wham bam my kitchen is paperless ma’am!

So I realized the other day that we have not purchased paper towels or napkins in MONTHS.  This made me kind of excited.  I feel like a paper-free kitchen something to check off my hippie life list. I’ll be honest, though-  this was really not a difficult thing to do.  It was a gradual, painless transition, but I’m sure it’s saving us lots of dollars (and is definitely saving lots of paper waste) over the long haul.

We started using microfiber cloths for cleaning about 8 months ago and just bought fewer and fewer paper towels from that point, as we got used to doing everything with cloth.  I clean the kitchen with them.  I clean the bathroom.  I clean mirrors and windows.  I wipe spills.  I stick them on my swiffer to clean the tile floors.  They’re wonderful, and they really work SO much better than paper.  I reccomend having a comfortable number in your house so there’s always one handy.  If a cloth is what’s available when you need to reach for something in a hurry, it’s what you’ll use.  If a roll of paper towels is what’s close at hand… well, you’ll probably use that.  And use it and use it and then head to Sam’s for another 200 pack of paper towels.

Napkins are cloth around here too.  I just ordered some new ones from a cute Etsy shop– I’ll post pictures when they arrive!  They’re adorable!  It’s amazing how far ONE piece of cloth will take you.  Maybe I’m just messy, but I can go through a lot of paper napkins at a time if I’m eating with my hands… pizza, etc.

I’m guessing right now you’re either thinking, “Duh, C.O., of course this sounds great, I’ve been doing this since I was an infant and you should have been too” … OR  you’re thinking, “Nice idea, but I hate laundry… so forget it.”   All I can say is that cloth diapering… and honestly, just having a baby in general, now that I think about it… has really changed my perspective on laundry.  I used to never do laundry.  Like, put it off until I was wearing a bathing suit as underwear kind of NEVER.  I was nervous about cloth diapering for this very reason.  Well, now that Owen is around making messes contantly and I’m a stay at home mom running around cleaning up after him all the time, and if I don’t wash the diapers  I HAVE TO SMELL THE POOP BAG ALL DAY, I have found that I do at least a little laundry pretty much every day.  And if I miss a day or two, I can usually tell the difference.  So with all this laundry going anyway, napkins and microfiber cloths are the least of my concerns. (They’re so tiny! And so poop-free!)  That’s just my experience though.   And one thing I’ve been learning is that NO ONE can do everything.  So just do what you can do.  No hippie judgment here, folks.

 

Now that we’re into the new year and I have NO excuses, I’m hoping to post at least once or twice a week for now and work my way up from there.  If there are any topics you’d like to see discussed, please feel more than free to comment or send me an email at crunchyoklahoma at gmail dot com.  I’m so sorry if I missed your comments while I was on my looong break.  I do really appreciate all of them.

Thanks for reading!

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crunchy baby. wait, that doesn’t sound quite right…

There’s nothing like having a baby to inspire you to pursue a greener, healthier lifestyle.  Here’s this tiny little person coming into the world, a brand-new blank slate in so many ways, and it’s up to YOU to hold him (or her), cuddle him, nourish him, teach him and give him the best, healthiest environment you possibly can.  Whoa pressure.  Of course, there are many different levels of what people are able to do (or even want to do) to pursue healthier, greener living.  I’m not really about heaping on the judgment, but I am about spreading the word that pursuing healthier, greener options does not have to be overwhelming.  Often these options are, in fact, easier and cheaper in the long run!

1.  Cloth Diaper your baby.  I know, this is the obvious one, right?  Or perhaps not, as Elimination Communication is definitely even crunchier.  However, I heard about that one later in the game and my husband, who does his fair share of Poop Duty, is Most Definitely Not on Board with the idea.  Maybe someday.  That’s neither here nor there at the moment, however.  You can literally save thousands of dollars using cloth and keep an unbelievable amount of garbage out of landfills.  In my opinion, the extra water and energy requred to wash the diapers is truly negligible.  Cloth diapering is very sophisticated these days and is far more easy (and even fun) than I ever imagined!

2.  Keep unnecesary stuff off baby’s skin!  This means no lotions, no powders, none of that stuff with all kinds of artificial garbage in it.  I’ll tell you a secret-  you don’t even need to wash your baby with soap. My baby gets a bath every single night as part of his bedtime routine.  (He loves to splash.) I just let the water do its job, and clean out the folds with a washcloth. I do use some simple, natural soap every once in a while but I honestly probably don’t even *need* to do that.  Soap just strips baby’s skin of healthy, natural oils.  Water is all you really need for infants!

3.  Discover the miracle of coconut oil.  Seriously, it’s wonderful for iritated bums and a great moisturizer (since you’re tossing that baby lotion, you know.)  It smells good, too!

4.  If you can, breastfeed.  It’s so good for baby and for you.  There are a million benefits that deserve their own post, but for the purposes of this one, I’ll just say it is FREE and very eco-friendly!

5.  And last but not least:  When possible… simplify.  Try to avoid acumulating tons of stuff.  There’s so, so much baby gear out there and sure, some of it might come in handy every now and then but most of it is SO unnecessary.  Babies really, really do not need a lot.  I think that single statement might encapsulate my whole philosophy of crunchy baby care!  They need food and warmth and lots of comfort and love.  Those are things you don’t need fancy and expensive gear to supply.

