Friday, April 27, 2012

Cloth Diaper giveaways

Not sure if you're aware but I've recently fallen in love with all things fluff. I'm talking about cloth diapers here. This may sound weird coming from me knowing that my son is 4 but I am hoping one day to have another child. Hopefully. Whether it's Michael getting his vasectomy reversed or adopting/fostering a child.

Some people think it's weird to cloth diaper. I know I did. Well, I'm not sure if I thought it was weird as much as not very practical. I had visions of pins and flat sheets of cloth, and I didn't understand how they didn't leak. It's just fabric after all! When I went to Korea I met several ladies that cloth diapered and found out they were actually pretty cute and definitely not what I thought they were. I still didn't know too much about them until recently when I started researching about them for a friend. There is so much information out there! One of these days I'll write a post with links to different sites that I've found a lot of information, but today I'm just going to share with you giveaways.

Cloth diapers can be expensive at first. Overall, it's way cheaper then disposables, but disposables you buy a little at a time. Cloth you have to purchase at the beginning so it is a little bit of an investment at first. There's cheaper ways and more expensive ways to do it, depending on what kind you're interested in, but they all cost money. My solution? Hitting up giveaways! You would not believe how many cloth diaper giveaways there are online! I've found a couple of sites that post a lot of them with their ending dates and that's normally how I find them.

The majority of the giveaways are on blogs and use a program called a rafflecopter. Sometimes you can have one entry or even 20-30. It all depends on how it's set up and how many entries you're willing to participate in. There's usually always 1 entry just because (not always) then multiple ways to add extras. If you have twitter, Facebook, Google +, or GFC, you can add in more entries by liking or following the sponsor's pages. You can also share the giveaway with your friends using those same methods and sometimes receive extras as well. Yes, this can make your Facebook or twitter wall fill up with businesses but I think if you win things for free, it's worth it? It's all up to how much is it worth to you? I signed up for twitter just to do the giveaways so that really doesn't bother me much. Sometimes it's a bit much on Facebook, but it's worth it to me.

My first win! 2 pack of rumparooz NB AIO
The following are some of the sites that have giveaways, I will be adding more as I come across them:

Change posts a list every Friday
Baby Giveaways Galore usually has a few going on a regular basis
A year with mom and dad usually have a few going on as well. Not all cloth diapers
Mommy of One and Counting  has misc giveaways

There are of course a ton more sites out there and a lot of times I'll see them posted in my news feed now that I *like* all of these pages. You just have to be diligent on watching, but here is a good place to start!

Please let me know if you've won anything, I would love to celebrate with you! :0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Funerals and Car accidents

I haven't been around much this weekend which was unfortunate since the weather was gorgeous. I would have preferred to have been sitting at home on the porch grilling up a steak, or heck, even a hot dog, then being out and about. I have some blog posts that I've been  wanting to write but with everything going on, this is my first chance to be able to do that...


On 14 April, Grandpa Leo passed away at the ripe old age of 90. For those of you who don't know my family, this is my half sister, Terri's Grandpa. Which is my step-dad's father. My mom and my step-dad split up gosh, maybe 10 years ago or more? They were married for the majority of my childhood and I still consider his family, my family. I didn't end up having a big wedding (I got married in a courthouse with two witnesses, lol) but if I had, I always planned to have my dad and my step-dad (John) walk me down the aisle. I mean, he was there for everything, sometimes more then my Biological dad.

Saturday was his funeral and there was a lot to do before hand. I went and picked up my Bountiful Basket and since I didn't have Uriah that day due to the funeral,  I went in at 6 instead of 7, to volunteer. We had friends coming over to help set-up Gideon's swing set so I stopped at the store for some beer and lunch meat for sandwiches. On my way back about 7:45ish, Michael calls to tell me that some stupid kid in his Battery got into an accident and a DUI the night before so he had to go into work at noon for who knows how long. Of course this really sucked because not only was Michael working on the swing set, but he was supposed to have Gideon all day so I wouldn't have to bring him to the funeral.

As soon as I got home, I hurried and got myself and Gideon ready while Michael went outside to start on the swing set. We had to call my friends to tell them not to show up until Michael got back from work but we didn't know when that would be. I called my mom to see if she was going to the memorial, which she was, so I couldn't leave Gideon with her. She wasn't going to the graveside so I could have left him with her then but that wasn't  the part I was really worried about, it was the memorial at the church where I thought he would get ansy.

11:00 was the graveside funeral, and after picking up Terri and her BF Travis and meeting up with John, we were there. The weather was beautiful as I mentioned which made for a really nice funeral. Grandpa Leo was retired Air Force and a  lifetime VFW member so the VFW were at out as well as two Active Duty Air Force. Gideon sat down on the ground during most of it but stayed quiet for the most part. He was playing with a graveside marker, which was kind of awkward but I guess it's not that big of a deal considering we had chairs sitting on more of them as well. The two Active Duty guys draped the flag over the coffin and also folded the flag up when it was time to give to the family. How embarrassing for them though as it took the one folding three times to fold it up correctly! I couldn't believe it. The VFW guys also did a gun salute and played Taps in respect of Grandpa Leo. During Taps a Eagle flew in the sky, it really couldn't have been more beautiful. God definitely showed his blessings for his son.

