I’ve been busy the last couple weeks setting up my new blog: Never Adopter. According to the tagline, “I don’t believe in cellphones, the internet, or technology.” I rant against cellphones (but decide to get one), get nostalgic for cassette tapes, and otherwise try to adapt to twenty-first century life. Check it out, post a comment, and like Never Adopter on Facebook! I’ll get back to my regular Green Baby Guide posts next week!
An intelligent and resourceful friend of mine has delicious, home-cooked meals delivered to her door four nights a week. The cost? Utterly free! She joined a neighborhood Meal Co-op and now cooks dinner just one night per week.
How does it work? The one night she does cook, my friend has to make enough for five families. But since she’s making five batches of the same dish, it’s much easier than cooking separate meals for her own crew every weeknight. The group of families set up rules, contributed to a fund to buy enough large dishes, spices and materials for each family, and they were on their way. They suspend the co-op over the summer and during the holidays, but it runs smoothly for most of the year.
Do you do meal swaps with neighborhood family or belong to a meal co-op? It would be a FANTASTIC situation for a family with a very young baby! Would you recommend it to other families? I do wish we could join a meal cooperative, even if it was just for a few nights a week!
We have hiked along the river at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum for years, and midway along the trail, we have always passed this bench. We sat and ate strawberries on it while I was pregnant seven years ago, changed cloth diapers on it a few times with our newborn babes, and now use it as a jungle gym for my acrobatic children.
But my favorite part of the bench is this quote inscribed in the rock: “Do the good things.” What a glorious and simple insight! To me it means everything from, “Get outside!,” to “Skip the mall on Saturday!”
Maybe I happen to be influenced by the fact that it is carved into a bench in the woods, but it reminds me of all the things we do that are good for us, good for our health, good for our family, and, very often, good for the environment. These things usually aren’t complicated, expensive, or difficult–and they often provide a multitude of rewards. I don’t always get it right, but as we continue to stride pass this bench on weekend hikes with our growing kids, it provides a great point of focus. (And a good family photo now and again!)
I am too lazy to come up with my own Valentine’s Day recipes this year, so I have decided to outsource it. Check out Gluten-free Gourmand’s gluten-free heart shaped scones with raspberry jam:
Aren’t these adorable? If you aren’t on a gluten-free diet, you can just substitute regular flour for the gluten-free flour and leave out the xanthan gum.
Also, you can make these Valentine’s Day treats without a heart-shaped cookie cutter, which is convenient for some people. I happen to have at least four different heart-shaped cookie cutters in my collection. Would it really crowd the kitchen too much to splurge on a nesting cookie cutter set?
Or better yet, this 3 piece hearts cutter set:
I’m now convinced I need to round out my collection with that ruffled one.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
There was time when I found secondhand shops distasteful. Everything seemed dingy and damaged. Why would people pay (even a little) for other people’s junk?
Now thrift shops are my first stop for clothing, household items, toys and much, much more. Why this shift? Once I gained the patience to search harder for treasures, I realized the huge payoff for buying secondhand. Beyond the environmental benefit, we support a charity every time we shop and end up scoring stuff for about 75% less than department store prices.
This weekend was no exception. We headed off to Goodwill to search for Hotwheels cars (my budget-savvy six-year-old already realizes he can get more for his money at a secondhand shop), a coat for my daughter, and a bike helmet for my son.
We found a deep purple, London Fog jacket (with the tags still on) for my daughter for $4.00. As you can see, it was love at first sight for her. We also found a perfect Hotwheels bike helmet for $4.00. (The exact coat and bike helmet are pictured below.) A set of two Hotwheels cars brought the total to $9.00
I don’t always find just what I’m looking for right away, but I do buy items in advance and keep track of upcoming needs for my family. If it doesn’t end up working out, I just send it back to another thrift shop, knowing that at least my mistake helped support a good cause.
Other treasures? My beautiful green angora sweater, which also still had the tags on, purchased for $2.50. My Banana Republic jeans for just $3.00 and loads of other brand name duds, most of which I buy on half-price days.
I love that my kids have a huge comfort zone with buying used and that they may even stick with secondhand shopping in their teen years and later in adulthood. When I think of all the money I could have saved, I can’t believe I didn’t start thrifting sooner!
Do you frequent secondhand shops or are you still turned off by the whole idea? Do you like to stick to online outlets like Ebay or Craigslist?
It’s that time of year again. Romance is in the air. What better way to celebrate the day of love than to shower your little cupid with heart-themed diapers and onesies? Yeah, it’s a stretch, but I can never resist an opportunity to find the latest holiday-themed baby bling. Here’s what’s hot for Valentine’s Babies of 2013:
Okay, this is actually a really cool diaper bag! Year round!
Be My Valentine Baby Leggings ($6.98)
Sigg Hello Kitty Valentine Bottle ($15.99)
It’s surprising how many baby clothes feature skulls these days.
See Kai Run Organic Cotton Socks ($9.99)
Also, I really like these socks.
Work it, babies!
