New House Before Pictures

IS13fwp8xsrkoj1000000000So if you saw my last blog post you know that we moved – again! This time to more of our ‘dream’ home on an acre in a more rural area. We still have our condo and my sister in law and her fiance are renting it, so whenever they are ready to move on from the condo we will remodel that as well. But for now we are working on our new house!

IShfjkql598foj1000000000

Our new house is on a rural highway and sits overlooking a beautiful wetland valley where we have seen elk, deer, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, hawks, cranes, and lots of ducks and birds. It’s super lovely on the back porch in the summer time!

ISdobxcyn67fnj1000000000

Our house was built in 1978 by the neighbor who still lives a stone’s throw away! He’s a sweet old guy with a sweet old wife and they are just the cutest, cutest couple! He’s been so helpful with questions we have. Our neighbor just between us is also great and has been helpful, too!

IS5i9lurjyyhnj1000000000

When we bought the house it was in near original condition. Original carpet, popcorn ceiling, original bathrooms and some groovy wallpaper that had been painted over (ugh).

ISdsa3su5itsfj1000000000

The only thing that anyone had done was to put some stick down ‘wood’ floor over the original 70’s goovy orange and brown floral linoleum. Which was probably a good choice!

ISptn3uxuu6cfj1000000000

It needed a lot of work, but I could see the potential. The land is great and the layout of the house is really fabulous, it just needed a face-lift.

We were not at all in a place to buy a house when we did, but we made it happen. B was not super thrilled about moving again, but all the work we did when we moved to the condo with minimizing our stuff really helped. We didn’t even need to rent a moving truck!

ISp55xtebiinnj1000000000

So once we had the house we set to work. We knew it needed new carpet before we could move in. There was a disgusting perfume/cat pee smell that was overwhelming. So we tore up the carpet and found that the subfloor was covered in small water spill stains or pee stains. So we tore that up, too, and replaced it with new plywood. We had new carpet installed in the bedrooms and living room and left the tile in the entryway and the stick down wood floors in the kitchen/dining area.

11009944_10152702211912644_6210055336712922595_n

I also set to work painting. I painted all of the interior walls and I painted the kitchen cabinets and countertops. I just could NOT live with the mustard yellow countertops! If I had known we would be tearing out the kitchen less than 6 months later I would not have bothered, but our original plan was to do the kitchen next year but we had a mouse/carpenter ant issue in the kitchen and had to tear it all out to fix things!

I will make some posts soon on our bathroom remodel and, once it’s complete, our kitchen remodel!

(All the pictures in this post except the last one are real estate pictures)

Advertisements

Baby Topics: Cloth Diapers

This post has been in my drafts for over a year! I figured I’d spend just a few minutes and finish it up to share my thoughts!

I have had about a dozen people ask me about cloth diapers and every time I am so happy to share our experience; but that means I’ve basically typed up this post about… a dozen times!

I thought I’d just type up a post about cloth diapers and then when someone asks, I can simply give them a link to this post – which will invariably have MUCH more information than me just typing something up really quickly in reply to them.

So, we chose to cloth diaper for many reasons, but they are (in order of importance to me):

  1. Much lower chemical exposure to baby than disposables. That is why we chose organic cotton prefolds (more on this later).
  2. Environmental impact: (1) Less energy and resources in making cloth diapers (generally a 1 time purchase for use from newborn to potty learned) than disposables and (2) less waste generated in using cloth diapers than buying disposables every week.
  3. Ease of use. Not that disposables aren’t easy and cloth diapers are easier. Not at all – but cloth diapers aren’t hard; they are quite easy to use and clean and that was a plus for me.

When I was pregnant (all 7 months!) I researched the heck out of cloth diapers. I wanted to be frugal, and I wanted to use prefolds and that was all I knew when I started out. I ultimately chose to buy Bummis covers and prefolds, both from people selling them used on Craigslist. I bought  Bummis Super Whisper Wraps from this super nice lady who had like six kids. She was knitting and they were all playing in the yard when I pulled up. “Oh, it’s going to be so much fun to be a mom!” I thought. From another woman I bought prefolds (she said they were organic, so hopefully they were). I had sizes newborn through medium all set! I was on the search for larger sizes and ended up buying a whole set of prefolds and Dappi diaper covers from another mom. Don’t do Dappi. Just don’t. They were awful.  The prefolds were useless, too… they were made with the type of cotton you might make a bed sheet from. No absorbency,  no quilting, nothing. I used neither of these things!

