Category Archives: Natural Living

Tutorial: Turning BumGenius 3.0 diaper cover to training pant (PullUp)

I feel like we have been potty training with Bean for forever. I know it hasn’t been that long though. It started with what was essentially a little EC (elimination communication) where she would make a certain face or tell us when she was going and we would take her to the potty to do her business.

At some point she started really wanting to use the potty rather than go in her diaper. Then at another point she hated using the potty. At another point she was too distracted to use the potty regularly. Then she was mostly accident free so long as I prompted her to go. Lately she has been telling me she has to go while running to the bathroom and she is mostly accident free.

However, that is only with me. Lately she only wants me to help her with potty stuff and throws a huge fit if I am busy and Stephen has to take her instead. She wants nothing to do with help from her preschool or Sunday school teachers. So I usually just have her try before and after and she wears a PullUp to class. We also use PullUps for trips, days where we are out of the house all day doing errands or activities and for naps and at night.

My original plan was to use a cloth version of PullUps. I searched out a few different options and eventually settled on the Happy Heiny trainers. The reviews said these were trim and I liked that you could order them with snaps on each side so that if there was a poop accident it would be much easier to clean up and deal with. Besides, the actual PullUps brand training pants also open at the sides, so that is what I expected and was used to. No one wants to drag a training pant full of poop down their toddler’s leg and then try to have them navigate their feet out of that training pant without making a mess.

When my order got here though I was so disappointed. They are so bulky. When we stuff them with even just one insert, it is like she has a balloon between her legs. People always made fun of me because of our kids’ giant cloth diaper bums, but believe me there is worse out there than the BumGenius. BumGenius and now our Flip diapers are actually really trim comparatively.

So anyway we’ve been going through a lot of PullUps lately, especially since Bean started preschool. And I hate buying them. I hate worrying about if we have enough to get us through this or that. I hate throwing them away and creating so much trash. I hate that Bean gets rashes from them all the time. I hate that they are plastered with Disney Princess crap (I know, slightly silly of me). I just hate them. Period.

I have asked around though and there really doesn’t seem to be a much better alternative in the cloth diapering world that matches up to an actual PullUp.

So, I have been getting crafty the last couple days. I have all the BumGenius covers that we are no longer using. I also have something like 300 snaps that I ordered for when my plan was to replace the velcro on them. I figured the worst that could happen is that I could wind up permanently ruining something that we are probably going to wind up throwing away anyway, right?

I did a search to see if there were any tutorials on how to go about converting a BumGenius cover to a PullUp or training pant. One blog had a picture, but her training pant did not open at the sides. She basically just removed the tabs and sewed them shut.

So I had to come up with my own plan.

The first thing I did was take an actual PullUp and lay it down open and flat against one of my diaper covers to figure out where I needed to make alterations.

Pretty much other than the fact that the BumGenius is more bikini cut than the PullUp (which actually we usually wind up folding the PullUps down a bit because Bean is her mother’s very sensitive daughter and if it touches her wrong she is uncomfortable and whines), the only difference is that the elastic and Velcro tabs extend beyond the PullUp.

So yesterday I made my first one. I used a seam ripper to remove the Velcro from the front, the elastic tabs and the laundry tabs.

Then I flipped the back part where the elastic tabs used to be inside out and made a seam there.

The result pretty much lines up with the PullUp.

Then I used my snap pliers to attach some snaps on the sides and I had a cloth PullUp. So I had Bean try it on and model it for me. She wasn’t super cooperative. First she didn’t want to put it on at all because, “No, I’m a big girl now! I don’t wear diapers anymore!” And then she didn’t want to hold still for the picture.

We used the prototype last night with a pre-fold and had no leaks or issues. However, though it fits, it is a little snug. There is no way she’d be able to get it on and off by herself.

So I made another today and instead of completely removing the elastic tab, I cut just before the velcro tabs and then repeated the process.

Bean is napping right now so I haven’t actually tried this one on her, but I think it should be a slightly better fit and easier to get on and off. Also, success at nap today, when presented with a disposable PullUp, “I don’t want to wear a sposable, Mama, I want to wear a cloth PullUp.” She was very disappointed I didn’t have more. I told her I had to make more.

