The Best Part of Being a Mom

Zonked right on my lap.

Zonked right on my lap.

Babies can be super cranky sometimes. Whether it be from teething, gas or just general tiredness, they’re not fun to deal with. During these bouts of crankiness, the best cure always seems to be cuddling, and cuddling with babies is the best part of being a mom. Miss Leah was super cranky right before I took this picture. Obviously she was tired, and just needed a comfortable spot to lay her head. That she picked this spot could have made me super cranky as well, because she made it rather difficult to type, but instead I just found it funny. So, I decided to write about it, because I don’t write nearly enough about all the cute things my kids do.

Baby Communication

Our youngest loves to take her time doing just about anything. She didn’t walk until after her first birthday. She didn’t start waving until recently. But, whens he decides to do something, so is a master at it. There has been a stark contrast between her and her sister. So, when I was filling out the Ages and Stages questionnaire for a well check, I was disappointed to see that she was actually falling behind in the communication area. Up until now she had stayed average or above average in every category, regardless of whether or not her sister accomplished it much faster.

While talking to our pediatrician, I was so relieved to hear that signs (as in sign language) and animal sounds count as words. So, while she only has two super clear words, dada and doggie, her jumbled, thank you, pinkie pie, twilight sparkle, and other attempts count as well. She signs, more, water, doggie, all done, and diaper change as well. And, finally, she knows what sound a doggie makes. She seems to be rather obsessed with doggies.

Cloth Diapering on a Budget Part 1

Is there anything cuter? I think not.

“I can’t afford cloth diapers!” Is surprisingly the most common reason I am given when people tell me why they don’t use cloth. For those who haven’t looked into it, cloth diapers have a high start up cost, but the savings over the life of your cloth diapers ranges anywhere from $3000-$10,000. (Yes, people really do spend that much money on disposables, which are then thrown in the trash, to biodegrade in a landfill for years. Talk about throwing money away.)

Over the year and a half that we’ve been cloth diapering, I have come to conclusion that it’s good to have a variety of different cloth diaper styles. Every style has its benefits, and you will find yourself in need of different styles at different times. This works out great for buying cloth diapers on a budget.

Let’s say you’re already spending $60 per month on disposable diapers. From what I remember of using disposables, this was a pretty common amount to spend on disposable diapers. I, also, remember spending as much as $100 some months, so if you want to get your cloth diapers even faster, you could start with that amount. But for the sake of saving money, let’s start with $60.

Now, since we’re using the entire diaper budget, we have to get enough diapers to last a month. Thankfully with cloth, you have to wash every 2-3 days, otherwise your diapers will start to grow mildew. Just for the first month, plan to wash every 1 – 1 ½ days, or whenever you run out of diapers.

The Econobum Diaper package comes with 3 covers, 12 prefolds, and 1 wetbag. This is barely enough to get by, but if your goal is to save money using cloth, then this is a sacrifice that will only last for one month. You will, also, need some cloth diaper friendly laundry detergent. I am currently using Country Save.

First Month
Econobum Diaper package                          $48.95 – $49.95
Country Save Laundry Detergent              $11.95 – $15.95*

Totals                                                              $60.90 – $65.90

So, I went just slightly over the budget, but you have what it takes to successfully cloth diaper for one month. It will be hard, because it really is not enough, but it will get the job done. Don’t give up this first month, and don’t stop buying, otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy and head straight back for the disposables. Also, if you decide to spend a little more, I would get 1-3 more covers, 3-6 more prefolds, and 1 more wetbag, or a second Econobum Diaper package.

For the second month, go for the Econobum Diaper package again, that is if you didn’t buy two right from the start. This will give you all the diapers you need, plus some, so that you can relax a little, and go a few days between washes. Also, buy more laundry detergent if you need it.

Second Month
Econobum Diaper package                          $48.95 – $49.95
Country Save Laundry Detergent              $11.95 – $15.95

Totals                                                              $60.90 – $65.90

On to the third month! Now that we’ve got the basics, it’s time to start really enjoying cloth diapers. I highly suggest trying out some pockets. They’re perfect for dads and other caregivers, or even the stressed out mom. Bumgenius 4.0s (I’d get the ones with snaps.), Fuzzibunz, Happy Heinys, Diaper Rite, Blueberry, Kawaii, Rumparooz, Tots Bots, Thirsties, etc. Each diaper usually comes with a diaper and two inserts. Sometimes the inserts are different sizes, like a newborn and a baby size.  If you buy in packages, you’ll save some money, or you can buy one of each kind to decide what you like.

Third Month
One Pocket diaper                                          $9.95 – $23.50
X 4

Totals                                                                $39.80 – $94.00

By the fourth month, you might have realized that nighttime is a beast. You’ve either been doubling up on inserts and prefolds, or you’re waking up to change the diaper in the middle of the night before everything is soaked. It’s time to invest in some hemp flats or inserts. It’s probably time to buy more laundry detergent as well.

