Diapering Refined

Ok ladies. Here’s the rundown: it’s week 2, and we’ve learned a lot as we enter these double-digit days.

First: Inserts are a good thing. They’re basically washable Maxi pads. We started out with prefolds (large rectangles you need to fold before inserting), and they’re great for heavy-duty absorption. But, I would recommend using prefolds when you know you won’t be dealing with solids. (If you do use them with solids, place a thin liner on top. Single layers are much easier to dump out than something with many soiled surfaces once unfolded.) Inserts are great on their own for daytime use. They’re a quicker change and less messy when you remove them.

Second: Flushable liners. Folks. These are amazing. The Bambino Mio Liners are the only ones we can use, as they’re made out of cornstarch and are septic-friendly. Also, they’re thinner than a page in the Bible, so they won’t clog pipes. You just lift and plop right into your porcelain pot.

Third: We had our first public change! Just needed a plastic bag for the used and insert a new liner. Bam. Just like good old times.


Here’s a list of our supplies, including new additions:

4-6 waterproof covers (check out some of those designs in the photo! How cute!) – We have one of each brand, and they’re all comparable. I would just recommend snaps so your dexterous darling doesn’t undo them.

12 thick inserts

4 thin inserts – Single layer pieces of cloth. These came with one of our covers and we use them to catch solids when we use a prefold. I’m not sure we would buy them if they weren’t included, especially now that we have the liners, but they serve a purpose.

6 prefolds (mix of these and Chinese and Indian – honestly, I can’t even remember which is which and it hasn’t mattered yet)

One pack flushable liners (mentioned above)

3 wet bags – We just got these and I’m looking forward to trying them out. We got a tall one, a small one, and a Kanga one that is supposed to sit up on its own (but doesn’t, at least not empty). We had been using a makeshift setup with a cloth hamper bag inside a wooden hamper with a hinged lid, but that was just barely cutting it. It just needs to be waterproof and close securely.

Regular wipes – We still have our Diaper Dekor, and there will be times we still use and need to dispose of plastic diapers, so we have a secure place to toss wipes. I thought about getting fabric wipes, which require that you either buy or make your own cleanser to use on them, but I decided I really like something that gets thrown away. Then, if you really have a mess on the table, you can swipe and toss.

Washer/Dryer/Clothes line – I do a cold prerinse with vinegar, then a hot wash. Sometimes, another cold rinse for good measure. And I would recommend a detergent like Free and Clear or something.

Happy diapering!


Crunchy Mom

It’s a cool thing we humans do with language: I read the term “super-crunchy” in an article and instantly thought, “…I think that’s me.” Here’s what Urban Dictionary says it is: “persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons.” I would adjust that to include human-conscious reasons. So that means we buy organic not just because it’s better for the field and surrounding areas where it was grown, but because the people who picked the lettuce will live longer, healthier lives, and my family and I just might, too.

I ran across this term in an article about vaccinating your kids. (Amen, sister.) I admit, I considered not vaccinating my son. Hear me out: we’re at the pediatrician’s office and two nurses come in and tell us to hold him down so they can give him shots. “Shots? What kind of shots?” They had to go find info sheets on what it was they were giving him. So there, I thought about not, but then again, I didn’t want him contracting rubella, measles, mumps, and the like.

The author said it’s usually super-conservative or super-crunchy types that don’t vaccinate, and that they’re usually very different camps. Actually, I’m probably part of the small population in the Venn diagram that overlaps them both – not completely, but I’ve got a foot in each. Crunchy: our future house is very possibly going to be off-the-grid. Conservative: yay big business. Crunchy: I make bread, applesauce, and yogurt. Conservative: 10% goes to the church. Crunchy: I’m a stay-at-home mom diapering my baby in cloth, collecting rainwater for plants, selling a natural alternative skincare line (Arbonne) from home. Conservative: we have a 401k and a lot of our money is in long term, high yield stocks.

