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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

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One of the best things about Thirsties organic wipes is their versatility. Needless to say, a regular, disposable wipe has a one-time use – and then gets tossed away. Cloth wipes, on the other hand, have a multitude of uses, and we’re sharing some of our favorites today!

***These uses are only for after thoroughly washing your wipes. Just so we’re clear. ;-)***


“Family” cloth – I don’t use them this way, personally, but many families looking to reduce their waste swear by “family cloth” as a replacement to toilet paper. Just look at it as using the baby’s wipes as your own, I guess. 😉

Washcloths – This may be a no-brainer but Thirsties wipes are also perfect washcloths. Like, you could go buy a set (or several) for your bathroom just for this purpose. Knowing that they’re an organic option with two buttery soft layers means that they beat the heck out of the rough store brands AND come in super fun colors. What’s not to love?

DIY Reusable Cleaning Wipes – After potty training, your wipes aren’t done working for you. (Make sure you’re definitely done because some cleaners will void your Thirsties warranty.) Try making DIY reusable cleaning wipes to help cut back on your family’s waste. We keep a container of these under the sink in the bathroom (because while our older son is potty-trained, things can still get a tad messy) and just mix a variation of the solution to re-moisten once in awhile. Plus, it smells WAY better than store-bought.

Rags – Hand-in-hand with the cleaning wipe idea, Thirsties wipes make great cleaning rags when they’re done wiping bums. (Did I just go there? Yup, I did!) So, again, give them a good cleaning and toss them wherever you need rags for wiping things up. The two layers – one a super soft organic cotton, the other a super absorbent terry cloth – give you options when wiping up spills or needing some more “grab” when scrubbing something.

Plus, they’re not too thick, not too thin. Essentially, they’re the Goldilocks cloth.

Dusting/cleaning floors – A lot of people swear by microfiber cleaning cloths for cleaning wood surfaces, but for some reason they always seem to snag the skin on my hands (and my hands really aren’t dry, which is perplexing). I’ve heard I need to put them through the wash a few times to amend this, but it hasn’t worked.

Y’know what does work? Cotton and terry cloth. Bam, problem solved.

Washing/drying the car – This goes for reaching all those cracks and crevices inside your car, too! But, if you’re hoping to avoid leaving streaks, give these a try.

DIY Makeup Removers – Another way to cut back on waste is to try out this DIY makeup remover wipe “recipe”, which includes natural alternatives to the many nasty chemicals often found in the store-bought versions. I’m pretty bad at remembering to take off my makeup at the end of the day (or I shower in the evening so it’s a non-issue), but I could’ve used these wipes during my community theater days! Oh, the cakiness!

These are just a few ideas to get you started! We’d love to hear any of your own uses for cloth wipes aside from wiping tushies in the comments. Share and share alike!

 

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Maybe it’s just us, but we’re not really into the scary side of Halloween. I’ve read that it’s a lot better than it was back in the early 20th century (mayhem and super creepy homemade costumes!), but watching terrifying movies and putting out gruesome decorations that freak the neighborhood kids out just isn’t my idea of fun. I don’t know; maybe I’m just getting boring in my old age. 😉

But, you’d be surprised how many kids are brought up watching these things – and from an early age. I’ve already had a kindergartener tell me that his parents dressed his little sister up as Chuckie last year – and he totally knew who the character was. I’m still hoping he didn’t watch the movie, but ya never know.

So, just in case you’re like me (and if you do like the scary stuff, no offense meant! Everyone celebrates holidays in their own way), I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite not-so-scary Halloween books and movies/shows to watch this time of year.

***For the record, we have a 4-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter (who’s not supposed to watch TV and doesn’t for the most part, but you know how that goes).***

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Movies/Shows

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest – When I say that Curious George (namely, the TV show version) is our family’s favorite, it’s an understatement. My husband and I probably prefer Curious George more than our kids, who do, indeed, like the show; we even prefer it to grown-up fare, if you can believe that. The Man in the Yellow Hat is my husband’s spirit animal (I wish I was kidding) and I’ve sat analyzing the show from every angle (The Man character = Ross from Friends, I swear).

So, when they released Boo Fest, we were ecstatic. The whole thing takes place at their country house (which my husband considers his dream home…again, not kidding) and revolves around an old tall tale about a scarecrow called “No Noggin” who kicks off the hats of unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. The music and humor make this juuuuust scary enough for the littles to enjoy while injecting some great autumn fun. The secondary characters are just as timeless as George and the Man, too.

