Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Graduation Party and How I Feel About Eco-Fina

photo credit: CarbonNYC
Today my amazing husband threw me a graduation party. That's right people: I'm a Bachelor Degreed mama now! And I graduated at the top of my class in my major (Child and Family Studies), even though at the end I dealt with the deployment of my husband and the birth of our daughter in the middle the semester. I'm pretty stinkin' proud of myself. They asked me to make a speech at graduation, which I declined to do, because I didn't want to walk across the stage. All I wanted was a party... which was awesome!

Anyway, Eco-fina... Since I turned "crunchy" I decided that any parties we had I would just fill up the sink and have everybody wash their own plate so we didn't have to use disposables and nobody would be stuck with all the dishes at the end. Today, however, we had our party outside, so we used disposable plates and utensils. A lot of people complain about how companies promote how "green" their disposable products are, when it would be greener to just not use them. But today I was glad that I had the option to use "greener" disposables: biodegradeable, recycled plates and recycled plastic silverware. It's not something I do often, but I'm glad that I have light green options as opposed to... I dunno... brown options?

How does this equate with Eco-fina? Well, lately I have seen a lot of controversy about the Eco-fina bottles that use less plastic. Yes, I know... people shouldn't drink bottled water in the first place. But there are people who are going to drink it no matter what you say about the environment, and I hope that those people drink Eco-fina.

I think there are shades of green, and while it is best to be a dark, hunter green (cloth toilet paper and solar panels kind of green), some of us are a lighter forest green, and some are light green and drink out of Eco-fina water bottles. It's still better than the conventional ones.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Dumpster Diving

photo credit: caterina

Some of my favorite decorative things in my home have come from a dumpster. We live in an apartment complex, and when people move out you can find absolutely amazing finds in the dumpster. There was the shelf in our kitchen, already painted to perfectly match our table (my husband found that one when he was taking out the trash. The dumpster was empty except for the shelf). There's the huge black frame holding Doodlebug's picture (it had an ugly picture and broken glass, we just took it out). I got a nice desk chair for my brother, an expensive towel rack for my mom, and a new-looking trash can just missing the lid (I use it as a recycle bin).

So many people think that dumpster diving is "disgusting" and "germy". Well, germy maybe. Wear gloves and wash your hands when you get home if you are worried about that (it's a good idea anyway). But I have never had to get in the dumpster to get things. If I can't reach I use a bent hanger to pick things up.

I'm not a professional dumpster diver or anything (though I totally admire the freegans who can get food and everything). I don't do it that often. But if good stuff is just sticking out of the trash can you can bet I'll take it!

If you live in an apartment and notice that someone is moving out, just stop by the dumpster and see what they have gotten rid of. If you live in a college town, stop by the dorms at the end of the school year. The dumpsters get so full that people start leaving their trash outside the dumpsters. Most of those kids can't be bothered with moving their stuff home for the summer, so they throw it away. You can dumpster dive at store dumpsters, too, provided they are not locked up or marked "No Trespassing". A lot of stores now destroy their products to keep people from dumpster diving (which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If they don't want it anymore why can't someone else have it?!). I have always secretly wanted to dumpster dive at Hobby Lobby, but I haven't done it at a store yet. While digging, think outside the box: Can I use this item for more than its intended use? Can it be cleaned up, painted up, or spiffed up to make it useable? Can something be used for its hardware or scrap wood?

So many people in America today have no appreciation for the things they have. It is easier just to throw things away than to repurpose them or find someone who needs them. By dumpster diving, you are keeping unwanted items out of the landfill, and if it was something you needed, you are preventing the production (and all the waste and pollution that goes with it) of that item.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nothing to do with the environment

This has absolutely nothing to do with the environment except that it made mine happier: My husband is home from a year long deployment!!! Don't expect to hear from me for a few days, but then after that I may be able to write more because he's here to help with Doodlebug.

Wooohhooooo! Thank you God for my husband coming home!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The River

photo credit: DigitalArt2

There is a river that runs right through the center of my town. When I was a little girl, we lived right down the street from it, and sometimes when it rained the water would run up over the road, rushing and rushing, covering the bridge. My parents would take us down to see the river, always keeping us back a safe distance (though I'm sure my brother tried to get closer). The river was normally pretty small, but when it flooded it was something to be afraid of as well as something to be admired. It was wild and untamed and, to me, beautiful.

