Friday, August 26, 2011

Diaper Trials

I promised you all that I would do a post on my trials and triumphs with diapers.

So, here is the much-anticipated post! Brace yourselves, it's a looong one!

Let me just tell you all that where diapers are concerned, believe me, I have been to the moon and back! I kid you not, I have tried absolutely every. single. brand. out there! Some brands I've tried multiple times.  Some brands, I knew that I never wanted to see them again upon the first use.  Some brands, I never even got past taking them out of the package! In this post I will catalog my usage of the brands of diapers that are out there and I will tell you what I liked and didn't like about each.

As you can probably guess, each of my children have worn diapers! And I care deeply about my children's buns.  I am not one to just settle for whatever diaper is on sale.  I guess you could say that I am deeply Brand Loyal! I will also tell you that diapers have changed immensely since my first child was born 17 years ago, even when nothing was wrong with a particular brand.  My philosophy is, why can't manufacturers leave well enough alone??!!

The first brand I ever tried, back when Russell was born almost 17 years ago, was Pampers, because that's the brand that our hometown hospital uses.  And I loved Pampers.  They were the only diapers that I used for him, exclusively. 

A little side-story here:
Russell was my very first baby.  That means that I had absolutley NO idea what to do with him.  When the nurses gave him to me to take home after his two-week stay in the NICU, I panicked! I must have looked half crazed! And I didn't even know how to change a diaper.  The NICU nurses had to show me.  So when I brought him home I felt pretty proud of myself for actually knowing how to get him bathed and dressed and diapered with a minimum of struggle.  But I did notice that I was having to change his clothes a LOT during the day! This puzzled me.  He'd have this wet spot along the middle of his outfit, at the top of his diaper, and I had no clue how it got there.  One day, I decided to bring this matter up with my husband.  My husband came into Russell's room with me and watched as I changed him.  He studied the operation and finally said,
"Honey, are you pointing his thingy down?"
And I was like "Excuse me?"
And he said to me, "Honey, you have to point his thingy down in order for the pee pee to actually go into the diaper instead of out of the diaper."
Ah ha! So from that day on I did what he said and lo and behold, no more leaks!!

So, I stuck with Pampers Baby Dry for many years.  Then they came out with Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Cruisers.  Ah. The relationship was elevated to me becoming Pampers #1 fan! Only one thing marred my bliss: they cost an arm and a leg! Even with coupons.  But I continued to use them because of the love factor. And back then, they were good diapers.

I used Pampers for a number of years before I decided to investigate further.  By this time Hannah and Samantha had arrived.  I was using Pampers for them too, but the price was rising higher and higher.  They were both in diapers at the same time, being 16 months apart.  So it was even more important to me to get the best diaper for the best value.  By this time I felt like I knew what I needed in a diaper and I was pretty confident that I could judge a diaper acurrately.

I tried generic store brands.  Fred Meyer.  Drug Store brands.  Target at this time did not have a store brand, and I had never even heard of Wal Mart.  I tried Safeway brand.  All I can say is, ICK! The store brands that I tried were so flimsy, so thin, so papery that they could not stand up to a flood of liquid, let alone anything else, and I was having to change diapers every two hours.  Let me say, if you are changing a diaper every two hours, this is NOT a savings!! You are having to use a lot more diapers because they can't stand up to the tough stuff.

I decided that I would stick with Pampers.  But I did switch to Pampers Cruisers exclusively.  I loved the way they flexed and moved.  They were soft.  They seemed to have a good air flow without getting stinky.  I almost never had a blow out during this time.  We decided to budget in the big bucks for Pampers from now on.

Alas, all good things seem to come to an end, and manufacturers think they need to change things up to compete, I guess.  Around the time Sara was born I noticed that, upon taking a diaper out of the package, it just didn't feel or look the same as they had in the past.  This is when I became disillusioned with Pampers and decided to try Luvs.  For about $10.00 less per box! Keep in mind that this was eons before the internet and before!

So I fell in love with Luvs.  I used Luvs for a few more years before, you guessed it, they changed them! So I felt forced to switch back to Pampers.  They were ho-hum.