So put that in your local honey-sweetened granola with almond milk and chew on it.

...and we garden. Like fools. Wherever that falls.

…and we garden. Like fools. Wherever that falls.


Six Yellow Chairs’ Farmer’s Market


The Six Yellow Chairs’ Farmer’s Market is helping revive small town life. Usually a single stand fruit and vegetable market wouldn’t attract much attention, but in Lanse, Pa, it’s just another example of how the café and gift shop seeks to improve rural life. The white tented stand is run by a local resident, situated at the back of a café’s gravel parking lot. A prominent sign atop the tent advertises the weekly event and is visible from the main intersection in Lanse.

It used to be that no one had heard of the town of Lanse, even lifelong residents of the nearby college town of State College. But since its opening in January, Six Yellow Chairs has been earning a reputation and attracting visitors from State College, DuBois, and other larger boroughs. On this bright and brisk Saturday morning, there were only a few buyers at the market, but diners were overflowing onto the brick patio of the café across the lot.


Seasonal fruits and vegetables

Six Yellow Chairs, March 2013

Six Yellow Chairs, March 2013

Add to the attraction of the café a weekly farmer’s market in the parking lot, and local residents are prouder than ever. As nearby Donna Matsko explains, “We need businesses around.” Most of the local towns were once booming centers of business and trade, built on railroads that carried local natural resources like clay, coal, and timber. Those industries have long since died out, but many of the families stayed. Businesses that offer high quality fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are rare and much appreciated. “It’s a good thing,” says Rachel Ryen, a local resident. It improves the quality of life for people who have chosen to live around family and friends in their familiar hometown, but have given up conveniences like shopping and dining.

Offering fresh produce is a recent addition. This is its third week, and upcoming fall groceries will include pumpkins, apples, and seasonal flowers like mums, according to the seller. Dave Bennett gets his produce from local Amish farms and tries to offer a wide variety. He acknowledges that rural folks usually grow their own tomatoes, but most don’t have cabbage, melons, or onions, which were among this week’s produce.

Vendor Dave Bennet

Vendor Dave Bennet

Bennett says that Six Yellow Chairs is a local asset. “They’re doing a great business – better than they thought they’d do,” he says. It’s the only business of its kind in the area, and locals might have been shy to try something new. But the combination of its quality food, rare espresso bar, central location, and reasonable prices are hard to resist. And as the owners make additions such as the farmer’s market, it will be hard to imagine Lanse without its star attraction.


The Start of Cloth

It’s day three. We received the cloth diaper covers and inserts Monday night and decided an overnight test was as good of a start as any. I briefed my husband on how the “boy fold” worked, added a “soaker” liner just to be safe, and tucked sweet baby Copper in for the night, fingers crossed I wouldn’t be changing sheets at 3:30 am.

Here it is Thursday, and we’ve had two outings but thankfully no public changes yet. I have had to do laundry twice, but mostly because the covers got soiled. We started with two nylon waterproof covers and seven prefolds. The covers came with a pack of liners, but really, compared to the prefolds, they don’t seem to do much.

As I sat with Copper at our 5am feeding this morning, I contemplated whether to put a cloth or disposable diaper on him at this point. He’s very predictable with his nighttime and early morning diapers: the first is always wet, the second is always soiled. So this twenty cent diaper would save me from a messy cleaning in a few hours when I know I’ll be rushed to get to my mom’s group on time. But if I put him in a disposable now, will I always do that? For the first time, I calculated how much money I’ve been spending on disposables. Right now, we’re at a pretty steady rate of five diapers per day. That means about $1, so roughly $400/year. Now, this is at a year old, so there have been heavier rates of change, but I’m going with what I know here. That $400 is a lot less than cloth diaper sites will quote when they’re selling you on the astronomical savings you’ll see. To be fair though, it only cost us $41 to start this cloth thing, so we’re admittedly doing pretty good.