Afterwards, we hurried to the church where they had lunch set up for the family before the memorial started at 1:00. My mom called and said she wasn't coming to the funeral any more but she was on her way to pick up Gideon. I met her out in the parking lot, so it worked out nicely because Gideon was definitely wound up after eating lunch. When I went back in, I saw my Aunt Kathy. The VFW guys had given her the shell casings from the salute at the funeral to give to all of the grand kids and she wanted me to have one. This of course made me tear up and get all weepy because I always feel like the family wonders why I'm there since John's not married to my mom any more... I figure they think I just tag along as Terri's sister, not as an actual family member. That casing meant a lot to me, and I'm very thankful that I was given one. I had a talk with my Aunt Julie about it later and she told me that I was counted just as much as the rest of them. This really was a day that ended up meaning a lot to me besides the obvious.

Afterwards, I went and picked Gideon up, and went to my Aunt Kathy's for a family get together. Gideon got to run around with some other kids and I got to hang out and visit with some of the family. It was a sad reason to get together but we all knew that Grandpa Leo was in a better place.

I talked to Michael on the way home and found out that he only had to be at work for 30 min so minus the drive time there and back, he was able to be back working on the swing set by 1:00 and our friend's showed up a little after that. When I came home later, they were on step 18 of 50 (ha ha) but had a good start. We stayed up till 10 that night working on it some more because we wanted it done the next day.


The day started off fine. We woke up to another beautiful day so Michael went outside and started on the swing set, first thing. Sheleah and Mike were stopping by around 1:00 or so whenever their hockey game that they were watching was over. I had picked up a sand and water table the day before that had been sitting at John's house since last summer when I came home to visit from Korea. It was a Christmas present from my Grandpa Mel and Grandma Rosie for Gideon. I didn't set it up when we were home because I didn't really have anywhere to leave it set up, so I had just left it sitting in the box in my car that was being stored at John's house. So while Michael was working on the swing set, Gideon had me put together the sand table for him. We didn't have any sand so we just filled up the water part but he was having a blast with it.

Around 2:30 or so, as I'm sitting outside enjoying the sun, hanging out with Sheleah while Gideon and Uriah were running around, I got a phone call. My brother Bruce was in an accident the night before and was at Harborview with a broken neck. They said he could move but he was having surgery the next day. I was pretty upset but didn't think I'd be able to drive up there since I was babysitting. Michael told me to go ahead and go and Sheleah said she'd help with the kids while the guys finished the swing set as well.

I drove to Harborview, which is in Seattle, about a 50 min drive from my house. When I got to the hospital pretty much all of my family was already there. Bruce was laying down and had a big neck brace on and wasn't supposed to move his body at all but he was physically able to. When he wasn't dozing he was actually texting friends letting them know he was OK. He was pretty scratched up, it looked like he had glass taken out of his hands, and his ear had been stitched up as well. He wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything because they weren't for sure on when he'd be going into surgery and if it ended up being that night, he had to be food and liquid free.

While at the hospital and talking to different family members, I found out what happened. Him and his roommate Brandon and a friend Kyle were out at a bar celebrating. Brandon had turned 21 two weeks prior, and Kyle had just turned 21 (Bruce turns 22 in a couple months). All Bruce remembers is climbing into the back seat and passing out and being woken up by Kyle telling him he needed to crawl out of the truck. They had been in an accident and couldn't find Brandon so they though he had already climbed out. He was taken to the Puyallup hospital to be checked out and I'm not for sure when he found out, but Brandon had been thrown from the truck and was found in the bushes, killed instantly.

Kyle, who was driving, had hurt his arm, I'm not really for sure the specifics on what happened to it but that it was broken, or fractured? Bruce was up and coherent at the hospital and they thought he was fine other then the obvious and were going to discharge him. Bruce didn't call anyone because he was didn't want to wake anyone up when he was being discharged. Luckily they did x-rays of some sort and realized that he couldn't be discharged because he had broken his neck. We later found out it was a clean break so it would be fixed easily. Thank you God! They then sent him to Harborview as that is the local trauma center where he then called his mom (my former step-mom), and my brother Nate started calling other family to let us know what was going on.


We had been told that Bruce was going to be having surgery today but they weren't able to get him in until 3:00 or so. The surgery was successful and they fused his vertebrae together. He'll be in a neck brace for 3 months but is up and about now and should hopefully be released by tomorrow. Other then some limited flexibility in his neck, he will completely recover physically.

This is where the accident occurred

In 2009 there was 232 alcohol related fatalities in the state of Washington. In the state of Washington, a person charged with Vehicular Homicide can be convicted of a Class A Felony which carries a life sentence however they will more then likely only serve 31 - 177 months. In this situation, the lives of three 21 year olds is forever changed. They were/are so young, but this night can never be taken back.

