Friday, June 7, 2013

Ever-Changing Diaper Washing Routine...

I have yet to find a routine that works 100% of the time for washing our cloth diapers. Mostly I blame our failing washer...but I keep tweaking the system looking for the "easiest" way to get them clean!  Today, I updated the routine...or rather, the written instructions for the routine I have adopted over the last week or so.

Our old routine had stopped working, our washer only pretends to wash things now...leaving actual poop still on them even after 3 cycles with soap!  Since I do most of the washing, I'd slacked off on writing up the changes I made to my "system".  The main change was adding a "soak" step to the whole process, this seems to have really helped in getting the diapers clean until we can get a new washer (hopefully in the next few weeks) or attempt "fixing" this one!

So, here is what I typed up (I love my snipping tool)... What I forgot to add was the water need as much water as possible in the washer, but I generally wash nothing unless it's a full load (large), so that should never need adjusting anyway.

Hanging on the wall...
My typed instructions are so that anyone can do the laundry for me.  I tried to keep them simple, because it is a very complicated set up anyway, especially if you think about all the chemicals sitting on top of my dryer for washing various things (liquid Tide Free & Clear for our clothes and the baby's clothing, White Vinegar for use as a fabric Softener but used rarely on the baby's stuff, scent beads for our stuff only, dryer sheet solution which shouldn't be getting used at all right now and I keep hiding the dryer sheets so they can't be used as it can cause the diapers to repel moisture, the powdered Tide for the diapers, the homemade cloth diaper detergent for the diapers because neither "soap" work well enough on their own so I mix the two, a small jar to pre-measure the diaper detergent into so it can be dumped in if I'm in a rush, measuring spoons for all the stuff so they don't cross-contaminate each other (most worried about stuff getting on/in the diapers), various cups and scoops for everything else...ugh)!  As for the mention of "which OxiClean tub...I reuse those for lots of stuff, my Tide Powder is in one with a yellow lid.

I forget where I read it (another blog, I know that), but someone posted that they leave a dry-erase marker in their laundry to write reminders like "don't put the black bra in the dryer" on the washer lid.  This works great in my multi-step wash routine!  When I put the diapers in for their first cycle (to rinse out the poo and unstuff the diapers without me having to do it by a side note, the KCK All in Ones, which were really pockets that someone had modified the pattern from the AiO pattern, are the only brand of diaper that do not unstuff themselves in my washer!  Before Gabriel was born, I had heard that Applecheeks were the only brand designed to do this...I couldn't afford those though, and am too lazy to unstuff dirty diapers to go in the wash...and no one else wanted to touch them either), I write on the lid "soap" and "rinse" (I also write "soak" between them now too).  This way, I know what step I need to do next and anyone else can help by doing the next step in the process without too much confusion.  I also fill my little glass jar with my measured amounts of detergent at the same time, this way I know that if the jar is empty, I just forgot to wipe off that step (rather than running it twice with soap).  Obviously, I went dry erase marker crazy on the front of my washer too...don't worry, it all washes off!

Labels keep things moving smoothly, with few questions when I have to ask someone to go "start that load of laundry please"!  We always use the longest wash setting...I don't know why but we always have.

I got smart and dated the routine this time...that way I can know if it's out of date and we aren't going to be the ones using the information (grandma takes over laundry duties when she comes to visit most of the time).  I still need to finish typing up the rest of the clothes washing routines, which are also out of date...but that may have to wait until I get home!  But, they go in the plastic sheet protector and hang n a peg on the wall too for easy referral for anyone not used to my "system".

Monday, June 3, 2013

Green Onion Mayonnaise...

I have a new favorite topping for hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as a dip for veggies and cheese sticks!  My green onion mayo is very versatile & low carb!

First a little history to why I have a ton of dried green onion in my house...  Green onions are super way to regrow!  Just buy them at the store, being them home, and cut off most of the green part. Now, stick the whites (I leave them banded together) into a juice glass, 3 bunches for into my small drinking glasses (a juice glass), with enough water to cover the bulb parts. Then just stick them in a sunny window and watch!  I get about 1/2" of growth every day!  
Back to the cut green parts, snip them up and put them on a foil lined cookie sheet in an oven set to 200-250 degrees and keep an eye on them while they dry/bake/roast. When they are all dry, pull the sheet out to cool. While drying some of the onions will turn brown and get a yummy roasted flavor to them as well! I cut and dry all the green onion tops as they get big, minus what I use fresh. I can get 3 full growths out of a bunch before the onion flavor gets extremely strong (at which point, the whole kitchen is usually smelling like onions as well). After 3 sets of onions bunches, I have cups of dried onion all over my kitchen!  This "recipe" was born from a need to use some of the dried onion up before I was over run!
On to the recipe!

