Make Your Own Compostable Diaper–Out of a Pumpkin!

It was my sister-in-law who came up with the idea: Why spend all that money on disposable diapers that just end up breaking down in a landfill for the next 500 years? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use nature’s bounty to diaper our babies? This fall is the perfect time to start carving your own diapers out of pumpkins. Simply choose an appropriately-sized pumpkin, carve out the top, scoop out the seeds, and cut out two leg holes. This DIY diaper requires no sewing.

Check out my niece sporting her all-natural homemade diaper:
baby wearing a compostable pumpkin diaper

While gDiapers claim to be compostable, they still contain SAP–a petroleum product that doesn’t really break down. A pumpkin may not have the wicking and absorbing powers of an ordinary diaper, but it is 100% natural and biodegradable!  No other diapers can compete with that.

How to Make a Simple Paper Spider in its Web: More DIY Halloween Decorations!

First, take a square piece of paper and fold it in half. I usually just start cutting out the spider freehand, but if you prefer, draw the spider on the paper first, like this:

paper spider1

Then cut out everything surrounding the spider’s body and legs, leaving a border around the edge.

paper spider2

Open it up and there you have it: A creepy paper spider to hang up for Halloween. Tip: If you want the spider to be a black widow, cut a diamond shape out of the abdomen and tape a piece of red paper behind it.

paper spider3

My $1 Maternity Halloween Costume: “The 1980s Pregnant Lady”

I was six months pregnant on Halloween a few years ago. Of course my main concern was how will I find an eco-friendly maternity Halloween costume?! After considering dressing as a compost bin, a rain barrel, or a Hybrid car, I found the perfect thing at the dollar bin of my local secondhand maternity shop: a 1980s-style yellow maternity jumper. Because I’d dressed as “Eighties Girl” for the previous two or three years, I knew “Pregnant Eighties Lady” was just the costume for me.

maternity halloween costume

So figure-flattering!

The best part is, I still have this romper, which I use as a painting smock. Also, as soon as one-piece floral jumpers come back in style, I’m all set. I could probably gain up to a hundred pounds and still fit in it, so there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t hang on to it forever.

The Fifteen Cent, Fifteen Minute Dinner for Two

Don’t feel like making dinner tonight—and don’t feel like getting takeout, either? Tonight I made dinner for two with fifteen cents’ worth of macaroni and some key ingredients from my garden. (Let’s conveniently forget the two-hundred-something dollars I spent on gardening supplies last spring and assume that that the tomatoes and basil were free.)

macaroni and tomatoes recipe

 Macaroni and Tomatoes for Two

4 oz. small macaroni
two ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used one red and one golden tomato)
a handful of basil, chopped
one clove of garlic, minced
olive oil (a couple tablespoons)

1. Make the macaroni according to package directions.
2. Chop everything up and put it in a cereal bowl.
3. When the macaroni is cooked, drain it and mix it with the sauce. Then divide into two bowls (one of which was used to hold the sauce). Top with parmesan if desired, and enjoy your 7.5 cent dinner!

DIY Dollhouse–Make Your Own Dollhouse out of Recycled Materials

You may have already read my post on making a dashing doll dress out of a frazzled old sock. My creative endeavors did not stop there: I went on to make a doll house out of a cardboard box and an Ikea catalogue.
DIY dollhouse out of a cardboard box

My daughter and I spend one Saturday morning cutting up little chairs, beds, and even whole rooms out of the catalogue, then pasting them inside the box. We even found an outdoor scene to glue onto the outside of the box so that the dolls would be able to entertain outdoors. Audrey actually does play with the box, too, setting her little dolls inside and creating stories for them.

Infused Water Makes a Beautiful, Cheap Summer Beverage

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or just trying to survive the summer (just one month left!), then you know the importance of staying hydrated. With this in mind, we recently divulged our recipes for homemade iced tea and lemonade, asking our readers how they quenched their thirst.

glass of water infused with watermelon

Emily had this to say:

I’ve been nursing for 2 months and am thirsty all the time! I get tired of plain water, and even iced tea. My new favorite beverage is infused water. I just fill a pitcher with water, toss in some combination of sliced lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, or sprigs of mint (mixing and matching flavors adds variety), and stash it in the fridge.


The Best BPA-free, Phthalate-free Baby Dishes Around

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t waste your time reading the labels on plastic baby dishes trying to figure out if they’re made out of “good” plastic or “bad” plastic. Just use ordinary glass custard cups for your baby dishes. They’re nonporous and don’t leach chemicals into food. They can also go into the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and oven.

When my daughter was a baby, we fed her from these tempered glass bowls with a spoon. We found a set that came with lids and sent her homemade baby food to daycare in them. Now we all use them for snacks or as prep bowls while cooking. I also use them to make custard every once in a while. In all my years as a custard cup enthusiast, I have never broken one.

Another Green Baby Guide Duel: Don’t Make Meals for New Parents!

I have a feeling I’m going to lose this battle, but here it is: I don’t like the idea of giving food as a gift for new parents. Joy loves the idea so much that she wrote a post with food ideas, and the comments were overwhelmingly positive. It seems that almost everyone enjoys giving freezable meals to worn-out parents and that worn-out parents enjoy receiving them.


Here I was, whipping up nutritious dinners just moments after giving birth.

Not me! Why not? Well, that takes us back to another classic Green Baby Guide Battle: I don’t like to buy food in bulk and prepare big batches of meals to store in the freezer. Joy does. Casseroles and other “frozen delights” just don’t appeal to me. Yes, I realize they are quick and convenient, but every time I’ve frozen something ahead of time, I find I am loath to defrost it and heat it up for dinner.


Keeping Your Baby Clothes Organized

This post originally ran in April of 2008. Now that We are THAT Family is hosting an “organization edition” of Works for Me Wednesday, I thought I’d rerun it. (Edited to add: Actually, it’s the “back to school edition.” I am NEVER going to get this right! Maybe next month. . . .) How do you keep your baby clothes from bursting out of the drawers?

Do you have hundreds of miniature socks, pants, and pajamas oozing from your closets?  Before my baby was even born, I found myself with more baby clothes than I knew what to do with.  My daughter never even wore half of the adorable little outfits I’d folded and stored in her dresser.  Many of the clothes never fit (short-and-wide onesies didn’t work on her tall-and-skinny frame, for example) or weren’t appropriate for the season.

Homemade Lemonade–without High Fructose Corn Syrup

The recipe couldn’t be simpler, with just three ingredients: water, lemons, and sugar. Still, most people resort to the canned or even powdered version of this classic summertime refreshment. Start making it homemade, and you’ll not only save money, but the packaging that comes along with the premade juices. Also, most frozen juices contain high fructose corn syrup, while the homemade version contains nothing but sugar. (Okay, sugar is not exactly a health food, but it is better than corn syrup.)

How to Make Lemonade (whether life hands you lemons or not)

4 cups water
1 cup lemon juice (about four lemons’ worth-or use lemon juice from concentrate)