Edited to add: The second attempt seems just a tad too big. It stays on, but starts to sag. I will have to adjust again. Overall I have it mostly figured out though.

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An update on my cloth diapering adventures

We made some recent changes in the cloth diapering department, so I decided an update post was in order since I’ve blogged so extensively about the subject and I know I have many followers that have been converted to cloth from reading my posts (Haha, funny moment this weekend at our cousin’s baby shower, one of her friends came up to me and said, “Hi Lisa. You don’t know me, but I read your blog. And I started cloth diapering because of you. It’s been so great for us.”).

Well, after 2.5 years, and 2 kids worth of use, the microfiber inserts that came with my BumGenius 3.0 diapers had had it. They were still intact, they were still absorbent, but they stunk. And they stunk bad. Much of the “hook and loop” (Velcro) closures were also pretty worn (you may remember I’d started converting my diapers to snaps, but I only got a handful of them done). Changing diapers was an olfactory experience that I could not really deal with anymore. Then washing and drying them, P. U. It would stink up our whole house!

I tried so many things. Soaking. Bleaching. More soaking. Anti bacterials. Oxi Clean. Baking soda and vinegar. I scoured the Internet for “microfiber stink solutions,” “stinky BumGenius solution,” you name it I probably Googled it and tried it on my diapers. Nothing worked.

I had pretty much resolved to get rid of the inserts and either make or buy my own cotton inserts. Until I could get around to it, I had started using Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers or Seventh Generation diapers for Sprout and Pull-Ups or the Seventh Generation brand training pants for Bean. Stephen and I both noticed quite a spike in our budget during this period. So he started trying to be more proactive about the diaper laundry and using cloth. It was nice, but I was still sick of our microfiber.

Then my aunt called out of the blue one day and said for a combined Mother’s Day, birthday and new baby present this year she wanted to get us a cloth diapering service. She had researched it out, found three companies that serve our area and was surprised it wasn’t as expensive as she’d thought.

So I called up the companies next to find out a little more. I had a nice chat with one of owners of a Santa Clarita based company about cloth diapering and my cloth diapering problems. She told me that microfiber can only be guaranteed a year or a certain number of washes which is why diapering services can’t use them. She was surprised I made it 2.5 years with mine. She said they use cotton pre-folds because they can get the stink out and they last longer. This is basically what I had read on the Internet too, but it made more sense hearing it from someone who’s entire business revolves around cloth diapering.

After looking into it a little more though, I was disappointed to find that the diapering service only takes care of washing the pre-fold inserts and not the covers. To me, this didn’t really seem all that helpful. I’d have to keep two separate pails for the covers and inserts (which cloth diapering stuff already takes up enough room in our place), and I’d still be doing some diapering laundry.

So I talked to my aunt a little more about it and she said she would replace our old diapers instead.

Overall I still felt that my BumGenius diapers were a good investment and a good quality product. But I knew I wanted to go with cotton and not microfiber this time. I also had fairly good experiences with the distributor/parent company (I think that’s what they are?), Cotton Babies, so I did not hesitate to go back to them.

BumGenius does make an organic cotton version of their diapers, but they are all one piece. Plus, the new ones come in your choice of snaps or hook and loop. I actually liked that we could stuff our other diapers because I could control how much we needed to add or subtract for absorbency. I still wanted the flexibility of a pocket diaper or just a cover. I knew I would also go with snaps over hook and loop this time.

Since I bought/was gifted my BG 3.0s over 2.5 years ago, Cotton Babies has come out with two other kinds of diapers, the Flip System and the EconoBum.

The Flip diapers are pretty similar to G Diapers in that they have cloth or disposable inserts depending on your need. You can reuse the covers until they get gross, so you just keep replacing the inserts otherwise. They also have two cloth options, microfiber and cotton. Another good difference between the Flip and G Diapers is that like the BumGenius diapers they are one size and you can get them in snaps or hook and loop closure. They also come in all the fun colors that the BumGenius diapers do. And from what I could tell of the pictures, they looked like they fit just like the BumGenius diapers do, which is one of the things I really liked about those diapers.

