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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

31 Day Challenge: No Spending = Savings!


A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Today is the first day of a new month; a fresh start and a clean slate! What are we going to do with it? What are we going to write on it? We need to have goals and plans. Oh, they may not always go exactly as we planned but by planning, by being intentional, we at least ensure we are heading in the right direction.

When DH and I got married, we had a substantial income between the two of us and we lived accordingly. Over the past four years, things have changed and I mentioned before we are now at about 45% of where we were. EEK! None the less, we have determined that it is best for our family for me to remain at home. I am so thankful for a husband that recognizes the importance of a mommy at home. Over the past year+/-, we have been taking steps adjust our lifestyle to reflect the change in income. We have made some big improvements in a lot of areas however, we are still finding ourselves not where we want to be: increasing our savings. We’ve been talking about it and have decided to do a 31 day challenge during the month of October.

Our 31 Day Challenge will run though the month of October. We have decided to spend as little as we possibly can. We’re trying to see just what we can save when we spend only what we truly need to as often needs aren’t really needs.

Obviously the bills (hydro, mortgage etc.) will be paid.

We plan to decrease our fuel cost this month: DH obviously needs to drive to work, we both need to drive to church and we need to have the occasional trip to the store. It isn’t that we will not drive anywhere but, rather, that we will carefully consider our trips and attempt to cluster them together to do as few trips as possible using our gas wisely.

After careful consideration, we have decided that our grocery budget for the month is $100 ($25/wk). We can do this because we have a well stocked freezer full of meat that DH has purchased on sale as well as a well-stocked baking cupboard. I live in Ontario, Canada where coupons are generally worth 20% or less of the purchase price and are mostly for processed foods that we don’t usually buy. That isn’t always the case and I do strive to use coupons when possible but I wanted to mention this for my US readers simply because I know that with coupons, many of you (Money Saving Mom etc.) can get a whole lot for next to nothing. Where I live,  milk is $4.79/4L of homo and eggs are $1.99/dz. Those are our two main staples. In purchasing those, we still have a fair of our small budget left for fresh fruits and veggies (very important to us!). I do have plenty home made pickles, lots of canned peaches, frozen berries etc. Of course the girls and I love to bake which means I’m dabbling with home made breads.  With all of this, for short term this budget is manageable. The point of this exercise is to help us see how much we bought before that we can get along just fine without. It will also help us to realize how much we can save if we put our minds to it.

In terms of clothing and such, DH and I are not in need of anything ourselves and the littles have already been outfitted for winter which means that clothing isn’t something we need to think about for this month. (Though I have to admit that Gymbucks at Gymboree starts today and if you are reading this Thursday morning about 9am to 11am +/- then I am probably there shopping. I already had planned to purchase Christmas outfits and such and with coupons $25 off $50, shopping off the sale rack is quite a deal! Also a big thank you to my mother-in-law who contributed to the “Gymboree Fund” for today LOL)

So in a nutshell: For 31 days we are paying essential bills, spending $100 on groceries and driving where we need to. It will be exciting to see what we have to add to our savings at the end of the month. I probably will not share an actual number but possibly a percentage. Right now our saving percentage is 0 so anything is up LOL.

Does your family have a regular savings plan? Do you often mix up needs with wants? What helps you differentiate?

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!

All Dolled Up!

Can you use that expression for boys too? LOL. Does anyone else get reprimanded for calling their son beautiful? Because he is you  know! :)


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PJ Day :)

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Dress up on a Rainy Day!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Preserving Fruit & Peach Raspberry Crisp

I didn't think to take a picture the day I made it. This is the leftovers from the fridge several days later. It looks so much more impressive hot from the oven :)

Summer and harvest time in Southern Ontario starting to wind down! Vegetables and fruits abound with the farmers markets overflowing with the ripe bounty. I mentioned earlier that I made my own pickles for the first time ever. They turned out wonderfully. We've also been preserving fruits.

This summer we purchased flats of strawberries and raspberries which we simply cleaned and froze individually on baking sheets. We then transferred in to large ziploc bags to store for future use. I wanted to make jam but I haven't yet. I was thinking I could use the frozen berries to make jam at a later date. Any jam makers out there with a tip?

We purchased 6 x 3L of peaches and I attempted my first ever peach canning and chutney-making. It went amazingly well and not so well, respectively. Oh, I was delighted (with the canned peaches that is. They chutney was...hopeless LOL)! When we drove through Niagara Country on our getaway last week we purchased another 33+ liters of peaches and I got straight to work. We now have about 40 liters of canned peaches. Mmm! Wondering what recipe I used? A very simple one using a simple syrup from Pick Your Own.

