James Kicinski-McCoy is a writer and blogger, specializing in strategic marketing and branding, is a co-founder and editor of Mother Magazine, and co-owner and creative director of Two Son. She lives with her husband and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.
it has been awhile since i shared my skincare routine. the last time i posted mine was over two years ago and i have changed it up quite a bit.
some of my favorite skincare/beauty products at the moment are: mario badescu glycolic foam cleanser. i use this in the shower along with my clarisonic, which i freakin' love and recommend to everyone. the two of these products together have made my skin look and feel brighter and smoother. i use tatcha radiant brightening serum. a splurge, but totally worth it. i have a friend who is an esthetician who said that if you are going to spend money on your skincare, make it a serum. the benefits range from anti-aging, to brightening, to firming and the higher concentrated the serum, the better. serum goes on before you moisturize. it does not replace your moisturizer. i have been using the mario badescu oil free moisturizer with SPF-17. i recently picked up a garnier anti-puff eye roller and really like it. i still use quite a few super products, that i mentioned before, but the line was discontinued and is no longer available. i stocked up during their clearance sale and will have to find a good replacement for their omega oil that i love so dearly and the night time anti-aging products that i use. any suggestions are welcome.
i have had so many questions about cloth diapers over the past two years and am finally here to answer them as best i can. cloth diapering can seem intimidating when you're just getting started. there is loads of information out there complete with unfamiliar words and acronyms that will confuse the heck out of you. here is my cloth diaper why and how, based solely on my experience to help you sort through all of that.
Q. why do you cloth diaper?
A. we chose to cloth diaper before birdie was born for a couple of reasons. to help the environment and to save money. it really does make a difference. we also heard that cloth diapered babies tend to potty train a bit earlier than disposal diapered babies and that helped swing our decision as well.
Q. isn't cloth diapering so much added work to your already busy schedule?
A. no. it's essentially an extra load of laundry every day or two and quickly becomes a part of your regular routine.
Q. can you tell me about how you cloth diaper?
A. we try to cloth diaper as often as possible, but we also use disposables when it's convenient. combo-diapering is often what it's called. we keep a small stash of disposable diapers on hand for when cloth just isn't an option, but we do use cloth most of the time. birdie was cloth diapered 90% of the time until she was nearly two years old. we started to use disposables more frequently out of pure convenience after that, but since sailor started using cloth we have been trying to use them strictly with both kids.
Q. what kind of cloth diapers do you use?
A. we use bumgenius 4.0 cloth diapers. they are a pocket diaper. i have never used any other brand so i don't have anything to compare them to but i have held, examined and researched the reviews of several popular cloth diaper brands and decided that bumgenius was the one for us and still use them two years later.
Q. do they leak?
A. your cloth diapers should not leak. the only times that we have experienced leaks were when the diapers were not put on correctly or if we waited a bit too long between diaper changes. the only other time that we experienced leaks was once birdie became a toddler and needed an extra insert to hold more liquid. the double inserts make for a bulky bottom but will not leak over night.
Q. how many cloth diapers do you need to cloth diaper one baby from infant to potty training?
A. most cloth diaper companies recommend getting 24 one size cloth diapers. that gives you enough for one diaper change per hour which should be plenty. i recommend getting a small supply of newborn sized diapers for the first couple of months. the one size diapers are huge on infant babies and so getting the smaller diapers are worth it, in my opinion. i would also recommend purchasing extra inserts once your baby approaches toddler-hood for more absorbency.
