This is our journal about our happy, little rural life... our daily adventures and mishaps as we live in this modern society, with all of its wonder & horror. We are g r o w i n g each day; learning to live happier lives, making c h a n g e s that will effect ours & our children's future.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Our Kindergarden & Pre-K Homeschool Experience: Part 1- The Choice to Homeschool

As I have mentioned in the past, we are a homeschooling family.  It's just what is right for our particular family.  This year was our first true year!  My oldest son started Kindergarten, my second son started Pre-K, and my youngest tried to make the year extra challenging, haha.  Well, she followed along as best as she could.  I have been meaning to write a review & load it with pictures of our homeschooling experience for all those with the curious questions I've spoken to..  The other day I realized we've almost completed the second semester & I had yet to post anything!

Anyhow, last year we used the Seton Catholic Homeschool curriculum for my oldest, who was in Pre-K.  It really worked well for us in so many ways and my son seemed to learn a lot.  Yet, as parents, we worried that maybe they were missing out.  The big yellow bus was definitely attractive to a five year old and the idea of him having lots of little friends was pleasing too.  The day before kindergarten registration at our local public school, we still had not made a final decision.  I cried many tears for days at the thought of sending my little man off to school.  I was sad we wouldn't be teaching him any longer.  My heart broke daily as I thought of no longer painting with him, not being there to pick out library books with him,  and no longer snuggling together for story time.  However, I was devastated at the thought of having to separate my three kids from each other for most of their day.  They have a deep bond with each other and I wanted to nurture that, not break it.  Well, we finally decided to give homeschooling another year, and we would see how it went before making any further decisions.  I am so, very thankful for that calling.  It has not been a completely easy experience, but it has been a beautiful blessing.

"Parents are the first and the most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents." -St. John Paul II, Letter to Families. (

Below are just a few fun times from my oldest son's Pre-K year.

My silly, excited pre-k kiddo!

Practicing his handwriting and number recognition.

Calendar Math

Forming his letters in sand.

Caterpillar science

Counting bear math

A visit to the Museum of Natural Science was awesome.

Taking a break for a picnic lunch inside our new house.

Sunny Day science fun!

Intricate insect wings.

Finger paint work of art!

Making bird feeders

A trip to the zoo is always a joy!

Excited to be inside a real firetruck!

Floating practice at swimming lessons.
Learning to read!!!

Puzzle fun

My little Champion Mutton Buster!  He was awesome!

Reptile presentation at the library.

A love for reading.

Joined the swim team!

Launching rockets!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wool- the Perfect Diaper, Day or Night

If you've ever had to deal with leaky diapers, especially during the night, you'll appreciate and possible fall in love with wool diaper covers.  Wool is such an amazing, natural solution for diapering that has been used on babies for centuries!  It seems odd that a natural fabric without any type of plastic or laminate can really be waterproof, but it is!  We have never experienced any leaks using wool.  It breaths very well, which helps prevent most of the overnight ammonia smell that can occur during the night hours.  Wool's breathable nature also makes it ideal for preventing diaper rash, or for times when baby is recovering from a rash.  The best thing about wool diapers is the luxuriously soft, fluffy baby bottom!  Seriously, wool must be grandma's best kept diapering secret!

I use cotton prefold or flat diapers attached with a Snappi fastener under the wool cover.  You can find wool covers in several styles.  Soakers are typically underwear shaped, just covering the diaper itself.  Shorties have longer legs, fitting like a pair of shorts.  Longies are basically wool pants, coming down to baby's ankles, which are nice for cooler months.  Additional clothing should not be worn on top of the wool, because the clothing will likely wick the moisture out.

The one thing that initially held me back from trying wool diapers was the washing process.  However, after trying it, I wish I had started using wool earlier.  It's really easy to wash wool and they only need to be washed once every 5 days or so!  When wool diapers start to smell a bit like ammonia or you feel a bit of dampness on the outside of the cover, it's time to wash.  If you have several covers to rotate, you'll really only need to wash once a month or so.

