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Feb 17, 2012

DIY Prefold Diapers

Prefold diapers:

Prefolds are my favorite type of diaper out there. They are so versatile and there is something to be said for that feeling you get when you are pinning that dipe … like millions of women throughout time have done this before you. Silly I know but that’s the feeling I get … sort of empowering :o ). Wanna make your own? Great!!

Procedure -
* Wash and dry all fabric to be used. One yard of 45″wide flannel will make approximately 2 regular sized diapers.

* Cutting -
Cut 2 rectangles in the following measurements for the diaper:
11 1/2″ by 14 1/2″ for newborn to 6 months
13 1/2″ by 18 1/2″ for 6 months to 2 years
15 1/2″ by 21 1/2″ for toddler size

Cut six pieces in the following measurements for the soaker pad:
4″ by 13 1/2″ for newborn to 6 months
5″ by 17 1/2″ for 6 months to 2 years
6″ by 20 1/2″ for toddler size

Preparing the soaker pad:
Stack all the layers of the soaker pad together and straight stitch about 1/4″ from the edge all the way around. Then go around the outside again using a zigzag stitch and encasing the raw edges.

* Attaching the soaker pad to the diaper:
Center and pin each soaker pad to the wrong side of one piece of flannel. Stitch down each side of the pad to secure it.

Sewing the diaper -
Put the two layers of diaper right sides together and stitch all the way around, leaving open between markings for turning. Clip corners and turn right side out, pressing corners out well. Topstitch around the entire diaper. When you get to the opening, just tuck the edges inside and keep right on sewing. Then stitch the soaker pad again on the same lines you used before to secure through all thicknesses and give a finished look.

So do you REALLY need newborn prefolds? Well, yes and no. There’s nothing worse than trying to make a huge diaper fit a tiny newborn. Making the special sized diapers might not seem like a great idea at first but later on, they can be folded into thirds and used as diaper doublers for your older baby overnight.

Save on Parenthood: Skip These Baby Gear Money Traps

For every must-have baby item, there are seven more you absolutely, without a doubt, DO NOT NEED. I’m talking about products that prey upon parents who want the best for their child or scare them into thinking that without it, their child is in grave physical danger. I’d list all these bogus money suckers, but it’s almost dinner time. Here are the 15 worst offenders, culled from interviews with experts, moms, and my own old fashioned common sense.

Infrared baby monitors – These monitors not only let you spy on your kid while they’re sleeping (or refusing to sleep), they scan the room for intruders. Relevant for families living in…Baghdad? Come on. You can figure out from a standard baby monitor – or even your own ears - if your infant is asleep, safe and sound.

Bed in a bag – Also known as, junk your baby doesn’t need. Chains push these sets, which typically contain a bumper pad, dust ruffle, and quilt. “These are things that you are not supposed to put in the crib or they are superfluous,” said Alan Fields, co-author of “Baby Bargains.” “The bottom line is all your baby needs is a [fitted] sheet.” Zip your infant into a wearable blanket, like a Halo Sleepsack, and the kid is good to go.

Convertible cribs – Sounds like a money saver, right? But many convertibles transform into a full or queen bed that may not fit in your child’s bedroom. Instead, buy a new or used crib and swap it for a twin bed when the time comes.

Diaper wipe warmer - Fields makes two concessions where this product might have a true need: parents who live in Maine or North Dakota. Otherwise, your kid can deal with cool wipes on their bum.

Bottle sterilizers - “A lot of these sterilization products prey upon a parent’s germ fears,” Fields said. But bottles don’t have to be sterilized because you know what? Your baby isn’t sterile. Your home isn’t sterile. And you aren’t sterile. Germs can be good, people!

Baby videos - “There is a whole range of DVD series that imply they will make your child smarter, when in fact, there is absolutely noevidence that children under 30 months learn from video or TV,” raves Josh Golin, associate director at Campaign for a Commercial-FreeChildhood. The problem is that there is no standard for what makes a toy educational, Golin said. What kids learn from is interacting with their parents, exploring the world around them, even playing with household objects. Who hasn’t seen a child squeal with delight when handed a wooden spoon? Mesmerizing does not equal educational.

Vinci tablet – Beyond smartphone apps for babies is an entire tablet designed for tots. Dubbed a “learning system” that will “inspire the genius,” and which guilt-trips parents into doing “the best today, to be in the best place for tomorrow,” the Vinci device is particularly heinous. The basic model retails for, excuse me? What? Some idiot is going to pay $389 so their mini-me can slobber on a glorified iPod?

Baby knee pads – “I think children can crawl without being in grave danger of serious injury,” quips Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free Range Kids.” But what if my precious scrapes her knee? She could BLEED!

Color changing spoons – These plastic spoons change color to alert you, the helpless naif, that the baby food you are about to force downyour child’s throat is hot. Hot! Save your cash and make a guinea pig out of your pinky.

Thudguard – This helmet is designed for an extremely dangerous activity: walking. That’s right. For $42.95, teach your toddler that what they instinctively want to do is an activity best left to Hollywood stuntmen. Because traumatic brain injury from learning to walk is on the rise. Oh, and pigs can fly.

Walking wings - A marionette-type contraction that let’s you hold up your tot so they can learn to walk more easily. Babies R Us sells a version called the Walking Assistant for $25. With your constant aid, baby will take longer to walk on their own and you’ll have a constant backache.

Baby TV – The BabyFirst TV network promises round-the-clock shows geared for your baby, including Early Bloomers, Breakfast Club, and Baby First Bedtime, for $4.99 a month. That adds up to $59.88 a year. ”It’s totally unnecessary,” said Fields of Baby Bargains. “Babies should not even be watching TV until age 2. It doens’t help their development.”

