Category Archives: planet parenthood

Cloth Diapering System…3rd Time’s a Charm!

Cloth diapers are not as difficult as our society makes it out to be. Sure, disposable diapers can be convenient, and I use them myself about 10-15% of the time. But once you’ve set up a convenient system, using cloth only really adds a load of laundry every 5-7 days. With all the laundry my family requires, I hardly notice the extra effort.

There is a bit of a learning curve to get a system that works for you. Using cloth diapers has become a lost art and parents need to find resources in order to demystify things. 


I was actually talked out of using cloth with my Big Guy, by a friend who works in the environmental field. I ended up using G-Diapers as a middle ground, but had mixed results. Here’s my Diaper Duty story for #1 and #2. 


Now that Miel has recently had her first child in June, I’ve been asked to reflect once again on my diapering experience.


Here are the three steps to setting up a diapering system:

  1. Start cloth diapers at about 12 pounds (which obviously depends on baby’s size)
  2. Buy a mix of “all-in-one” diapers for mostly night time and wraps for the days
  3. You need a few more supplies to set up your system (see list below)

1. This third time around using cloth diapers has felt like second nature. I started when Sweetie had grown out of of size 1 disposables, at about 12 pounds. Almost all of my diapers are made to grow with her and can expand with snaps. Starting at just after the newborn stage will save you money on diapers that you would only use for a month. Plus, it also gives you a chance to settle into parenthood with the new little person you’ve just created. 

2. In an effort find the “right diaper” I ended up buying several different brands. This made it more complicated than necessary, since each diaper has it’s own nuances. Take my advice, and just buy the one brand that works, I really like the
Thirsties Duo Wrap and BumGenius works great too. 

3. You’ll need more than just cloth diapers. The good news is that some of the items you can repurpose once you are done diapering. Here’s my list:

  • Air tight 5 Gallon Eco Bucket with a lid
  • Two smaller Airtight Containers With a Handle (I used these to transport diapers to/from daycare, but at home they are handy to have for changing diapers on different floors)
  • Flushable BioLiners diaper liners make dumping poop much easier. You don’t need to start using until you introduce solids and their poop firms up. These were a game changer for cloth diapering! (It is doable to go without, but it sure is messier…)
  • Oxygen bleach and essential oils to add to wash loads
  • A dedicated laundry basket for fresh diapers

Once you have your supplies set up, the system is really easy…catching your toddler for a diaper change is the real challenge! 

What does your diaper system consist of?

Darcy

Maybe Baby…

It may seem strange, but after the initial shock of my father’s passing softened, I suddenly had the urge to have another baby. It wasn’t in sorrow, but in tears of joy. I felt like my heart had been broken open and I needed a place to give my extra love. Suddenly, deciding to only have two children based on environmental ethics felt like I was limiting myself.


Admittedly, the logistics of it had to do with money. Knowing that I would be passed down family money, I contemplated what I could do to satisfy a legacy. My grandmother would have loved for me to have more children…she always joked, “You know, they are cheaper by the dozen!” She had three children herself, but came from a well-off family with seven children. My grandmother was proud of me for going to college and getting Master’s (and she always pushed that in this day/age that I should be able to support myself, just in case), but she also thought I work too long of hours. She worked long hours herself until she had a family (and remembered her hourly wage for every job she worked until she passed away at 94), but she  lived in a different era, and shook her head at the idea of getting two little ones dressed and out the door by 7 every morning. 


So, back to the baby decision…


Well, when I brought up the idea to Hubby he was less than enthusiastic. While he had pressed me for a third just a year earlier (which I thought was way too soon), he suddenly felt he was too old (he just turned 42). Or maybe he thought I was just making an emotional decision (which I was…). At any rate, we’ve come to a place of peace with our equally balanced household.