So after a little contemplation and calculating, I decided to go with Flip covers. However, the Flip cotton insert pretty much looked like a cotton pre-fold to me and since I knew from my conversation with the diapering service that pre-folds last the longest, I decided to go with unbleached cotton pre-folds instead of the official Flip insert. Besides, the pre-folds were much cheaper!

The hardest part for me was trying to figure out how many inserts and covers to get. With the BumGenius I had 40+ diapers that I just ordered all together and all their pieces got worn and tossed in the diaper pail together. With these I knew I wouldn’t need as many of the covers since I’d be using them for more than one diaper change. I was slightly concerned about the absorbability of the cotton versus microfiber and whether I’d be doing more changes or doubling up to get that same level of absorbency that I was used to. So in the end, I decided to go with 20 covers and 60 pre-folds.

I know it sounds like a lot, but now that we are using them (well, we have been since Sunday anyway), I think I made the right decision for two kids in diapers. It is a little much for mostly just Sprout though (I had to plan ahead, Bean is pretty much in undies except for naps she wears a cloth diaper, but for preschool and at night we put a disposable training pant on her because she needs the extra absorbency). So a person with one kid in diapers could probably get away with a lot less.

I am also pleased to report that the cotton pre-folds are really absorbent and stand up to what we were used to with the microfiber just fine. I haven’t really noticed any extra diaper changes and we haven’t had any leaks, even overnight. The diapers fit pretty much the same as our BumGenius diapers did. The snaps work great and are easy to use.

I know it may be a bit premature since we are only a few days in, but I am really happy with the change.


My new diapers arrived in the mail last week along with a new Ergo carrier. I was so excited!


A Flip cover and a pre-fold insert after I had pre-washed everything. My initial excitement over the diapers was kind of put on hold when I read that the new Cotton Babies recommendation for diaper prep was SEVEN washes and dries! With our BG 3.0s I distinctly remember that we only had to do three.


Open Flip cover with the pre-fold in place.


Closed up Flip diaper all ready to go.


Bean wearing a Flip diaper with cotton pre-fold for nap today. I love the snaps and the fact that I can put my kids down for a nap sans pants and not worry that they will get bored and take off their diaper. This will be great during the summer when their rooms get a little warm even with the air on because of where they are positioned, getting the afternoon sun and being upstairs where heat rises.

Anyway, that about sums things up. Special thanks to my auntie for the new diapers. I am so happy with them!

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Thinking about food allergies

I have been thinking a lot more about my kids, my family and food allergies lately.

My thoughts feel sort of jumbled and there is so much information to wade through.

I guess the beginning of this was a few months ago when I was just tired and dealing with morning sickness, not that bad mind you, but bad enough that I didn’t want to do anything.

And that despite how careful we are with our kids and their diets, they still have eczema and runny #2 diapers and poor growth on the growth charts sometimes. So not a giant difference in their supposed allergy “symptoms”.

And I have talked to other moms and read them too (Emery and Olive Oil come specifically to mind) about how they tried to make the same changes that we had, didn’t notice much in the way of symptom changes, did notice it was a lot of work and did notice that it was really hard to get their kids to eat that way.

I’ll admit that part of me got a little high and mighty. Part of me said, “Well, I am doing it and there is SOME difference and HOW can you just DO that to your child knowing what you know?” And part of me felt their pain and burden and frustration. Part of me understood the high rate of false positives in these allergy tests. Part of me saw the conflicting advice out there. Part of me heard about continual exposure eventually helping people to overcome their allergies instead of complete avoidance.

So anyway, back on track with the story. A couple months ago when I was tired and not feeling like it, I let my kids have regular old oatmeal at a bagelry. And a few other times I let them have blueberry muffins because Bean saw the muffins in the display case and really wanted one.

And nothing happened. The oatmeal was probably mostly fine. Oats can become contaminated by wheat fields and mills so that is why you have to buy the special gluten-free kind. But they are probably mostly fine, most of the time. The muffins were likely a triple threat cocktail for Bean. I am sure they had butter (dairy), wheat and eggs.