But it’s not just the cost, of course. I read that babies contribute half a ton of landfill annually with their plastic diapers. Poor little poopers – it’s not their fault. I make the choice to either put his plastic diapers in a plastic bag and half fill a garbage pail every other week, or I can literally get my hands dirty and save all that. Now, again, my husband just read that if our rate of garbage production continues to steadily increase, in a few thousand years, we’ll still be able to fit our country’s garbage in a mile-long landfill, which isn’t really all that large. So should I be more concerned with our water consumption as I launder all those prefolds?

So here’s how I look at it. As it is, I do laundry as little as possible. It’s not so bad to do more little loads instead of a one huge load that I never want to put away because it takes so long to completely repopulate our closets and dressers. They’re wrinkly and less thoroughly cleaned because they’re all jammed into one load – it’s just not a good deal. Second, I just feel better about it. We’ll see, a few weeks down the road, if the novelty of scraping and spraying off the contents of his diaper gets old. Then back to disposables and I’ll put the lot on Craigslist. Will we ever change to cloth wipes? Probably not. I think that’s where I’ve put my finger on the limit.

Plastic throwaway diapers are supposed to be filled with materials that aren’t exactly baby-friendly. They are definitely bleached white, so there are those residual chemicals. They use more raw materials. They have “a variety of plastics, adhesives, glues, elastics and lubricants,” but the industry isn’t required to disclose materials, says a CBC News report (2010). There have been lawsuits brought accusing some brands of causing chemical burns. And a research lab found diapers emitted a number of fumes with known respiratory toxicity.

I sell Arbonne. I’m the poster child in the fight against chemical additives. “Did you know it only takes 26 seconds for something on your skin’s surface to be absorbed into your bloodstream?” I ask potential clients. I’ve rarely fed Copper anything store-bought outside puffs and Cheerios. We buy organic fruits and vegetables when we can and get our milk from the dairy. But you know, whatever chemicals are in his diapers 24/7 for two and a half years, I’m sure that’s fine.

If nothing else, they say cloth kids potty train younger because they can feel the mess better.

bumGenius Freetime AllInOne  Snap Cloth Diaper Albert


+ This is a great post about the basics of diapering: what you need, how it practically works out in the day-to-day of this mom’s life, from newborn on. My added two cents: 1) I highly recommend the snaps. Starting with a one year old, I can tell you nothing but snaps will keep these on him. Also, snaps won’t ever wear out. 2) I’ve mostly done one wash cycle, maybe an additional rinse cycle in cold. 3) That spatula idea is gold.


A Community’s Spiritual Mentor

Most people don’t know who Charles Edward Crumrine Jr. is, but everyone in Ligonier knows who Kip is. Through his belief in serving others in the name of Jesus, he has touched the lives of many of the inhabitants of the town of Ligonier, PA, and not just the youth who attend weekly meetings. Hardly anyone knows his given name. Still, Kip is something of a celebrity both in his hometown and beyond.

Charles "Kip" Crumrine

Charles “Kip” Crumrine

Kip says his physical characteristics are fairly nondescript. One blogger describes him as “that cool older brother that you always wanted.” His wife says it was his hiking boots and socks that first attracted her to him, because she could tell that meant he was “adventurous and practical.”

But the reason everyone in town recognizes Kip is his commitment to full-time ministry. Kip has been executive director of Valley Youth Network, an interdenominational youth ministry, since its inception in 1994. At that time, none of the area churches had a thriving youth group of their own. Instead, as is their nature, teens wanted to hang out together, not just with those within their own church. Now they can: VYN commonly has between 80 and 160 teens in attendance at its weekly Thursday night meetings called C.H.I.L. (Christ Happening in Lives). VYN is housed on the first floor of an old barn, and the main room is filled with over a dozen couches. There’s a bar filled with taps of water, with vintage stained glass lights overhead. It provides a comfortable area for teens to relax in the evenings, and a trusting atmosphere for Kip and his wife, Sandy, to build relationships. In a poll of the area high school, over half of the students have been to at least one VYN activity and one-fourth attend at least once a month.