Mickey’s Monster Musical – If your little ones love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they’ll love Mickey’s Monster Musical. While it uses typical Halloween monster characters – Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, ghosts – they get a mild Mickey makeover when they’re played by the Disney characters, themselves. As adults, my husband and I give each other the side eye and a smirk – the premise is blatantly based on some old horror films, but we recognize it most closely resembles The Rocky Horror Picture Show; even some of the organization of songs and general tunes seem too close to be random, hee hee – but our little boy loves it, and that’s all that matters to us. Plus, the songs ARE kinda catchy.

If you buy the double DVD (which we ended up doing when we found ourselves fed up with a lack of kid-friendly Halloween fare), there’s another MMC Halloween-themed show, Mickey’s Treat.

Mickey’s House of Villains – Found on Netflix (woohoo!), this winds a storyline of Disney villains taking over the “House of Mouse” (Mickey Mouse’s more grown-up “club” from the 90s TV show) through a handful of old and new Halloween Disney shorts. Honestly, my favorite part is the shorts, but our son seems to enjoy the whole thing, even if he has to convince us that “I won’t be scared, guys.”

The ending with essentially a battle between Mickey and friends vs. the villains could be construed as a teeny bit scary, but it’s a happy ending and you can also always end it after the shorts if you think your little one won’t like it. (I still consider it low on the scare-o-meter, but .)

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Speaking of the scare-o-meter, this one’s more on the high end, so depending on the age of your little one, take this into consideration. For the most part, the film takes place in the sleepy WWII-era England countryside and revolves around a sweet but no-nonsense witch-in-training (Angela Lansbury) taking in three kids who have been orphaned by the war. While searching for a magic spell, they take mystical journeys (particularly cartoon-based ones) that give it a more Halloween-ish air of Mary Poppins, before things get darker when some Nazis infiltrate the scene.

The ending may be scary for some (I answered plenty of questions about Nazis and the suits of armor that kind of creepily fought them off – genuine questions, not fearful questions, but still), so enter at your own risk. This is by far the scariest suggestion on the list, so skip it for the younger set. It’s one that my husband adored as a child so we’ve added it to our annual “must see” list, but we’re quirky; we’ll be adding Arsenic and Old Lace when the kiddos are older, if that tells you anything.

Room on the Broom – You can either read this story or watch the half-hour-length movie/show (also available on Netflix), totally up to you, but I actually prefer the celebrity voice overs of the Oscar-nominated short movie. Either way, it’s about a kind-hearted, generous witch who makes “room on her broom” for several animals before encountering a problem that’s solved with the help of cooperation and friendship. (From the makers of The Gruffalo, also an awesome not-too-scary monster book.) This has become one of my personal favorites.

Books

Creepy Carrots – A Caldecott Honor book for its awesome illustrations, this book is full of some creep – but no real scares – making it great for the younger set. Jasper is a carrot-lovin’ rabbit who is terrified that he’s being followed by some creepy carrots. This is a fun, excellent read for those who are too young for monster and ghouls. (My students and kids all love it and get the giggles while reading it, so hopefully yours will, too!)

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything – A classic Halloween tale with rhythmic repetition that gets the kiddos hooked, it tells of a little old lady who encounters all sorts of spooky things – a pumpkin head, a wiggly shirt, pants with no body, stomping boots – and walks faster and faster to her home. (Is she REALLY not afraid of anything, I wonder?) When they all catch up to her, she’s brave enough to answer the knock on her door, show them how unafraid she is, and even offer them a way to scare somebody. See if your little ones can guess what the solution is at the end!

Pumpkin Trouble – Adorably silly, this is a cute story about a duck who wants to make his own jack o’lantern but encounters some, um, trouble. (Spoiler alert: He falls in while scooping out seeds.) Even more giggle-inducing trouble ensues when he encounters his friends, who don’t realize it’s their friend, Duck. Little. Ones. Love. This. Book. It may seem super simple, but it’s totally worth buying. Kids of all ages love to reread it (or have it read to them) over and over again.

Apples and Pumpkins – If fall is your family’s favorite, like ours, this book is perfect. It captures the fun of picking apples and pumpkins, making a jack o’lantern, and going trick-or-treating without all the scary stuff. This is one of four books in Anne and Lizzy Rockwell’s series of seasonal books. The illustrations are sweet and classic, as is the story.

These are just a handful of our family’s favorites; hopefully you don’t think they’re too spooky!

