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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama
Mindful Mama Carnival
A Little Bit of All of It: A Natural Parenting Blog
October Unprocessed 2012
Freedom of Cloth Carnival

Archive for the ‘Natural Living – Moving Away from Toxins’ Category

GIVEAWAY – Poogie Pants Cloth Pads (Mama Cloth) – US/CAN ~ 8/18

Photo Credit: W. Paugh

Photo Credit: W. Paugh

I am thrilled to share a Cloth Pad giveaway today from Whitney at Poogie Pants Cloth.

The winner of this giveaway will receive 2 Super Absorbent Cloth menstrual pads in the pattern of the designer’s choosing.

These pads were designed with protection and absorbency in mind. They have an outer layer of waterproof PUL, a suede cloth liner against the skin to wick away moisture, and an amazingly thin layer of Zorb 2 with 2 layers of Hemp terry for heavy flow. The channels are sewn in the lining and absorbent layers only, allowing for great leak protection. ~Poogie Pants Cloth

I recently returned from a family vacation to MN (and a pretty long hiatus from the blog…I apparently have difficulty with multi-tasking).

Expecting a visit from Aunt Flo during my time there, I came prepared with my trusty Diva Cup and my shiny new Poogie Pants Cloth pads. I can’t tell you how nice it was to not have to take up room in my suitcase with boxes of tampons and huge packs of pads as I used to do!

Unfortunately in all of the going back and forth between different family homes I managed to lose my Diva Cup (and have some more than slightly embarrassing convos with my brother and sister trying to describe what this thing was/looked like that I was asking them to search their houses for…).

At any rate, it didn’t turn up so I checked the internets on the off chance that I might be able to by one in a store in anticipation of my imminent monthly visit. And it was Whole Foods in Uptown for the win – I even paid $10 less for it than I would have in Canada!

It still makes me laugh to think of the moment – I was checking out with my Diva Cup, my new crystal deodorant, an organic tomato and a Kombucha I grabbed from the impulse aisle. Without batting an eye the cashier asked me if I would like my Kombucha out of the bag. I replied with a cheery “Yes” and walked out thinking, “Normal people do not have such conversations!

But before I gave my new Diva a try, I wanted to test out the Poogie Pants cloth.

I was intrigued from the moment I opened the box with these things. First of all, the shipping was amazingly quick for an order from the US to Canada – and Whitney at Poogie Pants is amazingly quick as well with a response to any inquiry - she has provided incredible service from the beginning.

Photo Credit: W. Paugh

Photo Credit: W. Paugh

I pulled them out to find a pad with a pretty backing that reminded me quite a lot of a disposable in looks and design (this would be a perfect pad for someone mildly weirded out by the idea of using cloth because it looks so ‘normal’).

The first thing I noticed when I tried them out was the fact that they really are ‘super’. Now, compared to the giant thick disposables I used to wear, this was nothing. But compared to my other cloth pad experiences, you could definitely feel this pad down there. Personally, I did not find that at all to be a bad thing.

In fact I have never felt more secure with a cloth pad – it was thick enough, long enough and sturdy enough (no shifting happened at all) that I would happily wear it without a Diva on a heavy day – a claim I can make about no other cloth pad I have tried (and I have tried many). I would highly recommend this pad to those with really heavy cycles or to women who use pads exclusively. Read the rest of this entry »

An Earth Day Challenge – and a Giveaway to Help Get you Started! (US/CAN ~ CLOSED)

加厚款護墊

加厚款護墊 (Photo credit: hjw223)

Happy Earth Day!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the awesome guest posts of the past few days (one more coming up tomorrow!) – personally I love seeing all these real life stories of women who have made the switch to reusable products for ‘that time of the month’ – it’s inspiring and encouraging to know how many have happily made this choice.

And today on Earth Day, I extend the challenge to you.

