Tag Archive | "blogging"

7 Years of Dirty Diaper Laundry

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Tomorrow marks a special milestone that I can’t let slip by without mentioning; it’s the 7th year of Dirty Diaper Laundry. In 2009 on April 9 I hit publish on the very first blog post. I wrote it knowing only friends and family would see it, and continued to write that way for a while. I made my videos and just assumed people would find them if they needed them. Eventually I learned more about networking and marketing my own website through places like Twitter (my earliest social network) and beyond.


Things have obviously changed since I started my blog. The biggest change is that I have no babies in diapers! While I used to worry this would mean I’d have to stop blogging that hasn’t been the case. My focus has shifted to other things but I’m still able to give DDL love on social media and even blog occasionally too. Lara helps tremendously by lending her expertise for the reviews we post here. My main goal was to continue posting those videos because that is what made Dirty Diaper Laundry a favorite resource. It was too important to stop giving people helpful videos and reviews.

I have to make time for my family (we recently purchased an RV and have been adding camping to our family time), Dirty Diaper Laundry, speaking engagements, Put a Cup In It (a growing website!), freelance work, and running Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.

A photo posted by Kim Rosas (@kim_rosas) on

Time is spread thin these days since I’ve added other roles to my life and those roles have grown to take up more time than I probably even have. They’re all things I enjoy but I’m sure at some point something will have to give. DDL will never go away- it’s an invaluable resource that’s still helping thousands of families a day with their cloth diaper questions. Everett goes to Kindergarten in the fall, gifting me with an extra 2 hours of work time a day. That could be just what I need to accomplish the things I WANT to do and just can’t get to.

As a quick note to those who may have noticed a diminishing number of ads on the sidebar, I have dropped the ad network that served me for several years. Their poor customer service lasted years but only recently have I finally decided I’d had enough. I’m letting ads that have paid their time remain then I can shut down the entire account. I’m using this time to decide how I want advertising to look on DDL in the future and if that means a fresh design or not. Losing all ads hasn’t been easy financially and it was definitely a hard call to make, but in the end, it will be for the best. I’m not shutting down, just planning the next move!

On to the celebration! For the next week I’m going to be posting flash giveaways to my Facebook Page and the new @dirtydiaperlaundry Instagram account! I have over 20 amazing sponsors giving out prizes.

Look for goodies from Thirsties, Mom’s Milk Boutique, Bambino Mio, The DivaCup, PumpEase, One Love Diaper Co, Spray Pal, Kelly’s Closet, AppleCheeks, Smart Bottoms, and many more!

Thank you to everyone who chooses to support this website as a reader, a sponsor, a referrer, and so on. It’s been a true gift to be part of the cloth diaper community. This website has brought so many amazing people into my life and enriched it beyond words.  I’m proud of the resource 7 years of work has built and hope it’s helped the millions who have made their way to my corner of the Internet.

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5 Years, 300+ Videos, 1,300+ Posts. Happy Birthday DDL!

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It all started with an idea to help more parents see and understand modern cloth diapers so that they could make an informed decision.   That idea became a blog and that blog became a huge part of my life and eventually, a paying job as well as a passion/hobby.

Dirty Diaper Laundry started from an idea while a new and insomniac mom laid in bed thinking of a new cloth diaper coming out and how she wished she could see it in person without driving 2 hours to the closest diaper shop.  “What if I bought it and filmed it for other moms just like me who want to see how the diapers work and what they do?”  The very next day I bought a domain name, signed up for a hosting plan, and shortly after I filmed the new Gro Baby AI2 and posted it.


I wasn’t a blogger before starting DDL but I had created a few websites, though mostly in high school and usually about how much I loved The Smashing Pumpkins and/or my boyfriend.  I was making .gifs before .gifs were cool (I created them for message boards over 10 years ago) and had even turned my website knowledge into a job by creating and managing a restaurant’s website from scratch while still in high school- all hand coded HTML.  It was beautiful functional.  With my self-taught Photoshop/Website skills and my love of online research I dove in and started this blog, never knowing or planning it would be anything more than a fun hobby and hopefully an asset to other parents.


I knew way more about websites than I did about videography and video editing in the beginning.  My first videos were poorly lit, low quality, and badly edited, but I kept learning about what makes a good video.  As the blog began to earn ad revenue I started re-investing the profits into a better video camera, better editing software, better lighting, audio equipment, even better tripods and other equipment you never knew I had.  From the start I wanted to give you quality videos over quantity.  I wanted videos that weren’t shaky, weren’t grainy, weren’t full of high pitched white noise or anything else distracting.  I wanted the videos to be to the point and informative and for all of my video reviews to create a cohesive library.  It wasn’t until last year that I really began exploring other kinds of videos that weren’t review based, often featuring myself in the frame (a rare occurrence for the first 2-3 years) because you guys liked them!  Then one day I lost my marbles and filmed a video about menstrual cups.  I knew I had the skills to make something really great and helpful and like with cloth diapering, I felt I owed it to women to make a quality video educating them on their choices.  That video has the most views of all of my videos!  I went there, and I’m really glad I did because I get feedback every single week from women who made the switch thanks to that video.

Overall, my stance on cloth diapering has evolved from the first post.  I was far more militant and gung-ho about cloth diapers in 2009.  I thought every mom no matter what should use them every day with no exceptions.  I’ve grown and changed since then and my eyes have been opened to situations when cloth diapers just can’t work.  Long time readers will surely recognize this softening.  I don’t think this change has made me a less effective advocate- I think it makes me a better one, and a more understanding and compassionate one.  My posts here on DDL reflect this personal change, and while I do want every parent to switch, I understand there are times when they can’t.  Maybe they CAN later, and I’ll be here to help them along the way.  Making parents feel bad about their choices is not something I want to do.  I want them to feel like this is a safe place where they can learn and not be judged for using disposables in the past or even present.


Part of this change has been a direct result of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, an event I started almost 3 years ago as a way to show that every parent can cloth diaper.  I still whole heartedly believe in this event and the amazing community it has created, plus the educational opportunities for cloth diaper advocates that are a direct result.  I and thousands of others have learned ways to cloth diaper for almost no money, and even without a washing machine.  Together we have performed back breaking nightly or morning diaper washes, reported on what works best, and found that it is possible but it isn’t exactly easy.  Doing this challenge teaches us all skills and compassion.  I’ve found flats to be the ultimate diaper above all others in this experience and my blog has been shaped by this as well.