What did I forget?  What do YOU do to crunch-ify baby care?

 

Pssst-  this post is linked up to Sorta Crunchy for “Your Green Resources.”  Head on over and see what everyone else is chatting about…

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sharing sleep

Whew, I’ve been falling down on the job over here.  But I’m back to hopefully make up for it… with a super-long post that’s been in the works for a while!  So hold on to your hats!

I’ve been wanting to share some of my thoughts on our family sleeping situation for a while, but a couple things keep me hesitant to talk much about it.  One, I don’t want to come across like I’m saying what we do is right and it should work for everyone and bla bla judge judge.  But two, I also think our situation is right for us and works for us and so I don’t really care if anyone else likes it or not.  Except I do, which is why I like to keep my mouth shut and avoid all the judging coming my way.  But a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I just started thinking about how odd it is that all of us sleeping in one big bed together should seem so natural and right when before Owen was born (four months ago) I would have told you I WILL NEVER DO THAT.  So I’m going to risk erring on the side of oversharing.  Since I’m already so good at that when I sleep.

Looking back I feel like we never really thought through our plan for Owen’s sleeping arrangements too well before he was born.  We bought him a nice crib and Asher set it up in the nursery.  We talked about getting a pack and play or something similar so he could be in with us at first, but we just never got around to it.  I kind of liked the idea of having him close by in our room when he was tiny, mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to walk all over the house in the middle of the night, groggily following the siren call of hungry shrieking. But I also figured, he’ll be in a crib eventually so… maybe we’ll just do that and save some money, you know?

The two nights in the hospital with Owen were pretty sleep-deprived and awful.  He hated the little bassinet thing with the see through sides. (I didn’t blame him.)  He just wanted to be held and to eat all.the.time and it was super overwhelming.  When we got home with him, he was so tiny and I was so terrified that he was just going to randomly stop breathing any minute that it seemed inconceivable to even consider putting him in his own room, in his own crib, and just leaving him there all night.  We tried having him sleep in his infant car seat on the floor next to our bed… but we ended up just taking turns having him sleep on top of us all night.  And we all got a lot more sleep than we had in the hospital.  Over the next few nights we tried different variations of the same theme and after a while we didn’t even bother trying to put him anywhere else beside with us.  He just slept so much better.  We slept so much better.

I know, I know… IT’S SO DANGEROUS, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING,  YOU WILL ROLL ON TO YOUR BABY… uh, no, you won’t.  Unless you get drunk off your overweight butt right before climbing in bed you will be fine.  I’m serious, when accidents happen while bedsharing there is almost always some kind of substance use involved. (Or there are other risk factors at play, like a very overweight parent.) A baby is like a giant speed bump in your bed.  You can’t just roll over it without even noticing! I promise!

The other thing that can cause bedsharing safety issues is furniture.  The dangers are very real of babies rolling off beds, suffocating in bedding, or getting trapped in open spaces in the furniture or between the furniture and the wall.  We didn’t worry about this too much when Owen was really tiny and immobile.  We just took the quilt off our bed and kept the pillows minimal.  Now he’s bigger and squirmier, so we’ve taken our bedframe apart and stored it away for now.  We sleep on the mattress (on top of the boxspring) on the floor.  We have nothing but a fitted sheet on the mattress.  At night Asher and I each have one pillow, but we keep those off the bed if Owen is in it by himself (or put them far away from him.)  The mattress is in the corner of two walls, right up against them as tight as it will go so we don’t have any dangerous gaps.  We keep a fan going at night for good air circulation, and we just dress warmly since we’re close to the ground and don’t use bedding.

Now, if you had told me 6 months ago I would be doing this I would have told you that you were insane.  If you had told me I would actually enjoy doing this and find it a good, workable system for our family, I would have told you to go find a new friend to lie to.  I love burrowing in thick quilts at night.  I used to not be able to sleep without covers.  I also move around a lot in my sleep and I like to have plenty of room.   So this whole setup is pretty counterintuitive for me.

The thing is, my sleeping patterns and habits are just really different now with Owen here.  One of the reasons bedsharing works so well is that mothers have this innate sense for where their babies are and what they are doing.  I usually wake up right before Owen does during the night.  I have no idea why; I just wake up and look at him and a few seconds later he’s stirring.  Since I’m awake and right next to him, it’s easy to shove the food source in his face before he ever even wakes up all the way.  He eats half-asleep and goes back out.  And I never have to get out of bed.  WIN.

Owen has a sense for where I am, too.  As I’ve thought about this, I realized it totally makes sense from a biological (can I say evolutionary?) perspective- nighttime is dangerous and full of predators and it’s safest for everybody to stay close together.  One night recently I had to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and as soon as I left the room Owen started crying.   He had been sleeping just fine but as soon as I left he knew I was gone.  I imagined his baby brain going, “That’s it, Mom’s been eaten by the wolves.”  Kinda sweet, really.

So all in all, we really love it.  It works so well for us, although I realize it wouldn’t for everyone (or maybe even most.)  I love having my baby close so I never worry in the middle of the night.  I love the snuggles.   I just love having us all close together.

Plus, I know the wolves will not get us.🙂

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