Fourth Month
Hemp Insert                                                      $5.50 – $6.50
Hemp Prefold                                                    $6.75 – $7.95
Hemp Flat                                                          $5.95 – $7.95
Country Save Laundry Detergent                  $11.95 – $15.95

Totals                                                                  $30.15 – $38.35

By the fifth month, you can probably stop spending if you’re happy with what you’ve got, but there is one last thing that some people love and others think is totally unnecessary. A diaper sprayer allows you to stop dunking and swishing, though some of them create a spray all over the toilet, which you then have to clean up, so it really depends on how terrified you are of sticking your hand in a toilet.

Fifth Month
Diaper Sprayer                                                  $44.95 – $54.95

Totals                                                                  $44.95 – $54.95

Get any more diapers you might want, and experiment with all the different kinds there are: one size, fitted, all in one, all in two, pocket, contour, prefolds, hybrid, wool, etc. Just a warning, if you really are into cloth diapers to save money, stop buying them once you’ve found what works for your family. It is so tempting to buy the newest brand or the cutest cover, but just stop.

Different diapers work differently on different kids. If you buy a bunch that you don’t like, while you’re searching for the kind that you do like, don’t fret. You can sell them as used, gift them to friends, or save them for kids to come, because really even in the same family, certain diapers work better for certain kids.

Adorable and affordable!

Have fun cloth diapering! It really is worth it.

*The star! I buy my Country Save at Whole Foods Market at the higher price, but I get twice as much detergent.

Young Living Farm

The girls and I decided to go on a little adventure. After a little searching, I found the Young Living Farm just under an hour away, so into the car and away we went. I hoped the girls would sleep on the drive there, but alas, I had no such luck, so they were a little crazy when we arrived, but we still had fun looking at the animals, the water, and the flowers. These are some pictures of our trip.

These are some ducks we saw.

Looking at the stream.

This is a fish that we saw.

My pretty baby girl.

Up to some cuteness.


Bubble Birthday Party

Over the past few weeks, I have been very preoccupied by the planning of my pretty girl’s birthday party. I knew all the way back in January that I wanted to do a bubble party. I wanted a bubble machine, and a bunch of bubbles for the kids to play with, and of course balloons… actually it was pretty scattered until just a few weeks ago.

So, here’s what I did.


I googled “bubble party” and found this site. It really helped get the ideas flowing. We went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of bubble wands in various sizes. This was a hit, as even the parents were enjoying it. We asked some of our friends if they could bring a pool and a hula hoop so we could make massive bubbles. This part was really amazing. The same friends even commented that if we had hired a clown or magician, they would not have been as successful as the giant bubbles. We, also, bought a bubble machine for $20 from Walmart that we set on the front porch, so there would always be bubbles blowing. Rather than buying tons of bubbles, I made them.

Playing with a bubble wand.

This was spectacular.

Bubble Recipe


  • 2 T glycerin
  • ½ C Dawn liquid dish soap
  • 5 C water


Glycerin is in the pharmacy section, and I did see a huge bottle of it at the health food store, which might have been a better deal. The small bottle at a regular store is good for about six batches of bubbles.


We bought bubbles from the dollar store, emptied out the bubbles to save for the party, torn off the paper, and washed them in the dishwasher. When they were dry, I made some invitations that I could wrap around the bubble wand and then stuff in the bottles. Tape the invitations shut so they don’t stick to the sides of the bottle.

As far as delivering the invitations goes, we sent half of them through USPS, which cost $2/ bottle, and since the bottles were such an odd shape, one of them didn’t even get delivered until the day of the party. The other half we hand delivered, which was great, because I wasn’t wondering if they got the invite, and most people were able to RSVP right on the spot. So, if you do this, it’s much more worth it to hand deliver


For dinner, I served BBQ Chicken and fruit. I meant to do a salad, but I just didn’t get to it. I found all of the fruit at a really good price at Winco. I got my fruit platter from the value section at Target, and my serving tongs from the dollar store. The BBQ Chicken is a crock pot dish, so it was really easy.

BBQ Chicken


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 T butter
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t thyme
  • Lemon juice
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • ½ C water or less or none
  • 3 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t mustard
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce


  1. In a small saucepan, cook onion and garlic in butter until tender.
  2. Stir remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer covered, 5-10 minutes.
  4. Freeze for later or use immediately.
  5. In a large crock pot, place four frozen chicken breasts and frozen BBQ sauce.
  6. Cook on high for six hours.
  7. Shred chicken and stir.
  8. Serve on buns.

This BBQ sauce is good for a lot of different dishes.


Since there were a lot of kids that came, I wanted to do something that would be easy for them. Cupcakes are not the easiest cake option when you are making them yourself, but it was so nice to just hand out the little cakes when the time came. I made all of the cupcakes the night before the party, which gave plenty of time for them to cool, so I could frost them the day of the party. I, also, made a mini cake that I covered completely in pink and white sixlets. I found the sixlets at a party store and used what was left to add some flair to the cupcakes.

