Archive for July, 2011


(Drum roll, please . . . ) In fifth place, we have Bambo Nature Eco-friendly Diapers.

Tushies Diapers come in strong in fourth place.

Nature Babycare Eco-friendly Chlorine-free Diapers take the bronze medal in the chlorine-free diaper Olympics.

In second place, we have Earth’s Best Tender Care Chlorine Free Diapers.

And, in first place–not much of a surprise here–Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Diapers.

What an exciting countdown that was! Now, if you want to learn more about chlorine free disposables (what’s the big deal about chlorine-free diapers? Are chlorine-free diapers better for the environment than cloth? Which eco-disposables do we recommend? Which are the best deal?), you’re going to want to get your hands on The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.

Until then, happy diapering!

Any woman who has been through labor knows that this is a weak comparison at best.  Childbirth is humbling, agonizing, magical and miraculous.  Moving is… just horrible.

Maybe.  But beyond the actual contractions and the loading of the moving trucks, both of these events are entries into huge life transitions.  In both cases, there is usually time to prepare for the event and life beyond it.

We wrote The Eco-nomical Baby Guide because our pregnancies were riddled with pressures to stock up on supplies that claimed to make parenthood easier.  We faced huge baby registries and “must have” lists and decided that we’d rather buy less and buy used in order to keep the planet and our pocketbooks in mind. Each of our families ended up saving about six thousand dollars in our tots’ first year alone by going secondhand, cloth diapering, and making homemade baby food. Far from being a hardship, we found budget-friendly, eco-friendly living to be a grand adventure and actually started this blog to share our successes (and frequent failures) on our green journey.

Now, as my family is on the brink of moving, it all feels so familiar.  It’s tempting to go out and buy new furnishings to fill the empty space, using money to make the shift easier.  Instead, we shall be living in our new house with lawn chairs and beanbags as furniture for awhile.  We’ll patiently hit garage sales and shop craigslist until we slowly stock our house with secondhand pieces we love.

Whether we’re preparing for baby or moving into a new home, making huge changes with an eco-friendly, budget-friendly mindset requires patience, a bit of self-control, and the humility to realize that we’re not defined by our stuff.  I hope that as we continue to face transition with our reduce, reuse, recycle mantra, our kids will learn those same skills for themselves. It’s a glorious way to live a rich life without consuming (or spending) nearly as much.

Green and Clean Mom Has a great post on How to Buy Organic Food Cheap. It’s great practical advice that you can put into action on your next trip to the grocery store.

Stop by later this week to check out our upcoming giveaway. It involves cloth diapers and some fabulous supplies so come back to get the details!

 

Summer doesn’t really get started in the Pacific Northwest until after the 4th of July; that’s what they say, anyway. As a result, I don’t usually water my garden until the first week in July when the rain dries up and the temperatures rise. After experimenting with various methods for a few years, I finally buckled down and bought two products (keep in mind that I hate pouring money into my garden when it’s supposed to be saving me money!): two soaker hoses and a simple electronic garden timer.


With the hoses wound around my plants and the garden timer, my vegetables receive the same amount of water every day. This seems to keep them happy. If you want to water every other day or on some other schedule, you’ll need a digital garden timer. Ed (as I like to call him) from The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible says that we can improve upon the way nature waters plants by directing the water right to the roots. This helps ward away mold, bugs, and disease—and of course it also saves quite a bit of water.

What I like the best about this system is that—once I’ve set everything up—I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the summer. If we go away for a trip, my garden still gets its daily dose of water.

How do you water your garden to conserve water and—another precious resource—your own time?

Gently Weaning a Toddler

Two weeks ago I begged for your collective wisdom to help wean my two-year-old daughter. After implementing a few strategies from our readers, my daughter and I gently gave up nursing within just three days.

First I stopped the morning feedings, which did involve some screaming and sadness, but with a little distraction she quickly acclimated. The next day we nursed at nap again, but at bedtime we had a special discussion of how this would be her last time drinking my milk. We snuggled, talked and really enjoyed it. The next day, my husband put her down for nap and bedtime and she peacefully went to sleep. If I would have known it would be that easy, I might have started sooner!

For those of you still struggling with weaning, Kathleen Huggins’ book, Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning – Revised: How to Bring Breastfeeding to a Gentle Close, and How to Decide When the Time Is Right looks like an excellent choice. Does anyone else have a favorite resource to support weaning a toddler?

Our Favorite Summer Recipes

Over the years we’ve posted some of our favorite summer recipes–from vegetable popsicles to edible play-doh. Here’s the complete list:

Delicious summer treats

DIY Homemade Non-dairy Ice Cream

Disguise vegetables in fruity popsicles

Organic homemade popsicles (includes recipes for natural dripless popsicles and berry fudgcicles with silken tofu)

(Also–check out our recent BPA-free Popsicle Molds post.)

 

Summer Beverages

Green Iced Tea

How to Make Homemade Iced Tea

Infused water makes a beautiful, cheap summer beverage

Homemade lemonade without High Fructose Corn Syrup

 

Tomatoes and Zucchini

15 cent, 15 minute dinner for two

Tomato recipe ideas

What do I do with all these tomatoes? (includes a link to a great gazpacho recipe)

What are your favorite zucchini recipes?

 

For kids

Non-toxic homemade finger paints

Homemade non-toxic play dough (includes instructions for rubbery play-doh, edible play-doh, and nature’s play-doh)

Homemade bubbles

 

Enjoy!

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  • Filed under: Eco-recipes
  • Happy Fourth of July! It’s a great day to reflect on what independence means to our family. Making choices to reduce, reuse and recycle may make us feel good, but there are heaps of other benefits to consider.

    This thrifty, green lifestyle leads brings financial freedom as we save by buying less and purchasing secondhand items. That allows for economic offsetting, or the ability to splurge on the things that really matter to us. Maybe for your crowd it’s organic strawberries, an Ergo carrier, or a weekend camping trip, but making conscious choices about consumption opens up options. Buying less stuff also provides us the independence of extra space (with less to trip over!) as we tend to our babies.

    My ultimate independence dream would be to live off the grid. Who knows? Maybe in a few decades (or less) it will be more possible than it seems right now. What are the aspects of green living that lead to independence in your household?

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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