Author Archives: hostagehoosier

Cloth Diapering — Overwhelmed: What do I need to start?

A lot of my friends are having babies. Shocking for 20 somethings, right? Any who. I keep getting asked very detailed questions about how I do cloth diapers. I am tired of answering emails. Blog posts would serve everyone better. The number of products out there is overwhelming. Even when you go to cloth diapering sites for help, it looks like they are speaking a different language. My best advice is talk to people who use cloth and read a lot of blogs about what works best for different people. I stay at home full time with one baby, what I do might not work the best for someone else. I did a lot of research while I was pregnant and finally decided that I would make a choice and make whatever I chose work. And it has worked well.

Not so sure about this.

Not so sure about this.

Several posts are in order to answer these questions well:

  1. Overwhelmed. What do I need to start?
  2. Stocked. How do I use these things?
  3. Gross. How do I wash these things?

First things first, what do you do when someone rolls their eyes and tries to talk you out of it when you tell them you want to do cloth? Roll your eyes back and tell them to shut it. It will save you tons of money and it is your choice. So unless they are the ones doing the changing, it really doesn’t matter what they think.

Some disclaimers to start:

I use Osocozy prefolds, Snappis (updated diaper pins), and Thirsties snap wraps (rubber pants for old school people).  I haven’t used any other diapering products. I don’t know anything about all in ones or g diapers. I like what I use, so I have never been tempted to try anything different.

Starting cloth diapering can be pricey. If it this is your first kid and you plan on having more, it will pay off exponentially.  I am not sure I would recommend cloth diapers if you are only having one kid. It is a lot of work and the pay off isn’t as great. My motivation for using cloth is purely financial. If your motivation is to be eco-friendly, go for it.

I highly suggest registering for as many of your diapering supplies as possible. I had a registry on Amazon and it worked great. There are cloth diapering stores, but not in all areas and trying to get friends and family to go to those stores might be kind of a hassle. I actually suggest doing an Amazon registry for your entire baby registry. You can pull items from other websites like Target, Babies R Us, etc., it is really nice to be able to manage everything in one spot.

If you plan on doing cloth diapers from day 1, I suggest getting some extra small covers. The prefolds you can fold down to fit a smaller baby. I waited until she was about a month old; there is no way the size 1 stuff would have fit her as a newborn.

The following are the things I have used and the number of items that have worked best for me. Other people will suggest different things; this is just what I have done.

Everyday usage 1 month through 12 months

Everyday usage 1 year through Present (16 months)

Nighttime Use 3 months through 12 months

Nighttime Use 1 year through Present (16 months)

Washing

Random Accessories

IMG_4362

Meh. Guess the cloth diaper stuff worked out.

I will write the next two posts on cloth diapering soon….unless life gets in the way…which it has a habit of doing.

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Update: Keep Crocheting Even if it Kills Me

Updated:

I went to the fabric store the day after I wrote this and found yarn that I *had* to buy for this baby blanket. The pink, purple, white and blue combo reminds me of cherry blossoms. Perfect color combo for a spring baby.  I really like how it turned out.

It must be noted that it took me 3 weeks to make, but I finished in time for the baby shower.

I am determined not to let having a baby kill my craftiness. I need to have about 17 projects going at all times for me to feel useful. I know this is irrational, I don’t care. Irrationality is part of my charm, just ask my husband.

Crocheting seems like the easiest thing to do at this point. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and I can rock a baby and do it at the same time. I think the only problem is going to be keeping my hands from feeling like they are going to fall off. My wrists are already sore from carrying a baby around all the time. My hands are either going to get stronger or I am going to have arthritis at the ripe age of 27. I am sure repetitive motion of crocheting will help (okay maybe not).

This is going to become a baby blanket. I have a goal of finishing it within a week. I will let you know how utterly unrealistic that is when I update this post next month and haven’t finished it yet.

 


Guinness Burgers with Caramelized Onions

In my quest to find recipes that use Guinness, I decided to make one up using it in a hamburger recipe. It turned out good, really good. Oh and to make it better, I caramelized the onions in beer too.

Guinness Burgers

1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1 c. stale bread
1/2 c. milk
1/8 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 c. Guinness
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 egg
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

Soak the bread in the milk until soft. Then squeeze out excess liquid and mix bread into the ground beef. Set aside.

Whisk the Worcestershire, Guinness, parsley, egg, pepper, salt and garlic together. Pour over ground beef and mix together thoroughly.

Shape mixture into quarter pound patties and make an indentation in the middle with your thumb (it helps them grill more evenly)

Cook on the grill to desired doneness, I suggest medium. While the hamburgers are on the grill, start the onions.

Guinness Caramelized Onions

1 large onion

2 tbsp. butter

1/4 c. Guinness

1/4 c. chicken broth

3 tbsp. sugar

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat until it sizzles. Thinly slice the onion and dump into melted butter.

Constantly stirring, cook the onion over medium high heat. When the onion starts to soften, pour in Guinness and broth. As the liquid starts to cook off, gradually add sugar, continuing to stir.

Onions are done when soft and deep brown in color.

Serve on onions on top of burger with a slice of colby jack cheese. It doesn’t really even need any condiments. The onions are soft enough that it is almost like having a sauce.

So much better than corned beef and cabbage. I think this may be a new St. Patty’s day tradition.


