Green Living

Diaper Pails and Wipes: Cloth Diaper FAQ’s for New Moms

So far in this series we’ve talked about wash routines, and stripping. Now it’s time to get into the specifics of products and usage.

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What kind of diaper pail will I need to get? I want something that will contain the smell, but I’m not sure which brands of diaper pail work with cloth diapers.
I am a fan of the Busch Systems diaper pail and the pail liner from Cotton Babies, most for the convenience. I haven’t used the recommended deo discs though. We did buy carbon filters for a while but after baby number two we pretty much gave up. Some people just buy a garbage can and some reusable pail liners.

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Another option is a hanging diaper bag, such as Planet Wise or Bummis makes. I use the Bummis one for traveling and I like it. I do prefer a pail at home though because while the bags are waterproof if you diapers are sopping wet, which they often will be if you rinse them, the bags may eventually become damp on the outside and/or drip.

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Other people don’t use either, but rather put each diaper directly into the washer and run a rinse cycle once a day until wash day. For us, this isn’t practical because our washer is in the basement. But if you have a first or second floor washer, this might work for you.
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Do you use reusable wipes as well? What kind?

I definitely prefer reusable wipes to disposable. I keep my wipes dry and wet them with a spray bottle. But my sister prefers a wipe warmer. Honestly the kind of wipe doesn’t matter much. I started out with the bumGenius wipes and I’m still fairly happy with them. Yes, they have taken a beating after two kids and some of them are stained or frayed, but they are diaper wipes. I don’t care how they look as long as they get the job done. I’ve also used Thirsties wipes which honestly weren’t worth it. They are pretty pricey. Except for really messy poops (the kind that stick to the bottom and just won’t wipe off. If you haven’t encountered these yet, you probably will at some point). The fleecy Thirsties wipes were the only thing that got it all off.

I also like these wipes from an Etsy seller Mama Bear. These a very multi-use. They make great wipes but in the pinch I’ll wet them to wipe off my son’s face or even blot the blood off a cut.

You can also make your own out of jersey (such as cutting up old T-shirts) or flannel (cutting up old receiving blankets). You can buy fabric new or upcycle old items you already have or can purchase inexpensively at a thrift store.

Some people prefer to use disposable wipes which is fine, but I like to be able to just throw my wipes into the pail with the diapers.

Categories: Cloth Diapers, Green Living | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greening Your Beauty Routine: Lip Color and Mascara

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Photo Credit: M J M via Compfight cc

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

I’ve shared before about how after my miscarriage I went on a quest to remove unnecessary toxins from my life. For me this included my skin care, makeup and toiletry products. (Except for my deodorant. I just haven’t had the guts to give it up yet. When you’ve suffered for years from excessive sweating and have finally found a solution that works most of the time, it’s hard to consider giving that up.)

Some makeup items were easy. I love my powder and blush from Everyday Minerals.  But there were two things I could never find good substitutes for: mascara and lipstick, which are often touted as major offenders when it comes to additives and toxins. But fortunately, I’ve now found some great solutions.

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Redeeming Beauty

Last spring I made my first order from Redeeming Beauty. One of the products I was most excited about was the mascara. While I don’t use it daily, I do like it when I’m dressed up. (It should be noted that this product is smudge proof but not water proof. But I haven’t had any problems so far and it’s definitely easier to remove than most conventional mascara.)

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Cowgirl Dirt

I only recently discovered this great company whose products are both organic and made in the USA. I may not be out working on the ranch, but I appreciate the hardworking woman image this company portrays. Sure, I spend half my week smeared in various bodily fluids produced by my small offspring. That doesn’t mean I don’t want great skin or to look nice sometimes.

Lipstick, Lip Gloss and other Lip Coloring

Everyone has a different idea of what makes good lip color. Some people want the heavy color and staying power of lipstick, others of us want a lighter touch. Fortunately when you are trying to find healthier products, there is now a decent selection of choices.

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EveryDay Minerals Tinted Lip Butter

This is kind of a compromise between lipstick and lip gloss. It isn’t super shiny, but it also doesn’t color the lips as heavily or as long lastingly as lipstick. But it makes a creative everyday color choice. I have two or three shades and love them all.