It was just about 3 years ago today that I closed my eyes and jumped in – it’s hard for me to fathom it now, but it really was a difficult decision to give up those pads and tampons. I wasn’t confident that reusable products would really work for my heavy periods. I thought it might be a little too gross. It seemed like a lot of money to pay up front.

But the more I realized how bad those toss away products are for the earth – and for my body – the more I leaned toward taking that plunge. And once I finally did…well, ever since then I’ve wanted nothing but to share how amazing these products are!

It’s hard to say why, exactly…I don’t make or manufacture or sell reusable products – there’s no monetary gain for me. I certainly don’t judge anyone who chooses not to. Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Reusable Menstrual Products REALLY Like?

The following is a guest post from Kymberlee of Our Crazy Corner of the World.

I’ve been in the ranks of menstruating females for about 14 years, but I’ve only been aware of the world of reusable menstrual products for about four years, and using them for about three. It took awhile to get on board, for several reasons.

I was already using cloth diapers for my son, but for some reason the poop and pee of my own offspring didn’t seem as bad as dealing with my *own* blood. I don’t like blood. It makes me nauseated. But, ultimately the desire to be frugal won out so I dived in head first with a few cloth panty-liners and a Diva Cup. And anxiously awaited for my cycle to start. Then I was hooked. As you can see from the picture, I’ve got quite the little stash. My favorite, FAVORITE pads are handmade by a wonderful lady in San Antonio, Texas. Her company is Domino Pads.

Photo Credit: Author

Photo Credit: Author

Mama Cloth: Domino Pads and AprilM Designs. Diva Cup and zebra print wetbag (made for me by a friend). Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. Moon Time by Lucy Pearce

When I share that I’m a fan of reusable menstrual products like cloth pads or cups, I’m immediately met with lots of questions. I love the questions! I appreciate that people feel comfortable enough to ask me about these things, and I love sharing what I’ve learned.

So when Kelly asked me to guest post, I immediately decided to do a question and answer type session. So I asked a few girlfriends who were considering making the switch to ask me whatever they could think of! We had a pretty fun Facebook chat about the whole thing one afternoon. Hopefully the questions and answers will help you make the decision about what’s right for you!

A few things to know about mama cloth and menstrual cups: Read the rest of this entry »

GIVEAWAY: Thirsties Duo All-In-One Cloth Diaper Plus Hemp Inserts — $25.75 ARV CLOSED

This is a joint giveaway with Becoming Crunchy and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

Thirsties is offering our readers a giveaway of one Thirsties Duo All in One Cloth Diaper, in a print of the winner’s choice, and a set of Hemp Inserts, a value of $25.75.

The Thirsties Duo All in One offers absorbency, waterproof protection, and adjustability in a stylish, affordable, and effective cloth diaper.

First, a little bit of information about Thirsties from the company:

Thirsties® is a small (but growing!) cloth diaper company committed to greener parenting and Eco Friendly solutions, not to mention 100% USA Made quality! Erin, founder of Thirsties, started this business with an old sewing machine and $100 5 years ago. Through her hard work and diligence, the company is now one of the leaders in the cloth diaper industry. Our diapers are now made by work at home mothers, and very close to our warehouse, reducing our carbon output. Our customer service reps are experienced cloth diapering moms, and offer our knowledge to our retailers and customers alike.

Are you sold yet? :) If not, you soon will be — but I have to say first that I’m pretty excited about a company with such awesome principles, especially the whole work-at-home mom concept!

Beyond that, getting a pretty new cloth diaper in the mail is always an event (owls! yay!), and I was very happily satisfied with this one.

What I loved:

The diaper is very soft and adjustable. We got a size 2 for 22-month-old Bean; it’s meant to fit 18-40 lbs or 9-36 months. The sizing is adjustable through snaps and closes with hook-and-loop tape (though it is also available in a snap closure). It came with 2 hemp/cotton inserts that can be fit through the middle pocket.

I had purchased these same inserts for other diapers before so I knew they were good — a very thin layer of lots of extra absorbency.

No Inserts.