Yellow Cake

Yield: Make enough for about 36 cupcakes, 2 mini cakes, or 1 regular cake.


  • 2 ½ C flour
  • 1 ½ C sugar
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 ¼ C milk
  • 2/3 C oil
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and oil in a large bowl.
  3. Mix with an electric mixer at medium speed for two minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, egg yolks and eggs.
  5. Mix again at medium speed for two minutes.


Baking times: Cupcakes: 12-15 minutes Mini cakes: 20 minutes Regular cake: 40-45 minutes Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese


  1. Combine in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Add food coloring to get desired color.


Balloons of course! They’re round and light as air, just like bubbles. We got a dozen helium filled in clear, silver, and pink, plus a Hello Kitty one. Then we found a big bag of white balloons at Walmart for $2.50. The men blew up at least half the bag, and the kids had tons of fun running through them.

This is my favorite picture of her with the balloons.

Well, I think that’s all I did. It was super fun, and we’re playing with the left over bubbles as I type this. Thank you to everyone that  came and helped out.

All of these beautiful pictures were taken by Sarah Stufflebeam, whose blog can be found here.

Spelling Practice

I recently saw a bunch of pins about how to make spelling “fun.” It made me roll my eyes. Not everything is fun, but it sure feels good when you get 100% on the spelling tests every single week. My mom was really good about drilling our spelling words with us every day of the week. Spelling for the week went something like this:

Day 1

  • Bring the spelling list home. She would take us back to school to get it if we “forgot” it.
  • We were supposed to review the words ourselves so that we didn’t waste her time on the next step. Needless to say, we rarely did this step.
  • While cooking dinner, she would read our words, and we would spell them out loud to her. If we missed any, she would read them to us again after the whole list was done.

Day 2

  • While cooking dinner, she would read the words to us, and we had to write them on paper.
  • Depending on how old we were, and how trustworthy we were, either she or we would correct the paper.
  • If any were spelled incorrectly, we had to write them five times, correctly.

Day 3

  • Same as day 2, only this time the words got all mixed up, just to make sure we really had them learned.

Day 4

  • Same as day 3, except for the random tests that ended up being on a Thursday. On those days, she would read our list out loud, and we would spell them to her out loud, while driving to school.

There is nothing “fun” about this, but I thought it was great. Her consistency and involvement show that she loved us and that she cared about us doing well in school. I rarely missed any words on my spelling test, and was able to enjoy the thrill of showing my mom a perfect spelling test. I know that this is how I grew to love learning and gained a desire to always do well in school and life.

Cloth Wipes

I have recently discovered cloth wipes that are worth using, and I didn’t even have to buy them.  I took one of the many flannel receiving blankets that we have and don’t use, because they are way too tiny to actually wrap around a baby, cut it into 16 squares, and instantly had 16 wipes to use.  The edges have frayed in the wash, and eventually I will stitch some kind of edge on them to prevent that, but they get the job done, and can be tossed in with the rest of the diapers.

For the solution, I mix 1 quart of water, 2 squirts of baby body wash, and 3 drops of lavender oil.  Then I just dip the wipe in the solution, squeeze the excess out, and wipe my little ones’ bums.  To avoid contaminating the solution, we don’t double dip.  The lavender oil is to help soothe little bums when they have a rash, so if you don’t have any you can just use the water and baby body wash.

If you don’t want to make your wipes, Walmart has some cheap, but nice, baby wash cloths that are soft and already have a nice edge on them.  Or, if you do want to make them, but don’t want to chop up your receiving blankets, I suggest buying cotton flannel or some other soft material made out of cotton.


Covers were the kind of cloth diaper that I never wanted to try.  I was avoiding them as much as I could.  I thought they would be hard, since they originate from the old school diapers people used to use.  But, since my attempt at making newborn pockets failed, I had to come up with a cheap option fast.  I gave in.  We bought four Thirsties Duo Wraps, size small.  They are just a piece of PUL with some elastic around the edge, and snaps as closures.

It turns out they’re not as hard as I thought they would be.  We use microfiber inserts for them, and I am in the process of making some 100% cotton inserts for them.  Flats and prefolds can, also, be used in them.  Basically anything that is absorbent will work when using a cover.

To use the cover, I lay an insert flat on the cover, and then slide the diaper in place.  I snap it closed on the sides, and then check to make sure the insert is completely covered by the cover.  For a wet diaper, I simply take the diaper off, put the soiled insert in a wet bag, wipe the cover with a wipe, and lay it out to dry.  For a dirty diaper, I toss the whole diaper in a wet bag.  (There’s no need to rinse, since it’s just breast milk poop.)

You don’t need as many covers as you have inserts, since you can reuse the ones that are only wet.  The covers are cheaper than other, fancier diapers, and the inserts are super affordable.  Plus, making a cover is just about the easiest thing ever and you’ll get about six for the price of one you have to buy.  Inserts are a little more challenging, but they are cheaper than buying.

There will be more to come on sewing diapers later.