Friday, October 9, 2015

Picking Apples and Pears in Julian

As a San Diego resident, what do you do when apple-picking season comes around and you want that quintessential fall experience? Well, you head to Julian, of course! Although apple-picking season in San Diego County, even in the mountains, does not mean cooler autumn temperatures, it is still loads of fun for the family. 

For the second year in a row (click here for photos from last year), we headed to Apple Starr Orchard during Labor Day weekend. It's the only certified organic orchard out there, and it's worth the extra cash for that bag of delicious organic goodies. After an hour of picking fruit in the sweltering heat of late summer, followed by a picnic lunch, we headed to Julian Pie Co. for pie and ice cream -- a special treat for all that hard work!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

San Diego Hidden Treasure: Queen Califia's Magic Circle Sculpture Garden

(Please note: All photos are copyright and courtesy of Julie Rings Photography)

The city of Escondido, located within San Diego County, is home to an unusual, yet stunning collection of sculptures created by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The sculptures are centered around a mythical warrior queen, also known as Calafia. The garden has recently undergone renovations, but there is still more work to be done, so opening times are limited. Visit the second Saturday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm or click here for information about a large-group visit by reservation only.

Getting there: The garden is located inside Kit Carson Park. When you enter at the corner of Bear Valley Parkway and Mary Lane, follow signs toward the Arboretum and park in the Arboretum lot. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

My Cloth Diapering Journey Part Six: Cost Comparison

We chose cloth for many reasons. One, we preferred natural, breathable fibers against our baby's skin. (We used disposables with Hunter for the first ten days and would find those absorbent beads had leaked out and were on his skin a couple of times. Ick!) Two, we wanted to avoid diaper rash. (As an infant, when we did use disposables -- even Honest brand -- he would get a rash easily.) Three, we liked the eco-friendly factor. The idea of 3,000+ diapers sitting in a landfill because of my child did not sit well with me. Finally, we thought it would be less expensive to cloth diaper. Let's see if that last reason paid off, shall we?

Here is a detailed list of what we spent out of pocket for Hunter's cloth diapers...

Wool Covers:
-$0 for Loveybums Pull-up cover (gift)*
-$53 for 2 Loveybums wrap covers ("Crepe" and "Jersey")*
-$15 for Happy Heinys Stacinator (used)*
-$49 for 2 Disana soakers*
-$24 for Myecobaby (etsy) soaker*
-$15 for MyWoolieBaby (etsy) soaker*

PUL Covers:
-$98 for 8 Thirsties Duo Wraps (four size 1 and four size 2)*
-$0 for 3 sized Thirsties wraps and 2 sized "Fluffy's" wraps (hand-me-downs from friend)*
-$5 for Happy Heinys wrap (used)*
-$10 for 2 Bummis wraps (used)*

Accessories and wash supplies:
-$21 for large wet bag and $0 for small wet bag (gift)*
-$5 for wool wash*
-$17 for Bac-Out*
-$13 for Bumkins boosters*
-$11 for RLR laundry treatment
-$40 for bidet sprayer
-$0 for Snappis (gifts)*
-$6 for misc. doublers*
-$8 for Bio-soft liners*
-$15 for Fleece liners*
-$16 for Imse Vime Wool Cure (to relanolize wool covers)*
-$16 for bamboo french terry cloth that my mom made into reusable wipes*

-$0 for 3 hemps (gift)
-$71 for Cloth-eez/GMD (8 preemie, 8 newborn, 8 small, and 6 medium wide)
-$0 for Dandelion Diapers (6 in size two and 6 pinless in size three -- gifts)
-$0 for OsoCozy unbleached cotton diapers (12 in size one -- gifts)
-$15 for misc. single diapers (to try out sizes)

Fitted Diapers:
-$60 for 6 Cloth-eez/GMD workhorses

All-in-One Diapers:
-$10 for Organic BumGenius "Elemental" one size (used)
-$14 for Organic Grovia one size (on sale)
-$3 for super old Thirsties diaper (used)

Pocket Diapers (mostly used them without the inserts as covers):
-$0 for 2 BumGenius (gift)*
-$8 Thirsties Duo Diaper size 1 (used)*

-$40 for "back-up" disposable diapers (We used them in the early days, while on a camping trip and occasionally if we were out of clean dipes.)

