Post Haste (A Bunch of How-We-Like-It Updates)

There’s a vicious cycle going on. We blog about something and then we live with it. And while we do, we tackle other stuff and blog about that. Lather, rinse, repeat. So we’re not always good about keeping you posted on those older things that we’ve already talked about since we’re so busy gabbing about new stuff. Which probably explains why we get asked for updates on a handful of things nearly every day. In other words: it’s about darn time we followed up. So here’s a nice juicy post full of a bunch of those updates for everyone.

Cloth diapers: Believe it or not, we’re still using the very same original 12 cloth diapers that we got back in 2010 before Clara was born. We haven’t bought any more, replaced any, or bought liners. And two years later they’re still working really well for us. We do put Clara in a disposable overnight (she finally started wetting through the cloth – something we heard might happen for a while, and finally did), but one a day is only seven a week, so it’s not bad at all. As for their shape, they’re still holding up really well. We do have a busted snap here or there (we’ve lost one snap on two of the twelve diapers, but it doesn’t keep them from staying on since there are multiple snaps on each side to hold them). Their color and fabric is in great condition and they look pretty close to new, actually.

Here’s the inside of them (these pics were taken yesterday):

We’re thrilled that we haven’t had to buy any more diapers for our stash or add extra liners (they’re all-in-ones, read more on them here) and they really do seem to be one size fits all since they’re still working for us even with Clara being about 300% bigger than she was at birth. So that’s the update on the cloth diaper front. Here’s the original post all about cloth diapering (which has tons of info in the post and the comment section) along with a one-year-in update post on the subject.

Karl The Sectional: Love him. Still looks the same and feels just as comfy after over a year of kid/dog abuse. The dark slipcovers (we went with Dark Sivik Gray, which is almost like denim and super durable) hide almost everything. So much that we haven’t had to wash them much, but when we do we use our own washer and dryer at home (ya don’t need an industrial one or anything) and they go back on and look great. I think different Karl fabrics have different rules – the Dark Sivik Gray fabric says “machine wash” but other fabric choices might be “dry clean only.” Our one minor complaint would be that the hold-it-in-place velcro to keep the chaise cushion from slipping out and hanging over the chaise like an overbite doesn’t catch correctly (it doesn’t seem to line up) so that cushion migrates out slowly over time. So every few weeks I notice and shove it back into the sofa. No biggie. Probably could just add a strip of velcro on the back that lines up to solve it once and for all. Here’s the original post about getting Karl.

Ed The Bed: He’s the other man in our life from Ikea (Swedish product names like Karlstad and Edland made for some pretty easy nicknames) and we’ve been very happy with him. Still sturdy and comfortable, so when we collapse into bed at 1am after some DIY extravaganza (gotta get stuff done while the kiddo sleeps) we’re happy to be there. Here’s the original post about getting Ed.

ORB’ed hardware: This is something a bunch of you guys have wanted an update on, so here it is, complete with pics. Stuff still looks mint. Admittedly we don’t use the front door (or the doorknocker) very frequently, but here are some shots that I took yesterday of them:

On the other hand, we open the sunroom slider and the door that leads outside at least ten times a day to let Burger in and out and they’re also still doing great. So we would definitely recommend this method (sanding them with something very high grit is going to be our approach when we tackle the interior knobs someday) and we’ll keep you posted if they suddenly start giving us trouble.

Kitchen lab stools: We have only had these bad boys a few months, but we sit on them numerous times a day and usually eat dinner on them, and for $33 a chair, they couldn’t be better. Would I want to lounge in them for six hours while watching The Titanic on repeat? No. Are they comfy for proofreading book layouts, eating dinner, writing cards, paying bills, laptop usage or any other thirty-minute-to-an-hour-long activity? Absolutely. I would warn you that to get them without the back might seriously compromise the comfort-factor, since the awesome flexing back seems to be one of the things that makes them so comfy. Here’s a link to the original post about finding our kitchen stools.

Chair in Clara’s room: I probably logged five hours a week of nursing Clara for fourteen whole months in this chair, along with John and I sitting down to read Clara the occasional story (which still occurs) – so for our family, this chair has been great. That’s not to say that some of my very best friends don’t swear by a cushy rocking/swivel chair, but perhaps from getting used to nursing everywhere (in a parked car at Target? Check.) it’s actually one of the more cozy places. The rounded shape supported my arms in a nice way (an armless slipper chair might be a nursing challenge if you’re completely zonked and want somewhere to rest your arms) and we always keep an ottoman or pouf nearby for putting the ol’ feet up. Totally worked for me. Here’s a link to the original chair-finding post and the nursery reveal post about our $20 thrift store chair.

White cabinets: Sometimes people ask if white cabinets get dirty or are hard to keep clean, and perhaps we’re just used to them (we had them in our first house’s kitchen for over four years before moving here) but we always think they look clean by nature (after all, they’re bright white). And since cabinet paint is completely scrubbable, they definitely don’t seem high maintenance to us. It’s not like white fabric (which can be stained) since cabinet paint like the alkyd stuff we used is slick, durable, and can be cleaned with a wet rag, sponge, or paper towel (you know, because spaghetti sauce happens).

We probably wipe away some random cabinet splatter once or twice a week for a total of sixty seconds spent cleaning them. As for dusting them, we have yet to do this since painting them in December, and they still don’t have any dust collecting around the inset rectangle part, perhaps because it’s pretty shallow and angled as opposed to shelf-like (it did collect there in our old kitchen with shaker cabinets, so once every month or so I’d run a microfiber cloth over them – no biggie). Here’s a link to the original cabinet-painting post with more info about the process/result in the post and the comment section for ya.

White Corian: We’re much happier with our Corian (in Glacier White) than we feared we might be. We worried it would be a pain to keep clean and although we read that it was nonporous, we worried that something would somehow seep into it and stain. But so far, we have had zero staining issues (even with things like strawberry juice and spaghetti sauce), zero scratches (we hear white Corian is the best about not getting scratched up), and they’re easy to keep clean. We always wiped down our old counters every night before bed anyway, and they were veiny granite so nothing showed – which was a problem! We’d find a glob of peanut butter from three nights ago on the counter that we somehow missed. So gross! It’s nice to see everything and just swipe it all down and wake up to a sparkly white room.

The one thing we’ve heard is that you can crack Corian by setting a searing hot pan down on it, but in our last house even with granite we used trivets, so that’s just part of our routine anyway. But the best thing about them has been the zero seams thing. In our first kitchen crumbs would build up or get caught in the seams, but without them our entire counter with our undermount sink is truly seamless, so it’s so nice to sweep things into the sink without hitting any little divots where those seams are. When we ordered our Corian we didn’t even know it was a seamless material, so that was a total unexpected bonus. Here’s a link to our original post about choosing Corian and a post about getting it installed, both with tons of info in the post and the comment section for ya.

Open shelves: Love is a conservative adjective for how we feel about them. Sometimes I want to kiss them. Open mouthed. They’re definitely not for everyone, but we use the things on them so frequently that they don’t have time to get dusty. And you should see me unload the dishwasher or set the table, it takes two seconds. It’s also a lot easier to do things like pour a bowl of cereal with a toddler on my hip. Seriously, we’re so sold we’re a little sad that we didn’t work open shelves into our first house’s kitchen – we were totally missing out. Here’s a link to a post about choosing open shelves and a post about building them and loading them up

HP Photosmart C4780: Truth be told, I tossed this guy in here because it felt like we were giving too many glowing reviews. So I racked my brain to think of something we don’t like. Hah. And it’s this poor guy. He just can’t be trusted to wirelessly print something (sometimes it inexplicably shoots out one page of something and then takes ten minutes to print the second page or never even prints it at all). It’s just a bit too quirky for our tastes, but we did have an Epson that we loved a few years ago (it didn’t print wirelessly, so we later upgraded to this one). We’ll probably go back to that brand and see how their wireless capabilities are someday when we get mad enough to want to throw this guy out the window (sometimes we’re thisclose).

Nikon D3000: Other than still learning how to use it, which is to be expected (we’re faaaar from pro photographers) we’ve been really happy with our camera. We saved our pennies for a while before taking the plunge into DSLR territory, but with a baby on the way (Clara) we thought it was time to upgrade from our little point and shoot. We’re so glad we did, because we definitely get better pics of our family and better photos for the blog. Our only gripe used to be that they didn’t make a cheap nifty fifty (an inexpensive 50mm lens) for this type of Nikon (it only worked with D90s and others closer to that model) but they came out with this one about a year ago and we got it (we don’t typically use it for any blog pics since it’s not as wide of an angle lens as the stock one that came with the camera, which is better suited for interiors). But it’s great for a moving kid or dog in low light, so we like it for Clara/Burger pics and general family stuff (like her interesting hair fashions). Here’s a post about getting our new camera with lots of info in the post and the comment section for ya.

So there you have it. Hope that was helpful. What do you have in your house that’s been surprisingly awesome? Or surprisingly disappointing? Are there any brands you always love or products you wish were different? It’s so great to hear about stuff that you guys like, and learn from your don’t-get-this warnings.

Psst- In the mistakes-we’ve-made/what we’ve tweaked vein, check out this post, this post, and this post. We definitely make our fair share of mistakes! We just try to keep learning as we go, and allowing our house to evolve over time.


    • Thais Bessa says

      You guys should smile from ear to ear when you think about how much money you saved from using cloth nappies! :) Btw, now that you don’t have the Babycentre column anymore (snif), will you narrate baby adventures here, like potty-training? That would be great to us other parents!

      About the printer, I remember that when I just ordered ours, same model, I read here you guys didn’t like. I ended up not returning it and no regrets. It has been amazing to us, the wireless connection is so good I can send something to print from the laptop in the kitchen and the printer dutifully obeys, even though it is metres away in the office, second floor. Maybe the units sold in Europe got luckier? Although let’s be honest, they are probably all produced in the same place, so no explanation for that!

    • says

      Oh yes, we plan to share all those adventures either here or over on Young House Life! And as for your printer, you’re so lucky! I wonder if your wireless connection is just stronger or something? So glad it’s working so well for ya!


    • Meredith says

      Melanie, I also have an HP and it is awful. Chugs through ink really quickly and works only occasionally (I always joke, it works according to its mood). Stay away from HP!

  1. says

    Love the updates! Weirdly enough, especially the cloth diapers one. We aren’t planning on having kids for a while (fingers crossed), but you guys are some of the first people I’ve known to use them who didn’t seem a little, ahem, crazy. And the whole sprayer on the toilet thing is awesome. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll use them too!

  2. says

    Love to hear that the diapers are still great! I’m investigating options for my first little one – she is set to arrive July 31 and the choices are a bit overwhelming. But I’ve gone back to your review many times, thanks for the help!

    • Katie says

      Quick tip Jamie – you might not want to invest in a whole stash like Sherry did because you might find out they don’t work for your little one – BG Elementals don’t work for us at all! A diaper trial from a place like Jillian’s Drawers is a great way to try out a bunch of types and see which ones you like.
      Also – as they grow, diapers can fit differently so what you love today you might not love as much tomorrow, so a lot of us cloth diapering mommas love variety : )

    • Hilary says

      Another cloth diaper tip Jamie–depending on where you live, there might be a local brick and mortar cloth diaper store that can be a hugely helpful resource. In Pittsburgh, PA, we are lucky enough to have, which offers free cloth diaper orientations, and also a newborn diaper rental program, both of which got me hooked on cloth diapering–despite how intimidating and overwhelming all the choices can be. Happy Baby Company is owned by a married couple who are so helpful to their customers, near and far. Maybe they could help you, too?!

    • says

      I went with Bumgenius Elementals based on the YHL review and am very happy I did. I also bought a few other kinds of BumGenius diapers and am happy with all of them. I posted about the different kinds we went with here:
      We also put our son in a disposable each night. I like to keep disposables around anyways for if he is going to his grandparents or something (less bulky in the diaper bag and not as intimidating for grandparents). I had a good laugh when my mom tried to change his diaper when I first had him in cloth. I came home and the diaper was on backwards and so loose it was falling off. :)

    • says

      Haha- that’s so funny! There’s definitely a learning curve for the grandparents, but the funny thing is they could probably make a piece of cloth and a few safety pins into a diaper and John and I would stand there in awe. Haha.


  3. Jane says

    Yay for the positive comments on the cloth diapers. We cloth diapered our 7 and 4 year old and most people looked at us like we had 3 eyes. It saved us so much money and we didn’t have a need for a diaper genie filling up with stinky smells that filled the landfill for 700 years. We have about 20 diapers and they were just so cute. It was easier for us to potty train too because they felt the coolness of natural material on their body. Our boys were both trained at just over 2 years old.

    • Bethany says

      Oooh, Jane, any potty training tips? Our son is just over 2 and we also use cloth diapers. We’ve had some early success, but we don’t want to rush him!

      And if anyone is curious: We use BumGenius 3.0s and 4.0s with velcro and they are definitely starting to show wear. We’ve been using them for about 21 months or so. I’ve had to replace some of the velcro tabs and am about to replace elastic. I think with the maintenance, we’ll get more life out of them, but the upkeep is more intense with velcro than snaps. (But the 4.0s are definitely better than the 3.0s!)

    • says

      Yes, potty training tips welcome! Clara’s not two yet and definitely doesn’t seem ready yet, but I’m always interested to hear what works for other kiddos- especially cloth diaper kids!


    • says

      The biggest thing I would say re: potty training is wait til they’re ready. We, as parents, are way more ready earlier on for kids to move on so we don’t have to deal with diapers anymore, but in my experience they learn to use the potty when they decide to. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage or whatever, but you should watch for signs of readiness (they are able to tell you/indicate to you that they need to go before they do so, etc.) and if they are resistant, give it a break. Making the whole experience a power struggle is just going to make both parties feel miserable and draw out the process.

    • says

      Great advice! Some of Clara’s three year old cousins aren’t potty trained yet and their parents have other older kiddos who are trained and just say “when they’re ready it’s easy” so we love that they’re not freaking out. It helps us relax. Haha.


    • Jane says

      At two, I took out one of the liners and just had the cover on. I knitted wool covers (worked like plastic pants 30 years ago) and would put a pair of undies on with the cover. He would start to feel cold and then tell me. Once summer came, I just took off the diapers and let them run around with a long t-shirt on (girls would be easy..they could just wear a dress). As soon as he would pee on the floor, I’d say “uh oh..there is a pee” and put them on the toilet. To make it fun, it they sat on the toilet and didn’t pee, they would get one m&m, if they actually peed, they’d get 2 m&m’s. We do foster care for animals on death row at our local animal control, so it is similar in training lol. We take the dogs out, every half hour, we put the kids on the potty every 1/2 hour (and they’d get an m&m). Eventually it clicked. We have accidents and keep trying. The kids seem so much happier once they are always going on the potty and not on themselves.. Never do I force them, but kids are not born to pee in their pants and they are almost trained to pee in their pants but us. In China, they once had split pants and would be going on the potty by the age of 1.

  4. says

    I’m glad you guys love all of the changes & purchases you’ve made to the house so far (sans printer)! We have the Nikon D3100 and I love it but I still have so far to go before I really get the hang of it.

    Joe and I are kind of over our couch (I will never get a couch with two cushions again – has to have three from now on!) but we’ll probably keep it until we move or something. It still works so who knows!

  5. Mandie McK says

    Do you ever have a hard time cleaning under your couch or does it get really dirty under there with it being up on legs like that? I only ask because we just bought a new entertainment center that came with the option to be up on legs like that and we just left them off and set it right on the floor because we were worried about always having to clean the dog hair, etc. out from under it. I love your couch but wonder how hard it is to keep that space clean?

    • says

      We just run the vacuum arm under it about once a month (we do it under our media cabinet too since that’s up on legs) and it’s not too bad. We usually just find Clara’s toys under there. Haha.


    • Janice says

      Perfect question! I was going to ask that too, since I was planning on getting a Karl for myself (and in the Sivik Dark Gray). It just won’t be quite as big.

  6. says

    I’m STILL in love with your bar stools. If the Little House were ever to have a kitchen island or bar (which, unfortunately, isn’t in its future), I’d definitely go with them.

    Oh, and we have a wireless Kodak printer that we luuuurve. The ink is waaay cheaper, the quality is great, and I can print (reliably) from bed. Who doesn’t like to print from bed?

  7. Alyssa says

    Thanks for posting this update!! It always good to know how something’s working (or not working) after living with it for a while. We have the same brand printer and it’s worked so far, besides always saying “printer is low on ink” after just getting the cartridges refilled at Walgreens, but apparently that’s a common problem with getting them refilled and not buying new ones. Have you had that issue?

  8. gia says

    For for the most part, we’ve been happy with the purchases we made for our house renovations. The only thing we would change, and it’s a biggie, is our dark bamboo flooring in our family room. We spent a lot of money on them after being told how durable they are and you can’t drop a potato chip on them without scratching them. Huge bummer and not good with a toddler running around and dragging her toys. I’ve convinced myself that the scratches just make them look more lived in and rustic. Oh well! Not every choice is the right choice!

    • Jen says

      Funny you should say that you heard they were durable. My Aunt and Uncle have (light) bamboo flooring in their dining room. They loved its sustainability but heard that they scratch easily so chose not to use them in more high traffic areas like the hallway or kitchen. Even without kids, they have some scratches from dining chairs and moving furniture.

  9. says

    I’ve been using the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers with my newborn son and LOVE them. Bought BumGenius mainly on your recommendations, though I did go with the pocket rather than the all-in-ones, because the AIOs tended to leak. But I sold them on a diaper resell site for almost as much as a paid for them and got more pockets!

  10. says

    Thanks for all the great updates!! I have an Epson wireless printer and it works great- 2 thumbs up. I can’t remember the model number off the top of my head, but it’s an all in one (printer/scanner/copier) and it does the job for me!

  11. says

    I highly recommend the Epson Workforce series printers. We had an hp printer for several years, and it was very temperamental. When I upgraded to a Mac, I got the Epson (mine is wireless) from the Apple store, and I love it…though it still freaks out my parents that you can print from halfway across the house. :)

    • Gina says

      I second this- I have the Epson workforce 545, and really I’m not sure how I lived without it so many years. Love being able to print right from my ipad too.

    • says

      I’m filing this bit of info away too! We’ve got an HP that’s been bad since the day we bought it. It also goes through tons of ink because since we don’t like to use it, the ink dries out before we use it again.

    • Theresa says

      I’m thirding the Epson Workforce series. We have the WorkForce 645 and it not only prints wirelessly, but it can do automatic duplex! (This was a big deal to us.) I seriously cannot recommend this printer/copier/fax/scanner highly enough. It rocks. Plus, it was the cheapest one we saw that can do all of those things and got good Amazon ratings–bonus! Ok, I will stop gushing about my printer now. :)

  12. says

    I am so glad you still love your cloth diapers. I am using them with our little girl but have only been doing it for about three months. So far I love it but had wondered how well it holds up over time. I love knowing every time I put one on her I am saving money!

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