Baby perfume – Spritz Burberry Baby Touch eau de toilette on your infant and she won’t scare friends and family away with her dirty diapers. Amazon sells a 3.3 ounce bottle for $31.90.

Baby food processors – These miniature food processors appeal to parents with crack pot dreams of making their own baby food, like me. ”The problem is that babies only eat baby food for a very short period of time, roughly six months to a year,” Fields said. Then they can basically eat what you eat, as long as it’s cut into baby sized bites. If you already have a food processor, no need to spend money on a pint-sized one. If you don’t own a food processor, buy a real one that you can use for years.

Baby gates – Plastic barriers are marketed to two groups: baby parents and pet parents. Guess what? It’s the same darn gate, but the pets ones are cheaper.

Tips for Saving Money on Baby Gear

everything you need for your baby.

Consider the usefulness of each item. How much will you really use it? How long will it be used? Some things are used for a very short period of time. You may not need all the gear that is recommended. Spend your money on things you will use often and save the money on the less useful items. If you are a first time mother, ask friends which things were most useful.

Consider your needs vs. your wants. Make a master list of the baby gear you think you'll need. Then break the master list into two separate lists. Make one list of the things you really need and put your wants on another list. Get what you really need first and then prioritize the wants list in the order in which you want each item.

Make two lists even if you are registering for a baby shower. Register first for the things you really need and then add your wants in the order you want them. If you have too many items on your registry, you could end up not getting what you really need.

You may be able to borrow some items from friends or family members. This is a good idea for items you may not use for very long. My sister in law and I shared some baby items, such as bouncy chairs, exersaucers, portable swing and a sling. This can really save money. We do the same thing with maternity and baby clothes. If you borrow an item, please check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if there has been a recall on the item.

Don't spend a fortune on newborn clothes while you are pregnant. Babies grow really fast and will soon out grow the newborn sizes. Some big babies never wear newborn clothes. If you get a lot of newborn clothes at your shower, keep the tags on them until after the baby is born. If you have too many or have a large baby, you can exchange some of the clothes for a larger size.

Spend your money on the basics, such as sleepers and onesies. Get a few outfits for wearing home from the hospital or a special occasion. Wait until after the baby is born before buying a lot of clothing. Shop at consignment shops to save money on baby clothing. You will find nice gently used outfits and even some with the tags still on. This is because other people made the mistake of buying too much. Learn from the mistakes of others and save money.

Saving Money on Baby Expenses

Having a baby can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you go into Babies R Us and are bombarded by all the millions of baby items they carry. The first time I went in our local store, I almost had a panic attack. There’s no way we can afford all of these things that we supposedly need for a baby! Thankfully, after I left the store I sat down and thought about what a baby will actually need according to my standards. I don’t want to have 50 baby things, or a million plastic made in China toys for my kid. We sway to the side of minimalism, and while I know I won’t be able to limit everything that makes its way into my house, I can do my best to make sure I have things I need and use for the baby. Here are some of the ways we’re going to save money on baby expenses:

-Breastfeed. I’m going to do my best to breastfeed, and I plan on doing everything in my power to make it to at least a year. Breastfeeding is so much better for the baby, natural, and will save us tons of money versus buying formula. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

-Cloth diapering. We received a pack of newborn disposable diapers for our shower, and after those are gone, I plan on starting to cloth diaper.

-Not buying a bunch of crap. My co workers keep telling me that I need to register for more stuff; that I’ll regret not having the swing and the bouncer and whatever other gadgets they think I need. We’re trying to get items that do double duty; for instance we received a swing that is full size and travel size and I think that will work just fine instead of having a bouncer too.

-Buying second hand clothes. My mother went nuts over the past 7 months, purchasing baby clothes and burp cloths and basically any other item she thought I would need. This has saved us a ton of money already! The baby has a gender neutral wardrobe with items ranging from newborn to 1 year already. I’m sure we’ll have to buy more clothes, but I know we’ll be able to get them second hand.

-Remembering the store will still be there. It’s hard for me when I think I don’t have enough things ready for the baby, but I think we’ve got the essentials so far. Plus, the store is going to be there after the baby is born! If we need extra burp cloths or receiving blankets, we can always make a trip to the store. I’d rather do that than have things on hand that we don’t use and then we’ve wasted money on.

I’m trying to relax and realize that babies don’t need much other than a warm place to sleep, food, and diapers. Really, when you think about it- that’s it! That makes me feel better and more confident that we’ll be able to raise our child with respect to our budget and the planet.

How to Save Money Dining Out or Eating In

Whether you’re dining out or eating in, it can be an expensive experience for any family.
Lucky for us (and you!), she’s sharing some of her money-saving tips.
Check them out below:
Snag Coupons at Daily Deal Sites. Before you head out, check sites like Groupon and Eversave for coupons in your local area that can save you 50 percent or more on restaurants.

Sign Up for Text Alerts. Many local restaurants now promote through text alerts, allowing patrons the benefit of special discount offers. One of my favorite eateries just texted me a coupon for $4 off a $10 order. That’s a savings of 40 percent!
Take Advantage of Kids Eat Free. Restaurants are starting to cater to parents’ needs by offering days when Kids Eat Free. Usually, this deal allows for two free kids’ meals with the purchase of one adult entrée. Plan a family night combining a Kids Eat Free deal with a Groupon or Eversave deal and you will save big!
Stock Ahead. When your favorite items go on sale at the grocery, buy enough to get you through until the next sales cycle (3-4 months). For example, if peanut butter is on sale for $1 each, buy enough to keep your family supplied for the next few months.
Pair Coupons with Sale Items. Saving money using coupons hinges on pairing the coupons with items that are on sale. Otherwise, buying store brands will be your best deal. At Faithful Provisions, we match the store deals with available coupons, making it easy for you to save more money.