As an adult I came back to this little town and my little river and cried. What had happened to my river? It was choked with trash, and nearly dry from drought and damming. In my childhood, had I imagined the grandeur of the river? In my smallness, had I seen the river as larger than it was? Maybe. But something tells me I didn't. I remember the river washing away a car once. Now it is a tiny trickle, the land around it parched and cracked.

And so I cry for my river, and I cry for my daughter, who will never get to see it the way I once did, majestic and powerful and free.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why Eat Local Foods

photo credit: sbocaj
Economic Impact of Local Foods
According to Sandor Ellix Katz, “… (G)lobalized corporate food follows a long and largely inscrutable chain of transactions, most of which is invisible to the consumer. In this food system, only a tiny proportion of what consumers spend on food at the store goes to the people who grow it. The bulk of our food spending immediately departs from our local communities into the unfathomably huge infrastructures of the shipping and trucking, food processing, marketing, and retailing industries… Rather than paying for food itself, we are paying for an elaborate system for getting it to the right place, at the right time, in the right processed form, and in the right package” (Katz 2).

Many people hearing about local food automatically think organic. But local food has very little to do with organic. You could run out to Wal-Mart and buy organic fruit and think you have done your part. When people buy food, though, they should really consider where their money is going. “A dollar spent on organic plums at Wal-Mart goes to corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to the real-estate developer who owns the land the store is built on, to the truckers who brought it there, and as a small fraction of that dollar, to the grower and the cashier.”

But there is a better way. “In the traditional local food system, wealth (in the form of food) is created locally, from the land worked by the people. The money people spend on food in that context gets recirculated locally, and food production is a significant generator of economic activity: it supports local mechanics, babysitters, craftspeople, and other local food producers. In economics, this phenomenon is called the multiplier effect. A dollar spent on a local grower’s produce will continue to circulate locally and multiply its benefits through economic stimulation”(Katz 1). In other words, the dollar spent at Wal-Mart on organic plums went directly to the corporation. The dollar spent on plums at a local farmers marker went directly to the grower, and thus, out into our community. The local plums may not have the label organic due to the hassle of government organics standards, but chances are they are grown without chemicals. And if you aren’t sure about growing practices, you can always ask the farmer!

Environmental Impact of Local Foods
It really doesn’t do much good to buy organic food that has to be shipped all over the country, or the world. It is exposed to chemicals in shipping, as well as wasting precious fossil fuel resources. According to,”(a) tremendous amount of fossil fuel is used to transport foods such long distances. Combustion of these fuels releases carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change, acid rain, smog and air pollution. Even the refrigeration required to keep your fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats from spoiling burns up energy.” In addition, industrial food producers use large amounts of plastic packaging, which is non-biodegradable and nearly impossible to recycle.

The shipping of industrial food is not the only part that causes environmental problems. The actual growing of the food itself harms the environment. While many small farmers who sell locally grow many different types of produce and practice sustainable agriculture, industrial farms favor monocropping, or only growing one type of plant. “… Single crops, as the Irish learned the hard way with the potato blight in 1845, are more susceptible to devastation by pest invasion and disease. The industrial answer is herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides to kill weeds, insects, and molds. So powerful are these chemicals, industrial farmers have dispensed with crop rotation—the age-old method for keeping pests and disease at bay—but the apparent efficiency is illusory. With this system, pests and pathogens traditionally kept in check by switching crops accumulate, thus requiring yet more pesticides” (Planck 146-147). Buying local foods sends a message to these environmentally irresponsible large growers that people won’t stand for it anymore, and it is time to make a change to more responsible, sustainable farming.

Nutritional Effects of Local Food
Since food travels further from field to table than ever before, “greater time elapses between harvest and consumption, during which nutrients are diminished” (Katz 5). According to, “fresh food from local farms is healthier than industrially-farmed products because the food doesn’t spend days in trucks and on store shelves losing nutrients… Food transported short distances is fresher (and, therefore, safer) than food that travels long distances. Local food has less of an opportunity to wilt and rot whereas large-scale food manufacturers must go to extreme lengths to extend shelf-life since there is such a delay between harvest and consumption. Preservatives are commonly used to keep foods stable longer, and are potentially hazardous to human health.”

