cloth diapers

Five DIY Ways to Relieve Cold Symptoms

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in being a mom, cloth diapers, domestic diva, healthy living, simplify | 2 comments

Last spring, I suffered from an epic cold that dragged on for four miserable weeks – not one of those wussy colds with a slightly stuffed nose and a delicate little cough, but a full on, hit-by-a-mack-truck kind of cold that knocked me off my feet. And I have to say, I’m not pleasant to be around when I’m sick. Looking back, I feel sorry for my family.

Laying on the couch day after day (after day after day), I thought about how easily illness can turn a crunchy mama to soggy mush. The garbage suddenly overflows with used tissues and the kitchen counter is filled with plastic from the over-packaged instant dinners you’ve been passing off as “food” to your kids. Those same kids watch TV for 12 days straight and you couldn’t care less. It’s hard to care about any of that when you can barely lift your head from the pillow (let alone stop your one year old from colouring on the wall).

But, on the positive side, I learned a few tricks during that stint about how to make myself feel better without having to bundle my kids up and drag them to the pharmacy to buy enough kleenex to fill a landfill. I found that if I am a bit prepared ahead of time, I can make my illness a little bit greener.

Um, that doesn’t sound right at all…

Five Ways to Make Your Cold a Little Bit Greener

Five Ways to Make Your Cold a Little Bit Crunchier

Ew. This isn’t working at all.

Five DIY Ways to Relieve Cold Symptoms

1. Kiss your Kleenex goodbye and use diaper flats or prefolds instead

You know those diapers you have left over from the baby (or possibly still use)? They make amazing tissues, I kid you not. They are big. They are absorbent. They can be used for a whole bunch of gooey sneezes and then thrown in the laundry. And they are SO SOFT! During my four-week spring cold snap, my nose did not get raw or red at all. True story.

I bought my flats from and I paid $15 for a package of six. And I won’t need to buy Kleenex for years.

2. Make your own cough syrup

I have tried many different homemade cough syrups. There is something wonderfully empowering about being able to whip up your own concoction at a moment’s notice. The problem is that homemade syrups don’t always taste so good (although that shouldn’t matter – Buckley’s has set the bar pretty low when it comes to taste). But the recipe where you boil onions and garlic? It’s seriously disgusting. How about swallowing a spoonful of raw honey straight? I just can’t do it, I think it’s gross – and I LOVE honey! But I stumbled upon an amazing cough syrup recipe that tastes delicious and works quite well.

I found this recipe on quite a few different websites; all the sites credit the book Herbally Yours by Penny Royal.

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 tablespoon honey (not for babies – everyone knows that, right?)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water

Mix the ingredients up and then take a teaspoon at a time as needed.

I know what your thinking – cayenne pepper? For a sore throat? I have to tell you, the pepper is the secret ingredient. Along with the ginger, it warms your throat up and is wonderfully soothing.

I had the chance to compare it to a traditional cough syrup in the spring. I made this one and I found that it worked pretty well. Then my husband brought home some Buckley’s after his shift at work and I took that too. The Buckley’s worked better. The next day, I took more Buckley’s but found it wasn’t as effective, so I took more of the homemade syrup – this time, the homemade syrup was the winner. Since then, I’ve stuck with this homemade recipe because I like the taste and the soothing sensation for my sore throat.

Update: My aunt tried the syrup today and said that it was ‘burning’ than ‘soothing’. Maybe her pepper is more awesomely spicy than mine is. I kind of want to try hers myself and see…

3. Homemade Lemonade

When I’m sick, I tend to drink a lot of Gatorade. I try to drink a lot of fluids when I’m sick and Gatorade just goes down easier than plain old water. I’ve now replaced the Gatorade with homemade lemonade which tastes SO much better. I like that I can control the amount of sweetener that I add. (Ha! I add LOTS!) I also add salt because it replaces electrolytes that are lost when you’re sick.

I was originally introduced to the recipe at our local health food store, Goodness Me, and I found the recipe on their website here. I never actually measure the amounts out, I just guesstimate as I go and I make it one glass at a time as needed.

