Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

Today's tips and tricks is a kitchen one, again. What can I say, I like to cook and stuff!

Working with garlic

First for the peeling - simply take your clove, lay it on the counter, place your (big) knife side ways and hit with the heel of your hand to smash the garlic. You don't need to smash it to smithereens, just enough to crack it. Then simply remove the skin (it will almost fall off). If you are afraid of using your knife, take a small glass or bowl.

If a recipe calls for whole garlic, smashing it is actually ideal, it helps all those yummy flavours come out. 

Here is my favourite trick: use your cheese grater to "cut" up the garlic. Use the tiny holes (typically for zest) and grate directly into your dish. This is way easier then any chopping and makes virtually no mess. I own one similar to the one pictured and use it almost exclusively for this purpose (a regular cheese grater works just fine too.)  My husband also prefers this method over pressing, as a garlic press is difficult to clean.

This trick works great for ginger too!

Next time you need some garlic try these out, you just may be impressed. :) 

Photo-a-day Challenge

Yesterday I mentioned doing not one, but two challenges during the month of December. (As mentioned, I have lost my mind)

My original idea was to do the 25 Days of Christmas on here and the Photo-a-day Challenge on my Facebook page. Well I've now scrapped that idea and have decided to bombard you all with both challenges on here. 

Here is more on the Capturing December Photo-a-day Challenge:

This very awesome challenge is being hosted by A Content Housewife. She has posted a list of things to capture and post everyday. I already know that I'll be including Kaleb in some pictures so it should make things interesting, to say the least. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

25 Days of Christmas

I am officially crazy.

I really enjoyed the 31 day challenge in October and was planning on doing a 'Capturing December Photo-a-day Challenge' that was posted in my mommy group. Then today, Randi over at Sowdering About in Seattle posted about doing a 25 Days of Christmas link up, so I've decided on doing both. Yep, officially crazy.

However, I don't want to bombard you all, so I'll be doing the photo challenge on my Facebook page and the 25 Days on here. You know, spread the love :)

So what's my plan for the 25 Days? I have no clue. The whole point of it is to do Christmas activities, crafts and baking for 25 days. So that's what I'll do.

I'm very excited for these challenges, Christmas is my favourite time of year and the fact that I've got a baby this year, makes it extra special!

Day 1: O Christmas Tree!
Day 2: Ice Ornaments - Update
Day 3: Christmas Service
Day 4: Christmas Lights 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Recipe - Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

The following recipe is one of my favourite desserts - both to eat and to make. I also like it because I always have all the ingredients on hand.

Prep time: 10 min
Bake time: 35-40 min
Cool Time: 15 min  

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1/3 cup Butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 1/4 cups Hot water

1. Heat oven to 350F

2. For Cake mixture: Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour batter into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan.

3. For Fudge mixture: Stir together sugar, brown sugar and cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top. Do not stir.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Let stand 15 minutes; spoon into dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping.

*This recipe is taken from the cookbook: Old-Fashioned Favorite Recipes of All Time, published and copyrighted by Publications International, Ltd.

This Week's Menu

Once again, I am behind on posting my menu. We've just been busy! I know that is my excuse every week, but it's the truth I tell you! I don't know how people do this full time.

Anyway, last week was a success thankfully. Sunday's meal was amazing, even Kaleb loved it. The rest of the week was also successful, including the yummy roast on Thursday. Friday we had friends come over for ribs, potatoes and cauliflower; the ribs were fatty, but still good. Hopefully next time we'll get a better cut. I also ended up making my go to recipe - Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

On to this week's menu:

Saturday: Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo. So easy, yet so, so good!

Sunday: Mahogany Wings with Sweet Potato Oven Fries. We just sliced up the sweet potatoes, coated in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and dried thyme, then roasted in the oven at 375F for 45 or so.

Monday: Homemade Pizza

Tuesday: Mongolian Pork with Broccoli Stir Fry. For the pork, I'm going to use the Mongolian Beef recipe, but use pork tenderloin that we have in our freezer instead of the flank steak.

Wednesday: Freezer Lasagna

Thursday: Shepherd's Pie.

Friday: Homemade Pizza with pancetta. Yes, we are having pizza twice again this week. It's an easy, super yummy meal that somehow turns out differently each time.

So there you have it folks, it's nothing fancy but full of (hopefully) delicious meals.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

So, I may have forgot that yesterday was Tuesday, meaning I forgot to write this post until I woke up this morning and everything kinda clicked. Oops.