We still had many peaches left and this past week had a couple different peach desserts. One of my favorite being:

Peach Raspberry Crisp
  • Approx 10 peaches
  • 1 Tbsp Orange Juice
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour (+ 3 TBSP)
  • 1/2 Pint Raspberries
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Cup Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Pound Cold, Diced Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. Butter an oval (10 x 15 x 2.5") dish.
  2. Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds then into ice-cold water.
  3. Peel and peaches and chop into hearty pieces.
  4. Add OJ, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 brown sugar and 3 tbsp flour. Toss then gently mix in the raspberries.
  5. Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar , salt, oatmeal and also butter in mixer until butter is the size of peas and the mixture is crumbly.
  6. Put fruit into dish and sprinkle crumble on top.
  7. Bake for about an hour or until bubbly with a browned top.
  8. Best served warm. If not serving right away, refrigerate and simply pop into the oven for 20+/- minutes before serving.

For Baby with Love & Kushies Winners

Sorry for the delay folks! I don’t even have pictures of the screen shots this time round. I have a new computer in a new location now. I haven’t gotten it all set up the way my other one was yet and I don’t have on it just yet. On the to-do list for the week. I also have a new camera (yay!) that I need to read the manual on (in case you were wondering where the pictures were of late).


Tthe winner of the Kushies Trainer is Carisa. Hurray for you!

The swim diaper from For Baby with Love winner is Jennifer. Congrats!

I’ll be sending you out an email very shortly!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

TUT: Reader Overload


A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

I enjoy reading blogs, commenting on blogs and corresponding with the readers I have here at Beautiful Calling. Within the blogging community we mommies have such a great support network whether we are out in the workforce or at home. We are able to encourage each other, share recipes, craft ideas and child-rearing advice. We are also able to glean from ‘older’ women who have gone before us. There are lots of product reviews by mommies to help us figure out whether the product would work for us and meet our needs, there are lots of giveaway sites, things to read to entertain us…the possibilities are endless. I am blessed to have many wonderful online friends like Brianna.

But with the vast amount of wonderfully encouraging, challenging, uplifting blogs out there, how do you set limits? How do you decide which to read? How do you pare down?

Until February of 2009, I only read one blog: Biblical Womanhood by Crystal. She no longer blogs there but still writes at Money Saving Mom.  Since February, I have discovered many, many wonderful blogs. This week’s tune-up for me is downsizing my list in reader. This is going to be tough for me but it is a necessity. With the daily tasks in my home, along with the additional income-earning tasks I have taken on, and of course writing here, it just can not all be done (well at least). I read a post the other day on a blog that I do not usually read. I am sorry I can’t remember whose it was but something that stuck with me from it was “Select to Neglect”. (If it was your blog, please send me the link to the post and I will add it here). The point was that we choose what we do each day and we should also make a point to choose what we will not do as well. Though everything in my reader is there for good reason, in this particular season, I need to adjust the time allotment for reading and adjust my list to fit into that time allotment.

Reflection Questions:

  • How often do I read the full post in reader?
  • How often do I click through to leave a comment?
  • Does it help me become a better wife, mother etc? Give me ideas, encourage/motivate me?
  • Does it encourage me in my walk with the Lord?
  • Does it re-enforce values that I believe to be important?
  • Do I read it simply for entertainment?

Perhaps I will share my progress this week but I have some questions for you. Any answers are appreciated.

  • Do you feel you have too many blogs on your reading list?
  • Do you bookmark sites and visit when you can or do you prefer a reader email subscription? Why did you choose that method?
  • How to you decide which blogs to read? What is your biggest deciding factor? How many blogs do you follow?
  • Do you have any Google Reader organizational tips?
  • How long do you spend reading blogs each day?

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Interesting Links

Photo by Dezz
I am away spending some time with the most wonderful man I know :) but wanted to share a few links that have caught my eye in the past little bit. Speaking of “caught my eye”, I was having a conversation with Chloe’s grandmother tonight and mentioned that a yard sale item had caught my eye but it was overpriced. Chloe was immediately concerned, wondering if it hurt when I caught my eye. LOL.

Happy Monday!