Q. do you use the snaps or velcro?
A. we have both. i like the idea of the velcro because they are easy to open and close like a disposable diaper but they do catch lint and can be a pain in the butt to pick out. i have not yet had problems with my velcro tabs giving out like some people have expressed. i have heard that if they do start to lose their stick that they can be thrown into the dryer on the low cycle and that will help stiffen the velcro prongs and that bumgenius offers free replacement tabs if needed and you can purchase new velcro tabs if needed. the snaps are really great too, just a little harder to open and close.
upstairs changing station.
we have two "changing stations" in the house. one upstairs and one downstairs. the one upstairs is a simple changing pad on top of our dresser with an odor free diaper pail, for disposable diapers and wipes, and a basket full of clean cloth diapers and extra inserts. the drawer of the dresser is full of our changing necessities that i talk about a little further down.
our downstairs changing station is a three drawer, wire basket system that we picked up on the cheap from ikea. we keep everything it in the hallway, across from the bathroom, away from the main area of the house. it is fully stocked with everything we may need in one organised space so we don't have to run upstairs each time we need to change a diaper.
downstairs changing station.
our diaper necessities:
1. prefolds. these are great for added absorbency and they make great burp cloths. 2. extra inserts. 3. a diaper sprayer. we have one in both the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. 4. waterproof changing pad liners. 5. peepee teepees. 6. badger baby balm. a natural chamomile and calendula cream. great for chapped skin, cradle cap, baby acne and eczema. 7. cj's butter. this stuff is pure magic and will clear up a diaper rash super fast. it is also one of very few cloth diaper safe rash creams. 8. bumgenius newborn diapers. 9. bumgenius 4.0 diapers. 10. diaper wipe warmer. 11. water proof diaper pail liner. it can be thrown into the wash along with the diapers.
Q. how do you wash your cloth diapers?
A. we spray any solids off into the toilet with our sprayer. then into the lined diaper pail until wash time. do a cold soak over night with no detergent. you can add distilled white vinegar and a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the soak if the ammonia smell becomes an issue. (it has been brought to my attention that bumgenius does not recommend using vinegar and baking soda with their diapers. they recomment using a 1/2 cup of bleach in the wash once a month to fight stains and odors.) then in the morning wash in hot water with a double rinse cycle. we have used several different kinds of detergent from the bumgenius brand, to soap nuts to our regular laundry detergent. to be honest, they all seem to work pretty well for us. i have heard wonders about biokleen and have been meaning to try it. apparently it's great at keeping odors away. we tumble dry our inserts on low and line dry the diaper covers. for stains on diapers, a good sun soak will do the trick. sunning not only helps with stains but is also a natural way of killing bacteria and it works in cold weather too. do not use baby detergents such a dreft on cloth diapers. they contain fabric softeners and will leave a film on your diapers making them less absorbent.
here are few other helpful cloth diapering hints that you should know:
- cloth diapered bottoms are big and bulky. don't be surprised if you have to go up a size in clothes.
- line dried cloth diapers can be a little stiff. toss them into the dryer for ten minutes after they are dry to soften them up.
- cloth diapered babies need to be changed more frequently than disposable diapered babies. disposable diapers keep the moisture away from baby's bottom, making it more comfortable for them to sit in their potty. cloth diapered babies will feel uncomfortable when they are wet and will want to be changed more often. this is also the reason why so many cloth diapered babies potty train earlier. because they can feel when they're wet.
- we have never had diaper rash with cloth, in fact birdie has only had two diaper rashes and both times it was when we were out of town and using disposables for a few days. i am not saying that babies will not get diaper rash when using cloth diapers but it is less common. studies have shown that only 5% of cloth diapered babies experience diaper rash as opposed to the 50% of disposable diapered babies.
- often you can buy gently used cloth diaper stashes on sites like diaperswappers.com for a fraction of the cost. thanks beth for the heads up.
i know that cloth diapering is not for everyone. in the end every parent has to make a decision that fits into their lifestyle. i hope i helped answer some of your questions.
