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Inevitably, by this part of the summer, everything is falling apart. My kids are over it, I’m over it and we need something to break up the monotony. The kids are bored and starting to fight, the snacks have all been done before and school is still about four weeks away.

So, what do you do when you are in the mid-summer lurch and just the thought of opening one more popsicle makes your head hurt? I like to get organized. Getting organized mid-summer helps me do a little before school prep, gives me a task to work on while everyone is playing and helps to clear my mind. In this article, we are going to discuss ways to get organized over the summer.

Command Center

One of my favorite things in my house is an area we call the command center. It’s an old entertainment center with eight cubbies that hold our four children’s backpacks, lunch boxes, gym shoes and folders. Having a command center in the summer makes my life so much easier.

You can really choose any space in your house, but my formal dining room was turned into a homeschool room, so our command center sits there. The piece of furniture you choose can really be anything that meets the needs of your family. Some choose a bench with a hook overhead or an ottoman with removable storage. You can make your own command center without purchasing furniture with a couple Command hooks and a shoe rack, if you like.

I start with a place for backpacks as they are the biggest items. Ours sit on top of the entertainment center over their cubbies. Then a place for lunch boxes (our cubby #1) and sneakers and folders (cubby #2).

We love our command center in the summer because we do lots of hiking and camping, so we use their lunch boxes and backpacks year round. Hiking shoes can always be found in their cubbies, lunch boxes are emptied each day and filled again so that no matter what our activities for the day, lunch is taken care of and backpacks have extra bug spray, sunscreen, socks, their Hydro Flasks and a towel, in case our activity for the day resulted in dirt, water and/or both.

When school starts? Just switch out the contents of their back packs, replace hiking shoes with gym shoes and you are ready to start!

Art Center

Part of getting organized, for us, was getting all of the kids’ art supplies in one, easy to access place. I started by putting all the crayons and markers in big mason jars rather than dumped in a giant box. I grabbed a paper storage organizer from Michael’s and separated construction paper by color. Paints and brushes got their own plastic tote while finished art projects were hung on bulletin boards I grabbed at the grocery store.

I used command strips again to hang up art smocks and put a wet bag of cloth wipes nearby to make clean up quick and easy. (Because you need wet bags always!) In the end, we ended up with a neat and organized little art corner that the kids will actually spend time in. #winning

#ThirstiesTip You can use wet bags for almost anything. One of my favorite summertime uses for wet bags is as art cleanup bags. We clean the tables with a child safe cleaner and wipe them down with our Thirsties Organic Cotton Cloth Wipes. When we’re done, smocks and cloth wipes go in an extra wet bag to head to the laundry room for wash day!

Snacks

Summer seems like the time where snacks are a 24/7 request. I needed something to help me manage the constant, overwhelming asks so I dedicated an entire food drawer to grab and go snacks that my kids could get without having to ask. It is the easiest way not to have to stop what I’m doing all summer long every time sometime needs a small snack.

Thirsties Sandwich Bag Farm Life

My favorite items are:

  1. Peppers and hummus individual servings
  2. Snap Peas and hummus individual servings
  3. Chips and guacamole individual servings
  4. Yogurt
  5. Cheese Sticks
  6. Cuties
  7. Thirsties Sandwich bags filled with trail mix, apple slices, cashews or almonds (The new Simply Sustainable line has great bags that I use for this!)
  8. Carrot sticks and ranch dip individual servings

#Momrealness™

Mid-summer exhaustion is real, so don’t feel like you need to overhaul your home just to get organized. A few little corners of organization here and there will eventually turn into a much simpler day. I think the command center has to be my favorite way to organize our lives and the most helpful year round.

I also like to add a few little things to help the kids make their corners their own like a painted letter of their first name hung over their cubby or maybe individually designed hooks that coordinate with their interests. They always seem to be more drawn to areas they can call their own.

Do you have a favorite summer organizational tip? Share it with us in the comments! Remember, you can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout the Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.

Thirsties prints have been on fire lately! There are so many new colors and prints to choose from and 2019 has not disappointed us. However, the star of the Thirsties line is truly their signature 55% hemp/45% organic cotton inserts and diapers. This blend is unique to Thirsties and a staple for any cloth diapering system.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the uses for hemp inserts, why we love them, alternatives to them and how to care for them.