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Madeon Hard Lotion Tinted Lip Balm

Three choices of color for the lip butters. This will give you a thicker texture, more like lipstick, but the color is still subtle. I also like the plain and the peppermint is comparable to Burt’s Bees. I love supporting small businesses when I can and this is a great business selling a great product. Try one of the versions of their famous hard lotion bar too, if you suffer from habitually dry skin, especially in the winter.

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Cowgirl Dirt

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Yee Haw Lipstick, Bodacious Botanical Lip Gloss, Bulletproof Lip Glaze

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Loving the lip stick and lip gloss so far. Especially Georgia Peace lip gloss and War Admiral lip stick. I’ve also tried Cow Bell and Barn lip gloss and Sweet Tea lip stick. I love that they offer samples for just a $1, which provides me with several opportunities to try a new color before committing. These are by far my favorite products I’ve founds so far. I haven’t had a chance to try the recent addition, Bulletproof Lip Glaze, but I’m looking forward to it.

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Redeeming Beauty

The lipstick is nice color wise but the application is rather fussy. I always seem to make a mess of it. I also don’t find that the shea butter base coat is nearly moisturizing enough. I wish she offered some kinds of samples the way Cow Girl Dirt and Everyday Minerals does, but as a small business I can totally understand why.

 

Check Out Samples

Both Everyday Minerals and Cowgirl Dirt offer low cost or free samples of many of their products. This is great because it lets you try a color before having to purchase a whole lot of it. (I wish Everyday Minerals still offered sample eye shadow for this reason. It takes me a long time to use it up and I hate to be stuck with a color that doesn’t really work for me). These also make great stocking stuffers.

My favorite for lip color is definitely Cowgirl Dirt, even though it is a little pricier. They have a wide selection of products and colors but applies and looks most like conventional makeup. Plus, the low cost samples allow me to make sure I like something before investing in a full size version.

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My Real Food Journey, Guided by Trina Holden

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Photo Credit: notarim via Compfight cc

My Food History

When my husband and I were first married, I was a full time student so our meals revolved mostly around things that were easy and affordable. We ate Pasta Roni with vegetables, and boxed cheesy potatoes and mac & cheese. We were smart enough to realize how important fruit and veggies were, so we ate lots of those too.

Over the next few year we made some adjustments to our diet. We added more whole grains, we used fewer boxed products. Then when I became a stay at home mom and keeper of the finances, I went on a quest to save us money by eliminating as many store bought products as possible. If it could be made from scratch, I tried it. Something stuck around, like homemade bread. Others were passing fads, like homemade croutons and crackers. (We eventually stopped buying both).

Things Get Stickier

Then our second child was born. Suddenly life became much more difficult. I stopped making homemade bread and started resorting to more convenience type foods, like boxed pancake mix and granola bars. When our son was underweight I spent all my time feeding him, nursing, pumping, making high fat solid foods (like avocado and sweet potato with olive oil). I needed to have healthy things like store bought yogurt and Kashi pizzas at the ready, because otherwise I didn’t eat. And if I didn’t eat, I didn’t make milk. Suffice to say if I didn’t eat, my son didn’t either. Finally last summer I started trying to find normal again. Continuing to eat healthfully (I thought) I put on 10 pounds after weaning. I have gained another five since then. I’ve lost a few here and there but always gained them back. I trained for a 5K, lost no weight and then injured myself. I currently workout 5 days a week minimum and for a long time I couldn’t lose weight or inches.

Searching For a New Path

I don’t eat many processed foods, but I figure that having a few around for weekend meals is better than fast food. I also need to find a way to have ready snacks that my kids will eat, that are healthy that don’t cause me to go crazy. My kids are hungry all the time, I’ve tried cutting out snacks and they will literally weep and hang on me until I give them something. They are very active kids and I think they just can’t eat enough at one meal to keep them going to the next one. But I also can’t be in the kitchen constantly, I’ll go crazy.

