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Grow Your Own Irish Dinner

Several years ago I visited Ireland with my sister and our long-time friend. One of my absolute favorite parts was climbing the mountain Benbulben. The elevation is just over 1700 feet, making it not quite a hundred feet taller than Green Mountain, which is a small peak you can climb that’s about a half hour from my house. It’s just a couple miles to the top, and it’s an easy enough hike that you aren’t totally dead at the end. How hard could climbing this little Irish hill be?

Well it turns out, it was pretty hard. Benbulben is kind of a wedge-shaped tabletop mountain, and as you can see from the picture above, it’s got some pretty steep cliffs there. (Those little colored dots are the three of us girls) In order to climb it, we had to traverse along the side of the mountain to the point of the wedge, around the other side, to an easier spot to work our way up. Then we walked across the TOTALLY flat top, to the other side, and slip-and-slided our way down. Also, there are no TRAILS, we just picked our way up and down little crevasses and over barbed wire fences and past scared sheep and through a nasty cold rain and wind storm that kicked up as we approached the top. And we were all wearing thin little tennis shoes, while we splorged across a mucky, nasty, oozy bog. SO MUCH FUN!

It was. It really was. It was hard, and gross at times, and my sister kept saying, “are you ok…?” because I guess my face was showing a rather un-fun attitude, but it was a blast. I climbed a crazy mountain! With no trails! With soggy feet! I climbed barbed wire fences! My friend took the best picture of me that’s ever been seen and then promptly lost her camera somewhere on the backside of the mountain! Climbing Benbulben was a crazy adventure, and a whole story on it’s own.

But today we’re talking about FOOD! Why am I talking about a mountain? Well, I was reminded of our glorious hiking adventure yesterday and all of our fun Irish adventures, so I decided to talk about quick and easy Irish meal you can grow in your own yard! I’m going to be honest, I did not have two of the three items grown yet so they are from the store. However, they ARE growING currently, so by fall I can make this all from the garden. What is it?

Colcannon! There are many different recipes out there, with different ingredients. According to an Irish cookbook I have the ONLY way to make it REAL colcannon is with kale, but we don’t like kale, so no kale for us. Also his recipe calls for scallions, and I found great success with leeks. This is another of my non-recipe recipes, so just do what you feel! It’s just food, man.

 

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How to Make Colcannon (my way)

You will need: Potatoes. Probably any kind will do. I use russet usually, but I have purple ones growing and I think that’ll be quite fun. Cabbage or kale. Apparently kale is traditional, I used a lovely purple cabbage. Leeks or green onions. I like the flavor of leeks and I have a lot of them, but I also used green onions. Salt, pepper, milk or cream, butter.

Wash, peel, and boil your potatoes as you would for mashed potatoes. Note I am not giving any amounts. You should have MORE potato than cabbage/kale. So decide how many you’re feeding, and go from there. I think I used six big potatoes because this was our whole meal, but it makes a good side too. While the potatoes boil, start some water for your cabbage. Cut it roughly, and boil it too, for about ten minutes to soften. I used about a half gallon bag full of cabbage with my six potatoes. While all that is going on, heat a cup of your milk or cream in a small saucepan. (If you’re making a big batch, up the amount accordingly). Don’t let it boil! As it heats, add three-four tablespoons of butter. Chop your leeks or green onions finely, and add them to the warming milk and butter mix, and simmer for a few minutes. Don’t cook too high or you’ll get a weird filmly brown milk substance. Drain the potatoes. Drain the cabbage and let it cool a little, then chop it up a little finer. Mix potato, cabbage, and pot of milky-buttery-leeky-oniony goodness together and mash! Add plenty of salt and tons and tons of pepper, and then more pepper because I’m really weird with all my pepper. Top with more butter for serving!

The end. That’s all there is to it! It’s essentially mashed potatoes, with some cabbage and onions. As I perused the vegetable section of my Irish cookbook, it seemed to me that a great many of the potato dishes are in fact just mashed potatoes with slight variances. Or mashed potatoes cooked into a different dish. Or a dish topped with mashed potatoes. Like seriously, it’s Ireland. It’s all about the potato. Which is good, because my Hubbins loves some him some potato. And onions. So stay tuned for more potato and onion recipes, because honestly, we eat them a lot. Potatoes and onions are cheap after all, so save some money, and eat like the Irish!