The Other Women of Proverbs Part 2 at Handfuls of Purpose
Choosing Your Lifestyle at Amy's Finer Things
Being Content with Our Homes at Simple Nest
The Delicate Balance of Parenting and Housework at Simple Mom
Escaping Materialism at A Simple Marriage
Loves Reward At the Well
No Because I Said So at Mommy's Idea Book
Cheap Friends: Worth More than Gold! at Teaching Kids about Money
Say it Out Loud by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rock-a-Bye Baby!


Photo by Matt

My sweet little John-John has been having a rough week. The other night he ate something that upset his stomach and had all sorts of pains through the night and on top of that, he’s got two top eye teeth coming through. Tonight, after putting him into bed, and listening to him cry for what seemed like forever, I went in and rocked him. He didn’t need or want to be nursed, he just wanted to be rocked. I rubbed his fuzzy PJ-clad bottom and he stroked my face. Then he snuck his arm up around my neck all the while gazing up at me in the dark, sleepily. I’ve never rocked him to sleep before; I’ve never had to. What a special moment tonight was.

Tomorrow Scott and I are off to Niagara Falls for an overnight getaway. We are going to the same place we went to in May and got in on another amazing deal. My mother-in-law is visiting and we have an in-law suite in our house where my grandmother-in-law lives. Between the two of them, the littles are bound to have a blast! I’m a little concerned about leaving John-John since he’s so sensitive right now but I am sure he’ll be well-loved in my absence. I seldom feel the need to have “me-time” but certainly welcome the opportunity to have some “us-time” with just Scott and I. I’m so thankful for him!

I’ll see you on Tuesday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Giveaways ending Today

Swim Diaper

Kushies Training Pants

I know I have a lot of baby-related giveaways since that is the stage I am in but they do make nice gifts if you aren’t in that stage so feel free to enter!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yes, We Tidied Up!


It’s Thursday but I think this qualifies as a  Wordless Wednesday post! I was ironing. I asked the girls to make sure they tidied up the toys from Chloe and John’s rooms. I just went to put John down for his nap and this is what I found! LOL. I think everything from both of their rooms is in there. Ah, the joys of 2 year olds!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TUT: Healthier You Links

TUT A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Well, we started with our Healthier You Challenge and of course covered Balance, then on to some reasons to lose weight and some basic how-to’s in 10% Less of Me. I’m making progress, how about you?

Today I wanted to share with you a couple links that I came across in my reader in the past week.

Interesting Links:

Finding Balance of Life and Soul at Home @ Simple Mom

The Most Important Step to Staying Healthy @ Little House in the Suburbs

Do you have a favorite post on being healthy? If it is by you, link it up (even if it is from your archives) because I’d love to read it. If it is by someone else, leave it in the comments. I love inspiration and ideas! Speaking of inspiration…

Healthier You by Epicure

My friend, Carmen Locke, is an Epicure Consultant. She must read my blog and had a product she wanted me to do a review of. I’m pretty excited since it goes perfectly with where I am right now! Healthier You: feel better in just 28 days! I’ve had a look through the product and it focuses on eating healthy and isn’t some crazy fad diet. I will be starting this on Monday. I’ll share with you my progress and thoughts on this product on October 1st and of course my final review after the full 28 days.

Status Report:

  • Tuesday and Thursday mornings are the mornings I walk with my neighbor before DH leaves for work. No littles = a faster paced walk. I also get in walks and such with my littles through out the day. I’m pretty happy with where I am in terms of exercise.

  • This week’s focus will really be on what I’m eating!! We’re making a lot more of our own food (with very little processed food in the house) so that helps a lot.

  • I’ve sort of hit a weight plateau the past couple weeks and that is a little discouraging.

  • On a happier/funnier note: I had to buy one size smaller of underwear as my old ones were much too big. Chloe was with me and of course she surveyed the packages and then asked, “Mommy, Where da pincess panties?” I explained that they don’t make princess panties for mommies. She wondered why I don’t like princess panties. I assured her that I loved princess panties and would certainly wear them if they came in my size. Chloe then lifted up her dress to show me that she was wearing princess and that I should try find some like hers. Princess underwear for women? If only! LOL.

How is your exercise and eating? A work in progress or are you pretty happy with where you are? What are you ‘tuning up” this week? Link up or leave a comment!

Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh, Pickles!!


After posting I Can, You Can? I took a week off. I froze raspberries, strawberries, canned peaches and I made pickles for the first time ever! I am so pleased with the fruits (or vegetables LOL) of my labor. The pickles taste wonderful and the peaches look great (haven’t tasted them yet) I made both dill pickles and a whole lot of sweet Gherkins.