But I still can’t help but think that if I lived in different economic era that I would be quite happy with more kids. Finances simply does play into our family planning these days, whether families want to admit it or not. Even if we had decided to have a third, we had only ever talked about the possibility in the context of having at least our older in grade school so we could afford expensive child care.I know an acquaintance, whose husband owns a small bike shop, who decided to not have another child based on the fact that they felt they couldn’t afford it while his shop was getting off the ground and she was staying home to take care of their son and assist on the business. 


How much has your family finances played a role in your family planning?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Student Loans – Income Based Repayment

I’ve lamented before about my college/grad school loans and how I had being hoping that they would be eligible for the recent federal loan forgiveness program


But even though I’m not eligible, I wanted share this quick video about the Income Based Repayment program. It describes the program in simple terms in just a few minutes, if you have/know college age kids, you should definitely share this:





Do you think such a program is fair or just plain socialist?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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Simplicity Parenting – Book Review

I just finished reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, and it really inspires me to take simple living to the next step. The book was both fascinating and practical. 


The fascinating aspect was his many case studies detailing how badly kids react to the modern norm of filling family life with lots and lots of stuff and adding a booked calendar on top. As a psychologist, decades of experience showed how children with post-traumatic stress disorder paralleled the ill effects of overwhelmed kids. I’ve felt instinctively for some time that kids don’t need all this stuff, but I never realized/reflected on the damage that it could do.


The practical aspects came on many levels, and he really had sage advise for simplifying virtually all realms of family life. There were many areas where we already try to live those values, but we surely have room for improvement. We’ve tried to limit gifts from family members and not overwhelm birthdays with stuff, but it’s not always easy. 


I felt relieved that I found this book when my kids are still young and we haven’t gotten on the over-scheduled child treadmill. Our Big Guy just finished his first season of t-ball, and even though he loves the game, I’m ready for him to take a break until next year. Hubby would prefer to sign him up for soccer in the fall, but the most I want to take on is a once a week swim class a few block walk from home.


Ironically, we we’ve been so busy camping that I haven’t had the time to really take action toward increased simplicity, but my major goal this autumn will be to cull toys and purge the basement (which never seems to get done!) Even though they probably have about half the toys of peers, I know our kids barely use a quarter of their toys on a regular basis, so I really want to set up a toy rotating system and simply get rid of lots.


This brief trailer of Payne’s insights really gives the essence of his philosophy on parenting, and hopefully will inspire you to read his book and take action in your family life:



Simplicity Parenting from Kim Payne on Vimeo.


Have you read Simplicity Parenting? 
What steps are the most important to simplification?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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Family Camping Tradition

We’re starting July with our favorite family tradition: camping.


It’s actually a series of trips, first a fourth of July weekend trip to Dodge Park with four other families (call us crazy to take 5 two year olds, a 4 yo, and two 5 yo to the woods!). Then the kids and my Twin Sis and I are headed to the Oregon Country Fair, including a memorial service for our father. Meanwhile, Hubby will be taking another solo vacation to mentor teens on a backpacking trip in the Olympics.  


I’ve already written plenty about the logistics of family camping in previous posts:

Frugal Family Camping – Tips for planning ahead

Family Camping Gear – An earful on camp gear



Group camping is far more affordable and feasible than planning a group vacation. With our five family gathering over two nights no one has to cook more than once! Plus, there are more eyes and hands to go around, and we were truly smart this time and invited aunts/uncles without kids of their own…built-in kid entertainers 🙂 Each family will easily spend less than $100 for a full weekend including camp fees, food and gas…although gas seems to get higher and higher, good thing our destination is less than an hour from town.


Our kids truly love camping, and camping is really the best way to get out in nature. I also think its the best way to really share family time and to get together with other families. The truth is that if you have friends over for dinner/playdate, the max you’ll hang out is about three hours, which is just enough to catch up. Camping together really allows families to reconnect and bond. Growing up, we had several families who we only ever saw for annual camping trips and they are the family friends I am the closest with now. Family camping is a tradition that virtually every family can afford and the memories are priceless.



Hence, I won’t be posting until the week after next…enjoy your holiday!


Does your family save money by camping?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 

The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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