable

7. They’re super cute!

Oh girrrrrrrl, don’t even get me started on how CUTE these things are! I’m slightly addicted. There are so many precious colors and patterns to choose from, and they look adorable all by themselves, no need for a diaper cover to hide those lame looking disposables. You could seriously get lost in the world of adorable cloth.

babies-in-cloth-diapers-homemaker-chic

baby-cloth-diaperscloth-diaper-colors

eat-healthy

4 Easy Ways to Shop Wiser and Eat Healthier

Each year millions of people make (and break) the New Year’s resolution to get healthier. It can be hard to keep when the supermarkets are lined with so many harmful products, and even so-called health foods are full of yucky ingredients. Here are some easy tips to help you buy wiser, and keep your family healthy.

1) Read the Ingredients

Knowing what’s in your food is an important step to buying better. Lots of ingredients hide behind different names, and some harmless ingredients may sound bad if you don’t know what their fancy-schmancy name is. It doesn’t take long to do a quick google search while you’re in the store, so do your research. Here are a few examples of non-harmful ingredients that sound scary:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate = Baking Soda
  • Mixed Tocopherols = Vitamin E
  • Cyanocobalamin – Vitamin B12
  • Ascorbic acid = Vitamin C

And here are some harmful ingredients that you may not know are bad for you:

  • Caramel Coloring = A dangerous carcinogen known in the state of California to cause cancer.
  • BHT = AKA Butylated Hydroxytoluene. Also a carcinogen derived from petroleum, and can be found in jet fuel. It is found in many breakfast cereals, even “healthy” ones like Great Grains.
  • Blue #2 = An artificial coloring found to cause brain and breast cancer in rats.
  • Paraben = Found to disrupt the natural hormones in our bodies.

2) If It Has More Than 5 Ingredients Don’t Buy It!

Within reason. 7 or 8 works too but the main point is to be aware of all the unneeded additives in your foods. You’d be shocked to find that pickles have 16 ingredients, and Ketchup has 21! Many companies have now come out with natural versions of their products with just a few simple, natural ingredients. Here are examples of some products I like:

3) Buy Fresh or Frozen NOT Canned Foods

Canned goods are infamous for being lined with toxic BPA. Bisphenol-A is found in many plastics, and has been found to cause hormone disruption. It can lead to all sorts of health problems not the least of which is infertility. Avoid it like the plague. Whenever possible buy fresh fruits and vegetables. But if you’re like me, fresh foods often go bad before you can eat them and if you’re buying organic throwing away spoiled produce can get really pricey!

frozen vegetablesI often buy fresh organic vegetables, chop them up and store them in freezer bags. This not only saves them from going bad, but it also gives me ready to go veggies to throw into soups, pasta dishes and more. You can also find lots of great organic frozen veggies in the freezer section at most supermarkets now. Looks for things like peas, corn, and beans that you would normally only buy in cans.

Many companies are also now canning their foods in glass or BPA free plastic jars. I know that Dole sells fruit this way. And Costco’s Kirkland brand sells glass jars of fruit in packs of 4.

dole-fruitphoto-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Know the Dirty Dozen

Buying organic can get really expensive so you may have to pick and choose which items you can afford to buy. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has put out a list of the top 12 most highly pesticide contaminated produce items. If you can, try to always buy organic version of these items, and if you can’t afford or can’t find organic, then skip them altogether.

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Baking Cupcakes with Silicon Baking Cups

One of the benefits of blogging is that I often get asked to try products and share them with my readers. I don’t often accept these offers because I am very choosy about what I will endorse, and also I want to always provide my readers with relevant content that represents Homemaker Chic. Well recently I was approached by The New York Baking Company about trying out their silicon baking cups and seriously friends, these are SO cool.

I’ve seen these before in stores but never really considered trying them, but I’m so glad I finally gave them a shot!

They’re called Baking Buddies and they come in a set of 12 in four really bright and super cute colors. You don’t have to use paper cupcake wrappers or cooking spray at all. The cupcakes baked so evenly and perfectly and the best part is that the slipped right out of the cups without sticking.

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Well… the chocolate cake was more moist and did stick the slightest bit but not enough to bother me.

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I’m not sure I would use them as shown in the photos on the site. They show them being used as actual cupcake wrappers which I suppose you could do, but I would be worried people might throw them away.

bakingbuddies

I like these cups for when you do not want a wrapper on a cupcake at all. For example I used them for making little petit-four cakes by slicing the rounded tops off the cupcakes, placing them upside down, slicing them in half to add a filling, and then piping some decorative frosting on the outside. The cups were great for this purpose because they yielded perfect little cakes with no need to peel off paper that takes half the cake with it!

Try them out. I know you’ll like them!

petitfours