1 glass of water
2 or 3 tbsp of organic lemon juice (Santa Cruz Organic Lemon Juice)
Honey or sugar to taste
A pinch of Himalayan salt to add electrolytes and salty deliciousness

Mix and drink. It goes down fast and tastes good. And you don’t end up with a dozen empty Gatorade bottles when you’re done!

4. Eat Homemade soup

I LOVE eating soup when I’m sick – especially warming purees made with ginger, garlic, or curry powder. Soups just make me feel nurtured – even if I made the soup myself. And homemade soups are SO much nicer than a box of slimy noodles and chicken in salt water.

Unless you have a fancy blender that purees and heats vegetables into a soup in minutes (and if you do, I’m insanely jealous), you will need to be prepared for this one. Last spring I cooked five batches of soup in one day and had intended to post pictures on my blog. That was the day before I got sick, and while the pictures never made it to the Internet, the soup was just what I needed to survive the month.

Right now is the time to make soup to freeze. Farmer’s markets are full of delicious vegetables that would make a variety of lovely soups. And seriously? All soups are pretty much the same – just a different star vegetable and few different herbs. Spend a few hours chopping veggies and then make four or five different kinds. Need somewhere to start? This Curried Carrot & Apple soup is my all-time favorite. And here’s an extra tip – if you are make soup to freeze, leave out the cream or milk and add it when you reheat the soup. It tastes better that way.

5. Wet Sock Treatment

This treatment is new to me, but a few different people have recommended it to me. Apparently it’s quite popular in naturopathic circles as a way to kick-start your immune system.

What you need:

A tub of warm water for your feet.
A pair of cotton socks.
A pair of wool socks (at least 80% wool).

Essentially, you put your feet in warm water for 10 minutes or so (don’t let the water cool down), and then immediately put your feet in cotton socks that have been soaked in icy cold water. Then put on the wool socks overtop of the wet cotton socks and go to bed. I tried this myself a couple nights ago, but I’m not certain that the wool socks were 100% wool – they could have been acrylic. I’m not sure if it worked – I wasn’t as sick in the morning as I had expected to be (given my sore throat, plugged nose and lack of sleep), and I slept really well. I’d like to try again soon with socks that I’m certain are wool and see how I do. I also read that this treatment works well for insomnia, and I can verify that I was out cold in a minute tops.

Pretty much everything on this list can be pulled together with things found in your pantry and around your home. Next time you’re sick, skip the trip to the pharmacy and snuggle up on the couch with your kids in your pyjamas instead.

I’m always looking to try new treatments – I’m planning to whip up a batch of homemade vapour rub from the Crunchy Betty blog next. How about you – do you have any tips to share?

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Changes in Store

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in babywearing, cloth diapers | 0 comments

Of course babywearers use strollers! How else do you carry wraps to a babywearing meeting?! :)

This was a picture I snapped at our babywearing group meeting this morning. Despite the ridiculously hot temperature, I had a great time sitting in the shade and playing with carriers. Sometimes with the store, babywearing is more business than pleasure, know what I mean? Am I choosing the best ones? Am I explaining things clearly enough? Will that person enjoy their carrier as much as I hope they do, or will they toss it behind a door and then list it on Kijiji in a few months?

I love babywearing. I want everyone else to love babywearing too. And it’s great to get together regularly with a group of people who love babywearing and are happy to spend two hours fussing over a stack of carriers. It reminds me that there’s a lot of people out there who love babywearing as much as I do. And that makes me excited about the work that I do.

Pretty soon our store is going through some changes. I currently share a location with a children’s consignment clothing store and a cloth diaper shop. The consignment store is moving to a new location, leaving our storefront with a whole lot more space. We plan to turn most of the space into a community-driven classroom where we can run workshops, host mom nights, breastfeeding cafes, and more. We want other moms to use the space too, whether that’s to host baby showers or demo products that the sell (especially the ones that sell tasty dips) or offer classes of their own.

We are really excited for the upcoming changes, but I find myself a bit overwhelmed too. That’s why this morning was so refreshing for me.

Just sitting in the shade, trying on new wraps and showing moms how to toss babies on their back. Remembering how much I love babywearing.

