Monday, October 11, 2010

A new week

This week is the beginning of our 6th week of school. We will do a total of 11 weeks before our baby break, which will last from the last week of November until the second week of January. Today, conveniently, is Columbus Day, and while we do not always take the day off on all school-observed holidays, today that sounded like a good idea. The kids know that we still have to get five days worth of work done this week, so we will either have to work double one day, or work on Saturday.

Today, we will finish up reading some of last week's library books. For a special Columbus Day activity after breakfast, the kids were all coloring pictures of him arriving in the New World. Right now, they are all riding their bikes outdoors because the weather is so beautiful, while I am watching the girls playing in the front yard. If we have time later, we will also make some "ships" from walnut shell halves, modeling clay, and masts and sails made from toothpicks and fabric scraps.There are also a couple of errands to be run, and some grocery shopping. We have free passes to the Desert Botanical Garden that we have to use either today or tomorrow, and with the weather being so beautiful, I'm thinking a picnic dinner there tonight sounds wonderful. Lots of fun stuff to do. Thankfully, my fourth and final load of laundry for today is running, and there is not much other housework to get done.

This week will be busy, as usual. There is a ladies' activity at our church this Friday night that I still have a lot of work to get ready for, but I know it's going to be fun! I am also trying to get some extra organizing done before the arrival of the baby. Not so much of the house, because we did that over the summer, but more stuff like making rotating meal lists, master grocery lists, and such. With an ever-growing family, there is a constant need to keep things running smoothly, a goal I never quite seem to attain. Then there are the gifts to finish making for Becky's birthday next week. I can't believe she is going to be 2! Thankfully, my energy levels are high, now that the weather is cooling down. By that, I mean that daytime temperatures now are in the 80s and 90s, which is really quite nice around here.

The pregnancy is going well. The baby is getting very big and strong. By now I am pretty convinced that this is, in fact, a girl, and not a boy like I had thought earlier on. At this point, I would be shocked if it's not a girl. We still do not have any names picked out, but we don't mind waiting until right around or even after the birth. I really need to start on the final preparations for the birth, such as cooking a couple weeks' worth of meals ahead of time and freezing them, pulling out the baby clothes and washing them, and getting my birth kit ready.

Cloth diapering is interesting, and definitely a learning experience. A couple of weeks into it, all the diapers started smelling like ammonia immediately after the baby went in them. Apparently, this is a common problem, which could be caused by hard water, too much or too little detergent, too harsh or not strong enough detergent, or some other buildup in the diapers. Some websites suggested using vinegar to soak and rinse, while others said that would actually make the problem worse depending on how hard our water is (very hard). Some sites suggested using RLR, dawn, calgon, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I spent about 4 days soaking, washing, and rinsing, rinsing, rinsing, then drying, folding, and trying the diapers again and again, until I had pretty much exhausted all of the above suggestions, and various combinations of them. As it stands, the diapers no longer smell, as long as I change the baby at least every 2-3 hours. Overnight, I put her in a disposable diaper. I also use disposables if we go anywhere in the car that is more than 1 hour away, or if I am just out around town (church, errands, etc.) but she has not yet gone #2 that day. I do NOT want to have to deal with that mess away from home, or haul a soiled cloth diaper back home to have to deal with hours later.

Anyway, so much to do, so little time! Hope you all have a great week with your family.


  1. 2-3 hours in a cloth nappy sounds about right to me. And, like you, I use a disposable overnight and out of the house. Sometimes convenience for me outweighs all the other reasons for using cloth! If you are going to do a vinegar rinse be sure to make sure that the nappies are clean first ie wash them first otherwise you are going to set the stain. The other thing to be aware of is that the vinegar can erode the elastic in fitted nappies over time. In Australia we have something called Canesten which is an anti-bacterial wash that I sometimes use (sparingly) in the rinse cycle

    and this pregnancy is zooming by so fast!