Anyway, when my little one ended up coming quite early, I knew I was going to have to buy MORE diapers, but being on hospital bedrest and then in the NICU for almost a month, I was in no place to scour Craigslist looking for diapers for my little preemie. I really like Bummis for their ethics, so I opted to get more of those. It so happens, too, that Bummis makes one of the smallest covers on the market – the newborn size Super Brite. It can fit babies from 4-9 pounds! And once our little one came home from the NICU he was about 6 pounds and they fit him great. He wore them until he was 9 pounds on the dot and then *POOF* they were too small.

So, before I get into all the things I bought – let me say this:

Don’t buy a full set of just one thing. Don’t buy 36 AIOs (all in ones) from the same brand and call it good. What if you hate them? What if they don’t fit *your* baby right? Sure, you can sell them, but you’ll still lose some money. Buy ONE of a few different brands of AIOs if that’s what you want. Buy a couple pockets if they interest you. Buy a couple different prefolds if that’s the route you want to take. Buy a few different brands of covers for them (either one size or newborn size).  Or whatever you want to try. Try them out on your newborn and see how you like them. I read advice like this and I didn’t listen; but I was pretty convinced I wanted to do prefolds and covers, and luckily I did end up liking them. However, what if I had not been happy with prefolds and then I’d be stuck with a whole bunch of them until I bought something else and sold those. Just something to keep in mind. You can re-sell your diapers; I have had luck on Craigslist or the Mothering.com Trading Post.

We did end up trying several different types of diapers (we tried AIOs and pockets in addition to prefolds and covers) but we ultimately ended up using prefolds and covers and I loved them. If we ever have another baby we will do prefolds (or flats) and covers again. So, because I don’t have a lot of experience with AIOs and pockets and because I prefer prefolds and covers for the following reasons:

  1. Easy to use. Some would argue this, but I found them incredibly easy to put on both a newborn and a toddler. Velcro is easier than snaps, but by 8 months my son figured out how to rip the velcro open and take his diaper off! We switched to snaps at that time.
  2. Easy to wash. AIOs tend to be hard to get clean and take a long time to dry. You need to pull dirty inserts out of pockets. With most covers you can hang them to dry if they didn’t get dirty and re-use them (until either they get soiled or it’s the next wash day, whatever comes first).
  3. A natural fiber is touching baby’s skin. Most AIOs (not all!) and pockets have fleece touching baby’s skin and fleece is made entirely from plastic. Yes, you can get microfiber or fleece type inserts for covers, but for the most part covers are used with prefolds and flats and those tend to be cotton or hemp. I chose organic cotton because that is better both for the environment and for baby.
  4. Cheaper. AIOs and even pockets are much more expensive than prefolds or flats and covers.
  5. Durable. Prefolds and flats wash and wear much better than AIOs and pockets. And if one tears for some reason, it’s easily replaced for just a few dollars. If an AIO tears you’ll need to repair it or replace it for upwards of $15-30.

Ultimately, we used/tried:

Anything I bought new was either from Amazon (get an Amazon rewards visa and use it for your regular grocery and gas purchases and you’ll be able to get a lot for free! But pay it off every month, please!) or Nicki’s Diapers. Nicki’s is a great company and they offer competitive prices and free shipping on most diapers.

Our experience and if I had it to do all over again:

I would use flats instead of prefolds. Flats get cleaner and dry faster. We had some stink issues with our prefolds and it was this (paired with Bunkers only wetting one or two diapers in a 24 hour period by 15 months – he was using the potty pretty well by then) that made us stop using cloth. I would only have four or five diapers in the pail after 48 hours and cloth diapers shouldn’t really sit any longer than that. It felt like a waste and a strain on water resources to wash that small of a load. So we switched to disposable diapers at that point. I felt bad about it, but we were only using 1 or 2 a day. After a while we switched to pull up style disposable diapers and then when Bunkers was about 22 months old I bought some cloth training pants. The week after his 2nd birthday he was not having any accidents anymore! And he’s been fully committed to using the potty since then. We used a couple different training pants and I really prefered the Imse Vimse organic cotton ones. They held in one pee very well.

Also if I had it to do over again, I would just stick with Bummis for the newborn stage up until they are sitting up and I would use velcro. Velcro is so easy to put on and when it’s the fifth diaper change of the night at 3am you really don’t want to try and do four (or more!) snaps. You just don’t. Thirsties offer velcro and we used those when Bunkers outgrew the newborn Bummis at about 4 months until about 12 months when we couldn’t keep the velcro ones on him anymore (trick: keep a onesie on them. It was a super hot summer, so that didn’t work for us and we were doing EC and needed quick access).

