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!