Another health problem encountered with industrial food distribution is food-borne diseases. Consider the 2006 outbreak of E-coli from spinach. All that spinach came from a single region in California, but was spread throughout the country! The disease would have been contained if the food was distributed locally, and would have less likely led to the widespread panic the outbreak caused.

Industrial foods such as ground beef could be a problem as well. Meat from hundreds of cows is all mixed together. One sick cow could contaminate thousands of pounds of ground beef, which is then shipped all over America! In contrast, if you buy ground beef locally, it is very easy to know which cow caused the contamination and get that food off the market!

Fun, Tasty Effects of Local Foods
Local foods just taste better! Typical food from your supermarket is picked underripe to survive the journey to the grocery store, then artificially ripened. Local foods can be picked at the peak of perfection for the most amazing taste experience!

It is not hard to eat local foods, despite the adjustment period of not eating strawberries in December. Just start out trying to buy foods grown in your state. Find a grocery store based in the state you live in. Or try a farmers market. Quit shopping at Wal-Mart. When you have the choice between domestic food and imported, choose the domestic one! Now that I have begun my own transition to local foods, I see how very easy it is to do, and how important it is to make a difference. I will admit that I’m not a total localvore (yet), but I try to do my part and buy as locally as possible.

Katz, Sandor Ellix. The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. Chelsea Green, 2006.
Planck, Nina. Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Bloomsbury USA, 2007.
SustainableTable.Org. “The Issues: Buy Local.” Accessed April 27, 2008.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I was a featured blogger on Healthy Moms this week. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Review-- The Complete Organic Pregnancy

I cannot recommend The Complete Organic Pregnancy enough to anyone who is new to the organic/natural lifestyle. Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu cover in depth everything from beauty products to furniture to food. It covers from the "preparing for pregnancy stage" to after the baby is born, but I don't just recommend it to pregnant or trying-to-become-pregnant women. It is the ultimate resource for anyone beginning to pursue the organic life (you might warn your husband first, though, if you're reading it and not pregnant. ;) ).

A little word of warning though: if you are offended by cursing, there are a few not-so-nice words in some of the diary entries (which are included as side stories).

I love this book, and I have read it multiple times to get ideas of what to eliminate next from my chemical-laden life. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Small Steps: Big Impact-- Razors

Switch your disposable razors for one with a replaceable head to reduce waste. Or better yet, switch to an electric razor so you aren't throwing anything away.

I just switched to a razor with a replaceable head, but I'm thinking I may go to electric soon. I think it would be more convenient as Doodlebug has a limited lack-of-attention span and my showers are pretty rushed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grocery Goals

photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

In my quest to live a more natural lifestyle and eat healthier foods, I have found it is too easy to get overwhelmed with "rules". I am new to all of this, and I have my weaknesses (hello, Digiorno!), so as I shop I am trying to keep in mind that my ideals are goals, not rules. Here are my current goals. As time goes on I'll add more and become more strict about them, but for now, here are my current goals.

~No high fructose corn syrup.

~No artificial dyes (a color with a number after it).

~No trans fats (hydrogenated anything).

~No MSG (this is a biggy for me because I am sensitive to it in large doses, but small amounts seem to be in everything!)

~Try to buy organics or skip the "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies.

~Soy should not be a main ingredient (I'll allow it for now if it's far down on the ingredient list. Eventually I'd like to completely eliminate it).

It is important to me for Doodlebug to start out eating healthy foods, and it's up to me (since I'm doing most of the cooking) to set a good example for her. The main goal is to get rid of as much processed food as I can, and my mini-goals will help me get there one step at a time.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Making the switch to cloth

photo credit: ms. lume

I have been using cloth grocery bags for a while now, but with my discovery of cloth diapers, I started changing everything I could over to cloth, non-disposable options.

Paper towels- I was already using microfiber cloths for most of my cleaning. I do keep paper towels, but I only use them for things like draining bacon. When they run out, I don't plan on buying any more.

