Cloth Diaper Care and Washing

Washing & caring for your cloth diapers shouldn’t be intimidating or hard. Collect used diapers in a designated pail (a basic trash can with a lid and some type of liner: a basic trash bag or a reusable/washable bag works well). Wet diapers can go directly into the pail, while poopy diapers take a quick trip to the toilet. Flick the poo into the toilet, flush and add the diaper to the rest in the pail. The disposable diaper companies won’t tell you this, but all human waste should be sent down the toilet and not sent to the landfill. When it’s time for laundry, start your machine, add detergent and dump in the diapers and walk away. Easy peasy.

Standard washing for cloth diapers:

Wash in warm or hot water for 1 or 2 cycles using a fragrance & dye free biodegradable soap. Hang dry or tumble dry on warm. Do not use chlorine bleach. Do not use fabric softener. do not use dryer sheets.

Helpful Tips for additional cleaning:

  • Adding a half cup of baking soda to the wash cycle will help to neutralize urine.
  • Hanging clean, wet diapers to dry outside in the sun will work as natural bleaching. The sun will help eliminate bacteria and remove old stains.
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the laundry cycle.
  • Keep a small cloth with a few drops of tea tree oil in the bottom of your diaper pail. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial and will help eliminate a funky smell.

Care and Washing of Wool Diaper Covers:

The wool diaper cover is made entirely of natural materials and as such requires a bit of love and care. Due to the natural properties of wool & lanolin the diaper cover will not get sopping wet, tho it may get damp. When it is wet, just hang it up to dry for a few hours. Do not put it in the dryer, as it is likely to felt to a smaller size! This diaper cover also isn’t likely to get a funky smell since wool and urine neutralize. Cool, huh?
When you do need to clean your wool cover simply soak it in tepid water with a small bit (pea size) of Lanolin and a small bit of baby shampoo.

Be gentle: if you scrub or agitate it too much it will felt. It is likely that a small amount of dye may bleed from the fabric. If the diaper cover has a bit of poop on it, you can just rub it together in the tepid water and it should come off. When it is done soaking roll it in a towel to remove excess water and lay flat or hang to dry. It’s rather simple and should not require washing too frequently. However, when you do wash it, remember you can not through it in the washing machine or tumble dry: IT WILL FELT TO A MUCH SMALLER SIZE!

If your wool cover falls scratchy, you may be able to add a little softness by either soaking it in tepid water with a healthy glug of vinegar or a squirt of hair conditioner. Then roll it in a towel and hang it to dry. It should not smell like vinegar when it is dry. Wool is a protein much like your own hair and likes a little acid now and then.

More Out-of-the-Box Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill and Save on Groceries

Okay, let’s get this out-of-the-way now. There are other highly effective ways to save on groceries than extreme couponing.
Not everyone is an extreme coupon clipper. I confess, I only invest a moderate amount of time tracking down and clipping the paper gold. Why? Clipping coupons takes a lot of time and access to piles of coupon inserts, and for me, it just has not worked out that I have much of either. I do use coupons where I can and leverage every one that gives me an advantage, whether they are paper or electronic. Beyond that, however, I just have never gained many advantages. But that did not stop me from cutting my grocery bill and saving on groceries, and it won’t stop you either.

If coupons just aren’t in your wheelhouse, don’t despair; you can still cut your grocery bill down dramatically with some ingenious cost-cutting tips.

Shop the Pantry First.

Chances are good that you have enough in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to make a meal. Before you make that trip, use what you have down to the dredges until you need to go shopping. Once you are at the store, shop only to complement what you already have. Any trip you don’t make to the store saves you money in what you would have spent, in gas, and in time (which you can spend elsewhere making money!).

Grow Your Own

If you have a moderately green thumb, growing your fruit and vegetables could save you a bundle. Admittedly, I did not put much effort into this until I found a bit of inspiration and encouragement. Last spring my husband and kids used a small part of the backyard and planted a garden. It became a group project that seriously cut down our food bill.

Consider Co-op Buying

Buying in bulk can save big money. In a buying co-op members buy into certain amounts of particular items, and split the purchase among the members. Search for local co-ops in your area or start one of your own!

Think Like a Restaurateur and Control Waste

As the old saying goes, “waste not, want not.” Restaurants strictly control waste because much of the profits can get thrown away without careful attention. Buy only what you will use. If you find yourself with leftovers, re-purpose them into a new meal. Keep a log of all the food that you throw away and the price you paid to buy it. At the end of each week, tally the numbers and next to it how long you worked to earn that amount. The reality of waste will be enough to give you the inspiration you need to buy and use products wisely.

Buy and Cook Like it is 1930

Depression-era cooking was purposeful and economical. The majority of what is in the market today was not even dreamed about in 1930. Most of it is processed convenience foods lacking in real nutrition. One of the things that revolutionized my cooking and saved me more money than I ever could have imagined was using an old cookbook as my meal planner. The suggested portions are smaller, and the ingredients are cost-effective. The food is “real” and does not take that long to prepare. Even better, the money you save not buying those convenience foods is astronomical.

Do you have a non-traditional way to save on groceries? Let us know!

Why You Should Never Stop Learning

I have a little problem called “I want to learn it all”. According to Google, there is a term for this. Now, correct me if there is a better term, but the one I came across is this:

Now, being someone who can’t seem to stop learning: a Philomath, has its pro’s and con’s and I have listed them below:

Pros:

  • I get to experience so many different trades, skills, and hobbies.
  • If one doesn’t work for me, I get to pick another.
  • Learning something new gives me a crafting high.
  • I get to meet new people.
  • I enjoy introducing my friends and family to new hobbies for themselves.
  • Etc. etc. etc.