Plus, my son has food allergies and part of his desensitization protocol for dairy is certain baked dairy foods. I’ve tried making him muffins according to the requirements, but he won’t eat them. So I usually give him whole grain Goldfish crackers, which also satisfy the requirement. I’d use other options if I could think of any. Because of his food allergies, other easy real food snacks like cheese sticks (whether homemade or store bought) or apples and peanut butter (he also has a peanut butter allergy) aren’t an option.

I thought I’d found a way of eating that worked for us. But, I’m not able to maintain a healthy weight and I feel like my children don’t have very well balanced diets either. So I have to find something new that works for us.

Enter A New Voice

When I began reading Trina’s book I immediately sensed her gentle heart. Her desire is clearly to educate not convert. I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine this sweet woman condemning me occasionally getting Chick-Fila or giving my kids Kashi bars. The spirit of this whole book has felt like kind friend trying to help me along my food journey. We may not all make the journey in the same way or have the exact same destination in mind, but our goals are the same. Healthy family and healthy life.

Do I agree with everything Trina says in this book? No, and you probably don’t either. If you did you probably wouldn’t need to read it. But there is a great deal of logical good food wisdom in this book that almost anyone can benefit from.

So for the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking about Trina’s amazing book and how it’s helped me along my real food journey.

 Fats, Dairy and Other Changes: My Real Food Journey Part II

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Disclaimer: I received this book for free in order to review it. But my opinions are my own. However, this post may also contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

 

Categories: Cooking, Green Living, My Real Food Journey | Tags: , | 3 Comments

My First CSA Part II

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We’re approaching the end of month two and I’m still very pleased with the CSA. Beet chips are a new favorite at our house. Zucchini and carrots are regular favorites already, so they fit right in. We had our first small share of wine berries two weeks ago. Wow! Absolutely delicious. One week there was a cooler of extras so I got double the usual selection of green beans and some large zucchini. Those kinds of foods are big hits around here. The beans were gone within the week, and the zucchini shortly after.

I’ve been getting creative with fresh garlic as well. This is never something I would have considered eating.  I made garlic mashed potatoes, and used roasted garlic as a savory base for a vegetable soup.

It is interested to see what I’m learning about seasonality. In this area, it is almost impossible to have lettuce and tomato ripe at the same time. I really wonder how recent the advent of those two items in salad is. So I’ll find myself tempted to buy lettuce at the store to supplement the tomatoes coming from the CSA. But instead I’ve been forgoing salad all together and instead using the tomatoes in omelets or just sliced up raw for my son. He loves his “matos.”

I think I’d like to do a full share next year. For two reasons. First, wider variety. There are a number of yummy things that we didn’t get very much of because we only had half shares. We also did a half share because we were afraid we wouldn’t eat it all. But we haven’t had too much trouble, except maybe the braising greens, which I can always freeze for smoothies over the winter. So now I have to figure out how to save the full amount needed for next year’s full share.

This has really changed my feelings about eating locally and seasonally. I’ll still be buying imported produce (whether nationally or internationally) in winter because in the north east there isn’t much you can grow from about November-May. But I’m learning to modify what I cook and eat around what we get each week. It’s been rather fun. I wish we could more easily and affordably get other things locally, such as fruit, meat and eggs.

I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring as winter squash, apples and potatoes come into season and we see a second crop of greens and peas.

Whether you buy your foods locally or now, what have been some of your summer favorites?

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My First CSA

Categories: Cooking, Gardening, Green Living | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Me and My Lunette

I’ll begin this post with a warning. This post will be massive TMI for most people. If you are male and/or know me in real life and think you would be at all disturbed by a post discussing women’s menstrual product alternatives that I personally use and details about my menstrual cycle, then I encourage you PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share my recent experience with the Lunette menstrual cup. I first heard about menstrual cups, or at least the concept of them, several years ago when a friend mentioned trying Instead. She said it was a strange experience and not one she would like to repeat. I thought nothing more about the idea until I started researching cloth diapers and I discovered that many cloth diaper sites carry natural menstrual products too, such as cloth pads and menstrual cups. Again, I categorized both as, I’ll never go there. But as my previous posts can attest, I did, in fact, go there. I now use almost exclusively cloth pads, even during the postpartum period of my last pregnancy.