Diapers- Obviously, I use cloth. I still have a stash of 'sposies from my pre-cloth days, but, same as the paper towels, when they run out I'm not buying more. I really only use them for things like long car trips, when it wouldn't be safe to pull over to change Doodlebug's diaper. Disposables are more absorbent, so she can last 'til I can get to a gas station.

Facial tissue- I have really bad allergies and I seriously blow my nose a LOT. And cheapy tissue doesn't cut it, so I was spending a ton of money on the soft lotiony kind of tissue. I was going to sew myself some cloth hankerchiefs (which would NOT have been pretty. I can't sew.), but my mom found me a whole bunch of vintage hankies at an auction for a dollar. They are so soft and much sturdier than a tissue.

Girly stuff- No details here. Suffice it to say: Cloth nursing pads and mama cloth.

Toilet paper?- Yes, I'm totally going there. This is my latest switch. I thought I would have a hard time with this one, but I haven't. You can buy cloth toilet paper online or make it yourself with flannel and buy a nice wetbag, but I just went out and bought two 18-packs of washcloths and use a mop bucket to throw them in. You probably need a wet bag if you don't plan on washing very often, but it's not really a problem if you are already washing diapers. This post has a great explanation of how one woman does it. And no, it's not gross. I think it's a whole lot nicer than a dry square of paper. And if you can wipe your baby's bottom with cloth, you can wipe your own with it, too.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Crunchy Living

This started out as my adventure to save the planet. I didn't expect huge changes in every product I used. It was simply my goal to reduce consumption and waste and encourage other people to do so as well. I so desperately want there to be a planet left for my little girl when she grows up.

The more research I have done, though, the more I have discovered that there is more to it than that. I have started to think about the chemicals in our food, and what we put on our bodies (at this stage Doodlebug puts everything in her mouth, so anything on my skin or hair goes directly into her mouth). So there will be more posts on natural alternatives from time to time as well.

It is all intertwined, I think. Once you start trying to be more environmentally friendly, you naturally progress to being more natural in every aspect. Sometimes it works the other way around. Some people are worried about their health and try to do "natural" things, which leads to an interest in being environmentally friendly.

Right now I am working on:

Reducing my consumption, thereby reducing waste.
Reducing water consumption.
Switching to more organic and locally grown foods.
Learning about alternatives to commercial cosmetic products.
Recycling everything I can.
Container gardening.

And constantly, constantly learning what I can do next. It is a never-ending battle. But hopefully I can make a difference; hopefully I can spread the word.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snappi Troubleshooting

I took pictures for this post, but unfortunately photobucket is loading really slowly today, so I'm just going to have to explain it the best I can and link to other pictures. Sorry for the inconvenience. Click on the links if you don't understand something I'm saying.

I love my Snappis,which keep me from worrying about poking Doodlebug with a diaper pin, but I will admit I have had a couple of problems with them. Here is how I solved them.

The middle claw gets in the way.
It just dangled there. I never could get the thing to truly hook on so it wouldn't come off. The directions say not to cut it or you will weaken it. So I didn't. But you can very easily pry the hard plastic claw out of the rubbery plastic so it won't poke. My Snappis just have a dangly piece in the middle with no claw, but it doesn't get in the way.

I am using cheap diapers and the Snappi pokes through.
I use Gerber prefold diapers, which are very thin and don't work so well with a Snappi. I thought I was doomed to diaper pins until I discovered the safety feature on the new Snappis. You know the little round tab on the top? When they aren't being used this pulls down over the claws to prevent poking. I pulled it down (see the second picture here) and just use it like this. It makes it not poke down so deep so it doesn't go through the diapers. You absolutely HAVE to use a diaper cover if you do this, though, because the corners of the claw are exposed.

Hopefully that made some semblance of sense with no pics. If you have a cloth diapering problem or solution, let me know. I'd be glad for the wisdom and would love to share what you know!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Soap Nuts Review

I won a free sample of Soap Nuts from NaturOli and Passionate Homemaking, so I thought I'd let you know how they worked.

They smelled kind of funny in the bag, but they worked really well. I even washed cloth diapers with them, and they came out smelling fresh and clean. I lost count of how many times I've washed with them, but it's been around five loads and they are still usable.

