Monday, October 25, 2010

product review: Little Beetle cloth diapers

about three months ago, i embarked on the overwhelming journey of deciding which brand of cloth diapers to purchase.  if i was a patient person, i may have ordered several different brands of diapers and tested each one out before making an informed decision.

however, i was eager to start cloth diapering after we got the kids and decided to do all of my research on the internet and jump in with two feet.  my initial research (before we got the kids) helped me to land on a fitted diaper with a separate cover diapering system (the other two types are an all-in-one or a pre-fold).  if you are in the midst of this decision is a great resource, and simple mom also has a good series about cloth diapering going on right now.

Little Beetle Organic Wool Cover - Natural Size 1 with Snap Closurelong story short, i ended up ordering little beetle diapers.  i want to share the positives and negatives.  i dont share this claiming to be an expert, i have only been a mom for three months and a CD'ing mom for about two, and this is the only system i have used (besides a couple of gerber prefolds that i have around to use in a pinch).  but i want to give you my initial impressions here.

the good part of the reason that i chose these diapers is because they are environmentally-friendly.  the diapers are made of an organic cotton/hemp blend, and the covers are made of wool.  the wool covers are surprisingly water resistant (though not 100% waterproof) and i like the idea of wool in order to avoid plastic as much as possible, and to have something natural against my babies' skin.

the diapers themselves have a removable insert, which makes them easier to dry and allows me to adjust the absorbency depending on my need (for example, we use double inserts at night).  i chose the snap closure kind, which sometimes is a bit of a hassle when i am in a hurry, but i prefer overall to pulling out diaper chains from the wash (which can happen with aplix closures).

Little Beetle Little-to-Big (One Size) Organic Wool Diaper Cover with Snap Closure (Natural)i have found these diapers to be very absorbent as well as easy to use (alex has never complained once about them).  The few times we have had leaks were always because either the diaper cover was not on correctly or because we waited way too long before changing them (that sometimes happens when you are running around after four kiddos).  We have only had a blowout once or twice (when lovely girl was teething and having constant diarrhea for about a week).

the bad wool covers are a bit more complicated than plastic.  they have to be lanolized (ie re-waterproofed) every month or so, and have to be hand washed in the sink.  when we first got them, lovely girl's messy diapers often spilled out onto the covers, which was a hassle to almost daily clean a diaper cover. since then i have realized i should just only spot clean when that happens (duh! cant believe i didn't realize that earlier).  plus we must be getting better at putting the diapers on correctly because this rarely happens now.  despite these drawbacks, i still think i prefer the wool covers to plastic ones.

we have also had some issues with ammonia burn, but i dont think that this is the fault of the diapers, its either our hard water or the detergent we are using.  we are in the process of trying to solve the ammonia problem, but for now we are just using sposies at night, which has temporarily resolved the issue.

the bottom line: would i buy it again? when i ordered the diapers, both lovely girl and little man were in size two diapers, which means that if we ever get/have an infant at some point, we are going to need buy more diapers in size one.  i have been thinking about whether or not i would buy these diapers again and frankly i am not sure yet.  i am very satisfied with the performance of these diapers, but part of me would like to try something else just to get a better idea of what is out there.  in short, i would lean toward probably buying them again, but i'm not for certain.

my review of these diapers cannot be separated from a review of the company i purchased them from, eden cloth diapering i cannot give a high enough recommendation for this company, mostly because of the stellar customer service.  part of the reason i purchased these diapers was because of all the help the owner of the company gave me.  before i even made a purchase, she answered all of my questions in several different lengthy emails.  when i explained our family situation to her, she was willing to put together a package for us at a discounted price to fit our diapering needs.  since my purchase, i have been able to email her at any time with more questions.  furthermore, her thorough responses are also always timely: i have always gotten a response to my emails within a day or two.

i am under the impression that it is a small company and their product line isn't super-extensive, but it focuses on eco-friendly CD'ing options and various other baby products.  i appreciate that it is owned by a mom who has lots of experience and thinks through the products that she offers.

if you are looking for a cloth diapering store, i highly recommend hers.  and if you happen to email her with a question, tell her you heard about her from the crazy mom in california with four foster kids ages four and under.

in summary: if you know me, you know that i am frugal and will do almost anything to save a couple dollars (that is part of the reason we cloth-diaper over disposables).  there are less-expensive cloth diapering systems out there.  and even for this specific system/brand, i could have gotten it a little cheaper at another online store.  but i decided to go with a brand that i felt is high-quality and worth paying more for, from a company that is also high-quality because of their personal service.  and i am satisfied with my investment.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

missional mothering

"Young mother, it seems like everyone wants something from you. And you’re probably already giving way more than you ever thought you could give. But even with all your giving, you might struggle with guilt—lingering, joy-drenching, energy-sapping guilt—that you should be doing more, giving more, accomplishing more.