Anyway, this is a super duper easy trick, which you may find dumb.

How to cut a cauliflower, the right way.

See, you may find this dumb because you may already know how, but I did not. All these years I've been avoiding cauliflower because it is so difficult to cut and makes such a mess! Turns out I was doing it wrong. Who knew! (I sure didn't)

So here is the proper way:

Step 1: Cut off leaves

Step 2: Cut off thick stem

Step 3: With the head upside down, slice into smaller stems with a circular motion, holding knife at an angle (think carving the top out of a pumpkin) and remove the "plug"

Step 4: Cut florets to desired size

Tada! You have successfully (and easily) cut up a cauliflower!

Aren't you glad you read my blog to learn these neat things :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Festival of Lights

Saturday was the Festival of Lights here in town. Every year we head down to the park and watch with excitement as they turn all the Christmas Lights on for the season. It all begins with a candlelit parade, followed by the lights. There is a band or two playing songs, a sleigh ride and hot chocolate. It seems the whole town comes out to walk around the park looking at all the lights.

This year we started  by having supper at our friends house. And it was an awesome supper. We were spoiled with homemade lasagna - including the sauce! - along with ceasar salad and garlic bread. After supper and a pretty yummy chocolate cake,  we dressed up the kiddos and headed for the park.

And it was a little disappointing. Not so much the lights, but the LACK of SNOW. Yes, I've said it, I was disappointed by the lack of winter. Me - who hates winter.

The lights were pretty as always, and I can not wait for there to be actual snow on the ground so we can go take some pictures with Kaleb.

In the meantime, here is a picture of Kaleb and his girlfriend <3

This week's menu

Last week was a disaster; I didn't follow the menu and we ate out. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but we have been working really hard on using a menu to help save money (and stress) and eating out just ruins the whole thing.

Anyway, here is a quick recap:

Saturday we had tacos as planned, this time I tried marinating the steak in the same mix as the chicken with mixed results. Which means I'm still on the search for the perfect steak marinade.

Sunday we ended up having ribs - this was the bright spot of the week. Check out a full post about them here.  

Monday we had freezer dive, which actually consisted of fries, chicken fingers and extreme beans and Tuesday I ate at my aunt's house. Wednesday I made my chicken and rice goulash - except somewhere, somehow, it all went terribly wrong and tasted horribly. Thursday was the biggest fail of them all - we ordered in chinese food. And lots of it.  Friday we had our usual pizza, which was mediocre. 

So as you can see, this week was an EPIC FAIL.

But, I am choosing to not dwell on the past and look forward to a new week:

Saturday: Tunnel of Fudge Cake. Yup, just dessert - we ate at our friends house and had amazing homemade lasagna.

Sunday: Whole chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Monday: Pulled pork sandwich with oven fries. (Cook pork tenderloin in slow cooker with a bit of apple juice and water, once cooked, pull apart and coat with saved homemade bbq sauce from last week)

Tuesday: Pork chops with basmatti rice and zucchini

Wednesday: Freezer lasagna (Lasagna we made a while back and froze for easy meals)

Thursday: Roast (the same roast that we froze 2 weeks ago!) with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Friday: Pizza  Ribs with oven fries and roasted cauliflower.

What have you got planned for the week?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Week in the Life of a Busy Baby

This week was a crazy one. I know I say that every week, but this time it truly was! It was also extra special because one of my friends, E, was up with her two kids visiting her in-laws (and me!).

It started with my mom coming up for a visit on Friday night. It was nice to have her here, and Kaleb loved playing and cuddling with his grandma. We didn't do much over the weekend besides the usual running around and cleaning.

In the bad news department, our washing machine broke. Like, so broke, it's dead. The repairman diagnosed our problem as a broken bearing, meaning we need a new transmission and motor.  We are extremely disappointed, as the machine is only a year and half old. However, good news came in today: the parts are covered under the warranty! (I may have done a happy dance for that one.) It is still going to take another week or so for it to be repaired, in that meantime, that smell is coming from us. ;)

On Monday, Kaleb and I went to his girlfriend's house for a play date. As I've said many many times before, play dates are awesome. Especially with his girlfriend, I really enjoy hanging out with her mama and it's fun to watch them interact.

