Jul 30, 2009
Jul 29, 2009
When I was shopping for cloth diapers at Nurtured Family (my favorite store, can't you tell!) I discovered the Taylor Made Water Mesh Baby Sling. I have stayed away from slings in the past as they seemed complicated to get the baby in and out of. I went ahead and purchased the white water sling, and the woman at Nurtured Family helped me practice putting the sling on and getting a baby doll into it. I am totally happy with the purchase! It was great to have at the pool, I could go into the water with Logan secured and both my hands free for Aidan. The breathable mesh keeps baby cool while out of the water and the fabric dries quickly (faster than my bathing suit!)
I am still learning how to getting him in and out of it, so it takes a few minutes to get going - I would say it's close to the same amount of time to get situated with our other carriers with all the safety clasps. I think the thing I am most impressed with is the versatility of positions: front, side, cradle, back, forward facing (though Logan doesn't like that one because his legs have to be tucked in front of him.) My only complaint about the sling is that it limits that range of motion you have on your left arm, as the sling is spread over that shoulder (for a right handed carrier) to disperse the weight of the baby.
To end on a good note - the sling takes up very little space, so it is perfect to stash in your diaper bag when not in use. I am so enamored with this product that I am even considering forgoing the stroller when we take our next flight!
Do you have a favorite "baby on the go" product? If so, please leave the name of the product and why you can't live without it!
Jul 28, 2009
Jul 27, 2009
(Image from http://www.advertisingarchives.co.uk/)
Now that I am not working, I feel the need to live up to this 50's housewife model. Don't get me wrong - I'm not about to do housework wearing a dress, high heels, and make-up. But somewhere deep inside I want to have the house clean and clutter free, the kids behaving, and dinner on the table when my husband comes home. It might be guilt that I am not helping to pay the bills any more or the aforementioned perfectionism. There is so much to do around the house and I feel bad when I don't complete everything.
I have realized that I need to find balance between my inner Joan Cleaver and my 2009 self. I can't do everything on my To Do list in one day, unless I make them more realistic. Here is the list I had made myself yesterday:
- Wash cloth diapers
- Wash dark clothes
- Pick-up the husbands new glasses
- Get the Groceries for the week
- Look at & research refrigerators
- Go to dollar store for table place mats
- Clean the bathrooms (2.5)
- Make cloth baby wipes
- Make appointment for children's photos
- Decide on & order photo prints for baby book
Of those items, I managed to complete six tasks - on top of having to bring the kids to daycare and the hubby to work (his car decided to die last week so it was brought to the shop yesterday morning.) If I had superpowers I might have been able to complete that list, but alas I do not.
I am mindful that I need to step back and look at the most important things in my life and set priorities. Since I have been home 2 months now, the kids have become complete Mamma's boys. The baby (Logan) will go to my husband for short periods of time, then demand for me by screaming and stretching out his arms. The older one, seeing this, cannot be outdone and will then climb onto my lap and try to crawl all over me. It gets very tiring having a constant demand for my attention and trying to keep the house in order.
The other big drain is getting dinner on the table. Once 5 PM rolls around, the kids are fussy and Logan needs to eat his dinner. It makes it very difficult to prep wholesome meals when you are trying to feed a baby and keep a 3 year old from having a melt down. To solve this problem I have decided to make weekly menus. After completing the grocery shopping, I will prepared all the fruits and veggies for the first 3 days of meals. That way I can just pull the containers out of the fridge and throw together the meal. Mid-week I will prepare the second half of the weeks produce and repeat.
I'm sure, in time, I will come to grips with the demands of my new life and find my balance.
Jul 26, 2009
The gDiapers are proving useful for outings as you don't need a wet bag, but I really don't want to buy inserts for them and they don't work well with a standard prefold. I should say that my prefolds may not be the best on the block either as they are 3 years old and been washed a ton. I probably need to strip the residue off of them if I want to seriously consider their use. I had tried one under the bummis super brite cover seeing how I hadn't finished conditioning the Kissaluv's fitted diaper, totally leaked right through the cover! We have the Kissaluv's diaper on him with that same cover for the current nap, so an initial review will probably be up in the next few days.
I have decided that it is silly of me to be doing cloth diapers and still use disposable wipes. So my next step in my green conversion is to switch over to cloth wipes....story to come soon!
Jul 24, 2009
I thought I'd start a segment on my blog called Eco-Friendly Friday's. The purpose will be to highlight a environmentally friendly option used to replace a wasteful habit. I will only mention things that I personally use (as with all things on this blog.) Just before the trip, I picked up a new product called the Diva Cup. Warning: if you are a man or at all squeamish about discussing feminine products I suggest you stop reading this post!