The diaper can be used on its own (very nice for around the house) or stuffed with 1-2 inserts for extra absorbency. I liked how easy it was to fit the inserts in — there are openings on both sides to make a kind of tunnel instead of just one pocket, so it’s easy to pull inserts through and flatten them out without too much maneuvering.

All around, both absorbency and “containment” are great. The diaper is really nicely and comfortably made with gentle elastics around the legs to keep any leaks from getting through. We generally use a two-piece diaper system that can get out of place pretty easily with an active toddler, allowing leaks to get through the cover. With the Thirsties AIO Duo we didn’t experience one leak in multiple uses (and we mostly used it without inserts).

The ease of use was fantastic — pretty much as easy as a disposable. For me it was very nice not to have the risk of a very wiggly toddler getting the diaper all out of alignment before I could get it on her!

What I didn’t love:

With both inserts.

There wasn’t much — I was overall very impressed with this diaper. The main small issue I had was the thickness when both inserts are in; the fitting at that point got a little snug. I doubt we could get up to 40 lbs and still get it on with both inserts in. But that’s also a very subjective thing as it goes beyond weight and into body shape, etc., so it’s certainly not something I would call disappointing.

Also (this may be a bit TMI — sorry) — I do need to remember to not wash the diaper together with my underwear, as the velcro seems to be a magnet for the elastic bands therein. Just something to be careful of.

What surprised me (in a good way!):

I really liked the all-in-one aspect. It was honestly a little hard for me to get used to a one-time use diaper, but the ease of it ultimately sold me — and the fact that it doesn’t get all out of place.

I think it has potential for an overnight diaper. We haven’t really found anything (disposable or cloth) that works overnight; we usually end up doing one change in the middle of the night. I put her in the Duo AIO double stuffed and she went a good 5 hours before needing a change (and it didn’t leak; it was just full) — that was also a night with quite a few wake-ups for milk so that bladder was pretty active! I could definitely see adopting it as a night-time diaper though I’m not sure it would go through the entire night.

The velcro closures weren’t a disaster. Bean is frequently in disposables (her caregivers won’t use anything else) and is pretty well a pro at removing them. I figured the velcro would be an issue there, but it wasn’t at all — she didn’t even try to get it off. I’m guessing it was comfortable enough that it didn’t occur to her to try it. (For those whose little ones are a little more persistent in this area, the diaper does come in snap closures.)

Washing and drying were the same as any other diaper. I’d heard AIO’s can be difficult to dry, and I did find a need to give the inserts a few extra minutes, but really there was no big deal. As recommended, I washed and dried three times before using and we were good to go from there.

The pricing is really decent. I’ve bought $15 AIO diapers and found them to be utter crap; for a $16/17 diaper this is an excellent value. The quality is obvious from just looking at the stitching, and in every way it’s proven to be well made, comfortable, and absorbent. I could never justify an AIO stock at the usual $25 a pop, which is why we’ve mostly used a two-piece system, but I could totally see the value in stocking up on these diapers.

Ultimately, I’m very happy with the Thirsties Duo All In One Diaper and hope you get the chance to check it out. (I’m thinking I’m going to have to stock up on a few more myself — I don’t want to miss out on those adorable colours/patterns, and our child caregivers may even be willing to give these a try!) Want to learn more?

BUY IT!

You can purchase your own Duo All In One Diaper at Thirsties.com and other retailers, $15.95 for solids and $16.95 for prints plus shipping.

Thirsties also sells several other options in cloth diapers and accessories — you can request a catalog by visiting this link.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win a Duo All In One Diaper from Thirsties, plus a set of Hemp Inserts, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below.