 Simple can be better than easy.

I’ve also used the tiny “celebrity” of DDL to help another cause close to my heart- Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.  GDGH is a cloth diaper lending organization that a friend of mine started.  They began in 2011, and along with helping spread the word, I’ve also begun helping in a more concrete way behind the scenes.  It has become another large part of my life and my time, so much so that some days I spend more time working on their projects than I do on mine.  Speaking of… we are launching their new website design today!

Cloth Diaper Finder was another project I poured myself into because I knew the cloth diaper community needed it.  My husband was the “investor” and helped bring this one of a kind, searchable database to life.  It took months of planning and design with a programmer and it costs more to run than it has ever made but I believe in what it does and know it has helped so many families choose the right diaper for their families so I keep the money pit alive.  Make no mistake, this was the original searchable database and a project that came from 2 years of dreaming.  That’s all I will say about that one.

Is this real life?

I’m so incredibly fortunate in so many ways.  Starting this blog was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.  It has created a job for me and taught me why I always hated working- I cannot stand working for other people, now I don’t have to.  It isn’t work when you do what you love and for the most part that has held true for 5 years.  I’ve met amazing people, individuals that are changing the world, are compassionate, inventive, thoughtful, giving, and kick ass.  Many of those people are now great friends.  I’ve taught myself skills that translated into my life in other ways.  I now have a thriving side business where I’m filming and editing videos for companies.  I didn’t see that coming AT ALL and yet here I am, being paid to create videos for businesses that I can’t believe trust me to do this for them.  It is surreal!  This has been the best year yet in many ways.  I was recently in San Diego speaking at an expo about cloth diapers (also, I can’t believe that happened!) and have other fun plans coming soon.  I almost feel guilty that I get to do this.  10 years ago my goal was to teach high school English.  Now I have a BA in History and blog about cloth diapers and edit videos.

Life, man, you just never know where it will take you.



This community continues to grow and change.  In fact, it already has.  I have been watching for 5 years and have seen a significant shift.  That is for another day.  As long as there is a place for me in this community and as long as I can help families with my knowledge I will do so.  I’m lucky to have Lara here helping with reviews now that my babies are no longer in diapers.  Last year was rough- everyone stopped napping and I had no time to work.  Next year I will have a child in Kindergarten and one in Pre-K.  I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish with more time at my disposal.  I have big plans….

Thank you…

Thank you for reading, telling your friends about DDL, and thank you to the companies and brands that continue to support what I do with advertising and promotions.  The biggest thanks goes to my husband and kids.  My husband has supported me in this website since it began and is the one who pushes me to keep it going even when I want to throw in the towel.  He has seen the potential in it and in me when I couldn’t.  My son calls me “the best cloth diaper queen”-a title I am happy to accept.  He probably knows more about cloth diapers than most adults.

Next week is the big celebration with giveaways from sponsors like GroVia, Applecheeks, Thirsties, Bamboobies, Baby Shusher, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Molly’s Suds, Eco Nuts, Sweetbottoms, Jack be Natural, and more!  I’m joining up with The Eco Friendly Family so check back then to celebrate with us on our 5 years of blogging!

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To Grandmother’s House We Go!

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Today we are off to Oma’s house in North Carolina for a quick visit.  It’s been about six months since our last trip so we are all excited to see family and friends for a few days.  That also means I’ll be away from my computer and taking a blog break until next week.

I’m sure you all understand!  I didn’t line up any guest posts or work on posts to fill the void since I’ve actually been doing work for another company on a video for a new product (shhh I can’t say!) and adding extra blogging wasn’t happening!  Oh, and you know when you leave town and hate the thought of coming home to a dirty house so you spend a whole day cleaning just to know that when you walk in the door a few days later you get to say “ahhh….. home.” and not “crap my house is so dirty, tomorrow I have to go right back to cleaning.”  That is my job today!

Filming takes over my house...

Filming takes over my house…

The next few months are a string of trips, holidays, birthdays, and large scale projects.  North Carolina, husband’s birthday, big website development for Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, Sanibel Island, Vegas, Everett’s Birthday, Thanksgiving, Fletcher’s Birthday, Christmas, New Years, My Birthday.  I’m pretty sure we should have had our kids in the spring because this is just nuts!

I’m been doing a piss poor job of balancing work and home life.  When it comes down to it, I often neglect my house and put my time into working and playing with the kids.  My work hours have been drastically reduced now that Everett no longer naps.  I’m hoping when a spot opens at his brother’s school he will make a smooth transition to 2-3 short days a week so that I can get more work done and spend less of my free evenings on the computer instead of relaxing or spending time with my husband.

I’ll still have a video and review for you next Monday, so check back then.  If you are bored you can always look back at old posts.  My bar up top gives you topics to browse and my New to Cloth Diapers page links up helpful articles to all of you who are just getting started on your cloth diapering journey.  I’ll be snapping photos on my trip so if you aren’t already you can follow me on Instagram too (Kim_Rosas).

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2012 in Review- The Year of the Elf

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Despite being the slowest year of my blog’s existence thanks to a LOT going on around the homefront 2012 was also the best year yet for DDL!  The blog has steadily grown since it started back in April 2009.  In fact readership has increaded 65% in 2012 compared to 2011!  That is with blogging a lot less than I did last year too.  Plus I had a little help from an Elf.

January was in insane month and thanks to the generosity of a lot of sponsors we raised enough money for the non-profit organization Giving Diapers, Giving Hope to help them apply for their non-profit status!  In case you haven’t heard of them yet GDGH provides cloth diapers for families in need who qualify.  In January something else pretty big happened- we bid on a home in Tampa FL and planned to move from our home in Syracuse.  At the time we had no idea what we would be entering into…

February was when I made an announcement here on the blog that we were moving.  I was unsure of how moving would impact the work I was doing here but I figured I would be around less during the transition.  I didn’t know then that the transition would take 6 months.  That month I also re-designed the look of the blog and did away with the old blue header in favor of what is still up today.

