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Learn the Lingo Episode 2: Cloth Diapers

5 May

First, let me say that I am amazingly blessed to have a wonderful husband who is actually on board with the idea of cloth diapering. (Especially since he is the one who works from home and will be handling the bulk of those cloth diaper changes.)

Second, let me say that I was surprised to find that not only do I know absolutely nothing about cloth diapers, but I can’t even understand cloth diapering forums to learn more! Seriously, here is a no-joke actual posting from a cloth diaper forum:

Um . . . what? OS? Wicking? FB? Aplix? PUL?

So, as with my health insurance quest, I found myself in need of learning another new language – cloth diaperese. Here is my easy-to-understand, illustrated cloth diaper dictionary!

AI2 – all-in-two. This means that there are two parts to your diaper: an absorbent layer and the waterproof cover.

AIO – all-in-one. This means that your cloth diapers are in one piece and don’t require anything else (like inserts) to work. You just put them on the baby and – bam! – you’re cloth diapering. Compare to AI2 and pocket diapers.

Aplix – this is like velcro, but softer. This is used in cloth diapering to keep diapers closed. It’s important that it isn’t actually velcro because the softer material wont’ bother a baby’s skin if it happens to rub against it. This also may be called a hook and loop closure.

CD – no, not compact disk! Cloth diaper or cloth diapering. Example: I am a CDing mom. See, that doesn’t make much sense with “compact disk”! 😛

Contoured diapers – this term applies to the absorbent part of a cloth diaper when it is sold separately from the cover. It is in a shape that is designed to fit around a baby’s body. Countered diapers usually require a cover and the use of fasteners (in the old days, safety pins, in more modern times snappies).

Diaper cover – diaper covers are a waterproof layer that goes on over prefolds, contoured diapers, and flat diapers.

Doubler – this is an additional insert or liner that you can put into a cloth diaper to increase absorbency. These can be very helpful for babies who are heavy wetters or for overnight use.

DSQ – Diaper Service Quality. This term is usually used to refer to prefolds or flats that are of higher quality. The idea is that diaper services put a lot of stress and wear and tear on their diapers, so they have to be of a higher quality than those designed for regular home use.

Fitted diaper – these are very similar to contoured diapers as they are shaped to fit a baby. They usually require a cover, but usually don’t require the use of closures (in the old days, safety pins, in more modern times snappies).

Flat – this is just a flat piece of absorbent fabric. It can be used inside a diaper cover to absorb wetness.

Hybrid diapers – these diapers are part cloth and part disposable. They usually can also be used as completely cloth, if you choose. The part that makes them part disposable is a disposable insert that catches solids (i.e. poop). Many inserts are flushable, so you can just flush it down the toilet so  you don’t have to have poop in your washing machine.

Insert – this goes into an all-in-two or pocket style diaper to absorb fluids. Inserts can be cloth or disposable.

Liners – these are disposable pieces of material that are used to collect solids from a cloth diaper. They are usually flushable and typically used with hybrid diapers.

OS – One Size. Cloth diapers can either come in sizes (usually extra small, small, medium, and large) or they come in a single size that can be expanded as the baby grows. This expansion is usually accomplished by a set of snaps on the front of the diaper.

Pocket diaper – with pocket diapers, there is a pocket that you tuck inserts into. The diaper itself will have an outer layer, which is waterproof and an inner layer which is soft and will actually be against the baby’s skin. In between these two layers, there is a pocket where the insert is placed.

Pre-folds – these are similar to flats, but they already have a thick middle layer attached. They require the use of a diaper cover and some sort of fastener.

PUL – polyurthane laminate. This is the waterproof outer layer on many cloth diapers.

Sized or Perfect Size diapers– these diapers  come in sizes, typically extra small, small, medium, and large. Compare to OS (one size).

Snappi – This is the modern day safety pin – only much better. It is used to hold diapers like pre-folds and flats closed.

Soaker – this is the absorbent layer in a diaper. The term can be used to refer to the part already in a diaper, like in all-in-ones, or can refer to an additional insert.

Stripping – (this is the one Paul has been waiting for!) sadly, this one does not involve any slow-motion removal of clothing. Instead, it refers to the considerably less sexy removal of build-up from diapers. Each diaper manufacturer has their own recommendations about the appropriate way to strip their diapers.