We’d love to hear your own favorite family-friendly Halloween books and movies in the comments to share ideas with all! End let me know if you like this type of round-up. As a librarian by trade, I’d love to share more holiday-themed lists if you guys like them. 

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We thought we’d take part in one of this month’s School of Cloth link-up posts (sorry we missed the rest of the month, but we’re ecstatic about this week’s topic!). Sponsored by the Real Diaper Association, the School of Cloth is an annual, month-long event full of cloth diapering classes provided by participating Real Diaper Circles, Real Diaper Association businesses, and other CD experts with knowledge to share. Attendees of classes may receive certificates in cloth diapering subjects and will be entered into a drawing for chance to win a cloth diapering package and may even select a qualifying cloth diaper charity (like our favorite, Giving Diapers Giving Hope).

In other words, it’s all about spreading knowledge – and good charity – as far as possible. What’s not awesome about that?

This week’s topic is about cloth diaper advocacy, a subject that’s near and dear to our hearts here at Thirsties. As a matter of fact, our very own cloth-diaper-slash-social-media guru, Laura, recently held a Facebook Live chat about this very topic. Be sure to check it out and mark your calendar for her future live video check-ins (which take place every other Friday at 12:30 Mountain Time); they’re always chock full of great information, support, and maybe even a giveaway. *wink, wink*

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Cloth diaper advocacy is many things to many people. Sometimes it’s just being open to supporting others in the cloth diapering community as the situation arises. For others, it’s going above and beyond to inform people outside the cloth diapering community about the benefits of using cloth. For still more, it can be putting together and implementing an action plan to educate the broader public and even affecting change in policies to create a more open-to-cloth environment for all.

And all of these things are great. There’s not one right (or wrong) way to get the word out about the benefits of cloth. So, we’re sharing just a handful of our favorites. If you have any other ways that you get the word out, we’d all LOVE to hear in the comments.

– Fly your cloth diapering flag proudly. Be open about your cloth use! If someone spies your choice in diapers while you’re changing your little one in a Target bathroom, strike up a conversation. Not only will you be spreading awareness in a non-pushy manner (which always gets you further than being preachy), but you may end up with a good friend out of the chat.

– Shower a new mom with awareness. Consider giving the gift of an adorable cloth diaper, some cloth wipes, and Booty Luster. New mothers love hearing about favorite products (at least, I did) and what truly works for other parents. Any time I’ve said, “Oh, they’re my favorite!” I get a very appreciative thank you and, usually, a follow-up conversation.

– Be open about your love of cloth on social media. Be proud about your favorite brands and befriend other cloth-lovin’ parents. Beyond that, though, don’t keep your passion only for the cloth groups online; share and share alike. I can’t say how many moms have private messaged me after seeing pictures of our kids in their cute fluff or just generally being aware of my love of cloth in order to ask questions and see how to get started, themselves.

– Don’t just sit on your awareness; spread the word. When there are awesome cloth diapering events – like the Great Cloth Diaper Change, Diaper Need Awareness Week, or the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge – tell others. Share on social media, chat with “real life” friends about it, or if you have a blog/YouTube channel/podcast, include it in your topics. Don’t just feel good about the involvement you’re making; be proactive in sharing it.

#schoolofcloth #realdiapers

Be sure to check out the other amazing ideas through the other School of Cloth link-up participants below, and don’t forget to share your own favorite advocacy secret in our comments below!

 

Join us for the Real Diaper Association’s 2016 School of Cloth!

Cloth diaper education for the masses!

Week 3 (October 15): How to Advocate for Cloth

Check out the other awesome blogs linking up for more information! If you are a blogger with a post you’d like to link up, please check out THIS document for further directions. Thank you for joining School of Cloth!

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It may be Columbus Day for many of us, but it’s also time to start thinking about another thing: Halloween costumes.

We actually started discussing our son’s costume with him months ago. It’s not because we’re crazy for Halloween (it’s probably our least favorite, aside from the fun dressing up part). We talk about it for awhile because it’s a lot like the proverbial spaghetti on the wall: the more costumes we discuss, the greater chance that one will come up several times (and “stick”). Right now, a made-up superhero is in running for first place. So, “Super Hadley” it is.

Every year, I make and/or compile the elements of his costume. While sometimes this involves sewing or other intricate craftwork, my ultimate goal is to A) achieve a general idea of what our son (and, soon, our daughter…when she can talk) requests, and B) keep it as simple as possible.

DIY “TRICKS”

After a few years of making our son’s (and now daughter’s) costumes and a lifetime with a mother who did the same for my family, I’ve picked up a few tips on how to do it simply, practically, and relatively inexpensively.