OHHH and for a real treat, make this dish with some Kerrygold butter, which is in fact the best butter ever made on earth.

Sláinte!

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Just another Benbulben picture for kicks

Drying Onions for Storage

We sure love alliums in this family. Onions, leeks, garlic.. oftentimes all in the same dish. They are cheap to buy, and also super simple to grow, especially leeks and green onions, that can stay in the ground all winter even and be just fine. But what about storage onions? Is it difficult to prep onions to keep?

Great news! Storage onions are super easy too. The easiest way to grow them is with onion sets, which look like little dried up mini-onions. There are tons of onion varieties, the ones we planted were called “Stuttgarter” and honestly, they came from a box I bought at Fred Meyer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but last year we picked onions as they grew and used them fresh, and we still ended up with about 16 pounds of onions that lasted us all winter long! I don’t think I bought onions until.. March maybe, from last summer. And now that our onions have grown again, I won’t need to for a good long while.

But how do you prep the onions for storage? Basically, you pull them out of the ground and let them dry. You need nice warm/hot weather for this, and a dry, somewhat sheltered area or a space in a garage. When your onion stems topple over on their own, they are ready to be pulled. (See photo below) Pull them out of the ground, when they are dry (it’s best if you haven’t watered them in a day or two, but our onions got watered regularly as they are right in the middle of our garden, and we just waited until the next morning before watering and they were fine)

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you can see the toppled over stems ready to be pulled! and some garbage?!? 
Last year we laid all the onions out on an old cabinet door propped between the wheelbarrow and a chair or something. THIS year we’ve gotten fancier, and we’ll be laying them out on an old picnic table. Movin’ on up. You can use a sheet and lay them on the ground on a warm driveway or in a garage. I wanted them up and off the ground to keep them dry just in case it rained. Then they sat out back in our covered car port for a couple of weeks drying in the heat. The exact time to sit out is not specific, basically you leave them until the stalks are all shrively and there doesn’t seem to be any moisture in them anymore. You can see in the top picture last years onions, a few newer ones thrown in with some very shriveled ones. Once they are nice and dry, cut the stems off close to the bulb, and cut the excess roots off. Dust them off a little if you like, and stack them gently in a box for storage. Store where you would usually keep onion, a cool, dark place.

You could no doubt get all fancy with your onion drying and storage, and if you wanna, go for it. This was the easiest way to do it, and it provided us with onions for like half the year! We’re going to replant some sets as we clear out the onion box, and those we’ll probably use smaller and straight from the garden as summer and fall progress.

I hope you find this post a-peel-ing! haaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..

 

Farm Fresh Italian Sodas and a Sad Farewell

It is with a heavy heart that I begin this post. I lost a dear friend today. My hot pink berry colander.

AUGH! I was headed down to the garden to pick berries for this recipe, when somehow I dropped my little metal berry colander for no apparent reason, and it just so happened to land on this random hunk of cement paver that is on the side of our house. Snap, Crackle, Pop. I was so upset! I still am! I love that little colander. It was a present from my mom, and it has so many uses! The worst part is, I was trying to compose a sentence about the merits of a berry colander and why everyone should get one when BAM! Colander down. If it had landed LITERALLY ONE INCH to the left, all would have been fine. Hubbins says I can get a new one, but it just won’t be the same. Farewell old friend. *sniffle sniffle*

Ok, colander funeral out of the way, today we’re making Italian Sodas!! Yum!! They are super easy to make, and you’ll wonder why you never did it before! All you need is a few simple ingredients to make a deliciously fancy looking beverage.

