Yesterday Rebecca wrote about losing her zest for diligent green living. I have to confess that I too have slipped when it comes to eco-pursuits and my tightwad lifestyle.
In college when Rebecca and I first became frugal buddies, I gave up store-bought calendars. Instead I made my own with a ruler and a pencil every year to save money. (If I would have shelled out cash for a calendar, it probably would have been the one pictured above–so that I could have become even thriftier!) Years later my husband joined my tightwad pursuits as we regularly hung loads of laundry around our 500 square food apartment with bungee cords to save approximately two dollars at the laundromat. It was fun, it was adventurous, and I relished every crazy moment.
But frugality requires attention to detail, focus, and the ability to delay gratification. Now, with two children under the age of six, I feel that we’ve entered a rather slipshod period of fiscal life.
If we need something, I buy it far sooner, just because I don’t have as much time to shop around. Things in the refrigerator die more regularly because I don’t keep track of all the odds and ends and come up with creative recipes like I used to. We buy more convenience foods and throw away more stale graham crackers than ever before.
My new goal for 2012 is proactive focus, which can quite easily be applied to household consumption. My husband and I plan on sitting down for 30 minutes each week over coffee and cookies for a kitchen table meeting. Our agenda? Planning a daily menu, talking about what we need or want, doling out tasks and assigning responsibility, and typing notes on the laptop to record exactly what we decide. A week later we can sit down and see how we did.
A few years ago we held kitchen table meetings and marveled at how good it felt to be ahead of the game instead of always reacting. In fact, it was so effective that we didn’t seem to need it and stopped doing it altogether….which brings us to the randomness of today.
In my life thus far, I’ve found the combination of proactive focus and accountability are pretty amazing. We’re looking forward to bringing that energy to Green Baby Guide as well. Please keep us accountable by letting us know what you’d like to see and how we can bring you more fresh content.
This month’s theme here at Green Baby Guide is “Reduce! Living With Less.” Stay tuned to learn how you can save money going green, and perhaps have a few thrifty green adventures of your own!
What are your goals for 2012? How do you plan on staying accountable?
Once upon a time, before these two wonderful children entered my life, I used to contemplate the future. Then, with one colicky baby and then a second, I learned how to go with the flow and give up on getting ahead of anything. (Don’t let this sweet photo fool you, my son screamed for hours at a time in that first few months…)
Now that both my kids are potty trained, weaned, and sleeping through the night, I actually have time to pour my energy into proactive pursuits. What do I want from 2012? What values do I want to pass onto my children? How can I build relationships and care for my health? How can our household achieve new green goals?
With a group of friends, I’ll be checking in weekly to see if I’m working toward my writing, environmental and fitness goals. The bottom line is, I need accountability and support to gain even more momentum in 2012.
Happily I’d like to report that Rebecca and I have scheduled out a year’s worth of fantastic themes for you. We hope that our proactive approach will make Green Baby Guide an even better resource choc full of with fresh new content in 2012!
Have you set any resolutions for 2012? Are you in the midst of survival or do you feel like you have a bit of energy for proactive pursuits?
Focus. It is so hard to hold onto it in the midst of sleep deprivation, constant interruption, and the piles of laundry that slowly compound over the course of a week.
So now, before the New Year celebrations begin and just after the crush of gift giving it’s a good time to focus on getting ahead of upcoming challenges. What would you like to tackle in 2012?
Are you hoping to begin a cloth diaper collection? Do you want to make your own household cleaners or whirl up batches of homemade baby food? Are you hoping to take your first camping trip with toddler? What are your wildest green dreams for 2012?
Here at Green Baby Guide, we’re laying out an editorial calendar for the year, and would love to get your input. What topics would best meet your needs right now? How can we help you overcome one hurdle at a time in your efforts to make life just a bit more manageable? What research would you like us to compile on your behalf?
There have been a few eco-friendly toys we’ve invested in over the years that have turned out to be duds. Just so you don’t make the same mistake this holiday season, we’ll share our failed purchases. (Let me add that my kids have a much longer list of green toys they have loved. Check out Monday’s post for details.)
