Just Heather

My first giveaway was a lot of fun, and really great practice. I have several giveaways lined up for a launch party we’re planning after my new website is up and running. Thank you to everyone who participated. I really enjoyed hearing about all the simple ways you save the planet.

I am once again inspired to line-dry my clothing. We’ll see how far that gets me in actually starting. Our washing machine is upstairs—perfect for grabbing clothes out of the bedroom where the hampers belong, but not so great for hauling clothes down the stairs and outside to dry. Of course, we currently have a full hamper of dirty clothes in the dining room. (Don’t ask. It’s just easier that way.)

Now, without further ado, the winners are………

smart-mama-blog-giveaway-winnerAngie from Just Like the Number and Kristen from Sticky But Sweet. I know they will both put it to great use. I’m hoping the win helps boost Kristen’s spirits and the book makes her see that she is a great mama after her ordeal last week.

Thanks for playing everyone!

img_1779-largeHubby got an iPhone last fall and I, of course, have wanted one ever since. I don’t usually require much in a cell phone. I need it to call, text and survive the occasional fall. That means the iPhone was out for me, until I heard about the hard-shelled cases people use to take their iPhone mountain biking. Perhaps, with a hard-shelled case, an iPhone could survive even me.

Of course, we don’t have an extra $200 to get another one. Enter the new iPhone 3GS with the resulting price drop in the plain, old model that’s good enough for me. We have one contract up for renewal now and another in October, but still lack the funds to pay even the reduced price. Then I saw a Tweet from Planet Green about recycling your old phone if you plan to get a the new iPhone. My savings-oriented, scheming brain kicked into over drive.

I headed to my favorite gadget recycling site and checked the value on the current iPhone. $249—more than enough to buy the new one when it is released later this month. By the time I convinced hubby that being without his precious iPhone for 2 weeks would be worthwhile if it means he gets the updated model for nothing,  the value had dropped to $229. That is still more than enough to pay for the updated model with our contract-renewal discount.

We thought he’d be using my seriously jank phone until June 19th, but it looks like the buy offer is good through 7/9 so he’ll be keeping the iPhone until his free Father’s Day present arrives. It means the purchase goes on a credit card, but it will be paid off as soon as our inexpensively” target=”top”>Gazelle check arrives. If you have an AT&T plan up for renewal and a current iPhone, I’d try it out before the values drop even more.

As for my phone, I’ll still have to wait. I’m such a good wife.

…one mess at a time.

So far today, we have used 5 dish towels on the floor:

  • 1/2 gallon orange juice
  • 2 cups water
  • an entire packet of taco seasoning (mixed with a bit of the water)
  • half a bottle of bug spray

That doesn’t even include the dry messes:

  • 3 half-eaten apricots
  • 1 pound of sugar
  • half of the tiny, gold rocks from a candle display
  • band-aid wrappers (what must have surely been most of a box)
  • an entire basket of unmatched socks

I think I need a nap.

I have recently found the Discovery channel Planet Green so I have a new love. My favorite show is Wa$ted. I thought we were doing so well, but I think Annabelle & Holter would still have a lot to say about our lifestyle. I know they would like that I have started taking Gladware to restaurants rather than bring home styrofoam. I know we are doing well with composting (but now I want one of these) and recycling.

I switched from paper napkins to cloth. I stopped using paper towels (well, except for greasy bacon) in favor of cheap bar mop towels (2 for $1 at Dollar Tree). We have been cloth diapering for 2 months now and it is going well. I can’t even let myself think of all the money and landfill space we wasted by not trying it sooner. If I were going to start all over, there are things I would do differently:

  • more prefold diapers—we only have 3 good ones, but she’s a toddler. A newborn would probably need 15-20. I would like to have about 5-6 more for now.
  • a larger diaper pail—we currently use a small step can for wet diapers and a tote on the back of the toilet to soak dirty diapers.
  • We need to get some type of holder for the diaper bag. I generally just grab a plastic bag from a store to bring home the soiled diapers, but they make bags that would probably do a better job of controlling odor.
  • We are still working on an overnight solution. The best solution would be to get Lorelai to actually sit on the potty at night and first thing in the morning, but that idea isn’t flying with her. We use a convoluted system of prefolds, doubler & an absorbent cover, but it gives her a bubble butt and I’m sure there is a better way.

