mommyonthegreen

Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time


Leave a comment

The End is Not the End

April 2016

I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but here is one more blog post.

I was sitting here wasting time on Facebook (it’s amazing how much time I can lose just clicking on the garbage that comes up on my newsfeed) when I could be doing something more productive. Like writing. Or like not using electricity at all. Like reading.

While I’ve been on mat leave I’ve been reading a lot. I recently read the Mitch Albom book “The First Phone call from Heaven”. In the story, one of the characters mentions the phrase “The End is not the End” in reference to heaven, and is also apparently a House of Heros song.

imag5943.jpg

I’ve also been trying to wean LM. I’ve decided I’m just done. He’s almost 9 months. It’s ok. I did my best. He’s going to be ok either way. Just when I think we’re done, we’re not. He asks for me (he does a little bobbing bird on my chest when he wants the boob. It’s kind of sweet. 🙂  When he’s really hungry he doesn’t care where the food comes from as long as it comes fast!). And I can’t believe I only have three months of mat leave left  😦

It’s time I put this blog to bed and move on. The amount of electricity I’ve used researching and writing this blog is not lost on me. My family needs me. I need me. And as much as I love blogging, it’s taking up more time than I can put into it to make it the way I want it. I’m too hard on myself for not posting or tweeting regularly, or making timely posts related to current events. I often feel rushed when doing a post and I make mistakes.

My plan was to go back to each post, add tags, edit grammar and spelling, add links for interesting things I’ve found out since I wrote the original post, update my progress, etc.  But lets be realistic – as they say “ain’t no one got time for that”!

And I’ve realized, just like I’m not perfect, just like we don’t parent perfectly or the way we might like too, this blog isn’t going to be perfect. So what if it’s not written like a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Just like parenthood, it’s raw and its real. So why change it now?

I started this blog for New Year’s 2014. Today, my 35th birthday, seems like a good day to finish it off.

So as a final post, here are some things I wanted to write about. I’ve been trying to clean out my e-mail accounts, where I e-mail my blog ideas to myself, and I just seem to have so many green ideas I want to write about while incorporating them into events in my life.  I didn’t want to be one of those websites that just lists a bunch of tips without actually trying them myself. But I want to share them for my readers anyway. Who knows, maybe some day I will try them. I guess I can always go back to this list. And some of them just made me laugh.

For each of you who reads this blog, try out a green challenge from the list below. In this way, the blog has no end.

Here they are, by category/topic/tag:

Waste Reduction

How did a sea turtle get a straw up its nose?

Worms could help reduce waste

101 uses for Mason Jars! (well actually just 18, but who’s counting;-) )

The Destiny of Restaurant Crayons

The Unintended Consequences of Banning Bottled Water

Waste Reduction on Campus

Upcycling

Repurposing an Old Toothbrush

 

Food Security/Waste

Tax Break for businesses that donate food

Just Eat it Restaurant Waste Video

Use it don’t lose it!

denHaan Greenhouses – local source for tomatoes and cucumbers

Fair Trade Recipes

French Law Bans Food Waste

Ugly Food!

uglyfood1

I was going to participate in the National Geographic Hashtag challenge, but as with a great many things I ran out of time. So here’s the photo

uglyfood2.jpg

#UglyFoodIsBeautiful

 

Sustainable Seafood – Loblaws

 

Infant Feeding

Breastfeeding Dairy Free

Lactose Overload

Breastfeeding & Alcohol Consumption

Formula FYI

Pump & Dump

 

Sustainable Diapering

The Diaper Divide

7th Generation Training Pants

 

Environmentally Friendly Sanitary Pads

Now that Aunt Flo is back in my life I’ve been thinking about this a little more.

The Honest Company

Goodbye Diva Cup

 

Environmentally Friendly Funerals/Burials/Estate Planning (not that I plan on trying these any time soon – for all the right reasons!)

Refound!