Uses for Hemp Inserts

Hemp inserts can be used in so many ways. My personal favorite is to use two hemp inserts, one small, one large in the duo wrap of my choice. If you have a front wetter, I would suggest folding the small hemp insert in half towards the front to give you extra coverage. Even folded in half, the hemp insert is less bulky than most prefold and cover systems.

Thirsties’ hemp inserts are also perfect for pocket diapers. Pocket diapers are so customizable and the hemp inserts are the perfect size and shape for use in a Thirsties pocket diaper. If you need even more absorbency, you can always pair one large hemp insert underneath a Thirsties cotton doubler for more protection against leaks.

But let’s say that it’s really AIOs (All In Ones) that have your heart. A small Thirsties hemp insert is the perfect size to act as a booster to your AIOs. Using the original AIOs, you would place your hemp insert underneath your synthetic layer for maximum leak protection.

#ThirstiesTip Remember, My Cloth Baby is Happy. In order from fastest absorbing to slowest, fibers should be laid in this order: Microfiber, Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp. In other words, you’ll always want your hemp inserts to be at the bottom of your absorbency configuration.

Why We Love Them

Thirsties hemp inserts are so wonderfully trim! I loved that I could use them in almost any cloth diapering system without adding bulk to my diaper. This is especially important for nighttime cloth diapering systems. Hemp inserts will keep baby from waking up wet overnight and help baby sleep longer too.

As a natural fiber, Thirsties hemp inserts are also easier to clean than synthetic fibers. They come clean more easily and lift stains more easily too. Many caregivers prefer natural fibers versus synthetic when cloth diapering and love that these inserts come in two different sizes, small and large.

Alternatives

A great alternative to Thirsties hemp inserts is the Thirsties Natural One Size All In One diaper. The inners of the NAIO are made of the same signature 55% hemp/45% organic cotton that makes up the hemp inserts, with the convenience of an All In One.

Another alternative to the hemp inserts would be the Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold. Prefolds are so versatile and can be folded to customize absorbency for baby through toddler. Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefolds are quick to dry, easy to clean and grow with your baby. Two layers in each panel provide twelve thirsty layers when trifolded in your Thirsties Duo Wrap.

Another alternative to the Thirsties hemp inserts are the Thirsties All In Two Inserts. Thirsties AI2 come in Stay Dry, Natural Stay Dry and Natural Duo varieties. What’s great about Thirsties cloth diaper systems is that it is so easy to make small changes as baby grows and they enter new stages. Maybe as an infant you need to use the Stay Dry AI2, but for your toddler, you need two large hemp inserts to get maximum absorbency with minimum bulk. Either way, Thirsties grows with you!

Wash and Care

Washing and caring for your Thirsties Hemp Inserts is so easy. Here’s some easy to follow wash and care instructions:

To prep:

Thirsties Hemp products need to be washed and dried at least three times before use to rid the fibers of the natural oils. This is done separately from your other diapering products for the first 3 washes. The hemp products will be fully primed and at their maximum absorbency after 8 wash cycles.

To wash:

Prewash on warm with half the amount of recommended detergent. Heavy duty wash on hot with the full amount of recommended detergent. Add another rinse on warm and dry on medium heat.

#Momrealness

So, what do you do when you have lots of hemp inserts, but are no longer cloth diapering? My husband likes to use them for mopping and cleaning. Some use them as momma cloth or as a barrier for car seats and strollers when potty learning. I have had hemp inserts that lasted us six years and were still passed on to other mommas who were cloth diapering. If you need a workhorse insert for any cloth diapering system, this is it.


Have you found the hemp insert love? Share how you use hemp inserts with us in the comments! You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.

Summer is almost here, and spring in Alaska has been tough. One day it’s fifty, the next day it snows. The weather is always changing too fast for my liking, but it’s true: Summer is on the way!

Each summer, I struggle to find low cost ways to entertain our four kiddos and each summer I find something fun and different to try. Entertaining kids for the summer can be tough, especially when you’re on a budget. In this article, we’ll discuss the top seven low cost activities for the summer that you can do with friends, family and your adorable littles.

