Wednesday, June 30, 2010
As consumers we are also convinced that it costs money to be eco-friendly. Regularly we are bombarded with the message that you have to own high efficiency appliances, solar panels and hybrid cars to fit into the Green community. We are to think that it "costs green to go green" and its this exclusive club with steep membership fees. That doesn't have to be true. I want to make this process as budget friendly as it is Mother Nature friendly.
Have you ever told yourself "there is no way I will ever be able to go green because I can't even remember to turn off the light when I leave the room!" The first step isn't confined to a rigid "You must conserve energy before moving on to step 2." There are a variety of simple steps we can take to start our journey. For me, it was beginning to cloth diaper that opened the door to a staircase of change. It felt good to take a step in that direction, which encouraged me to take another, and another and another. You may decide that one step is enough for you, and thats OK. In the big picture, one step is better than no steps, right?
We aren't lacking the motivation as much as we are lacking the information. If more of us became aware that there are alternatives to things(and easy ones at that), we would be more willing to make that change for the better.
The key to cleaning success is to just keep it simple. My adventures of the "BUY NOW" button sadly ended with these gadgets cluttering my poor utility room and taking up precious space in my condo.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
We are a house full of puppies. If you can walk 10 feet without tripping over a canine you are lucky. If you can drink your morning cup of coffee without gagging on a strand of black dog hair your day is about to be a good one!
You can imagine our carpet gets a good amount of wear and tear. I was tired of spending $20 on carpet solution for those pesky spots, which lasts no time at all. What cheap, all natural alternative do I have? Vinegar. Yummy.
One part water to one part white vinegar. Put solution into a spray bottle, spray the stain and scrub.
Is this idea a little too Crunchy for you? Want to Toast this idea? Throw this solution into your Spot Bot and walk away (if you do decide to do this, go heavier on the water. Also, your house WILL smell a tad vinegary until it dries)! VOILA!
Rowynn likes to be close to me at all times. It's cute, but sometimes I need to get some cleaning done. This obviously makes me nervous because I don't want her inhaling noxious fumes from the cleaning supplies. I looked into some natural methods of cleaning and came across this tried and true recipe for an all purpose cleaner. I tried it in my kitchen and I have got to say I am pretty impressed. PLUS the ingredients are super super cheap and are common household items you probably already have lying around anyways!
In a spray bottle, mix:
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Vinegar
1/2 Gallon of water
You definitely don't get the strong odor you get with Lysol (which is a good thing)and it seemed to cut through the mess on my counters really well! Score! This is definitely a keeper!
*Cleaned my bathrooms as well. I am extremely impressed thus far. The "All Purpose" is no lie! I even cleaned the bathroom mirrors with the solution! It may take a few extra strokes to make the mirror streak free, but the results are far better than store bought glass cleaner.
*After further use of the all purpose cleaner I have found that if you don't wipe completely, you do get a build up of the baking soda. Also, I sprayed my counters, but the splashes of the solution on my coffee maker left residue splashes. So just note this. The cleaner still definitely works!
We have a High Efficiency, Front Loader washer, and if you are familiar with them at all you are well aware of the price of detergent. We do a lot of laundry. I am forever folding hubby's billion t-shirts. I wanted to find a great alternative to $18 Tide HE detergent and came across this simple clean recipe (and HE friendly)
1/2 Cup Borax (can be found in grocery stores where detergents are located)
1/2 Cup Washing soda (can be found in grocery store where detergents are located)
1 Cup shaved Ivory soap (or Fels Naptha soap).
Use 1 or 2 tablespoons depending on size of load.
*To make this detergent Cloth Diaper safe, substitute OxiClean for the Ivory Soap
I did my first load of laundry this evening using homeade detergent. I washed the sheets and loved the understated yet clean scent. Another keeper! We are on a budget friendly roll!
*wanted to add that my sheets have never been this soft. The recipe must have stripped the residue build up on the sheets or something.
Friday, June 25, 2010
On my journey to becoming green and thrifty, I have found some recipes I am intrigued by. Some I have tried, some are in the works, and some are in their testing phase.