The Diva Cup is a revolutionary menstrual product that is actually a re-design of a older product. It is a sanitary product that you wear internally, wash, and reuse. Not only will you help save the planet by reducing the amount of plastic waste that goes into landfills from tampons and pads, but you will also save money! Are you sick of pads bunching and tampons leaking down the string? If so, this may be the product for you.
The cup is made of medical grade silicone and is sold with a fabric storage bag and detailed directions for product use. I can attest that it takes a couple days to get the hang of inserting the product, but once that is figured out you will be leak free and it can go a long time between emptying when you are on lighter days. The directions have the last step as a "spin" of the inserted product - this is where I was having trouble but once I got that down I have been leak free. When it leaks due to improper insertion it gets very messy very quickly. You will end up with blood all over the cup and your hand and will most likely have some bloody discharge for a little while after proper insertion.
One of the neat features of this cup is that it just collects the blood and does not remove the natural lubrication of the vaginal canal like tampons do. One downside to the product is that you do need to rinse it out, making public restrooms a bit challenging. The directions say that you can just empty it out into the toilet and wipe it off during outings and just wash it when you are able to. Seeing how I did vacation with this product, I know that you can wear it during all normal activities without issue - swimming, walking, running, etc.
If you have any questions or have used the product and can add anything, please leave a comment!
Jul 20, 2009
It will be a few days until the reviews of the new diapers are posted as I am taking a short vacation, and honestly I don't feel confident enough with cloth diapers to take them on the trip. Anyway, these are the the models you can expect reviews on soon (plus updates on the other models):
- FuzziBunz Fitted Pocket Diaper
- Blueberry Pocket Diaper with snaps (combo hemp/terry soaker)
- Kissaluvs Hemp Fitted with a Bummis Super Brite cover
If you have a favorite brand of cloth diaper (or you are a WAHM and make your own) I would love to hear from you, just add a comment to this post with your suggested brand and I'll check it out!
Jul 19, 2009
Jul 17, 2009
It seems that they are still in the idea formulation stage of this process from the information that has been released. It appears they will have a survey of questions for their retailers and no clear index system created yet. What I hope will come out of this process is not just the executives of the companies putting in trash numbers to make their product look green, but actually have some oversight in the system to verify the true environmental impact. It might be a good place for some environmental watchdog groups to focus their collective energy.
This could prove to be a revolutionary step in the retail world and manufacturing. I would be willing to bet it would cause a few manufacturing company's to re-evaluate their materials acquisition and packaging to reduce waste, reduce energy, and increase sustainability. I would love to walk into a store and see products packaged in recycled cardboard with recycled paper tags, only using recycled plastic. Better yet, why don't we go back to little to no packaging at all...just a tag with the product name, price and UPC. What I would love even more would be one of these giant nationwide stores to get rid of the plastic bags! Insist that customers bring reusable shopping bags or offer them boxes the canned goods, etc have come in (think warehouse club style.) The reusable shopping bags are far superior in strength and volume anyway. I can fit a normal grocery run, for a family of four, with a weeks worth of groceries into 4-5 reusable bags (bags cost around $1) where if plastic were used it would be packed in at least double the amount of bags.
So here are my questions to you:
- Would you choose to shop at a store that offered a "Green Index" (Walmart or other) over one that did not?
- Would you pay more for items that had a lower environmental impact due to increased costs for reclaiming or recycling products used in production? (Example - reclaiming metal from alkaline batteries which is cost prohibitive now, but a major contaminator of the environment.)
Any other comments, as always, are welcome :)
Jul 16, 2009
I proclaimed mid-morning that he was going to help me make lunch today, an exciting event for him. A little before lunch, I got out all the supplies we needed to make some wonderful egg salad sandwiches. He helped me put all the ingredients for the sauce in the bowl and mix it up, chop the eggs (with a closed chopper), mix again, and assemble his sandwich. He was delighted by the entire process, including wearing his very fashionable apron.
Jul 15, 2009
What I'm getting at is this: no matter what the product is there will be people who love it and there will be people who hate it. I not-so-fun part is weeding through all the information and reviews with a nice heavy dose of skepticism. Remember that people are more likely to review a product if they have had a negative experience with it. For those of you looking into cloth diapering for the first time, let me help you out with what I've learned:
- Old Fashioned flat or pre-folded diapers: clipped or pinned and put under a diaper wrap or cover
- Fitted Diapers: cloth diaper that has snaps or Velcro so no pins or clips required, still need an outer wrap or cover to hold in wetness
- Pocket Diapers: Usually have a waterproof shell and and inner lining that you stuff with an insert.