On Tuesday, I visited with E and the kiddos at my aunt's house. Her daughter is two and a half months old and oh so adorable! In the afternoon, we went shopping and I bought a couple shirts for our family photos next month. Afterwards we enjoyed a yummy supper back at my aunts. Kaleb wore what I thought was going to be his last cloth diaper for quite awhile as I did his diaper laundry there. (With the whole broken washing machine thing, I decided to put him in disposables until it was fixed so that we wouldn't be bugging friends and family.) I was very proud of my hubby when he arrived that night too, first thing he said when picking up Kaleb was "Hey, what's up with the [disposable] diaper!"

Wednesday was our usual craziness. E and her daughter joined us for Babies Club and K did wonderfully at his swimming. This is where one of the best parts of my week came in. After one full day of using disposable diapers, J got frustrated trying to put one on and said "screw it, he is going back into cloth and I'll stand at the laundry mat if I have to!" He's been rocking the fluffy butt ever since.

Thursday we went bowling with E and her son (who promptly beat both of us) then we went for a another play date at Kaleb's girlfriend's. Her mom was so generous and told me to bring a load of laundry to do at the same time, which really helps us out!

So there you have it folks, another crazy week. How did you spend your week?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recipe Recap: Ribs

On Sunday I made the most amazing ribs ever. Well I thought so anyway and I don't really like ribs to begin with. 

I even made them completely from scratch. Ok, well not completely, I didn't butcher the pig or anything. 

As I've mentioned before, I have my mother's talent for throwing stuff in a pot and it coming out AMAZING, and that is exactly what happened here.

This is what I did:

First I cut the ribs into three pieces (approximately 6 inches) and put salt and pepper.

Then I seared the ribs two at a time on super duper high heat in my dutch oven.

Once that was done, I removed the dutch oven from the heat and very slowly added a can of crushed tomatoes. (You never want to drastically change the temperature of any baking dish)

This is where the random throwing stuff in a pot comes into play. These are the approximate measurements: 
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp worchestire
5 splashes of hot sauce

I then put the ribs back in the pot and put in to a 300F oven and cooked them for just over 6 hours. 

Again, these are approximate measurements, I started out with less honey and molasses and added more a couple hours in. It's all about personal taste, so you need to taste often to get it just right. :)

Like I said at the beginning, these were simply amazing! The bbq sauce was so awesome, we've actually kept the sauce to make pulled pork next week.

Go ahead and try this recipe, or something similar. You just might amaze yourself!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

It's hard picking just the right Tip and/or Trick every week. My brain is so full of them. Why you ask? Because I enjoy making my life as easy as possible.

I thought of a really good one this morning, but now that it is 10 minutes before my bed time, my brain is dead so this is what you get instead, rambling.

I still have a good one though: vinegar.

I love vinegar. I use it around the house instead of harsh chemicals. There are many, many uses for this acid, according to Reader's Digest, over 150.

Here are my primary uses:

- Mix half water and half vinegar in a spray bottle: great for cleaning windows, mirrors and general dusting. Bonus: it's streak free.

- Straight up: It kills mold and mildew.

- To unblock clogged drains, pour a little baking soda, followed by vinegar and listen for the foaming action (à la volcano science project). Rinse with hot water from a kettle.

- Mix vinegar with Blue Dawn for a great soap scum buster. Check out all the details here

- Put a couple tablespoons of vinegar in a sink of water to clean fresh produce.  It also helps keep berries fresher longer.

- Run your dishwasher with a cup of Vinegar on the top rack to get it clean and sparkly.

- Run your coffee maker with vinegar to get rid of all the gunk. Use 2 cups vinegar and 1 cup water. Place a filter and run the machine through a full cycle. Replace filter and fill tank with water and run through a full cycle twice, replacing water and filter after the first cycle.

- Run your washing machine through a full cycle with 2 cups of vinegar to keep it clean and sparkly.

These are just some of the things I use vinegar for, check out that Reader's Digest link or this one (according to them, there is a 1001 uses!) for a bunch more. It's really amazing all the things vinegar can do. 

What do you use vinegar for?

Friday, November 09, 2012

This week's menu

Last week was almost a successful week menu wise. The pancetta on pizza was AMAZING, Sunday's meal was heaven on earth and the rest of was not too shabby. I forgot to make my beets though, so I'll try to squeeze them in this week. We did fail in one area though, we went out for supper on Tuesday, which is not good to say the least. The meal however was delish :)

This week I'm looking forward to Tacos. Again. I love our homemade tacos. My chicken goulash is usually pretty good too, especially with it being so cold. Also, our goal for the month is to clear out our freezer, so Freezer Diving will be making several appearances.