Baby Wipe Solution
I was given this basic recipe by my friend Kristen and added my LT touch for a great wipe solution for The Boat's bottom, and it has worked wonderful and smells like Coconut lemon pie! It also makes the nursery smell amazing when put into a wipe warmer (think about those heated oils they sell for $$$ in stores!)
2 Cups HOT water (heated in microwave or on stove, but not to boiling)
2 Tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Cococut oil (EV is key)
2 Tablespoons of California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash
After the coconut oil has disolved completely, pour solution over your cloth wipes in a container, then flip wipes over to ensure solution soaks throughout wipes. Important: wait until water is not scalding before putting wipes on your baby's bottom! Duh!
Rowynn's bottom has never been more diaper rash free!
Projects in the works - Testing Phase!
Babyfood (when the Boat is 6months or OK'ed by Ped)
Sewing Cloth Diapers
Sewing Cloth Wipes
Great websites to check out for ideas:
When my good friend gave me a breakdown and description of each type of diaper I started to doubt my intelligence and feared for the future of my poor daughter. But the more I delved into this subject the more I understood. And so will you.
What diaper should you use? Only you can answer that. Some people might prefer pocket diapers, where as some people might prefer the simplicity and budget friendly prefold diaper with a cover.
How can I find out which I like best? Trial and error my friend. How much you want to spend is up to you, but you will have to try different types to find out what you and baby like. Hell you might get lucky and love the first thing you buy!
Is cloth diapering difficult and labor intensive? So many people are under the impression that to cloth diaper you have to be a martyr. My honest opinion is that no, CD'ing really isn't as scary as you may think. The question of whether it is or isn't for you really depends on what you yourself consider "difficult". Would you rather run to the store when you need diapers, or throw in a load of laundry and put them away once they're done?
Can I cloth diaper part time? Of course you can! And its a great way to find out if it may be something you want to pursue. Some people cloth on the weekends at home, but use disposables for daycare, nighttime and when they go out.
Is cloth diapering expensive? Cloth diapering can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. You can cloth diaper on any budget, from $50 to $5000(yah I have seen it). Flats and Prefolds are a great option for those with a tight budget who want to cloth. I personally have prefolds on standby for laundry day and when we are just hanging around the house. They are easy to clean, easy to use and easy to buy. For the more pampered tooshies there are fancy fitteds ands hybrids and AIO's (all in ones) that are adorable and extremely stylish. You can also trade, sell or buy gently used diapers on online cloth swapping sites.
I personally love going to buffets. I like variety in my food and won't stop eating until I have tried a little bit of everything. I don't want to miss something that I may have loved! I of course was no different when it came to CD'ing. I had to dabble in different styles, fabrics and types. "I'll take this pocket, that hybrid, and can you throw in that fitted? Thanks!" So when I started, I dove right in and completed my "stash" within a month.
Some websites like http://www.diaperjunction.com/ let you test drive their diapers so you can get a good feel for what you prefer. They also may offer trial packages that include a variety of diaper's included. Also to help you in your quest they detail each type of diaper for you, so you may have a better understanding of what you may like and good jumping off point.
There are also work at home moms, aka "WAHM's" that create amazing diapers too. http://www.hyenacart.com/ and http://www.etsy.com/ are great resources to finding those. But buyer beware, you get what you pay for, and take note to each stores feedback. Those who know me know my B4(eh? diaper lingo strikes again) or BubuBebe's. I find these to be works of art and totally worth the 3-4 week wait for them (they are shipped from Canada).
They tell you to CD full time you will need 24 diapers. You can definitely build this "stash" rather quickly and cheaply if you go the prefold or flat route and buy a couple diaper covers. You can build a more diverse and fancy stash later on if you like and go at your own pace. I personally dove right in and never looked back.
Support is great when you want to CD. There are days when you want to throw in the cloth wipe and quit. If you ever need to talk, you know where to find me! Good luck to you in your adventure and be forewarned, CD'ing is EXTREMELY addictive. It may find yourself in a toasty snowball effect!
*Diapers and Brands reviewed by Brittney
Prefolds Definitely aren't for everyone. A little planning goes in to every diaper change with these, but those who have found the prefold love, are die hard fans. I prefer prefolds when lounging around the house and on laundry day. They are, to me, easy to use as well as easy to care for. There are many different types of folds you can try on your little one to get the best fit. The Angel Wing fold and Bikini fold are my two favorite folds so far.