Don’t waste that guilt. Pay attention to it. Use it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in light of Scripture. Is this a godly grief that leads to repentance or a worldly grief that produces death (2 Cor. 7:10)? Is it life-giving or life-depleting? Ask yourself, does this bring fresh joy and peace to those nearest me, or does it add unnecessary stress and strain to my home?"

read the rest of the article by jani ortland at the resurgence

Saturday, October 23, 2010

hoping to win this week...

here are some great giveaways from some blogs that i follow.  i hope i win!

a pizza making kit from passionate homemaking

high quality fermented cod liver oil from kitchen stewardship  (CLO is the only supplement that i give my family... NO multivitamins for us!!)

a book on herbal nutruting from keeper of the home

all three of these blogs are high quality and i recommend them to you for more than just their giveaways :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

its gonna be two babies

tonight before bed, the boys and i were praying for "number one mommy's" [ie their birthmom] unborn baby.

as he was bouncing up and down while doing circles [a typical activity during prayer for these guys], oldest brother announced "its gonna be two babies".

my ears perked up.  "by two babies do you mean two babies in number one mommy's tummy or one baby in number one mommy's tummy and one [insert lovely girl's name]?"

*blank stare*

"are there two babies or one baby in number one mommy's tummy?"

"two babies"

now, oldest brother is four and often gets things mixed up.  so i'm not putting stock into birthmom being pregnant with twins.  but its a slight possibility at this point.

that would be crazy!!!!

one of the most encouraging passages about ministry in the NT

"The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter his seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day and the sees sprouts and grows; he knows not how.  The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

mark 4:26-29

[if i didn't believe that God is sovereign, i would probably have already gone nuts by now]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

sneaky liver

recently, i have been getting into using organ meats, particularly liver, in my cooking.  these days, organ meats are overlooked because of their taste and because of their high fat and cholesterol content (but i am not afraid of fat or cholesterol).  however, traditionally organ meats were not only used but prized.  people spent hours preparing them and they were given as a first food when weaning (chicken
liver was lovely girl's first real food!).

we now know that organ meats are very high in nutrients.  "Organ meats are the most nutrient-dense part of the animal—from ten to 100 times richer in vitamins and minerals than muscle meats" (source).

here are some ways that i sneak organ meats into our meals on a regular basis:

soup broth i find that i can get away with about a cup of pureed liver in a large pot of soup, and more in a pot of chili.

taco mix after finely chopping them, i add all of the organ meats that come with a whole chicken into our taco filling.  this will work with many dishes that call for shredded chicken.

meatloaf meatloaf is great!  you can also sneak lots of veggies in there too.

my next adventure is to try to make pate and other dishes specifically for organ meats.  i cant wait! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

sneaky vegetables

if you know me, you know that i like vegetables.

i like them for their taste, but especially for their nutritional value.  vegetables (especially leafy greens) really pack a punch nutritionally, so i try to include them with every meal.

"every meal?  even breakfast?"  you may be wondering.  yes, its true.  i would say that the majority of breakfasts that i serve have vegetables.  here are three ways that i make sure my family starts off the day with veggies.

green smoothies

though i call them green smoothies, these smoothies are rarely actually green.  to our morning smoothies i will add all types of vegetables (depending on what we have at the house): carrots, cucumber, summer or winter squash, kale, spinach, bok choy, or mustard greens.  if you have a right balance of fruit and veggies and blend it for long enough, the veggies aren't even noticeable.

egg fritatta

i love eggs!  if they weren't so expensive i would probably serve them more than i do (we usually eat them about once a week).  veggies go pretty naturally with eggs, so its not too much of a stretch here.  i put an emphasis on the veggies, and use about a half to whole cup of chopped veggies per egg.  i always use chopped onion in my eggs, and in addition to that 2-3 other veggies, such as cabbage, leafy greens, peppers and tomatoes.  to simplify my life since we got the kids, i usually make this in a baking dish, and bake it at 350 degrees until it is done.