Burial Pods

 

Pets

Our kitty has recently had some health problems, which got me thinking about this even more

Ethically Sourced Pet Food

Crystal Cat Litter

Silica Cat Litter

Ecofriendly Cat Litter

Homemade Cat Litter

Homemade Cat food

More Homemade Cat Litter

IMG_1840

 

Natural Pest/Weed Control

Ants

 

Water Conservation/Pollution

Drugs in Drinking Water

The Surfrider Foundation

Gold in Sewage

Water used to grow favourite foods

Microbeads Banned

 

Eco-friendly Shopping

The True Cost of Clothing

Germs in Cloth Bags

The Green Mom Review

Toxic Items at Dollar Stores

Chemicals in Dollar Store Products

Dollar Store Product Contaminants

 

Parenthood

Advice to Fathers

The Most Expensive 2-hour Nap

A Day at Home with a Newborn

10 things kids should see their parents doing

Journey from Anti-Vaxx to Science

Please don’t visit my Newborn

10 ways to really help someone with a new baby

 

As I’ve said before, through this blog, I’ve learned that as with every thing in life, we have to make decisions. Just like we can’t always be that perfect parent, we can’t be the perfect environmentalist. But we try. We try and we hope it’s enough.

And then there’s this guy. Am I him? I don’t think I want to be him. If you can’t follow my blog, follow the frog.

http://www.upworthy.com/never-before-have-i-laughed-so-hard-at-one-guys-non-attempt-to-save-the-planet?g=2&c=ufb1

 

THE END

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Pooped!

October/November 2015 – Updated February 2015

I have to say that LM is a better sleeper than MD, at least right now. Sure I’m up a couple of times in the night, but he usually sleeps a four or five-hour stretch before waking, then another couple of three hour stretches before waking for the day. He’s even slept a few six and seven hour stretches! (Would love to find a way to keep that up!) He also seems to be a better napper, so far. So while I’m not fully rested, I definitely don’t feel the same level of exhaustion that I did at this point with MD.  I’m a bit worried that I might still hit a wall, but my husband just says that we’re pacing ourselves better this time. I also find that getting up at about the same time every day (even if I’m tired), maintaining a semblance of routine, napping when he naps, and getting some regular exercise and eating well has done as much for my energy level as sleep.

In fact, I’ve even had the brainpower to think about this blog! Over the last couple of months we’ve been experimenting with the disposable diapers I described in a previous blog post (see The Home Stretch). Here’s what I’ve found:

PC Green (~24 cents ea.) – these were my favourite. These were the most absorbent day and night and best at containing blow-outs, easy to put on, and I just like the look of them better. The price point is the best as well.

Seventh Generation– (~37 cents ea.) – I liked these diapers. They were great for daytime usage, however did not contain blow-outs as well as some other diapers we tried, and were not as absorbent overnight.

Naty (~38 cents ea.) – these were by far my least favourite diaper. They were not very absorbent at all, day or night, number 1 or number 2, did not fit well, and to be honest I kept putting them on backwards because I could not easily tell front from pack (important for middle of the night changes).

I also tried another brand, BabyGanics from Babies R Us ($ 16.99 per pkg of 40 stage 1 (8-14lbs) or ~ 42 cents ea.). This brand also claims to be chlorine free and made from plant-based materials (which all paper or cotton diapers would inherently be). The company also makes a whole line of “eco-friendly” and “baby-friendly products”. These were the most expensive diapers I tried, which is unfortunate because they were a great diaper as well. Easy to put on, looked great and most importantly were very absorbent day and night.

babyganics (2)

For the record, a package of Pampers Swaddlers size 2 is ~44 cents each – making the “green” option less expensive for once!

For comparison’s sake, I would also like to try Huggies Pure and Natural. They claim to be made of organic cotton. I think I used them with MD, but I can’t find them locally at the moment.

Huggies is a division of Kimberly Clark . Interestingly, they’ve been working with a group in New Zealand to create a composting diaper. You can read all about it here. I wonder if they could do that in Canada?

The Honest Company also makes diapers, with the same green features as the diapers I’ve listed above, and are only available online as far as I can tell.

We also have a whole bunch of regular disposable diapers that my mother-in-law bought us. At first I was offended – like, doesn’t she know me well enough by now to know that I would be using cloth or at least an “eco-friendly” disposable diaper? Like couldn’t she just have bought us a package of those? Is she trying to get under my skin on purpose? But since then I’ve learned to follow MD’s idol’s advice and “let it go”. I think her heart is in the right place and she really was just trying to help us out. And to be honest, the diapers she bought us certainly come in handy when we’re running low on the ones we bought and I can’t get to the store, and don’t have time to do laundry! I also shouldn’t be a hypocrite. I mean, come on, we just put a whole other person on the planet with their own ecological footprint! And the way I’m going through granola bars in their shiny disposable wrappers, and the amount of paper MD brings home from daycare probably balances out anything we gain by using reusable diapers.