Once baby is ready to sit up, I feel like velcro is a bit of a hinderance. It’s stiff and kinda bulky and doesn’t bend well. And a lot of babies will figure out how to undo velcro around this time!

Once Bunkers outgrew the Bummis diapers I had bought on Craigslist and online and was ripping open the velcro on the Thirsties, I switched to snaps. I ended up buying Flip diaper covers by BumGenius and I am very glad I did! They have two snaps on each flap and an adjustable rise. We never once had a leak or blowout with these diapers and if there is a next time I will probably use these over the Thirsties.

IMG_0614

See how the velcro seems to make it hard for him to sit straight?!

Here’s what my stash would look like if I were expecting another baby:

For the newborn size (4-8 weeks)

For the infant size (2-8 months-ish)

For the older infant/young toddler size (10 months to potty learned)

  • Flip Diaper Covers – 6 total
  • Organic Birdseye Flats – 36-48 total (Might need more by this age to double up for nighttime)
  • Snappi (we were not using a snappi anymore, just doing a newspaper fold, but some people find them still helpful at this stage!)

Also, for all stages:

  • Diaper pail (I don’t recommend the one I used, so research to find one that works well with cloth diapers and cloth diaper pail bags)
  • Diaper pail bags (Get two so that you have one to put in the pail when the other gets taken to the wash)
  • Wet bags for in the diaper bag

For diaper pail bags and wet bags I wholeheartedly recommend Planet Wise! They are available on Nicki’s Diapers or Amazon for amazing prices. We still use them for our family cloth in the bathroom!

That all looks so nice and simple, huh?! And it is, and that’s what I like about it.

Did you cloth diaper? What kinds did you use?

Goodwill Scores!

When I was a kid my mom shopped at Goodwill on occasion. She probably would have gone more often if I had let her. But, nooOOoo… I wasn’t going to wear ANYTHING from Goodwill! I would only wear NEW clothes and  they had to be well known brands. I was a brat, I freely admit that, now!

Anyone who knows me NOW would laugh. I shop at Goodwill sometimes as much as twice or three times a week, now! I LOVE Goodwill! I get awesome deals on my and Bunkers’ clothes. I get quality wooden toys, canning jars, cast iron, wool blankets, and shoes there. Sometimes brand new!

My local Goodwill is just amazing. Super high quality items and amazing prices. Sometimes Goodwill can get a bit expensive ($30 for jeans?! I’ve seen it!) but my Goodwill isn’t over the top.

Now, I do make a point to live a more minimalist lifestyle – although I am really not even close to what one would consider a minimalist. Far from it – but in the last 18 months we’ve purged from our house a lot of stuff. We weren’t hoarders before, but we had a surpluss of extra ‘stuff’. We are still working on it, but we have a lot less ‘stuff’ and more useful, quality items we use often.

So I thought I’d share some of my recent Goodwill scores here!

I have been on the look out for a new coat for myself for this winter and I found one this week! It’s pure wool and the lining is silk. Fancy! It was marked $5.99, but it was half off (thanks to the color sales)! Behold, my $3 fabulous wool peacoat!

20130815_162701_785_c204c63b-3c4f-424f-8820-3dc2b64be62a

I also found some water shoes for Bunkers for next year. $2. New condition!

WP_20130815_006

I found a lovely sheepskin for $7! These are usually much, much more and it’s even stamped with a local farm/company on the back. Amazing!

WP_20130815_018

I also found this lovely piece of wood art… How beautiful, yes? It’s so touching, I think. Perfect for a nursery. It just needs a little sanding and refinishing (oiling) and then it will be gorgeous! I would love to keep it, but I may just gift it to someone. This was also $2!

WP_20130815_007

Have you had any awesome Goodwill finds, lately?

Baby Popsicle and Slow Growin’

WP_20130424_017

WP_20130424_008

WP_20130424_007

WP_20130424_014

WP_20130424_012

WP_20130424_010

WP_20130424_009

It was 70 degrees today! A real scorcher. It has been about 10 degrees below average and wet this spring, so the last few days have been SO welcome! We even shared a baby popsicle today. I made them by blending a banana, frozen strawberries and coconut milk in the food processor until smooth-ish and poured them into these little toddler sized popsicle moulds. I bought the mould last year but Bunkers was supremely put off by how cold they were, but today he really liked it! It was nice and messy, too!

Since it has been so cold, all of our sprouts are growing very slowly! And the poor pretty flowers I put together a few weeks ago are looking quite sad… we’ve had a half dozen days in the last few weeks where it hailed and just downpoured and they took a bit of a beating. I should have put them under cover… but most of hail happened at night and I couldn’t get up. I hope they recover!