And like I said, nothing happened. I noticed no difference in skin or output. There was no throwing up, no diarrhea no rash. Just nothing.

But then I felt terrible.

Plus, Sprout’s last few appointments the doctor has been increasingly alarmist with regards to his status on the growth charts. Did those muffins and oatmeal lazy moments cause it? Was I really a terrible mother?

So then I read more stuff about allergy testing and how some fringe doctors believe the most standard blood test that Bean had is not enough and how there are other bodily reactors we can test against that can show a wider spectrum of food sensitivity and intolerance. But then how other doctors think these tests aren’t accurate either and have way too many false positives.

Then there are others who say that the best way to figure out food sensitivities is thru elimination diets or by introducing them back one at a time. Still others say this too is inaccurate because a lot of times food sensitivities and allergies don’t have super noticeable side effects like rashes, skin disorders, or gastrointestinal function problems and yet there are still insidious things going on in the body because of these foods.

And basically the medical community, as usual, can’t get their act together and agree on anything and just make things a little easier for us parents.

Fast forward to last week and I fed my kids and I a plate of vegetarian nachos from Baja Fresh because I just didn’t feel like having a bunch of leftovers from all of us to cart around and I also can’t bring myself to throw away that much food. Plus, I knew that Bean was coming up on the magic age when children for some reason outgrow their food allergies and that as an introduction to dairy, cheese was probably one of the safe bets because it is easier to digest than whole milk.

And again, nothing happened.

And again I felt huge amounts of guilt and questioning of myself.

Because really is this just me being selfish? I don’t have to tell those of you that have to deal with even one food allergy how much easier my life would be if I didn’t have to deal with food allergies. Even just eliminating one of Bean’s would be so incredibly helpful to me and a bit easier for me.

And for those of you that don’t know this life, imagine all of the typical toddler foods being eliminated. Imagine every time you eat out as a family being a big worry fest as to whether your kids will be inadvertently exposed to a poison. Imagine dinners and potlucks with friends often being incredibly awkward because you can’t find anything your child can eat. Or imagine telling that child that no, they really can’t enjoy all the other yummy foods that their friends are enjoying. Other kids’ birthday parties with no cake or treats for your kids. Having to make everything on your own from scratch all the time because usually even if you can find something that doesn’t have one of their allergens, it has one or two of the others. Having to pay so much money for alternative foods and supplements. The list could go on and on.

And then I start reading this book on the 4-A epidemic in children: autism, ADHD, asthma, and allergies. And once again I am freaking out and thinking that maybe there is more that my kids are up against. And I need thousands of dollars in testing to be sure. And how maybe that explains how small my kids are or any other host of little things I can pick up on in my kids.

So then the kids have a check up today and I talk to my doctor about some of it. The good news is that Sprout is growing again and Bean is doing pretty good too. We’ve avoided a trip to UCLA with “ten thousand dollars worth of testing all day long” (as he put it), for now.

He says he doesn’t put much faith in the allergy tests. Too many false positives and negatives. He did say that Bean’s original tests back when she was a year old showed only a mild allergy to wheat and dairy and a moderate allergy to egg. He said that low on the spectrum he usually sees kids grow out of and that she may have grown out of them by now. Plus, he said over half the things she was tested for were a complete waste since she hadn’t even been introduced to them and they would have had a false negative. Since he doesn’t really put much into the allergy testing he thinks we should just start trying to reintroduce stuff.

So I don’t know. I still feel confused. Like what if I reintroduce this stuff and maybe there isn’t noticeable eczema or yucky poops. Does that really mean everything is OK? Am I just being paranoid? A hypochondriac? But oh gosh would life be easier and less expensive if we could eliminate some of these things!

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The October Daily, 10/25

Look how tall our tomato plants are!

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The October Daily, 10/18

I pulled out our next batch of handmedowns last night. We have been so blessed by friends and family in that we have hardly had to buy any clothes for our kids. I spent the day doing laundry and going through the closet to make room for all the “new” fall stuff.