By March the boys and I had moved out to Charlotte NC.  Because the home we bid on was a short sale there was no timeline saying it would take 30, 60, or even 90 days until closing.  It was a stressful roller coaster ride of emotions as we waited for word.  We were in limbo- not in our old home where Everett was born and not yet to what we hoped would be a perfect home for our family.  March is also when I started taking a serious interest in learning how to use my DSLR so that was keeping me busy and giving me a hobby to focus on while living with my in-laws and impatiently waiting for news about our home.

April was a VERY big month.  Life had to go on and with no end in sight about our home I decided to find a NC screenprinter for a design I had made while still in Syracuse.  Then DDL Apparel was born and my dream of providing stylish cloth diaper advocacy shirts came to life!   I started printing in March but blogged about the new venture in April. April was a big month for cloth diaper advocacy as well thanks to the 2nd Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.  I participated in the Charlotte location hosted by Jack Be Natural and even sold a few of my shirts there too.  To go with the vibe that month I also published one of my favorite posts of the year- “How to be a better cloth diaper advocate.”  This month I also hit my breaking point and vented about the frustrations of living 10 hours away from my husband and not receiving any word about the status of our short sale.

May.  The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge came and went even though I was living with family.  They looked at me like I had a third eye while I used a camp style washer and handwashed diapers.  They have always been a little wary of my regular cloth diapers so this was a real treat for them.  Once again we had a lot of participation and helped spread the message that cloth diapering CAN be done no matter what if you really need to.

June was the month I started working on another dream project of mine that I’ve wanted to do for years.  I set out to record a video interview with my grandparents about cloth diapering.  It was such an amazing experience.  It took me almost 6 months to actually publish the video after wanting to make sure it was perfect.  That month I also asked the question “Are Cloth Diapers Too Advanced?” and discussed why sometimes the simplest diapers are the best.

July 4th 2012 was the day my family was reunited.  We closed on the home at the end of June and packed into our car for the 10 hour drive to Tampa.  It was a very long 6 months; and even though I can’t say we didn’t enjoy the chance to reconnect with our families in Charlotte that we lived apart from for 5 years it was nice to be in our new home.  The waiting was the hardest part but what was to come was hard in another way.  Unpacking, and remodeling a home that was sold “as is” and needed a lot of TLC.  Still, it was so nice to have a place to call home.   That month I fit in very little blogging but did make time to make another video I really loved- “Washing Cloth Diapers is the Easy Part.”  Oh, and July 24 marked my 5 Year Wedding Anniversary.  I’m just glad we were together for that because it didn’t seem like that would happen the month before.

In August I left my family for a quick trip to BlogHer in NYC.  I had the time of my LIFE getting the chance to be with my other blogging friends and learning more about this craft I’ve been perfecting for almost 4 years.  It was difficult to move and then leave for a work trip because all I really wanted to do was conitnue beautifying the home.  August also became the month DDL started morphing into a “DIY” blog while I began documenting the work on our home.   ALready I had painted the entryway, the front livingroom, and the guest bedroom (which is designed to be a Golden Girls Room).  My husband and I also started working on remodeling the second bathroom and launched a 4 month long project that took that room down to the studs and back.  Lets just say it was difficult with 2 kids constantly at home.  

September was a month dedicated to Cloth Diapers in Daycare.  I was able to showcase the cloth diapers that work best for care providers and picked several that I loved.  I also had many guest articles that month from readers willing to share their experiences.  I continued sharing progress posts about our work in the house, this time about our entryway and my amazing thrift store chairs.  

In October my youngest baby turned 2.  I still can’t believe that.  When my babies have birthdays I’m usually busy making their epic yearly video and October was no exeption.  It was a great one!  We took a drive back up to NC for my Sister-in-law’s wedding and got to play around with my new camera- the Nikon D90.  We were still in love with our new house and getting close to the finish line with our big projects.

November was insane.  Steven and I were literally scurrying around like crazy people getting things wrapped up in time for visitors.  We had to complete the bathroom so that people had a place to use the restroom other than the one in our bedroom.  I painted the kitchen, the front door, and refinished 2 doors that month.  Plus we finished our huge bathroom remodel.    Then there was Thanksgiving AND my son’s 4th birthday and these fell on the same day!  That was fun.  So was working for 8 hours straight until 5 am on Fletcher’s birthday video.  It is my best one yet.

December has been a really amazing month.  Mostly because we are finally feeling settled in our new home after working tirelessly on it for 6 months.  We celebrated Christmas here as a family for the first time, and even though we didn’t have our extended family with us it was still really wonderful.  I did work extra hard to bring cheer to our home for the holidays since it is weird to wear a tank top in December.  This was also the month I finally got my butt in gear and completed the video interview with my grandparents.  I’m so proud of that video and consider it the best film I’ve done yet.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Elf on the Shelf hack.  December was the biggest month for my blog thanks to a post from last year about hacking your Elf on the Shelf.  Thank you Wyatt and Pinterest for bringing gobs of new visitors to DDL.  The Elf also brought a lot of strife too after a photo of mine was stolen and went viral.  I was mad.  

With 2013 around the corner I’m ready to face it head on.  I’ve decided to devote more time to creating more videos beyond just cloth diaper reviews.  Video editing is something I very much enjoy and the most fun (and hardest) thing about this blog.  I’ll never be a huge blog like so many of my friends who began at the same time as me.  As much as I get down on myself about this fact as I watch others become household blog names I know that as a cloth diaper blog that will never be the case.   And I don’t think I want that either.  Blogging takes a lot of work and a lot of time away from my children.  By slowing down this year I’ve realized how much time away I spent when I was at a break neck blogging speed.  These days we spend most of our time playing outside and that is better than the headaches of running a huge blog any day.  I only have 2 more rooms to paint in our new home, a few doors to refinish, and some door trims to re-paint then it is done.  I’m really excited to eventually post a Before/After showing the entire house and how different it looks.

I have lots of video ideas and I really can’t wait to get started.  2013 will hopefully be the year I have no babies in diapers.  Then what?  I’m not sure.  Will I let others review diapers for me?  Will I continue filming diapers but not publish reviews?  Will I start focusing more on my life and less on cloth diapering?  I really just don’t know and I’m not a good planner.  It is a miracle when you see an event here because that means I planned ahead!

