Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday's Tip

Homemade Diaper Wipes

I am sure many of you have heard and seen about folks using homemade wipes.  I had also, thought it was a great idea and that's about as far as it went, it was just too easy to buy them, or was it?

Buying them meant either remembering them on my list all the time, or risk running out and then having to grab a harsh napkin and hoping it held together during clean up.  Many times over the last 2 years I would have to waste the time and gas to run to the store just for diaper wipes. 

We are now out of the diapers but just starting the potty training and as common, we are doing #1 really good, but #2 is lagging behind.  We still have the need for wipes.

I thought about my options, thought about budget and thought about my time invested.  I have seen them sewn, I have seen folks use the baby wash clothes and even paper  towels.

In an effort to be most cost and time effective I went with a polyester blend baby blanket from the dollar store.  It cut easily without the fraying and unraveling that other fabrics tend to do, I was able to get 22 good sized wipes out of one blanket as opposed to 4 small baby wash clothes for the same price.  Already having several wipe boxes around waiting for use, I now had my wipes and container.

After cutting and laying my wipes in the box I then mixed just a few drops of hypoallergenic baby soap with warm water and poured to moisten the wipes without having them be drenched.  Placed a box on the back of each toilet and one in the kitchen.

But..................did I really want a bunch of nasty wipes tossed in the laundry bin until it was full enough for a load?  Not so much.  So what to do?

Head to Wal-mart or a local bakery and ask if they have any of the big frosting buckets they get you can have.  These are great for so many uses as you will see in later posts, but for this one I used it as a holding and washing bucket.

Wash if the store has already not done so, then get a plunger (mine was 1.98 at Wal-mart, I looked at the dollar store and it was just too flimsy) center the handle in the middle of the bucket lid, trace then cut out with sharp knife.  I also make my own laundry soap, so I put 1/2 cup of soap and filled with about 1 1/2 gallons of warm water to mix it up good.  Then placed in the bathroom next to the toilets.  When done with the wipe, place in the bucket and give a good couple of plunges (if you can't get your little one to love doing it, mine think it's the coolest thing to plung).  I was at first concerned with the smell, but if any of you make your own soap with the Fels Naptha then you know it already has that wonderful citrus scent to it.  It seems with each plung it you release more of the soap smell.

We are on day three of filling the bucket with wipes (and also the occasional underpants when we don't make it to the potty) and still the only scent is the soap.  I don't think I would go more than 3 days though because with 2 little ones our bucket is filling with wipes and panties.   Last night I went in and plunged for a few minutes, cracked the lid just a bit and dumped the water and soap down the toilet, using the bathtub I rinsed the items out and realized they were every bit as clean as if they had gone through the washer, so a better rinse to get all the soap out and once again thought of something to re-purpose.  That wonderful baby gate - just lay over the tub sides and lay out your wipes and panties to drip dry.  Of course with no fabric rinse they dry a little on the stiff side so all I did then was toss them in a dryer for a minute on fluff with a homemade laundry sheet and done.

The ones in the kitchen make for nice little wipe ups after eating and even if I have to wipe up a spill.  The baby soap make them gentle on the skin.

Give it a try, lots of money to be saved and less trash in the landfills.

The boys are sleeping right now, but when they wake I will post some pictures for you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday morning moments

ahhhhhhhhhhhh hot coffee and a few moments alone before the rise and shine of the little men.

This past 2 years have been a bit of a struggle for us adjusting to a new lifestyle.  I have been through many lifestyles in my lifetime so far, but I have to say I am feeling most comfortable in the one I am in now.

I have gone through the know-it-all teen/young adult one, the young parent one, the parent of teenagers (ack), the empty nest and going to college for the first time, the decent double income no kids at home one, and now the stay at home mom and one income in tough economic times one.

At first staying at home with the boys didn't seem to make a huge impact other than I was on a different type of schedule opposed to a working womans schedule.  And I should have known better, should have planned for it but I didn't.  In my mind all the vacations, dinner out almost every night and the ton of scrubs I used to buy seemed like they would offset any new costs and income reduction.  Boy was I wrong.  Our regular fixed bills remained the same, however our income went down by about 75-80 grand a year and then we had new expenses - diapers, formula, toys, clothes and lawyer bills.