First, the fruit. We’ve been making these out of our garden grow berries, raspberry, or raspberry mixed with boysenberry. Oh man boysenberries are good. This was all the berries I could find today:

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Not very many, but you only need one cup of fruit, so I rounded it out with a peach from Trader Joe’s. You could use blueberries or strawberries, or OOH blackberries, which I will be doing when foraging season starts in just a couple weeks! Cherries… nectarines.. pretty much any fruit can be syrup. If it’s a good jam, go for it.

Mix one part fruit, one part sugar, one part water. I used one cup each. Simmer over low heat, mashing the fruit as you go. Berries break down much quicker than the peach did, so your cook time will be variable. Just make sure your fruit breaks down pretty well and your sugar is all dissolved, and don’t burn it! When it looks sufficiently cooked down, strain through a mesh seive (or layers of cheesecloth if you don’t have a sieve). I mushed the last of the fruit bits to make sure all of the syrup is out.

Once your syrup is done, let it cool. My 3 cups of starting ingredients made 1.5 cups syrup. Fill your desired glass with ice cubes. Add some syrup, more for a stronger flavor, less for a light flavor. One batch of the syrup make two sodas each for me and Hubbins, so we use just over 1/3 of a cup syrup. Add about the same amount of club soda. Top with a splash of heavy cream.  Stir to combine. Top with some whipped cream if desired. That’s it! Enjoy!!!

Oh and you really should get a berry colander, like this one, because they’re super handy for a lot of things. But you should probably NOT drop it on cement and break it. Just a tip.

My posts may contain some affiliate links, this just means if you buy a product I recommend in a link, I get a small portion of the selling price, with no increase in price for you! I only recommend products  I actually use and believe in. Thanks for your support!

Knit Yourself a Rainbow!

Or knit one for your babe, but honestly, this blankie is gorgeous and I’d like to steal it for myself. Not so much a pattern as a recipe, as most of my knitting projects end up being. You need a whole bunch of colors of one yarn. The one I used was a baby specific yarn, so it’s machine washable and very soft. I can’t remember the exact brand, and I think it’s discontinued anyway. So just pick what you like 🙂

To make the ombre pattern, you might need to prep your yarns. I used ten colors, each three times. (with the exception of the red and purple, which were only two times each). If you know how much yarn you can get out of each skein, you can just decide how many rows of each color you want to do, and knit from two balls at a time. I didn’t know how many, and I wanted them all to be the same, so I rolled all my yarns into balls beforehand. I weighed all my balls on a kitchen scale, to make sure they were the same. It actually worked really well. I wound two strands each ball, starting with red/red. Then red/pink, pink/pink, pink/orange/, orange/orange, orange/yellow, yellow/yellow, yellow/light green, and so on through all the colors. Then you can begin!

It’s knit in my favorite stitch, seed or moss stitch, which is knit over an odd number of stitches. I think I did maybe 91? I can’t remember exactly as I knit most of this while pregnant. Cast on as many stitches as you want to make your blanket size, swatching if necessary. (I rarely do, I’m not a very particular knitter.. leads to many odd looking projects). I do know I used a size 15 needle! Cast on all your many stitches, making sure it’s an odd number! Then get knitting! Seed stitch is knit one, purl one, all the way down the row, ending with knit one. Repeat every row. Super easy. (Note: You CAN knit seed stitch on an even number of stitches. First row would be K1, P1 and repeat. Second row P1, K1 and repeat. I don’t do this because I’m lazy and I don’t like remembering to switch each row. So if the exact number of stitches is not important, I use odd numbers.)

I did ten rows in each color combo. Here are the results!

Isn’t it beautiful?? And there’s darlin’ Lil’ O snuggie in her blanket, with her paci somehow spit up on her head. She did that herself.

You can very easily change the look of this blanket with different colors, maybe a neutral scheme (not me. never neutrals. but maybe you.) Or less colors and bigger swatches of them. It’s a simple blanket recipe that makes a lovely heirloom project to be cherished by your little ones or yourself!

A note about needle size: I used giant size 15’s, again, because I’m kinda a lazy knitter and I want to get done quicker. Her chubby little baby fingers do fit through the holes, which doesn’t bother me now that she’s older. She can manage to pull some of the strands lose, and I have to pull it around a little to fix it. So if having some loose strings bothers you, use a smaller needle. This will require more cast on stitches, more rows for each color, and ultimately, more yarn. But it’ll be a tighter knit.