Melissa and Doug is a company that makes beautiful, quality products out of sustainable materials. When we invested ninety dollars at a local toy store for the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Parking Garage, we didn’t realize that it would be quickly abandoned in the closet for the next few years. The elevator (operated with a string and winding knob) sticks and something about the stacked layout just didn’t jive with our vehicle obsessed son. (On the other hand he LOVES his friend’s Plan Toys City Series Wooden Parking Garage. Go figure!)
We received the Plan Toy Tower Pounding for our young toddler, but it received almost no attention from either of our children. The ball was easy to lose and hard to pound into the hole in the tower.
I LOVED the Natural Wooden Baby Shaker Rattle by Earnest Efforts, but both my children couldn’t be bothered to play with it. It’s made locally out of Oregon hardwoods remnants, hand sanded, and finished with bees wax. My children didn’t seem to appreciate its quality or beauty and discarded it every time I playfully shook it just a few centimeters from their nose in an effort to gain their interest. In the end, I had more fun with it than they did.
Have you had similar, or totally different experiences with natural toys you’ve purchased? Have your children been willing to bypass the plastic to go after more eco-friendly playthings? (I must add that today is the LAST DAY of our Charlie Banana hybrid diaper giveaway. There are four ways to enter so get those comments in to win!)
Your life as a semi-professional diaper changer may be about to change in the next week if you’re lucky enough to win this week’s Charlie Banana giveaway! In my cloth diapering conversations, whenever a mother has mentioned Charlie Banana Diapers it seems to be followed by a long list of adorations: They fit so wonderfully, are so flexible, and have such lovely designs….Yadda, Yadda, Yadda…
After trying the diaper for myself, I have to say that I have joined the (sometimes fervent) ranks of the Charlie Banana fan club. The Charlie Banana Cloth Diaper itself is adorable but I also love how their pocket diapers are built to work with a cloth or disposable insert. The washable liner fits inside the pocket, just as it would on a standard cloth diaper, but the disposable insert sits on top of the fleece, close to the baby’s skin. It is secured by simply tucking it into a fold in the fabric. (Which means you don’t have to worry about securing it with complicated snaps or elastics.) When you’re traveling or taking baby to daycare, you can still use your cloth diapers along with the disposable inserts.
Charlie Banana’s one size cloth diapers flex to fit babies from 7-40 pounds with a snap system, but also makes size specific hybrid diapers ranging from extra small to large. Their prints and colors are bright and fun and would make a great holiday gift for baby!
How do you enter? You can enter up to four times. Here’s how:
1. Simply post a comment
2. Like Greenbabyguide.com on Facebook (then tell us you did it in a separate comment)
3. Visit the Charlie Banana website and comment on what you learned.
4. Spread the news about the giveaway! Email someone, post it on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, or send someone a message about it via carrier pigeon. (And again, don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments!)
Each thing you do (and comment on) counts as a separate entry.
This contest ends on Wednesday, December 7th and is only open to U.S. Residents.
My darling Jovi has been sniffly for the last four weeks and utterly inconsolable for the last two. A pharmacist strongly recommended against medicinal decongestants for toddlers and small children. But due to her serious pacifier addiction, she’s quite uncomfortable at night since she can’t breath and suck on her binky at the same time. So what is a desperate, sleep deprived mother to do?
We loved Hyland’s teething tablets and decided to opt for some of their homeopathic cough syrup and decongestant. Sadly, we didn’t see big results last night. Have you had more success? There are other products we haven’t tried yet, like Sinupet Kid’s Syrup.
Thanks for weighing in with your homeopathic preferences! (And let me know what works for your cold symptoms as well!)
Have you just finished loading soiled cloth diapers into the washer? Are you pumping at midnight while surfing the internet? Are you in your first trimester of pregnancy and polishing off an entire quart of ice cream on a daily basis? Where exactly are you in your green parenting pursuits?
