Our First Kidbox

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As many of you know, I work around 20 hours a week from home along with raising our three boys and homeschooling two of them.

Needless to say, we’ve been busy! I’ve been looking for any and every way to save time, including hiring out what I can and also doing as much shopping as I can online (I’m now convinced that hauling three kids through ANY kind of store should be considered an Olympic sport). Amazon Prime, Instacart, and Stitch Fix have been a few of my favorites so far!

When I heard about Kidbox, I decided this was definitely something I should try, since Gregory has been growing like a weed and I needed clothes in his current size. In the past, I’ve been a super savvy thrift store shopper (which you can find out my searching any of my many thrift posts!), since saving our family money in this way was not only necessary in order to keep our tight budget in check, but was also something I greatly enjoyed. I even ran an eBay store to make an extra couple hundred dollars a month in order to make ends meet. Lately, however, I’ve had to cut down on a few of my hobbies in order to make extra room for homeschooling and my job, which is now the bulk of our monthly income. I know it’s not forever and that this is a particularly busy season of hustle until I have trained enough leaders under me and my income becomes entirely residual. But time is a much more precious commodity than money at this point, and so thrift store shopping is one of my hobbies that is on the back burner.

So I began looking into Kidbox, which sends you a box of around 7 pieces each season (not monthly). The prices were good at only around $14/item if you buy the whole box for $98, and at checkout, you get to pick one charity for the company to donate clothing to! As a former foster parent, this last touch really sealed the deal for me, so we decided to sign up for Gregory. We received our first Kidbox today and it was exciting!

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I love that the box is fun, without being superfluous when it comes to packaging. No money wasted, but also sturdy. Thumbs up. 🙂

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They included a few stickers and fun surprises! I really like the extra touch, since it got Gregory excited about more than just clothes (although clothes are definitely on his radar now…my almost seven year old is turning into a fashionista…).

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Everything was packaged neatly, and the pricing breakdown was simple and easy to understand. The items were all right on point with what I would buy, and made with little boys and grass stain adventures in mind (dark pants!! YESSSS).

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I ensure you that these poses were entirely created by Gregory, haha. All I asked was that he let mommy take a picture of his new clothes. 🙂
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We are definitely impressed! I think that I will be using this service from now on each season to refresh their clothing and keep up with their insane growth spurts. The baby is one that I would still prefer to shop for on Amazon, since I am only buying gender neutral/organic clothing this time around (we have most of what we need from hand me downs, and we’re also leaving the opportunity for a different gender to use the clothes in the future….haha! What are the odds of a someday fourth baby being a girl after having three boys??). But we definitely just ordered a box for my middle son!

If you would like to order your own, go here!

What are your favorite time saving techniques?

 

I used to be a writer

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cleaning while watching the news, 8/21/17

Be aware:
my sponge is
floating in filth
a bloated carcass
drowning in salt.
Fine. Squeeze it out.
Soak it in vinegar,
hold it up on a stick
towards the sun.
Scrape it on plaster,
Scrub it against
the flaking walls.
This stain is too deep–
Carve it out.
The crumbles are sharp.
Do not paint over it
again. And again.
(I am afraid of mildew
when things
sit still,
Next comes
dry achy fingers
creeping through cracks
towards the innards.
Careful, it gets brittle.)
Watch it break when you push,
Shattering its dry bones,
Sweep away the pieces.
Do not hide!
Do not even look.
You can get a new one.
Just first, clean
under your feet.

How to Make Cloth Diapering Work

How to Make Cloth Diapering Work for you!

I’m on Baby #3 now, in case you all missed it 😉 Over my past 6.5 years of raising these three, I’ve seen my fair share of what works and what doesn’t, and my main take away from it all so far? Do what works for you. Don’t feel the pressure of someone else telling you what worked for them, or even some parenting philosophy. Only YOU know your lifestyle and what you are comfortable with, so when in doubt, always go with your instincts!

When it comes to cloth diapering, I’ve heard plenty of mommas wish they could do cloth diapers because of the overall savings and the whole “saving-the-earth-landfills-made-of-mountains-of-diapers” thing 😉 But when it comes time to actually pull the trigger, they are hit by obstacle after obstacle, and eventually they throw in the towel! And I don’t blame them! Cloth diapering can seem super foreign and crunchy at first, especially if you have no prior experience.

Let me dispel a few of the obstacles facing those who really WANT to try, but don’t know how to make cloth diapering work for them!

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The first obstacle that mommas always encounter is that there are too many options and they get overwhelmed easily. I’ve been there!! Boy howdy! When my first was born, I was super intent on cloth diapering, and since I was only working part time and didn’t have any other kids, I was able to devote hours to research.

I eventually settled on using prefolds and thirsties diaper covers and I was happy with it. But with Baby #2, we were in total flux and I had family changing his diapers a lot of the time if I was at work, so we went with using both disposables AND Bum Genius pocket diapers. And, since we were on a super “food-stamps-tight” budget at the time, I had to re-purpose some that I found on craigslist for under $86. And then came Baby #3, and I started with buying a bunch of brand new swanky Free Time Diapers, but ended up returning them at the last minute and going back to tried and true pre-folds. I remembered how much easier they are to wash since you can be pretty rough on them, and decided that the last thing I needed with three kiddos was a complicated diaper washing system! Plus, how cute are these???

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The second obstacle that mommas always encounter is figuring out all the extras, like what do I use for wipes? How do I keep my diaper pail from stinking in between washes?