Everyone in our family loves Gherkins but they are $2.99-$4.99/395ml here. At that price we don’t eat a lot of them. That is sad since they make a nice snack with cheese and crackers or as an addition to lunch for an extra vegetable serving. Yes, I know they have quite a big of sugar in them but since we eat very little processed foods or snacks, it isn’t an issue for our family.

With this recipe at the most it costs me $3.00/liter and with the discounted baby cucumbers I got this past weekend at the farmers market ($10/bushel!) they are costing about $1.00/liter!Amazing and so yummy. They are easy to make but a little time consuming as well.

Easy,  Week-Long Gherkin Pickles (Completely worth the time!!)

  • 8lbs of baby Cucumbers
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Turmeric
  • Pickling Spice (2 tsp)
  • Cloves (1 tsp)
  • Celery Seed (1 tsp)
  • Cinnamon Sticks (1 or 2)
  • All Spice (1/2 tsp)

Day one: Rinse cucumbers. Boil approx 24 liters of water, add 1/4 cup salt. Pour over cucumbers and let sit overnight.

Day two: Drain, rinse and repeat above.

Day three: Drain, rinse cucumbers. Boil 4 cups of vinegar with 3 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 tsp of turmeric. Put other spices into a spice bag (cheesecloth, whatever) and boil in the vinegar mixture. Prick cucumbers in many places, pour boiling mixture over top of the cucumbers and let sit overnight.

Day four: Drain, reserving liquid. Bring remaining liquid to a boil adding an additional 1 1/2 cups each of sugar and vinegar. Pour over cucumbers and let stand overnight.

Day five: Drain, reserve liquid. Bring liquid to a boil with an additional cup of vinegar and two of sugar. Pour over cucumbers and let stand 8 hours. Drain, reserve liquid, bring to a boil, adding an additional cup of sugar. Remove spice bag.  Pack cucumbers tightly into hot jars. Pour liquid over them leaving 1/4 inch headroom and process in a boiling water canner for approx 10 minutes.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Cinderella wash the dishes…

This week I have no posts scheduled at all for a variety of reasons so I thought I would type :)

Thursday night I went to bed at 7pm. While I don’t usually suffer from allergies, Thursday I had itchy, watery eyes. I took some of Scott’s allergy medication, not realizing that it was not non-drowsy. Whoosh! I was out like a light. What a great way to welcome my mother-in-law!

Friday we went to a birthday party. Chloe’s friends, twins Gracie and Brady, turned 4. It was a very exciting party. When the twins started opening their presents, Chloe came to me and asked where her presents were. I told her that it wasn’t her birthday and that her birthday was in January. She burst into tears and told me, “I don't yike my birfday Jan-u-ry”! Oh, my heart broke for her (as I inwardly giggled. It’s hard for little ones to understand sometimes isn’t it?

Saturday Chloe spent the day visiting with Nana and GG. GG is my mother-in-law and, of course, Chloe’s grandmother. Nana is Chloe’s great grandmother. Nana lives with us in an in-law suite and GG lives in Africa! GG comes home a couple times a year so it is a special treat to be able to spend time with the two of them.

Sunday we went to Webster’s Falls. I’ll share some pictures of that later.

Right now, I am sitting here on the couch with Chloe watching Cinderella on VHS. Yes, amazingly we still have a working VCR. LOL. Chloe has never seen Cinderella before and so far, she is completely engrossed. I try to be careful of what she is watching; is it age appropriate, what is it teaching etc. I’m not sure where Cinderella falls. I’m not crazy about the whole “mean stepmother/sister’ thing because it sort of stereo-types those roles but on the other hand, not everyone in the world is nice and we need to learn to respond kindly regardless of how we are treated. I think Cinderella does a great job of modeling a “do unto others” attitude as well as a positive attitude towards chores and daily tasks, even when they seem overwhelming or unending. Another aspect of Cinderella that I am not fond of is the fairy-godmother. But alas, I think sometimes with some things we over-analyze. I’m just going to let my little ballerina/princess/butterfly enjoy her ‘princess’ movie at face value – whatever that is to a two year old.image

Friday, September 11, 2009

Raising Rascals: A Review & Coupon Code

I stumbled upon Raising Rascals a while back. It’s a fabulous online shop filled with awesome and unique finds. Best of all? Canadian!! Whoo Hoo! The only thing that rivals their product quality and selection is the customer service! Coreen is one of the friendliest people you've ever met! Partnered with Kathleen, these moms search out trendy and practical items that aren't available in your local store!
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I was privileged to review a pair of Little Soles shoes for John-John. If you've been around here for a while, you know that I am all about quality shoes! I am delighted to report that these completely meet my standards. lol. I'd never heard of Little Soles prior to this review but I'm delighted to have discovered them. The softest leather, flexible soles, cute can't go wrong with that! Right now, Raising Rascals has some great sales on these shoes right now! Head over now and take a peek because Beautiful Calling readers get a 10% discount with coupon code beautifulcalling.