Bean obviously has a mountain of clothes as usual (right) and Sprout has a pretty good pile too (left).

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A tent

Last night Stephen was playing with Bean while I was making dinner. They were playing with the wooden train set and making tunnels with their bodies for the train to go through.

Then Stephen got the idea to run upstairs and get a bed sheet. With the help of a few dining chairs and some floor pillows we had the classic sheet tent fort.

A few thoughts struck me.

In some ways the simplistic sheet tent fort has become obsolete because you can buy play tents with castles, Dora, playhouses, etc.

I find myself in a constant struggle as a parent, wanting “more” for my kids in the way of childhood experiences and toys. The thing about wanting more is that there is ALWAYS something more to want. Always. For most of my life I’ve lived trapped in a rut of wanting more. I don’t want to be there anymore.

And, for those of you that happen to have a Dora or castle or whatever themed play tent, please don’t take this as me getting down on you and your stuff. I just want to learn to be satisfied with where I am at and what I have. Not trying to keep up with everyone.

The other line of thought that came about from the tent was that the reason all the neighborhood kids always came to our house even though many of them had much nicer toys and things than we did (and don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of nice things and more toys than we really knew what to do with), was that my mom was really fun. She always did creative things with us and she wasn’t afraid of her house becoming a little or a lot messy in the name of us having fun or doing something interesting.

I remember one friend’s mom who would get mad at us if we wrinkled the bed spread by sitting on it to play or listen to music. At another friend’s house we weren’t allowed to sit on the couches or furniture. One mom banned my sisters and I from playing with her son after we taught him about catching garden toads. One friend’s mom would get mad if we ate all the snacks.

I want to be the kind of mom that my mom was. One who cares more about her kids than stuff. Because in the end the stuff doesn’t matter. The haves and the have nots will all be the same in the end. We can’t take any of the stuff with us in the end. But we can take love, laughter and memories.

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Little Mama Part 2

So this is mostly an update to this post, but also an update to this post.

I figured it is high time I talked about crafts on this blog. Or something other than monthly child updates.

Only problem is that I am really trying to stay focused and finally finish Bean’s big girl quilt. I just want to get it done and get all the other half finished projects I have around here done too.

Here is my progress so far:

I finished sewing all the squares together to make the quilt top. This is an absolutely huge milestone.

I don’t have a good quilting machine. So I decided to hand quilt this thing. At first I was going to do this cool pattern that I made up myself and traced onto the quilt back, but my stitching isn’t so good. I am opting instead for hand tying at all the corners with some pink scrap yarn.

I was making really excellent progress and then we got that heat wave and there is just no way I can sit with a mostly flannel quilt on my lap to work on.

So today, after a seriously disasterous nap time that eventually ended in two children napping for a tiny bit at the same time, I made Bean a little diaper bag to hold all her baby accessories that we just got her with birthday money.

I basically just made a mini version of the two diaper bags I made (one for myself and one for our cousin). I used the stiff felt for the lining of the bag to give it some body and I used ric-rac to cover up unsighly edges. It’s super cute and much nicer than the one they had at the store which came with some other “mom” accessories that I wasn’t too fond of.

When Bean woke up from her nap, she was pretty thrilled with it and immediately went to work caring for her baby by changing her diaper.

I think my favorite part is that all this stuff now has a place and a handy carrying case.

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Coming soon…

My friend and I just decided to do a co-op preschool. Our first theme is ocean life. There will be field trips and crafts and tons of fun stuff that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Unfortunately planning things out for that, reading up on homeschooling, reading our book club book, a couple craft projects and our weekly community group are pretty much taking up all my free time, brain power, energy, etc.

So, I will return soon, but not quite yet. Things will be sparse until then.

Oh and I just realized I never updated about this, but the caterpillar died. It started to hatch from the cocoon. I was fairly certain it was going to be a moth, but it only made it halfway out before it stopped moving and that was the end of things. Not everything makes it.

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What the crap?

I went away for an hour to take a shower and the thing is already sprouting some wings. So freaky and weird!

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He built a small house around himself

The little guy built his cocoon!

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