Have fun!

The Importance of Seed Saving

What is seed saving, and why should you bother? First, what is it? Seed saving means not harvesting all of your crop each time, and letting it go to seed, or saving the seeds out of what you harvest to use for next years crop. That’s the basics, and while there are some really simple seeds to save (for instance, when you clean a jalapeno, put the seeds you scrape out on a paper towel and let them dry for a couple days. Bam. Saved your seeds), there’s actually a lot of complexity to some of them.

We’ve started doing some research on seed saving, and while this post isn’t going to go into much detail, one neat thing we learned is that you can cultivate and save seeds that will grow best in your yard. You do it by (again this is the bare-bones explanation) continuously saving seeds each year from the plants that do the best. You can also experiment with hybridization and other stuff, and I’ll really have to do a longer and more detailed post later!!!

But WHY should you save seeds? As I mentioned, one reason is to cultivate the best crop for your garden. But more importantly, it leads to your food independence. An interesting book I’ve read called Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation  talks about having access to your own food stores as being the ultimate in self-sufficient living. We depend so much on grocery stores these days, and the author states that if there were some disaster to occur, those stores only carry three days worth of food at a time, and what will we do after that? She also says that many think “oh I can grow food if that ever happens,” but again, where will you get the seeds when the stores are empty? We also watched a really interesting documentary called Seed: the Untold Story (it was on PBS but it has vanished from online, you can  stream it for a cost) that tells the tale of how what used to be a very diverse food supply has been mainstreamed down to very few food varieties, and many of the older heirloom varieties are disappearing. Also, buying seeds each year costs money!

So! Take what you will from all that, there’s a lot of different reasons you might consider  saving seeds.

As I mentioned, things like peppers are super easy to seed-save from. Today I’ll tell you how to save seeds from green onions! One thing to note is that a lot of plants require you to leave them in the ground for two years to reap the seeds. Green onions, leeks, and carrots are a few examples. The onions pictured above are our green onions from last summer that overwintered. As this spring and summer progressed, the flowers dried and puffed open, exposing the lovely black seeds! My sweet Hubbins harvested the flowers, put them in a paper sack, and shook the dickens out of them. He then sort-of winnowed them, by sifting them between two bowls and letting the excess flower bits blow away. Not all of the blossoms were fully opened, so he has them ripening up a little in the paper sack, to try to save as many as possible.

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seeds saved so far, you can see more seeds in the blossoms! 
We won’t be storing them in baby food jars forever (even though it looks super cute) because that takes up too much space, but he found a nifty origami tutorial for seed saving envelopes on YouTube, so we’ll probably make some of those. All in all, it took him maybe 20-30 minutes to get what we have so far, and that’s way more seeds than you would get in one envelope already! I hope to never buy green onion seeds again!

So, that’s it! Green onions are so easy to grow, and so easy to save seeds from! Now when all the stores are empty, we can eat onions to our hearts content, and no one will bother us, because we’ll smell super bad.

GO SAVE THE SEEDS!!

My posts may contain some affiliate links, this just means if you buy a product I recommend in a link, I get a small portion of the selling price, with no increase in price for you! I only recommend products  I actually use and believe in. Thanks for your support!

Country Living, City Style

Hello! It may seem like I’ve forgotten about all my loyal readers (hi mom!) but I’ve just been super busy with the baby of course. I have been planning some new posts, and getting photos and such prepped for them, but in the meantime I thought I’d just do a quick photo gallery of some of our suburban farmy fun! Up above you can see my lovely herb box in full bloom! I picked some to dry, more on that later!

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sweet baby o’s cloth dipes blowing in the breeze
Does anyone know how to make cloth diapers NOT be super crispy after they line dry???

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yummmmy!
Bath and Body Works has nothing on MY sun-ripened raspberries! They keep spreading every year! I dream of being a berry mogul!