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Raising Rascals was also kind enough to send me a little surprise with the shoes; some Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm. Initially, I wasn't sure how much use I would get out of it since, with using cloth diapers, my littles very seldom have diaper rash issues. But during the week of VBS, I fell behind on laundry and ended up using disposables. Poor little John's bottom quickly developed a red bottom but the Bum Bum Balm cleared it up just as quickly. I've also been using it on Chloe's eczema with great success. My little ones are both 'blessed' with sensitive skin and neither of them have had any issues using it. It smells wonderful, is fast absorbing and not greasy at all. And it is all natural which is a huge deal for me on my quest to become more 'green' for the health of my family and the environment! I’m even more concerned about the products my family uses after looking up the toxicity rating of many baby products!

BumBum Balm

Dimpleskins also makes several other products. One that really caught my eye was their Boo Boo Goo (don't you just love the names?) My daughter is 2 1/2 and seems to think that each little scratch requires a band-aid. I am a ‘tough love’ mommy and feel that there needs to be blood to warrant a band-aid. However, I do hand out kisses and a little smear of cream liberally.
Are you a band-aid family or a kisses and cream family?
Raising Rascals

Raising Rascals has great gift ideas, practical baby items, adorable shoes, back to school essentials and more! Visit Raising Rascals today to take advantage of the coupon code beautifulcalling for 10% off!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TUT: 10% Less of Me!

TUT A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Losing 10% of our body weight to be healthier. This was the very first goal that they gave me at Weight Watchers when  I attended after my daughter was born. Healthy should be our primary concern. If we’re healthier, we’ll will have more energy to do our daily tasks, to spend time with our families; to just LIVE! It’s easier on our hearts, legs, joints etc. We don’t need to be thin to be healthy but it is healthy to be in a target weight range.

Being a healthy weight makes us feel better about ourselves. Our opinions of ourselves shouldn’t hinge solely on our looks though, if we are honest, our self-image and self-esteem is affected by how we look. I’m never going to look like a super-model and I am just fine with that (most days lol) but I want to look the best that I can look! I want to make the most of what God has seen fit to give me.

Be a Healthy Example. Actions speak louder than words. So true. Generally, wives are the ones planning the meals for the family. It’s great if you are planning healthy meals for your family but what are you eating as snacks and such? (Me? Chocolate!!) Good for you if your children are active but are you? (Me? ummm…we’ll come back to that!) Littles and not so littles are watching everything we do. Are we making healthy choices?

I am made in HIS image and my body is a temple. (Genesis 1:26, 1 Corinthians 6:19) Two exceptionally good reasons to have a healthy body!

Ok, but how?

Hydration! I read (somewhere?!?) that often dehydration is mistaken for hunger and that by the time you feel thirsty, your body has already experienced mild dehydration. Water is also about 75% of our body weight.  I’m not any sort of expert but I do know that we were designed to function best when well hydrated. A side perk: hair and nails will grow better too!

Sleep! I am finally getting to sleep through the night. Ahh, what bliss. The Lord gives us sleep (Psalm 127:2). We function best, have the most physical energy and, of course, are at our best mentally when we get enough sleep. While we can go without enough short term – our health will decline if we do not get enough rest!

Eat! Sometimes I get busy and don’t eat. Then I snack. This is an area of struggle for me. Maybe you struggle with eating too much? Often it isn’t so much the quantity but the quality of what we eat. The Lord designed food to meet our bodies needs. Eating food in the most natural state possible is healthiest for us. Whole, Natural, Unprocessed, Fresh. All good words for healthy eating!

Exercise! We need it on a regular basis. Some need less than others. Especially if you are chasing little ones around all day lol! You don’t have to join a gym, spend a lot of money on videos or work out for hours at a time. Simply getting in a brisk walk during the day (20-30 minutes) is awesome! Twice a week I walk in the morning with a neighbor before Scott leaves for work and before the littles are up. It’s great to have the accountability of a partner. Summer is always easy for me…but when winter comes (with snow and cold), that is where I struggle. Anyone have any ideas of how to work it in then?