Picnic in the park

Picnics in the park are always so much fun! Let the kids help out packing their favorite snacks or even packing lunches for each other. I’ve found that given a few slices of deli meat and sandwich cheese and a cookie cutter, my kiddos were always way too eager to help gather ingredients and cut out fun shapes in their food. ‘

We have also used this activity to work on our alphabet and counting skills. Sometimes we would only pack items that started with a specific letter and other times we would only pack specific numbers of items. Either way, this activity is both fun and yummy!

#ThirstiesTip  Help reduce landfill waste by packing one of these Manataee produce bags on your picnic and these reusable sippy cups and fork/spoon sets!

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get exercise for the entire family and see more of the outdoors together. I like to bring along a hiking scavenger hunt to help keep my kiddos on the path and entertained. You can even bring a fun prize for the child who finds the most items! We also like to talk about maps and how to follow them, directions and what to do if we ever get separated. Hikes are a fantastic way to get the kids outside, exercising and having fun.

#ThirstiesTip Make sure to bring along plenty of water and a large enough water bottle like these 40 oz Hydro Flasks!

Camping

Ok, so I’m not a camping person, per se. But, this is a great activity that you can do with the entire family for little to no cost. Many states will also allow you to purchase a state park parking pass for a discount so that you don’t have to pay for parking each time you camp or hike.

I do love packing for camping and I always insist that our kiddos help. It teaches them how to plan ahead, which gear we should choose for different kinds of weather and also how to be responsible for their own items and clothing. Stories around the fire will help kiddos use their imagination and let’s face it, fresh air is just good for them. Many camp grounds do charge a fee, but it is usually very minimal if any.

#ThirstiesTip Camping obviously does require significant effort on the caregiver’s part, but I like to use everything as a learning opportunity. Even the little kiddos can help pick out what types of food we need to pack or run around grabbing socks and towels when we start packing.

Nature Walk Near Your Home

One of my favorite places to explore is actually near our own neighborhood. I like to take the kids for nature walks using a small notebook so that we can write down or draw pictures of any wild life, plant life or natural elements that we see. Surprisingly, my four can stay entertained on a nature walk for quite sometime and they like to make games out of who spotted something first or how many drawings they have in their notebooks. Living in Alaska definitely has it’s perks and one of them is that there is a ton of great places for a nature walk very close to home.

#ThirstiesTip Wet bags are my favorite thing to take on a nature walk. They are great for snacks and holding notebooks and crayons or even sunscreen and bug spray. You can never have too many wet bags!

Trip to the Library

Rainy summer days are for reading! A quick trip to the library always perks up my crew (and at least then I don’t feel like we did zero educational activities for weeks on end). We like to have the kids choose books for one another so that there’s a bit of a variety. Library books are also great for long road trips or days spent out camping. It’s so nice to see the kids pick books that they truly enjoy and not just what they were assigned. Little ones can usually enjoy story time at most libraries and some even have free craft days too.

#ThirstiesTip We like to choose a day of the week to go and stick to it. That way, our books get returned on time and summer doesn’t accidentally fly by before we make it back again. If nothing else, hey, there’s AC at the library.

Family Cleanup/Trip to the Donation Center

This is probably mom’s favorite activity and my kids’ least favorite activity. Cleaning up as a family helps keep everything more organized and keeps the house feeling fresh and put together. Summer is a great time to get a garage sale together and ask the kids to pitch in. We use our oldest as the ‘banker’ and while she works on her mental math, we let the younger kids sort things into piles by categories. Admittedly, this is definitely an activity that’s both free and a little bit of work, but summer is a great time to clear out and freshen up!

#ThirstiesTip We always use our garage sale money do to something fun that we wouldn’t normally spend money on like going to the movies or a museum. Another way to keep them entertained during the summer at a low cost (because garage sale money!).

Build A Garden

Building a garden is a great way to entertain the kids, teach them about how plant life grows and spend quality time together. It’s also an activity that can be done all summer long, even in the rain! My kids love to pick out their seeds together and carefully plant them in the garden beds and the best part is I can supervise it all from the porch with a glass of lemonade! Super low cost activity that keeps them both learning and occupied.

#Momrealness

My preferences have changed as my kids have gotten older. Many cities also have free or low cost activities sponsored by large organizations. Check with your city’s parks and rec center to see if there are any sponsored low cost activities in your area!
Do you have a summer activity you love? Share it with us in the comments! You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.

