Tuesday tips: Essential oils

A few months ago, a friend of mine got me hooked on essential oils.  She’d sent me some samples of dōTERRA oils to try out last year after I posted about using coconut oil as a natural moisturizer.  One that I liked in particular is called “On Guard“- it’s also known as thieves oil (On Guard is dōTERRA‘s proprietary blend of wild orange, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove and rosemary oils) and is supposed to help boost your immune system.  Well, this winter the plague descended upon our house and would just not let up- B and I traded colds back and forth and a fun round of the stomach bug.  I was sick of being sick, so I ordered my own set of essential oils.  And I’m totally hooked!!

My favorites are lavender, lemon, On Guard and another blend called Breathe (mix Breathe into some coconut oil and you have your own natural Vick’s vapor rub minus the petroleum products!)  Those have gotten the most use in our house at the end of the cold season.  I love using a diffuser to diffuse at least one of these oils in the bathroom during B’s bath (and my shower later).  Sometimes I will add a couple of drops directly to the bath water.  I also put on a drop or two of lavender at bed time- it relaxes me almost instantly!

Many of those suggestions are ones that a lot of you have already heard of, but here are a few more that you might not have heard of!

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Do you use essential oils?  What are your favorite oils to use?

Some motivation on a Monday

T has a great saying- “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is unacceptable.”  I mentioned this to a friend and she thought it was a good one and even wrote it down.  So I thought some of y’all might enjoy having a free printable of this quote- something to frame for your office?  A reminder as you head out the door?   Just click the photo to save/print (should print as an 8×10)!

 

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DavenportDIY| Free 8×10 printable

Some DIY curb appeal

**Linking up to Katie Bower’s spring photo link party!!**

Hey y’all- I hope everyone had a happy Easter!  We were pretty low key around here since we have no family in the area, but B did get to do his first egg hunt (actually 2nd hunt- his school did one the week prior, but this was his first hunt with us)!  I didn’t think he’d understand what to do with his basket, but he carried it around on his arm like a pro (probably because of all the practice he’s had playing with my purse- ha!)  Thankfully the weather was lovely so we got to be outside most of the day…

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Speaking of outside (and happy Earth day by the way!), we’ve switched gears around the house and have been taking advantage of the lovely (albeit a bit weird with temps in the 80’s one day and a frost the next) spring weather we’ve been having lately and putting in some work on the outside of our house, before the weather here gets too hot and humid.

We usually mulch our front and back flower beds yearly, although we skipped last year due to the crazyness that being a new parent brings with it!  Also, we usually (stupidly) wait way too long and mulch in the summer which is just ridiculously sweaty- this year we were on top of it and ordered 20 cubic yards at the end of February.  We got so much mulch because we decided to mulch our backyard after trying (unsuccessfully) for several years to get anything resembling grass to grow back there (mulch is the new grass right?)

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My boys, happy with the newly mulched back yard

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We changed the path leading to the garden from gravel to mulch

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We get a lot of erosion here due to rain water, so T added in a 4×4 post (half buried in the ground) to create a tiered effect and stop the mulch from washing down the hill

Then we got 5 cubic yards of gravel, so we could extend the gravel path in the above photo, as well freshen up the existing graveled spaces

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T is such a hard worker. I just spread the mulch/gravel and take the photos

B enjoyed “helping” with the mulching process- I’d gotten him his own shovel and he was thrilled to help his daddy load up the wheelbarrow:bmulch

And wear his daddy’s work gloves around:

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Believe it or not, we blew through all 20 cubic yards of mulch and had JUST enough to do the front beds, minus one…

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Ahhh, freshly mulched = happy plants

 

Which actually worked out well because we decided to modify that bed, so we were able to wait to mulch it.  I don’t have any photos of the bed before we got to it (bad blogger), probably because it was nothing much to look at so I always cropped it out of my photos!  Just a narrow long bed with some peonies in it (that I have managed not to kill despite doing absolutely nothing to them- we inherited them with the house, which was a fun surprise the first year they came up!) and a narrow strip of grass/weeds.  Boring!! If you look at the below photo of our house, it would be to the right of the edge of the driveway (and under the snow):

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T was the driving force behind the bed re-do, and we are both so happy with it now.  It just makes so much more sense.  I will post more about it in my next post, because that much work deserves its own post and this one is long enough as it is!!  I will leave you with one more pic of B, probably my favorite of him to date:

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Pure joy at being outside, in the wheelbarrow!

 

Tuesday tips: Cloth diapers

So I’m switching things up here (because it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to!) and talking about our choice to use cloth diapers with B.  Also I’m bringing back the Tuesday tips- woo!

I consider myself a sort-of “crunchy” mom- I try to buy organic/natural/local food and personal care items when I can for our family, but they don’t make up 100% of what I buy.  It’s all about balance for our family, which works best.  However, cloth diapers were something I’d always wanted to do- the benefits are almost too many to list- not only do they prevent waste accumulation in landfills, they are chemical free, cost effective (after an upfront cost), keep blowouts to a minimum (I am almost certain we have never had an all out poop blowout- we’ve come close, but the cloth definitely keeps things contained better), keep diaper rashes to a minimum and are just cuter that disposables!