So my tune up in the past couple weeks has been incorporating more exercise into my day. I am also trying to incorporate a 5-10 minute stretching time as well. I used to be very flexible. Now?….errr…not so much.

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Diaper Doodie: My Cloth Diaper System (+ Giveaway)

Diapers 005

The other day I shared with you my Essential Gear for cloth diapering…today I want to share with you how I use it!

My System:

I have 10 diapers. It depends on your budget and how often you will do the washing. I do the wash every day. To start I bought 2 BumGenius3.0 to make sure they would work well for my son. They did and I bought more. In the beginning it was barely enough but as he got older, it was/is completely sufficient. I also really like the FuzziBunz diapers. I have to admit that I send John and Chloe to church nursery in disposables but other than that, we use cloth. After I wash the diapers, I immediately put the absorbent liner back into the pocket, put a biodegradable liner in it, fold it over and it is all set for use again! I like to have them ready; making diaper changes as quick as possible! I keep some in the two areas I change John in the most.

If you’re cloth diapering, you may as well use cloth wipes! I used disposable wipes with my daughter because I always had coupons for free packages with diapers. Once I stopped buying disposable diapers, I stopped getting free wipes and suddenly the cost started adding up. There are tons of cloth wipes you can buy out there but I have found that baby face cloths from the Dollar Store work wonderful for me! I also have some wipes sewn out of flannel that I use but I find that for messy diapers, the baby wash cloths grip solids better. Traditional wash cloths are just too big to get into little places. I would love to try out some of the fancy reusable bamboo wipes and such but the cost is a deterrent.

While you can certainly change baby in the bathroom all the time and simply wet your cloth with water, that didn’t really work for me. I also found that just water in a container with wipes seemed to have a musty smell. Then Moms and Bums sent me a sample of Monkey Doodlez Wipes Cubes. I love them; the cloths do not smell moldy or musty but have a fresh light scent. I immediately purchased some. It was $10 for a small jar. I’ve used it for 6+ months and there is hardly a dent in it. I seriously think that this one jar of cubes will last for John’s entire diapering lifetime. I have a few samples of these cubes to giveaway. I’m sure you will love them!

I boil a liter of water, dump it into an empty pickle jar and add a cube. I shake it up and the solution is ready. Since I used to use disposable wipes, I had lots of those nice containers lying around. I simply fold my cloth wipes in half and put them into the container and pour enough solution over the wipes to have them be damp (not dripping!). If I have leftover solution, I just leave it in the pickle jar until next time.

I change John in his room (upstairs) or on our couch (downstairs). I’d like to interject here that since having children, I am a big fan of leather furniture. Each time there is any sort of accident, I grab my disinfecting wipes, clean it up and am thankful for how easy it was to do so. Anyway, our coffee table has a drawer in it so I keep a tub of wipes and diapers in there. I also keep a tub of cloth wipes in John’s bedroom, the kids bathroom and the main floor powder room.

Outside our laundry room I keep a metal trashcan with a lid and a foot pedal. Inside the trash can is a Bummis tote. When a diaper is soiled, I flush the biodegradable liner, remove the absorbent insert and throw the cover and insert into the tote inside the pail. This is the last time I touch the diaper until it is clean! Each evening I take the tote out of the can, dump it into the washer and replace it in the can. I love that the Bummis tote really cuts down on the ‘ick’ factor as well as the smell. I wash the diapers, dry them, then put the insert back into the cover, line it with the flushable liner and put them back into the areas that I diaper John in. Every second day or so I throw the Bummis tote in with the diapers for a good wash. Doing this ensures that I never have an odor in my pail as sometimes plastic can absorb odors. Speaking of odors, I have a sample of Pail Pals (thanks Moms and Bums) to giveaway to a reader. Having used the tote with the pail, I have never had a need for a deodorizer however I am told that this one is a good one.

When I am on the go, two things really help; my wipes pouch and my wet bag! I use the Sugar Booger Wipes pouch which I purchased from The Baby Boutique. I originally purchased the one with the zipper in the middle however I had some problems with it. I contacted ORE. They were extremely prompt in responding to my concern and very helpful! They have come out with a new design where the zipper is on the top. They replaced mine with the new design and I love it. You can use a baggie, one of the disposables hard travel cases…it just needs to be something that you can keep your wipes in and not have the dry out. I use my reusable wipes not only for John’s bottom but also to wash hands and faces while we’re out!

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I use a Monkey Doodlez Wet Bag when I am on the go for dirty diapers and wipes. It is indispensible to me! I also use it for soiled clothing and wet bathing suits! You don’t have to have a fancy bag but you do need to have something!