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kitchen cleaning supplies
New dish soap recipe I tried out, I’ll let you know how it works! Baking soda for stubborn stains, and of course, some lovely Easy Peasy Hand Knit Dish Cloths!

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ooh nice garden clog
These are our green onions that overwintered from last summer, you can see the seeds popping out of the flowers, Hubbins is going to harvest them, which we learned you do by winnowing them on a breezy day! Neat!

Well there’s a quick peek at some of the self-sufficient activities we’ve been doing around here. Stay tuned for more!

And here’s Sherlock for good measure:giphy

 

New Uses for Old Sheets

What do you do when your sheets wear out? Just throw them in the trash? No way!! There are a multitude of things you can do with a set of old sheets and a multitude of blog posts about the subject. Cut them into rags, make rag rugs, etc etc. I have a few different ideas from what I’ve seen on those and thought I’d throw them out there!

FIrstly I decided to make us all matching outfits out of our old sheets, because they were our first sheets when we got married and I love them so. I made myself a circle skirt, which is super easy to do, and there are plenty of tutorials online for those. I made a tie for Hubbins, with a pattern I found from the Purl Bee. It is a bit short, and if I did it again I would make it longer. And I made a tiny skirt for Lil O. I happened to discover a SUPER easy way to make the baby skirt.  What part of a sheet already has elastic??  The FITTED sheet! Just cut a chunk out the size and length you want, hem and stitch the one seam. Piece of cake. I made a couple in some different sizes for her as she grows. I also could have made myself a skirt I think, if the middle of the fitted sheet wasn’t so faded!

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Here’s our beautiful matching outfits!
You could also whip up some Almost Free Baby Headbands with a bit of the sheet, and I’ll be doing that too!

Another thing you could do with an old sheet is use it as wrapping paper! I had a big bulky thing to wrap up and a hunk of my old sheet worked perfectly as a wrapping.

Another thing you can do with a set of white or cream sheets is… tie dye!  I happened to get a set for free from some garage sale leftovers, and they are lovely in tie dye. I didn’t even notice that the fitted sheet wasn’t the same as the flat and pillowcases, it has a subtle floral print, but that looks really nice with the dye. A perfect way to update some boring sheets and make something new!

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sweet tie dye
Well that’s it for today. Just a short post to offer some suggestions on how you can save the planet and some cash by repurposing those old sheets!!

And I think we need to end with a little Sherlock again..

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It Ain’t Easy Being Green (or IS it??)

Well last month was Earth Month, and I would have liked to do this post then, but alas, I have a young baby, and the best laid plans of mice and men, you know. So, it’s May, but of course there’s no WRONG time to care about the earth! I’m sure you’re all familiar with some basic go-green tips, like take shorter showers, unplug or at least turn off unused electronics, and bring reusable bags to the store. If you’re ready to crank it up a notch, here’s a few more things to try! (plus one to skip!)

Eat less meat

GASP!!! How dare I?!? We ‘Muricans eat a LOT of meat. And even i you don’t want to look into how animals are treated before we eat them, one thing everyone should look into is the environmental impacts of the meat industry. Between water and grain consumption, the amount of land deforested daily and used just to feed animals, and pollution from methane and manure, raising meat really does  a number on the environment.

While I’m not advocating veganism or even vegetarianism (although if you can do it, more power to you!) there is most likely room in everyone’s diet to eat just a LITTLE less meat. Meatless Monday is a pretty popular trend, and there are plenty of carnivore-friendly veg-based recipes you can find online or at the library. I have a very meat-eaty husband, so this has been one of my current projects. I’ll do a post soon (ha! Soon-ish? Someday?) on some of our favorite non-meat dishes. Another idea if you can’t TOTALLY ditch meat in your meals is to use it as a garnish rather than the main dish. So instead of a big hunk of meat with a small side of veg, make a super delish VEG dish, and just sprinkle a taste of meat on top.