I checked the website and they are only slightly more expensive than my regular detergent (about one cent per load) but I can't find information about their shipping costs. I may call and ask them, and if the shipping is reasonable I may buy some.

I want to use the most environmentally friendly products I can without being budget unfriendly, so Soap Nuts may be the solution for my laundry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Small Steps: Big Impact-- Soap

If you use body wash, try switching to bar soap. It comes in much less packaging, and the cardboard it is wrapped in is much more easily recycled than a plastic bottle.

Do the same for your hand soap. Get a soap dish and switch to a bar. It's better for the environment and cheaper too. While you're at it, make sure you aren't using antibacterial soap. We're killing off good bacteria and creating super bad antibiotic/antibacterial resistant bacteria.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Please share this site

If you would like a button, please paste this code in your blog.

Also, if anyone has a great idea for a post for me or for guest posts, please let me know. I want to share all the ideas we have! The more moms are in on it the better!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No 'poo update- Day 7

This is day seven of not using shampoo and I'm really surprised how well it has gone. The first couple of days were pretty greasy, but after that not so much. No one who saw me would be able to tell I hadn't used shampoo for a week. It still feels a little bit oily, but only as much as if I had skipped one day of shampoo before.

Going no 'poo does take a little bit longer than just washing your hair with shampoo. There is no lather to spread it through your hair, so you have to really take the time to work in the baking soda. But other than that it has been no problem.

Oh yeah... and you have to rinse the vinegar out or you'll smell like a pickle factory. Duh. Can you tell I didn't read all the directions the first time? :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soap Nuts Giveaway

Passionate Homemaking is giving away twenty sample packs of soap nuts, which are a natural laundry alternative. If you're interested go check it out!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thoughts on Global Warming

I know that there are people out there who don't believe in global warming, or who believe that it is cyclical and not something to be worried about. I am not one of those people. However, for the people who don't believe in it, I have this to say:

Why not act as if global warming is real anyway? All of the ways to counteract global warming are good for the planet in other ways. Many ways of combatting global warming (CFLs, unplugging things, driving a more fuel efficient car...) save you money!

So just act like it's real and follow the steps whether you believe or not.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Small Steps: Big Impact-- Cell Phone Chargers

I know you all unplug your cell phone chargers when they're not in use, right? But if you drive regularly, you might consider charging your phone in the car. The car already has to be on, so you aren't using extra electricity to charge the phone. Just a thought.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Eco-Mommy's Ramblings

Warning: Serious rambling ahead.

Yesterday Doodlebug had to wear disposable diapers. Ugh. I thought I had enough cloth to last two days, but I didn't. So she had to wear 'sposies while I washed. Ugh. I hated every minute of it. I hated thinking about filling a landfill with the things. I hated thinking about the little chemical-ly gel balls on her skin. Yuck yuck yuck! So I went and bought more prefolds so I have enough to get through two days now. I thought cloth diapers would be inconvenient. I didn't know I'd get so attached to them!

I've been really thinking hard about the comment about breastmilk in The Story of Stuff. They say that breastmilk is one of the most toxin contaminated foods on the planet, because humans are at the top of the food chain. This has been really bothering me, so I'm going to slowly switch to organic. I'm not going to go and throw away everything I have or anything... just switch as I run out. And I'm starting with the things I eat the most often. I bought organic milk today (the kind I was drinking already had no growth hormones, but it wasn't organic). I was going to buy organic eggs, but they were like four dollars! I couldn't bring myself to pay that. But then when I got done at the store I took my receipt and added up all the junk food I bought and I spent five dollars on junk food! So that's the end of it. I'm giving up the junk so I can buy organic and Doodlebug and I can be healthy.

I'm also trying to go "No 'poo" right now. Today was day one of no shampoo. Instructions are here. I've tried before, but got frustrated because I tried to give up too much at once (conventional soap, deodorant, shampoo...), so I'm going to try it for two weeks and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.

Small Steps: Big Impact-- Egg Cartons

When you buy eggs, if you can buy the ones in cardboard cartons, go for it. Not only are they more easily recycled, but they break down faster in a landfill if (for some reason) you don't recycle it.

