Is Bokashi Bin Composting Difficult?

No. In fact it’s ridiculously simple. In fact, I think Bokashi bucket composting it’s far easier than traditional composting. Why? You don’t have to tromp out to a bin every day to dump watermelon rinds and eggshells. Instead you store the compost in covered buckets in your home or garage. Every week or two I have to bury a bucket in the backyard, but that’s it.

Since Bokashi Bin composting allows you to dump all food waste (including grains, meat, bread, seafood and all fruits and veggies), we have processed all of our own food garbage for nearly a year now. Where is all of it? Surprisingly, all the food scraps from a family of four have very quickly turned into a small mound of dirt in a garden bed.

Cheap Eats Diary

In May I fed my family of three for $129.99. I kept this diary during the month to write my article “Real Life Hunger Games,” which was published on xoJane in June. Here’s a more day-to-day look at how I pulled it off.

May 1

Goal for this week is to not spend any money at all.

We went shopping three days ago and spent $35. Breakfast: banana with p.b. Lunch: leftovers. Dinner: I made spaghetti sauce with tomatoes I bought last Saturday. One pint left. Not cheaper than buying a jar. Three pounds of tomatoes, $3. Oh well. Delicious. Running out of milk.

Andy says (seriously) he wishes there had been kale or cabbage in the sauce. He says it really adds a lot of “body” to a meal. Vow to buy Andy a cabbage at next shopping trip.

Should You Buy an Organic Crib Mattress or Save Up for a Bigger Organic Mattress?

The good news is that prices on organic crib mattresses have gone down in the last few years and there are now several inexpensive organic crib mattresses available for less than two hundred dollars. But what if you end up co-sleeping most of the time? Or what if your child shifts to a bigger bed early and spends just a short time on that organic crib mattress? Should you just bypass the organic crib mattress and invest in a twin or queen organic mattress from the beginning?

The cost of any organic mattress makes this a very valid question. The strong>Natura World Organic Foundation Twin Mattress is one of the most economical, and it costs about $575. strong>Naturepedic’s 2 in 1 Organic Twin Mattress comes in at about $700. Still, if you think about your child using the mattress for fifteen years, the cost per year is far less than buying an organic crib mattress that they would use for a fraction of that time.

Is Your Baby Carrier or Sling too Complicated?

Mine was. I once became trapped inside my Baby Bjorn Carrier with my snoozing infant snuggled on my chest. I was desperate for sleep and wanted to lay my baby down so that I wouldn’t roll on top of him, carrier and all, but I was utterly unable to figure out how to get it off. Instead I sat on the couch and cried until my husband got home. Was sleep deprivation a factor? Absolutely! But this was my least favorite baby carrier. Did other moms have this experience with complicated slings or baby carriers?

How Do You Get Rid of Baby Gear and Toys?

Do you pass it onto friends? Do you sell it on craigslist? Do you host a garage sale?

It seems I spend the majority of my life buying, cleaning, storing, and eliminating stuff. Toys and gizmos flow into our home from birthday party goodie bags, garage sales, and grandparents. But how much of my life do I spend picking up tiny lego figures (or their tinier baseball caps) and plastic tea cups off of the living room floor?

Last night I reached a breaking point and snuck into my children’s bedrooms while they slept. I mercilessly tossed stuffed tigers and worn t-shirts into giant black garbage bags and felt the utter thrill of having less stuff to manage. Today I drove through our local Goodwill drop off site and happily said goodbye to heaps of belongings.

What Do You Wish You Would Have Known As A New Mom?

I don’t remember a whole lot from my first pregnancy, other than the strong feeling that if I read every parenting book and somehow finished every household project, it would be a smooth transition to motherhood. Ha! That was the beginning of the humbling process of parenting that continues to this day. Here are just a few tidbits of wisdom I wish I could send back to myself when I was pregnant with my first child.

1. Progress not perfection. There will be days when your greatest achievement will be a shower. In those first few weeks of parenthood you will give up all things you have been really good at like sleeping, cooking, napping, and doing whatever you please. It’s o.k. It will get easier. In the meantime, give up trying to excel. Let the laundry pile up, let the garden sprout a few weeds, and let yourself do the best you can. Survival will do just fine for now.

Have You Camped With Baby?

In the last six years of our lives, our family has camped once with an infant. Sort of. We rented a yurt in a car campground. Does that even qualify as camping?

What do I remember about that outing? How desperately I had longed for the smell of woodsmoke during those previous years that we hadn’t camped. That my three-year-old son found a snail on the paved path the bathroom and reveled in the discovery for about twenty minutes, and that spaghetti cooked outside on a camp stove tastes infinitely better.

I also remember that the night was horrid. My daughter fussed and nursed all night and just when we settled to sleep at dawn, a flock of crows alighted on our yurt roof and loudly cawed us back into consciousness.

What Should Secondhand Cloth Diapers Cost?

Besides saving a ton of waste from the landfill and about a thousand bucks in one year of use, cloth diapers beat out disposables simply because they have a resale value. It’s not so likely that anyone would ever purchase a used disposable…Eew…

But how much should you pay for a gently used cloth diaper? It utterly depends on where you purchase it and the shape it’s in. The most convenient and more expensive route will be consignment shops and online sites such as craigslist and Ebay. Garage sales are typically incredibly cheap, but require a lot of legwork and driving.

Is There A Greener Minivan?

We’ve been zipping along in our two carseat-laden sedans for the last five years. But we’ve secretly yearned for a minivan. I know some adults cannot imagine being seen in a minivan, let alone owning one, but my husband and I are deeply practical souls.

We want to be able to carpool kids to and from school and soccer practice, haul mulch in the back, and go on long trips without having the luggage pile up around our feet. We’d use a sedan most of the time to maximize gas mileage, but it would be nice to have the van available as well.

Finding an Affordable CSA

Our first experience with a community supported agriculture group was mostly positive, but it pained me to take a big wilted pile of organic produce to the compost heap each week. (In case you don’t know what a CSA is, check out this post.) When we first subscribed, I was six months pregnant and working nearly full time while caring for a two year old. Our CSA membership seemed to compound my exhaustion since we received very small amounts of a wide variety of veggies every week. Faced with two rutabagas, one beet, two dozen green beans, six garlic whistles, a half cup of strawberries, and two fingering potatoes I felt utterly overwhelmed. We paid nearly $150 a month for our weekly bags of produce, but I couldn’t seem to keep up with the prep and eventually gave up.