Saturday: Taco night. Featuring the usual: Southwestern Chicken, Steak (we're going to try marinating with the same as the chicken), Mango Avocado Salsa all on Homemade Tortillas.

Sunday: Roast (we froze the one we did not eat last week) with mashed potatoes and zucchini

Monday: Ribs with Stuffed potatoes and bok choy

Tuesday: Freezer Dive

Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken and Rice Goulash with Broccoli (Cook chicken on low in water or broth with cream soup and herbs. Add rice and veg 3 hours before wanting to eat)

Thursday: Freezer Dive

Friday: Homemade pizza

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Meal Recap

So here is my newest idea: doing a meal recap of our favourite meal from the week. This week was super easy, I knew the night we had it that I would want to do a full recap.

On Sunday night we had Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Parmesan Balsamic Cauliflower and Honey Thyme Roasted Carrots.

First up: the pork. (Recipe here)
I made 2 variations, and they were both equally delicious:

The first one:
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Rosemary

The second one:
1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme

Combine ingredients and coat the pork. Take bacon and wrap tightly around, being sure to overlap slightly. As per the directions, I used pieces of dried spaghetti to hold the bacon in place. (BEST TRICK EVER! The spaghetti disappears inside the meat and you just need to break off the crispy outside part.) Place on a foil, then parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with lots of fresh ground pepper. Bake at 500F for 20 minutes or until cooked through. (Internal temperature of 145F)

This recipe is simply amazing. The high temp makes the bacon crispy so that the pork stays moist. It's amazing how much juices came out of the pork when we cut it open. I also really like it because you can play around with it and find your favourite combo.

Next up: Cauliflower. (Recipe here)
This recipe was brought to my attention by my J12 mama friends. They were simply raving about how delicious and sweet it was, so I decided to try it out. There are actually many variations, some included red onion, but since I'm not a fan, I chose the linked recipe.

1 Cauliflower cut into 1 inch think chunks
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Dried Marjoram
1/4 Tsp Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Combine first 5 ingredients and transfer to a rimmed baking dish. Cook at 450F until it begins to soften and brown on the bottom, about 15-20 minutes. Toss with the vinegar and cheese and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and there is no moisture.

And the ladies were right. This is amazing. A great way to cook cauliflower, even my picky brother was impressed! 

Next up: Carrots

This is another recipe from Michael Smith, in case you can't tell, I love his recipes! We've made this several times, sometimes with parsnips (as per original recipe) sometimes without, and it is always good. Even Kaleb loves it. (There is no link, since it's from a book)


1 pound of large carrots, pealed and sliced 1/2 inch think on an angle
1 pound of parsnips, given the same carrot treatment
2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp of Honey
2 Tbsp of Water
A Sprinkle of Salt
Lots of Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp of Minced Fresh Thyme (dried works just fine)
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced (I skip this step)

Preheat your oven to 350F

Toss carrots, parsnips, oil, honey and water together. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large baking dish and roast, stirring once or twice, until the veggies are lightly caramelized and deeply flavoured, about 45 minutes. At the last second, stir in the thyme and green onions.

Like the other recipes, this one is amazing! I usually just toss in the dried thyme at the start and it turns out just fine. Like I said at the beginning, I've made this several times with both carrots and parsnips, or just the one, whatever I have on hand. If you are making a smaller batch (as I often do), simply half the recipe. If I'm short on time, I just cut the carrots into smaller sticks, which take less time to cook. I highly recommend this recipe.

Hope you give one of these a try, and if you, please report back!

A week of our life

Wow, this week has been busy. Like non stop doing something every day busy. Which I hope explains why there were no posts. Sorry about that. I promise it won't happen again.

Saturday was our normal busy day. After breakfast we were out the door to run our usual errands: weekly groceries, Wal-mart and the bakery. The afternoon was spent playing outside in the snow, installing a new thermostat in Kaleb's room and going for a nice long walk. For supper we had homemade pizza, which was possibly the best yet. The dough was just right, the cheese was all stretchy and we tried pancetta. What is it you ask? Italian bacon. And is it ever good! Basically, if you like bacon, you're going to love pancetta. It's like bacon on steroids. We cooked it just a bit before putting it on our pizzas, and when it came out, oh man, it was heavenly.