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I’m not cut out for the World Wide Web

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***adult language and ego-trip rant warning ***  On Tuesday I got an unexpected surprise when I opened my browser.  My homepage is set to Reddit.com (the front-page of the Internet) because I enjoy keeping up with whatever depraved and wacky meme is popular that minute.  The second post on my front page was about the Elf on the Shelf.  I clicked.  Then my heart dropped as I saw my Dexter Morgan elf, an entry into the Inappropriate Elf contest on Baby Rabies from last year, in the picture gallery.  The title of the post was “My Friend is posting these pics of their “Elf on the Shelf.”  The only trouble is that I’m not that person’s friend and those other elves were also lifted from various websites.  I recognized another from this year’s contest.

My Dexter Elf made the front page of Reddit.  That’s a pretty huge deal considering Reddit can bestow upon a website more traffic in one day that most blogs see in a year.  I took it upon myself to call out the poster for being dishonest, and while a few people saw it (maybe 300 clicked over to my post here for verification) it largely went unnoticed.

I couldn’t sleep I was so mad.  I was mad at myself for not watermarking my image; I felt originally it would take away from the story of the images and part of me stupidly thought my little blog would never have images stolen and re-used without credit.  I was mad at someone who decided they wanted Internet points so they would use my image that I was very proud of.  Seriously- that is one of my favorite posts I have ever made and as a huge Dexter fan it was that much cooler to pull it off in such an awesome way.  I was just steaming mad.

After the world saw my picture for the 15 minutes it was front page several other huge Facebook fanpages decided to cash in and uploaded it to their pages.  It has been shared thousands of times without a single link to my blog, a tag to my Facebook page, or any credit to me whatsoever.  It’s so wrong and it just freaking sucks.  I’ve been in a pissy mood all day and as much as I tell myself that I’m pissed about a picture on the Internet (saying it out-loud kinda helps because it sounds so trivial) it didn’t help much.  It was MY picture.  MY idea.  MY IMAGINARY INTERNET POINTS (ok… I don’t care about that but I did re-submit my Dexter Elf in retribution to let it be known he was stolen and so far I have over 600 upvotes on Reddit.  Justice is mine).

But truly, what hurts the most is seeing so many people (thousands) commenting on the photo on how AWESOME it is.  And not one of those people knew it was me.  That just kills.  God I sound vain, but it is true.  I am very protective over my ideas (I’ve even ranted about this before) and it truly upsets me when an original idea of mine is taken from me on purpose.  Imagine if you painted an amazing picture and it was accepted into a gallery for an exhibition but the artist named wasn’t you, it was a guy called BeefAddict.  It would sting, wouldn’t it?


I’ve messaged the blogs who posted without permission and the pages I’ve seen who uploaded it too.  Not one has removed the image, given credit where it is due, or even responded.  Why are people such ass-hats?

 I’m trying to sound as least self-righteous as possible: I just don’t understand why someone would take a picture from the internet to score imaginary points and steal credit from others in the process?  How can someone think this is OK?  Wouldn’t it feel better to create your own share-worthy content?  Or to share it and tell others you think it is awesome while still giving credit where it is due?  Stealing content is stealing.  Saving a photo from the Internet for personal use- well that’s what it is.  Saving a photo and using on your blog as if it is your own, or even using it and not crediting the source is just wrong.  Do you know how websites get ranked? Incoming links are gold for bloggers and the more links they get the better search engines like their pages.

Sometimes people find images they think are cool and they share them on their personal pages.  But when someone who runs a Facebook page with 500k likes shares a photo they best be crediting someone.  They should know better.  And when someone posts to Reddit to earn imaginary Internet bonus points for work that isn’t their own because they are pathetic (for the record, posting to Reddit for imaginary points is cool but stealing the thunder that isn’t yours is not).  And blogs… tsk tsk.  Blogging is pretty complicated and there are spoken and unspoken rules.  A spoken rule is give credit.  LINK.  And sometimes you really just need to ask for permission to use an image, but not always.

Recently someone messaged me on my page and asked to use one of my Elf on the Shelf ideas in a post and she would of course give credit back with a link.  I said yes.  Later on she sent me the link.  You guys- she did it all right (well… mostly.  They watermarked my image with their logo which I’m not happy with but I haven’t asked them to remove it either…).  Major imaginary Internet points to you Monica Beyer of AllParenting.com.


I know many of my readers are bloggers.  Maybe you just blog for family and friends, for fun, or maybe you are hoping to make a more serious job of it.  If that is you, or even if it isn’t and you just like sharing images you like on Facebook or Pinterest, check for a source.  Kindly share the source with your readers and friends.  Oh and blogger friends, no matter how small your blog, it is always a good idea to watermark.  It takes more time but I wouldn’t be writing this today if I had just added a little marky-mark to my Dexter images.  I am much better about it now that Pinterest is so popular and often images get shared without being linked to the source.  At least with my website’s watermark it might get found.

Jill from Baby Rabies, who has fought this battle a million times, addressed this issue and more beautifully in her post “Think and Link Before You Share.

I’m not saying everyone who has shared something from the Internet without giving credit or a link was doing it to either claim the content as their own or the maliciously prevent the owner from getting credit.  Most people truly have no idea that this crazy World Wide Web has a secret code of ethics.

I’m so glad I’m flying on an underlying high of great feedback from a recent video I posted (Cloth Diapering in the 1950’s) because it has given me the faith in humanity to keep fighting.  This post is all kinds of bitter, bitchy, and venti (I had to spell vent-y like a coffee because, duh, it is yummy) but sometimes that is the benefit of having a blog.  You can pound out your frustrations in writing and the act of doing so magically makes you feel better.  And you know what?  I already do feel better.  Maybe I can survive the World Wide Web after-all, but only after a good rant.

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What BlogHer ’12 Really Looked Like: Crowds, Sights, Parties, and Friends

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This year I decided I would push myself to film video footage of my time in NYC at BlogHer.  I’m learning more and more about video editing and wanted the excuse to edit a video not related to cloth diapering.  NYC has all the excitement and views a videographer could want.  Add to that the mega-conference known as BlogHer and the parties and friends…..  I knew I would leave with some good footage.

