Sunday, September 6, 2009

Finding and sharing thrifty ideas

So I have been scouring the internet looking for frugal ideas to help save money... I came across a recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent and I was intrigued...I have tried it, like it and want to share with you:


3 bars Ivory Soap
1 1/2 cups 20 Mule Borax
1 1/2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda


Grate the soap using a cheese grater (or if you have available, a food processor using the cheese grater attachment), add in the Borax and Washing Soda and blend until powdery....and VOILA! Laundry Detergent.... Use 1 tblspn per load (2 if extra dirty) and wash as usual... this makes about 48 oz, I keep mine in a tupperware container with a tight lid.

I am very pleased with it and I doubt I will be going back to the expensive ready made stuff...if you want to make it cheaper you can use a cheaper soap...I just like Ivory because it really has a light scent that I wouldn't mind on my clothes....

I used this detergent for the first time on my cloth diapers...what a great way to find out just how well it works! I pre-rinsed the diapers as usual and then washed in cold water ( a first) with 1 tblspn of the detergent....washed as usual with no extra rinse ( a first)...I checked during the rinse cycle, no bubbles and pretty clear clean smelling water....when the diapers were done, I hung them to dry....I am waiting for them to dry now and I will report back on how "crunchy" they are from line drying... this will be the true test of the

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Poor Boy's Tush

So this weekend was total 3 yr old had a horrific case of diarrhea and we had just got him fully potty trained. So after 5 trips to the potty in 30 min and 2 pairs of underwear that had to be thrown in the wet pail with my 1 yr olds cloth diapers...we gave in and put him in a sposie.... :-( ... my poor lil man after the 7th trip began screaming that he had a booboo on him bum...he said "mommy my bum is red, I got a booboo!"... and every trip was marked with his screaming and struggling to get away from the wipes... its enough to make you want to cry all day. Whatever was tearing up his tummy was doing a number on his butt as well...we slathered him up with A&D Ointment (seriously the best stuff in the world) but normally when we put it on a raw butt as soon as it touches him he stops crying...sometimes even says Ahhhh....but this time...not this time...I was at my wits end....

We're doing the BRAT diet...for the day he ate waffles with applesauce to sweeten them a bit and white rice with sweet potatoes mixed in....his appetite has been rather behind and he doesn't like bland DH ran out and picked up a package of Florastor® ( Florastor® is a Probiotic you mix with water or juice our pediatrician suggested to help with diarrhea) and asked the Pharmacist if the Omega 3 fish oil we have been giving him every morning could be the culprit....YES! Turns out Fish Oil can give you we have stopped giving him that until we get this under control...We made him a drink with the Florastor® last night with dinner and this morning with breakfast...I am happy to say though, when my son got up this morning, he had gone in his diaper...when I changed him and cleaned him...he yelled out "it doesn't hurt! YAY!"...again...enough to make you laugh and cry all at the same time! So far so good more episodes in the bathroom...lets hope we have this under control!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Breastfeeding 101

My son Julian recently had his first birthday...and as he reaches that milestone I realize so have I. I have been breastfeeding my son for 1 year. The last year has been a rollercoaster of emotion, from fear that he wouldn't find that perfect latch (got over that pretty quick) to elation as he thrived and grew on his mommy's own. I look back with a sense of pride and accomplishment. This did not come easily. There was pain, there was swelling, there was even blood! and there were many sleepless nights. I have run into many of the problems and challenges that women face when breastfeeding and I can see how many women give it up. It is hard. My first son Gabriel never got the latch right. I had PIH when I delivered him and became too sick after delivery to put a good effort into getting him on the breast. The nursing staff too was too busy trying to get me to rest to worry about my desire to breastfeed. In the end I pumped for about 3 months (which ended shortly after I returned to work) and my first born went to formula. When I look back I still have feelings of failure that I didn't get to breastfeed my firstborn, and when I see the bond that I have with my second son I feel even worse, because Gabriel and I don't have that same connection. Julian has been attached to me from day one and I think sometimes that he will take me to kindergarten with him! But I try not to dwell too much on the negative and I look to the positive. Gabriel is a fiercely independent child with a bit of a wild streak...I love how he takes the initiative and wants to do as much as possible for himself, BY sense of adventure is as strong as only a 3 year old boys can be...fearless and headstrong he plows through his life taking on any challenge. Now, my Julian is as bold and fearless as Gabriel (more sometimes I think)...and he frightens me with some of his antics in trying to keep up with his older brother...but when he's done and ready, he wants his spot in my lap, puts his head on my shoulder and is content to cuddle for long periods of time.