Green Onion Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) Dried Green Onion
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley (or 3-4 Tablespoons fresh)

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight container in the fridge!  

Sometimes, the dried onion turn the mayo looks unappealing, but tastes amazing still!  Also, I like it really "oniony", so maybe start out with less onion and adjust it to your own tastes.  And, the Parsley just adds color, it can be left out all together if you don't feel like adding it (or are running out/low).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Favorite (Useful) Baby Item...

Okay, so there are really like a million "favorite items" I have...our Pack N' Play system (was super awesome when he was a newborn and fit into the "newborn napper" and the "bassinet" insert was even awesomer for longer...we are going on a week-long trip at the end of the week to get out of Daddy's hair so he can do some training from home and taking the PNP without the insert (which means I need to remove the poles from the bag too) and using it like a "normal" PNP to sleep in), the Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano (he still plays with this), the other piano toy my Mom bought him, pretty much all of the VTech, Fisher-Price, and Leap Frog toys (fun and educational), my Ergo (!), the stroller, his set of blankies (hand made by his Mommy {me}), all the clothes and toys I manage to pick up the first Saturday of the month at the Quarter Sale at Sweet RePeat...the list goes on and on!

The "old" high chair...this is pretty much how it always gets a "stuff catcher".
Today though, when I say my "favorite baby item", I am referring to our high chair!  We had a high chair...we didn't need another one, but I am so glad I made the decision to buy it! Our original high chair was a gift from Gabriel's was a previously loved high chair that they had bought from a coworker when their oldest grandson came up for a visit.  It worked, but I am not a fan of the hard plastic high chairs that offer a reclining back so you can leave your baby there to pass out at the dinner table (or the whole day).  Besides, I don't think it offers a fully upright position to eat in, this is essential in Baby-Led Weaning (Feeding, not true weaning...but for ease, I still call it BLW)!

NOT my photo...I borrowed this one from Amazon's site.
So, what did we get?  We got a Regalo Easy Diner Portable High Chair!  Current price on this high chair on Amazon (that link will take you right to it) is $17.80!  I paid $19-something for ours...but I would gladly pay double or triple that after having used one.  In fact, most "clip on" high chairs will run you $40-80 or more!  I was skeptical of this chair and left it sitting in my "shopping cart" for weeks while I tried to decide if the $20 was worth "blowing" if it didn't work out.  Then, I was watching 19 Kids and Counting (I's a stupid "reality" TV show and I think they're all a little bit nuts, but I enjoy watching it anyway...) and the oldest son (the married one) had one hooked up to the dining room table for their toddler!  Well, I said...if the frugal minded (I assume he's frugal having to grow up in a house with that many siblings) Duggar thinks it's worth the $20, I'll give it a shot!

Dinner at Olive Garden!
 We love this high chair!  Not only does it work well at home, it is super easy to toss in the car and take with us!  Our biggest issue eating out was the baby...he's gotten old enough not to fit into the car seat we could take in with us (and he wanted to be up and "involved" anyway so he never stayed in it any more anyway) and he just didn't "fit" into the high chairs provided at restaurants!  Those are designed to hold much larger babies (toddlers really) and the straps are gross, stretched out, and most of the time don't even work.  So, we bring our own!  It has a 5-point harness system, he fits in it, the straps work, and he sits right up at the table with us!  Last night, he ate the tomato slices off of my meal (his favorite food currently)...he got 3 of the 4 slices of Roma Tomato and all that was left of them were 5 or 6 small bits that fell on the floor (only 3 of them hit the floor, the others he was just too full to eat and he pushed them away)!  That photo from the Olive Garden was taken after he ate!  He also got a little of the under side of a bread stick...his first experience with white bread and "soft" bread (he normally gets dry toast)!
Enjoying some Cucumber at Red Robin!

Every time we take him out with this chair, we get compliments about how nice it is...I wonder sometimes if I'm the only Mom that searches Amazon (and the like) for items that are useful...I mean, we all need high chairs...I know we can't all afford a Stokke for at home (even if we all want one...) and even those big high chairs are super can we all miss the under $20 high chair?  Anyway, point is...this is an awesome little high chair!  If you go look at the "user submitted" photos on Amazon though...the last few photos complaining about the Velcro not holding the weight of his/her 14.5 pound baby....yeah, that's not where the metal arms go through...that's the padding that wraps around the hole that the metal arms go through.  It is stitched together very well and easily holds the weight of my 21-pound 7.5-month old!  As a side note to the high chair mentioned above....I found one at the resale shop I love going to for $180, still out of my price range though, so someone else got it, lol.  Last night, I swear half the wait staff walked by just to get a peek at our high chair!  They always tell us how nice it is not to have their big bulky high chairs sticking out in the middle of the walking space (they do still have to go around this, but it takes up way less space) and how nice it is to see our little guy being "involved" in dinner!