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WIP – Some Fancy-Schmancy Longies

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in cloth diapers, craft, domestic diva, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Almost done my first pair of longies using the Budgie Bloomer pattern from Ralvery! I still need to do a tie to tighten up the waist, but apart from being a touch long, they fit nicely! Testing them out right now – we’ll see how well they absorb. :D

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Prefolds to Contours: My Quick Cloth Diaper Hack

Posted by on Feb 23, 2011 in cloth diapers, sewing | 3 comments

With my first baby, I used prefold diapers for the first little while. They are certainly easy to use — just fold one in three, lay it flat on a diaper cover, and stick it on the baby.  I like prefolds because they are inexpensive and so handy — spill some coffee? Grab a prefold. Baby spitting up? Grab a prefold. Cat spitting up? Um, better grab a paper towel, that’s just icky.

But I didn’t love the three inches of bulk that the diaper added to my babies bottom, which made fitting into pants more difficult. I also found the car seat harder to secure tightly with so much fabric on the bottom. So this time around, I wasn’t totally sure if I wanted to do prefolds.

Well, there is no way I’m buying more diapers, so as a compromise, I turned some of my prefolds into contoured diapers by using my serger to trim the diapers in the middle. I suppose I could have made them into fitteds instead, but adding elastic would have involved much more time and energy then I care to use at this point.

Unfortunately, the diapers are now less absorbent because I’ve eliminated a bunch of the layers of cotton that would normally be in the middle, but I’m thinking of making up some doublers from other prefolds. I’m not concerned though — these are diapers for around the house, and they are more than adequate. And I think they’ll fit into knitted wool covers a lot better too.

I thought I’d put up some pictures for anyone else considering it. You can see how they gap out at the legs a bit, but it doesn’t matter as long as a good diaper cover is on top. I made about 10 up in total. I’ll use them for awhile and let you know how they work out.

Prefolds Cloth Diapers Contoured Diapers Contoured Diaper with Snappi Contoured Diaper with a Cover

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Tying up Loose Ends (Or Just Hiding Them Behind a Curtain)

Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in cloth diapers, craft | 0 comments

Today has been a day of finishing up some projects that I’ve been meaning to do for the past few days (ok, past few months). My three years old daughter helped out – here’s what we did and some of the lessons that we learned along the way. ;)

Project One – Adding a PomPom to R’s Cupcake Hat.

Lesson: R learned that making pompoms is awesome. Also awesome? The tiny little bits that get cut off can be gathered up and then liberally distributed on a freshly vacuumed carpet.

New PomPom for the Cupcake Hat

I don’t love the hat, it was a hand-me-down and R loves it – she’s been asking for a new pompom for at least a year. I remember making pompoms all the time when I was a kid, just for fun. Well, apparently I’ve lost that skill. Anyway, it took a couple tries but we got a half decent one and now the cupcake hat is complete again.

Project Two – Finishing off the Baby’s Knitted Diaper Cover

Lesson: I learned that no matter how lovely smelling your Eucalan is, soaking wet wool still smells like soaking wet wool.

Diaper Cover (Tosh Yarn)

I was surprised to find that I was done knitting the whole thing, I just had to weave in two loose pieces of yarn – done and done. The cover got a heft dose of Eucalan and is drying on the counter now.

Project Three – Sewing A Curtain for the Play Kitchen

Lesson: I learned to count your pins before entrusting them to your toddler. That way you know how many got lost. R learned that Mommy says bad words when she grabs the iron from the wrong side.

Kitchen - Before Kitchen - After

We found this kitchen on the side of the road, and even though we already had a wood kitchen, we couldn’t just let this one end up in the dump — its awesome! And it has become a home for many of R’s toys, which means it always looks cluttered. Rather than clean it (because, really, how long is that going to last), we decided to make a pretty skirt for the front.

I’m so in love with this fabric, I’m thinking of getting some more to make curtains for my naked kitchen windows. I’m sure my neighbours would be thrilled (cause the windows often aren’t the only thing naked around here).

Project Four – Finishing off a Hat for R

Lesson: I learned that tassels rock my world.

A New Hat for R

Last, I finished off the hat that was originally meant to be a diaper cover. But I didn’t like the pattern and decided that the skull snowflakes were too fun to just rip apart and thus the diaper cover became a hat instead. And wow, tassels are way easier to make then pompoms and look super adorable. R wore it for the most of the night – I suspect we won’t be giving it away to her boyfriend anytime soon.

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