My Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

It seems like a lot of people shy away from going cloth because they’re scared of the laundry aspect of it. I understand…it definitely sounds disgusting throwing “poopy” diapers into a machine that also washes all of your clothes. This was the reason my own hubby was a cloth skeptic. When I explained how it all worked, he started to see the light and now we are both SO glad we are a cloth family!

(Disclaimer: we do use disposables when we’re traveling or when it may be inconvenient to use cloth & we also use disposables at night because they just seem to hold more without using all the bulky insert layers.)


Here’s my washing routine in a nutshell:

*Cloth friendly detergent – Here’s a chart that rates different detergents to be used with your cloth diapers.

*Diaper Liners – We use these…just lay them in the diaper and it allows pee to soak through to the diaper while holding the poo so your clean-up isn’t too bad. They have worked great for us and they are 100% natural!

*Diaper Sprayer – to hose down the poopy diapers if your forgot a liner (been there, done that)…spray the yuck into the toilet then just toss the diaper into your pail to wash later. We use this bumGenius sprayer and it’s a powerful little sucker!

FACT: Before baby starts solids and you are nursing only, breastmilk is water soluble!! You DO NOT have to rinse your poopy diapers first…just throw ‘em right in the washer (so easy, right?!). I know that sounds disgusting, but it’s true! If you are formula feeding or have started solids, you will want to spray with a diaper sprayer first before it makes its way to the pail.

We use Ecos Free & Clear Detergent, which is a 4-star detergent for cloth diapers and is easy to buy at Target or Wal-Mart. We also have pretty hard water so I put in a tablespoon of Calgon Water Softener with it as well. You should NOT use fabric softeners with cloth diapers (it can cause a build up that will repel liquid and cause leaks).

Here’s my wash cycle (front load washer):
1. Rinse & Spin on cold/cold. Low spin (no detergent yet)
2. Put in Ecos detergent (filled to the lowest line) and about 1 Tbs. Calgon
3. Run the “normal” cycle on hot/cold, low spin, heavy soil, water-plus, with an extra rinse
4. Line dry in the sun (magically, stains lift right out) – just use the dryer on medium if it’s raining on wash day
5. Once a month add 1/4 cup bleach to the normal cycle.


Now, you’re done!! I hope this takes some of the anxiety out of going cloth and helps encourage you to give it a whirl!  I think you’ll be glad you did (not to mention the $$ you’ll save)! 🙂 sells top brands such as TotsBots, BottomBumpers, Blueberry, and Kangacare diapers! Check them out HERE

Getting Back into Work Mode

The only word I can really use to describe my every day at the moment is “busy”. I feel like I have something I HAVE to do every single day…oh how I miss my summer already! Not that my summer was as relaxing as they used to be…lounging by the pool, sleeping in till 10 (at the earliest), trying new restaurants, seeing all the new movies, etc. etc. Nope, Caden changed all that didn’t he? BUT, this summer was much more substantial…every second truly counted because I was soaking up every bit of baby that I could. I am SO thankful I will always get every holiday & summer off to spend with my little one(s) (#teacherperk), but it also makes going back SO much harder. I get so spoiled during all that time off…Nate has to practically drag me to my car every Monday morning while I kick & scream the whole way.


Last day of summer on the lake!

Even though it is extremely tough going to work and it never gets easier…I am proud and happy to be a working mama. I love that Caden gets to hang out with his Nana or his Daddy on the days that I’m at work…not many kids get to spend as much time with those two important people in their lives…Caden has no idea how lucky he is, but one day he’ll appreciate it. I love that I set a good example for my son, showing him that I can work all day and still come and re-boot my energy so it’s all for him. I love that Nate and I can still have our “wants” that makes us happy like our TV show addictions, “fun” money, and frequently dining out.


“Daddy Day-Care”

Do I randomly feel tears well up in my eyes when I am driving to work? Yes, I do…especially those dreaded Mondays. But, I have 22 adoring faces smiling at me all day long…I get to take care of someone else’s babies while their mamas are missing them too. Someone has to do it right? Just like our pediatricians, hair stylists, first responders, doctors, reporters, etc. Everyone is missing someone when they’re at work. And what would we do without those mommies and daddies who left their littles too? I know I’m not the first person to have to leave my sweet baby for a few hours a day, and I don’t pretend that I am.

How lucky am I to have this perfect boy waiting for me every day? I know Caden can feel my love for him whether I’m sitting right next to him or we’re miles apart. I know that he can somehow tell how important he is to me. I love that the time we get together every night and weekend is even more purposeful and valuable to us. At the end of the day, when I get to come home and see that ear-to-ear smile…there’s nothing like it.


