Second Verse...

Please check out the rules of this challenge here

Second verse has NOT been the same as the first!  Yesterday was almost exciting with all the build-up and anticipation of the challenge.  Last night, as I put a flat on him, (two, actually, the same as I detailed in yesterday's post for maximum nighttime absorbancy) I realized I still had a lot to do before I earned my rest.  I "made" my wipes and hand washed the flats we used in the camp-style wash bucket. 

Today has not been so exciting.  I was pleased my little man slept in, but for some reason I'm dog-tired today, so I've been fighting a case of the grumpies. 

Yesterday, we had no poopies.  YAY! 

Today we've had 2 poopies so far.  I had to laugh because Kim over at Dirty Diaper Laundry said the same thing...that there was no poop yesterday so today she'd be "in for it."  Yes...Yes I have been.  He even soiled one of his wool soakers.  Only a very little bit, so I was able to spot clean instead of wash the whole thing again, but it was enough to take our soaker out of the mix for a few hours.  This stinks for me because I was trying to see how long I could go with just the 2 covers since wool can be expensive ($20+ for an upcycled soaker) and I wouldn't expect a struggling mom to be able to have more than 2.  I guess I will have to be sure I suggest to anyone who may need to do something like this that they have a few other covers in their rotation.  Cheap PUL covers could be had for around $8. 

Without further ado, let's discuss the handwashing portion of this challenge.  Last night as I set to my handwashing, I came to 3 conclusions:

1.  Handwashing is for the freakin' birds.  I would totally haul a load of dirty dipes to the laundromat if I had to and welcome the quiet time to read.  A single mom would not have this luxury, though, in which case I would either haul a load to a friend's or my parents. 

2.  You get what you pay for.  In the interest of going as cheap as possible I used a 5 gallon bucket I already had and went to WalMart to buy a lid for it and a plunger.  The cheapest plunger available was a wooden handled one for 2.48.  The lid was 1.48.  I didn't go to Lowe's to get the lid to match the bucket because it is 15 miles away and we didn't have the extra gas money to make a trip for a LID...so as hubbs was drilling a hole in the top, the WM lid cracked 6 ways to Sunday.  He taped the top so that it wouldn't crack further.  It also does not fit the Lowe's bucket quite right, so it wiggles around while I "agitate" the wash.  While I used the wooden-handled plunger, the plastic lid scraped away at the handle and now it's splintered to crap.  Hubbs says we have a plastic-handled plunger downstairs and I will attempt that instead.

3.  I will do the washes in the morning from now on, as I had to dry on my drying rack in the bathroom and not all of the flats were dry by morning because they are big and overlap each other.  If I do them in the morning, I can hang them on the line and since my dog is a DOG and I have to bring him in when I line-dry, it will force me to also make sure I'm doing his training sessions with him.  Sounds like a double win.

Here I prepare for the first rinse. 
Filling the bucket half way with cold water for the first rinse.  I filled it about half-way and then agitated it for about 3 minutes.
After draining the cold rinse, the water was murky. I then filled the bucket half way with HOT water and poured in about a 1/2 Tbsp cloth diaper friendly detergent. I use Seventh Generation Free & Clear. I've tried other detergents and nothing seems to work for me like this does. This will absolutely be different for each individual, depending on the type of water in your area, your machine, etc. I agitated this for about 5 minutes and then drained, squeezing out excess water from the diapers.
I told you that lid didn't fit right, so I had to get all hillbilly about it.  And agitating sure kills this arthritic wrist!  My arms feel like I've been pumping iron, but that's not such a bad thing.  I'll be buff by the end of the week!
Finally was one more cold rinse.  I got tired of the lid and just started agitating it without it.  The water was perfectly clear the whole time, so I know I wasn't sloshing any yuck onto myself.  Amazingly enough, this whole process only took about 15 minutes total. 
Next I wringed everything out as well as I could and hung it to dry on the rack. 
The rack comes in handy when it's yucky out. If I lived in a northern-most state I would probably say I couldn't live without it, but being in Texas we can hang outside almost all year.  So while I am glad I have the racks, I wouldn't say a mom doing this out of necessity in my area would have to have one. 
A good example of getting what you pay for.  Those splinters had better not make their way into my hands tonight.  Tomorrow hubbs has to go to the next town for his volunteer position, so he'll pick me up a proper lid and we'll attempt the whole thing again with the plastic handle.