- All-in-Ones (AIO's): a complete diaper all together - cover, insert, lining, and Velcro or snap closure. They are similar to a disposable in that you just take off the old one and put a new one on, throwing the old one in the wash. Most of these require you to buy different sizes as your baby grows.
- One-Size: either pocket diapers or AIO's but they have a snaps to adjust the rise and on a few models the leg openings adjust as well.
- Fit issues - seems that thinner kids are prone to leaking around leg openings, large kids have a hard time getting a fit that is not too tight or rise ends up being insufficient causing leaks at the waist
- Closure issues - saw a large number of complaints over Velcro closures pilling and becoming unusable or irritating the babies tummy or legs, some had issues with snap closures not allowing enough sizing flexibility
- Wetting through - issues with the inserts not being absorbent enough or repelling urine instead of absorbing it after some extended use
- Customer service issues - some diapers did not get favorable reviews due to interaction with the company not being up to the reviewers standard - or not receiving the accommodation desired
- Materials/production issues - some diapers where written off because they were all or in part constructed in China. Others claimed that product quality varied depending on where it was constructed (one that comes to mind said that USA product was less absorbent than Chinese product of same brand.)
In the end (no pun intended) I believe you will just need to try several types and see which work best for you and your baby. Each baby is built differently so you need to see what brand/style fits your child best as well as your lifestyle. You might get lucky and have the 1st diaper you try work, but it might end up taking several trials before finding what works.
Here are some sites you might want to check for info and reviews:
In the meantime, I'm going to check out my local earth friendly baby supply store and see some of these brands up close and personal before I invest any money.
I attempted another preparation method for the barley that failed miserably. I thought I could pulverize the dry barley in the food processor then I could just cook what I need for the day and be done - wrong! The barley was barely changed after several aggressive attempts, a mortar and pestle might work but I don't have one in my kitchen and frankly that's too complicated for me. If you are looking to make a smooth cereal from pearled barley I would suggest my original method then push it through a medium sieve to get the big chunks out.
I prefer cauliflower to broccoli as a first food as its taste is milder. Logan has turned his nose up at carrots due to their strong flavor so I've been going with the milder vegetables.
Cut one head of cauliflower into medium sized florets and wash thoroughly. Place the washed florets into a microwave safe bowl, add water to coat the bottom of the dish and cover. Microwave on high for 10 min or until a fork inserted into the stem meets no resistance. Scoop the florets into the bowl of a food processor, add water until it reaches 1/4 to 1/3 of the side and puree (depending on the texture you desire). Portion into an ice cube tray and freeze then move to a storage container (I use freezer bags) until use.
Jul 14, 2009
I still haven't decided which route I would like to go, I'll probably try several types to see which work best for me (and Logan!) I'll let you know what I recommend - in the meantime, if you have experience with cloth diapering please leave a comment sharing your expertise!!
I'm going to try processing the barley before cooking it next time to try and get a smoother consistency...I'll let you know how it goes!
Here's a successful baby food recipe that yields the equivalent of ~8 first food jars for a fraction of the cost:
Pureed Acorn Squash
Cut 1 acorn squash length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place in a large microwave safe bowl with lid and add 1/2 c water to the bowl. Cover loosely and microwave for 10 min on high power, or until tender. Carefully remove the hot squash from the bowl and let cool until able to handle on a plate or cutting board. Scoop the squash off the skin using a large spoon and place in a food processor. Blend with some of the steaming liquid until the desired consistency has been reached. Scoop into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the tray into a labelled freezer bag. When ready to use, remove the desired amount and thaw in the microwave or fridge.
Jul 13, 2009
1 pkg frozen winter squash, prepared according the pkg directions
1 pkg refrigerated cheese tortellini, prepared according to pkg directions
4-5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 tsp dried sage (fresh is better if available)
Add the butter to a small skillet over medium heat and melt while swirling the pan. Once melted, add the sage and stir constantly. You will see the butter foam up then start to form brown specks as it clarifies, about 2 minutes (careful not to burn it!). Mix the butter sauce with the squash, add 1/2 cup pasta water to thin the squash if desired. Toss with the pasta and serve.
Alternative: You could substitute 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp Nutmeg and 1 Tbsp Brown sugar for the sage to create a sweet dish. Simply melt the butter and bloom the spices in it, once the foaming subsides add the sugar. Stir to dissolve and remove from heat.
My desire is to blend "the good ol' days" with our modern conveniences to arrive at a simple life with wholesome quick food, enriched & happy children, and promote a healthy earth - all while trying to cut costs!