Chloe is pretty much potty trained but sometimes there are still accidents. Though she wears panties during the day, I use a FuzziBunz one size diaper for her at bedtime (she’s 2 1/2). If we go out, I usually put a pair of Kushies cloth training pants on her…just in case.

For swimming we used to use little swimmers but the cost really mounted! Then I discovered Monkey Doodlez swim diapers. I just love it. With Chloe, we have a bummis swim diaper. Swim diapers are the way to go! More economical especially if you will be using it with more than one child. Chloe’s this year (turtles) will be John’s next year! For Baby with Love wants to give one reader a Mother of Eden swim diaper! Though summer is almost over, these are perfect for the pool in summer or winter!!


It’s been 2 1/2 years since my first cloth diaper disaster. it’s taken a while but I finally have a cloth diapering system that really works for me!

GIVEAWAY: #1 Mother of Eden Swim Diaper or #2 Diaper Cubes and Pail Pals

  1. Leave a comment (or link to a post you’ve written) with a cloth diapering tip.
  2. Subscribe to Beautiful Calling (reader, email)
  3. Visit Moms and Bums and tell me a product that caught your eye!
  4. Visit For Baby with Love and tell me a product that caught your eye!
  5. Sign up for the newsletter at For Baby with Love (it’s in the left sidebar of their site)
  6. Blog about this giveaway
  • Open to US & Canadian Friends
  • Ends September 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Diaper Doodie with Kushies (+Giveaway)


Chloe was 18 months when she started taking off her messy diapers and bringing them to me. That was when our potty-training journey began. Very quickly Chloe figured it all out and that was pretty much the end of messy diapers. Hurray! Wet diapers were another story though. Chloe is 2 1/2 and finally has the hang of it (except when she is sleeping).

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When I started off potty training, I purchased Huggies Pull-ups. Even with coupons the cost quickly mounted up. Since I was already cloth diapering John, it made sense to use cloth trainers as well. I used a number of different types and brands. Over all, I think that I was the happiest with Kushies. They sent me a review one and then I purchased a few additional pairs!

  • Healthier for skin since it is 100% cotton lining against skin.
  • Taffeta is light weight, not bulky and waterproof!!
  • The elastic waist and leg holes have a comfortable cotton band  which doesn’t irritate.
  • They are easy for her to pull up and down.
  • Machine washable
  • No fussing with waffle pants and a plastic pant.
  • Economical & Earth Friendly
  • They are not designed to absorb which means what when she goes, she is completely aware and uncomfortable. She would come to find me right away to be changed!
  • They also have fun colors!

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Beautiful Calling readers (in the USA, sorry Canada!) will receive 10% off at Kushies Online by using coupon code bc10. One lucky reader (Canadian or US friends) will also receive a pair of waterproof taffeta training pants in light pink.

To Enter:

  1. Leave a comment
  2. Subscribe to Beautiful Calling (reader/email)
  3. Follow Beautiful Calling
  4. Visit Kushies Online and leave a comment with an item that caught your eye.
  • Open to Canada and USA Friends
  • Ends September 18, 2009


Diaper Doodie – My Essential Gear!

I am a happy cloth diapering mama! With baby #2 that is. With baby #1, I gave up quite quickly and want to share with you what works for me when it comes to cloth diapering!

Stay Home

In hind sight, I think one of the reasons that my first cloth diapering attempt failed miserably was that I didn’t stay home. I don’t mean that I worked outside the home but simply that we had so many play dates, activities, places to go, shops to visit etc. that I wasn’t home enough to make it work. And it does take work. Not a whole lot once you get into the hang of it but it will be additional work for you.

Find cloth diapers that work for you!

  • There are tons of options when it comes to cloth diapering. Simple Mom did an awesome series on it earlier this year: Cloth Diapering 101 which talks about the different types available. It’s important to understand that not all cloth diapers work the same way with all babies. Many companies have a FAQ sections which can help you determine which ones will suit your needs.
  • I used some AIO diapers with my daughter (my first) and didn’t like the amount of time it took to dry them as well as the bulkiness of them.
  • When I was pregnant with my son, I read a blog review of BumGenius 3.0 diapers and went out to buy some immediately. I have been using them ever since and a year later, they are still in fabulous condition with no odors, stains or leaks. I am very happy with them.
  • I was privileged to do a review of the Fuzzibunz diapers as well. You can read the full review here but in summary: I love these diapers too! The snaps ensure a comfortable yet snug fit, they wash well and they work for many different body shapes!
  • Some retailers have a trial program such as Ottawa Cloth Diapers.
  • Some retailers such as For Baby with Love also offer a selection of gently used cloth diapers as well.
  • Many retailers also  offer a assorted sampler package with a variety of different types to try.