Guinness Cheesecake and Tips for Cheesecake Success

It is St. Patrick’s day tomorrow which means you have to run around in green and drink copious amounts of Irish beer and eat corned beef and cabbage… or something. I prefer Oktoberfest when it comes to cuisine, but I will play along for fun.

I have never been a big fan of drinking Guinness. I feel like I have just eaten a peanut butter sandwich with no milk after I finish a glass. So I will celebrate the day by baking it into a cheesecake. The combination of Guinness and dark chocolate is always a good one. The flavors mix well together and you are left with just a taste of Guinness and a lot of chocolate.

This is the recipe I made. The only thing I did differently is I used ground up animal crackers instead of graham crackers.

Tips for making a good cheesecake:

  • Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. Cream it with your mixer until it is completely smooth. If there are lumps in the batter, there will be lumps in your final cheesecake.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl a lot. I usually scrape them down after I mix in each ingredient. If it is an extra thick batter, stop in the middle of mixing and scrape them down. If you don’t, a lot of times you will end up with unmixed ingredients in the bottom of the bowl when you go to pour the batter in the pan.
  • Add eggs very last and one at a time. You don’t want to over mix the eggs. I put them in one at a time, mix until just blended (just after you can’t see the egg yolk any more). Scrape down the sides between each one. After adding the last one, scrape down the sides and mix for another 10-20 seconds.
  • Bake until the center is just set. It should be a little jiggly in the middle. Cheesecake is so dense that it will continue to bake after taking it out of the over. If you bake it till it is firm, you will end up with an overcooked and probably burnt final product.
  • Cool on the counter for at least and hour and in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I usually bake cheesecake the day before so it has plenty of time to cool down. If the flavors have time to sit and meld together, you will have a much better tasting cheesecake.

Now if you need me, because Wegmans wouldn’t let me buy just one bottle of Guinness, I will be scouring Pinterest for ways to use up the rest of this beer.


Coordinating Bibs and Burp Cloths

This is probably going to be my new go to gift for a baby shower. Sure you can have boring solid color bibs and boring rags for burp cloths. But why not put fabric scraps to good use and brighten things up a little bit.

The front of the bibs are mostly jersey fabric from left over tshirts which have since been made into quilts. I used flannel for the back of the bibs because it sticks to clothes and makes it lay down better. And for the burp cloths, I bought diapers and zig zag stitched the fabric to them.

This was about 2 hours of work and the only thing I had to buy were the snaps for the bib. You can also use velcro, I just thought the snaps would keep it on better.

Take this type of thing to a baby shower and people go nuts for it. Everyone likes it when they know a gift has been customized. It is nice when it is such an easy project that goes over so well.


Granny Squared

In case you were wondering what I was doing while I was pregnant, besides not blogging, here it is.

It is huge and probably know I could have bought one for less. But what else was I supposed to do in the middle of winter while I was 9 months pregnant. It turned out just how I wanted and it is warm. But since the daffodils are starting to push up, I am probably going to have to wait till next fall to get its full use.


Freezer Meal: Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

This recipe can be made all in one day or a make ahead meal. Recipe adapted from here.


 

 

 

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff (serves 5-6)

Meat Prep:

2-3 lbs chuck roast or stew meat, cut into chunks

1 med onion, diced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. pepper or steak seasoning

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup tomato juice or pasta sauce

1.5 cups beef broth or water (i usually use water with beef bouillon cubes)

30 minutes before serving:

4 Tbsp flour

4 Tbsp butter

6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced or 2 small cans of mushrooms

Just before serving:

1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt (or if you are a particularly terrible awesome person you can use heavy cream)

Egg Noodles or Rice

Same Day Meal Prep:

Place meat in crockpot. Whisk together first 7 ingredients, pour over meat. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5. Meat is done when it shreds easily.

30 minutes before serving, melt the butter and gradually add the flour, completely incorporating before adding more. Whisk butter and flour mixture (roux) into the crockpot, add mushrooms and cook on high for another 30 minutes.

Just before serving, stir in the sour cream. Serve over hot rice or egg noodles.

Freezer Prep:

Pro tip: Write the instructions on the bag before putting ingredients in. It makes it a lot easier.

If you are just doing the meat, you only need one freezer bag and all the instructions below can be written on one bag.

I usually only do the meat for the freezer. But if you are making the meal for someone else (family with a new baby or someone who has had surgery) having everything ready to go is nice. You can’t really freeze sour cream or mushrooms, so make sure you have those in a separate container for the fridge if you are giving the meal to someone else.

If you are freezing everything (minus the sour cream and mushrooms) you need 1 bag for the meat, 1 bag for the flour and butter, 1 bag for the noodles or rice and 1 large bag to put everything in.

Add the first 8 ingredients to the first bag and write:

  • Thaw in fridge overnight or on counter for 30 minutes
  • Cook low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5

Add butter (wrap it in wax paper so the flour doesn’t stick to it) and flour to bag and write:

  • 30 minutes before serving, melt butter, then gradually add flour. Pour mixture into crockpot. Add 6 ounces of mushrooms. Cook for another 30 minutes.

Add rice or egg noodles to bag and write:

  • Write the directions for the egg noodles or rice if you need to
  • Add 1/2 cup of sour cream to the meat, stir.
  • Serve meat over cooked rice or noodles

Put all three bags in one large freezer bag and write the date and contents.