Fast forward.  It's now years in the future and I'm not really loving diapers anymore.  I've now tried Target brand (Up and Up).  Wal Mart brand (totally forgot the name).  By the time Sofia was born I was settling.  I even saved some Luvs from when I used them with Sara, and I compared them to the Luvs that I bought for Sofia.  BIG change.  I used the few Luvs that I had saved, mourning all the time for the great diaper that they had just gotten rid of for no reason.

When Lucie was born I used what I had on hand.  I had a few packages of diapers from the hospital.  They were Pampers Swaddlers, only they now had some sort of net thing, a mesh thing, covering the inside of the diaper, and every time I took a diaper off of her, it stuck to her.  Not to mention that she started to get a bad rash.  Then my friends had a diaper shower for me.  This gave me the opportunity to try different diapers again.

I have tried organic diapers.  We were concerned by this time of the junk touching our girls's buns, and we used everything else organic, why not diapers?! Yeah right.  I tried 7th Generation.  For like 35 cents a diaper.  Ugh.   And they were bulky.  And ugly.  They worked well, but the price deterred me.  I tried Earth's Best, found at Grocery Outlet for a steal.....but I had to change diapers every two hours! And we were having blow outs, bad ones, every diaper. So back I went to Pampers Cruisers.

Yes, expensive diapers are less expensive now with the advent of sites like and Amazon.  I can get my faves for the same price as generic diapers. 

I had some Huggies out in the container from a diaper shower that my friends threw me when we found out we were having twins, and I was hesitant to use them because I had not been happy with Huggies in the past.  But we ran out of diapers and it was quite a few days till payday, so I had to try them.  And I fell in love! With Huggies Snug and Dry, with Baby Mickey on the front.

In my opinion, Huggies are the best option out here.  I can leave a Huggies on Pennie for the whole night and there's nary a sign of a leak.  We've never had a blow out.  They fit great.  They're cute.  And I can get them for pretty cheap on Amazon, I found. No rashes either!

I do like Kirkland brand diapers, and I had been using them for Lucie now that she's older because they're good diapers, but for Pennie, the smallest size they start with are a combined size 1-2.  I think they're about 19 cents a diaper or something like that, compared to 25 cents at Costco for Huggies Snug and Dry.  So, Pennie doesn't fit into size three yet, and she's too big for the littler size.

So, I guess what I would leave you all with, after a gargantuanly long post (thanks for hanging in there) is that diapers can be very affordable online.  I have been so happy with  You can look at every diaper under the sun and they even lay out the cost per diaper for you! I like that.  They also have customer reviews, which I loved when I was contemplating which diaper to order for Pennie.  Also, shipping is usually free with an order of a certain dollar amount (usually a weird amount like $49), and, the icing on the cake is that shipping is really fast, usually two days after I place my order.  I met a gal at Costco who told me about Amazon Moms, and she told me that I can order Huggies for the same price as store brands!!

Also, diaper showers are a fabulous idea for first time moms, and even third time moms or eight time moms! A mom needs to stock up on diapers, and a diaper shower is a great way to do that.

Here's a wrap up of the points in this post"
Diapers I hate: Luvs.  Pampers.  Up and Up.  Safeway brand.  Wal Mart brand.  Hmmmm...just about every diaper that isn't Huggies Snug and Dry!! And I'm going to order them from Amazon soon.  I will let you know the cost per diaper and all that stuff.

In the meantime, happy diaper shopping!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grocery Shopping


I've decided to do a post about Grocery Shopping for our Large Family.

I don't know how many of you will be interested in this post, but I want to do it anyway because maybe somebody out there would like to know how we do things and also, in later years when all my Baby Chiles are gone I will have a record of how it used to be when we had a Full House.  God, please don't let that day come too soon!!!