In a bowl of lukewarm water, mix about 1 Tbsp of wool shampoo and a pea-sized amount of lanolin.  Swish to melt the lanolin in the water.  Leave the diaper to soak in the water for a while, approximately 20 minutes.  I usually wash wool at bedtime, then leave them soaking overnight.  After soaking, gently squeeze the majority of water out of the diaper, and roll the diaper in a towel to eliminate even more water.  Lay flat to dry.  The lanolin boosts the waterproof quality.  Some wool shampoos come with lanolin already mixed in.  If there's solid waste on the diaper, do a quick pre-wash with just the shampoo, no lanolin or soaking.

Washing wool diapers is quite easy!
  I use Imse Vimse Wool Shampoo and Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (the same lanolin that's great for new nursing moms). 

Ready for bed in her wool shorties.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make Baby Food and Healthy Popsicles at the Same Time

It seems we've reached that bittersweet point when baby doesn't want mushy baby food anymore.  She'd rather eat what we're eating and enjoys feeding herself.  It's a wonderful beginning to her growing independence and development... but I did enjoy making fresh, healthy baby food.

One afternoon each week, while I prepared supper, I would also steam several vegetables and fruits to make baby foods.  Once soft and cooled, I would puree the vegetables and fruits (we use the Magic Bullet- it's the perfect size & gives a super smooth texture).  Some vegetables would turn out rather runny (especially corn), so adding rice or oatmeal single-grain infant cereal would thicken it up.  Some vegetables would turn out very thick (especially sweet potatoes), so adding a little apple sauce, pure juice or the reserved cooking water would achieve the perfect texture.  The pureed foods would then be transferred into our ice trays and put in the freezer overnight.  Once they were completely frozen, I'd pop out the little baby food cubes and throw them in freezer bags.  No need to have a separate bag for each blend- I just labeled the bags with colors like "Orange- Sweet Potato & Apple" "Green- Peas & Carrots" or "Purple- Blueberry, Pear & Rice".  It saved space in my freezer this way.  When it's time to feed baby, take out however many cubes you need, place them in a serving bowl, then place the serving bowl in a dish of warm water to thaw the food.  We also stored a day's worth of cubes in the refrigerator, so they'd be thawed and ready to serve.

Freezing and Storing the Homemade Baby Food

My favorite reasons for making these frozen baby food cubes is that babies just LOVE to chew on the cold food in a mesh teether.  It gives them eating independence, soothes a teething baby's gums, and occupies baby just long enough to give Mommy a quick break to wrap up supper!  They are also Incredibly Cheap to make compared to all the jars of baby food you'd have to buy!  Let's not forget these are super healthy and as fresh as you want them!  Use your own garden veggies & fruits, or fresh veggies from the market.  Avoid using store-bought canned fruits and vegetables to make your own baby food because so many of the nutrients have already been lost.  Fresh is best!

Get creative with your baby food combinations!  Increase your babies palate for a lifetime love of healthy foods!  Here's just a few of our regular favorites:
Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato-Apple
Sweet Potato-Spiced Pear (from pears I canned with cinnamon sticks)
Lima Bean- Corn (Lima beans stay slightly chunky, better for older infant)
Corn-Rice Cereal
Green Bean
Blueberry-Banana-Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice-Rice Cereal
Banana-Oatmeal Cereal- Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Pear-Blueberry-Oatmeal Cereal
Apple- Cinnamon
Watermelon-Rice Cereal

For older kiddos, just put the same pureed vegetable and fruits into Popsicle trays for healthy summer treats!  Jazz it up by adding yogurt or honey to the puree before freezing.  **Babies Under 12-18 months old CANNOT EAT HONEY**  Honey should only be added to the popsicles for older kids.  My pediatrician told us to avoid feeding baby strawberries until about 12 months old too.