In my neck of the woods, though, the eggs in cardboard cartons are several dollars more expensive than those in foam cartons. So I buy the foam ones, but reuse them by giving them to my mom, who happens to have chickens. If you know a farmer with chickens (or can find one), they might appreciate the used cartons to hold their excess eggs. You might could even work out a trade. Five egg cartons for a dozen eggs, anyone?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Time Excuse

People have many reasons for why they "can't" help the planet. I'm going to take a look at these excuses over time and bust through them. The first excuse is "I don't have time."

I don't have time to... wash baggies, tins to recycle, foil to reuse, etc.
You are going to be washing dishes anyway, aren't you? It takes about five extra seconds to rinse out a zippy bag or wash a tuna can. Foil can be laid on the counter and wiped off with the soapy rag in seconds. If you are already washing dishes, don't you have twenty extra seconds to save the planet? If you have a dishwasher, you really can't use this excuse.

I don't have time to... use cloth diapers.
Again, if you have a baby, you are already going to be doing a ton of laundry. What is one more load? If you have a washing machine, it takes less than three minutes to load the thing and start it. Even if you have to carry your laundry to a community laundry room like I do, it still takes less time than a trip to the store to buy diapers. The only thing about cloth diapers that takes extra time is rinsing out the poopy ones, maybe one to two minutes? Some people don't even rinse them, though, so if you really DIDN'T have the time, you wouldn't have to do that.

I don't have time to... take my recycling to the recycling center.
I don't really have a great answer for this one except to combine it with other errands. But consider this: An aluminum can takes between 80 and 200 years to break down in a landfill. A glass bottle will take over a million years (Source). Now how long does it take to drive to the recycling center?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


One of the big things I (and many others, I'm sure) have neglected in "going green" is recycling. It is extremely easy and a huge step toward reducing waste. While the big goal is to reduce consumption in general, what you can't reduce you should recycle!

So I'm on a recycling adventure. In my town you can recycle metal (aluminum and tin cans), newspaper, and cardboard. There is no pickup, so I'll have to haul it myself. I saved a trash can from the landfill (i.e. found it in the dumpster) the other day to be a recycling bin for my tin cans, and for now I'll use two cloth bags to hold newspaper and cardboard (until the dumpster yields more trash cans). I don't want my tins to stink until I have enough to carry, so I'm washing them with my dishes.

I'm pretty excited about all this. I knew you could recycle aluminum here, but I hadn't thought about tin cans. So I'm taking one more step.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why the change?

Because I have fallen in love with a pair of chubby cheeks and a gummy little smile. Because I have fallen in love with tiny hands and feet and big blue eyes that look up at me so full of trust. Does she know Mommy is destroying the planet? Of course not. But I know. And I'll do it no longer. What parent would not give their child the world if they could? Well, I can. And I will. It's time for a change.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Myths and Misconceptions of Cloth Diapering

Myth: Cloth diapers smell bad.
Truth: To me, cloth diapers don't smell HALF as bad as disposables. Think about it this way: when a disposable diaper is dirty, you roll it up and throw it in the trash. When a cloth diaper is dirty, you rinse it or soak it or whatever your method for dealing with dirties is. I rinse my dirty diapers out really well in the toilet, then put them to soak in Oxyclean and water, so they don't stink at all. And I don't use a diaper pail with a lid or anything, just a plastic trashcan. If you put them in a closed area (like a basket inside a closet), they won't smell so nice, but out in the open I've never had a problem.

Myth: There is too much start up cost to use cloth diapers.
Truth: Plain old pre-fold diapers from the store are about one dollar a piece. My mom made my diaper covers out of fleece remnants, but I recently found fleece for a dollar a yard at Wal-Mart. You can easily make up the cost of a dozen diapers and a couple of diaper covers in two weeks.

Myth: It's not worth cloth diapering if you have to pay to do your laundry.
Truth: It costs me a dollar a load to wash laundry. I have an indoor clothesline that I bought from Lehmans, so I don't have to pay for a dryer. The cheapest size two diapers I can buy cost sixteen cents a piece. If I wash twenty diapers in a load, that's only five cents per diaper. If I replace only ten disposable diapers with cloth every day, I'm saving over a dollar per day. Even if I had to pay for a dryer, it would STILL come out cheaper. Do the math for your own circumstances and see what you come up with.