There are benefits to babywearing for both parents and baby and getting started can be as easy as making a trip to your local baby boutique. Babies who are worn have an easier time sleeping, are more likely to be successful at breastfeeding, are less fussy and have an easier time regulating their body temperature, breathing and heart rate.

Babywearing may also feel overwhelming in the beginning and choosing the best carrier for you and your baby is more than half the battle. Different carriers work for different parents and the style you choose may impact how often you wear. The best baby carrier for you will be the carrier that you can use safely every time and that is comfortable for you while wearing.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the different styles of baby carriers and how to choose the right baby carrier for your family.

Woven Wrap

Woven wraps are amazing from birth to toddlerhood. Wraps come in endless designs, blends and brands. You can choose from handwovens or machine wovens and even in which country your wrap was woven. Woven wraps do take a little time to practice and feel comfortable wrapping with, so there is definitely a learning curve. However, with a little hands on help and some practice, they can be a great asset to any caregiver.

If you need a carrier that can adjust to any weight or carry and gives you the freedom to use one shoulder or both shouldered carries, you may really like a woven wrap. If you are willing to learn to wrap, there are countless ways you can wrap your baby and finding your favorite is just a matter of trying them out. I would highly recommend searching Youtube for different carries, particularly recommend the channels /BabywearingFaith and /WrappingRachel.

Soft Structured Carrier

Soft structured carriers, or SSCs, attract caregivers of all types because they are so easy to use. Most brands only require a buckle or two to clip and you and baby are in! Also referred to as buckle carriers, SSCs are very supportive, have a considerable amount of padding and can be worn for long periods of time but also may require an infant insert if you plan to wear your newborn.

A soft structured carrier might be for you if you need lots of back support, have one side that is weaker than another or injured and/or plan to wear baby for long periods of time. I also find that men prefer buckle carriers more than any other style of carrier, so if you have multiple caregivers wearing baby, that might be something to consider. Popular SSC brands include Ergobaby, Tula, Lenny Lamb, Kinderpack and Infantino. And again, Youtube is a great place to find some excellent videos to learn all about buckle carriers and how to use them safely.

Ring Sling

Ring slings are used as a one shoulder carry and fantastic for newborns. They are quick ups, meaning there is very little effort to get them adjusted and comfortable, and they can be used from birth to toddlerhood. Ring slinging my toddler is actually one of my favorite ways to carry her because she so often wants to transition from up to down and back again that it’s just the easiest way to wear her.

A few ring sling tips:

  1. Start with your rings higher than you think you need them. As you tighten your tail downward, the rings will migrate that way as well.
  2. Start with less of a pocket than you think you need. The more extra fabric you leave for your pocket, the more you will have to tighten out afterwards. Leaving a smaller pocket will save you lots of effort and frustration.
  3. Take your right thumb around to your back and hook the end of the fabric. This will help you to adjust the fabric down and smooth it across your back.

Ring slings might be your go to carrier if you like quick ups that don’t take a lot of effort, you don’t mind one shouldered carries and you need a carrier that you can learn to use in ten minutes or less. Ring Slings are so simple to learn and are most popular with caregivers of infants and toddlers.

Stretchy Wrap

Stretchy wraps can be considered the ultimate newborn carrier. When using a stretchy wrap, keep in mind that many, like the Moby, have a weight limit of 35 pounds, but may wearers ultimately transition to a different carrier much before that. Stretchy wraps allow newborns to feel closely cuddled and help encourage fourth trimester bonding. While stretchy wraps can be a little complicated to learn at first, they are sure to keep your newborn comfy and safe

#Momrealness

Your local babywearing group is a great place to try different carriers. Many groups have lending libraries that will allow you to test carriers at home before purchasing. It can also be helpful to get hands on help learning to wear each one, which can be half the battle.

I have been an admin of the local babywearing group for a number of years and I’ve helped countless parents find and fit carriers. The best carrier really is the one that keeps you comfortable and that you can wear safely, which means that everyone will have different preferences. Some parents opt for several styles while others are most comfortable with and prefer to use a single style.

My preferences have changed as my daughter has gotten older. We used to use woven wraps every single day and now I prefer my soft structured carrier over our woven wraps. Everyone’s different and what you love today, you may not love for the next developmental stage.
Do you have a carrier you love? Share it with us in the comments! You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.