I also wanted to add that I was changing him more frequently than I needed to before I laid him down for his nap, so I decided to see how long an origami fold with a pad fold in the middle would last after he got up from his nap.  He lasted from 3pm-7:30pm.  He was wearing wool, so his clothes were not wet and the wool was only damp, but the 2 diapers were soaked.  I would *NOT* suggest anyone do this, 5 hours is too long for a baby to be in any kind of diaper, cloth or not, but we had to see.  Little man was never uncomfortable or I would have changed him earlier.  

So there is that.  Despite my irritability, day 2 is going well.  We're not tempted to use our fancy diapers and still fully intent on seeing this through to Sunday.  I am even giving myself an additional challenge to use only items we would find at WalMart for a day to simulate a mom in our area who would do this out of necessity.  The only concession I'll have to make is a diaper cover, as they only sell plastic pants there and I'd rather use a natural fiber.  My eventual goal is to be able to carry a stock of new and used items for the moms who take my class (praying it comes together!!) to get free or greatly reduced.  I would be sure to have more covers than anything else.  I already have my WM "flats" (and have been using them) and pins.  I will attempt a t-shirt as a diaper that day and use the recieving blankets I found laying around the house. 

Finally, I will leave you with a pictoral record of how I "make" my wipes.  Enjoy! :)

There are many different types of cloth wipes and many different ways to use them.  Here is just a small sampling based on what I have in my stock. 
Kissaluvs organic flannel wipes.  Or at least that's what I'm pretty sure they were.  I have about 24, they were 6.00/dozen at my local CD shop.  Sadly, they are no longer in business :(
Kissaluvs also has the most amazing wipe spray called "Diaper Lotion Potion"  The stuff smells fantastic, cleans well and is all natural.  It's a great option for traveling, just pack dry wipes, spray the potion on baby's bum (my son thinks it's super-happy fun time when we spray his butt) and wipe off whatever mess there is.  Then throw the dirty wipes in your wetbag.
A regular el-cheapo baby washcloth from WalMart.  This was in a 4 pack for a dollar. 
These are a little fancier, (read, a little pricier) but ADORABLE!  They are cotton on the front and a sherpa fabric on the back.  They were 5.00 for a set of 6.  Obviously not the most economical, but very cute and the sherpa cleans solid messes pretty well.  These are cut to the shape and size of a wipes box, so they fit right in.  The others have to be folded in half to fit in the box.
And then, of course, you remember the wipes Allan and I made out of the old, nasty fitted sheet.  I had to put some stitching in the edges to keep it from fraying too badly.  You could also make wipes out of an old t-shirt and the edges would not fray.  If you were cool, you could do these edges right, but I am not *that* cool.
I am currently in love with these little wipe solution stars I got over on Etsy.  They were only 7.95 for 40 of them and I got to choose 2 different scents.  The momma is on maternity leave right now, but you can find similar products or you can make your own solution.  With these, I have to dissolve a star in 8oz (1 cup) of water.  For this box of wipes, I used 1.5 stars because it was full to the top.  Typically I only have to use one.  If I have it filled with the sherpa wipes, they suck up 2 stars worth of solution.
I heat my water on the stove because we don't have a microwave.  This could easily and quickly be done in the microwave, though, if you have one.  In this 8" saucepan, it still only takes about 3 minutes for that water to heat to boiling.  Then pour the water over your star and stir until it's dissolved.
Finally, pour the solution over the wipes in the bucket and allow it to cool before using them.  A container of these wipes usually lasts me four days to a week, but last week little man was sick, so we were going through a box in a day.  For this reason, I would strongly suggest a person have on hand enough wipes to make 2-3 containers full.  They don't all have to be soaked, (though I do keep one prepared container upstairs and one down) just available to use in case you need them. 

I mentioned in a previous post that even if I went back to using sposies, I would NEVER stop using my wipes.  These are so simple to prepare (it only took me 5 minutes to make these, even with boiling the water and taking pix for the tutorial) and easy to use.  They are better for your baby's bum and if you get a scented kind, they smell fantastic.  If you get an unscented kind, they are really unscented.  (I say this because I noticed my Seventh Generation F&C disposable wipes STUNK)  My son doesn't scream like I'm ripping his skin off when I wipe him with these while he has a rash and they're easy to clean, too.  I just throw them in with my diaper laundry.  If I used disposables, I would just throw them in with my regular laundry (being sure to rinse poo off first, but pee will wash out easily)  I hope you will give it a try and see how awesome they really are!

Join me again tomorrow, as I muddle through Day 3 (leaving the house!)  :)

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