The winner will receive 1 Thirsties Duo All In One Diaper in the pattern of their choice, and 1 set of Hemp Inserts. Contest is open to the US and Canada only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Thirsties and tell us one thing you have learned about the company! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

This is a joint giveaway with Becoming Crunchy and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

BONUS ENTRIES:

See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Cost of NOT Greening Your Period

pads and tampon garbage

pads and tampon garbage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 disclaimers to begin this post…

#1 – It’s late! I meant to have this as a wrap up to the posts of the week before last and just didn’t get to it in time. My apologies! :)

#2 – I plan to share in this post (among other things) some great reasons for ‘greening your period’ – or switching to reusable menstrual products. On the flip side of that I will be sharing some of the not-so-great things about disposable products. While I believe what I’m sharing has merit and sincerely hope that it may help provide a few answers for anyone on the fence or new to the whole idea, I am absolutely not judging you if you disagree with what’s expressed here. If this post comes as the right one at the right time for you, great! If it’s totally not your bag, feel free to ignore it!

OK – now we can get started!

I want to re-post something I shared last year:

  • Over 20 BILLION disposable pads, tampons, and applicators will
    be added to landfills every year in North America alone. The disposal of
    these products releases dioxins and other toxic chemicals into our
    rivers, lakes and oceans and pollutes our soil.
  • A woman will use on average 13,000 disposable menstrual products
    in her lifetime. ONE cloth pad has the potential to replace 140
    disposable pad/tampon products.
  • ONE cloth pad can last up to 5 years.
  • Disposable pads and tampons used in an average woman’s
    menstruating life will cost her $4500 compared to $200-$750 for reusable
    pads and tampons.
  • Many pads and tampons are chemically treated to whiten, perfume,
    and make them more absorbent. They are also made of synthetic fibers.
    Given the sensitivity of the vaginal area to chemical absorption and the
    number of disposable menstrual products a woman uses in her life, this
    is a really big issue.

Sources: http://www.naturalmenstrualproducts.com/, http://lunapads.com/about-us/media-info

This list is why I titled this post as I did.

First off, the contribution I was making to landfills with all those tampons and pads was something I never even considered. For far too long I was of the mindset that when you throw garbage ‘away’, it just goes into that nebulous ‘away’ that most of us never have to think about or deal with.

But when you do think of it…what a terrible burden to place on our earth! Don’t get me wrong – I still use things that are disposable. But I have come to see that we do WAY more disposable than we need to in so many things, where it takes surprisingly little effort to use something that will last for years.

Ultimately, whether it’s pads and tampons or paper plates or diapers or plastic spoons or whatever, we need to start counting the cost with these things. We need to start seeing the numbers – envisioning the disaster we are creating – and acting accordingly.

Moving on to actual financial cost. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s That Time of the Month Year Again! (Giveaway ~ US/CAN CLOSED)

Giveaway winner will receive a Set of 5 Cloth Pads from Moms Crafts 4 U

Last year, in the spirit of Earth Day, I made a resolution.

I must admit - it wasn’t something I was terribly excited about doing at first – I looked at it as taking a pretty big risk and did not have a lot of faith that it would work out well.

But as I look back over the past year, I can say with full confidence that I’m a total convert and wouldn’t go back for anything.

What I did ranges from being no big deal for some (and indeed, seems like nothing out of the ordinary to me now) to being a huge, potentially weird and disturbing deal for others.

In short – I made the switch from using disposable menstrual products (pads and tampons) to using reusable menstrual products – cloth pads (or as it is sometimes known – ‘mama cloth’), a menstrual cup, and sea sponge tampons.

I wrote all about my initial experiences in various posts you can find HERE – they include reviews of Moms Crafts 4 U (along with Earth Mama Angel Baby Monthly Comfort Tea), Lunapads, GladRags, the Diva Cup, Sea Sponge Tampons, and Party in My Pants.

Now that I’ve been using these products for an entire year, I wanted to share a bit more about my experiences. I’m not gonna lie – I’d love to help convert you too (I’m even sweetening the deal with a cloth pad giveaway at the end of this post)! Read the rest of this entry »

Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes…Just Not Too Quickly

*******
Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival!

This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!