Before I start, let me just say that I am in no way implying that the way we do things is the Perfect Way or the way you should do things.  We've just found ways that work for us.  I do not intend to preach or legalize or judge you.  You may be shocked when I reveal how much we spend on groceries.  I offer no justification for my spending here in this post, and I in no way feel guilty for how much we spend, except to say that groceries are the only thing we really spend money on.  I am eternally thankful that my husband has a very good job and that he has had for the past 18 years.  Again, I say this is the way we do things, so please, do not judge us!!

So, my husband gets paid every two weeks.  He works all the overtime he can at work, which means that he is literally signed up on the Overtime Desired list to work as much over 8 hours a day as he can, and as his boss wants him too.  The person who is lowest on the Overtime Desired list gets the most overtime until everyone on the list is equal.  Being on the Overtime Desired list also means you get called on your days off to come to work, at a rate of double time for the first 8 hours, then double time and a half after 8 hours.  His work day starts at 8 AM and he used to work 11 hour days.  When we lived in our hometown, he had a 3-minute commute.  Now his commute is 39 minutes, so sometimes we don't see him until almost 8 PM, depending on how much overtime he gets each day.  There are seasons that are heavier for overtime.  He's been on the Overtime Desired list practically since he started his job, so we hardly know any different.  When he gets off before 5 PM, it's like he has a day off!! It works for us.  It's a way for him to earn lots of extra money, which we really need, and he actually likes his job!

Since he gets paid every two weeks, we grocery shop every two weeks.  I have used cash.  I have written checks.  I have used a debit card.  I've used the debit card for the longest period of time.  We have even used the Envelope method.  This payday I took out cash.  To be able to use cash I must know exactly how much I am going to spend on groceries, and this payday, I did!

Typically in the past, I have always gone waaay over my grocery budget.  I would traditionally spend anywhere from $1600 to $1800 a month on groceries, and that includes toiletries, laundry items, cleaning supplies, diapers, and anything else we would need for the house.  But I would just put anything I wanted on my list.  Lately, we have been trying to tighten our belts a bit in our spending.  My husband asked me to see if I could shave some money off of our grocery bill, and at first I was totally resistant to it, even offended that he would suggest such a thing! But now, I think I'm kind of getting into it!

The past couple of months I have been working hard on cataloging every single thing we buy and writing down the prices for everything.  This is so we can have a record of what we buy and now, since I've done all of that extra work, I know exactly how much we will spend on each grocery trip.  Yesterday, what is usually a one hour shopping trip at Costco turned into a three hour trip, as I walked through the entire warehouse, looking at everything we would need and writing each and every price down.  I found that indeed, it is going to be cheaper for us to shop there, and now we have a record of prices so there isn't any doubt about how much I will spend in the future.  This has made my husband soooo happy!!

We also have access to a Co-op that we can order online from and have the order delivered locally.  Many large families in our county order from this co-op.  They offer everything under the sun, and boy, is it tons cheaper to order from them! It is a family owned co-op in the next state down from us, and they are believers, and we love that we can support families who love the Lord and our lifestyle as much as we do! Usually families around here go in together on an order, because it has to be for a certain amount before they will deliver it.  We can order every single thing on our grocery list from them, even refrigerated items, and if we spend a certain amount, we can tell them where to drop it off. 

I buy mostly organic, natural things.  Yes, this is more expensive, but we are actually saving money due to the fact that we are not putting harmful, deadly chemicals and genetically modified organisms into our bodies, thereby saving thousands of dollars a year on doctor bills for the side effects of eating an unhealthy, unnatural diet. I sincerely believe that our children are healthier and heartier because of our diet.  I could get on a soap box about this, but that's another post! Let me just say, we are passionate about organic and all natural diets, but we hope that we are passionate in a gentle, kind way!

I make all of my own cleaners.  It's so easy and CHEAP!! That way, I know that we aren't inhaling any harmful fumes and I can feel good about that!

We are working on being totally self-sufficient.  We have plans to get a milk cow.  We have planted numerous square-foot gardens, and we have a large green house and another garden plot which will be totally planted with berries.  Last year we planted several orchard trees.  We have our own chickens and raise our own beef.  This will shave more money off of our grocery bills when our trees and berries and vegetables come to maturity.