Another option for any juicers out there- freeze your fresh, healthy juices in the ice cube trays for baby's mesh teether or for kid's popsicles!

Fresh, Healthy Juice - This gorgeous blend is Beet, Cucumber, Carrot,  and Pear.

I made about 95% of the baby food myself, but I always kept some store-bought baby food on hand, ready to go for the diaper bag.  Infant rooms in most daycares have refrigerators with freezers in the room.  You may be able to provide the daycare with a bag of the baby food cubes, along with a small bowl and spoon to serve from, instead of sending the store-bought baby food jars.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chocolate Squash Muffins- Eating Your Veggies for Dessert

Summer vegetable gardens usually bring no shortage of yellow summer squash.  For us, it's one of the easiest, quickest maturing, and most productive plants.  It's definitely a regular vegetable in our garden.
Summer squash is best fresh, however, and coming up is different ways to eat the bounty is always interesting.  This is the beginning of an effort to post at least one recipe for each type of vegetable that we harvest from our summer garden this year.

Yellow Summer Squash

I recently purchased a great cookbook for gardeners called All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook, by Mel Bartholomew.  I love that each featured veggie or fruit has it's own section that includes a harvest guide, easy recipes, and a suggestions on how to involve kids of all ages.
Click here to get this great cookbook:
All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook, by Mel 

I made Mel Bartholomew's Creole Chocolate Squash Muffins.  With this recipe, I'm able to kill three bird with one stone (a side dish, baby food, & muffins).

I usually have a hard time following recipes directly.  I'll eyeball all the measurements, skipping all the extra dishes & measuring utensils (I don't have a dishwasher so I try to keep it simple) and I'll change several of the ingredients.... But for the sake of trying the new recipe the way Mel intended & for this post, I stuck to the recipe (almost... I added a shot of ground cinnamon into half of the muffin batter, just to try it)!

1 lb yellow squash (2-3 Medium) (I used about 10 small & had enough extra for supper & baby food)
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt

First- wash, cut & steam or boil yellow summer squash with a touch of salt & butter.  There you go- side dish for supper is ready!

Leftover boiled Yellow Squash from supper

Next- use leftover cooked squash (approx 2.5 cups) & purée.  You need to end up with 2 cups of yellow squash purée for the muffins.  If you have a baby like me, leave out the salt & butter in the first step, then purée a little extra & BAM- a healthy, yummy baby food.  Thicken it up with a bit of infant rice or oatmeal cereal, if you'd like.  Freeze whatever baby will not be eating that day.  Busy moms need to multitask!

Mmm- Healthy Baby Food

Then- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Take 2 cups of the squash purée and add the eggs to it, mixing very well.  In a separate bowl, combine the butter, cocoa, and white sugar.  Add this to the squash mixture and mix well.  Now, combine brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the flour mix.  Pour the squash mix into your well and carefully stir until completely incorporated.

Chocolate Squash mixture poured into the flour well.

Fill muffin tins/papers two-thirds full, and stick them in the oven.  Wash the dishes, change a diaper, and approximately 20 minutes later (or until toothpick test comes clean), you've got this yummy treat!

I always add a bit of water into the empty spaces on a muffin tin.  Nice thick batter!

Get a glass of milk ready & enjoy your chocolate squash muffin!  Mel says it makes 18 medium muffins, but I ended up with 22 (those extra 4 were gone in about 10 minutes).

Yummy Chocolate Squash Muffins!

The texture was very nice and moist.  They are mildly sweet, nice for a breakfast muffin.  I think a sprinkling of walnuts would be great on them, & the cinnamon I added is always appreciated in our house.  However, the chocolate flavor makes me think dessert.  If you wanted to serve it as such, I'd top it with a chocolate frosting.

Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Make Cloth Baby Wipes and Foaming Hand Soap at the Same Time

Whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, making and using your own cloth baby wipes is really easy, economical, and healthier for your baby's bottom (or nose, hands, face, high chair, mommy's hands, etc.... all the many things that need to be wiped with little ones around).  With 3 kids, I was going through packages of disposable wipes too quickly.  Using cloth wipes helped cut down that expense and gave us a wipe without all the nasty chemicals.  Just throw them in the hamper with the soiled cloth diaper & wash them together.  Even if you use disposable diapers, you could have a small bag at your diaper changing station to place the soiled cloth wipes in.  Then just wash them in hot water with a small amount (about 1/2 Tbsp for a medium load) of your regular laundry soap.

Making the Wipes:
Cutting up old T-shirts into wipe-sized squares can give you tons of wipes!  Using the packaged cheap baby bath wash cloths you find in department stores is an easy and effective option.  They have a smooth side, the textured terry side, and are the perfect size to fit into wipe containers.  I also love Birdseye cloth wipes.  They're thin enough to wash out very well, dry quickly, and have just the perfect texture for wiping messes (If a wipe is too smooth, like fleece, it just glides over the mess instead of picking it up).  I've bought some Birdseye wipes from Green Mountain Diapers and they are my favorite quality wipes.  If you are crafty at the sewing machine, wipes are easily made from any scraps of fabric sewn into approximately 8"x8" squares.

Folding the Wipes:
I like to fold my wipes in an interlocking style, just like disposable wipes, and place them inside an old empty wipe container.  They pop out of the box, easy to grab.
1. Lay out 2 wipes, overlapping halfway.
2. Fold the bottom wipe over the top one, into a rectangle shape.
3. The top one is folded over the edge of the other open wipe, into a rectangle.

4.  Lay the next wipe over folded wipe, lining up edges.
5.  Continue folding each wipe over the first until you get a full stack.
6.  Place into the empty wipes box.  Ready to use!

Wipe Solution Methods:
Most of the time, I like to pour my wipe solution over the wipes in the container so that they're ready to go.  Sometimes, however, I just keep the wipes dry in the container and use a squirt bottle with solution to wet each wipe before use.  This method just takes an extra step at each diaper change.  The dry method with a squirt bottle is best for diaper bags.  If wet wipes aren't used for a while, they will get funky.

Wipe Solution Recipe (and foaming hand soap!):

Ingredients for Cloth Wipe Solution and Foaming Hand Soap

The recipe I prefer for my wipe solution is as follows-
2 cups of filtered, clean water.
1 Tbsp. of Dr. Bonner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, in "Unscented Baby Mild"
1 Tbsp. of Glycerin
Several drops Essential Oil- Tea Tree or Lavender (Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties and smells great, so it's my regular choice.  Lavender is calming and relaxing, making it perfect for baby.)

I swish all these ingredients together in the cup of water, then pour it over the folded stack of wipes until they seem pretty damp.  Give the stack a little squeeze to remove excess water, and put them in the  empty wipe box.  Done!  Then I squeeze an extra small shot (about 1/2 Tbsp) of glycerin into the remaining solution and pour it into my foaming hand soap container & BAM!  Foaming Hand Soap, too!

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cloth Diapers: Aplix vs. Snaps

After recently having to make a change in our cloth diaper stash, I thought I'd give a quick, personal review of cloth diaper closures- Aplix vs. Snaps.  I've tried several different brands and styles of diapers over the years, but the closures all had the same issues regardless of brand.

Snaps are by far my favorite closure type because of their durability.  Typically, they will outlast the PUL lining and the elastics.  I've only had two damaged snaps...  One popped out of the fabric of a Bum Genius 4.0 pocket, but the diaper remained very functional.  The other one, on a Thirsties Duo wrap,  refused to snap together.  Both of these issues occurred after a crazy amount of use, however.  Snaps are typically harder for a baby to open, keeping the diaper on baby.  This closure type can be carelessly thrown in the hamper, without closing laundry tabs.  I find that I still get a great fit around the waist with snaps, too.  The only downfall I've personally had with snaps (and I've heard the same story from other moms) is that grandmas, childcare providers, babysitters, etc. have a much harder time with snaps.  They look more confusing & less like disposable diapers, so people tend to get turned off by them.  If they don't secure them with a proper fit, you will get leaks and more dirty clothing.

