Cloth Diaper Options

During my first pregnancy, I didn’t know the difference between a pocket diaper and a prefold, but after much exhaustive research, I finally decided on the ultimate cloth diapering system for our family.   Unfortunately, I didn’t have the diaper diagrams and descriptions in The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to refer to because we simply hadn’t written it yet!

Four years and another child later, I have been given a huge assortment of absorbent and adorable diapers.  My daughter Jovi often sports cow print happy heinys, homemade hemp diaper liners, prefolds with various covers, and even colorful fuzzibunz pocket diapers.

What have I realized after gathering up this diverse collection of cloth diapers?  You don’t really have to choose just one type!  Of course paying full price for all this loot could be prohibitively expensive, but if you’re open to buying gently used cloth diapers, you can try an assortment and know that you don’t have to rule out any one kind.

What is your cloth diaper philosophy?  Are you strictly loyal to one brand or style, or have you too build up a variety of diapers?  Have you been lucky enough to inherit hand-me-downs?

Becoming a Stay-At-Home Mom

For the last four years I have clumsily struggled as a working mom. But here’s the secret: all along my heart’s desire has been to be at home folding cloth diapers and whipping up homemade delights.  In fact, my yearning to get home with my baby is what started me on the journey towards being a published author and a blogger.

So was it our massive profits that finally earned me the freedom to take a one year leave of absence from teaching?  Hardly. (Although we do expect our book to become wildly famous and translated into sixty four languages one of these days.)  A robust savings account combined with my husband’s new job allows me to finally take a break from thirteen straight years of teaching adolescents.

Maybe I crave the opportunity to stay at home simply because it wasn’t an option all this time.  I’m a highly extraverted person and a bit worried about how I’ll fare without structure or schedules, but so far it’s just sheer joy.   If I still had a newborn it would have been harder, but since my oldest is nearly four and my one year old is now sleeping through the night, it’s glorious to be at home with them.  (Note, although their ages are just about right, the photo is not of us!)

Am I torn about leaving my job?  Nope.  Because although I adore working with middle schoolers, I love this grand and humbling task of parenting even more.  I know that I’m still in the honeymoon stage as a stay-at-home mom and that sometimes the tantrums and endless dishes will nearly defeat me, but for now I’m grateful that our lifestyle of voluntary simplicity has provided us with the opportunity to take this leap.  If you are aching to work less and spend more time at home, read The Eco-nomical Baby Guide for tips on how to save thousands in the first year alone.  It worked for us!

Summer Harvest Aspirations

It hasn’t been a banner year for organic food at my house.  Overwhelmed by rutabaga and kale, I quit our CSA while I was eight months pregnant.  My son needed interaction, my feet needed rest, and the idea of peeling and sautéing veggies after a full day of teaching made me want to weep with exhaustion.  With the birth of our second child, the sleep loss continued and seemed to wipe out all my dreams of canning hundreds of pounds of peaches and growing all my own produce.

Finally, we’re back on track!  This summer I plan on picking heaps of local produce and freezing and canning up a storm.  Our garden is already in and I have dreams of adding a raised bed if I can find a way to get more cedar planks home in our small cars.  Since I’m hoping to cut way back on work next year, I hope to also do a fall garden and extend our growing season as long as possible.

We even join a CSA again too.  It was a wonderful way to get our whole family eating better and to support local farmers.  What are your summer dreams for beautiful, healthful food?

Creative Car-free Transportation With Kids

Before becoming a mother, I rode chicken-laiden, multicolored buses in Latin America, Tuk-Tuk’s in Thailand, and rented bicycles in Denmark.

Breaking my arm, being pregnant and having a tiny baby put us through a three-year period of being car dependent. (Our car-free trip to San Francisco was the one exception.)  This summer, now that our baby has reached one year of age, we’re finally back to car-free creativity.

With our second child, we’ve come to appreciate our bike trailer even more!  It works beautifully for hauling both kids across town behind a bike and easily converts to a double stroller.  It’s also our most rain-proof baby toting device because of the clear plastic cover.  As you can see, it’s a bit cozy with both kids but as long as they have snacks, everyone stays happy!

We have a bike helmet for my son but haven’t yet found one that works for our one year old.  As a result, we just stick to side-streets and bike extremely carefully.  My husband transports my son to preschool every day in the bike trailer and they both thoroughly enjoy the ride.

Another fabulous development in our summer is my husband’s bus pass, acquired through his new job.  Now we can simply pay my fare and our whole family can travel the town by bus to our favorite destinations.  This is an utter thrill for my son and doesn’t require us to snap in car seats or fill up our tank!