When LM was about eight weeks old we started experimenting with the cloth diapers again, a few days a week. They still don’t fit super well because his thighs are still small, but other than that so far so good. I picked up a few extra supplies, such as bioliners and Allen’s detergent, from Nurtured, but other than that I don’t feel like investing a whole lot into them when we don’t know how much longer they’ll last. I’ll let you know how it works out!

*******************************************************************

Update – February 2016

Well we’ve been using the cloth diapers for about four months, and I think they’ve just about reached their best before date. We were told by Nurtured that their life expectancy is about two years, and after using them on and off for about 18 months with MD and now four months with LM, we’re just about there.

We’ve been doubling up on the inserts to improve absorbency, but they’re really only good for short-term usage (a couple of hours). The microfiber liners have just worn out. I don’t really feel like investing in new ones, because once I go back to work (in six months time – yikes!) I know I’m not going to have time to do the extra laundry, and I don’t want to take the diapers to daycare again (they nearly ruined them the last time. While they were completely open minded and supportive of us using them, they kept using diaper cream with them which is a huge no-no in the cloth diapering world, because it makes the covers impermeable to water).

There are a few other reasons why we’re going to take a break from the cloth for a while:

  • Now that LM has started solids, his poop is really gross. Like, I know, poop is gross no matter what, and I don’t understand why I didn’t have this problem with MD (maybe I didn’t notice because my wonderful supportive husband was washing the diapers at that time, or maybe I’ve developed a weaker stomach with kidlet number 2).
    • We’re using bioliners, these just go in the garbage too (we don’t flush them – see Week # 6), and while it is less waste than a disposable diaper it’s still waste.
  • He seems to get a bad diaper rash whenever we use them.
  • It seems like they’re getting too small. There’s lots of room around and in the thighs, but in the rise they seem a bit short, like they’re crushing his “jewels”. He is the same size now as MD was at a year old!
  • Most importantly for us right now, while the water usage washing cloth is supposedly still less that the production of disposables, what we didn’t take into consideration was the wear and tear on our washing machine and dryer. Which both seem to be on the fritz lately, and I don’t want to be stuck with a pile of dirty diapers that we have to run to a laundromat!

We’ll hang on to them for a little while longer in case we change our minds again, but I suspect they will find another life for another baby via Kijiji. So at least someone will still be using them.

I’ll be disappointed and sad in some ways to see them go, as cloth diapers are something I really believe in, but at least I can say I tried them. For a short time at least, I practised what I preach. Some might say I’m not dedicated enough. But I’m going to try to not be too hard on myself. We all have to make choices and we all do our best. And like being the “good enough mom”, maybe I’ll have to learn to be ok with being a “good enough environmentalist”. Besides, there are probably some other areas of our lives where we can make changes that will have a greater, more lasting impact. And when I figure out what those are, I’ll write about them here. And speaking of poop, someone needs to be    changed . . .


Leave a comment

The Home Stretch

June/July 2015

This is likely my last blog post for some time: expecting the arrival of Number 2 in the next few weeks. Then again, who knows, maybe we will be blessed with a mellower child and I’ll be able to post a few lines here and there. At my last Dr.’s appointment she says to me “that belly is filing out nicely isn’t it”. I felt like responding with “really, I hadn’t noticed”. If I don’t have this kid soon I’ll need to go shopping again – my clothes are starting to reach their maximum stretch point! Almost muumuu time! ( I wonder if I could find one of those at Value Village . . . ).

June has been a frustrating month. I have a giant to do list, but I am feeling frustrated at the level of helplessness pregnancy imposes on me. Physically I either just can’t move my body the way I need to do what needs doing around the house, or I just don’t have the energy level. My amazing husband is doing all that he can, but we’re going to have to find some help elsewhere. I’m tempted to research some green house cleaners in the city, but as with many of my projects it ends up ballooning into something I don’t have the time or energy to handle. Hoping the neighbours kids come through and can help with the yard work at least.