Cons:

  • I can never really pick one. I just love doing them all.
  • It costs a lot of money to have so many different hobbies.
  • It takes up a lot of space to store all the supplies.
  • My mind never wants to just stick to one at one time, so it’s constantly being pulled in several all equally enticing directions.

So let’s take a look at that last con. The one I am currently struggling with. My mind is so excited about designing a new website, starting a new blog, trying to figure out what direction I want Bestof2Sisters to go in, thinking about when I can start using my hands to craft again, etc. etc. And all of those categories have MANY sub-categories.

Right now, I have two computers open near me. I am on my lunch break at work, a barely touched salad on one side, an open book next to that. My work laptop has 12 internet tabs open to interesting blog articles I want to read, and here, my personal laptop with another 12 internet tabs waiting for me. My email inbox has 60+ interesting and helpful emails from other bloggers I want to read. I stopped reading my book mid-paragraph to write a blog post that I wanted to get down before I forgot, and on top of that, I have 15 e-books/templates and worksheets printed out next to me waiting to be worked on too. I am also thinking about my website design that I want to get stuck into as well as all of my personal life thoughts running rampant in my tired and throbbing head.

My problem is a little more than a little problem.
So that book I mentioned earlier. I am 7 pages in and already am wanting to blog about it! It’s called ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown, is a New York Times Best Seller, and is here to help me sort out my head. I hope.

Let me show you the paragraph that made me stop and write this:

There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in. And although many of them may be good, or even very good, the fact is that most are trivial and few are vital. The way of Essentialist involves learning to tell the difference – learning to filter through all those options and selecting only those that are truly essential.

And I’m only 7 pages in!
Hopefully, with the more that I read, I will be able to sort through this tangle of eagerness in my head and learn to focus more on the immediately important aspects of my life.
Because this ‘Undisciplined Pursuit of More’ needs to CALM DOWN.
Do you have a similar problem at the moment? Let me know in the comments below. What one thing will you focus on today that needs your full attention?

Do You Have What it Takes to Start a Home Business?

Do you often hear of home business success stories? But you know of several people who’ve made a go of it, but it didn’t really pan out? It’s hard to figure out if it’s the right thing for you when you’re receiving mixed signals.

Having a home business can be the best thing that’s happened to you and your family. But it’s not always a bed of roses. There are unique challenges that face work-from-home moms, that moms who work outside of the home don’t have to deal with.

Tip #1 What are the Four M’s of a Home Based Business?

You won’t have to spring for office space and your expenses should certainly be less, but you’ll still have started up costs with opening a business out of your house.

Money. Although it’s possible, it’s not likely that you’ll start a business without any upfront costs. But depending upon the business you start, your early expenses can be as little as $10-$14 for a domain name and $8-10 for your first month’s web hosting, although with coupon codes you may be able to get started for much less.

Material. If you’re selling products, you’ll have the expense of the raw materials.

Manpower. Whether it’s your significant other who helps you or, or the labor of your children, you can often save the cost of hiring employees when you use what’s right in front of your nose.

Machinery. Minimally, you’ll need a computer and internet access, when you’re selling your services, but if you choose to sell physical products, you may have to invest in additional equipment.

Tip #2 What are Some Tax Benefits of Your Home Based Business?

Just because you no longer receive a regular paycheck doesn’t mean that you’re not responsible for paying taxes. But, it does mean that you can take advantage of tax write-offs that are available to home workers.

In order to maximize your tax deductions, you should have a dedicated space in your home which solely houses your work at home business. Also, if you have meetings in your home with clients, vendors, or affiliates, use that dedicated space for those meetings. Contact your accountant or tax attorney for more information on your specific situation.

Tip #3 What are You Selling – Products? Services? Or Both?

Some businesses solely sell physical products, which others focus on selling their services. There are some businesses, though, which actually sell both products as well as services. In order to be successful, you have to actively market whatever it is you’re selling.

Some things to consider:

  • Quality – Is the quality of your products or services up to par? Can you stand toe-to-toe with your competitors, or do you provide an advantage they don’t?
  • Cost – Are you more expensive than the others? Are you able to justify your price with continuous business, or are you priced so high that you barely have buyers? You have to find the right price point which allows you to sell your product at an amount that allows you to make a living, and provides the client with the exact product or service she needs.

Tip #4 Where are You Selling? Online? Offline? Or Both?

As a writer, you’ll want to sell your services both online and offline, but as a web designer, you’ll need to focus on selling over the internet – unless you’ve noticed local businesses who need your services. A person who sells a product that’s heavy – like furniture, may want to focus on their local area to avoid high shipping costs.
Take a look at your product or service and determine where your target audience is – online or off, and focus your efforts there.

Tip #5 What’s Your Patience Level?

So you’ve set out your shingle, and you’re ready to accept orders. But people don’t know who you are yet, so it’s dead. Can you handle that? Will you spend commit to spending 45 minutes to an hour each day marketing your business – even after business begins to pick up?
As a home-based entrepreneur, there are several challenges associated with running your business, but if you go into it with your eyes wide open, you’ll be prepared to face the challenges – not that you’ll have an immediate answer for all of them – and determine the best course of action as they appear.