Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joined Hand in Hand

Our family joined hands... friend Tracy and her daughter (my daughter's best friend) joined hands and even the Mayor of Wrightsville Beach joined hands
with hundreds of people 
at Wrightsville Beach, NC 
Hands Across the Sand.

Today, we spoke... without saying a word.
Photos from Hands Across the Sand: Wrightsville Beach Locations

Friday, June 25, 2010

Join Hands with the World

Over 4 months ago, as a part of statewide action Floridians gathered on their beaches for Hands Across the Sand to protest plans for drilling off the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was then that a movement started....

On June 26-- my daughter's 6th birthday-- the world will join hands for the protection of ALL coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industries.

Join the WORLD as we peacefully protest off-shore oil drilling and champion clean energy and renewables.

Wherever you are.... beach or no beach... join hands.

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." --Anatole France

Believe that together we can change the future.
(and act on it ;) )

A Journey from Disposable to Cloth Diapering

When I was in 7th grade, I remember my science teacher teaching a lesson that had to do with the amount of waste associated with different convenience products.  And while I don't remember specifics... I do remember her telling us how the amount of disposable diapers used in just one year could be stacked one on top of the other and stretch from the Earth to the moon and back again 9 times!!  I remember thinking, "I'll never use disposable diapers.  That's such a waste."  And when I had my first child, I remembered that science lesson... but my fears of being a new parent and listening to what other people told me about their experiences with disposable vs. reusable diapers took over and as much as I hate to say it... I used disposable diapers.  Ugh.  Now, I'm not usually the type of person to say that I wish I could turn back the hands of time... but when it comes to how I diapered my children...THAT... I wish I could change.
 SO... since I can't change what I did... I can only tell people how much I wish I would've done differently:  for the environment and for the money that we threw away to the landfill.  

SO... on that note... meet my sister-in-law Lindsay.  This is her story:

"When I became pregnant with my first child there were suddenly a lot of decisions to make.  Should we find out the sex of the baby or let it be a surprise?  Formula feed or breastfeed?  Pacifier or no pacifier?  A biggie for me was disposable diapers or cloth diapers?  The answers to most of these questions came surprisingly easy to me as I navigated my way through the early days of parenting.  Upon my husband's wish we knew we were having a girl, were committed to giving breastfeeding a determined try and did not use a pacifier.  Actually our daughter decided this last one herself...she prefers to suck two fingers of her right hand.  :)

As for the diapering question I thought about the things I had heard my mom say about cloth diapering my older brother and myself.  The folding, laundering, and safety pins not to mention the mess and smell.  I knew cloth diapering would be better for my baby's skin and the environment so I did some research online.  I decided a cloth diapering service was the way to go.  After all, we just used the diapers and they came weekly and picked up the soiled diapers and left a new batch for the coming week.  Kind of like trash service.  The way I saw it it was the best of both worlds...until I found out that there was only 1 company in all of St. Louis that does this service...and they didn't service my area as of yet and didn't know when they would be. :(  After this disappointment I pretty much resigned to the fact that we were going to be using disposable diapers after all and we received many packs of disposables at our showers.

For 11 months we used disposable diapers on our daughter and then one day in December I was looking through a parenting magazine when a cloth diapering system caught my eye.  I instantly went online to find out more about it and from there began researching all the different forms of cloth diapering that are out there.  Why didn't I do this over a year before when I was expecting you might ask?  Well, to be completely honest I'm not sure.  I think maybe I lacked the confidence that I could do it when I was only an expectant mother and already feeling the normal jitters of becoming a parent for the first time.  By the time my daughter was approaching her first birthday I had gone through the hazing that is the newborn period, first fever, teething, crawling and even walking and inevitably falling.  In essence, the task of cloth diapering wasn't as daunting as I thought and as I read about the cloth diapering systems out there I thought to myself, "why didn't anyone tell me they had cloth diapers like this nowadays?" and "hey I can do this!"