We are doing well with some things:

  • I only bought 3 Bum Genius diapers. I use them for when we are out and about or need a less bulky diaper for certain outfits. I rarely use all 3 in a day so I think we are set there.
  • Snappis—the greatest cloth diapering invention ever
  • Thirsties wraps—this could go in both categories because they are great covers, but I need more.
  • I didn’t buy one of the toilet shower kits because the toilet in the girls’ bathroom is right next to the shower. The hand-held shower head reaches for rinsing when needed (it rarely is).
  • Cloth wipes—It didn’t take long to figure out that the two should go hand in hand. Without having a diaper to wrap the dirty wipes in for the garbage, it was a bit messy. I make my own with baby washcloths and a simple solution (1 part baby oil, 1 part baby wash and 3 parts water). Tossing these in the pail with the dirty diapers is easy and painless.
  • I run a quick load of diapers every night. I think even if I had a larger supply, I would do it this way. On the few occasions I have gone a little longer between loads, the diaper pail is a bit stinky and the dirty diapers are harder to get clean.

We have been making a concerted effort around here to “go green.” We have always recycled, but we wanted to do more. Last year we switched our light bulbs to CFL. Saving $10 per month on the electric bills was a nice bonus. In the past several months, I have found many other ways to “save the Earth” as Brenia says. I switched most of our cleaners to vinegar (glass cleaner, dishwasher rinse aid, fabric softener) and started making my own dishwasher detergent (borax and baking soda). Our compost experiment seems to be going well, which has us down to 2 bags of trash per week. One of those is practically all diapers so the overwhelming guilt of disposable diapering finally wore me down.

I’d been considering cloth for a couple months, but it was the math that finally did it for me. We spend about $15 per week on disposable diapers. In my research, I discovered that I could spend about 2 months diaper budget on a supply of cloth diapers that would last. We discussed, I researched and finally ordered a day’s supply last week. We made the official switch to cloth diapering over the weekend.

My mom just about flipped when I told her I was considering it, but I assured her that things are different now. I bought 3 pocket diapers by Bum Genius. I like these because I pre-stuff them when they come out of the laundry and they are basically like a disposable. You can also buy all-in-one diapers that come that way, but this was cheaper and it takes me about 30 seconds to stuff them myself while I do the laundry. I liked the Bum Genius because they are adjustable from newborn to toddler. I’m pretty sure we’re done, but they will last through another baby should I change my mind some day. Plus, they have a really high resell value so I’ll get most of my money back when I’m done.

I also bought about 10 pre-folds which are what people think of when they hear “cloth diapers.” You can’t just buy the Gerber ones at the store because they aren’t thick enough. Those are usually only 3-ply. I purchased 8-ply diapers. Then I got 2 Thirsties cloth diaper wraps, which look like a diaper with the Velcro on each side but have no absorbent material. They are just waterproof covers. You can reuse these throughout the day by rinsing if they get damp and air drying since they are waterproof. I bought 2 so I could switch out all day. I’ll use these primarily at home, saving the pocket diapers for when we are out and about since they are so easy to use.

I just ordered Snappi diaper fasteners-so much better and faster than pins for the cloth folds. They come in newborn and toddler sizes. I actually ordered those on eBay because they were so much cheaper. I purchased the diapers & wraps from Not Your Mama’s Cloth Diapers. Toasty Baby is another local seller I had looked into. Both offer in-home demonstrations, if you want a tutorial or would prefer to see everything before you decide what to buy.

The first couple of days, we switched back and forth between cloth & disposable while I waited for my full order to arrive. By the second day, Lorelai asked for the “better diapers” after her nap. She feels better in them and I feel better about them. The savings, which is what initially made my decision, is really going to end up just being a bonus.

I have been called a tree-hugger, a hippie and who knows what else to reference my green Earth tendencies. The funny thing is, I’m not even obsessive about it. All I do is recycle paper, plastic, metal and glass. I make a conscious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle. That’s it. Apparently, because I don’t get anything out of it (I actually pay someone to pick up my recyclables each week instead of collecting them until the scrap yard will give me a dollar), I am an obsessive green freak. Whatever.

I was actually the first in my neighborhood to participate in the pickup program. I called before we ever moved in to get it all setup. I got green buckets, filled them up and set them on the curb every two weeks. Occasionally, they would miss me and I would have to call. That’s how I found out there was no one else in my entire neighborhood of 1200 people who recycled. A few others have jumped on board and pickup is now weekly because we were filling the truck too quickly. A good sprinkling of homes in the area have their blue buckets set out each week. Mine were green. They apparently changed equipment in the 2 years it took for someone else to join the program.

Now I set my blue buckets out every most Wednesday nights. I loved my green buckets—they just seemed so representative of their purpose—but they disappeared awhile back. I thought they blew away in a storm, but recently I have noticed a house down the street sporting old, beat-up green buckets for their recycling. I know those are mine. No one else has ever had green buckets. Don’t think recycling a few of your beer bottles is going to erase your bucket-thieving karma.