Get it local

I’m talking about food. Do you have a farmers market nearby? A farm that does a CSA? Or maybe you can grow a little of your own? The closer you live to where your food is produced, the less environmental impact you have. Even most grocery stores (where I live anyway) label the farm where some produce comes from, allowing you to pick more local options. (A lot of people define “local” as within about 150-200 miles) You can also try to find local cheese, flour, etc. You can easily look up where most companies are located. Eating from local sources means your food will be in season too, and that means fresher, better tasting stuff. You can also sometimes find locally sourced honey, milk, eggs, and even meat!

Use less disposables/plastic

I’ve started reading a lot about plastic use, and how it’s everywhere, and the impact of all that trash. Once I did, I was shocked by how much plastic is just EVERYWHERE. Everything is plastic! There are a lot of zero-waste and no-plastic blogs you can read, and some of the ideas were doable for me, and some were definitely not. I don’t think we can fully escape plastic, but there are things we all can do to cut back our use. For instance, make some reusable dishcloths! Here’s my pattern for some you can knit. They really cut down on paper towel use.

One thing that I started thinking about in the bathroom was the shower curtain liner. It gets nasty, moldy, and while I would try to wash it, it never got TOTALLY clean again, and eventually I’d just toss it and get a new one. What a big giant chunk of plastic waste! So I decided I wanted to try a cloth one, like they have a hotels, but I didn’t really want to spend much money. I happened to be at Goodwill, and it occurred to me that there might be shower curtain liners there. (Actually, I was looking for fabric, and saw shower curtains, and said OH YEAH!) I found one in a lovely shade of green that matched my bathroom perfectly. And it has magnets to hold it in place. And it was less than two bucks.  I must say, I’m very happy with it. It’s quieter and warmer somehow than the plastic one, and it seems to work just fine. No leaks!

Reuse and repurpose (and be patient)

This goes along with the last one, in a way. When looking for replacements for things, or thinking about buying new things, think about how you can reuse an OLD thing, or find it used. Like, for example, getting a shower curtain liner at Goodwill. Also, I washed and saved the old plastic one, and I’m going to get Hubbins to rig me up some kind of frame with a cover for growing lettuce in the winter.

Another example I have is with sheets. We had ONE set of sheets for the first two years of our marriage, and it got pretty used up. We were gifted a new set, and then I decided I wanted to tie dye a set (another post for that!) I didn’t want to pay full price for sheets just to dye them, so I didn’t know what to do. Then a friend asked us to do a garage sale for them, and get rid of or keep the extra stuff. Guess what didn’t sell? A white sheet set! Seven dollars for dye, and we have a custom tie-dyed sheet set! And with the old sheets? Another post for that as well, as there are a lot of things you can do with some old sheets!

Being patient is not one of my strong suits, but I’m finding a lot of joy in not buying new stuff all the time and finding really cheap deals (and keeping stuff out of landfills!)

And one to skip…

When looking into using less plastic I found tutorials for making your own beeswax covered cloth to use instead of plastic wrap. It seemed easy enough, and I had beeswax, and I had fabric. Well. It isn’t that easy. And I didn’t like how it turned out. So. Skip this one. Instead, buy some nice reusable fabric snack pouches like these. I had some plastic ones but I’d like to get fabric. And I also want to invest in some nice glass food storage like these.

That’s it! Easy things to go a little greener in your everyday life. What do you do to be green?

My posts may contain some affiliate links, this just means if you buy a product I recommend in a link, I get a small portion of the selling price, with no increase in price for you! I only recommend products  I actually use and believe in. Thanks for your support!

Building your Cloth Diaper Stash for CHEAP!

There are a LOT of options for cloth diapering, and some of them can set you back a pretty penny. Of course. even the most expensive type of cloth is cheaper than years of disposables, but sometimes you don’t have the cash up front to spend. So what are you to do? Here are some easy ways to get a decent sized cloth stash for very little cash! This is how I did it, and although I didn’t keep track of every penny spent, I think I’ve spent a total of less than $150 for all my cloth diapers so far. Ready to save money?? First..

Register for them!!