The sprouts are very slow growing. I’m hopeful they will pick up after this week of sun. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy again this weekend, though! I hope more consistent sun is on it’s way!

Also, I dyed my hair with henna (three times!) this week (and I got a trim – my first haircut in 14 months! And only my second since Bunkers was born!) and I love the final color! It’s quite close to my natural color so it goes nicely with my skintone and maybe I can refrain from dying it for a bit… I like to change it up! 😉

WP_20130424_004

Springy!

WP_20130329_007

WP_20130329_002

WP_20130330_011

WP_20130330_010

WP_20130330_004

WP_20130330_002

WP_20130401_008

WP_20130329_017

WP_20130325_009

WP_20130325_008

We have been enjoying sunny spring days outside in the last few weeks. We’ve been playing outside a lot and working on the garden. We got the garden beds all built and dirt put in them. The seedlings are doing great and will be planted out this week. I also planted some cute floral boxes for the porch. I love seeing those pops of color every time I walk by!

I’m really looking forward to summer, where we can spend all day outside and have the baby pool full of cool water to play in, just like we did last year.

Luna the dog had to have surgery to repair a fully torn ACL. She tore it running around the yard. Silly girl. She’s recovering quite well, though. She got her staples out last week and should get her cone off in a day or two. She’s still three legged, but hopefully she’ll start using that leg, soon. Poor girl.

Filtering Water for Drinking

berkeyAfter watching Fluoridegate (watch it here), we decided it was high time to get a water filter to remove fluoride from our (city, tap) water. We had been using a Brita pitcher for about two years, but Brita does not remove fluoride, and does not remove as much as a compact charcoal filter.

I read this post by Wellness Mama and ordered a Berkey filter. We contemplated reverse osmosis filters for the whole house, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the upfront cost as well as the sheer amount of water waste. Water is expensive! So, we opted for the Berkey filter WITH the fluoride removal filters.

So, how is it?!

We’ve had our filter about a month, now, and I just spent about a half hour disassembling, washing, and reassembling it and thought I’d put a post together and sing its praises. We love our Berkey! We wanted to buy one last year, but I read a lot of discouraging reviews on Amazon and so we put it off. I’m so glad we bit the bullet, though, and invested in this wonderful filter.

We bought the Royal Berkey, and I think it’s the perfect size for us. The Big Berkey would have probably worked just fine, but the company we purchased ours from was out of the Big Berkey, so they had their Royal on sale with free shipping.

Some of the Amazon reviews that dissuaded me said that the Berkey required a lot of washing or it would get stinky or grimey. I was really worried about that. I just don’t have the time or motivation to clean something daily or every other day. However, the instructions that came with the Berkey stated it only needed hand-washing with mild soap and warm water once a month. I just finished cleaning ours and it wasn’t smelly at all and there was just a small amount of mineral build-up. But, we have hard water. I was pleased!

Our water has been so nice and fresh tasting, too. Some of the Amazon reviews mentioned that the fluoride filters add a bitter taste to the water, but I haven’t tasted that at all. There are some pretty detailed instructions for setting up and priming the filters before use, so I wonder if those people who had the bitter taste didn’t properly prepare their filters? Or just skipped it all together?

At any rate, we are extremely happy with our Berkey filter and we have been very pleased with the water we’re drinking. It’s a great investment and we will use it for a long time!

 

Resolutions and Goals

I *love* making New Year’s resolutions. A new year feels so new and fresh and a clean slate emerges. I need that kind of thing from time to time (once a year for a nice big one is great!).

This year our goals are:

  • Finish our home renovations (this is upstairs only). This includes:
    • New Flooring (whole house)
    • Painting (whole house – interrior)
    • Trim (whole house)
    • New guest bath
    • New mater bath (X)
    • New kitchen
  • Sticking to our GAPS diet. We are doing Intro for the month of January, and then full GAPS.
  • Simplifying more. Getting rid of more stuff weighing us down. Not trying to do too much.
  • Less TV and computer time. We watch very little TV, but the computer can really suck us in. And none before bed.
  • Spend more time outside, even when the weather isn’t great.
  • Keep up with our bedtime routine, but don’t get bent out of shape if it doesn’t go according to plan. I need to work on this.
  • Keep reading the books on my ‘To-Read’ list. Currently reading Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.
  • Keep up with blogging. Wednesday Yarn Along, Friday {this moment} and Gratitude*Sunday.
  • Work on patience. As always!
  • Continue to de-plasticify our lives.
  • Eat as much local food as possible.
  • Start a garden.

What are your goals for 2013?