*Analyze the costume. First things first. I’ve made the mistake of starting to buy elements of the costume before thinking it through first (let’s blame Mom Brain, m’kay?). It can be wasteful and you’ll be stuck with random clothes or craft items you never end up using. So, pick it apart and write down the elements. Then write whether it’s something you already have, and if not what you can use to make it work.

* Some store-bought isn’t bad. Let me just put it this way: unless you’re growing the cotton and raising the sheep for wool to weave your own clothes, don’t stress about the fact that the costume has store-bought elements. It’s still DIY. You can still be proud of the fact that, yes, you made it. You are Super Mom (or Dad). (Not that it’s a competition, but when your child loves the costume you’ve assembled for them, it feels pretty rad.)

* Sweats are king. A lot of times, the foundation of our costumes are sweats (sweatpants and a sweatshirt). There are a couple of reasons. First, we live in an area where, more likely than not, we’d need coats during trick or treat. Using sweats adds an extra layer of warmth (especially compared to the thin, store-bought costumes) and you can put layers underneath to help out further. Secondly, the range of colors work for so many different types of costumes (or good ol’ black provides a great blank canvas). Thirdly, they’re SO reusable. Who doesn’t rely on sweats for those comfy play days?

* Think double-duty. I hate spending money on a one-time costume item. Sometimes it’s totally necessary (a pair of striped tights last year MADE our son’s classic ghost costume – and he actually asked to wear them, for the record ;-)), but whenever possible, I’ll look for double purpose. If we need to buy new sneakers anyway, I’ll make sure they match the theme. If we have to buy a costume element, I’ll ask myself if it’ll have a second life in our costume box after Halloween. You get the idea.  

* Be a reuser! A great way to cut down on the cost is to check out a thrift store for costume elements, or look at household items to help complete the look. A box with some bottle tops and a funnel can make an awesome robot. (Actually, a box can also make a cute Christmas gift – complete with a bow on your little one’s head and a “Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas” tag – but make sure they’ll fit through the door. I still remember a friend who had to get out of her costume in 1st grade to get into the classroom. Embarrassing moment!)

So, last year’s ghost costume? The fluffy element that he requested was actually super cheap (like, a dollar) sheer curtains from Goodwill layered and cut to fit over the whole shebang. I cut up one of my husband’s old white T-shirts to provide an extra layer of white underneath and one of the sleeves made his pointed white cap. I bought one piece of black felt to make his mask (which is now in our dress-up bin). He loved it and I loved how simple -yet cool – it was.    

Now, if only we could figure out what to put our 11-month-old daughter in this year! 😉

What are you guys planning for Halloween? Any cool dress-up ideas to share? We’d love to hear!

 

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Sleep. As parents, we’re all experts on it, or at least have tons of experience with it – coercing it, missing it, having it interrupted, and generally going without it. Just call us a sleep-obsessed lot.

We read endless books and articles about getting kiddos to sleep. There are a zillion opinions about what to (or NOT to) do when it comes to sleep training, bedtime routines, crying it out, co-sleeping… I’ve recently come to the realization that no matter what you do, it’s all a phase…and you’re bound to encounter  new one just around the corner. In our older son’s case, just when you think it’s safe to call it a success, there comes regressive nightmares and a sudden fear of the dark.

But, about those interruptions. There are a lot of reasons for a good night’s sleep to be interrupted, of course. Simply being a newborn (in which case, understandable!). A kid with nightmares. “Just one more glass of water.” A wet diaper. The list goes on.

Well, today I’m here to share a little secret as far as those wet diaper wake-ups are concerned. Many cloth diapering families work hard to figure out their respective nighttime routine, so maybe you already do this. But, all I know is that while we still get the occasional 3am wake up call, it’s not because of our daughter’s wet diaper anymore.

The secret? All natural, organic cotton doublers. We double them up (hence the name) inside a pocket diaper but you can use them to add an extra layer (or four!) to any of your cloth diapering routines. Even all-in-ones and fitteds!

Voila! Instant all-nighters. (Or, at least, some hope for a slightly longer REM cycle.)

On a side note, can I say how much I’m loving Thirsties’ natural fiber selections? From their awesome absorbency to their softness and their ease of cleaning, they’re seriously my favorite new-ish thing in cloth diapering. If you’ve tried ’em, tell our friends in the comments why and how you use them. Share the love!

So, what’s your nighttime challenge? (We all have ONE, right?!)

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