This is an easily overlooked way to get diapers and accessories. Amazon has a great selection of cloth diapers of all varieties, wet bags, liners, wipes, and more. Just make sure you do your research before you pick which ones you want, since obviously you can’t touch or see them in person. We received several of the items we registered for, and we also got a few cash presents and gift cards, so…

Use cash presents and gift cards!

So pretty obvious, use cash presents or gift cards to buy your diapers. Or…

Exhange unnecessary items

If you happen to have any groovy baby stores in your town like we do, you can also exchange any items you received as gifts there that aren’t needed for cloth diaper merch. This is a pretty case-specific tip, because of course if you don’t have a baby store in town, and/or you don’t get any gifts you don’t need from there.. but still. I got three of my diaper covers that way and didn’t spend a dime on them. Other options may have cost a little but…

Go for the cheapest type you can manage

We opted for one-size covers and prefolds/liners for our diapers, because this is by far the cheapest option. I have originally planned on getting the Flip Diaper system, because I read some good reviews. I did get two Flip covers, and I love them, however I ended up also finding some other brands that work great. Rumparooz has a lot of ADORABLE prints, and I found that their one-size covers fit Lil O best when she was tiny. Fortunately I had the most of this brand. Flip were the next biggest. I also have one by Blueberry Coveralls (It has veggies on it! So cute! This brand has a lot of cutey covers too!) and it was HUGE compared to the others, and didn’t really start fitting her at the smallest size until 2.5 months. I have one other cheaper cover by Imagine diapers. It is not my favorite, the fit is still weird on her, and I usually just have it in the diaper bag as an emergency cover. When using covers and liners, you only need enough covers to last you a couple days (this will vary depending on how often you feel like switching it out, I use one cover all day unless she poos or leaks out and soaks it), depending on how often you do laundry (max three days recommended for cloth) six is a good minimum number. I have nine, and since we’ve been doing disposables at night still, this is a great amount. If you use pocket or all in one diapers you need a lot more, which ups the cost significantly. As far as liners go, the cheapest are plain ol’ prefolds (just fold in thirds!), but I really love these hemp liners because they are super absorbent, and they don’t require any folding, making them husband approved.  You again need to do a little math, but 24 is a good minimum start point for liners. I think we have 24 or 26 or something like, and it’s plenty for now. I was recently given a pocket diaper, and I’m considering getting a few of those for nighttime, since I do plan to start using cloth at night, and that way I can stuff it nice and full without the layers shifting. I can get them for free by using…

Swagbucks and Ibotta

This is my last cheap diaper tip. If you haven’t heard of Swagbucks, it’s a website/app family that rewards you for doing simple things like surveys, searches, and other activities. You won’t make a living on it, but I was able to get quite a few Amazon gift cards that I used for diaper covers, liners, and wet bags.  This is my referral link, and if you sign up we both get a bonus! Ibotta is a cash back app that gives you money back on items you shop for. You also get a bonus for signing up, and for any friends you refer that sign up. Again, the cash can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, and I think I got all of my hemp liners for free between these two apps. Here’s a link to sign up for Ibotta!

So that’s it! How to get a nice sized cloth stash on the cheap. Have any other cheap diaper tips? Let me know! Of course the most important tip is SELF CONTROL because man those things are cute beyond belief! I could easily buy a bunch more because little fluffy diaper buns are so adorable!!

My posts may contain some affiliate links, this just means if you buy a product I recommend in a link, I get a small portion of the selling price, with no increase in price for you! I only recommend products  I actually use and believe in. Thanks for your support!

I’m Back!! With some Cloth Diaper HACKS!

Hello hello! It’s been quite a long time since I sat down to write a post. Having my baby turned into a much bigger event than anticipated, with five days in the hospital, a very long labor, and unexpected surgery. Then the recovery period was quite difficult for many reasons, and wow who would have thought such a tiny little human could require SO much of my time?? But at any rate I’m back today with some cloth diaper tricks and tidbits I’ve picked up in the last two months.

I should say the past MONTH, as we didn’t start cloth until Lil O was about a month old. So I guess my first hack is..

Start with disposables!