So I begin this look back at the beginning, I will try to go in order so as to keep this as streamlined as possible. There is nothing you need to do to get your nipples "ready" to breastfeed....put that washcloth DOWN and don't rub your nipples to "toughen" them will just irritate them. The most you can do while waiting to have your baby is to avoid washing your nipples with soap (this dries them out) and use a protective coating of lanolin. I use Lanisoh and am very happy with it. I used it for everything from cracked nipples, bleeding nipples, sore nipples and dry even helped when my son recently bit me hard enough to break the skin on both sides of my nipple.

When you have your baby, get him/her to the breast as soon as possible. Many times after you have your baby the nursing staff will want to take the baby to the nursery as soon as possible...try to stall them if you can. They won't physically take your baby from you and don't feel like you have to do things on their time table. With my first I had him for 2 hours after he was born, because the nursery was overfull with babies and they had nowhere to put him. I learned then that they don't HAVE to take them to the nursery straight away (unless of course your baby had a complication).....with Julian, I had to push to keep my son for 30 min after he was born..they wanted to take him right away...I know the issue here was more that it was shift change and they wanted to go home. I had Julian at 730am, and shift change is around that time in that hospital. I didn't care. In my opinion if you want to go home GO...another nurse can take him later. So I held my son and got him to my breast as soon as his cord was cut (he had a short cord and it had to be cut before he could be placed on me) I let him nuzzle and smell and get familiar with me. He even did the little crawling motions trying to get to my breast! The nurses kept saying "oh he wont nurse right away, you can give him to us"...I know he wasn't going to nurse right away...that wasn't my point....What you want to do is immediately have your child smell you and get familiar with your scent and your skin. This helps with bonding and later with that first latch. To the nurses great surprise, I got him to latch on before they took him. He suckled for a moment, nothing too long, just long enough for him to get the feeling of it. Then I was satisfied with his attempt I let them take him to the nursery. I also insisted they didn't bathe him, just rinse him off a bit....Its good for them to still smell the amniotic fluid on themselves comforts them...remember they have been in it for 9 months, they are familiar with that smell and the taste, so in my opinion, why wash it away and replace it with the smell of Johnson and Johnsons so soon? There's nothing wrong with Johnson and Johnson, don't get me wrong, we use all of their products,...but in those first few hours, let them be comfortable, they have been through enough with delivery and the shock of that change.

Here are some links to help with the beginning:

I cannot stress how important that proper latch is. You will probably not get it the first few times. Breastfeeding is a learn as you go process. As natural as it is, it is not entirely instinctual. The trouble I had with my latch showed up in the diagonal red lines that went across both my nipples after the first day...they were like hickies on the tips of my nipples. With some lanisoh and adjusting the latch we got that do go away in a few days.

Doctors and nurses will tell you that you should only nurse the baby for about 10 min on either side...that there is no benefit to letting them nurse longer...I cannot tell you how untrue this statement is. I horrified nurses and doctors alike while I was in the hospital. I nursed my son every 2 hours like they said....but for 45 min on each side. Sounds like a lot of work...and it is! I let him nurse for as long as he wanted to, I never took him off the breast, I let him come off on his own. When all was said and done, I had a fabulous milk supply. Letting you baby nurse for as long as they like stimulates milk production. Sure, they may not be getting a whole lot in the beginning. But the activity stimulates your body to produce more milk. The better the supply! It is easier to decrease an overabundant supply than it is to increase an insufficient one. The only side effect I had of my overabundant supply was heavy letdown sometimes (which can cause choking and/or gasping at the breast)...and my freezer was SO full of milk, I started to donate my extra milk. Isn't that terrible? lol.....also, because I nursed him so frequently and for so long at each time...I never experienced the engorgement of my milk coming in. The one thing that DID come with the first few days of breastfeeding that was painful were the after pains. Every time I put my son to the breast I had cramps that seriously felt like I was in labor again. They let me take 600mg of Motrin every 4-6 hours for this. Yes, it helped...but there were times I wished for a Motrin drip in my IV! After a few days the pains subsides and you feel better. Here is a link on issues that can arise with a poor latch:

My biggest problem with latch issues was milk blisters and plugged ducts. At 3 months I got my first plugged duct. I thought my boob would burst! The whole underside of my right breast engorged until it was rock hard and the nipple was painful to the touch. I tried nursing him on that side every 45 min or so trying to relieve the pressure...finally after nursing him in 3 different positions I got the breast to drain. I nurse him side lying on my right side, side lying on my left side (letting my breast fall over me to him) and on my hands and knees while leaning over him. The next morning I went to the bathroom and saw the big white bleb on my nipple and realized that was where all the nipple pain was coming from. I popped the blister myself (not really recommended) and in a week it healed completely. Some months later it came back and refused to go away totally. I never got the stringy piece like some moms get when they clear a plugged duct. I got more like pieces of cottage cheese (gross I know)...and I never got Mastitis. What I found finally worked and it has never come back since, was getting bigger flanges for my breast pump. This allowed my breast to completely drain and got all the hard stuff out. Since I got bigger flanges I have not had any issues with the duct.

I hope that helps with any questions or concerns with the first few months of breastfeeding. Please keep an eye out for follow up posts on Pumping, Biting, Introducing Solids and more! Please feel free to comment, ask questions, make suggestions for future posts...etc

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

adventures in cloth diapering

So we have decided to try cloth diapering. I'm always looking for new ways to save money and if I can help the environment in the process its a bonus! I started researching cloth diapers online, and I tell you...I NEVER imagined so much information on ONE topic! I do believe there is more out there about cloth diapering then breastfeeding....another topic we'll get to later....but I was amazed... At first I was completely overwhelmed...all these terms I had never seen...I spent a lot of time looking up acronyms so I could understand all the here's what I have gathered....

The most basic of cloth diapers is the flat...which is just a flat piece of cloth which requires folding and pinning and a cover....then there are Prefolds (PF)...its essentially many layers of material stitched together with a thicker part in center which you fold into 3's (Basically a flat already folded for you). These come in many sizes and thicknesses....but they need pins or tabs and a waterproof cover...WOW....then we have contours, which are kinda like prefolds I guess, but are actually shaped like a diaper ...but also require pins or tabs and a cover....there are pocket diapers, which have a water proof outer and absorbent inner...but there is a slot (pocket) to stuff more absorbent material...whether you choose to use microfiber (MF) or Hemp or fleece or cotton is all up to you...then AIO's...or All in Ones...which are exactly as they sound...they have a water proof outer with all the absorbent stuff inside already....these are the closest to disposables...but also the most expensive.. Most companies that make these diapers also make the inserts to go with them, or at least sell all the accessories you would need...THEN...we have my favorite diaper...the one we went with.

Gdiapers. Gdiapers is the only flushable cloth diapering system out there. Gdiapers have a cloth outer with a plastic snap in liner. You can then stuff the liner with either the flushable insert or with a cloth insert. Gdiapers now sells their own cloth insert, but is too expensive for my tastes...I also found the flushable inserts too I combined systems....I use Gdiapers with PF's. I LOVE THEM. My husband loves them...which is a BIG bonus since he is the one home with him all day and therefore changing the diapers....

I started out fairly simply...I have 12 PF's, I made another 12 old swaddling blankets into PF like inserts...I purchased 7 Gdiaper covers with liners from Gdiapers...I purchased another 6 Gdiaper covers and 4 Cottenwood inserts from a lovely mommy on Diaperswappers (another of the fabulous cloth diapering websites I got information off of)...and I ordered a pack of flushable liners from Imsey Flimsey to catch the poops and make clean up of poopy diapers easier...So all in all, my initial investment was $145. Seems like a lot...FELT like a lot in my wallet....but I tell you...we have been at this for nearly a week now...and I can tell these diapers are going to pay for themselves in a matter of months.

Julians little tushie is all fluffy and super cute....I just dig it! I will be posting more of what I have learned soon...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day Joy

So I had the best Mother's Day ever! We got up and Broderick made breakfast we hung out for a while and both of the boys went down for naps at the same time! I got some quiet time after that and when Gabriel got up we made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies ginger bread cookies...Gabriel was my big helper, mixing the cookie dough and forming perfect little balls he them mashed down in to cookies. After the gingerbread cookies cooled off we iced them with blue icing, making smiley faces and hearts on some and flowers and stars on others. Later that night my youngest, Julian, gave Broderick and I a huge treat...his first steps! Julian took 3 steps at once and then squated down to the floor...since then he has been trying to walk between the couch and chairs and table. If Broderick holds out his hand, Julian will try to walk to him...if I hold out my hand...he squats down and crawls super fast to wants mommy to pick him up and protect my job! so I love it! Gabriel spent the day singing his love you song "Dinky dinky dinky dink, dinky dinky doo...I love you! I love you in the morning and in the afternoon, I love you in the evening and underneath the MOON! Dinky dinky dinky dink, dinky dinky dooo I LOVE YOUUUU!" Isnt that the cutest thing you ever heard?!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I need a bigger car. I need something heavy and hard and made of steel. I need a tank. No...not for more storage space for groceries, or more seats for passengers....I need a tank to play bumper cars in....There are some people in this world who need a little motivation to drive correctly it would seem....the other day I went to the Starbucks drive thru...seems like the biggest threat would be to my wallet...nope. That day the biggest threat was to my sanity and to the bumper of the BMW in front of me. This guy places his order and rolls forward just enough so that only my front end is in front of the order box (he's got another 10 ft to go). I give a little toot for him to move forward for me...he looks up (yes he is playing with his phone) and moves a bit. I place my order and we roll along some more. He gets his drink and once again, rolls only slightly forward so that he is now blocking the whole drive thru while he adjusts his drink, his seat, hair, phone etc....I have about lost my mind now. I hate this in the drive thru...there is nothing more rude then blocking the drive thru I say, in a voice just loud enough to carry "buddy, stop playing with your phone and pay attention...move up!....the lady in the window is amused...I can tell she sees this all my bumper car world, I would have just pushed him along his way...Im sure he would have gotten the point....

Last night....I am heading home from work and Celine Dion is singing at the Bank Atlantic (amazingly enough) there is a ton of traffic....who knew so many ppl really liked her....anyhoo....We are all crawling along ...I have moved to the far outside lane so I can avoid all those trying to get into the center and just get around them and go home. While stopped at a red light...I have a man in a bigger SUV than mine literally come around me and jam his car along side mine and the curb in an effort to cut me off...why? who knows...but I hate this. We are all in the same situation...stuck in traffic and hating why make this worse and cut ppl off? So...part of me kinda pulls real tight and I think to way....I pull up to the bumper of the car ahead of me, prepared to hold my ground and keep my space...NO JOKE...the minute the light turns green this man guns it and cuts his wheel sharply to the left so that I have to slam on my brakes to keep from going in to his front end, and to keep him from ripping off my front end. I lean on my horn while shouting and yes...he flips ME off! now Im mad...but what can I do? Nothing but stew for the rest of the ride. I came home and advised Broderick that when we have the kind of money it would take to replace my front end and take a hit on our insurance...I would be applying the bumper car policy to this sort of situation....yes that means, not stepping on my brakes and just gliding into the side of the offending vehicle. I think I will then back up and hit it again....back and hit (rinse and repeat) about 6 or 7 times....all the while screaming TAWANDA!! (see Fried Green Tomatoes for reference)....Then calmly put the car in park and wait for police. I will take the ticket, the points on my drivers license and the higher insurance...just to see the look on the guys face when I tell him " Florida is a no fault my insurance takes care of mine, yours takes care of yours....I can afford to fix my car...can you?" I bet he would think twice about cutting off a woman again....