In no particular order you will see in this film:

Jenny from Conscientious Confusion
Real Posh Mom
Punky and the City
Calley and hubby from The Eco Chic
Julie from The Cloth Diaper Geek
Diana from Onya Baby
Mona from Eco Nuts
The President of the United States
Martha Stewart
Amanda from Eco Friendly Family
Giant Banana
Giant Bowling Pin
Handome Booth “Babe” beckoning me
Amalah (eating the unicorn butt)

My first day in town I was studious and filmed every few minutes.  The next day I was hungover…. and the next…. and the next….  each day was filmed a little less.  I didn’t even film my last day in town when my roomie Julie (Cloth Diaper Geek) and I wandered about NYC sightseeing.  We visited the WTC Memorial, a  random part of town when he got lost and wound up under a Kmart from the subway (no joke), the American Indian Museum, Battery Park, SoHo, Canal Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, Broadway, and Times Square.  I also didn’t film during any of the sessions, during most of the parties I attended (how can one hold a video camera, a wine glass, a purse, and grope strangers all at the same time?), and during many keynotes and lunches/dinners.

I’m sad that there isn’t a shred of evidence that we hung out with Anna and Jen from Hahas for HooHas.  I bet you don’t even believe me but we did hang out and I did fold a napkin into the Jo Fold.  Or that there is no footage of the late night bar hangout after Queerosphere with Amanda from Eco Friendly Family, Annie from PhD in Parenting, Diana from Onya Baby, and @Palinode.  I am glad there is no evidence that I danced or that I kept rubbing Jamie from The Grumble‘s dress and telling her how much she looked like a mermaid.  The camera missed me ooooing and awwwing over photos of Think Feminist‘s adorable daughter and ogling the TDF shoulders of Jenny from Conscientious Confusion.  I really saw so many people and regret that I didn’t have a camera crew around to follow me so that I could remember them all.

The shots I do have will show you, I think, that BlogHer is more than sessions and Geek Bars.  It is more than special celebrity speakers and swag.  To me BlogHer is the only place where you can feel at home with people just like you.  These are MY people!  They know what I mean when I say “Google Juice” and they know how important what I do is to me because what they do is that important to them.  Being that much of my social life involves the internet it is nice to feel normal once a year.

If you are a blogger thinking of attending BlogHer and you haven’t yet I would urge you to go at least once.  See what the fuss is all about.  Forget about scheduling and swag and private events.  I had more fun while wandering the hotel and bumping into old friends and meeting new ones.  Grabbing an unexpected dinner and chatting for hours, crying my eyes out with friends about how much our lives used to suck and then laughing together, and searching for water at 2:30 am because THERE WAS NO WATER IN THE HILTON IT WAS LIKE THE SAHARA.  I still don’t know if I will go back next year but after watching my own video I kind of want to go back right now!

My trip wouldn’t have been possible without my sponsor- Rockin’ Green Soap.  If you are still trying to find that perfect detergent to wash your cloth diapers you should give them a try!   Especially because they have a formula for every water type!

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BlogHer 2012. It all goes back to diapers.

This post may contain affiliate links.

My title isn’t great but forgive me because I am starved and exhausted.  In case you haven’t been following along- I spent the last few days in NYC attending the largest women’s blogging conference in. the. world.  There were around 5,000 women and only 5 muffins at BlogHer.  I kid.  Sort of.

Rockin Green Soap Love in NYC!

I am still in NYC so I haven’t even returned home to process the experience.  Let’s just write a few blurbs about the whole weekend and I’ll add more on the entire estrogen fest later.  I wouldn’t have been able to attend if it weren’t for Rockin’ Green Soap.  My trip rocked and so does their cloth diaper detergent!

Women everywhere!  Familiar faces, famous faces, nervous faces, angry faces, tired faces, and even sad faces.

Hugs.  Lots of them.  I hugged more people than I can count.  Calley from The Eco Chic, Julie from The Cloth Diaper Geek, Amanda from Eco Friendly Family, Jenny from Conscientious Confusion, Jenna from MommaWords, Jill from Baby Rabies, Gina from The Feminist Breeder, Suzanne from Behbehblog, Diana from Onya Baby, and so many more that I tired of typing.  All of the hugs were important so if your name wasn’t mentioned don’t be offended!


Top left: @EFFBLog, Middle Left: @OnyaBaby, Bottom Left: @ClothDiaperGeek, Right: Beth Terry

Diet.  I’m pretty sure I lost 15 pounds while attending.  The conference had a food shortage.  Last year they were shoving food down our throats but this year the food was few and far between.  When I did locate food someone came to chat and I forgot to eat.  Between walking around NYC and sweating in the humidity and the heat I know I lost weight.

Nice people.  Despite the fear that the “swag” crazy bloggers would trample me down I actually connected with dozens of amazing bloggers from many categories.  The conversation flowed faster than the alcohol.

Swag.  I didn’t bring much home so I either did it wrong or did it right.  The best swag I got included 3 eye masks (I can only sleep while wearing them) and chocolate.

Sessions?  This year I focused more on the networking aspect of BlogHer.  I attended Geek Bars, Keynotes, and Panels.  Just talking with other bloggers about the technical stuff in small groups and individually taught me so much!  This year BlogHer oversold the tickets because everything I attended was packed to the gills and had to be closed up.

Pain.  My back, my feet, and throat are sore and my tooth is throbbing!  My wisdom teeth have been threatening me for a while but I wanted to try and keep them.  I’ve either been nursing or pregnant for so long that I have avoided the issue.  Right now I can hardly open my mouth to eat and I get to meet with a dentist tomorrow to hear what will happen.  I’m afraid of the news and what this might mean for continuing to breastfeed since my 5 day absence is already going to be an issue as is.

Laughs.  Like- pee in my pants kind of laughing.  Between the hilarious posts that were read outloud during the Voices of the Year keynote (a major highlight for me), meeting hilarious women who are as funy in person as they are online (HaHas for HooHas, visit them now please and laugh your butt off), and just being goofy with the many friends in attendance I probably laughed harder than I have in years.