To start this post off with 100% honesty, we do not cloth diaper B all of the time.  He wears 1 disposable diaper a day- at night- because by the time I got a cloth diaper on that boy that was thick enough to absorb everything, he could barely move his legs.  I did not want to spend $$$ trying to find the perfect combination of fabrics to absorb everything, not to mention we were already up to our ears in trial and error with the dairy/soy intolerance.  So because I like my sleep, $$ and a dry baby, we put a disposable on at night- and everyone was happy.

That being said, we do use cloth the rest of the time.  We were super lucky when B was born because my parents gifted us a year’s worth of diaper service which was AWESOME.  No having to wash diapers ourselves?  Yes please and thank you very much.  Not that washing diapers is difficult, but it was just one less thing to think about- toss the diaper in the pail and every thursday set the dirty diapers on the porch where they are magically replaced by a stack of clean ones.  Diaper service in our area costs around $50-60 a month- that’s for ~60 diapers a week.  We started off with 80 diapers a week when B was tiny and then scaled back once the diaper changes slowed down.  $50 a month is fairly comparable to what you would spend on disposable diapers in a month, especially in the beginning (10 diapers a day x 30 days in a month = 300 diapers, depending on what brand you purchase and where you purchase them from you may spend slightly more or less than $50-60).

There are a LOT of different ways to cloth diaper now- you can do prefolds with a cover, all in ones, pocket diapers, etc etc.  When I was first researching cloth diapers, my head was spinning from all the different choices available to new moms.  For us though, the choice was easier since our diaper service only provided prefold diapers.  Prefolds are a piece of cotton fabric that is divided into 3 sections.  The middle section is thicker than the outer two sections for absorbancy.  Obviously (or maybe not so obviously) wearing just the prefold does not keep clothes/you/furniture/etc dry- you need to cover it with something.  That’s where the diaper cover comes in.  When I was little I remember the plastic pull on pants that my mom would put on myself/my sister- nowadays the diaper covers are WAY cuter.  And adjustable!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a prefold- when you get them they are much more flat and thin but they fluff up the more you wash them.  It’s recommended you wash them at least 3 times prior to using them to “prep” them so they are super absorbant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are a couple of our Flip covers.  See!!  Super cute!  No plastic pull up pants here!

Since we were starting out with prefolds, I purchased Flip covers (the company who makes Flip also makes the popular all in one diaper brand BumGenius).  I liked the style of the cover and the fact that it adjusted all the way to 35+lbs with snaps.  I purchased 9 covers, which I figured was more than enough.  Because the cover is made of PUL (polyurethane laminted) fabric it is waterproof and so you can just remove the wet prefold from the diaper and add a new prefold to the cover (we changed the entire thing if the cover got dirty from poop).

This system worked fine when I was staying at home with B- there is a little flap in the front of the cover that keeps the prefold in place on the Flip covers that would get damp over time, so we’d just rotate covers throughout the day.  Then he started daycare- and this system didn’t work as well because the cover wouldn’t get changed as frequently, which caused him to develop a rash.  After that we started pre-making our covers- basically we fold the prefold and put it inside the cover.  Each time he gets a diaper change at school, he gets a new pre-made prefold/cover combination.  For this reason I purchased a few more covers- we now have 14 covers.  Which means we have enough for 2 days worth of diapering (B uses 5-7 diapers a day now, not including nighttime).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what our diapers look like stuffed and ready to go.  To prep the diapers for the next day takes us maybe 5 minutes of stuffing?  Probably less actually

Then…summer time rolled around and suddenly B developed a very persistent rash.  One that would not go away no matter what I did.  Thanks to the suggestion of a friend, we finally figured out it was heat rash due to the warm wet cotton against his skin.  We added a fleece liner (literally a strip of fleece cut out of an old blanket) and the rash was gone!!  These fleece liners are great too if we do have to apply some cream to his diaper area- they protect the actual diaper from the cream (which can stop the diaper from being absorbent).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a fleece lined diaper- you can see the fleece doesn’t even fully cover the prefold (and isn’t even cut straight- ha!), but it does the job just fine!

Now that we’re “cloth diaper experts”- hahaha- I decided to stop our diaper service and purchase our own prefolds.  We do a load of laundry daily anyway, so adding some diapers to that is no big deal, and since B is eating solids the poop is much easier to deal with.  We use Ecos laundry detergent and just toss in some vinegar (for fabric softening) OR baking soda (for odor removal)- don’t add both vinegar and baking soda though!

Cost wise I feel like prefolds and covers are a pretty inexpensive way to do cloth diapers.  Here’s a break down for you:

1.  14 Flip covers at $14.95 a piece- purchased from Sweetbottoms Baby, when they were having a sale of buy 2 get 1 free= $149.50

2. 24 unbleached cotton Indian prefolds in premium from CottonBabies.com, 12 for $24- $48

3.  Fleece liners- free, because we had the blanket already

Total= $198 for 14 diapers (plus 10 extra prefolds)

I purchased the longer prefolds because B is big (*cough* 29lbs at his last dr visit *cough* wearing 2T/3T at 16mo *cough*)- this size would not fit an infant well.  To diaper a newborn/infant I would purchase the infant sized prefolds (which is the size we were getting from our diaper service), probably 24-36 of them, so that would be a $36-52 investment.  And if B is still in diapers when hypothetical baby 2 is on the scene, then we would of course need more covers.

Overall this system works great for us, and I’m really enjoying cloth diapering!!  Plus there is just nothing better than a baby running around in a fluffy cloth diaper, don’t you think?

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Do you cloth diaper?  What’s your favorite type of diaper to use?