*update: as noted above, apparently you can purchase new velcro tabs from bumgenius, they do not replace them free of charge. bumgenius recommends washing your diapers with 1/2 cup of bleach once a month to fight stains and odors. they do not recommend using vinegar and or baking soda with their diapers.
also, we have been using the biokleen spray that i mentioned above on our dirty diapers for the past few days and so far it's great. i will be sure to note if my opinion changes.
photo from our walk this morning by papa. my dress is by ace&jig.
many of you have asked me to share some of my basic and simple baby product preferences with you and so… here goes.
first and foremost, i want to suggest that any and every mom, or non-mom for that matter, invest in getting amazon prime. no, they did not pay me to say that, i am telling you this because it is a life saver and the most convenient tool for a busy mama or papa. it costs around $80/year and it gives you free two day shipping on everything eligible for prime, which includes most items. i buy diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, coffee filters, books, homeschooling supplies, shampoo, toothpaste, records, toys, birthday gifts, christmas gifts and pretty much everything else that i possibly can on prime because i don't have to leave the house, it's usually cheaper, packages are fun to open and it's free shipping. win, win, win, win. okay moving on…
diapers: we try to cloth diaper most of the time, but i do use disposable diapers as well. we use them for the first week or two after baby is born (until the baby's cord falls off) and i like to have them on hand for long outings, out of town trips and for when it's just more convenient. my two favorite brands are earth's best
and pampers. they don't leak and are readily available at most places. i always keep some on hand.
cloth diapers: i am a bumgenius lover. it's the only brand of cd's we use. i like their newborn size diapers, which i feel are a must when cloth diapering a little baby because the one sized are just too big. they can wear them for a couple of months before having to graduate to the one sized cloth diapers. usually 10-12 newborn diapers should be enough, you just have to wash them every night. for bigger babies i prefer the bumGenius 4.0 diapers. we absolutely love them! 20 should be enough to get you all the way through potty training.
diaper wipes: we love the kirkland wipes
from costco. they are super soft, super cheap and come in bulk.
bottles: i nurse my babies but we still need bottles from time to time when i cannot be there. we use and love lifefactory bottles. they are glass bottles so they are naturally BPA free and they come with a silicone sleeve to protect from breakage. we have had several bottles tossed, dropped and thrown across the room at high speeds and only one has bit the dust. i highly recommend them. they come in two sizes and make sippy caps to convert them from baby bottle to sippy cup. oh and they make them for adults too.
sleep sheep: every baby and toddler needs a sleep sheep to drown outside noise. we prefer the travel sheep, it's smaller and can easily be attached to a crib, car seat or stroller. i swear by this cute little fella.
baby carriers: we are big time baby wearers over here. i have a few carriers that i love. they are different styles which come in handy in different situations: the ergo, the sakura bloom ring slings and i am excited to try our new wraps sent to us by solly baby. i love trying out new carriers, so if i find any others that i am a fan of i will be sure to share them with you in the future.
baby monitor: okay, so this
is the monitor that we have and i am not a huge fan. there is a lot of interference. this is the one recommended by a friend of mine who loves it and i will be purchasing shortly. note to self: purchase new baby monitor.
nursing must haves: if you are nursing you need this. it will save your boobies, trust me. you will also need a nursing pillow. i have always used a boppy pillow and have nothing to compare it to, but i really like it. you are also going to want a good nursing bra and a good supply of breast pads. i also recommend both a manual breast pump and an electric pump.
that is all that i can think of off the top of my head. if i have missed anything please ask away in the comments below and feel free to add your own personal suggestions and experiences for others to find and read. these are just my own preferences.
update: a reader noted that i should mention the "amazon mom" membership to you all. it gives you three months of free amazon prime and several other neat benefits.
this years school books are slowly trickling in each day. an exciting time for us, not only because we get to see what we will be learning this first term, but also there are packages arriving on our doorstep and packages are always exciting for kids to open.
the list of reader questions on the subject of homeschooling is quite long. i have attempted to answer them in a giant post that is saved in my drafts titled "why i homeschool" but there it sits, unfinished and nowhere near completion. i figure it would be good to share a bit here and there and answer a question or two rather than trying to tackle them all at once.
so here goes…
Q. how do you plan on juggling homeschooling your two older children with a toddler and newborn baby at home?
A. i plan on doing just that, juggling. to be completely honest i am not all that worried about the homeschooling aspect of it. i am more nervous about bringing a new baby into our family, as i think most expecting mamas are no matter how many kids they have at home. it will be an adjustment. the schedule that we used last year may not be the same one we use this year. things will change, but we will figure it out. we always do. i should be able to answer this question better once things settle into place after the baby is born.