Physical limitations aside, June was also been a very busy month for us:

  • 100 in 1 day went off without a hitch (except for the rain). We exceeded our goal of 100 interventions, and collected over 60kg of food. There were lots of great environmentally-oriented projects too, such as The Wave of Waste.
  • Went to physiotherapy to treat my hip/foot problems and it was successful. Tried to do some gardening but ended up twisting my knee (which heeled after a week or two, but I don’t want to tempt fate a second time). Trying to do battle with the Japanese Knotweed which returns with a vengeance every year (see Week 20 and here for more information on this awful, awful invasive plant).
  • My Dad had to have surgery, which while he knew he would have to have some day and was not life-threatening, the health care system made it seem like it was nothing more than a tooth extraction, when in reality the recovery period has been a lot more uncomfortable and long than expected.
  • I taught a three day course at work, which I love doing and am thankful I was able to get through without having to boil water.
  • And completed my French oral exam – which at the time I thought I hadn’t done well at all (I had studied, but I hadn’t been in a French class since February, and with everything else going on I just couldn’t get into the right head space). I am thankful that I achieved the mark I need to keep my competitive edge in the workplace.
  • And with all of this going on, our daughter is experiencing a bit of regression toilet-training-wise, wetting herself at nap time. So at her request back to pull ups for a little while 😦

Needless to say, while blogging has been on my mind and very much something I’ve been looking forward to wrapping up before Number 2’s arrival, it hasn’t exactly made the To Do list each weekend.

Now that June is past, I’ve pretty much got things wrapped up at work (only three days left!), and the baby’s room is ready to go, I’ve been trying to maximize mommy-daughter time. Last week we spent the morning at the farmer’s market (which we also hadn’t done in several months) and yesterday we went to the beach.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to not get upset with myself for all of the driving and take-out packaging that seems to have re-entered my lifestyle – I keep telling myself it’s only temporary.

What “green things” have I been doing (when I have the mental, emotional and physical energy to even think about it):

  • Buy local – it is growing season – finally! – and speaking of Farmer’s Markets, I found a lovely little fruit and veggie stall in our neighbourhood. All they need is a fish truck, an artist and a few musicians and they’d be a full fledged market! Which connects nicely with one of my 100 in 1 day projects related to community building (read about it here);
  • Reuse baby gear – we’d kept just about everything, so it all came out of the closet and got cleaned up;
  • Purchase used baby gear instead of new – for things that we needed to replace or add to the collection. It is yard sale season after all so I was able to find a couple of things, like an infant seat (for the house, not a car seat). When I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t think we needed all of the “extra” stuff that went with a baby (like swings, infant seats, breast-feeding pillows, exersaucers etc) and that it was materialistic – but learned very quickly that it wasn’t a capitalist ploy at all but a matter of survival, as I’m sure anyone reading this who’s a parent can appreciate. We did purchase a new stroller, because they take such a beating (and we got a good deal)!
  • Speaking of reused baby gear – my husband and I finally reached a compromise on the diaper front. We spoke with some apartment-dwelling friends who also used cloth diapers both children and learned of some tricks that will hopefully make cloth diapering less work than before. So the cloth diapers we used for our daughter are freshened up and ready to go. I’ve also agreed to use disposable – if we can use “environmentally-friendly” brands.

There are basically three brands available at our local grocery store:

PC Green – materials are 50% recycled and/or sourced from sustainable sources; fragrance, latex and petroleum free (including no bleaching). Stage 1 (8-14 lbs) $15.99 per pkg of 66 (~24 cents ea.). The President’s Choice company offers a number of other “green” products, and has a number of other sustainable programs on the go, such as Sustainable Seafood. Nevertheless, “greenwashing” is always in the back of my mind (see Week xx).

Seventh Generation– Another company offering a variety of green products. Diapers are fragrance free and unbleached. However I have read and heard from reputable sources that they dye their diapers the light-brownish colour to make them appear more natural. This marketing technique, if true, kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me. Stage 1 $14.99 per pkg of 40 (~37 cents ea.)

Naty– Made by a Swedish company that offers a number of other eco-friendly products. Made from biodegradable materials, unbleached, and latex and fragrance free. Stage 2 (6-13 lbs) $ 12.99 per pkg of 34 (~38 cents ea.). Not sure if they’re made in Sweden and shipped over.

So it looks like the PC Green might be the best option, and it is also the option that Nurtured once recommended to me.

Depending on what you have access to, here are some other options that might work. Cloth are still thought to be the best option, especially when reused for a second child – all of the water and electricity usage that goes into making and cleaning them is apparently still less than what goes into repeatedly making disposables. For some other options, read here and here.

Once the baby powder settles we’ll experiment and see what works best for us in our “new normal”.

  • I’ve also been collecting links related various environmental issues that I have blogged about. I’ll share a few on the blog and via Twitter. One is “plastic free July”. A good challenge for some day, but not for me today.