Myth: It's too much work to use cloth diapers if you don't have your own washing machine.
Truth: I used disposables the first two months or so for this very reason. But when I was having to wash clothes every other day anyway I realized one more load wouldn't hurt. Since then my laundry load has decreased, but I'm still using cloth diapers. Doodlebug rides in her sling while I carry diapers to the laundry room every morning. To me that's more convenient than having to go to the store and buy more disposable diapers.

My Cloth Diapering Method
I know when I was first learning how to use cloth I wanted to know lots of details on how to take care of them, but I had a hard time finding information. So here's what I do:

I have two dozen prefold diapers and one dozen flatfold diapers. There are lots of great videos on Youtube of how to use a prefold diaper if you need to learn. I'm not so good with the flatfolds, so I use two of those at a time to keep them from soaking through. I have seven fleece diaper covers my mom made for me. If you can't sew you can buy these online. And I have two Snappis to secure them instead of using pins.

I have a big laundry basket that gets carried from room to room with me as a my changing station. It contains diapers, a plastic trashcan, baby rags, and a coffee can filled with a squirt of baby soap and water (Make sure it has a lid on it!). I dip a baby rag in the soapy water to use as a wipe. Rags and wet diapers go in the little plastic trashcan. When the trashcan fills up I dump them in a different laundry basket (I just use the little can because it's more portable). I immediately rinse dirty diapers out in the toilet. Some people just dunk and flush, but I scrub them out pretty well. Then I put them to soak in a container of oxyclean and water. I've had a couple stain, but I just used more oxyclean the next time and the stains came right out. Diaper covers can be used more than once if they're not wet. *Note: Any container with water in it (wipe buckets, soaking buckets, etc.) should either have a secure lid or be up out of reach of babies and/or older children!*

I don't use bleach or anything to wash my diapers. I just use a detergent that has no perfumes or dyes, wash them in really hot water and hang them on the line. The good thing about having some prefolds and some flatfolds is that the flatfolds dry really fast so I can use them before the prefolds dry.

I was really surprised when I started cloth diapering how easy it is. It's really not at all inconvenient, and I love knowing that I'm doing so much for my daughter's future. I still have some disposables left, but I hate the thought of using them. I think filling a landfill is way more yucky than rinsing a dirty diaper.

Small Steps: Big Impact-- Deli Bags

I buy sandwich meat from my grocery store's deli on a regular basis, and while it uses less packaging than buying the pre-sliced kind, I still hate to waste the little zippy bag the meat comes in. After reading about the Rubbish Free Year, I'm really trying to reduce my trash, but I'm not sure it's food safe to reuse a bag that held turkey. My mom came up with a great idea (I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it!).

Take your own reusable containers to the deli! I took two Glad reusable containers (I think they're called "entree sized"), and had them slice my turkey and put it in those instead of a baggy. They have to put a sticker on it, but if you ask them to stick it lightly it should come right off.

If your deli shreds cheese you could buy shredded cheese this way, too.


If you haven't seen The Story of Stuff, you absolutely need to. And if you've seen it but it has been a while, I encourage you to watch it again. It will inspire you to make a change in your life. It's about twenty minutes long, but worth every second.

If you are looking for some practical ideas to make a change to reduce your global impact, I recommend you check out Rubbish Free Year. It's a neat idea. This couple in New Zealand challenged themselves to not produce any trash for a year. They ended up with only one small bag! That's amazing!

Hopefully you will be inspired.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why I'm Here

Hello all! I thought I'd start off by sharing with you why I've started this blog.

I am the blessed wife of my hero and Mommy to one very precious little girl (Doodlebug). Recently my husband said to me that he was glad I was cloth diapering our daughter, and I realized that I was giving her the most precious gift... a planet to grow up on. Thus began my quest to do everything I can to ensure a future for the world my little girl must live in.

It's Doodlebug's planet, not mine. I hope that this blog can be a place for moms to share what they are doing to save the world for their kids, and hopefully I can share some ideas or inspire someone as well. Some of my ideas will be extremely simple, and hopefully those of you who are more advanced environmentalists will understand that I'm sharing with novices and experts as well. Every little step adds up to a cleaner planet.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility to our children to protect the Earth for them.

Moms can save the world.