Sunday, June 29, 2008

Start simple, Use cloth napkins

I was setting the table for our Sunday ritual. This consists of my husband cooking eggs and toast. Sometimes we have sausage and/or hash browns too. I pulled out my cloth napkins. Mike usually uses a dish towel, I guess it's more manly than my cloth napkins, but at any rate, it's less paper napkins getting thrown away. This is something that someone starting out could do very easily. You can always buy them at the store. Even the Dollar store has them. Or if you are graced with any kind of sewing ability, you could make your own. Think of all the crazy fabrics out there and how much your kids might like a napkin of their favorite cartoon character.

Friday, June 27, 2008


This goes hand in hand with my garden idea. I did a lot of reading about composting. I always felt so guilty throwing away food scraps. My mom composted.

I discussed the idea with my husband. He always needs just a little convincing about my crazy schemes. He was okay with it... but really wanted a tumbler for the compost bin, which is what we got.

It is rather large. But you just put all of your compostable items in the top. The lid screws on and off and you spin it and least daily. I was so overwhelmed at first with the percentage of "nitrogen items vs. carbon items." There's a certain %age that they recommend, but my instructions said just to try estimating at 50% of each. So, all the food scraps are the Carbon (or Green) items. I was worried that I would be able to come up with enough of the nitrogen (or Brown) items.

But to my surprise, you can throw newspaper in there, cardboard boxes that your food comes in i.e. cereal, pasta, etc. Coffee grounds and filters. Egg shells. Corn cobs. It's so nice to have a place to put all of these in rather than the trash. It's literally cut the amount of trash that I put out each week by half.

My husband was also worried about the prospect of the compost smelling badly. Even when you open up the top on a hot, humid day... it simply smells like soil.

I took a picture of what the inside of my bin looks like. I've been collecting things for about 4 weeks or so. At some point, I'm going to have to stop adding things so that this can completely turn to soil. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my compostable items then, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

Here's a link to the place that I bought my bin. It was on the more expensive side. You can find cheaper bins, but this was one of the most inexpensive tumblers that I could find. It was a gift to myself with my tax refund money. haha

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My garden!! My first crop.

My mom is an avid gardener. My step dad and she have had a vegetable garden since I was a kid. I used to love the carrots. I did not inherit her greenthumb. When I moved into my house, I tinkered around with flowers. Some good results, some bad.

Well, I've decided that I would start a vegetable garden this year. Just a small, raised bed to see how it goes.
This picture is from a week or so ago. It gives you an idea of the size, my plants are just taller now. I tried to take a picture today, but the sun caused an awful glare.
In my garden I have (from left to right):
Cucumbers, green flat beans, purple pole beans, red onions, radishes, carrots, cauliflower, green peppers, red hot peppers.

Today I harvested a few of my radishes. I am so excited to have actually produced something. They taste wonderful!!! Radishes only take 29 days.... every thing else will be awhile.

Picture 1: you can see them just bulging out of the ground.
Picture 2: Freshly picked.
Picture 3: All nicely cleaned up.

Now let me tell you. It didn't cost much to get this off the ground. (no pun intended).
The bean pole was a gift from mom, but they run about $25.00.
The wood for the bed cost around $25.00.
2 bags of dirt @ $7.99 each: $16.00
Rototiller: Borrowed mom's. Not sure how much $$ to rent.
Seeds& plants: ~$25.00

So, that's a total of ~$90.00 give or take. I think I may do another two of these next year, depending on how the rest turns out. I post pictures of my crops as I pick them. I am anxiously awaiting my husband to put a fence around it. My house is in front of a park and the bunnies like to invade and eat my flowers. I can't imagine what they'll do with all my carrots.
I should give some credit to my valuable assistant!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Farmer's Market

So, I've decided that I am going to go to the Farmer's Market more often. Usually the best day to go is on Saturday (It' s huge, more farmers). I went last Saturday. I got some fruits and vegetables and Cage free, antibiotic free eggs. They were $2.50/dozen, which is a really good price and you can tell the difference between these eggs and the others. I love all the other things you can get there also.

They have this pasta company that comes. It's called Pappardelle's Pasta (
I overheard the lady say that the pasta is made in Colorado and then shipped to her, which isn't really supporting a local company... but this is the craziest pasta you will ever see. The flavors and shapes are so unique. Over the winter I got Chocolate Fettucini... I made a strawberry sauce to put over it.

This week I got the Fanciful Fruit mix.

The pasta is flavored: Lemon, Lime, Tangerine and Raspberry.