Although I prefer Snaps, Aplix closure definitley has had it's purpose in our stash.  Aplix gives the best fit around the waist for babies, especially small babies.  When poopies are still runny, this helps tremendously.  Aplix is also quicker to secure, making it easier to put on a squirmy 5 month old!  This closure looks a lot like the typical disposable diaper, so grandmas, childcare givers, babysitters etc are not so intimidated by the cloth diaper.  There was also a time I used aplix closure diapers on my potty-training son.  I had such horrible luck with trainers leaking and was very tired of the messes.  Since he could open the aplix closures and sit on the potty when he needed to, it worked great!  No, it didn't work as a "pull-up", but I'd always go to the bathroom with him anyway & putting his diaper back on wasn't much trouble for me.  (I have tried to refain from stay-dry pockets during potty training, preferring prefolds & flats so he can feel the wetness).  It is easy, however, for an 8 month old to remove his own diaper too.  Finding a diaper laying amongst the toys near a baby in a puddle of pee is not good!  Snaps fixed that!  Aplix closures also need to have the laundry tabs secured before washing, to prevent damage.  Aplix, in any brand we've tried, is far less durable than snaps- closure tabs will often be curled and no longer sticky when the PUL and elastics are still in great shape.  Repair kits can easily be applied by some sewing mommas or by hiring a seamstress.  Although my husband repaired one of our aplix pocket diapers, I didn't feel like it was worth the effort to keep repairing them all.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Painted Toast- Yummy Fun!

I plan on making Painted Toast as part of our Art lesson this week.  We made it many months ago and the boys loved it.  My mom taught me how to do this project when I was young.  It's super easy and yummy for the kiddos!

First, pour small amounts of milk into several small bowls.  Add food coloring to the milk, making several different colors.  Lay out slices of bread on plates or cookie sheets.  Have the child use a clean paint brush to apply the "paint" (colored milk) to the bread, making a beautiful masterpiece.  Before the bread is too soggy, place it in the toaster, and eat it!

Brushing the colored milk onto the bread.

I suppose you may need to stress that it's only milk, not paint... and that we don't eat real paint.  My boys watched me pour the milk and they know we don't eat paint, so I skipped the lecture.  My 2 year old did, however, move beyond the boundaries of his toast & decided to do a bit of body painting.  :)

My 2 year old painted himself with the colored milk.  Baby G is checking out the fun.  :)

The Painted Toast, ready for eating!

3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 7

The last day of the Flats & Handwashing diaper challenge was a busy one- working on our house and then a birthday party.  The next day was another busy one, working on the house and grilling hamburgers for Memorial Day (the first Memorial Day in several years that my sailor wasn't working)!  So I'm just getting around to writing about my experience finale.

Was using flat diapers and covers exclusively difficult?
Not at all.  We love flats!

Was hand washing diapers difficult?
No.  It just took a little extra time and elbow effort.

Was line drying diapers difficult?
No.  I don't have to blow the wind, so it was pretty easy and only required a few extra minutes to hang up and take down the diapers from the clothes line, drying rack, back of the dining room chair, or wherever I put them to dry.  

Was diapering with flats & covers, hand washing, and line drying expensive?
Absolutely NOT!  So unbelievably cheap!  This method and flat diapers will provide healthy & cheap diapers from birth till potty training, and still work for future babies!