  2. A lady on another blog mentioned that her 6 month old wouldn't fall asleep until she had used the toilet??? Wonder if I understood that correctly?? Wonder how she trains them so young???

    Living in Joyful Chaos was the name I think....just wondering if I read that right???

  3. If you use vinegar, watch out for reactions for your kids. When I used vinegar rinses they got bad burns from it. They were allergic to it on their skin.

    Honestly the best solution I found was to line dry them in the sun for several hours, or even all day. The line dried smell is wonderful.

    I know you try to be as natural as possible, but I also know that "natural" soap is NOT good with cloth diapers and having them not smell. You need some kind of regular scented soap.

    The vinegar rinses did work for us before we figured out why the kids were suddenly getting diaper rashes that looked like burns.

  4. We did some Columbus Day projects too. It was fun. My older girls, who had spent their first 6 school years in public school had never learned about Columbus. Strange.

    I hope you have a relaxing end of pregnancy. It's a long shot I'm sure. ha

  5. I too have hard water and was experiencing the ammonia smell! Awful! What finally worked for me (besides making sure the diapers don't sit for more than 2 days) is using Rockin' Green Detergent. I soaked them in it and then they were great until I recently left them too long between washings. I just strip them (dawn and 4-5 HOT washes with no soap/deter) and they are great unless I leave them for too long! I hated to spend a lot on detergent, but considering I only use it on diapers, it will last a very long time! Also, I usually put the "stained" ones out on the line to sun. Within hours the stains are gone and it really helps with the smell too!

    I have 24 diapers and only 1 using them, so that's how I can go for a long period of time between washings : )

  6. Also, when they were really bad before, I put a capful of bleach in the wash. I know you're not really supposed to, but I was desperate! So, stripping them, soaking in the RG deter, a capful of bleach, and putting them on the line and I haven't had to strip them or had a problem with the stink since July. I just had to strip them again today, because I left them for like 4 days between washings. I hope that's helpful : )

  7. Hard to believe you are almost done with your pregnancy!!! Seems like is goes so much faster when it isn't you, huh? Ha ha!

    Hope the remainder of your pregnancy goes as well as it has so far!

  8. Mrs. Anderson,
    Sorry this is not relevant to this particular post, but I received information about this from an email mailing list I belong to and thought I'd pass it on.


  9. Rockin' Green makes a special detergent that is meant for washing diapers in hard water--you might try it!

  10. Rockin' Green detergent is the worst soap I ever had the misfortune to use on diapers. I found it to do nothing to help and was just an expensive waste of money.

  11. I wash diapers twice. Once on cold with little detergent and oxy clean and then I wash with little detergent on sanitary with an extra rinse. I have yet to have an order problem. If you do not have a sanitary setting, I would wash 1st w/cold, 2nd w/hot, and 3rd w/hot and no detergent.

  12. Zsuszanna,

    I just wanted to thank you for all of your recipe and natural foods posts. I have been on a mission for probably three years now to really revolutionize my kitchen and get away from all of the processed garbage found in most grocery store aisles. Your posts have definitely encouraged me, and I've yet to try a recipe I didn't like!


  13. Do you know which of the solutions helped with the odor? I use cloth on my 7 month old and was wondering what was causing that. We do use them when we're out as well. I keep arm & hammer small baggies in the diaper bag and put the diaper in it. So far, it has not been too bad!

  14. Mrs. Weeks,

    I think none of the all-natural laundry detergents I tried were strong enough, which may be due to the fact that we have extremely hard water.

    The problem went away when I first stripped the diapers with Dawn dish detergent, and then started washing them with Tide Free. When they are done washing, I do a total of 3 rinses, to make sure there are no detergent residues that could make baby get a rash. The odor came back when I tried switching to natural soaps again, so I'm sticking to the Tide.

  15. I am a mother of 5 (4 of them are now grown) and we used cloth exclusively for all the babies. I'm also a midwife and have a degree in home economics. If you have a problem with washing diapers, please ask me, I may be able to offer some assistance.


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