You can actually taste the flavors in the cooked pasta.

So, I cooked it tonight. The creation I made was a fruit salad.

It has Canteloupe, Pineapple, Watermelon, Green Grapes, and of course, Strawberries. I took some Cool Whip and mixed it with organic lemon yogurt for the "sauce". It turned out really well, I must say. So refreshing. My husband hates canteloupe, but he ate every bit of it. I served it with stuffed chicken breast (mozzarella cheese, carrots, peppers and onions) and some broccoli on the side. I managed to get all the main food groups in our dinner tonight.

I will have a post after each of my Farmer's Market adventures. We have the main one on Saturdays, but there are other ones in the area that I am going to try to get too. Find out where one is in your area. Nothing beats the taste of fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picking Strawberries

If you can't go organic, go local.

I figured I would drag my husband and son to go strawberry picking with me. It was a good thing because I wouldn't have been able to handle Zach all by myself. He would pick strawberries and eat them. He also tried to steal them out of my container. And if I had wanted to take pictures, forget it!
We managed to get 3 quarts out of the deal.

x 3

At this nice fruit stand that we went to, I was prepared to pay $4.00/qt because that is what the sign said out front. Imagine my surprise when they only charged me $6.70 for all 3. Makes sense, I mean I did give them free labor after all.

Now, although these strawberries are typically smaller than the California ones in the store, they are the sweetest, juiciest berries around. I have no idea how to make strawberry jam, but it's something I can plan for next year.

Having a baby changes.....

... Everything, just like they say. It makes you really think about the impact that you are making to the environment that eventually your child will inherit. It makes you think about how what you are fueling their bodies with and what you are putting on their bodies can impact their health! This is what got me thinking about more "green" choices.

Don't you just want the best for a little face like this?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How did I get started?.... with cloth diapers.

I hadn't given it much thought. My little man was born prematurely in Feb 2007 at 36 weeks. When we brought him home, he weighed a little under 5 lbs. He was so tiny, it was hard to get anything to fit him. Diapers were an issue. He was using Pampers Swaddlers Preemie size in the hospital so we stuck with that. Then he moved onto size Newborn. and eventually size 1/2. Well after that size Pampers stops making the Swaddlers. I didn't care much for any of the other diapers out there.

It occured to me that some of my online buddies had been using cloth diapers. I thought it was ridiculous when I first heard them planning. Who could fold, snap/pin, soak, wash etc. Esp as a working mother, it seemed impossible. First I should say, I met these remarkable women at - I highly recommend any prenatal women to get over there and sign up.

So, I started a thread asking them to tell me about cloth diapers. I got so much information that it was overwhelming. All these names getting thrown about of types of diapers. So I bought a sampler package. I will say that it took awhile, and buying many different diapers to figure out what I liked. My little guy was 5 months old at the time. So I figured it would be financially better to go with the ones that are "one-size".

I'm going to tell you what I settled on.. so I can save many of you considering it a lot of money. The best types were the Bumgenius One-size diaper and Fuzzibunz. Now these are pocket diapers. There is the diaper, with an insert that you put into it. Both get washed after use.

Bumgenius - They are one size diapers with snaps on them to adjust the rise (or size.. S, M, L). They have velcro tabs, so they really resemble your basic disposable diaper. - for more info

I should apologize for this picture. Obviously the diaper is turned on it's side. And above the diaper is the insert.

Fuzzibunz - These diapers come in different sizes. Small, Med, Large (I think XS, and XL too). They too, have the insert that you put in them. These only snap. One advantage to these are that the color selections are incredible. - for more info.

Cloth diapers don't really require more work. You just wash them all together in one load. I store my dirties right in my regular diaper pail and you don't need to soak them. I have about 15 or so and I do a load every 2 days.

For traveling, or when I send him to daycare (my mom's), I send a "wetbag". This is just a bag, with a liner in it to put the dirties in. The bag stays dry and there is a tag you can add scented oil to cover the smell. (Although I stopped doing that, it just doesn't bother me much.)

Here's a picture...

The polka dotted one is a "regular size" and the purple one with turtles is an "all day".
They open and shut with a zipper.

I loved cloth diapering the moment I started. It became an addiction sort of, buying fun diapers and accessories. The price is well worth it and I can save them and use them if there is a future baby. My small contribution to the environment makes me feel good. I think about all the disposables I've kept out of landfills. I'd be happy to answer more questions about them, or if I can take a different picture, just let me know.

In Progress

Still learning how the blog works. Will have something coming shortly.