I CLOTH DIAPERED MYSELF FOR SCIENCE (REVIEW OF THINX AND MAMA CLOTH)

OK, fine. It wasn’t for science. It was to save money. I just couldn’t come up with a better title.

This blog post is for ladies. If you are a dude, you can take your dude bits right outta here. Unless you have a lady in your life and you are comfortable talking to her about saving money on her menstrual cycle, then you can stay. And also you are a good sir.

Ew, right? No one LIKES this time of the month. And you know what makes it worse? Spending $20 a month on supplies to get through it. I saw on the internets these things called THINX (absorbent underwear), so I figured I’d try out those bad boys and see if I could get through my monthly cycle unscathed and never pay $20 for the supplies I need again. Then, I was poking around and heard about Chrissy’s Cloth (homemade cloth pads), and I figured I’d buy some of those and try them, too, and compare all of the things and see how it goes and bloggy blog about them. So…..let’s math, and then review.

I’d say I have a good 15 years or so of dealing with this nonsense before my ovaries dry up. So, 15 years x 12 months x $20 a month = $3600! O.M.G. And just think, if it goes LONGER than 15 years, or if you’re younger than me (I’m 36) and have tons of years to go! THAT IS THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, PEOPLE!!!

THINX are unnapants that absorb ick. They claim to feel like regular underwear and keep you dry feeling and absorb the same as tampons. We’ll see. They have a bunch of absorbency levels, from the heavy hip huggers to the ultra light thong. For THINX, the more you buy, the bigger the discount. If you purchase 7 pairs or more, you get a 20% discount. I figure, you’d probably need 2 pairs for light days, 3 for medium/heavy, so I’d say 20 pair oughta do it for a 7-day cycle, 6 total pair for light, 10 for medium, 4 for heavy. Total for that (free shipping. Nice!) is $520, so, lots smaller than $3600, and that’s all you’d ever need. A savings of over $3000!

So, I bought a pair of the hip huggers for $34 to see how I liked them, if they worked, and if they were rad enough to take the plunge and save myself 3 grand over the next 15 years.

The Good: They feel like regular underwear. No bulky pad feeling. Which made me feel like maybe they wouldn’t absorb very much, but that was proven wrong, too. I wore these on a heavy day, and they lasted a couple of hours, or about the same as a super plus. Another positive is that they were cute. They have lace at the top, so if you wanna feel sexy during your free monthly pregnancy test, hey…there you go. If you’re into that. I’m not, but no judgement, you kinky ladies. Also, you know that icky wet feeling when you’re wearing a pad? These don’t do that. I felt perfectly dry. There’s something in these that makes it immediately wick away the ick, so it’s not sitting on top of the unnapants.

The Bad: User error. I bought a small, which is what my size is. Except everyone knows we gain 67 lbs during that week of the month. So, they were too small, making them slightly uncomfortable. A size up would have fixed this, though. Another negative is that, like cloth diapers, you need a few other accessories. Namely, a wet bag of sorts. I so happened to be out and about when I decided these had had enough and needed to be off of my body. Except…uh…WTF am I supposed to do with this crap? I’ll cloth diaper the heck outta myself to save money, but I can’t abide by carrying around an adult diaper bag for a week. Also, they LOOK like they are leaking, even though they aren’t, but it still made me nervous. I may have changed them before they needed because I could see spillage out of the side of the absorbent pad, and I was paranoid that it would get onto my clothes. It never did, though, and I can’t explain why. Maybe magic or something.

Overall, not too bad. They were comfortable and can save me a lot of money, but they are difficult to take care of when out and about, and I don’t want to have to carry around a diaper bag to keep my underwear in.

Next, I bought a set of Chrissy’s Cloth. A set of these is $20 and comes with 1 liner, 1 medium pad and 1 heavy pad. I’d say you’d probably need 6 sets for a 7-day cycle, so that’s $120. WHAT? That’s amazing and HUGELY cost efficient.

The Good: They are customizable and freaking adorable. You get to pick your fabric, and she has a ton to choose from. I’m sophisticated about my bloody bits, so I chose a pink/grey theme.

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Ignore my weird mauve carpet. My house was built in the 90s. If you are less sophisticated, you can pick Star Wars or Dr. Who or neon butterflies and the like. I’ll just be over here with my pinky in the air.