Q. what curriculum do you use?
A: we do not use or follow one set curriculum. there are so many different options out there and there are so many different ways to learn. i found it important to try different methods to make sure that we found something that fit the lifestyle and mold of our family. what we have found what works best for us is a good combination of the charlotte mason method, montessori along with some unschooling. i will go more into depth about each of these and why there are right for us in the future, but right now i will share some of the books that we are using this first term, as many of you wanted to know. most of them are not your standard textbook, as textbooks tend to be dumbed down for children with the sole purpose of cramming a lot of information into a ones mind. we try to read books dedicated to the subject so we can fully understand and get the whole picture of what it is we are learning about.
again, these are our first term books in each subject. once we have finished them we will move on to other books. we do many things when homeschooling, it's not just reading… we do fun science projects and art projects. we take field trips, go on nature walks and use watercolor journals to reflect on the things we have learned and discovered. the kids take outside group classes for their other interests such a music lessons, tennis and ballet class. it's a good mix and we love it.
i also plan on starting some light pre-school learning with birdie a couple of times a week.
i hope that this answered a couple of your questions. if you have more, feel free to ask them below. but please no rude or judgemental comments about our choice to homeschool. thank you.
i have had numerous requests from readers about my skincare regimen over the years, so today i thought i'd share. i recently was turned on to the brand SUPER by nicholas perricone. i cannot even tell you how much of a fan that i am. i love the product and have noticed an incredible difference in my skin. aaaand this line is affordable! there are so many eye creams, moisturizers and anti-aging serums that are well over $100 for an ounce or two and realistically, most of us cannot afford them. i have tried a few and can honestly say that i like SUPER better and every product is between twenty and fifty dollars. woo-hoo! so here is that i use and why…
1. SUPER sweet clean cleanser with acai. $30. this lightweight cleanser is incredible. it leaves my face feeling ultra clean, fresh and removes make up in a flash. 2. SUPER detox elixir with watercress. $30. this toner is in a spray form… genious! it tightens and minimizes pores. i like to tuck this baby in my purse and spray throughout the day when i need a little refresher. 3. SUPER crinkle eraser with red algae. $48. a firming serum that i smooth over fine lines. it works so well! 4. SUPER bright eyes. $50. the most amazing eye cream i have ever used. it smells incredible and has an instant cooling effect. a must have every morning! i use it under the eye and on the eyelids. 5. SUPER hyper hydrator with coconut water. $40. a light weight hydrating moisturizer that i use daily on my face and neck. seriously the best, i love it!
6. SUPER first blush with melon. $48. this serum is SO GOOD. it gives a natural youthful glow to tired, dull skin. kind of like that pretty pregnant glow that expecting mama's have in a bottle. 7. SUPER sun kissed with tumeric and SPF 25. $42. to protect from the sun and give you a little bit of coverage. i use this during the day instead of foundation. 8. SUPER night recharge with red algae. $50. i put this on each night after washing my face with the sweet clean cleanser. it fights crime against those fine lines and moisturizes while you sleep. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
these are the products that i use along with my real, honest opinions on each one. they have several different products for all skin types that you can check out as well. happy skin caring! if you have more questions that you'd like to see answered here in the future, please comment below. xo.
footnote: i was not paid to write the above. i actually use and love SUPER products and i recommend them to all of my friends and family. SUPER has sent me complimentary products in the past to try and i loved them and continue to use them. to see other products that i use and have used in the past you can click here.