We currently have Econobum One Size prefold diapers (12prefolds, 3covers). We bought the Diaper Kit because it was a great budget friendly starter package. If you aren't sure about CD'ing, this is a great way to try it out on a smaller sized budget.
Pocket diapers are known to be very daddy, nanny and daycare friendly. They come on and off the same was as a disposable diaper. The Pocket Diaper consists of a washable shell and a washable insert. These can be a little pricier than prefolds, but have their own advantages. Some consider this one of the easiest options in cloth diapering. I personally am not their biggest fan, though they do have their moments where I find use for them. An obvious downside is that you have to seperate the insert from the diaper before throwing into the diaper pale (this obviously can get a little messy during a huge poop explosion).
We currently have the Bum Genius One Size Pocket Diaper(6). I would recommend these for families who are on the go a lot and for those who need a great nighttime diaper (you can double up inserts for extra absorbtion). They are a relatively trim diaper, where some other types of diapers are bulky. Unfortunately I do not find them to be the most comfortable looking diaper out there. They are a bit on the stiff side. Also, being a one size diaper they fit each baby different and I am not in love with how they fit Rowynn's shape.
I have the fitted diaper LOVE! These are by far, hands down, my favorite type of cloth diaper. They are very daddy, nanny, and daycare friendly. You can find them in fabrics that are soft, cute, absorbant and easy to care for. Fitteds are basically a prefold diaper that is more contoured to the babys body. They are also much trimmer than prefolds, but they do also require a diaper cover. Fitteds can be aquired on any CD'ing budget.
My favorite obviously being BubuBebe (9, with one pictured at top) which can be found at www.hyenacart.com. Oh B4's how I love thee, let me count the ways. They are extremely luxurious with the inside as well as the soaker system consisting of organic bamboo velour. They have an awesome fit, especially for being a one size diaper. They are extremely easy to care for, which is important to me. When I get them out of the dryer I just have to snap in the soaker and they are good to go! They are a tad on the pricier side, but in my opinion worth every single penny. Also, you have to be patient because they are shipped from Canada and can take upwards of a month to ship(but as with the price, totally worth it!) If I could, I would have all Bububebe diapers(which is my ultimate goal!)
We also have Kissaluv Fitted Diapers. These diapers started out very soft, but have since dropped to my B stash due to them being pretty rough to the touch after multiple washes. The upside is they fit awesome and are easy to use as well as care for. They also score pretty decent on the absorbancy scale, in my opinion. They are great diapers for when we are on the go.
***Other Reviews still in works, stay tuned!
What is "Lightly Toasted"?
Lightly Toasted is a way of life for those of us who may want to live a little "greener" but want to do it with our own style. We want to buy our produce from the local farmers market but load it into our Yukon. LT is for those of us that want to make our own household cleaning products but wash our hair with Pantene. To sum it up, LT is for those of us who are intrigued by the "Crunchy" lifestyle, but are more comfortable picking and chosing the tips from our more crunchy friends and sources. We want some of that Organic Dairy free Coconut milk chocolate icecream dangit!
A little history about me and why I started this blog.
As some of you know, I recently became a mother to a precious little baby girl ("The Boat") in February. After being laid off while on maternity leave, and my husband being the only one working, we decided we needed to cut back and start a budget.
I was in the accounting field for almost 10 years, so you would think creating a budget and sticking to it would be easy. I came to find out that creating a budget is so much easier than actually pulling the trigger.
My world changed to say the least when The Boat entered my life. Things that held such high importance in my life no longer were even on the list, let alone topping it. New designer shoes weren't as temping as a new BubuBebe cloth diaper. My Venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks didn't hold a candle to my more budget friendly Folgers coffee I brewed at home now.
This revelation got me thinking, how far can I take this new, more budget friendly lifestyle? And can I create a more eco-friendly, greener home while I am at it?
This revelation is HUGE considering I am a woman who is notorious for her deep love of modern conveniences and the luxuries in life. But once I get my mind set on something, I know there is no stopping me. I am now a woman consumed.
How far can I take it? That is what we will find out!