Until next time, have a great summer! (And yes, I will post baby news!).


Leave a comment

Week# 35-ish: Leaving on a Jet Plane

The Time Machine. A not too shabby sci-fi movie based on the book by H.G. Wells. My husband is always commenting that he would like a time machine, so he could go back in time and meet me sooner. How sweet 🙂 (After ten years together we can still be nauseating). There are times, like this week, where I wish I had a time machine to make more time. I’ve got about 27 unfinished projects around the house (and volunteer projects I want to take up), and being the type-A personality that I am it is driving me crazy. And it doesn’t help that I’m sick (day 12 of a cold/flu). (It’s been so bad I broke down and bought disposable pull-ups just so I could get a good night’s sleep, rather than being woken by a wet toddler at 3am. My guess is she’s having a growth spurt so night training has gone out the window, but that’s a post for another day).

Work is getting busy too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my new job. The work is interesting and stimulating, and the people are awesome. I feel so at home there, like it was all meant to be. For all of the challenges and unhappiness my other job caused in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the experiences I gained there. But the work keeps rolling in, and I’m taking a French class to maintain the level I need for my job, which further cuts into my time.

I also just spent a week in Ottawa on a work trip. I was really excited about it and looking forward to some down-time to explore the city, be by myself and recharge. The weather, however did not cooperate, and the work meetings were intense. Got home at midnight with the beginnings of a cold, and charged right through the Thanksgiving weekend – running here and there to pick-up local produce (including some pumpkins from Stirlings), husband had a half-marathon, dinner with my parents, and staining the casings for our new energy-efficient windows. It all caught up with me Tuesday and I just don’t  feel like myself.

I also always feel a little guilty for flying. If there was another piece of sci-fi technology I wish actually existed it would be a transporter. It’s not just being away from my family. Air travel can contribute almost 10% of the total human impact on climate change. My Halifax-Ottawa return trip created 533 lbs of CO2 (using the TerraPass calculator). At least I flew direct, economy, during the day, and brought only carry-on, all of which can help reduce the impact according to David Suzuki. I could also plant trees to offset some of the emissions. If I use the same figure as in an earlier post of 27lbs per tree, that’s about 20 trees.

Speaking of trees, as you may have noted if you follow me on Twitter, Evergreen (one of the organizations I volunteer with) recently held a tree plant in Dartmouth.I had planned to attend, but wasn’t able to as my daughter was sick (so that’s where I got it from!), but prior to the event I helped the organizers do some research on sustainable cups. They wanted to provide water for the volunteers for health and safety reasons, but guessed that not all participants would bring their own bottle. Instead of buying bottled water, they wanted to purchase a portable water cooler/thermos and some cups. But what cups would be the most sustainable?

I looked at four options: 1) paper “Dixie” style cups; 2) disposable plastic cups; 3) reuseable/recyclable plastic cups; 4) and a fouth type that I’ll get to in a minute. I didn’t look into Styrofoam at all – I simply can’t stand the stuff, and knowing it wasn’t recyclable or biodegradable at all I didn’t even consider it a viable option. Another option might have included purchasing ceramic or glass cups from Value Village, but these would be heavier to transport and harder to dispose of if broken.

I started my research by just poking around the internet and some local stores to see what was available. Target sells a product called Dixie Hot cups. A package of 26 (each cup holds 12 oz) were $6.99. The cups were labelled SFI certified , but the material they were made from seemed to be a Styrofoam-like material. While they were sustainably sourced, if you look at the whole life cycle the disposal options weren’t very sustainable.

Target also carried the store-brand Spritz reuseable/recyclable plastic cups – $4.80 per pk qty 10 ; 4 pkg (40 cups) = $19.20. These were a hard plastic and could be reused for future events by washing in dishwasher to sterilize or soak for 2 minutes in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water.

Canadian Tire stocks Goodtimes plastic drink cups – pkg 50 $ 4.49. These look like the thin plastic so likely not reusable – unless we wanted to plant something in them!

After looking at what was out there, I also did some research as to whether “paper or plastic” would be best. It seems the jury is still out, depending on your perspective – check out these articles for more info:

Finally, I called the city to see what the composting and recycling options would be, I was very disappointed to learn that the paper Dixie cups cannot go into the compost. Even the plastic cups that have a number on the bottom can’t go in the recycling – they would all have to go in the garbage! 😦

The tree planting team decided to go with the reusable plastic cups in the end. Maybe not the most sustainable of all time, but of the practical and affordable options available not too bad a choice. That’s what I’ve learned from writing this Blog: being green is no different than all things in life- we all have to make choices, and we’re all doing our best.