I just strapped a cloth diaper (Fuzzibunz) on my two year old for her afternoon nap and have settled in to get caught up on writing. My five year old is currently at preschool and has pulled fully out of the “green baby” stage. His favorite pastimes include playing with blocks and making binoculars out of cardboard toilet paper rolls, tape, and two feet of white string. Most of the time, my children like each other and share the same sense of humor, as evidenced by the photo below.
At this stage of parenting I’m sleeping far more and changing diapers far less. But I don’t want to forget all those earlier stages that we went through just a few years back. Thanks for reminding me by sharing where you are in this journey!
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.
If you’d still love a quality wool product, but want a lower price with more flexibility, you may like the LANACare Organic Merino Wool Baby Sweater. It’s a little less than half of the price of the bodysuit at $55 and will work for slightly warmer weather as well.
Those of you who live in mild climates may be able to just get away with a few blankets and a really good hat. iPlay Origins Ecofleece Earwarmer Hat is just thirteen dollars and provides great coverage for baby’s neck and ears.
We must also add that all of these products, (and more) can be found for 50-90% less at consignment shops and thrift stores. As we emphasize in our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, many babies hardly have time to use all the clothing they receive in their first twelve months of life. If you have the time to hit resale shops or even Ebay, you can get top quality items at great prices.
However you end up keeping baby warm, we hope you get a chance to be outside this fall to appreciate the outdoors–and escape from those mounting piles of laundry for a short while.
There are mothers who wear their fingers to the bone making needlepoint pegasus costumes that actually take flight while their kids trick-or-treat. We, on the other hand, advocate a full slacker approach to costuming kids that combines resourcefulness, creativity, and humor. Pictured below are a real life “swimming bear” and “cold weather bandit,” obviously the offspring of genius parents!
If you have spent months crafting a paper mache dinosaur costume for your two year old, more power to you! If you are scrambling around the house for a costume in the few hours before the big event, fear not! We at Green Baby Guide have loads of ideas. Here are some brilliant DIY costume ideas contributed from Rebecca in a past post:
But perhaps our favorite green, diaper-less costume of all time is utterly simple, utterly adorable, and utterly impractical. Just toss your naked baby into a carved pumpkin! It’s a compostable diaper that’s really quite festive… Happy Halloween!
Cloth Diapering Kits usually help parents save money by buying in bulk, but are they worth it? It depends. I would never recommend buying a kit without the chance to actually hold the diapers and see how they work on your baby. Every brand is unique and each child’s body wears a diaper differently. Still, if you have tried a company’s cloth diapering system and absolutely love it, cloth diapering starter kits are a good way to save money while stocking up.
Bummis Organic Cotton Diaper Kit is currently on sale for $152.10 and comes in either the infant or the baby size. The baby size includes 18 organic cotton prefold diapers, two Super Whisper Wraps and many more handy pieces of cloth diapering gear.
Grovia’s Hybrid Diapering System Starter Kit is about $200 and includes six cloth diapers along with 150 eco-friendly disposable inserts. It’s a nice choice for a family that wants a greener option than disposables but doesn’t want to exclusively use cloth.
The Trend Lab Cloth Diaper Starter Pack for boys comes in at just under a hundred dollars and is one of the top selling cloth diapering kits. It includes five cloth diaper shells with liners along with an additional pack of blue diaper liners, a matching changing pad, and a “dirty duds” zippered pouch.
CuteyBaby’s Modern Cloth Diaper Starter Kit is just $139 and offers diapers that adjust for babies between 20 and 40 pounds. The kit includes six diapers, two rolls of flushable diaper liners, and a magnetic closure to keep velcro tabs safe while you launder the diapers.
The Sprout Change Cloth Diaper Super Saver Starter Kit isn’t exactly a kit, since it just includes one diaper, but it is incredibly reasonable at just 37 bucks. Not a bad baby shower gift! It includes just one diaper that fits babies from five to 40 pounds with an organic cotton sleeve and an organic hemp/cotton fleece insert.
Did you end up investing in a cloth diapering kit? How satisfied were you with the product? Would you do it again?
By the way, if you find yourself completely lost in cloth diaper lingo, check out our book The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. It includes plenty of visuals, cost comparisons, and references to guide you through the vast vocabulary of greener diapering options.