Cloth Diapers!  It all goes full circle to diapers.  After seeing my blog name or my “I Love Cloth Diapers” button I was able to have real conversations with real people about my passion.  I spent half an hour laying on an adjustable bed in the Expo Hall talking to two handsome men with pregnant wives about why they should switch.  As always I calculated my approach since one man came out of the gate declaring a “never ever ever” but he is looking into GroVia Hybrids now at least.  Another evening I was out to dinner with Cloth Diaper Geek and our new friends Jen and Anna from HaHas for HooHas and we talked diapers, homebirth, breastfeeding, vaccines, and more diapers.  My party trick is always to fold a cloth napkin into a diaper.  Every conversation ended up going to diapers and it was usually not even my suggestion.  But hey…. I’m totally cool with it!

The networking was by far the best part of my experience and I am walking away knowing so many people I want to build a connection with for the blog and beyond.  The parties, the sight seeing, the sessions, the celebrities, the swag…..  these don’t even compare to having real world interactions with people you admire.  At times you can start to doubt yourself when you are in the company of such intelligent and influential women (I’m looking at you Annie from PhD in Parenting and Gina from The Feminist Breeder) but BlogHer has inspired me to sit down and take a hard look at what DDL will become when my life moves out of the diaper phase.  And no, I’m not just going to have another baby to keep reviewing diapers!

I’ll have many more topics coming soon from BlogHer because I’m filled with people, ideas, products, stories, and photos I need to share.  Did you know Dirty Diaper Laundry is mentioned in another book?  Yeah!  I met with the author and got a signed copy!  I’m going to start reading Plastic-Free by Beth Terry on the plane home.  I’m hoping when we get settled I’ll be back to more consistent blogging and reviews so please, if you are waiting on reviews or cloth diaper information subscribe to me by email and be notified right when I post!

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I blog because I love cloth diapers

Why I’m a Cloth Diaper Advocate and Blogger

This post may contain affiliate links.

Over the years I have written about everything from cake pop recipes to potty training a toddler.  I shared my homebirth story and very personal posts about a regrettable decision I made for my first born son.  But one thing has remained constant over the years and that is my commitment to providing education and inspiration for current and future cloth diapering parents.

Sure, there are some days when I can barely muster enough inspiration to pull together a blog post.  I’m in the “If you don’t have enough to say, say nothing at all” camp when it comes to blogging.  Other days I have so many ideas I can hardly decide how to get them all done!  But why did I decide to start a blog about cloth diapers?  I assure you that there is no fame or fortune to be had in cloth diaper blogging.
I blog because I love cloth diapers

    I’m here to help YOU with the overwhelming decisions that a new to cloth diapers parent faces.
    I’m here to prove cloth diapers have a {big} place in this world.
    I’m here to answer your questions aboutleaksfit, sizes, styles, closures, brand, etc, etc, etc.
    I’m here to research the cloth diaper past and honor our grandmothers who HAD to use them.
    I’m here to help you discover new brands and stores.
    I’m here to help more babies get into cloth diapers no matter what their parents’ budget may be.

I’m here.  Every week.  Doing what I do best and what I love: cloth diapers.

I do it all because it’s something I really believe in.  I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise.  Yes, I make money from blogging.  Did I start a blog to earn an income?  Heck no!  I didn’t even know that was a possibility!  I wanted to show the world what a modern cloth diaper looked like, how it worked, how it fit, how cute they could be, and that there was a world out there beyond disposables.

What does the future hold for Dirty Diaper Laundry?

I’m staring down the barrel of a potty training toddler.  (I’d recommend wearing safety goggles in this case, those toddlers tend to aim poorly.)  My sweet little baby Everett is 20 months old.  He’s been using the potty a few times a day for a while.  We are still ECing (elimination communication) since he isn’t initiating the visits, but with time he is definitely going to potty train.

A large portion of my website is based on my personal experience with cloth diapers and my reviews.  With no baby in need of diapers I’ll be hard pressed to REVIEW them.  I’m concocting a way to keep bringing you the videos and reviews you know me for.  I’ll still bring you informational articles written from my perspective and will also look to find contributing writers.

Lately I’ve been really focusing on research.  I have a B.A. in History and find anything related to the history of cloth diapers fascinating.  I want to turn my late night research into something.  A documentary, a book, a series of blog posts?  Something will result from my interests and ideas.  In the mean time please follow me on Pinterest to keep up with my pins about The History of Cloth Diapers.

Dirty Diaper Laundry will always be around.  The archived videos and cloth diaper information will be here forever and I plan on continuing to add more content.  For now, I still have a baby in cloth diapers so you aren’t getting rid of me just yet!  In the meantime I really and truly appreciate your emails, comments, pins, tweets, facebook shares, google +1’s, and forum posts about Dirty Diaper Laundry.  I rely on your support to help introduce new readers to my blog so please continue sharing the content you love to help keep it going.  And for the love of Pete, share the Cloth Diaper Finder with all of your cloth diapering friends.  I’d really love that!

I wrote this post after attending Type-A Parents Conference and hearing Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress say “Write on a piece of paper why you started your blog and re-visit it any time you are lost” or something to that effect. All the bloggers shook their heads in agreement when she also said that emails from readers have been the reason she continues. I feel the same way. If you are reading this and feel like I or another blogger has helped you in some way- let them know! You never know how much they might need that little email. I’ve been saved from giving up many times after a kind reader emailed just to say thanks.

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What Being a Blogger Really Means (Hint- It’s a Real Job)

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I didn’t exactly go to college with the dream of being a cloth diaper blogger.  I didn’t even major in English or Journalism.  My initial plan was to become a High School English teacher and I was on that track until I fell in love with Religious Studies.  In a strange turn of events I graduated with a B.A. in History and a Minor in Religious Studies.  There are days I regret not pursuing a more academic path- I loved my Hebrew courses and it turned out I had a knack for it, but I followed my heart and moved to Syracuse, NY to be with my future husband just 3 days after my graduation ceremony.  I then got pregnant, started researching cloth diapers, then started Dirty Diaper Laundry in 2009.

About 2 years ago I started calling myself a WAHM (Work at Home Mom).  Despite the fact that my income level was still at part-time pay my hours were practically full-time.  I started hiring a sitter to come in once a week for 4 hours to get work done.  I worked almost every nap, after bed, and when my husband was around to watch the kids.  My self-imposed schedule kept me focused and busy.  Getting a video review done every week might seem easy but the editing, audio, and writing takes quite a while.