Estimate of soap expenses related to cloth-diaper use: $60
-one gallon of Sal Suds, which we use for household cleaning too (though it turns out it's not recommended for washing cloth diapers -- oops!)
-supplies for homemade wipe solution

Estimate of water and energy expenses related to cloth-diaper use: $150 (Resource)

Total Cloth Diaper Cost: $868

I used this website to help me calculate, based off of Hunter's birth weight, how many diapers I would have used in the first year. I also estimated 5 diapers/day for ages 12 months to 18 months. That's 3,367 diapers! I calculated cost using the the Target price for Pampers newborn diapers, Costco Huggies brand of diapers (sizes 1-3), and Costco Huggies brand of disposable wipes (2 wipes per dipe), plus I factored in about one month's worth of diapers given as baby shower gifts.

4 boxes of newborn size = $140
3 boxes of size 1 = $112
4 boxes of size 2 = $150
8 boxes of size 3 = $344
6 boxes of wipes = $150

Estimate of what I would have spent on 18 months worth of disposables: $896

Difference: $28

Using cloth, we experienced NO savings (or very minimal savings) for the first 18 months. After that point and if we used all this cloth with the next child, we would start seeing some savings. For example, reusing cloth for 18 months with baby #2 would only cost $250 for back-up sposies, water, energy, and soap compared to $896 for disposable diapers and wipes -- a savings of $646.

What if we had used other cloth diaper systems?

#1 No wool (same diapers and accessories, just all PUL covers instead of wool)
$868 - $177 = $691 (subtract costs associated with wool)
$691 + $49 = $740 (add 4 more Thirsties covers)
Savings compared to disposables: $156

#2 All-in-Ones
-$400 for 24 BumGenius AIO diapers
-$380 for misc. accessories, water, energy, soap
Total: $780
Savings compared to disposables: $116

#3 Flats (instead of prefolds and workhorses and using only PUL covers, i.e. no wool)
$60 for 24 one size birdseye organic cotton flats versus $131 for prefolds and workhorses
$740 (cost without wool) - $131 = $609 + $60 = $669
Savings compared to disposables: $227

To conclude, cloth diapers can definitely be a cheaper solution if you're very careful and deliberate about what you buy. You can even make diapers out of old t-shirts! Plus, the savings continue the longer your child is in diapers and if you use them with subsequent children. On the other hand, cloth diapers can also be more expensive than disposables. My vice was the wool soakers. Those are the most expensive type of waterproof cover, and buying cute styles can be addictive. Other moms like collecting special edition AIO diapers from brands like BumGenius and Flip, which can quickly add up.

Although now that we are doing a cloth diaper service with Baby #2 and we aren't really saving any money compared to the cost of disposables (it's actually more expensive), at least I already have a bunch of the covers and other accessories. The only extras I bought were 2 more newborn diaper covers. *Everything else marked with an asterisk in this post, I will be able to use alongside the diaper service.

Not the conclusion you were expecting, huh? Yeah, me neither. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Cloth Diapering Journey Part 5: Other Cloth Diapering Accessories

(Please note: This post contains some affiliate links.)

After this post, there's only one more left in my cloth diapering journey series (and it only took me 2.5 years to get them all done)! I have mentioned wet bags and Snappies and Thirsties covers and Bac-Out and RLR Laundry Treatment in past cloth diaper posts, but that's not all! Here are some other accessories we used...

Doublers and Liners:
Bumkins Boosters -- These add another layer of absorbency. Good for overnight. This product is discontinued, but this one is similar.
Hemp Doubler w/layer of fleece -- Use this to add extra absorbency at night, plus the fleece gives a "stay dry" effect.
Bummis fleece liner -- These are also great for creating a "stay-dry" effect at night when you don't want baby waking up because of a wet diaper, but they do not add absorbency, just an extra layer. They are also really great to use if a baby has an unfortunate diaper rash and you want to use rash cream. Creams can affect the absorbency of cloth diapers, so this liner creates a layer of protection between the diaper and the cream.
Bummis disposable liner -- These are great for easy clean-up of solids and you can flush them.

Wool Care:
Eucalan wash -- This product is great for hand washing wool covers, but I even used it for washing other delicate wool clothing (some cool weather layers for Hunter as well as mami and papi's wool sweaters).
Lanolin -- I used a product by Imse Vimse called Wool Cure, but it's hard to find. You can use just plain lanolin dissolved in hot water. (Wait until it cools to add wool covers.)