So, why don't more economically challenged families use this method of diapering?!
Our society's values have changed over time, changed to incorporate constant ease and convenience, as well as a high desire to achieve "success".  The mothers of today's society have been exposed to the fact that disposable diapers are the norm and they are rarely even exposed to the option of cloth diapers.      Lessons in running an healthy, frugal & efficient household have been neglected by most of our mothers and grandmothers, by no fault of their own.  Even if they did try to give us such lessons, society has constantly pushed the opposite on us with fast foods, lavish homes, expensive clothes, pedicures, and gym memberships... as well as the need to acquire the time-consuming, prestigious jobs it requires to pay for all of it!  Making more money to pay for all of our stuff has become the most important thing for most people.  The goal of raising happy & healthy kids in a happy & healthy family environment has been lost in the struggle.  Using cloth diapers is just one of many ways for families to live within their means.

Will I stop using flats and hand washing now that the challenge is over?
No way!  I have loved using flat diapers for a long time now and I will continue to use them.  I have always line dried diapers fairly often and I'm currently line drying all of our laundry full time, until we move into our new house.  For hand washing, I will not continue to do this everyday.  I will, however, use this method when the need arises- camping, frequent hurricane-season power outages, or when my washer breaks (it's been making awful sounds lately, so I'm expecting it to break down any day).

I'm glad I was able to pay tribute to all those hard working mothers that hand wash diapers daily as part of their normal routine, and increase my appreciation of the modern luxury of the washing machine!!

Read more about this awesome diaper challenge here:
Dirty Diaper Laundry 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Saturday, May 25, 2013

3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 6

Well, tomorrow is the last day of handwashing flats, and it's not even that exciting- using only flat diapers, hand washing and line drying them isn't that bad!

During my cloth diapering experience, I've found that pocket diapers are my favorite traveling diaper.     For this challenge, I was able to pre-stuffed pocket diapers with 2 flats pad-folded - it works really well.  No fiddling around, trying to re-stuff a cover, find the Snappi, etc.   Diapering on the go with 3 kids in tow needs to be quick and easy!

I've also recently grown to appreciate disposable liners for traveling purposes- when poopy diapers won't get cleaned until several hours later, liners make the job much more manageable.  Since I wasn't able to use disposable liners for this challenge, I used the fleece liners I made from cutting up a cheap fleece blanket.  That has worked well, especially since we are dealing with a stomach virus here and have plenty of dirty diapers!

I know my grandma is looking down from Heaven & she still probably thinks I'm crazy for using cloth diapers, especially flats...  But the truth is, it's not that hard & I love that we are using something reusable, healthy & CHEAP!

Read more about this awesome diaper challenge here:
Dirty Diaper Laundry 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Friday, May 24, 2013

3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 5

So... a small stomach virus put a whole new twist on the diaper hand washing challenge!  The combination of a stomach virus and cloth diapers is always a chore, especially since I don't have a diaper sprayer at the toilet.... but when each diaper must be hand washed & dried- I think I just earned myself a glass of wine tonight!  She's already showing improvement, so I'm sure she'll be better soon.  It's always heartbreaking when the kiddos are sick.

Thus far during this challenge, I've found that cloth diapering with flats and covers, hand washing, and line drying works great- it just takes a little extra effort and time.  Nothing worthwhile comes easily, though.  I'm loving my Nellie's Laundry Soda for hand washing, and because it's non-toxic and biodegradable, I could use it while camping.  I've found that air drying these hand wrung diapers indoors leaves them stiff and rough, much more that line drying outdoors.  Plus, I prefer the faster drying time outdoors.  I do realize drying diapers outdoors isn't an option for a lot of people, and that's why I dried them indoors a few times.

I am looking forward to using my washing machine again.  I'll have to wait until we finish building our house to use a dryer again.  I sure do miss my big, fluffy bath towels.  Very soon, hopefully!

Drying diapers and regular laundry on this warm & breezy morning.