Anyway, they are cute, and she has lots of fabrics to choose from. Also good, these things are absorbent as heck (more magic). Much more than the THINX. The shape is also a huge plus. Unlike regular disposable pads, these are wider at the ends for more coverage and less shifting. Plus, the wings SNAP on instead of having sticky tape, making sure that everything stays in place and nothing goes off the sides (a fear with the THINX). These are bulkier than the THINX, but I still didn’t really feel that I was wearing anything. Disposable pads are always shifting and uncomfortable, sticking to me and folding up on themselves. These don’t do that, so you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything. Like the THINX, these also wicked away the ick via some sort of wizard spell and didn’t make me feel gross.

The Bad: Again with the on the go issue, though these are smaller than THINX, and Chrissy has these that she sent:

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Those are little tiny wet bags that can hold the dirty pads when you change them. They are small and discreet (the large one can hold 3 pads but is still smaller than a regular-sized diaper wet bag). So, you don’t have to carry around an adult diaper bag.

That’s the only negative I can find for Chrissy’s Cloth, and she found a way to solve the problem.

Both products need to be rinsed ASAP when you change them. THINX show less stains than the mama cloth, but you can use stain stick, etc. THINX also get soaked when you rinse, and the mama cloth doesn’t, which just proves how dang absorbent it is. I ran tons of water over it to rinse it off, and the back of the pad never got wet. To wash them, I just threw them into the washing machine on a rinse cycle, and then put them in the regular wash with my other clothes. Both products come with instructions for care.

After the comparison, due to price, super absorbency and convenience when on the go, Chrissy’s Cloth is the better choice. I’ll be ordering 5 more sets, plus a cute little zipper pouch from 31 to hold my stash in nice and neat in my bathroom, so total will be around $150 for everything, saving me $3450 in the long run. WIN!

Since $150 is still a lot of cash up front, head on over to my money-making from home tips to see how to finance your stash fast!

Thanks for reading! More money-saving and money-making tips to come! Feel free to share!

P.S. YOU KNOW WHAT WOULDA BEEN A GREAT TITLE!? “Save thousands of dollars. Period.” Shoot. I’m attached to the original title now. I nurtured that and cared for it until it grew into its own being. I can’t abandon it now!

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Budget Meals – Week 2

We ate 2 days of leftovers and 5 new meals this week; 4 hits and a miss. I keep forgetting to take photos of the actual food because Mom Brain, so you’ll have to make due with the Tastefully Simple stock photos, which look MUCH better than mine. A professional photographer I am not. This week the Bot started martial arts, so my schedule was ca-raaaaaaaazy as I get used to 2 more classes a week at the ninja school. So, having these meals was freaking AWESOME (mostly).

Meal 1: Ultimate Steak with Balsamic Vegetables

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I ended up using super thin, low-quality steak for this bad boy, and it was STILL phenomenal. Ultimate Steak seasoning is probably one of the better seasonings that came with this, and it goes in a ton of the recipes. I also LOOOOVE me some balsamic vinegar. This was probably my favorite of the meals we’ve eaten so far, and it was really easy. Steak on the broiler, saute the veggies, drizzle with vinegar, done. I’d probably add some fresh mozzarella next time for extra yum.

Meal 2: Cilantro Avocado Turkey Burgers

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I did not have high hopes for these because turkey burgers. Turkey burgers are effing gross. TURKEY BURGERS ARE FOR FOOLS!

Except these. These were exceptional. The texture was a little weird, but the seasoning in the turkey made them awesome, and the red pepper hummus mix has been a diamond in the rough of these meals. That stuff is INCREDIBLE. It’s been in 2 of the meals we’ve made. The smell of it is addictive. For this recipe, you just pop the burgers on the grill and then mash up 2 avocados with the red pepper hummus mix to use instead of mayo to make it healthier. This recipe was a HUGE surprise in a good way.

Meal 3: Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup

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This was a “thaw and put in crock pot” meal. I didn’t eat it, but my family really liked it. I can’t stomach black beans. My husband said the seasoning was REALLY good.

Meal 4: Tuscan Beef Stew

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FLIPPING INCREDIBLE. Again, crock pot and go. Easy to take to work with me, too, and even though I had to eat half of it cold because we got busy, it was still amazing. The artichokes in this thing…just yum. Yummy yum yum. And also, yum. My favorite so far.

Meal 5: Coconut Crusted Chicken Strips

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This meal sucks. It failed on both taste and convenience. Dang thing took me over an hour, as I had to make seasoned flour and an egg wash and a coconut bowl to roll them in while having a three-nager under my feet and in my face. It was a mess. There were a ton of dishes. And it didn’t taste good. The hubby was much less offended by this than I was. There was just TOO MANY flavors. You season the flour with 2 seasonings, then season the chicken with 2 seasonings, then salt and pepper, and plus the coconut flavor. Just way too much. MISS. But, it’s one miss out of 10 meals, so I’m still happy.