A reader wrote in with some really great questions about blogging.  I’m going to answer them here so that everyone can see the answers (then email her a link to this post.  I’m only answering these over 5 months late.  Looking at the date on the email it was the day after my birthday and the day we bid on a home.  I have a good excuse for losing the email until now.)

One day my website melted down. I had to nurse/bounce Ev while working with tech support. Just a day in the life...

Q:  This may seem silly, but how do you find time to blog? Do you schedule it in? Do you stay up way too late? Do you do it on the weekends? When!?

A:  Each day I work during naps (1-2 hours), maybe 1-2 hours during happy times while kids are playing (if that occurs), about 3-4 hours after the kids go to bed at night up to midnight or 1 am.  I used to have a sitter 4 hours a week before I moved.  I wrote about one particular day as a blogger/mom and what happens when everything around you breaks.  If you have time you should check it out- a day in my life when sh!t hits the fan is pretty funny (in retrospect).

Q: How did you get people to start reading it? Just give people you know the link and ask them to spread it?  

A: I started with promoting on mom blog directories but Twitter was the biggest catalyst for growth.  My videos on YouTube would also help direct people to my blog after they found those.  Facebook is currently my biggest referrer- I created a Fanpage in 2011.  Honestly though, I worked my tail off in the first few months networking on forums and websites, getting and promoting giveaways, and tweeting like a crazy woman.  June 2009 was my first #clothdiapers Twitter party and I’m sure I was pimping my videos and blog hard!

Q: I am almost more nervous about people I know reading it than strangers out there! Is that weird? Do you suggest a way to spread the word without having to let everyone I know in on it?

A:  This is every blogger’s concern.  I don’t usually volunteer that I write a blog unless it comes up.  I’m very proud of my blog’s success and the way I’ve been able to help others.  The topic I blog about, however, is weird to talk about to childless adults.  I also share rather personal articles and mention family (unnamed) so I don’t like real life people reading.  When my mother discovered my blog I almost died and wrote myself a note- “Never blog about your mother.” 

Q: How does your husband feel about it? Do you ever want to bitch about something he does and do you do it or not? Does he read your blog?  

A: Hubby has actually been my biggest cheerleader, my tech support, my angel investor, my accountant, my everything!  I couldn’t do what I do without him.  Before starting DDL I was a new SAHM.  It was very strange not having my own income considering I started working at 14.  Having to use his money to start the blog was weird.  He was receptive to the idea from the get-go and filmed my first review for me.  He still helps with so many aspects of my blog.  He was the investor who made my Cloth Diaper Finder possible (it is NOT cheap to build an interactive database) and his background helped when making the plans and working with a developer.  It means so much to me that he believes in my website and what I do.  Some days he is even more of a believer than I am.  And because he is also by biggest fan he receives my blog daily in his email- I love you Steven!

Q: How long have you been blogging and when did your blog go from something just a few people read to lots of people on the internet reading?  

A: I started up in April 2009.  My first day with a published post saw 7 hits.  I believe I publicized my post on a mommy forum I belonged to.  It was a gradual thing.  I belonged to JustMommies.com and “pimped” my cloth diaper blog on their cloth diaper board and my own mommy group.  I joined BlogHer.com and signed up as an advertiser with them early on and tried publicizing there.  Then I joined Twitter and that was probably when I started seeing the most traffic.  I went from 30 a day, to 150, to between 300-500 in one year.  I threw a 1 Year Bash with lots of giveaways and that saw a huge response.  Giveaways helped bring in new readers too.

Q: How many people read your blog on a given week?  

A: It really varies based on how often I post and what I post.  I’ve seen as many as 16,000 and as low as 6,000-7,000 on slow weeks.

Everett came with me to ABC Kids Expo. He attended RDIA meetings too.

Q: How much does it cost you to blog (cost of your site, etc)?  

A: Dear lord.  A lot.  I’m not rolling in money over here.  Even when I get a nice pay day it always goes directly back into the website somehow.  Domain, hosting, those are cheap.  Blog designs (hundreds of dollars), fixing things on clothdiaperfinder.com, paying for services for traffic monitoring and forms, software for my video and photo editing, buying better lighting/cameras, buying a new computer capable of running the better software to make better videos, these all take probably 60-75% of the money coming in.  Ask my accountant (Steven.)  Other costs include conferences (thousands when out of pocket including tickets, travel, accommodations), publicity materials like business cards, advertising (on blogs, sponsoring Twitter parties and Facebook Sweepstakes), and even launching my cloth diaper t-shirt line.  I often wonder why I work when I work to make money to work some more.  I think all small business owners go through the same dilemma.

Q: How and when did you start to get advertisers? Do your advertisers cover the annual cost of blogging?

A: I started monetizing by signing up as an affiliate with cloth diaper stores.  I didn’t see much from this at first.  Then I signed up with Google Adsense.  To give you an idea of how much that pays get this:  it took me 2 years to get paid the first time- $100.00.  Sometime in the first year I approached people directly about buying ad blocks.  This was the best thing for my niche blog and is still how I make the majority of my income.  Advertising is what makes this blog work and successful.  Without it I can’t reinvest to make it better!  I’m nothing without the companies that believe in me and feel DDL is worthy of buying ads on.  Diaper Lab and Rockin’ Green have been my longest running advertisers.  They rock, and so do the others who I have worked with over the years.  Thanks guys!

Q: How did you go about getting your own site & domain name (i.e. did you start off using a free blogging site like Blogger?)  

A: I started off with WordPress and bought a domain.  I knew enough before starting that it would be the best route.

Here is my advice to a new blogger as they are just beginning their website-

Begin with a clear brand identity and idea.  Start your social media profiles right away even if no one is following.  Use WordPress and buy your own domain- don’t start with a .wordpress or .blogspot address.  Don’t spam every brand/store you know begging for products to review!  I have been on the other end (for a stint working for another store) and those desperate emails don’t work.  You can ask but don’t phrase it as if you are entitled to free items, especially when you have little or no traffic.  Don’t go around stealing content!  There are rules about taking images and words from other websites.