I almost never buy boxed convenience foods or mixes.  I make 99% of the things we snack on and eat from scratch, including our bread.  We believe it's just healthier that way! I can see exactly what is going into our food and I love that!

I usually take two kids with me on Shopping Day.  And of course, since I'm still nursing, Pennie gets to come along everywhere we go!!

Now, just because we are passionate about eating organic and all natural, this does not mean that we don't eat out once in a great while (does that make us hypocrites??) Lately we have been making lunch to take with us, especially if we know we're going to be gone all day.  But occasionally I'll stop at Wendy's or Jack in the Box and the kids will order off the dollar menu.  We really love Burgerville because they tend toward organic and all natural items that are raised and grown locally, but it is very expensive.  Anyway, what we make at home and bring with us tastes so much better!!

I do not clip coupons because usually, organic and natural items are not included in the coupon discounts.  I also believe that some people out there have gotten really good at "working the system", which I think is purely unethical.  I truly do not have time to watch the various papers, clip umpteen coupons for umpteen different stores and then, figure out where to put all of the coupons so I won't lose them! I don't want to waste precious and expensive gas running around here and there, thither and yon, just to save 50 cents.  The things we usually buy are never on coupons anyway.  I just decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to stress out about clipping coupons.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I choose the one-stop shopping at Fred Meyer, and now the savings I get at Costco.

I have been getting my diapers on, but two of my friends have told me that Amazon sells them cheaper, so I am going to start ordering my diapers from Amazon.  Most of the time I get free shipping and the quick shipping blows my mind! The box of diapers is typically on my doorstep two days after my order.  Sweeeet!!! Plus, I can order the diapers I love for just as cheap as the cheapest diapers at the store, which means more money saved there because I'm not changing a soaked diaper or outfit every two hours! I'll do a separate post on diapers soon.

We never buy meat.  We have been purchasing home-grown beef for several years now, at least 10 years.  We used to buy our beef from Dave's dad.  After that it was from a neighbor of my parents.  The past couple of years my father has raised a calf for us.  We paid half of the cost of the hay and the butcher fee.  This year we paid the full cost of the hay and we will be implementing the concept of Salad Bar Beef.  If you've never heard of it, it's worth researching.  Home grown beef is so much cheaper.

So, I think that about covers everything in the category of Grocery Shopping.  I'm always refining my methods.  We do have a lot of storage space in the form of a storage container out by the hay barn.  Shelf systems from Costco line the walls.  Plus, we have a chest freezer on the back porch and we are thinking about buying another fridge.

There you have it.  Like I said, this is only how we do things.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.  And soon, I'll post about diapers and what I've learned after having 8 children!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011



My vow to post more often has not been kept!

All I have done on my blog to make it "new and improved" is change my header pic.

Wooo. I blow myself away with my efficiency and my diligence!


I tell ya, it's been a very interesting 6 months.  Heck, who'm I kidding?

It's been a very interesting almost-2-years!!

Living in the same house with my folks.  Taking care of tremendously neglected acreage.  Learning new things.  Becoming "country".  Missing my city.  Tension.  Deep heartache.  Joy.  The end of chapters, the beginning of new ones.  The death of dreams.  The falling off of shackles.  Seeing with new eyes.  Growing.  Changing.  Maturing.  Disillusionment.  Freedom.  We have tasted all of these things and more, the past couple of years.

I never thought I'd be a Country Girl.  I never thought I had it in me, after living in mostly big cities all of my life.  It IS very pretty out just took (and takes) some doing! When you live on acreage and have a Husband With a Vision for Said Acreage, nobody ever gets to cool their jets for very long!

We love living closer to our Very Good Friends that we met over two years ago when we started going to a church around here.  We no longer go to that church but we have remained good friends with a couple of the families.  The oldest girl in our favorite family is our girls' piano teacher and she has started a Bible Study on Thursdays for girls.  We love it.  I myself never expected to get anything out of a Bible Study for Girls!!!! But let me tell you, earlier this week, after Moments of Intense Fellowship with Dave, I was telling the girls that I wasn't going to go anymore! Ha.  Do you say things like that when you get convicted??? Ha.

