Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beans and Chips

We just tried a spur of the moment combination for snack today, and liked it quite a lot.

1 can Black Beans *, rinsed (or 1 1/2-2 cups cooked with a dash of salt)
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp Parsley **
Corn Chips

Heat the beans in microwave until warm, then stir in the oil and parsley (or add before heating if you wish). Scoop and eat with chips.

Serve with cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, pickles, or whatever else sounds good and is on hand.

*You can use any type of bean. It doesn't have to be black. My kids also like Great Northern, Kidney, Small Red, and Chickpeas.

** Other spice options could be Italian, Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Dill, whatever suits your fancy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Whole New World

While doing research on different cloth diapers and their care, I have come across a whole new world of things that I never knew existed. Here's a short list to show what I mean:

Tea Tree Oil: It is an essential oil often used in home made baby wipes solutions. It is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti fungal, and used for treating things like nail fungus, ringworm, athletes foot, dandruff, acne, and many types of infestations including head lice, mites, and mosquitoes.

Wool Dryer Balls: Add these balls to your dryer to get faster drying, fluffier laundry. It also helps eliminate static, though not completely. They effectively do the job of dryer sheets, except they are reusable for years and don't leave any chemical residue on your clothes.

Cloth Feminine Pads: Um, pretty self explanatory. They're like cloth diapers, except for the purpose of, and shaped like, feminine hygiene products.

Eco-friendly Detergents and Cleaners: Maybe I'm just blind, but I never knew these were out there, and in such an abundance! They are made from all-natural materials such as grape seed and fruit extract, coconut and corn, and other essential oils, and according to reviews, they work just as well as synthetic cleaners.

Diaper Sprayers: I did know about these beforehand, but I still find it part of a different world. These attach to the water supply on your toilet and are used just like the sprayer in your kitchen sink. Except, of course, it sprays into your toilet. I can think of lots of things other then diapers this could be useful for, but they're all kinda gross. I'd rather not list them.

Diaper Cloths: I already knew about cotton and wool. Cotton is very absorbent, and wool is water repellent. What I didn't know was that there are cloths made from hemp and bamboo. Turns out they are thinner and even more absorbent and highly prized by the cloth diapering community then the old standbys. There is also a fabric caller PUL (polyurethane lining) that is waterproof but soft, typically used for the outside shell on diapers, and microfleece and suedcloth used to wick away the moisture.

Reusable Bags: These include sandwich bags, diaper pail liners, dirty diaper (wet) bags, and mini wet/dry bags. Makes sense for cloth diaper users. They can also be used for other things like swim gear, makeup, feminine products, wet wipes, sunscreen, lotion, towels, etc. Just launder with your diapers or other laundry.

It's quite possible that you already knew of these things and I was just obliviouse. Oh well. In either case, now we both know.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Diaper Days are Coming!

My ultrasound a couple weeks ago helped me realize I have a baby coming. Soon. Not too soon, but soon enough. And that realization jumpstarted a week + of figuring something out.

A couple years ago, while at the park with one of my friends, her little boy had his diaper changed. Exciting, I know, but it started a long conversation. You see, he was wearing a cloth diaper. And it was cute, not one of those hideous old-fassioned pre-folds with pins and plastic pants. I was interested. I've always been a bit of an environmentalist, but I also find frugality, aesthetics, and convenience important. My friend informed me that by using cloth diapers, I could actually obtain all four. Really?

Environmentally, cloth diapers are wonderful. They do not pile up in landfills, adding non-decomposing and toxic waste to the system. Instead, they get reused over and over, recycling for years, and putting the waste where it belongs (down the toilet).

Economically, it is also a winner. Over the period from birth to potty training, a typical child will go through over $2000 in disposable diapers. Seriously. Cloth diapering is much cheaper in the long run. It has it's up front costs (top diapering systems will run you close to $400), but then they are used over, and over, and over again. Those diapers are meant to last the entire 2-3 years and then some, often being passed down to younger siblings. That's even more savings!

As far as looks go, you can get some really cute cloth diapers now days. Just take a look at all the various kinds, from BumGenius, to FuzziBunz, to G Diapers, Flips, Best Bottoms. . . the list goes on and on. They aren't huge and majorly bulky like the old style cloth diapers, and some are even as trim as the current disposables.

As for convenience, there is slightly more work. You will have to do additional laundry 2-3 times a week, but is that really such a big deal? You're already going to be doing laundry for your little one and all of your other family members. Also, there are no more late night runs to the store in icy snow because you "ran out". As for putting the diaper on the baby, there isn't much more to it then disposables. For pocket diapers, you simply stuff a liner in the pocket, then snap or velcro it on. For all-in-2 (hybrid) diapers, you lay the liner in the shell, then snap or velcro it on baby. No more folding or pinning with these diapering systems. Easy. For clean up, pull the liner and cover apart, spray off pooh into the toilet with a toilet sprayer, and toss in the diaper pail to be washed later. Still pretty convenient.

So, with all of these facts and a baby looming in the horizon, I needed to decide if I was actually going try cloth diapering or not.

Lucky for me, my friend needed someone to watch her boys for almost a week, and her youngest is still in diapers. While watching them, I got to try out BumGenius, a pocket diaper, to see how I liked it. Well, I did. It was really no big deal to rinse the diapers, stuff a pocket, or put on her son. The laundering was easier then I thought (why I thought it would be any more difficult then normal laundry, I don't know). That tiny bit of extra work was way overshadowed by the economic difference, and the environmental and aesthetic ends were definitely an added boost.

In short, it looks like I'll be using cloth diapers this time around.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five in the Snow

It snowed last night. A lot. We seem to be getting a lot of snow dumps this year, not that I mind. The schools in the district got closed, though ours still happened (have to finish as much as I can before the baby comes). Oh well. We still got snow time, hot chocolate, and cookies.

Anyway, I've been watching two little boys for a friend of mine this week while their parents move house. It's been fun having them. For Blake, it's been like a week long slumber party. He's so happy to have boys to play with.

Lucky for us, we happened to have enough snow boots, pants, and gloves to go around.

Say Cheese!

The kids even helped shovel the driveway. Not a small feat seeing how thick and heavy the snow was.

It's been a good snow day.