anything squash/pumpkin

i LOVE squash season!  there are so many delicious ways to serve this amazing food.  you can put squash or pumpkin into pancakes, waffles, muffins or bread.  you can even put them in eggs (trust me... i have done it on more than one occasion).

this week, i baked butternut squash sprinkled with sucanat, cinnamon and butter.  when it was done i mashed it with a fork and served it topped with some lightly sweetened homemade frozen yogurt.  it was delish!

Farmer's Market Foods Organic Canned Pumpkin, 15-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)another breakfast i have in mind for a day soon is pumpkin parfait: mixing mashed pumpkin and plain yogurt together, topped with pumpkin seeds and chopped toasted pecans.

sneaky vegetables in other meals:

*finely chopped veggies in meatloaf.  this is an especially great way to get in more leafy greens!  make the meatloaf with a chopped onion, a chopped bunch of leafy greens (i usually use kale or mustard greens), a pound of grass-fed ground beef and a couple of pastured eggs and you will be having a nutritional heyday.

*mashed cauliflower.  it is similar to mashed potatoes, but it is less starchy, and helps pack in more vitamins.  Here is one suggestion on how to make it.

*on many recipes that call for rice, i will replace about 1/4 of the rice with grated summer squash.

happy vegging! :)

i would love to hear your suggestions on how you include more veggies in your meals.  leave a comment to share your tips!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

twice the loveliness?

the first time that alex saw birth mom, he suspected that she was pregnant again [baby girl was 5 months at the time, by the way].

recently we found out that this is true.  there has been lots of speculation and discussion between alex and i about the gender of the baby and her possible due date. [to be clear, if the child was taken from mom, we would be first to get the call, but she would probably only be taken if she tests positive for drugs.  which might not happen, because it seems as though mom is clean right now, as far as we can tell]

on thursday, after the parent visit, the social worker told me that the baby is a girl.  a girl!  my heart soared.  i felt almost as happy as i would be if i found out i was having a girl.  that moment reaffirmed my love for these kids and my desire to be in their lives.  i prayed [i think for the first time?] that God would definitely allow us to adopt them [all 5... or more?], though i know that his plan is perfect, no matter what it is.

i think i would have been just as excited to find out that she is having a boy.  just getting more of an idea of who might be a part of our lives soon is exciting.  but when i found out it is a girl, all i could think about was all the loveliness of lovely girl, and how that soon may be doubled.  that would be, in a word, awesome.

we are suspecting a due date in january, plus or minus.  but this is a total guesstimate.

in other news, oldest will start pre-school this week!  i have mixed emotions but i am mostly excited.  more on that in a future post [if i get around to it!]

in still other news, i have ventured out into a new realm of the culinary world... fermenting vegetables!  so far i have made garlic and dill carrots, jalapenos, and sauerkraut.  and right now a batch of ketchup is fermenting.  yum!  more on that as well in a future post [if i get around to it!] but until then, i recommend this recent blog series from nourishing gourmet if you want to know some of the many benefits to lacto-fermentation.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

more older brother quotes

"Where is grandma?" [refering to my mom]
"She's at Hio"

"i'm gonna wet you!"
[when he splashes in the bathtub]

more quotes here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

more good stuff from revelation

in addition to some great descriptions of jesus, revelation 2 and 3 is also full of some great promises.  jesus promises that "[to] the one who conquers..."

"...I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God." (2:7)

"...will not be hurt by the second death." (2:11)

"...I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it" (2:17)

"...I will give authority over the nations and he will rule them with a rod of iron... and I will give him the morning star." (2:26-28)

"...will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels." (3:5)

"...I will make him a pillar in the temple of God.  Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of Heaven, and my own new name." (3:12)

"...I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne."  (3:21)

this gets me excited for the new earth!

good stuff from revelation

the other day i was studying revelation 2 and 3.

i love how jesus is described in these chapters:

"him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands" (2:1)

"the first and the last, who died and came to life" (2:8)

"him who has the sharp two-edged sword" (2:12)

"the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze" (2:18)

"him who has the seven spirits and the seven stars" (3:1)

"the holy one, the true one, who has the key of david, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens" (3:7)

"the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation" (3:14)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

oldest brother quotes

"yeah and jesus killed the sheep"

-oldest brother, in front of the doctor who was examining him.  he was a little fuzzy on the story we had read the day before from our big picture storybook bible

"be strong, and courageous,
go go God!"

