Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is recycling a pain?

Well, it depends were you live, I would say.
In some cities, and sometimes in part of some cities, you not only can recycle but have to.
In my neighborhood, you definitely don't have to. But you can. Recycling is always possible.
First, you can reuse, which is a very good way to decrease the amount of garbage your household produces.
Plastic bags usually make very good trash bags, for smaller trash cans such as your bathroom ones. And so you don't have to buy special small trash bags. Which in return makes you save a bit of money.
If you happen to shop at Whole Foods, you can even save a tiny little bit by bringing your own reusable bags: they take a few cents of your bill for each bag you bring instead of using theirs.
I use the brown paper bags as recycling bins: I have one in my kitchen were I put all of the things that I want to recycle. Once it is full, the bag goes in the garage were we have several plastic bins were we separate glass, cans, papers, plastic... And then when all that is full (when I say full I mean overflowing onto the garage floor), we (when I say we I mean my husband) take all that to the closest recycling center. It takes about 20 minutes per month, I would say.
And doing that your trash can does not fill as quickly and you don't have to take the trash out as often :)
We are quite lazy, honestly, and we manage to do that. I'm sure you could too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cloth diapering: isn't that a bit too much work?

Well, I thought it would be quite a lot of work. But I wanted to do it anyway because in the end you save money, you don't have stinky trash cans, and you don't fill the landfills with something that takes hundreds of years to decompose. One last reason for me was also that I wouldn't put so many chemicals in constant contact with my son's skin. Because, yes, there are chemicals in baby diapers. They contain things such as AGM (which is the gel filler that holds a LOT of urine), petrolatum, perfumes, etc... that may be linked to an increase in asthma occurrences as well as long term decreased sperm count in baby boys.
So, after a long while (honestly, with all of Matt's health issues, I had other things on my mind than investing in cloth diapers right away), we made the switch. After a lot of research on the Internet, I chose GroVia diapers. And I'm quite pleased with my choice. They are one size diaper with organic cotton inserts and you can also use disposable inserts. The colors are really nice and gender neutral and the new prints they just launched (will be available in december), are quite cute and very trim.
We have a lot of their hybrid ones and one of their all in one, which we use for night time and we like a lot. Almost never have any leaks.
I also switched to washable wipes. I put all my wipes in an old tub of pampers wipes and make sure they are all wet enough with a mix of water and a tablespoon of Lusa Baby Wipe Juice, which give them a nice smell and are good for your baby's skin.

We still use disposable dipes when traveling, but other than that, we're cloth diapering.

I have to do a load every other day. And sometimes it's a bit difficult to get the ammonia stink out of the diapers, but a nice sun bleaching and it goes away. And in Houston, we do have a lot of sun!
It's not that big a deal, and after the initial investment (about $500), you end up saving money on the long run. Yes, even including the extra load of laundry.

It's bath time: Let's wash the baby!

This is a second post that is bath time related: what do you put on your baby's skin (and yours too...)?
maybe some of you wonder if it really matters... well, here is something I find interesting: you know how some people who use patches of nicotine to stop smoking, and how those patches are put on your skin and the chemical goes into your blood stream just through your skin?
Well, why should it be different with your soap and shampoo? It's just the same, actually. Chemicals we put on our skin go into our bloodstream. And some of then stay there, or go into cells, and organs.
If you need another proof of that, I'll tell you story. It's not a very funny story since it involves my little Matt's big health issues. I will try to keep to the point. Matt, when he was 3 1/2 months old, was diagnosed with a type of epilepsy, called infantile spasms. For a while we tried to find a drug that would stop the seizures and let his little brain develop normally. We failed for a little while, and tried to put him on a diet called ketogenic diet which consists of eating mainly fats, so that the brain uses fat instead of sugar as a source of power and sometimes it helps a lot with intractable epilepsy. And so we had to weigh everything that went into Matt's body and make sure we fed him the right proportions, down to 0.1g.
And we also had to make sure the creams, lotions, shampoo and all we put on his skin was sugar free as well. Because it can go into his blood stream, and then to his brain.
So, here it is, your second proof.
Does that make you think?
Well, it makes ME think anyway. So I switched our whole family to organic chemical free skin care products. And for my little guy, that means using Earth Mama Angel Baby products.
We love them, and their smell is a bit different from typical baby products, which is nice.
Oh, and their line for mamas is awesome too!
Check them out here:

I'll post later about what to avoid in your skincare products.
For now, I have to get the baby out of the bath, he is starting to be all wrinkled!

It's bath time: Let's heat that water!

My little guy, Matt, is currently marinating in his bath tub. It is hot here in Houston, and he sweats easily, and hates that. So the best way to make sure he stays a happy camper is to put him in a bathtub with some cool water. And a few toys.
So I take this opportunity to talk about a few things I care about. One is reducing my environmental impact by trying to limit my energy consumption. And one easy step for that is to turn down the temperature of your water heater. It does not need to be that hot, and on top of that, hot water is dangerous for babies.
An other step you can take is touching your water heater tank and if it feels warm to the touch, that means it's not insulated enough, and some of the energy used to heat our water simply goes to heating your attic, or wherever your heater is located. And we don't like that, now do we? One step we can take (I haven't done it myself yet, but I will I promise!), is to buy an insulated blanket, they make ones specially for that kind of things, and wrap it around your heater. Should keep the water longer without the heater having to, well... heat it. In the end all that should save you some bucks, and be good for the environment too!

And here I start...

I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now. more exactly a website, but I decided that I should start with a small step first and see if what I have to say is interesting enough for me to turn it into a website later on.
For now, then, it is only a blog. Let's see how I do with that.
I intend to post regularly, a least once a day, hopefully more than that about different subjects that are of interest to me, such as green living and family.
I want to share with you my discoveries as I try live a more environmentally responsible life, a little bit at a time.

Let's go, then!