Car free travel with kids can be an adventure, but if I was willing to sit atop a bus with the goats, why shouldn’t I be willing to embrace the challenge?   In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we feature a story from the authors of Car Free With Kids, a blog written by a family that lives completely car free.  We are inspired by them each time we read a new post!

What are your creative ways for moving your children this summer?  Do you move on foot or have great public transportation to depend on?

Pocket Diaper Leakage Problems

For their adorable design, their convenience, and those clever snaps, I love my pocket diapers.  For leaks, I don’t.  It may be that my baby is too small for her large sized pocket diapers, but even when we double stuff them with liners, they seem to have major leakage issues.  The only way we can stop the leaks is to treat them like a diaper cover and line them with a prefold diaper.  I loved them with my older son but he wore then when he was a bit bigger, which may explain our leakage problem.  Does anyone else have these issues?  Are you partial to your pocket diapers or do you prefer prefolds?

Do You Use Rain Barrels?

Here in Oregon we have been sopping wet for weeks.  With a hot summer ahead and an organic garden to water, I’ve been considering purchasing rain barrels.   This week calls for lots of rain, but I’m not sure that they’re easy to use and store. Is it possible to hook the hose up to the barrel and water your beds or do you have to individually fill watering cans?  There’s a local installer that will deliver the barrels and build a stand for them for around $70 each, but I’d love to find a less expensive option.  Any ideas? Please inspire me to take the plunge!

What Are YOUR Green Confessions?

We’ve confessed to several “eco-sins” over the years here on the Green Baby Guide. But now we want to know: What are your failings? Still use toxic cleaners? Can’t bear to compost? Go through a roll of paper towels a day? Stuff your garbage cans with recyclables? Confess here!

How Much is Eco-friendly, Budget-Friendly Wisdom Worth?

Our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, costs $13.57 on Amazon.  Is it truly worth that much when you can read our tantalizing posts for free?

Only if you want to save thousands on baby’s first few years.  Thousands?  Seriously?  How can that be?  Here’s a quick outline:

Nursery Gear.  If you use our tips for scoring quality, safe secondhand gear or repurposing what you already have, you’ll save several hundred dollars on nursery furnishings alone.  Plus there’s a directory of quality green products for your eco-splurges.

Diapering. Want to avoid spending nearly two thousand dollars on diapering per child?  Check out our tips on using cloth!  It’s easier than ever and your savings will accumulate without regular runs to the store to stock up on pampers.  When your second or even third baby arrives, you won’t need to spend a dime on new supplies. Plus you’ll keep several tons of waste out of our landfills!

Clothing. Secondhand clothing is hip, cute, and infinitely better for the planet.  Prepare to dress your baby in the best brands for seventy to ninety percent less than retail!

Food. Packed with tips on breastfeeding, using organic formulas, and making your own baby food, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide will help you nourish your child with healthy foods for hundreds less.

Still not convinced?  You can request that your local library purchase our book and then check it out for free!  You just might find that it’s worth having on hand for as a trusty resource for eco-friendly, budget friendly living in baby’s first few years.

What Are Your Natural Cleaning Secrets?

Happily striding past dozens of expensive cleaning products while shopping makes me infinitely happy.  Opting for homemade cleansers is just as easy, eco-friendlier, and far cheaper.

My favorite natural products include vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Borax.  Do you have any of your own secrets for easy eco-friendly house cleaning?  Do tell!

Learning to Value Natural Treasures

Isn’t it amazing how small children can often yearn for junk?  Whether it be unhealthy food, entertainment, or plastic gizmos, they are like moths drawn to the flame of marketing.

How do we counteract this onslaught?  With treasure!  We have taken a shelf in our mud room and used it display our most precious discoveries.  They include several jars of oddly shaped rocks, a vase stuffed full of sticks, scattered acorns, a few shells, six black feathers, a pressed flower, and a handful of agates.

Honestly, the idea started just because I hated that bare shelf in the mudroom.  I couldn’t figure out what to put on it until my son showed me his first treasure, a pinecone complete with intricate spirals, perfectly spaced.  Once we proudly set it on the shelf, every walk turned into a treasure hunt.

Two years since the treasure room’s inception, we are constantly finding new additions on a weekly basis.  We sometimes have to clear it out, or pull another glass jar out of our recycling to contain a pile of loot, but it’s worth the effort.  Noticing the supreme perfection of nature is a great way for my son to connect with his environment, and to redirect his appreciation away from those piles of plastic.

Does your child have treasure trove of goodies somewhere in your home?  Do you find that they’re especially obsessed with acorns, seashells or some other spectacle of nature?