Can’t Live Without: My Top Five

It was hard for me to narrow it down to just FIVE items I can’t live without! I feel like there’s so many things that I use on a daily basis, but don’t even realize I need! But if I was forced to pick just five, here are my picks!

1. My iPhone

I know, BORING! I think some kind of smartphone would probably be on everybody’s list these days. How on earth would I get through the day without checking Facebook/Instagram approximately 357 times a day?!?! Probably a bit dramatic, but seriously, I love staying connected to everyone so easily! Besides social media, I need my phone to call/text my mom at least once a day and let’s not forget the constant sound of the camera clicking as I take a steady stream of photos of my little boy!


2. Vera Bradley Diaper Bag

Speaking of Caden, I love love LOVE my diaper bag turned “mommy’s gigantic purse”! As more of Caden’s stuff comes out, more of my stuff goes in. Yes, I may look like Mary Poppins carrying around her huge carpet bag, but I do not care…I love it! It is so nice having everything in one place and easy to get to! I love all of the pockets and of course, the attached diaper changing pad that comes out. Plus, it’s just pretty!


3. My Pillow

I have used the same pillow since high school and I now cannot sleep without it! It is as flat as can be, but I instantly relax when I lay my head down on it. I sleep with three pillows since this one is basically useless as a pillow but that’s okay. True story…Nate and I were traveling from New Mexico to Colorado to go camping with his family when we were newly dating. Well, about 45 miles out of NM, I realized I had LEFT MY PILLOW in the hotel!! I tried really hard to be a “big girl” about leaving it, since I didn’t want Nate to think I was a weird pillow freak, but he could see the tears welling up in my eyes! He immediately turned around and told his family we’d meet them there; “umm…we have to go back for a pillow.” HA! Thank goodness…I knew he was a keeper! 🙂

In labor with pillow in tow!

In labor with pillow in tow!

4. Water Jug

I HATE drinking water! It is such a chore for me and I don’t find it satisfying at all, but when I was pregnant I knew I needed to be better about my water intake, and then needed to continue getting in the maximum amount of water for nursing. So this water jug (I call her Bertha!) has been perfect! As long as I drink all of the water in Bertha throughout the day, I know I’ve done enough and then some! Yay for Big Bertha!


Cool Gear EZ Freeze Water Bottle

5. DVR & NFL Sunday Ticket

Nate and I LOVE to watch our TV shows. Once Caden goes down for bed (around 7:30p), we get cozy on the couch and catch up on our favorites. We love Walking Dead, Master Chef, Better Call Saul, Bates Motel, and yes, even The Bachelor/Bachelorette…the list goes on! If we didn’t have our DVR, we’d be missing all the good stuff! Not to mention, the ongoing build up of Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, & Daniel Tiger episodes we’ve got going on (ya, ya Caden watches t.v. every now and then, so what!). We also LOVE football! Every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) is dedicated to football at our house come football season! My family are huge Steeler fans! Every game day, they all come over (with snacks!) so we can all watch the game together. We love being the “Sunday Ticket house” so everyone comes to us! I’m excited for Caden to grow up loving family football days too!



Crock-Pot Italian Sausage Subs

While searching for recipes for the week I came across this recipe for Italian Sausage subs. My exact thoughts: “Hmmm…I like italian sausage, this recipe could be pretty good. Wait, CROCK-POT italian sausage?!?! Hell ya…I’m making this tomorrow!” Super easy, super tasty, and makes enough for leftovers the next day! Hope ya like it!


Another low maintenance meal with minimal ingredients! The recipe called for italian sausage and I chose to buy Turkey Italian Sausage to make it a little healthier. Jennie-O had a choice between mild or hot Italian Sausage…we like it hot! Honestly, it wasn’t that spicy at all so I don’t know what the mild would be like! I’d recommend the hot for sure!



Start by throwing your sausage in a skillet and brown on all sides.
IMG_0856While you’ve got your sausage going, slice up your veggies!

IMG_0859Now throw your sausage in the bottom of the crock pot and cover with Ragu, sliced peppers & onion & italian seasoning. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5.

IMG_0880Serve warm on a hoagie roll topped with provolone cheese! We ate it with some sweet potato fries on the side! It doesn’t look all that pretty but it was delicious (and even better on paper plates…less dishes for the hubby)! 😉

Crock-Pot Italian Sausage Subs


  • 1 package Italian Sausage Links
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (sliced)
  • 1 jar Ragu Traditional Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • Hoagie Rolls
  • Provolone Cheese


1. In a skillet, brown italian sausage on all sides.

2. Place sausage, onion, peppers, Ragu & italian seasoning in the crockpot.

3. Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low 6-7 hours. Stir periodically.