***

blindfold

blindfold (Photo credit: Belladonna Wild)

This Earth Day seems more like a ‘New Year’s Day’ to me than anything else. It marks a real anniversary of the time I’ve spent getting serious how my actions affect this world.

I made a LOT of changes when Bean was born, but looking back, many of them seem relatively easy - or so obviously worthwhile that there’s been no question of going back to the way things were.

By the time she was 8 months old Earth Day rolled around, and I was ready to make a more serious commitment. I picked a challenge I really wasn’t at all sure I wanted to take – I made the transition to reusable menstrual products. I wrote about my experiences at the time and plan to share more throughout the coming week (I hope you’ll stop by to hear more!) – but all that to say, that decision marked a transition for me.

It was moving into a deeper awareness – a willingness to learn more – a greater understanding of the effects I, as an individual, have on my world.

It led to more of such decisions – ones that required greater time, effort, sacrifice – growing our own food, boycotting Nestle (and purchasing Fair Trade when it comes to things like coffee and chocolate), buying organic. After watching a documentary on bottled water, I’ve finally stopped buying it – period. After reading more and more articles on the dangers of both BPA and aspartame, I’ve finally given up my beloved diet coke.

But before you get to the point of thinking I’m being insufferably obnoxious and pious with my environmental love, I admit here before anyone that there is still SO much I am willing to close my eyes to in denial.

I saw a cartoon recently that was captioned: “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.” I find it very apt – though I hate to say it, ignorance sometimes really does seem like bliss. Life was easier before I knew all this stuff of consequences and effects and dangers and what have you.

But once you do know it, it becomes very difficult to go back.

Ultimately, I know in my heart that I don’t want to go back – but I’ll tell you I hate it sometimes. It causes difficulty. It makes simple decisions harder. It makes me feel like a hypocrite – every time of the many times I don’t live up to those ideals. It makes me feel like I’m giving a ‘holier than thou’ impression, which I don’t want to do or be. It causes strife with the husband and other family members. It makes me depressed to think about how much there is to think about.

As I look back over this year, I know that there are many things which I still consciously or unconsciously am able to not see. And over time, I think the list will only get longer. Over a year of both triumph and failure in an area that’s become very important to me, I know that I do want those scales to keep falling from my eyes – I owe that to myself, and to my daughter.

But I don’t want it to happen too quickly…

Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please relax and take time to read these other great eco-living posts:
Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction

  • You are a Child of the Earth – Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
  • Cutting Out Paper – Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be “greener” as each Earth Day passes.
  • The World is Brown – Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren’t doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
  • 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
  • Little Changes – Big Results – Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she’s baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
  • Inspiring the Next Generation – aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body – Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
  • Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
  • Clutter Free for a Cause – At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy’s penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
  • Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
  • Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes…Just Not Too Quickly – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
  • Fostering Love of Earth – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
  • Being in Nature – Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
  • 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
  • Viva Portlandia – Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she’s taking to further lessen her family’s environmental impact.
  • Conspicuous Conservationism – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
  • Time for Radical Sustainability – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!

A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!

DIY – A Natural Parents Network Volunteer Blog BLITZ!

It’s that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer’s most popular or favorite posts from the year. Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on Do It Yourself projects, How To’s, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to.

I consider it such an honour to be part of this awesome group of volunteers and benefit from their wisdom all the time. There are so many wonderful posts here and I hope that this serves as an excellent resource that you can pass on to your friends! Enjoy!

Jorje of Momma Jorje.com shares her Family Cloth Tutorial in pictures. She includes step by step photos with some tips for making very neat family cloth. You can find Momma Jorje on Facebook, too!

Lani at Boobie Time Blog shares “How to Help a New Breastfeeding Mom.” This post provides some tips on helping a new mom while she is learning to Breastfeed. You can also find Boobie Time Blog on Facebook and Twitter.Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy momma

Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares “How I Make Cloth Wipes.” This post details how Amanda made all of her cloth wipes. You can also find Let’s Take the Metro on Facebook.

Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares “Lessons in a Picture Book.” A Lesson plan for pancakes and how to make your own butter! You can also find True Confessions of a Real Mommy on Facebook and Twitter.

Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares “Tips for Road Tripping with a Toddler.” A long car trip with a young child can be a great way to make some wonderful memories if you are prepared to meet the challenges. You can also find Monkey Butt Junction on Facebook and Twitter. 

Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares “Maple Cinnamon Swirl Bread.” This recipe tutorial shows you how to make a sweet whole wheat bread with beautiful cinnamon swirls in each slice. You can also find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares “How To Consume Coconut Oil Plus Coconut Oil Candy Recipes.” This post provides some tips on how to get your daily dose of coconut oil down the hatch. It also provides some very tasty recipes for coconut oil candy! You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Alicia at Lactation Narration gives some ideas for how to accomplish Partial Weaning for moms who would like to cut down on nursing without completely weaning. You can also find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares “A Learning-Rich Environment.” This post provides a number of suggestions for creating a learning-rich environment and incorporating learning into everyday life, with a particular focus on the preschool age. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google +.

BecomingCrunchyKelly at Becoming Crunchy shares “Kale Chips = Awesome! This post shares a super easy recipe for making a super easy (and surprisingly tasty) snack from one of the most healthful greens around. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares “How to Move to California.” A silly how-to she wrote while she and her then fiance were driving to their new home. You can also find Shannon on Pinterest, Flickr, and Google +.

Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen shares a recipe for “Homemade Fruit Leather.” It’s easier than you ever thought and the perfect snack for you and your family. You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares “How I Cloth Diaper (Part 1).” This post details the way Julia has cloth diapered her daughter along with the products she uses. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Joella at Fine and Fair shares “Our First Sensory Bins.” In this post, she shares how she made a “Scoop, Measure, and Pour” themed sensory bin, as well as an “In the Garden” themed bin. She also shares some tips for making your own sensory bins! Fine and Fair can be found on Facebook and Twitter. 

Visit Code Name: MamaFor all of you breastfeeding mamas, Dionna at Code Name: Mama has the ultimate DIY experience with the main ingredient being your breastmilk! 58 Medical, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk includes a cradle cap remedy, an anti-itch salve, weaning jewelry, lotion, and more. You can also find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings offers several ideas for “Keeping a Toddler Happily Busy on a Long Flight.” The list includes handmade felt activities, among many other things. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Shannon at The Artful Mama shares “Preparing Toddlers for Birth.” This post features MamAmor dolls and shows some alternative ways to talk to toddlers about pregnancy and birth. You can also find The Artful Mama on Facebook and Twitter.

Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her “Family Binder DIY.” This post shows how to put together a family binder, to help organize cleaning, meal planning, shopping and budgeting all in one convenient location!

I Thought I Knew Mama: A window into the adventures of stay at home mamahood, natural parenting, & green and healthy livingCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares “5 Green Living, Spring Cleaning Tips.” This post provides easy ways to keep the toxins out of your home and to freshen up your home for spring. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares “Daily Bread: My Favorite Whole Grain Bread Machine Recipe.” This recipe is easy, highly adaptable, and a great starting point for creating your own daily (or almost daily!) homemade bread. You can also find Intrepid Murmurings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares “10 Tips for Toddler Carseat Woes.” Check out these ideas of dealing with toddler carseat issues without resorting to punishments. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares “DIY Mom’s Night In.” A somewhat humorous solution, this post provides exhausted Mamas the recipe for the perfect way to recharge!

Stacy at Sweet Sky shares “Ways to Bring More Mindfulness Into Your Days.” This post provides tips and tricks to bring yourself back to the present moment, so you can be the parent you want to be. You can also find Stacy on Facebook.