The biggest advice would be this:  Blogging is a real job if you want it to be.  Don’t go into it for the money, however.  You might be successful but if you are the chances it will happen overnight are slim to none.  The time it takes to be successful is more than you think.  Blogging isn’t just about typing out words- there is far more to it than anyone sees.  If you are going to blog make it about something you are passionate about and will enjoy whether you are successful or not.  Blogging is more than a job to me because I am writing about things that matter to me.  I’m just excited more than 5 people a day see this website and that it actually makes a difference for many people!  If you are blogging just to make money then you are in the wrong business.  

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The 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge- Preparation and Blogging Prompts

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The Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge will begin on Monday, May 21!  Since the date is rapidly approaching I wanted to help get those participating a little more prepared. I’m also going to address the bloggers participating and offer some helpful topics to cover each day during the Challenge.  Visit the announcement to learn the rules and more about this event.

To everyone who would still like to participate but has yet to buy flats there is still time!  No, you probably won’t be able to buy from an online store but you can find Tea Towels from Target (in the kitchen towel area in a pack of 4 for $4.00) or from Ikea (burp cloths in packs of 2 for $2.99 in the baby items).  You can also utilize those everyday items around you such as old  receiving blankets, unused cotton sheets, terry towels (not microfiber towels), or t-shirts.

Using flats can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it.  There is no law saying you have to become a master of folding flats “Origami” style or in any other fashion.  A simple “Pad Fold” is totally acceptable!  Pad Folding is making the large square into an insert sized rectangle.  Pad Folds are fabulous- they turn any cover into an “All-in-Two” system when you lay it inside or they work inside pocket diapers.  There are no pins or snappi’s required and they are absorbent because there are a lot of layers in the wet zone.

If you still want to experience what it is like to truly fold a flat, just like your grandmothers or great-grandmothers used to do then by all means, please do!  I compiled videos and illustrated guides to the most popular flat folds around during last year’s challenge.  The Diaper Bag fold was by far my favorite and worked great overnight.

Washing Tips-

I learned a lot from my experience last year and will save you all some trouble with a few tips about handwashing cloth diapers.  To see a video on how to make your own bucket washer (also called camp style washer) visit the post from last year: How to Make a Camp Style Washer.  

  • If using a plunger/bucket washer wear rubber gloves to prevent sore hands and callouses.  Also use gloves for wringing diapers as this can also cause soreness and chaffing.
  • Roll your covers in a dry bath towel and apply pressure (by kneeling) to take out as much water as possible to expedite air drying.
  • Line dry your flats in a well ventilated area if at all possible.  Outdoors if it isn’t humid or indoors under exhaust or ceiling fans.
  • Iron your flats if you need them to dry faster.  This can also kill leftover bacteria that may not have washed out.  Think of it as sterilizing while making them pretty too.
  • Use a light hand with the detergent- too much and the extra rinses will be time consuming.  Remember the volume of you washer/sink is likely a lot less than your washing machine.
  • Rinse with warm water.  According to a laundry expert warm rinses=easier to wring out more (or spin out more in machine)
  • Let the water work for you- if you can leave soiled flats in a SAFE place to soak then do so to remove waste.
  • Practice EC!  Nothing like handwashing diapers to make you more observant of your little one’s cues!  Let your baby go coverless and you might just notice a pattern to their pees.  Start putting them on a potty, cue them, read to them, and just see what happens.  One less pee/poop in a diaper= one less diaper to wash.
  • Don’t use wet bags.  Store dirty diapers in your bucket or sink because handwashing the bags will take valuable space.
  • Wash daily or at every change.  Washing larger loads means harder work, longer work, and the potential for the diapers to get less clean.
  • Beat the crap out of your dry flats to make them soft again.  Air drying=stiff.  Wring, snap, and roll your flats and this will remove the crunchy feeling.
  • Got stink?  Probably not enough detergent or not washing long enough.  Set a kitchen timer because a few minutes handwashing can feel like a lot longer.

I’d also like to remind people that even though this challenge is fun to a lot of people it is only fun because we are ALL aware that the majority of us will stuff our diapers in the washer the minute this is over.  Simply knowing the temporary nature of this will make the week tolerable and even fun.  Put yourself in the position of NOT having that option.  How would you feel?  What can you do to make this doable if this was your reality?  Would you do this if you had no other option and couldn’t afford disposable diapers?  Keep in mind that all participants will be required to complete a survey at the end (this will also be my way of determining how many people completed the challenge so don’t forget!) and hard questions will be asked.  Be truthful to yourself and to the world.  To better understand the challenge and to get tips from my blog posts, vlogs, and from others you can visit each day from last year and the linked blogs.

All participants are encouraged to tweet using the #flatschallenge hashtag and continue the discussion in the Facebook group.
For those who will be blogging their experience I have outlined some topics that you can use per day.  It is not MANDATORY however I find having a prompt makes blogging easier in these events.  Another reminder to read through the blogger rules and follow them to have your link included.  Each blogger will need to add their link each day to the InLinkz which will be hosted on my post for the day.

  1. Monday- “What Do I Expect to Learn/ Why I’m Taking the Challenge”
  2. Tuesday-“What Supplies I am Using”
  3. Wednesday-“Favorite Way To Use Flats”
  4. Thursday-“How I’m Doing- My Thoughts on Handwashing”
  5. Friday-“What Tips I have Learned So Far”
  6. Saturday- Open Topic Day
  7. Sunday-“Final Post- Reflections on What You Learned.”

I’m looking forward to experiencing this challenge again, this time with a toddler who poops about 3-5 times a day (not even kidding), and who isn’t a fan of diaper changing.  These are the realities of life with children.  The point of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is to determine whether it is possible to handwash and use inexpensive flats.  In real life would people supplement with disposables or go to a friends or laundromat too?  Probably.  We are pushing the extreme end to prove that the real life scenario can be done.

As mentioned in the announcement post I am donating $1.00 per participant (determined by how many answer the end survey, up to $200) to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope- a Non Profit providing cloth diapers to families in need.  Kelly’s Closet is also matching my donation of $200.00 to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope as well.  You can also help by choosing to make a personal donation to a diaper charity of your choice (I have a list of other diaper banks) or send your spare cloth diapers to a charity.  Most will accept those in need of repairs too!
If you are a blogger participating add your blog URL here. Each day you will come back to DDL and link your post for the day May 21-27.

Stay up to date-

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