Get the Right Gear!

Many cloth diapering sites have reviews by customers and there are plenty of mommy blogs out there with product reviews on them. Read up and research! See what works for other moms to help you decide on what you think will work for you! I‘m going to share with you what some of the items that help make cloth diapering really work for me.

I use:

Tomorrow I will share with you how I put all these products to good use in my cloth diapering system! I also have a few fun giveaways here so be sure to enter!

Do you have a super dooper cloth diapering accessory to rave about? Please share!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Diaper Doodie with FuzziBunz


On Wednesday I will be sharing with you my cloth diapering essentials. One of these essentials would be FuzziBunz!


For those with little time:

  • Awesome diaper!
  • Great Quality, Durable, Wash Well
  • Superior Fit, Completely Adjustable!
  • Well worth the investment (will save you money! )

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For those with a little more time:

FuzziBunz sent me a perfect size diaper for John in red. It fit John perfectly when it arrived this spring and still fits him perfectly this fall. Prior to receiving this one, I used another popular one-size diaper with Velcro. After using FuzziBunz for several months, I think that snaps are the way to go! With a double row of snaps, it truly ensures a custom fit; an essential since every baby has different proportions! This worked well for us since John is starting to thin out around the middle as he gets older but his adorable chubby thighs are staying the same. I love that it isn’t bulky at all. I use one size diapers as well and though I love them too, I generally find John needs to wear one size larger in pants to accommodate his diaper. With this diaper, it isn’t necessary. I love the colors available as well. I realize that this is just aesthetics and has no bearing on the quality or performance but cheerful colors are fun! Rather than re-iterate the specs, you can check out the perfect size diaper on their site.

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FuzziBunz also sent me a one-size diaper in Baby Pink for Chloe. As soon as I opened the package, Chloe was right there, “My Pink, My Pink”. She never added diaper to the end of the sentence, she simply called it her pink. Of course, I tried it on her immediately. I don’t know who was more excited; her or me. For some reason i really like cloth diapers in pretty colors, especially pink! She was about 28 months when it arrived and it fit her wonderfully. She is now 32 months and still wearing it to bed each night. She has been mostly potty trained since spring however night times are still tough for her. She wouldn’t wear a disposable diaper (telling me she isn’t a baby) but she happily wears “my pink”  to bed. Funny little girl! Chloe is about 33lbs and still fits it perfectly though it is at the largest setting. I am sure that she will be fully trained before she outgrows it! With the one size, it comes with a small and large insert. I did use both for a while with Chloe however one is just fine with her now. I was completely impressed with the fit of this diaper because it not only adjusts with snaps around the waist but with elastic in the legs as well. It ensures no leaks and a comfortable fit around the legs. I think this is an important feature for those of us who have babies with ‘healthy’ legs :) The other thing that surprised me was that it wasn’t as bulky as I expected it would be. For all the details on how the one-size diaper diaper works, be sure to visit their site.

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I will share with you more about my cloth diaper system on Wednesday but I would like to tell you that I wash my cloth diapers every day. I only have 10. I tell you this so you will understand that when I say they wash well you will understand that they have been washed 100+ times before this review was posted. The colors haven’t faded and despite being used on a regular basis, there is no staining, marks or odors. The only things that I have noticed is that the inside seems to be softer and the insert more absorbent. I have never had any leaks with them and can honestly say that I am 100% satisfied with them. They also dry quite quickly which is important if you have a limited number of diapers and are washing every day! One additional perk that just came to mind: John can’t take them off (yet). There have been times this summer where I let John just wear a shirt and his diaper. If he’s wearing a Velcro one, I’ve often had him take it off and tell me “uh, oh”. I always make sure to put bottoms on him before putting him down for a nap. The talented little monkey is now able to take off his pants!! He may have mastered the art of Velcro but not snaps!

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FuzziBunz also makes a variety of other neat accessories. I haven’t tried them out first-hand but if they are of the same caliber as the diapers I tried, they will be well worth it!

In conclusion: Diapers are one of those items that you really get what you pay for. Buying quality diapers right from the start ensures that you will truly save money. If I buy more cloth diapers, I will buy FuzziBunz! Try them, I’m sure you’ll be just as happy!

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