OMGOSH I GOT THEM DONE ON SUNDAYS 2 WEEKS IN A ROW! AMAZING! I AM ON FIIIIIIRE!

Budget Meals Week 1 Reviews

Soooooo, here we are one week out of my groceries on a budget freezer meals. Remember, my meals had to do 3 things:

  1. Be inexpensive (under $300 a month, which was accomplished).
  2. Be convenient (less than 30 minutes in the kitchen at dinner time to give me time to learn to play the ocarina).
  3. Taste delicious!

This here bliggity blog is where we find out if numbers 2 and 3 are working, so….here are our first 5 meals. Meals 6 and 7 were leftovers and dinner out when we were out of town watching Big Man get his black belt because he is awesome. I’ll post the link to the recipes on the TS website next to the meals so you can see how they were made.

Meal 1:  Creamy Salsa Chicken

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I made this the day I made the freezer meals. It was SUPER simple. Throw ingredients in crock pot, turn it on. So, convenience wise, big thumbs up! My family really liked this one. The husband wanted a spoon to finish off the salsa gravy. SUCCESS!

Meal 2: Easy Meatballs and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

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My daughter asked for seconds of the meatballs. She’s 3, so that’s a big deal. She can’t fit much in her tiny tummy. As for convenience, the meatballs were easy. Thaw them, bake them in muffin tins, done. The biscuits were not a freezer meal but something I made with the “and more” portion of the 30 meals and more that I got from Tastefully Simple. I combined 4 ingredients, mixed it in a bowl and dropped it on a cookie sheet to bake. The end. This one did take all of the 30 minutes to cook in the oven, but only 5 of that was preparing the meal. SCORE.

It also took a little time because this had to happen: *ring ring*

Husband: Hello?
Me: Oh, hi…the oven is on fire. What do I do?
Husband: That’s not the greatest. Don’t open the door and let oxygen in there, and it will die down. Perhaps we should clean it?
Me: Perhaps.

There were French fries at the bottom of the oven apparently. They are now extra crispy, and my cheddar biscuits had an amazing smoky flavor.

Meal 3: Pizza Casserole

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This one was a hit with the family, too, and BONUS, there are at LEAST 3 more meals out of this.  This one was so easy I didn’t know what to do with myself. Thaw it and put it in the crock pot. Since I put my meals in the fridge to thaw 2 days in advance, this took less than a minute. There were so many things that I could have done with that time, it was hard to choose! Do I learn Japanese? Take up croquet? Knit a toilet paper cozy? I DON’T KNOW! In the end, I took an hour and went outside to play with my kids in the leaves.

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See?

Meal 4: Ginger Orange Sriracha Stir-Fry

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SPICY! This was really good, and, again, we have leftovers for the husband of the year to take to work.  This one took around 15 minutes, since that’s how long it takes to make rice. You make the rice, then cook the chicken in oil, then cook the veggies in oil and add the sauce, then mix it all together. The end. Eat and be happy because this is so, SO good. I don’t tolerate spicy at all. I just don’t like it, and even I loved this one. And it had the added bonus of easy portability. This one was made on a day that I had to work in the evening, and I just had to pop it into a Tupperware dish and go about my merry way.

Meal 5: Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

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This is another thaw and reheat on the stove kinda deal, but I had a little mishap, so….

I put this in the freezer before it was all of the way cooled, and it kiiiiiiinda produced condensation and stuck to the bags in front of and behind it. So…when I went to pull it out, the whole top of the bag came off. So, I had to find a way to thaw it without broth going everywhere since I now had a giant cube of frozen chicken soup instead of a giant cube of frozen chicken soup in a bag. So, I turned the stock pot on low heat and put the cube in it and slowly thawed my soup while removing the rest of the plastic bag as it thawed out. This process took a LOOOOONG time.  Over an hour, as I kept having to go back and check to make sure I wasn’t melting plastic bag into my soup.

The result, however, was ASTOUNDING. Seriously, the best chicken and noodles I have ever eaten. I changed the name, because the way I had to thaw it reduced the soup portion to a thicker sauce instead of a broth, which made this meal much more hearty. We ate more of the cheddar biscuits on the side with this, and again, super portable for work. I can’t WAIT to eat those leftovers, they were so, SO good.

The first week of meals did EVERYTHING I wanted it to do! With the money we are saving, we’re gonna get out of debt, and I think go on a cruise from Australia to Fiji (one of the husband’s dreams)! With the time I am saving, I’m going to learn a dozen languages (my dream)! So much win!

tl;dr GREAT SUCCESS!