So with that mantra in the back of my mind, I located a wonderful cloth diapering store located only 10 miles from my house!  They offered a cloth diapering 101 class that would show the many different ways to cloth diaper your baby, let you get your hands on samples and asks as many questions as you have. While taking a class like this is unnecessary, it certainly helped boost my confidence.  The staff there takes phone calls and are very helpful.  One system gets you from birth to potty training for under $100!  Gone goes the myth that it is more expensive.  Did you know that on average it costs anywhere from $1600-$3000 to use disposable diapers from birth to potty training?  Cloth diapers pay for themselves within the first six months.  After that you only pay a minimal amount to launder them i.e. water, electric & detergent.  We found this expense to be so minimal we didn't even see an increase in our electric or water bills.  Plus we never have to make a midnight run to the store to get more diapers.  The worst thing that we might have to do is a load of laundry...and really when aren't you doing laundry anyway?

I bought a few second hand diapers that night so I could just "try it for a day" and see how I liked it.  Guess what?  I LOVED it!  It was every bit as easy as disposable diapers and my heart was finally content knowing that I was doing something that went along with my morals and views.  It just felt RIGHT.  The following day I bought a dozen brand new diapers off of Craigslist.  BumGenius 3.0 All-In-One diapers are very popular so it was easy to find someone who had gotten them as a gift and didn't want to use them.  This saved me $5 a diaper.  SCORE!  After a few months of cloth diapering I knew this was what I wanted to do from the very beginning with our next baby so I patiently perused Craigslist once again and within a few weeks found another dozen at a great price.  Double SCORE!  Now I have enough diapers for two days with a newborn (24-28) or three days with my toddler.  This has made laundering the diapers a synch.

As for the laundering...we use super soft liners to catch any poo and that gets flushed down the toilet so there's no poo in our diaper pail.  Every two or three days we do a cold wash cycle and then a hot wash cycle with an extra rinse.  As for drying them we often hang them over laundry baskets to dry over night or if we're in a hurry I dry the liners in the dryer.  The covers air dry very quickly on their own.  My favorite way to dry them however is outside on a clothes line.  I do this at least once a month because the sun acts as a natural bleach and restores the diapers and inserts to their pristine whiteness.  Plus they are deodorized by the air which is a scent that really you just can't bottle hard as some companies might try. :)

What could be cuter that a bunch of colorful diapers hanging from a clothesline?  

On that note, what could be cuter on your baby's bum than cloth diapers?  

All you need is some guidance and practice and the results and satisfaction in knowing you are giving your baby the very best will come."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday Giving

Tomorrow--June 22-- I will celebrate my 32nd birthday. :D

I can't remember the last time that I asked for anything for my birthday... while it's certainly nice to receive a gift....I really don't need any presents.

So this year, I thought...

"Why not use my birthday to do something good for the world?"

And I am. I decided to ask my family and friends to do the same and they are now giving to "The Plastic Ocean" for my birthday. YAY!!!

I always say that "there is no better gift than giving"... it makes my heart full and I can feel my **heart growing** with every donation, every volunteered moment, every opportunity that I have to make a difference. (**When I say that I always think about the Grinch and how his heart grew 3 sizes)

The other day, I received a thank you on "The Plastic Ocean" blog for our continued support and then received a message from "The Algalita Foundation" about using my birthday as an opportunity to support the work that they do. Within that message was this video that completely echoes my sentiments about changing the world: "It Starts With Me"

"With so many causes in this world that need our help, it's often daunting choosing where to put our resources and efforts...

I used to be overwhelmed by it all until I asked myself,
'How do *I* make a difference??'
Then it hit me... I realized that it doesn't matter how big the difference is... as long as something is happening... we're moving in the right direction :)"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The FUTURE IS MADE by the choices we make.... TOGETHER our choices can change the world.