Wicking – this means that the diaper isn’t absorbing liquids (i.e. baby pee) properly any more. As a result the liquids leak out of the diaper at the legs and waist. This problem can be caused by a build-up of things like diaper rash cream on your cloth diapers. The fix? See “Stripping”. (Oh yes, I am sure Paul loves that solution . . . So if you want to convince your husband to cloth diaper, just let him know it involves stripping!)

Most of the other abbreviations out there refer to actual brands of diapers, which will be covered in later posts. (That’s already a lot for one day!)

Make-up Monday Giveaway!

28 Nov

One of my goals for motherhood is to be a hip mom. I know that once I have a baby, it will become more difficult to resist looking frumpy. After all, what mother with an infant has time to apply make-up every day? Well, I know for sure that I am much less likely to take the time to apply make-up if my make-up routine is complicated. So, for the next few weeks, I will be hosting a make-up Monday. I’ll be giving a few of the tricks I use to speed up my make-up routine and products that I love. For today: the wonders of lip balm. I’m loving Maybelline’s new Baby Lips line. (Fitting since I’m trying to put together a post-baby make-up routine!)

Why I love it:

  • I love the way it makes my lips feel – plump, smooth, and moisturized!
  • I love how smooth the application is – it’s not goopy or too thick.
  • I love that it comes in both clear and colored varieties. The clear is great for a “base coat” when applying layers of lip color (more on that in a later post) or when you want a simple lip and more complex eye. The colored is great for adding just a little bit of umph to your lip look if you’re looking for a simple lip.
  • It doesn’t have a strong taste – even the peppermint. I have used balms in the past that tasted so strong that they actually changed the taste of my coffee – gross! But, no such problems here.

Now, just to show you how much I love it, I’m going to give one away!  The rules?

To enter, tell me what your favorite lip product is (I’m always looking for a new one!).

  1. Giveaway ends Sunday, December 11th at midnight EST.
  2. A winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday, December 12th.  The winner must claim their prize before Wednesday, December 14th or a new winner will be selected.
  3. You must be 18 years old to enter.
  4. Only one entry per person will be accepted and you MUST include a valid email address with your comment.
  5. If you don’t see your comment post right away, please don’t post another comment.  The delay happens because I moderate all comments.
  6. Giveaway is open to entries with U.S. addresses only.

I received Maybelline Baby Lips as part of a BzzAgent program, but all of the opinions and love are my own. 🙂

Good luck everyone!

Baking Momma

12 Oct

One of my tasks on my pre-baby list is to learn to make amazing cakes. I have always loved baking – from fresh bread to fresh cookies! But cakes have always eluded me. I tried to make my father a cake for his birthday . . . the layers wouldn’t stay stacked, the cake split down the middle . . . but it was delicious! So, I am now trying to combine my skill with the taste part of baking a cake with some skill at the assembling part of baking a cake. My most recent attempt was this Espresso Cake with Nutella as frosting and some chopped hazelnuts on top. Yum! 🙂

Looks pretty yummy, right? And it didn’t fall apart. And it didn’t break. And it tasted pretty darn good. I know that this is nothing compared to the art you can find on Food Gawker, like this amazing cake, for instance:

But, at least it stayed in one piece, which is progress!

What are your favorite cake recipes? Do you have any secrets to getting your cakes to look like art instead of a car accident?

Sweet Shot Tuesday

30 Aug

I told you all that I was going through 31 days to a better photo to learn to use my Kodak Z990. Well, the blogger who created 31 days to a better photo also does Sweet Shot Tuesdays. So, here is my first Sweet Shot Tuesday!

These photos are from a trip my family took to North Reddington Beach (on the Gulf Coast of Florida). There will be more pictures and a description of our trip to follow, but here are a few “teaser” photos.

There was a beautiful beach just across the street from the house we rented.

The sunsets each night were amazing, of course.

So I, of course, took lots of pictures . . . .

I loved the birds and the colors of this one.

I liked the way you can see the texture of the waves rolling in in this one.

I know, a bit random, but I liked the shot.

I loved the reflection of the cloud and color.

We went fishing the next day . . .

And it was a very successful trip . . .

We had mackerel for dinner that night!

More photos and information about where to stay on North Reddington Beach coming soon!

Shoes (Weekly Photography Challenge)

26 Aug

To help me learn to use my camera, I signed up for Digital Photography School newsletter and blog updates. They have weekly photography challenges. This past week was shoes. This seemed to be right up my alley . . . but it was a lot harder than I expected! Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Path of Shoes Coming

Path of Shoes Going

Just Floating 1 . . . and my favorite:

Just Floating 2.