-oldest brother, when he is trying to sing "be strong and courageous, God is never going away"

"him is weak and him is strong"

-oldest brother, trying to sing "they are weak but he is strong" from "jesus loves me"


-how oldest brother starts out pretty much every sentence from his mouth [he has a stutter]

Monday, October 4, 2010

update on the kiddos

here is an expert from an email to my cousin (i am too busy to write something new but this will have some stuff most of you dont know)

so a summary on the kiddos... overall, i think we are seeing lots of improvements in them, but the day to day is still pretty hard usually, so sometimes i wonder if there is any progress... but i am pretty sure that we are seeing progress.   the oldest ( he just turned four last sunday) has been having tantrums a lot in the past few weeks, but they seem to be decreasing.  they almost always start when he doesn't get his way. we are assuming that if he cried enough that he would get his way with his birth parents.  i think (hope) that they are decreasing because he realizes that that doesn't work with us.  but he is stubborn... i have seen him tantrum for over an hour when he doesn't get his way.

but on the upside, though the tantrums are hard, since he is the oldest, he is much more teachable and able to help out with his siblings.  he always loves to hear stories about "jesus with the nails on his hands".  every time we turn a page in our big picture storybook bible, he points to any random guy in the picture and says "HEY MOM!! LOOK ITS GOD!!!"  hilarious and cute.  and he is ready and willing to help with whatever i ask him to, even things like folding laundry and sweeping the floor (not that he does either of those things particularly well... but the boys dont do well playing together for long periods of time, so i give him tasks like that to keep him busy.)  we have also started working on shapes, colors and letters with him.  colors he got in about a week, shapes are getting there but he is still a bit fuzzy.  letters are a lot harder (he knows letter "a" now... and even "b" on good days.  he gets really excited and points out every single letter "a" he sees).
The Big Picture Story Bible

the next oldest brother (2 1/2) is definitely in his terrible twos, and sometimes mimicks some of oldest brother's tantrum behaviors, but overall his behaviors are much more manageable.  he has the cutest dimples and loves getting hugs and cuddles all day.  his speech is literally indecipherable... i dont know if he has a speech delay or if that is normal or what.  sometimes anthony can help translate but its hard.

i wish that i had more one on one time with the middle brother because his older brother totally overshadows him and is always trying to steal my attention.  its hard to do anything with the older two boys because they are often fighting or doing other things to get the attention of whatever adult they are with.

both older boys are totally in the stage of "what's that?" "why?" and "where is ___?"  sometimes its a good teaching tool, but i dont even think they listen to my answers because they usually interrupt my answer with another question.  in my tired moments i resort to "because" or "why not?".  its almost like they are afraid of silence because they are constantly talking and asking questions.  talking constantly is a huge drain on me, since i am an introvert.

the youngest brother gets even more overshadowed because of his two older brothers.  when he came to us he had two words, and now he has tons, easily over 20!  its been cool to see him blossom in that way.  he did have what was considered a speech delay when we got him, but now he is typical.  sometimes i forget that he is just one year old and expect him to behave like his brothers but i love that he is still in the stage where peekaboo is just about the coolest thing on earth.  he likes to be held a lot, which is endearing but also hard because there is so much to do for each of them all the time that i cant hold him as much as he wants.  he is a classic "insecure attachment" case (which is very sad), hence the constant desire to be held.

lovely girl (who just turned 8 months!) is just a darling.  she is just too cute to forget about, so for the most part i would say that her brothers dont overshadow her.  that is because her temperament and personality is so silly and adorable... definitely a contrast to her brothers who are constantly hitting and whining.  she just got her first two teeth last week and she loves to stand with a support.  she puts everything in her mouth... last week, i looked over and green foam was pouring out of her mouth.  i had a heart attack until i realized that it was just caused a small piece of chalk she was gnawing on (my first thought was that it was some kind of a chemical).

those are some quick updates.  i hope to post some quotes from the oldest brother.  he is just too funny sometimes without knowing it.