Meanwhile, back on the home front – still no baby news. I really thought this would be the month. I don’t know how we can go 14 months without a goalie in net and not even have it hit the goalpost. Maybe we missed the plane. . . But in this season of bounty and thanksgiving, I remind myself to be thankful for what I do have – a beautiful, healthy daughter, and a loving husband – who lets me sleep in Sunday mornings and takes our daughter to soccer so I can work on this blog 🙂

This week is Waste Reduction Week – stay tuned for more waste reduction tips in my Twitter feed and in future posts, including – Pizza on the Green?, and Homemade Halloween!

Interested in volunteering with Evergreen? Sign-up for their e-newsletter here.


Leave a comment

Week # 10 – Bummed-out

March 9, 2014

 

This week marks the height of my hipocracy (I hope that it only gets greener from here!). Two weeks ago I wrote a post about switching to green toothpaste. During a visit to my dentist the other day, we  discussed the ongoing saga of my daughter’s dental health. (We finally got into the specialist, who announced that she either needed a root canal or the tooth would have to be pulled. I still well-up at the thought of it). I mentioned I’ve been having trouble flossing her back teeth (which the specialist had mentioned have more plaque build up), and my hygienist suggested we get the pre-strug plastic flossers.

Then it was my turn. My hygienist mentioned that from examining my gums (and the amount of bleeding during the exam) it appeared that the bacteria in my mouth  were out of balance, and that I should start using mouthwash once a day for a few days to bring things back in balance. I mentioned that I was using salt water (an obvious more environmentally friendly option) but she said that wouldn’t be strong enough for me right now. The bacteria in your mouth, although are supposed to be there in small numbers, if too high can get into your blood stream and make you sick. Which is interesting considering since about December I’ve been alternating between head colds, stomach flu and strep throat (which is before I made the toothpaste switch, so it probably has nothing to do with the that).  She also said that the bleeding could be because I’m pregnant.

And wouldn’t that be nice. We had decided back in the summer, unbeknownst to any of our friends or family, to pull the goalie so to speak and let fate take it’s course, but apparently my team’s defense is stronger than the offense. I was a couple of days late and had noticed the past couple of weeks that my rings were a little harder to get on (maybe joints expanding in response to hormones??) and that my pants with buttons had a little less give. Every month we daydream about and debate the pros and cons of giving our daughter a sibling and satisfying our parents’ desires to hold another grandbaby, whilst throwing our lives into chaos again just when things have settled down into the new normal. Every month we share in our relatively balanced sense of disappointment and relief, wondering if we’re doing the right thing.  Would this be the month when fate settled it for us?

After the appointment I had a bit of time to do some errands before picking up my daughter from daycare, so I popped in to the drug store to pick up some mouth wash and flossers without really thinking about it because I’m daydreaming about the prospects of redecorating the spare room upstairs.

On the way home it hit me. Here I am switching to “green” toothpaste and making all of these other changes,  yet proceeding to use non-reusable or recyclable plastic flossers and mouthwash with who knows what in it, all the while actually contemplating putting another person with it’s own ecological footprint  on this already over-populated planet for the sake of giving my daughter a sibling and winning points with our parents.

Suppressing the planet-guilt as much as possible, I went to work the next day, where I accidentally printed a 20 page document that I didn’t need too (and non-double sided at that), thinking about how I have to be honest and write about all of this on my blog (which Google Analytics tells me no one but my husband is reading anyway, and I don’t have as much time to work on because my daughter has also decided she no longer needs naps) – when Aunt Flo decided to make an appearance.

Feeling pretty bummed out and frustrated about all of this, that evening I promptly drowned my guilt in  a glass of Chilean wine.

What goes up must come down, and the week did improve with some progress on one of my challenges – reusable training pants.

Since I began this challenge at the beginning of January, I’ve been researching and experimenting with different options for training pants. Our daughter is basically potty trained, except during naps, at night, and really long outings or where a washroom might not be available. My daughter’s daycare requests that the children use training pants for naps until they are fully trained. I suppose it saves on laundry and hassle, but creates a lot of waste.