What I learned from this exercise:

  • Sometimes something that looks really neat in your mind, does not look that great when you take the picture. 🙂
  • Sometimes the thing that looks really neat in your mind, looks neat in real life, but doesn’t work because the lighting isn’t right.
This week’s challenge: My Addiction. (Just one? But I have so many! Maybe I should make a collage . . . )

Strawberry Iced Tea and Shutter Speed

24 Aug

Remember how I want to learn to take amazing pictures before I get pregnant? Well, I bought my camera and now I am learning to use it, with the help of 31 Days to a Better Photo.

The first thing I used to learn was the shutter speed. My camera has a shutter priority mode that allows me to adjust the shutter speed and leave the other settings on auto. So, I made myself a nice teapot of strawberry tea (recipe after the shutter speed lesson) and shot away.

31 Days to a Better Photo compares shutter speed to holding a cup under a faucet – the longer you hold the cup (the longer the shutter speed) the more light (water) you get. Too little and the pictures are dark. Too much and your pictures are over exposed.

I took photos in  a room with plenty of natural sunlight. I started at the lowest shutter speed and worked my way up. However, I skipped every other shutter speed because my camera has  a lot of shutter speeds and this was really just an exercise for me to understand shutter speed.

Shutter speed: 1/2000

Shutter speed: 1/1250

Shutter speed: 1/800

Shutter speed: 1/500

Shutter speed: 1/320

Shutter speed: 1/200

Shutter speed: 1/125

Shutter speed: 1/80

Shutter speed: 1/60

Shutter speed: 1/40

Shutter speed: 1/25

Shutter speed: 1/15

Shutter speed: 1/10

Shutter speed: 1/6

Shutter speed: 1/4

Shutter speed: 0.4″ (Here you see the other effect of slower shutter speed – it is easier to get blurry pictures)

Shutter speed: 0.6″

Shutter speed: 1.0″

Shutter speed: 1.6″

After 1.6″, the pictures were very overexposed, like this:

Now that you’ve seen my experiment with shutter speed, here is my recipe for strawberry iced tea!

Ingredients

1 large bag of tea (I used Lipton iced tea bags)

2 cups boiling water

2 cups of crushed ice

1/4 cup dried strawberries

Directions

  1. Brew the tea bag and dried strawberries in the boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bag from the tea pot and add ice.

Kodak EasyShare Z990 Max Camera Review

10 Aug

The first item on my pre-baby list was to learn to take amazing photographs. Unfortunately, my Nikon Coolpix, though wonderful, just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted something that had at least some manual options. I also wanted something that took better pictures on auto mode.

I made a list of cameras that I would like. Then, I looked at prices and lowered my sights a bit. (Sorry, future baby, $600 for a camera is just too much if I am not a professional photographer – which I am not!) I found the Kodak EasyShare Z990 Max on Best Buy.com for $264.99.  That was much more in my price range. So, I bought it and I have experimented with it a bit.

Things I Love:

  • Full manual mode option
  • Aperture priority option
  • Shutter priority option
  • Dial to facilitate easy switching between different modes
  • Panoramic feature
  • Great photos, even in low light (see the picture of my nephew to the right. There were no lights on in the room, since he was sleeping and I couldn’t use the flash, also since he was sleeping.)
  • Automatic mode that takes nice pictures (the low light photo of my nephew is an example, as is the palm tree picture below.)
  • Stabilization (even when I take photos that use the zoom or photos with a long shutter speed, such as night photos, the pictures are rarely blurred)
  • Full HD video
Things I Dislike:
  • Lag time between photos (this isn’t really a killer for me, I am not taking photos of professional sports or anything, but it can be annoying when I want to quickly take a photo from another angle.)
  • Size (it seems much bigger after my little point-and-shoot!)
  • Battery cover can be difficult to close
  • Loud zoom (this may seem like an odd issue to have, but you can actually hear the zoom in some of my quieter videos!)
  • Battery life (I charged the batteries and took 189 pictures over a long weekend and the batteries were almost dead.)
Of course, this isn’t a professional photographer’s review of this camera. This is my I-want-to-take-cute-pictures-of-family review. If you are a hobbyist or someone who just wants to be able to take nice photos, this is a camera I would definitely recommend. This is a great point-and-shoot-plus camera. It has a great automatic mode with lots of room to experiment.
I leave you with a picture from my long weekend. Rest assured, more photos and reviews of things I did in Sarasota, Florida are soon to follow! Also, if you want to see more pictures taken with the Z990, click the “photography” blog topic to the right.