We have the honor of owning two pairs of these adorable potty-training pants by Kara at Little Acorn Designs, and they are dearly loved. Why? My daughter is extremely sensitive to “wedgies” and cries at any point that she thinks her underwear might bunch in the wrong places. So even though she had these exact cloth training pants since she got out of diapers two years ago, she still cherishes her Little Acorn Designs Undies. (And they are still holding up beautifully!)
Just what makes them so fantastic? Is it the soft, stretchy waistband? The extra-soft cotton knit that comes from recycled t-shirts? Or the padded middle area made from super absorbent Zorb 2 fabric? Maybe it’s just magic of the whole combination. But I do know that these never, ever give my daughter a wedgie. (Which makes all of us happy!)
These trainers are just $9.50 each and the cost helps support another mom entrepreneur. When you think about the ongoing financial and environmental cost of pull-ups, that’s a great investment! And my daughter has worn them well beyond potty-training.
Have you found any special items on Etsy that you just love? Please share with us! It’s such fun to support other moms while finding unique and beautiful items for your babe!
While we theoretically wanted more than one child, after the first year or so of parenting our first, we weren’t entirely sure. I was tired. I was living in body that still hadn’t recovered from pregnancy and birth, and I couldn’t imagine being in charge of another human being. But somehow, just twelve months later, I was happily pregnant.
What happened? I’m pretty sure it was just short term memory loss. I slogged through another pregnancy while encountering the parenting challenges of the terrible twos, working nearly full time, and writing our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.
Still, the moment my daughter, Jovi, arrived, it was so clear that we had made the right choice. In the exhausting weeks that followed, we weren’t always euphoric about our new parenting demands, but we also delighted about having our new baby.
And now…my little newborn in 3 1/2 years old–and I’m 40. It’s very clear to me that I do NOT want to host a living being in my body at this point, but adoption sort of dangles out there attractively as a possibility. It’s not the paperwork of adoption, or the complicated process of adoption, or the cost of adoption–but the fact that some baby out there needs a loving family and that there is room in our home.
We still have much of the baby gear from our first two, although I have put most of it out on loan. But there are eight Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers that I can’t seem to get rid of. What if we do decide to have another child and I won’t have them on hand? (It’s ridiculous, I know!)
And yet when one of my kids has the flu or the laundry piles up, it’s very clear to me that we are utterly, absolutely, happily done adding members to our family. But then a few months go by, and that short term memory loss kicks in again.
Am I actively pursuing adoption? Not even remotely. But if someone left a baby in a basket on our doorstep, it would be easy to fold that little person into our family life. Have you ever struggled with the decision to have another baby? Is environmental impact a factor for you? Or cost? Or just the added complication?
We recently got a question from a reader about her drop-side crib:
I have a drop-side crib made in 2004, and the manufacturer does not offer an adaptor kit. I tried to access a link on your website for a kit available online ($10), but it could not display the page. Could you give me the website you have listed?
This Graco crib is more reasonable at $250. I am not sure why it showed up in my search for an “eco-friendly” crib other than the fact that it has a “smaller footprint” than other cribs and is therefore conducive to apartment living.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated my fortieth birthday. As I savored the moment, I contemplated the prediction from Amy Dacyczyn, author of The Tightwad Gazette, that a life of thrift will start to pay off at about age forty. And after four decades of tightwaddery, I have to say that she’s right.
This year we have suddenly found ourselves with disposable income, but we can’t seem to bring ourselves to dispose of it! It’s finally feasible to go out to eat a bit more often (and order beverages other than water). We could even start buying clothes and household items brand new instead of always hitting the thrift store first. And luxuries like cable television, cell phone plans with texting, and fancy coffees are no longer out of reach.
And yet, our skinflint lifestyle is so ingrained that it’s tough to shift beyond it. Other than the idea of frequenting local restaurants, which does sound alluring most of the time, I’m perfectly happy living life in thrifty mode. In full honestly though I do have to confess that we made big investments in equipment this year such as a used Prius, an older van, and a new computer. Other than that, our habits are pretty much the same as they have always been.
Oh, I also have to disclose that I still sometimes slip back into bizarre schemes to use every possible resource to its fullest. Like spending two hours trying to creatively save sour milk. In the end it was a flawed scheme and only resulted in two hours of lost time and a large pot of scalded milk. So, I can still be a bit over the top at times!
Hopefully, my kids are picking up on our thrifty habits and realizing that this alternative lifestyle isn’t really all that demanding–when I’m not doing weird things with souring milk–and that living with less can be a grand adventure!
As the kids have gotten older our budget has definitely grown, but that was the gift of raising our babies according to our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. According to cost comparisons with typical American families, Rebecca’s family and mine saved about $6,000 per year by buying used, cloth diapering, and minimizing our purchases. All that saved cash means that now we can plan family vacations, go out for the occasional ice cream cone, and enjoy making memories with our children–that they will actually remember for years to come! (Whereas they’ll never remember what diapering supplies they used, which pack and play they owned, or how many pacifiers they possessed.)
Are you doing your best to raise your baby on a tight budget? Or are you on a limited by necessity or are you saving money just for the fun of it?