Group activity at C.H.I.L.

Group activity at C.H.I.L.

VYN’s primary mission is to serve. Sandy, 53, is the ministry’s assistant director. “He’s been intentional about being part of the community of Ligonier,” she recalls. Volunteer work includes Habitat for Humanity and the Juvenile and Youth Council, where teens who have gotten in trouble are required to spend time with Kip. VYN teens take an annual mission trip to serve people in need, usually through building a home or other structure. To qualify for the trip, they must complete a minimum number of service hours in their own hometown. Kip leads many of these smaller service projects.

Sandy recalls one such project. An elderly woman was continuously fined due to a disheveled barn on her property, but she was unable to repair it herself and had no one to help her. A local police officer called Kip. He knew he directed service projects and could bring a group of teens to disassemble the structure.

As a result, Cody Crumrine, Kip and Sandy’s son, 26, also remembers how his dad was the man everyone thought of when they needed something. On more than one occasion, Kip would receive a phone call late at night from a widow who heard strange noises from her hot water heater. Cody says his response was always, “Yes, I’ll be there in a minute,” no matter what time it was. Sandy loves that “people call on him because they know he’s that kind of guy.”

Considering he also coaches little league, soccer, and is a seasonal ski patroller, most people have few degrees of separation between them and Kip. He also spent 10 years as a camp director for the Christian sports camp called Summer’s Best 2 Weeks. Through all of this, he has had a tremendous influence on the youth of Ligonier and beyond. A Google search of his name includes two testimonies naming Kip as a major influence. One recounts rafting trips with him that ended with a campfire, where Kip would “tell of adventures, his love of his wife, and reflect on all the mighty things God had done that day.” Cody says his dad starts every rafting trip by having the explorers join hands and praise God for what he’s created.

VYN group on a missions trip in Alabama, 2012

VYN group on a missions trip in Alabama, 2012

Growing up, Kip was the oldest of three, raised in the city of Cincinnati by two ministry-loving parents themselves, Chuck and Betsy Crumrine. Kip recounts fond memories of his parents creating interactive games with them and the Sunday School classes they taught. One such game included a “time machine,” where participants enter one side of a cardboard box dressed in present-day attire and emerge at the other end, dressed from another era. He remembers his parents reappearing as an Indian chief and squaw: “I Chief Crummy. This Crummy Squaw.”

Chuck and Betsy attended two Bible studies each week. Kip remembers one in particular called “The Strugglers.” Several couples continue to meet together 50 years later. Kip remembers Robert Charles “R. C.” Sproul, author, theologian, and pastor, was part of this group. Chuck and R. C. were also weekly golf buddies, so the Crumrines were there when the Sprouls were first called to establish Ligonier Ministries. Cody says you can mention either his father’s or grandfather’s name to R. C. as you leave his church, and he lights up at the mention of an old friend.

Kip credits this upbringing as first fostering his love of the Lord, but he also cites the influence of a magician. He recounted when he first gave his life for Christ. It was at a Christian magic show. The performer ended his show with the gospel message, telling the youth in the audience that what Jesus did was no illusion, and that he really died for them because he loves them and wants a personal relationship with them. Kip said it was at that moment that Christ became real to him and he gave him his life.

When he’s not working, Kip takes joy in his wife and family. He credits his wife as the largest contributing factor to the growth of his faith. They have been blessed with three grown sons, and they make a point to stay close even though two of them have moved away. Kip says he is most at peace when he’s on the lake on their annual family vacation. All five members of the family take a week at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

But Kip clearly has many joys besides. Whether it’s enjoying an outdoors adventure, playing board games at CHIL, or relaxing in his home in the evenings, Kip has many things that bring him joy. It’s only fitting for a man who has been a spiritual leader, mentor, coach, and even ski patrol rescuer to many.

Kip and Sandy

Kip and Sandy



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