Read more about this awesome diaper challenge here:
Dirty Diaper Laundry 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 4

Today, we are asked to report on our handwashing experience thus far.  Like I said before, I've been using flats and line drying since forever.  Hand washing, however, was my challenge.  Overall, handwashing is a bit of a chore, but totally attainable.  I feel great about being able to efficiently hand wash our clothes and diapers since we live in South Texas, minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.  Hurricane season usually leaves us without power, often for hours or days at a time. 

Although I realize it's physically easier to wash only a few diapers at a time several times throughout the day, I just haven't had that kind of time to sit in the bathroom and hover over the diaper wash, leaving the kids somewhat unattended.  During a mere 1.5 minute potty break yesterday, I came out to find my nearly 3 year old literally fishing in our fish aquarium and my 4 year old had brought his bottle of mosquito larvae inside to make a habitat for them.  Not cool.  Not at all.  Therefore, I primarily wash my diapers early in the morning, and then let them sit in the bucket until it's time to take the kids outside to play.  We usually head outside about 10am, because by that time breakfast is over, dishes are washed, laundry work is under way, and we are ready for a break from the preschool work.

I've been using Nellie's Washing Soda for about 2 months now. It's been wonderful, but it's amazing now that I'm handwashing! That has to be why I've had such an easy time washing...
I place my 5 gallon bucket (camp-style washer) into my shower, add all the diapers and fill completely with hot water. I let them soak for about 2-3 minutes (while I brush my teeth).   I pour it all out and then add only a managable amount of diapers (about 5 diapers, a cover, and several wipes) and enough hot water to cover them completely. I use the plunger with holes drilled in it to aggitate the diapers for only about 1 minute. Then, I wring them dry, placing them aside as I go, and continue until all diapers are rinsed.   Pour out the rinse water.  I then place a managable amount of diapers into the bucket again, fill just over 3/4 full with hot water and add about 1/4tsp of Nellie's washing soda. I aggitate them for about 3 minutes with the plunger, wring them dry, and set them aside.  Wash the remaining diapers (usually another 5, plus a couple covers & wipes), and wring dry.  I then place all diapers back in the bucket, fill with hot water, aggitate for about 30 seconds or so.  Wring them all dry as hard as I can (yes, my hands are sore by now), and I'm done.  They smell and look completely clean.

Hand washing diapers using our camp-style washer in the shower.

I've also hand washed our overnight diapers like this and they turn out great too!  For overnight, I primarily use a small pad-folded flat or prefold placed inside a large prefold, fasten with a Snappi and cover with a wool or fleece soaker.  Another nighttime diaper I just recently tried & love is the KaWaii Good Night Heavy Wetter one-size pocket diaper.  There several thick microfiber terry inserts that go inside.  No leaks, keeps bottoms dry all night, and fits my baby and my nearly 3 year old!  I wish I had these for my oldest son- I would have saved so much money opposed to buying disposable pull-ups for nighttime!  I hand washed and line dried the prefolds and this KaWaii GNHW pocket diaper and it was great!  I'm totally impressed!

Line drying diapers outside.  Obviously, this is the preferred method.  Quicker drying time, sun bleaches any stains, and it doubles as outside play time.

Little G is always helping me.  This picture was taken a week or so before the challenge, hence the prefolds.
Ready for bed in her WAHM-made wool shorties over a Geffen Baby pad-folded hemp jersey flat,  laid in a prefold, & secured with a Snappi. 
Last night, however, I decided to wash a load of diapers before I took a shower.  I had planned on putting the whole accordion rack in the shower to drip, but then I realized I still needed to take a shower and the air circulation is terrible in the bathroom.  So I moved the rack under a ceiling fan, and placed a towel underneath to catch the water drippings.  By 6am, they were still damp, but by 8am, they were dry.  Outside, these hand washed diapers dry in about an hour (I live in windy, hot South Texas- the perfect place for drying clothes outside).
Line drying diapers inside.  The new fleece liners I made air dry in a snap!

Read more about this awesome diaper challenge here:
Dirty Diaper Laundry 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge