Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes... More like Snickerdoodle cupcakes..


I am a huge fan of Snickerdoodle cupcakes and I saw this recipe on the blog Your Cup of Cake and I had to try it. I thought the recipe was very good, the cake was very moist and delicious and the icing had a great flavor but I did not like the crumbled up cereal in the frosting. It made the frosting very gritty and I am not a fan of weird textures. So I remade the recipe substituting the cereal for just cinnamon and sugar, making them more like a Snickerdoodle cupcake and they were amazing! Here is the recipe below:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients





Cinnamon Cake:
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
Vanilla Cake Mix (not white cake mix)
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
(There used to be cereal pieces in the batter, but that has been removed due to comments saying it's better without it)
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Buttercream:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder (Crush the cereal in a bag and then sift out 2/3 cup) (This is where I replaced with just a mixture of Cinnamon and sugar, about 1/3+ cup, I kept adding until it tasted just right)


Directions





1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with 20-22 cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.
3. Mix in sour cream.
4. Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth.
5. Stir in lightly crushed cereal.
6. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7. Buttercream: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Adjust the consistency using milk if it is too thick.
8. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares.

ENJOY!!!
~~Nichole~~

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Favorite cloth diaper products so far..

I am a couple weeks into our journey to cloth diaper our kiddos and so far I have found a few diapers and items that are SO amazing and I couldn't do without so I wanted to share them...

First off by far the most amazing diapers we have purchased are the SoftBums! I do not know what else to say about them other than they are perfect!! Very slim, easy one size adjustment, no leaks, soft on baby (inside and out), velcro is flexible so it doesn't jab into my sons tummy and SUPER cute!! Click on pictures below for more information on the diapers.






My second favorite thing is a diaper sprayer! After my daughter made her first poo in her diaper and I had the hardest time doing the "dunk and swish" method in the toilet I did some research and found this AMAZING invention. I purchased the BumGenius sprayer from a local store. Click the picture below for more information on the sprayer.



The next best invention for those who are still not into the whole dealing with poo thing is flushable diaper liners. They are a very thin liner that you put on top of the diaper so that when the baby poos all you have to do is pull the liner out which catches all the poo and flush it! Extremely simple and no mess to clean up!
~~Nichole~~

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Journey to Find the Perfect Cloth Diaper

Yes this is a little off topic of my normal postings but over the last few weeks I spent my spare time not focusing on my crafty side but instead researching cloth diapers.

If you would have told me a month or two ago that I would be using cloth diapers and enjoying it in the near future I would have thought you were crazy!

One day when I was hand washing my sons daily load of clothes that were "exploded" onto I asked myself "If I can do this to his clothes everyday then why not diapers?" The idea of switching over terrified me at first.. Disposables were easy and obviously convenient but I did some research and got excited to challenge myself and prove I could do the whole cloth diapering thing..

I do admit I was pretty close to turning back when my toddler did her first poo in her cloth diaper. I stood there looking at her like "um what do I do now?" I was terrified.. I realized I never really thought what to do when I got to that point... So my very curious 2 and something year old daughter helped me swish the diaper in the toilet and flush about 10 times as I got my hands covered in poo...yes gross visualization but the moment that poo was flushed I ran to my computer to research a new way to deal with messy diapers!

But now it has nearly become an obsession to make the change and save my family a LOT of money... I made the commitment to change over and my husband thought I was crazy.. But I couldn't be happier and I love it so far!

I found that some research on the Internet was all it took.. It built up my confidence and I was so anxious to make the change. I encourage everyone to try at least looking into cloth diapering to see and understand how much easier and "user friendly" they are now days and maybe you will get the urge to switch over yourself!

Here is a small overview of what I have learned during my research that could hopefully help you:

Type of diapers: Today there are SOO many types of cloth diapers and systems out there.. Really there is something to fit everyone and their lifestyle. Right away during my research I realized I wanted a one size diaper system, which they adjust to fit babies newborn to 35 to 40 pounds, meaning I did not have to buy new diapers every time the kids grew. The hardest part was sorting through and finding that perfect diaper to fit our needs and with all that is out there it was far from an easy task!

I really knew nothing about cloth diapers... I knew there were Gerber folding cloths that you can pin on your baby and I thought that was it.. My sister had told me a couple years ago about gDiapers but I told her she was crazy to think we would do cloth diapering.

In the end what I actually found is a HUGE overwhelming variety of choices. There are the basic prefolds that have been used for many years (like the Gerber folding "things" I talked about) that can be easily folded or pined then use a diaper cover over them such as the Bummis Covers, which seems to be the most inexpensive option, BUT I do NOT recommend the Gerber prefolds or cheap prefolds like that. Check this site out to find what I am talking about: Prefolds 101. Then there are pocket diapers such as the rather popular BumGenius and FuzziBunz. Then All in One and All in Two diapers such as SoftBums (which are my favorite). Hybrid diapers like the popular gDiapers.


All diapers have different pros and cons and each one works different for everyone and every baby. There are thousands of different brands and companies out there to fit different wants and needs. You really have to just start your research and figure what it is that you want in a diaper.

Also another great way of cloth diapering if you are not wanting to deal with the diapers yourself is a diaper service. I looked into a local one and for 100 diapers a week (which would be for two kids) was about $20 a week. Not a bad price but I really wanted to buy some cloth diapers and not have the continuing expense.

For me I wanted something easy and a no brainer that even my very resistant husband could figure out. My overall absolute favorite system that I found is SoftBums! They are exactly what I wanted in a diaper. They are a one size diaper with a super easy size adjustment, they are the most slim diaper that I found, they have inserts that you change out when wet while reusing the cover which saves in expense, they are very soft and flexible and on the inside they are covered with a very soft fleece and best of all I saw nothing but great reviews on YouTube and other sites! I also loved the soft velcro closure they have over some of the other diapers that have a ton of snaps to close... I didn't know how I would ever manage that at night in the dark.. or even on a normal day :)

Used diapers: I know this sounds weird at first but I was referred to a website called Diaper Swappers which is a community of cloth diapering Mommas and I actually found some of the SoftBums diapers and other regular covers, prefolds and inserts for sale on there that I purchased just using my PayPal account. I know you are thinking used?? Really?? I thought that too.. But then you think of the diaper services and all they are is used diapers, washed and brought back to you and the key is to just make sure you wash them really well once purchased.. What could hurt? So I made sure to find some unstained in EUC diapers that I liked and purchased them on Diaper Swappers which was an excellent choice because they all arrived in excellent condition for a fraction of the retail price. But that is how I am, very frugal and I love to buy things second hand. It bugs me to buy something brand new, for full price when I know I can get it used or on sale.. :)

Websites to purchase diapers: I also purchased some prefolds and disposable liners off Amazon and I bought some SoftBums from a website based out of Sacramento, CA called Sew Crafty Baby, which I found a great deal on a package set of SoftBums shells and inserts. I heard that having 6 shells on hand and 24 inserts should get us through a few days without having to do laundry everyday.

Our cloth diapering system: So right now we have our 7 month old baby boy and our almost 2 1/2 year old daughter in cloth diapers. We have our son in strictly the SoftBums using either their Staydry inserts or another brand microfiber insert with a fleece liner on top of the insert against his bottom. Our daughter wears the diaper covers by Bummis in the size medium (which goes from 15-30 pounds) and then we fold a prefold into the cover and then lay a fleece liner over that and then a disposable liner over that and so far this has worked great for us for nap times, sleeping etc. I have also purchased a few FuzziBunz pocket diapers that were totally dirt cheap that have snap closures for my daughter. Over the first few days of wearing cloth I have found our daughter in nap time completely naked because the velcro on the Bummis covers is so easy to take off. I am not a fan of the idea of pocket diapers, which is what the FuzziBunz are. So I use a FuzziBunz diapers and lay the insert or a prefold just inside the diaper with a fleece liner over that so that I can use the cover multiple times and not have to change it out so much like if I used it as a pocket diaper and that has worked great for her.

A few tips: The reason we lay fleece liners on the inserts in the diapers first is because you never want to put microfiber right onto the baby's bottom. It isn't a material that you want to be rubbing on the skin due to it's sometimes rough/irritating texture. Fleece is also a material that moisture soaks through and does not hold liquid, meaning having the fleece against the bottom for nap/sleeping time will help them to feel dry and not the wet insert against their bottom. Also with the fleece liner being in place when they poo you can just take the liner and swish it into the toilet to clean and not have to clean an insert or worry about the diaper, prefold or insert staining. I literally made the fleece inserts with an extra fleece blanket that I had in our closet. I cut the liners to be just a bit bigger than the size of the inserts that I was using and because they are fleece they will not shed so no need to sew them, just cut! Our reasoning for using disposable liners with our daughter over the fleece liners is the convenience. I really do not like dealing with toddler poo.. It's bad.. so with her poo diapers I only have to take the liner and flush that with the poo on it. I do not have to swish her diapers in the toilet or try to wash off it just all goes with the liner. You can get a package of liners for about$7 for 100 liners.

YouTube: If you ever have a question about a diaper, want to see what a certain type of diaper looks like or how you do something cloth diaper related go to YouTube!!! This is where I spent most of my time researching cloth diapers. I wanted to see them in action, I wanted to see what the insides looked like, how they closed, how to size them, stuff them, how they fit different babies etc! It was a great resource and I encourage you to use it as well!!

So good luck with your research and I hope that my beginning journey through cloth diapering has taught you something new! Thanks for reading!


~~Nichole~~

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