Buckets of Water

Two years ago, I volunteered a lot of my time at my son's school with the PTA Environmental Committee (aka Green Team).  My first big volunteer opportunity was for the Fall was then that I became a master at asking for and receiving donations.  During that time, I spent a lot of time with another volunteer-- Barbara-- that like me was always trying to make simple changes in the things that she did to lessen her (negative) impact on the environment.  One day, she went on about how "all the buckets of water" around her house drove her husband nuts.  I, honestly, didn't really know what she was talking about... buckets?  Really?!  And... I was too embarrassed to ask (why??  I'm not sure)... so I just shook my head in agreement like I got it.

This I knew:  The Earth is covered with water, but out of all that water only 1% is fresh usable water and every bit of water that is on the Earth today... has ALWAYS been here... 

I am humbled by water as it is the ultimate in reuse.

Needless to say, I spent a week trying to figure out what in the world she was talking about...

I was bound and determined to "get" it.  SO... every time I used water I thought... "Buckets??  Why would she have buckets??"  Of course, there's the shower thing... but we turn on the water when we get in (don't have to let it heat up... it's already heated :) ).  SO... I thought and I thought.  Then the simplest of thoughts came to me, 

"Where can I save water?  What water doesn't have to go down the drain?  How do *I* use water more wisely??"

And with those thoughts... all of these ideas rushed to me about being a conscious water user and moving beyond just turning off the tap while brushing my teeth or washing dishes.

Every bit of water that goes down the drain goes to a water facility where it's treated and cleaned for reuse.  (On that note, everything we put down the drain by flushing or garbage disposal that can be removed is done so at the water treatment facility and sent to the landfill... save a step and quit flushing stuff or using the garbage disposal.)   

SO...The first thing that I did was stop pouring water from boiling pasta, steaming or shocking veggies down the drain.  It's no secret that nutrients find their way into the water... why not water plants with it or just pour it outside? So I use a sieve or strain my pasta/veggies into a colander set over a bowl... when the water cools... I dump it outside in our bushes, yard, etc. :)  I do the same with drinking water that has sat around, extra coffee... you name it... it finds it's way outside and never down the drain.

So, I don't have buckets of water all around my house, but I do understand why she did.  By not pouring water down the drain... I reuse water to reduce buckets of waste and so much more  :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Cup of Tea

This evening, I finished off my last box of Yogi Green Tea. (I have to admit that I'm a little sad... I'm gonna miss those little "fortunes" on the tea tag.)  A few weeks ago, I decided that I was done buying individually wrapped tea bags (even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Yogi teas SO much).  One thing I'm not going to miss is the  plastic lined paper.... 

I compost the tea bags and wrappers that they come in... and the above is what the "paper" wrapper looks like and then when it's finished composting... paper gone... plastic virtually unchanged.

The main reason I decided to stop buying the prepackaged teas came to me almost by mistake.  I had always thought that tea had to come in tea bags AND individually wrapped.  Then, one day while my kids were at the park (with their Dad), I went to my local co-op sans crazy monkeys... it was then that I had the opportunity to take my time and look around (without having my kiddos asking and reaching for everything on the shelves).  Enjoying the peacefulness of the shopping trip, a thought occurred to me to ask about some twig tea that I had gotten samples of the month prior.  They didn't have any... BUT... then I was told, "We do have it in bulk."  

BULK?!?  *Tea* in bulk!?!  Who knew??  He then went on to show me the different teas (told me how I could make my own combinations!) and reusable bags/infusers.  I bought my infuser that day, but waited to get some tea until I had a container that I could reuse...

Ok... so I'm going to slightly miss my favorite "Green Tea with Kombucha"... but I'm not going to miss the waste associated with buying a box filled with individually wrapped tea bags.  

 Besides... with the bulk tea selection... I'm sure to find a new favorite :)

My last Yogi tea tag fortune:

"Strength lies not in what you have, but in what you can give."