AnktangleAmy at Anktangle shows us how to make your own popsicle stick puzzles, a fun and simple “busy bag” activity for toddlers and preschool aged children. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shares “How to sew a mei tai baby carrier.” The mei tai is Lauren and Sam’s favorite carrier for baby Alrik: as comfortable and simple as it is beautiful. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Visit African Babies Don't CryChristine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares “How to Make Rainbow Coloured Rice (Without Alcohol) for a Toddler Sensory Bin.” This post provides a step by step tutorial for making vibrantly coloured rainbow rice for sensory play, includes a printable PDF. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares “How To Send A Hug In An Envelope.” This post is a creative way to send more than just the standard card to love ones. It literally is a hug in an envelope! You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

My Crunchy Wishes for 2012

I was driving, so Michele snapped these pictur...

Because it’s a new year, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’d like to have/do in 2012.

There’s nothing set in stone and I have no idea how much of it will actually come to pass, but there’s nothing wrong with a little wishlist, right? And if you can’t share your random thoughts and wishes on your blog, where can you share them?

So here goes…

 

The idea of living sustainably/independent of mainstream corporations, etc. is a hugely fascinating one for me (though it’s something I still have a looooong way to go on).

But in that spirit, here are some of the things I would like to own/do to began attaining that goal:

  • A dehydrator. I have dreams of making jerky, fruit roll-ups, etc. and keeping my family in healthy snacks at every need.
  • Canning supplies. Because my gardening efforts were such a success last year, I have big plans for expanding this year – and I want to be able to preserve all that yummy goodness! Of course, this will also involve learning how to can things without giving us all botulism.
  • An indoor herb garden (plus lots of herbs outside!). I planted sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, lavender and mint last year. The sage and thyme are actually still growing (outside!) and I continue to use them frequently. Thus, I want to do bigger and better this year – and make sure to dry and preserve those herbs as well (I’m afraid I was pretty crap with that this past year). Now I just need to find some space inside that won’t be destroyed by my daughter/dog/cat. Hmm….
  • A juicer. My husband loves juice. And no matter how much I tell him how worthless it is and how much it’s all sugar and how it’s not even real even when it says it is, he persists in drinking it. So I would at least like to make him real juice. And I admit I wouldn’t mind putting together some veggie juice concoctions for myself. So this is one of the wants on our list.
  • More cast-iron/glass/stainless steel. We’ve begun the process of converting all our cooking stuff to these materials, but we’re not where I’d like to be. It would be great if 2012 could see us there!

As these are mainly all to do with kitchen/cooking/food stuff, I’ll throw in a few goals I’d like to put into action this year. We’ve had great success with going paper towel free and become pros at separating our garbage, compost and recycling, but there’s still a lot more we can accomplish.

I think the biggest problem continues to be waste – mainly in Ziploc bags and food. I’ve been pretty decent in the past with washing those bags out and using more reusable containers and planning meals so food doesn’t get tossed, but we started slacking big-time when I went back to work. I don’t want this downward spiral to continue, so it’s something that’s on my list to work on for 2012.

Continuing with the wishes… Read the rest of this entry »

Crunchy Living is SO Expensive…Or Is It?

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

Example of an American grocery store aisle.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been doing a bit of mental inventory lately about how our financial situation has altered since we’ve been ‘becoming crunchy’.

It’s been an interesting process. One of the main reasons I was never more then on the edges of ‘natural living’ was the idea that it cost too much – in both money and time. When we had Bean, the husband and I felt we were making some big sacrifices that we’d never been willing to make for ourselves in terms of spending extra for organics, etc.

But as we’ve transitioned so much over the past 13 months, I’ve come to realize that we’re not only (for the most part) evening out – we’re actually spending less in many cases, and the time saved in one place easily makes up for more time spent in another.

It’s been quite a shock really – the expense is one of the biggest objections you hear when you talk about getting into all that organic stuff – but how does it really end up breaking down?

Here’s something of a snapshot of what it’s been like for our family (I am guestimating on the prices)…

Things I Used to Buy vs. Things I Buy Now Read the rest of this entry »

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