Please don't drink and drive! Don't ride with someone else that is drinking. Have a plan before you start drinking of how you're going to get home. Call someone if you need a ride! The accident that the kids were in was roughly a block away from the bar. A block away! Please don't chance it, and get help.

Edit 4/25/2012: News article from accident

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Have you ever heard of Wool Dryer Balls? I hadn't until very recently. If you don't know what the purpose of them is, they are supposed to help speed up your drying  time due to the wool absorbing excess moisture as well as a good  alternative to fabric softener as some people say they help reduce static by moving the clothes around. You can get them scented and unscented, whatever your preference is. I would guess that the majority of people who use wool dryer balls are people who cloth diaper their children as you can not use fabric softener with cloth diapers. However if you're looking for ways to cut costs wherever you can, this is one way to do that not to mention dryer sheets have chemicals in them so this is one more way to reduce the chemicals that your family is exposed to on a daily basis.

You can purchase wool dryer balls in all different colors and variations. There are many retailers that sell them online; Buddha Bunz is one option and the following are a couple of pictures of the different varieties that they carry from their website:

Colored Varieties
Custom Designed

These are all gorgeous and the custom  designed ones are super cute, however I found a really neat DIY tutorial to make them yourself  so Sheleah and I attempted to make a couple the other day. I'm just now getting around to where I can blog about them. lol.

Click the link for the tutorial that we found and used. It's from Earthy Crunchy Mama which is another blog that I enjoy.

We went to our local Joanne's in search of 100% wool; it must say something about felting. The only ones we had found that said this was the Fisherman's wool. I looked at Fred Meyer's the other day and didn't find it but found it at another one a few days later. I imagine you should be able to find it at most retailers that sell yarn. It's a little pricey, $10.99 for one bundle (I don't knit or crochet so not really sure what you call it, lol) but wool dryer balls in general are a little pricey, so I'm not too worried. It'll save in the long run.

You start with winding the yarn around your fingers about 5 times or so and then slip it off your fingers and start winding it around itself. I should have taken more pics of that process but I didn't think about it at the time. I'll try and add some in later when I make more. I think the tutorial said to wrap 4 times then turn? Honestly we just wrapped a few times and turned, without really being too stringent about it.

At first it may look like a big of a square or rectangle, that's when we started wrapping it around the corners as well (like I said, don't worry about wrapping perfectly, just wrap it to shape). At one point it looked more like an oval so I started wrapping one side and corners heavier and it evened itself out. This is the tiresome part as your fingers start to get sore. Make sure you have something entertaining to do in the meantime such as something on TV or maybe do it with a friend like I did, so you can sit and chat.

The ball I was working on and Rosalie's cute little fingers

Sheleah working on hers (Please ignore the tear in the couch. This is our worn out kids couch that we got for free from Craigslist. lol)
Eventually you start to have some pretty wool balls :0) The tutorial says to keep wrapping till you have 4 oz or till it barely fits in your hand and should be half of your yarn. This wasn't quite the case for us as we didn't have a scale and had to guess but we made them fairly big and could probably get at least 3 or 4 out of the bundle of yarn. Tie off the end of the yarn on the ball itself. You can also use a felting needle but we didn't have one and it wasn't too difficult.

This is how big my ball was
The left ball is mine, the right ball is Sheleah's. She made hers a little bigger then I did

Next thing to do is to wash the balls. Find some pantyhose (the tutorial suggested the dollar store for knee high variety) and stuff the balls in the pantyhose. You can either put multiple balls into one leg and tie a knot after each ball or cut the pantyhose, which is what we did, and tie off around it.

The tutorial said to wash the balls in a pillow case that is tied off in hot water 3 times. I had other laundry going so we thought to maybe try boiling the balls in a  large pot of water for 20 min or so and see if this would do the same thing. It would be better then using the washer 3 times with hot water.

However, It didn't work :( Oh well, now we know!

I washed them in the washer 3 times, but I skipped the pillow case part. We have an older washer and dryer so my only options was to use the hot/cold temp which meant I had to sit by and listen when the first cycle was over so I could quickly catch it before it went into the cold cycle. That kind of sucked, but hopefully I'll only need to do this one more time with the remaining balls I'm going to make.

After the 3rd hot cycle let it run on a cold cycle then pull the balls out. I actually dryed them once after also but they really weren't that wet after the spin cycle. Take off the panty hose carefully as there will be a lot of little fuzzies sticking the two together. You'll notice that it is now hard to separate a single strand from the rest of the ball. (I hope) this means it's done!

If you were wanting your balls to be scented you would find some essential oils to add at this point. I looked at Fred Meyer's for some and apparently they're having a hard time getting them from the distributor right now. One store had peppermint only and the other eucalyptus only, both scents I'm not interested in. I'll be keeping an eye out as I'm hoping to add some lavender scents to them.

Overall, they were pretty easy to make and might make a cute addition to a baby shower gift basket of some kind, especially if the mother is cloth diapering. Most of the sites I looked at recommended having 6-8 balls for maximum benefit so I need to get working on some more!