cynthia-250x250Finally in 2011, I decided to take the plunge. I was recovering from a miscarriage and decided that perhaps I would try using a menstrual cup during the cycles between my recovery and trying to get pregnant again. I did a lot of research including a great website comparing practically every model out there. (I mean seriously, apparently there are as many, if not more, brands of menstrual cups as there are brands of pads and tampons).  What finally did it for me was that while I was poking around the Gladrags website one day they were having a sale on the Lunette cup, which is the one I was seriously considering, even though practically every cloth diaper website I order from carried Diva Cup almost exclusively. Plus Gladrags was offering free shipping and I liked the wine color, Cynthia. Lunette offers a range of colored cups as do many of the menstrual cup brands. Lunette also names all of their colors after various ancient goddesses. It does make the whole thing a little more fun (though hardly, “Have a Happy Period” fun, to quote a maxi pad manufacturer). Anyway, it seemed less gross than the possibility of staining a clear cup. So I ordered it. I chose a model two because I have had children and I tend to have heavier cycles.) This is only a guideline set in place by Lunette however. Each menstrual cup manufacturer sizes their products a bit differently and each woman’s body is unique. Unfortunately finding a good fit isn’t an exact science.

Then I got pregnant and never had a chance to try it. So it sat in my drawer until recently, when finally, after almost two years, (during most of which I was either pregnant or breastfeeding) I finally got my period. I was immediately excited to try my Lunette cup so I pulled it out of my back of my drawer (where I kept it handily hidden from my husband in the hopes that he would forget I had ever purchased it) and prepped it.

Insertion was surprisingly easy. I expected it to be awkward if not painful. But actually it was only a little more awkward than inserting a tampon. The Lunette cup is made of pretty stiff medical grade silicon so keeping it folded for insertion requires a pretty tight grip. But I didn’t have any trouble, and it opened right up, just like the directions said it would. But if you find you are having trouble the Lunette website offers a video with nine different folding methods you can try. Once it was in properly, I couldn’t even feel it. I used to find tampons uncomfortable unless my flow was really strong but this was fine. I see why some women say that they sometimes forget they even have their period.

selene2-500x500I did have a little bit of leakage on a heavy day when the cup was almost full and I had to change it more than I imagined I would (The size 2 Lunette holds approximately 1 oz when filled to capacity) on the heavy days. The whole process was a little messier than I would have liked, but manageable. In my case I seemed to be inserting the cup too high, so getting it out was a little more awkward, but then again I always found removing tampons messy and awkward too. (Plus I constantly lived in fear of getting a batch of faulty tampons where the strings would detach). I had a big leak when I got out of bed after the first night using it. After 12 hours in, the cup was overflowing, but this was also my first period in almost two years so I’m not surprised that it might have been unusually heavy.

Mostly, I kept forgetting I had it in unless it overflowed. (I say overflow rather than leak because I haven’t really had any major leaks except for when the cup has been filled to capacity. Some women find that they don’t have leaks even when the cup is full but that hasn’t been my experience) But again, none of these issues were new. I had all these problems when I used to use tampons also. I did however notice less cramping, I barely had to take ibuprofen at all, and I was someone that used to take four every four to six hours and still be in pain. (This could be a feature of my post child bearing cycles though. I did have similar experiences during my last periods between pregnancies, though I don’t think I used anything but cloth pads during those cycles. Some women feel that the lack of chemical exposure from disposable pads and tampons helps lessen the bloating and cramping).

So after one cycle, I’m definitely a fan of Lunette and menstrual cups in general. I’ve found it easy to use, or at least as easy as tampons. Discomfort was less and mess probably about the same. I would never wear one without some kind of back up on a heavy day, but I was always the same way with tampons too. I love that I don’t have to purchase vast quantities of disposable feminine products anymore, and I feel good about no longer putting those chemicals on or near my body. I wish I had discovered Lunette sooner.

I recommend that if you are interested in finding a more eco-friendly option to tampons and want the possible freedom from the bulk of pads, research menstrual cups.

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Categories: Green Living, Simple Living, Women's Health | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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