Pennie is going to be 6 MONTHS OLD on Saturday.  We sit back and marvel at how fast that time passed......and it's always, even against my will, tinged with if only's........She is our precious pearl.  She just has something in her that literally draws people to her.  Seriously, every where we go, people stop and stare and exclaim and try to touch her and talk to her! It's amazing to me.  It's startling.  It's interesting, as I've never before had a child draw people to her like that.  I'm looking forward to finding out what it IS that is the magnet......

So, I'm now the Mother of Two Teens, with a Second Teen on the radar pretty soon, like in December! It just sounds sooooo strange when I say I have teenagers.  I praise God for my teenagers.  They are blossoming (even my son is) into Godly young adults.  This Bible study we are going to has really brought out all the good in my 4 older girls.  But my teens are surprising me! Oy.  Sigh.  Yikes! Does that mean I'm OLD now???

I just realized the other day that my Fortieth Birthday AND my Twentieth Anniversary fall in the same year, just a few months shy of each other.  Wow.  Big Stuff!! How will I feel about turning 40?  I can tell you, I felt literally super old as this past birthday approached and limped by!!

I made the Mistake of walking into a Gymboree store the other day.  Heavens to Mergatroid!! A small little fact that none of you may know about me is that I am literally, for Real, a Gymbofreak!! I mean it.  My babies, especially my girls, start out life almost exclusively in Gymboree.  I just adore their attention to details.  I love the new lines.  I love the rich colors and the creativity behind the lines and the pieces.  I have found tons of my Gymbo on eBay.  I keep a sharp eye out at resale shops for Gymboree too, although, due to the timelessness of the lines and the durability of the clothes, I hardly find it secondhand.  So, now all I can think about is the darling stuff I saw!!! And with 6 girls who can fit into their sizes........

I'm dearly, dearly hoping, almost praying, for my tomatoes to get ripe! We have four large half wine cask barrels of tomatoes planted out front.  Tomatoes have always been one of my favorite foods, even when I was small.  Pico de Gallo.  Grilled tomatoes.  Tomato sandwiches.  Tomato salad.  And my Kellie shares that love with me! So, the two of us go out front and literally stare at all of the green tomatoes, willing them red!! Hmmm.....the weather just needs to warm up another 10 degrees, and stay that way for a few weeks.......

Okay, I need to wrap up this Road to Nowhere now.  It's one day before payday, and that means rummaging around for things to eat.  It means being resourceful.  It means it's tough to fill up our bellies!! In our household, we grocery shop every two weeks.  It's a large, all day trip and I traditionally take one or two of the kids with me, usually a younger one and an older one.  It gives me Special Time with the two that I pick to go with me, and they feel like Royalty.  Tomorrow I'll be taking Hannah and Sofia (who hardly ever gets to come) and we will be going up North instead of down to our Hometown. For many years, I have shopped at Fred Meyer almost exclusively, and our hometown Grocery Outlet the past couple of years.  I am not one to love running around to store after store after store just to get a seemingly good deal, because after all, factoring in the money spent on wasted gas, running from store to store really isn't a savings. I have loved Freddy's because I love one-stop shopping, and they have all of the natural and organic things we love. And I know pretty much everybody there by name, and they know us.  They've watched my kids grow!  We are going to start buying in bulk and trying to get away from small grocery stores.  A lot of the people with Large Families, who I consider to be wise, say that shopping at warehouse stores like Costco is the way to go.  So, we are going to try it!

I think I feel the craving for a Coffee Drink coming on.......

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm so thankful for this girl.
She is such a fantastic addition to our family.
She's inquisitive.
She's straighforward.
She's no-nonsense.
She's mature.
She's affectionate.
She's friendly.

I've always thought that there's an adult hidden inside of this 8 year old's frame.
I think I'm right.
Sometimes I see glimpses of the woman she will become.  That's bittersweet!
I'm really looking forward to seeing this girl grow up.
Thank You,  Dear Father, for her.