I’ll admit, the diaper pail part took me FOREVER to figure out. In fact, with #1 and #2, I never did. I tried zip up diaper bags, hoping the zipper would keep any wet diaper smell away, but it didn’t. I tried dusting scented baking soda into my diaper pail every time I threw one in, but that only went so far. My mom asked me to quit cloth diapering like ten times because of the in-between changes cloth diaper smell, haha!

With Baby #3, I feel like I finally arrived at the perfect diaper pail solution, and I wish every cloth diapering momma knew about it!!!

Enter: the Ubbi Diaper pail!

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Let me count all the ways I love this pail. First of all, it is made of no-rust powder coated metal, so it will never hold stink the way plastic will (trust me on this one). It also has a rubber seal all the way around the interior. I can spray it out, scrub at it, you name it, and it holds up.

Second, I can use whatever bag I want to! Even if we switch to disposable diapers eventually, no special bags needed. Right now I am using my PUL lined drawstring bag that I throw in the wash right along with my cloth diapers. It folds right over the inner ring, and then the top lid closes around it.

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Third, NO STINK. Guys, this is huge. I am super sensitive to icky smells, and the opening is so narrow at the top, nothing escapes. I can’t tell you how cool this is! And do you see that little circle at the top right? It’s a LOCK, just in case you also have older kids in the house who might get….curious. 😉

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Not many places sell this Ubbi diaper pail, which is why I was floored to find that Baby Cubby carries it! I’m telling you guys, these people have it figured out. They spend 100s of hours researching so that you don’t have to, taking all of the guesswork out of it for overwhelmed moms, even going out of their way to engage with parents on social media to find out more about what they should or shouldn’t carry. Ubbi is the only diaper pail they carry, and for good reason– it works, and there’s no reason to go around trying all sorts of other options that won’t.

Baby Cubby has become one of my go-to resources for all things baby related because they only sell the best products, price match Amazon, ship in 2 days, AND have free shipping on orders over $49! The  Baby Cubby team is made up of parents who have been there. They know how overwhelming things like cloth diapering are, and they are passionate about encouraging, inspiring, and reminding parents how amazing they are and how important their role is! I absolutely love their Baby Cubby Community Blog, where they discuss some of the more difficult topics of parenting!

The Third Obstacle, (and this is a silly one but it’s SO TRUE), is wading through all of the acronyms! Like, what’s an EBF using an AIO? 6 years ago, most of those acronyms didn’t even exist, but coming back to it with #3 I was rolling my eyes 😉 Here’s a cheat sheet for you! Problem solved!

And now, for a few more shots of Thomas’ side of the room, since I know you’re curious. 😉

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If you’d like to score your own Ubbi diaper pail, I have a 15% off coupon code just for you (works on anything from the entire site!), good until May 3rd. Just type in ourconezone15 at checkout, and you’re good to go!

Note: While I was paid for this review, my opinions are all my own. I already owned an Ubbi diaper pail from Baby Cubby, long before I wrote this!!

Barn Door for under $100

save-newYou guys, I’ve always thought this house needed a good barn door. I’ve always pined away for some chipped paint antique door, which is hilarious considering that all but one of our interior doors ARE vintage, straight from when the house was built in the 40s! But you know what I mean. A REALLY vintage door. A statement piece, especially considering this wall and doorway is visible from the entryway. First impressions, and all. You can see where the old door was below, in our dining room 2 years ago before we swapped tables.

dining room 2015

Lately, a series of things happened that actually justified a practical need for one of these babies. We switched our bedroom/school room yet AGAIN (the last time was 20 months ago), and got a bigger platform bed to accommodate our sidecar/cosleeper arrangement for Thomas. The door to this room swung in, however, cramping the walking space at the foot of the bed. We both agreed that a sliding door would be a space saver, so I asked Jesse if he could “donate” a few hours of Spring Break to a project like this, and voila! Super handy husband delivered!!

The first problem was what kind of door to get? Since this room used to be the garage before it was converted, the door inside the frame was 32″– bigger than a standard interior door. 99% of the cool vintage doors on Craigslist were WAY too narrow, and most of them were costing in the hundreds. Exterior doors would’ve been overkill and way too heavy. We talked about making one ourselves by throwing together a few planks of old wood, which was where the conversation was about a week before spring break.

And then, voila!! Someone listed their old vintage pantry doors from a house remodel! And the best part? Just $40 for the pair! On the first evening of Spring break, we drove the 20 min. as a family in the van to grab them. We leaned them up in the entry to the room and loved what we saw.

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Now that we had the doors, I was able to order the hardware off of Amazon. You guys DON’T GET IT AT A BOX STORE LIKE HD OR LOWES!!! They want $200+ for the same hardware that we spent $46 on through Amazon! I have no idea why the price gauging is there, especially now that I’ve seen that this hardware is super sturdy, so it’s not like the lower price is due to shoddy workmanship. The rollers don’t squeak at all. I seriously don’t know why someone would pay more.

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The first task was how to get the doors to stay together as one piece. We could’ve done two separate doors on their own sliders so that they moved independently, but we have bookshelves butting right up against it on the other side, so we knew that would never happen. Extra sliders would’ve been an additional $30, so we decided to try making them one piece first. Jesse had the brilliant idea of taking some extra wooden dowels we had in the toolbox and drilling those in between the doors to hold them together.

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After this, it was a matter of removing the top molding off the door frame, shaving a few corners with a saw, and then adding a header board that screwed into the studs. I love how Jesse even thought to hide the screws behind the eventual sliding rail! <3

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It took 2-3 hours total to install. I’m so thankful to Jesse for getting this project done without any snaffoos or issues. He’s become quite the handy man! Home ownership will do that to you, especially since we are attracted to older homes 😉 I’m so glad we got our barn door for under $100 !

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