We had used Bum Genius cloth diapers* from the time she was about six weeks old until she was about 14 months, and the daycare was really good about it. We only lost one diaper to use of rash cream (which decreases absorbancy). After 14 months she was so mobile that the cloth just weren’t working  – her “bum scooting” was forcing the liquid out through the legs, onto her pants, and leaving a trail of pee behind her. I totally understood the daycare’s perspective – constantly changing her into dry clothes and cleaning up trails of pee that other children are crawling through is not healthy or efficient. So we took a break from the cloth and used Seventh Generation and PC Green  diapers, which are both (supposedly) made in a more sustainable way than regular disposables and are fragrance-free. Once she started walking we were able to switch back to cloth diapers for another year or so until she was ready for potty training.

When we first entered this new phase of todderldom, I was concentrating so much on the actual business of getting her to do her business in the right places and the right times that I didn’t give much thought to other options. Once we were all comfortable with the mechanics of potty training, I wanted to make the switch.

Seventh Generation also carries disposable training pants similar to their diapers, but I can’t seem to get my hands on a package. I could ship them from Amazon.com, but that also seems wasteful, in terms of packaging and carbon emissions, and is very expensive. I’ve written to Superstore, Sobeys and Walmart asking that they start carrying them. I received lovely replies that thanked me for my feedback and they would look into it. But nothing on the shelves yet. by the time they do stock them she’ll probably be fully trained.

I went on to look at non-disposable options for weekends. A few Google searches and lunchtime shopping excursions later I found Bummis  – available at Fluffy Bottom Babies and Nurtured -and Kushies available at Babies R Us. While the price point of the Kushies was perfect – about 10$ – I also like the idea of supporting local entrepreneurs rather than box stores, and the Bummis seem to fit better and are more absorbent.

I broached the topic of using the Kushies at nap time with the daycare, and they were totally open to it. And so far it’s been successful!

Now, off into the sunshine to walk away this winter weight and onto the next challenge!

*For more information on cloth diapering and the environment, check out the following links:

Bummis – why cloth?

The Debate

Almighty Dad


Leave a comment

Week # 5 – Giving Back Something Big

February 2, 2014

I’ve now officially been doing this challenge for a month. I can’t believe how fast time is going! And I still have so many ideas for future challenges. Sometimes I get really impatient and I want to do all the challenges all at once, but then I get really overwhelmed. Which is kind of the point of this whole project – as dire as the state of the world seems sometimes, we can’t save the world all at once. Baby steps, one step at a time, slow and steady. It’s making the steps that count, and eventually the steps will get bigger.

A number of youth have recently learned that lesson as well, and will hopefully be able to put what they learned into practice. Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to volunteer at a youth environmental conference – Something Big . My daughter and I helped (yes, she actually did help rather than destroying things) with set-up and registration for the conference, and stayed for the keynote speakers. I was really excited to be helping out at this event, because it’s definitely the kind of thing I would have attended when I was in high school.

I used to do lots of this kind of volunteer work, and when I became a parent I really missed getting out, meeting new people and feeling like I was contributing to a cause in a positive way. So this week’s challenge is to continue giving back, and increase my volunteerism with environmental organizations.I actually started this project just before Christmas, helping with the Ecology Action Centre’s annual Christmas Tree Campaign. Every year they take orders, and in mid-December folks can pick-up their locally sourced, sustainably harvested, organic Christmas tree. They’ve been doing this project for several years, and it’s one of their biggest fundraisers.

Since I can’t devote all of my time to helping the environment, hopefully some of these fine folks can, and helping them helps us all. My goal is to volunteer at least once a month, for a few hours. I’m on an e-mail list with the EAC,which sends out weekly volunteer opportunities, so hopefully this won’t be too difficult. It’s just making the time.

It seems that Nova Scotians in my demographic have a harder time finding the time to volunteer. In a 2012 report by Statistics Canada, people aged 25-34 contributed an average of 127 volunteer hours per year, compared with over 250 hours by those aged 45-54. There are probably a number of reasons for this, including school and home commitments. If I volunteer three hours per month over 12 months, that’s only 36 hours per year. But I shouldn’t let the numbers discourage me, because from the organization’s perspective, 36 hours is better than no hours. “Quality” vs. “quantity” is also an important consideration – the type of task an individual participates in may have more of an impact in helping an organization reach their goal than the number of hours the individual contributes.  Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe :-)

After our little adventure at the youth conference, we stopped by Fluffy Bottom Babies to check out some cloth pull-up style training pants, and Nature’s Cove General Store to find some local meat. But those are posts for another day.