Soon our head-buried-in-the-sand approach caught up to us, and just for being so neglectful of it, reality smacked hard.  We had it coming.  Time to let go of the house we had for 30 years and find something else.  Luckily we did have the cash in a 401K that we could pull and buy our new home with cash.  We weighed this decision heavily (about time we acted mature huh?) and decided that having a home with land paid in full, free and clear of any type of mortgage would serve us better than watching the 401K investment whittle away to nothing as it was.  We didn't empty the 401, but we really think knowing that if the economy continues to worsen it would likely empty itself and we wouldn't have a home, so we are happy and feel we made the best choice for us.

We love our new home, we love the yard (garden time for me - big smile here) and we especially love the payment, but having to walk away from your home of 30 yrs is also a giant wake up call.

So I have decided that I am going to be a better steward of our resources and rein in our lifestyle to a comfortable level.  I will admit, even after the wake up call and moving into the new house, my attitude didn't change immediately, heck I thought - no house payment, we are back on easy street- well the house payment was only ONE of those nasty bills each month, the others did not go away, nor did the needs of two growing boys.

So that gives you a small background on what this blog is going to be about.  Changes you can make to simplify and enhance your life and not go broke in the process.

I feel like I am sometimes stepping back into bygone eras but I am also loving the feeling of growth and self-sufficiency that I am gaining along the way.

I hope to inspire you to find a spot in your life that brings you contentment and joy and is good for the whole family.  There will be some cooking tips, cleaning tips, cost cutting measures and even some prepping for the future and unseen (I would not call myself a "doomsday prepper" but the last two years personal experiences have taught me that anything can happen, that coupled with the economy and changing weather conditions well I just want to be prepared)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday's "Stop and Review"

Good Morning.  This Sunday we woke to cooler weather and rain.  Perfect ending, or start to the week depending on how you view your Sundays.

I like to think of them as both, the first part of the day is looking back and reviewing the week and all it had to offer.  Later in the day, I mean real late, after dinner and before bed, I like to take the time to layout a simple goal sheet of what I HOPE to get done, enjoy and experience for the upcoming week.

Since this is my first post I will tell you a little about myself and our life Down on the town.  Well how about we start with that silly title  "Down on the town", what does that mean?

Well the area I live in is not really country, it's not really city, truth be told it's not even really like a town but that is the closet it comes to a description.  We are kind of stuck in the middle of both country and city, but it's not really a little sappy suburbia area either, I don't know, it's just home.

We live in a modest 3 bedroom home on almost 3 acres of land.  The "we" being myself, my best friend and husband, and two wonderful little guys whom we are in the process of adopting, they have been with us 2 years now and it is getting harder and harder to remember our days of just "us", oh and of course our wonderful fat cat.

I stay at home to care for the boys and be annoyed by the cat, Dad works full time outside the home but is home before dinner and has 3 day weekends all the time so he is around a lot too.  I do have my nursing license but have not been employed outside the home since our little ones came to live with us.

Going from a kid free, double income home to  a single income, 4 person family and all the legal costs associated with the adoption has made us re-evaluate our lifestyle in a drastic way.  We have gone from going to Vegas several times a year to spending New Year's Eve at Chuckie Cheese, a disposable lifestyle to a sustainable lifestyle.

At first the thought of giving up an entire lifestyle was terrifying, but I soon found out it was only that initial "thought" of it, I have loved every minute of the change.  Now, honestly, some of the lessons along the way I didn't love so much, but they are lessons that got me to the point I am now and I wouldn't trade them for a trip to Vegas if you offered.

Rather than make this a book, I will throw some of those lessons in along with posts that they have relevance to along the way.

So back to the stop and review of the week - this week the weather was not the greatest for us.  Not that it was bad, but we are folks that do not like to be cold or even chilled, so even with all the wonderful sun shining during the week we were still chilled and it forced us to try to bring the outside inside for activities with the boys, some worked, some not so much.  I need to put that on my  "think of a solution" list, this is simply a notepad that I scratch on here and there, not a "to do" list, but something that I go to now and then and try to come up with a solution to be able to use later.  Looking ahead at the weather forecast, it looks like much of the same next week so tonight will be in thoughts of what we can do to keep active and warm at the same time.