Monday, May 28, 2012

Challenge: Complete

The challenge is complete. The last batch of hand-washed flats are drying on the line.
My conclusions from the week are:
  • It worked. The diapers got clean, and the flats dried very fast in the dry air here (20-30 minutes outdoors).
  • If I was having to hand-wash diapers on a regular basis I would probably try to make it to a laundromat or friend's house once a week for a break.
  • It didn't seem to take a whole lot of extra time on days when I was around the house anyway. Pop into the bathroom and do the next step (wash, squeeze/drain, rinse, etc.).  On days when I had errands to run, it was more of a big chore or project. I missed being able to start my washing machine and head out for groceries and come back to clean diapers.
  • Washing diapers without regular access to a washing machine would be hard, but preferable to me than skimping on groceries, bills or healthcare, leaving a child in a wet diaper for too long, etc. 
  • I'm sure hand washing diapers isn't the solution for every family with kids who has a tight budget but no washer. But it's good to have options!
  • Hand-washing (diapers and/or clothes) might be a good skill to have for camping, power outages, or natural disasters.
Great job to all the other ladies (and dads too, I guess) who completed the challenge. I know several hundred signed up and many were able to complete. There are now hundreds of blog posts full of tips out there from people who took this challenge...roll your covers in a towel to get most of the moisture out if you need them to air-dry quickly (I had enough that I didn't need to do this step, but if you were in a more humid climate or had less covers it could really help), flour-sack towels make great diapers and cost about $1, flats can be stuffed into pocket diapers to make an easy-to-use diaper for daycare that can still be hand washed, and there are lots of different ways to wash without a washer (portable washers, utility sink, homemade camp washers).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Can I "Kish" Them?

He wanted to help squish the diapers so I generously let him help. So far we have done 2 small loads of diaper laundry with our make-shift setup. It works. Not fun but not disgusting or impossible either.

For the record, the supplies I'm using this week (I already had all this on hand) are:
  • Covers (the waterproof part): Thirsties, Flip, and homemade
  • Flat diapers (the absorbent part): ~12 Gerber birdseye flats, 4 flannel receiving blankets
  • cloth wipes ($ store washcloths)
  • Target trashcan and waterproof liner bag to store wet diapers, small waterproof bag to keep in the diaper bag
  • bucket and plunger
  • Country Save powdered laundry detergent
  • clothesline, indoor drying rack
I estimate that to purchase all these supplies new would cost around $150. A lot of things people already have, could make or find, or could do without. For example, my nice retractible clothes line was about $17 but isn't strictly necessary.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Why?

It's official. I'm crazy! Crazy determined, that is. I considered not blogging about this because it is kind of strange, but if the purpose is to raise awareness then I figured that I should let people know what I'm doing:

I am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers (large 1-layer pieces of fabric) and hand-washing them, in an effort to raise awareness that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all.  You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post.  According to Huggies, 1 in 3 families with kids in diapers is regularly choosing between disposable diapers and other basic needs like food. Not having access to washer/dryer doesn't necessarily rule out cloth diapers as a solution for families.

The reason I chose to participate is because I met some moms here in the Tri-Cities who could benefit from using cloth diapers and want to use them, but don't have regular access to washers and dryers because they live in apartments. Flat diapers are easiest to get clean without a washing machine because they are only 1 layer thick. I figured I shouldn't really be recommending or troubleshooting something I haven't tried I'm going to try it.
I'm not afraid of flats, I've used them before (for example, on our trip to Italy), and I have a perfectly functional clothesline and indoor drying rack, but I'm guessing I'll miss my washer. I'm planning to wash the diapers in a bucket and agitate with a plunger. It is possible to make a "camp washer" out of a bucket so I'm going to do something similar, but without all the drilling.
Wish me luck!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dry Erase Activity Book

I made an activity book for our upcoming road trip out of things I had around the house. It is a small photo book that I inserted pieces of paper into. The pages can be written on with dry-erase marker and then re-used. Here I am showing you the nice pages. Towards the end I got lazy...I think one of the pages has a Quizno's sub sandwich coupon with the word YUM written by it.

I also plan to start hoarding, making and gathering other fun things soon like happy meal toys, packaged snacks, velcro sticks, and books. I also looking for a clipboard for coloring pages. The iPod tends to make him carsick so that's not on the list!

What car activities have kept your family sane and civil during long trips?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Forward! Upward!

Tobias loves to make or imagine things that are "blastering off into space".
Malachi is definitely crawling, although it is tiring and frustrating for him! Plus, when he arrives at the toys his brother clears them away and replaces them with a boring baby toy. The end clip with the yellow toy is Tobias at a similar age (not quite 6 months...Christmas 2009) and not quite able to maneuver towards it. But crawling wasn't his thing...running was. Thankful to have two happy, smart kids who undoubtedly will both have their own unique ways of doing things!