As a mother to four, I frequently get asked by expecting friends and family what they need to take care of baby on a daily basis. They want to know which items are my must haves and which they can live without. Because let’s face it, we’ve all encountered at least one baby item that we didn’t need or never used.

As a parent, I err on the overly planning and prepared side, and my diaper bag does too. So, what’s in my diaper bag?

Cloth Diaper Must Haves

Assuming that I am only gone for the day, I like to have 6 cloth diaper changes with me at all times. We love Thirsties Natural All In Ones when we are on the go. They are so simple to use, I don’t have to remember any extra parts or pieces and they fit perfectly in my wet bags.

And because we use them for absolutely everything, I actually have two wet bags in my diaper bag. One wet bag we use strictly for dirty diapers and the other I like to have on hand for potty accidents, big spills, dirty pants and pretty much anything else that happens on the go. There are literally hundreds of uses for wet bags, so I recommend always leaving the house with an extra.

Beyond diapers and wet bags, I like to have a container of Thirsties Booty Love for rashes and a bottle of Booty Luster for wipes. And if we’re being honest, I use Booty Luster for so many things in addition to wipes. Dirty hands and faces, scraped knees and spilled drinks in the car can all be helped with a few sprays of Booty Luster. I’ve even used it to clean our diaper bag (yes, really), so grab an extra bottle now before you forget.

The last cloth diaper accessories I pack are always my reusable Thirsties Organic Cotton Wipes. I pack these last for two reasons: one, I fill the extra space in my bag with as many as I can fit and two, I like to have them be the most easily accessible item in my bag. You can use these wipes for almost anything, so I like to have lots of them and be able to grab them quickly when needed. If you pack nothing else, pack these wipes!

Toddler Accessories

Now, if you have ever gone anywhere with a toddler, you know that you could pretty much pack everything but the kitchen sink and still be in need of six random things you never knew you needed. However, over the years I have gotten pretty good at assuming what can/will go wrong and exactly which tools I will need to handle the situation.

For example, in my diaper bag, I always keep an extra change of clothes for my toddler. Yes, we are potty trained, but she is at the age where it’s actually more about the spills and messes that occur than it is about potty accidents. And extra change of clothes gives us some room to breathe and just makes everything less stressful.

I also keep extra snacks (veggie pouches are an easy go-to) like some dates, cuties or almonds in a reusable bag. Fruit leather is also a great option as it takes up virtually no room and when in doubt, I throw in a container of granola too.

The extra wipes that we’ve already packed will mostly be used by the toddler, as well as the wipe spray and extra wet bag. I do like to pack her water bottle as well, so I can avoid the pleas for a Starbucks steamer halfway through our grocery trip.

Everyday Essentials

Here’s where it gets good. Every day essentials can be different for every family, but I think we have ours nailed down to a tee.

I always pack a small container of CJ’s BUTTer because Alaskan weather is so brutal that someone always has itchy, dry skin. And because we literally use CJ’s for everything, I pack a Quick Stick to use if we don’t want to get our hands messy.

Extra bandaids are a must, because there are just too many bumps and bruises to count. I also leave a phone charger in my bag at all times because I have had too many instances where it was needed. Finally, I consider hair ties for the toddler and an extra Cutie Pat for the baby our must never leave without items.

#Momrealness

I know that for a lot of moms, what we need is probably last on the list. However, there are certain things that travel in my diaper bag that are just for me.

For myself, I included extra tampons or my cup, a small bar of chocolate, a small bottle of Midol, a nail file and an extra $20 in cash. This is my emergency stash that battles the top three things that always seem to go wrong: I get my period unexpectedly, I rip a nail that will inevitably snag the baby and/or I need a little extra cash to grab a coffee and a cookie while everyone else is passed out in the car in peace.

Your emergency stash might look very different than mine. However, I do encourage you to make yourself this little stash and take care of yourself for a minute. You will be surprised how nice it feels when they DO fall asleep in the car and you remember that $20 you tucked away for coffee in the quiet.

#ThirstiesTip Wet bags are perfect to hold your mom emergency stash! I always keep mine packed and as long as I know my momma wet bag is in the diaper bag, I’m good to go!
Do you have other essentials you love in your diaper bag? Share your best tips with us in the comments! You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.