Buying Convenience Food for Family Dinners: My Favorite Non-thrifty Vice

First, let me clarify. I am still on the the outer fringes of frugality when it comes to mainstream culture. We buy almost all our clothes and  housewares at thrift stores, usually at their monthly half off sales. I get my hair cut for four dollars at the beauty school and cut my husband and children’s hair myself. Some of the resourceful green strategies we’ve used while cloth diapering and clothing our children has saved us thousands of dollars, which we carefully document in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.


Still, I have to say that there are some money saving strategies I just can’t commit to:

Keeping Baby Warm on Chilly Fall Days

On these bright autumn mornings some of us to strap our babies into the running stroller and tromp our way to an endorphin rush. How do we keep our tots warm when we manage to scoot out of the house and enjoy some cold, bright weather?

Although it can be a bit awkward for diaper changes, bodysuits like this Columbia Unisex-Baby Tiny Bear Bunting Bodysuit, are a great way to keep a baby covered for just under 36 dollars. The sleeves and pant legs come with convenient flip over pockets for tiny hands and feet.

Nothing beats wool for natural warmth and LANACare’s Organic Wool Coverall is a beautiful heirloom piece of gear that would be worth it if you live in a very cold area and want to use it on a daily basis. It costs $133.50 which is quite an investment. But if it allows you to get out of the house and you are able to use it with multiple babies, you may be happy you spent the money. I would buy big and add additional layers so that you could get the most possible use out of it.

Green Baby Guide in The Huffington Post

We’ve had many brushes with fame in our four years of blogging, but were honored to be quoted in a Huffington Post article on BPA Monday. I was interviewed about the delicate balance between fear and ignorance in the midst of recent BPA studies. (The quote and link are in the last few paragraphs of the article.)

It was also a delight to see that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, was favorably reviewed in Eugene Magazine. Through all of the three years that we wrote and rewrote that manuscript, we tried to keep the tone educational, humorous, and humble. It was a quite validating that Emily Grosvenor’s review agreed with our intentions. She writes, “The authors tackle some of the hairiest topics of green babying–cloth diapering, making your own baby food, and buying recycled baby furniture and gear–while avoiding the kind of language that can easily turn conversations on these subjects into Mommy Wars.” How lovely to be recognized for writing a book that focuses on green progress instead of perfection.

Cloth Diapering Myths

Although I really wanted to cloth diaper, I was haunted my myths that I kept hearing from non-cloth diapering moms. Luckily I had Rebecca, who guided me through the world of cloth diapers and later became my co-author and co-blogger here at Now we can support other new parents by dispelling some of those cloth diapering myths that we found to be utterly untrue.

Myth #1: You’ll have to use pins and plastic pants.
When I tell people that I cloth diapered my children, it’s amazing how many of them say they just couldn’t imagine having to use pins with small infants. I show them pictures of the hourglass design and velcro and snap closures and they are amazed.

Should You Buy an Organic Crib Mattress?

Your infant sleeps for hours on end each day. (Not in a row, but still….) How important is it to choose an organic sleeping surface for baby? And why are there so many concerns about traditional crib mattresses?

In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we thoroughly explain why many families opt for organic crib mattresses, despite their extra expense. Although we’re big believers in reducing, repurposing, and buying used baby gear, an organic crib mattress is one of the two items that we recommend parents purchase new. Still, there are some critical questions to consider before you invest in a secure place for baby’s (fleeting) sleep.

reCrib: Buy and Sell Top Quality Secondhand Baby Gear

ReCrib is a dreamy place to purchase high quality baby gear or make money selling used baby items. Thank goodness a site like this now exists!

If only we would have had reCrib when our babies were little. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we share that we each spent about a thousand dollars on our babies’ first year, and we did it by reducing, recycling and repurposing what we already had. (Typical american families spent upwards of seven thousand on baby’s first year alone!)

With reCrib you can buy heirloom quality baby gear at 40-60% off retail prices, and then sell it back (using reCrib) for a respectable sum when your baby has outgrown it. It’s essentially a top quality, online consignment store.

Toddler Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is packed with useful information for new parents who want to go green on a budget. (Are we biased? Absolutely!) Beyond the cloth diapering advice, tips on buying used gear, and a directory of the best green gear at every price point, we included recipes for homemade baby food.

Since chilly fall days are just starting to descend, we are sharing our Pumpkin Pancake recipe with our online readers. These pancakes can be made ahead of time in big batches and frozen so you can pull them out for easy breakfasts. They’re healthy, delicious, and your tot probably won’t mind if you make a stack of them up for yourself as well.

Green Toys Tea Set Review

My son, who helped to inspire our book The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, just turned five. Did he request reclaimed wood toys or organic cotton garments for his birthday? Nope. He’s in the midst of a feverish obsession with monster trucks, which are just about as ungreen as you can possibly be.

On the other end of the gender spectrum is my two-year-old daughter Jovi who must wear the finest dresses available (purchased at thrift stores), jewels, and purses on a daily basis. For her brother’s fifth birthday party (which included “pin the wheels on the monster truck”), Jovi received one special gift: A Green Toys Tea Set.

Make Shopping Easier With The Good Guide’s Transparency Toolbar

Have you ever longed for a personalized shopping assistant? Someone who can brief you on which products are best so that you can make quick decisions before the baby wakes up/your children start flinging legos at each other/the casserole burns in the oven? What if that assistant (let’s call her Betty) could also help you select goods that dovetail with your values, leaving you with a green afterglow following 15 minutes of online shopping?

She’s here! She’s free! She’s not actually human, but she’s more thorough than any person could ever be.

The Good Guide’s Transparency Toolbar
(you may still call it Betty if you like) provides you with detailed product information for online shopping. You’ll be able to quickly bypass green claims, using the Transparency Toolbar’s data to choose items that are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and socially responsible.

Releasing Summer Expectations

One week. That’s the last bit of my summer before I start cracking open teacher guides and scrawling out lesson plans.

I was going to make homemade jam from the hundreds of pounds of berries I was planning on picking.

I was going to read three novels in Spanish, develop abdominal muscles, and swim in a cold lake on a summer day.

I was going to camp in a yurt, make a pinata with the kids, and call my college friends.

And all we did was move. We packed, tossed, gave away, and lifted everything we own. Now our garage is littered with boxes and random tools. I still can’t find the hole puncher.