Sunday was cleaning day. Like crazy clean every surface of the house cleaning day. We also did laundry in there too. In the afternoon we went to Canadian Tire and bought a wooden sled for Kaleb. Saying he loved it is putting it mildly. Check out this week's Wordless Wednesday post for a pic. Afterwards we went for another walk, this time to get my brother for supper. It was another fantastic supper, I'll do a recap of it in the next post.

Monday was a little less busy, Kaleb and I went for a walk with a friend in the afternoon. The rest of the day was spent playing. At night I worked on a new project that you'll also see in a future post.

Tuesday morning was spent playing and baking cookies followed by a play date at our house in the afternoon. It is so nice to have play dates. Kaleb gets to interact with another baby, and I get to chat with an adult!

Wednesday was crazy as usual. Kaleb woke up late, which put us behind schedule wise, but we still managed to get out the door relatively on time. It was a big day at Babies Club, I was doing a mini presentation on Cloth Diapering! It went really well, (i think so anyways) and the moms were very impressed with what modern cloth diapers actually look like and how they work. There's even a couple moms who seem interested in trying them out.

Kaleb did very well at his swimming lesson as usual. We are really glad that we made the made decision to start him early. For supper I made semi-homemade spaghetti sauce, which turned out pretty good. I was blessed with my mom's talent of throwing all sorts of stuff together in a pot and it turning out edible, even delicious!

Today was a more mellow day. Kaleb seems to have a new tooth coming in and spent a good part of last night awake. So we just chilled out today and he got in some good naps. Hopefully tonight will be better for my little man. He has also officially mastered full out crawling and pulling up on things. My little boy is growing so fast!

So that's it folks. A week in our life. Hope you enjoyed it. :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Day Thirty-one: Finished

Obviously I am a couple days late in finishing the challenge. This post isn't even going to contain a project. I've run out of them. So instead I'm going to look back at the challenge and look ahead to the future. 

I've learned a few things over the course of the month of October. Mainly, we have a problem with leaving things laying around. Which in turn, lets things pile up. Which in turn, leads to a massive clean-up every week. Which in turn, makes me feel like I'm going crazy. Even though we both worked hard in making our house clutter-free, there are still things that re-appearing. The table has things all over it again, as does the shelf and the Kitchen counter is a constant battle (here and here). 

However, our house looks great and I've come to realize those battles is what makes our house a home. Sure it doesn't look like any house you'll find in a magazine, however, it looks like a almost 10 month old who gets into everything, a lab mix who loves to play with her toys, a mom who likes to be crafty and a dad who loves sports live here kind of HOME. And to me, that is a win.

I came across this pin during my early days of Pinterest. I loved it so much that I printed it off and put it up on the fridge. And never did a thing. After a chat about things that we are hoping to change, J and I decided that our house cleaning habits were one of them. We decide to re-work that cleaning schedule into one that fits our home (example: we can't mop floors on Thursday, we need to do a deep vacuum first) and follow it. That one is going to be tough, but we are going to try our hardest. So tonight, after K goes down for the night, that is what we will figure out.

Here is to a cleanish, clutter-freeish, home.

Want to re-read the entire series? Check it out here.

Day Thirty: Hook Happy

Watch out, I've gone crazy over hooks. I've always had a thing for 3M Command Hooks, but this weekend I took it a step further and bought hooks that you screw into the wall. Yes, I've gone that far. 

After owning our house for 3 years, I've finally put up permanent hooks. Before that, we used a lot of those over the door hangers. I like them for the lack of holes they put into walls and doors, but I hate them for the simple fact that you can not shut the door! So as I said, I took the plunge.

First I tackled the bathroom door. We have a teeny tiny bathroom and as a result, hang our towels on the door. So we bought 4 simple white hooks, and after some calculated precise markings, I decided where they would go. Then, as per the directions, I drilled a couple holes, I hammered in the anchors and with screws, I put the hooks. Easy peasy. (Notice the use of the pronoun "I" in that sentence!)

To make this project completely awesome, I'm going to buy some wooden letters, P, M, K, to be exact, paint them then somehow affix them to the wall over the hooks. Why those letters you ask? Papa, Mama, Kaleb. But I bought 4 hooks you say. Yes, I did. For the time being hook #4 will be for guests, eventually it will be for baby #2, if we are so blessed. 

Next project was adding a hook in our coat closet for the diaper bag. It's previous home was the floor by the door. Again, it was simple project that I let J do. :) It didn't take J very long as no anchors were needed and since it was a single hook, it was just a matter of centering on the door and screwing it in.