4. Serve sausage and peppers on a hoagie roll topped with provolone. Enjoy!

Grab & Go Snacks

Caden LOVES food…all of it! There have been a few times I’ve had my camera ready, just knowing he would make a hilarious, disgusted face when I introduced him to whatever new food it was (peas, green beans, sour apricots), but…nothin’! He’s enjoyed everything we’ve tried so far…smacking his little hands on the high chair tray for more and opening wide like a baby bird! We have pretty much gotten through the puree phase and we’re moving toward more solid foods! Watching him start to feed himself is so much fun…proud mama bird here!


So even though we’re still a ways away from needing it yet, I wanted to create a list of (mostly) healthy, easy, on-the-go snacks that I can refer to when it’s time! I love the idea of having a basket in the pantry labeled “Caden’s Snacks” that we can easily grab from when we’re headed out (and eventually he choose from the snack basket himself too)!

Here’s a list of 30 “Grab-&-Go” Snacks for your little one…I hope you find it helpful!! Feel free to leave a comment and add to the list!! I would love to keep it going!

1. Cheese Sticks/String Cheese – cut into small pieces
2. Apple Chips (I love to eat the Snapz brand myself, yum!)
3. Veggie Chips/Straws
4. Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

15. Wheat Thins with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge
6. Yogurt Melts
7. Granola Bars (Kashi, Cliff Z-Bars, Larabars, Nutrigrain)
8. Dried Fruit, coconut & yogurt covered raisins
9. Whole Grain Goldfish & pretzel pieces
10. Cheerio Necklace (make the necklace together…fine motor skill practice!)
11. Beef Jerky
12. Rice Cakes
13. Egg Muffins

14. Nut Mix-Up (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, shelled pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds)
15. Puffs (I like the Happy Baby brand)
16. Baby Dill Pickles – low sodium
17. Hard Boiled Egg pieces
18. Granola Trail Mix (2 granola bars broken up, raisins, Craisins, pretzels, & marshmallows for fun)
19. Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks
20. Fruit/Veggie Pouches (Favorites: Happy Baby, Plum, Sprout, Ella’s, Peter Rabbit)
21. Bag of Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
22. Halo slices
23. Fig Newtons cut into pieces
24. Grapes & Cheese cubes (halved or quartered)
25. Applesauce Puffs (love this recipe!)

26. Popcorn (throw in a few M&Ms for fun)
27. Olives
28. Veggies (steamed carrots, peeled cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, zucchini sticks, bell pepper sticks – orange/red/yellow)
29. Cheese slices with pieces of deli meat (turkey, ham, or chicken)
30. Kid’s Favorites Fun Mix (favorite pantry snacks all mixed together – animal crackers, teddy grahams, goldfish, pretzels, fruit loops, chex, etc.)

Now, go snack away…I hope your littles enjoy being on the go as much as this guy! 🙂


Sun-Dried Tomato & Veggie Pasta

I don’t get to do it as often with an 8 month old crawling around, but I enjoy cooking! I love to find new recipes (via Pinterest most likely) and try them at home…bonus if my crock pot can do most of the work! This recipe is one of my favorite weekday meals…it’s SO easy and only has a few ingredients! My hubby isn’t a huge fan of pasta but he LOVES this dish and asks for it often! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

IMG_0810Seven ingredients…that’s it!! Start by cutting the chicken into small cubes & cook the chicken in a large skillet over medium heat. While the chicken is cooking, multi-task and cook your bow-tie pasta in a LARGE pot until al-dente.



Season the chicken with your favorite seasoning (we love Tony’s Creole seasoning) and mix it all up!



Cook the broccoli florets & asparagus cuts according to package directions (we buy the frozen veggies…so much faster) and dice up your sun-dried tomatoes! Drain your pasta then add the seasoned chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus to the pot. Now pour the dressing (yes, the whole bottle) into the pot and toss it all together. Voila, you’re done!



Sun-Dried Tomato & Veggie Pasta


  • 3 chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 box (14.5oz) Farfalle Whole Grain Pasta
  • 1/4 c. Sun Dried Tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 bag frozen Broccoli Florets
  • 1 bag frozen Asparagus Cuts & Tips
  • 1 bottle Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
  • Tony’s Creole Seasoning


1. Cube and cook your chicken breasts in a skillet on medium heat until cooked through and season with Tony’s Creole Seasoning.

2. As the chicken is cooking, boil farfalle pasta until al-dente in a large pot.

3. Cook the broccoli florets & asparagus cuts/tips according to package directions. As the veggies are cooking, dice the sun dried tomatoes.

4. Strain the pasta and return it to the large pot. Add chicken, broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes to the pot.

5. Pour the entire bottle of salad dressing into the pot and mix everything together. Enjoy!