My little babe was quite the pooper in the hospital. I know some people go for cloth straightaway, but she had like 8 poops her first day. I was in no shape to try to be cleaning all that off of cloth. Plus having had surgery, starting with sposies for the first few weeks made life so much easier recovery wise.

Use disposables at night!

This one might change soon, once little miss gets a little bigger. She’s a good sleeper, and so she was staying in the wetter wet of cloth for a long time. This added to the rash I’ll talk about in the next hack. Also, you have to really pack out a cloth diaper for nighttime and it made her look ridiculous! Such tiny little legs in such a massive diaper. Also she likes to poop in the morning a lot. So using disposable for sleeping helped her A:be more comfortable for a longer period B:look less silly/probably be more comfortable without a huge massive dipe all night and C: make morning poop clean up so much easier for me. As she gets bigger I’ll probably switch back to cloth at night, but it also makes cloth laundry easier so.. I kinda like the combo. Plus you only need like one pack a month so it doesn’ t break the bank.

Use a BARRIER CREAM!!

This was something I didn’t discover until after we started cloth. Lil O got a rash almost immediately upon switching to cloth. The extra moisture from the cloth just irritated her tender baby bits. It took awhile to get rid of the rash, but once I did, barrier cream has made all the difference. It keeps the wet off her really well. I found two different recipes. The first one I made calls for one cup of coconut oil, one ounce of beeswax, and ten drops each lavender and tea tree essential oils. (The oils are optional) Just melt the oil and wax in a double boiler, let cool a little, stir in your oils, pour into your container of choice and let cool. This is quite a firm cream, and so I poured some into an empty deodorant container to make it a rub on. It works great! (you can find empty deodorant containers here) Very portable, and keeps everything looking good. The other recipe is just equal parts lanolin, coconut oil, and shea butter. I tried putting it into some empty lip gloss tubes, (like these) but the lanolin is pretty goopy and it didn’t harden up as I had hoped. This cream does work really well, so I recommend it as a jarred cream.

Fleece liners!

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here are my fleece liners in progress
In addition to barrier cream. fleece liners keep baby dry too. There are tons of tutorials on making them onine, but basically how I made mine was my mother-in-law bought me a cheap fleece blanket from Walmart for like two bucks, and I cut 60 something rectangles out of it. That’s it. They go in between diaper and baby, and the fleece repels moisture so it keeps babe dry. Another great benefit of fleece liners is if baby does have a rash, you can use regular diaper rash cream without ruining your diapers. You can wash them right with your regular diaper laundry too. Also, if baby poops and you don’t want to clean it off, just toss the fleece! Since my primary reason for doing cloth was expense rather than environmental (don’t get me wrong, the environment is VERY important to me, but saving money was number one) I don’t feel bad tossing out a little rectangle of fleece that’s covered in poo. It keeps most the poo off my liners, making rinsing and laundry easier (and less gross!). You certainly could rinse and reuse them. I also use disposable wipes for the poo because rinsing cloth wipes was hard and icky. Which brings me to..

Make your own cloth wipes!

Easy. Cut up your husband’s old T-shirts that are destined for the trash. They don’t have to be uniform or pretty, they’re booty wipers! You can also buy them (I have these ones  I received for a gift and they are really nice) or make them out of flannel but the t-shirt ones work great. The nice thing about cloth wipes is that you can just toss them in the laundry instead of picking out the trash. I either use just a dry wipe to clean her off, plain water, or this recipe from one of my fave books Little House in the Suburbs:

Wipe Solution Concentrate

Mix 1/4 C liquid  castille soap, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lavender essential oil, and a teaspoon each tea tree oil and calendula extract. Mix one tablespoon of the concentrate with two cups water. Shake well, and before each use. Spray on your cloth wipes! Or make premoistened wipes by dumping the mixture over a container of dry wipes.

 

So those are my cloth diaper hacks! The only one left, which I will talk about next time, i how to get your cloth diaper stash for cheap! Laters!

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My posts may contain some affiliate links, this just means if you buy a product I recommend in a link, I get a small portion of the selling price, with no increase in price for you! I only recommend products  I actually use and believe in. Thanks for your support!