Project complete.

Friday, November 02, 2012

This week's menu

This I week I am really excited about the pork tenderloin, it will be wrapped in bacon. How can you go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon?! We'll be having baked Parmesan balsamic cauliflower with that, and I've been told its really good, so I'll have to report back. The rest of the week seems to have a beef theme to it. Oh and we're also having pizza, twice. Yes, we love it that much.

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (peperoni and prosciutto pancetta)

Sunday: Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with Parmesan Balsamic Cauliflower and carrots

Monday: Freezer dive

Tuesday: Roast with mini potatoes

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Thursday: Steak with beets and potatoes (peel and cook beets like potatoes, serve with butter and salt - yumm)

Friday: Homemade Pizza (possibly with leftover steak) 

Last week we tried the mongolian beef for the first time, and oh my was it good, it will definitely be making a reappearance. I was also pleasantly surprised by the bok choy and taco night was also awesome as usual

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Day Twenty-nine: Baby's Closet

Today I worked in possibly the most overdue closet - the mini closet in Kaleb's room. We use it as our linen closet and to store extra baby things. It's a weird sized closet, it's very deep and placed high on the wall, but it uses dead space above our stairs so I like it. I just wish I could reach the shelves!
The after picture

Anyway, we use the bottom shelf to store all sorts of random baby stuff. Extra blankets, frames, wipes, his carrier, things that weren't useful yet and things that were no longer useful. There was actually stuff in there that I may have forgot about. This shelf was full to the edge, there was even his baby tub in there (that we never actually used). 

So after a huge purge, I put back stuff we are actually going to use in the next couple months and of course, organized. 

I'll have to post an after picture tomorrow.

Cloth Diaper Styles and Types

This is going to be a relatively short post giving you the rundown of the different types of diapers and covers available. I'll go into more detail and include pictures of diapers and my cute baby in future posts.

Diapers generally come in one of two types:
One size (OS): This diaper is typically sized for 12 to 35 lbs and is the most comon. 
Advantage: one diaper will last through birth to potty training. 
Disadvantage: Can wear out more quickly, may have trouble fitting small babies or bigger toddlers.
Sized: Available in sizes such as S, M, L.
Advantage: Less wear and tear, they generally fit better, may have higher re-sale value.  Disadvantage: Need to buy more diapers.

There are several different styles of diapers, each one has its advantages and disadvantages and it really is about trial and error, what may work for one baby and family, won't work for another.
Prefolds: Rectangular piece of fabric made of several layers. You fold them around the baby and fasten with pins, a Snappi or simply lay them inside a cover. Need a waterproof cover.
Contour (also known as workhorse):  Made with layers of an absorbent fabric, cut into an hour-glass or diaper shape.  May or may not have elastics and needs pins or a Snappi to fasten them. Need a waterproof cover.
Fitteds: Similar to contour diapers, except have snaps or Velcro, and elastics in the legs and waist.  Need a waterproof cover.
Pockets: Most common type of diaper.  Consists of an outer waterproof shell and an interior stay-dry layer, as well as an insert that you stuff in between the two layers. They are similar to disposables, are easy to use, easy to wash and keep baby feeling dry. They are also available in a multitude of colours and patterns.
All-in-One (AIO): Most like a disposable diaper and require no pinning, stuffing or folding.  Generally they are the most expensive cloth diapers, however they are still cheaper than disposables.
All-in-Two (AI2): Consists of a shell and a snap-in liner. At diaper change, you replace the liner and re-use the cover (unless it is soiled).
Flip system: Similar to an AI2, except the insert is tucked into flaps at either end of the diaper.

Some diapers require a cover, while others have a waterproof material built in. There are three basic materials to make a diaper waterproof.

Polyurethane Laminate (PUL): Laminate applied over cotton to make it waterproof, leak proof and mildew resistant. It is lightweight, soft, pliable and breathable.
Fleece: Soft, lightweight and breathable. Can be quite bulky and is not the most suitable choice under cute baby outfits.
Wool: Is all-natural, soft, breathable, can hold 30% of its weight in liquid, has anti-bacterial properties and self-cleaning characteristics.  Natural, untreated wool is soft and comfortable and it only needs to be washed and lanolized every 2 weeks or so. It can NOT be machine washed, however washing consist of simply soaking in a sink.