We have finally made the leap to all cloth all the time! (well, except for when a babysitter just can't handle it) The gdiaper system proved too bulky to add the extra inserts needed for overnight, but we found some modern cloth nappies that work very well and are comfortable. We are using Magic-alls by Baby BeeHinds with bamboo inserts by pea pods. The inserts get tri-folded and we use two for overnight, meaning 6 layers of absorbency. The Magic-all does a great job of fitting comfortably for a long wear and wicks away the moisture quite well for a dry baby in the morning. There have been two very mild diaper rashes since using this system, but they were very quick to heal with a couple applications of cream. They occurred the same time as teething problems so could easily be attributed to that instead of the diapers, but I'm not sure. Washing for these diapers is just as easy as for the gdiapers, perhaps even easier because bubs doesn't poo overnight!
Over the last year we have been experimenting with how we buy our fruits and vegetables. We have been trying to find the perfect meld of my priorities of seasonal, local and preferably organic produce with my husband's priority of being able to do the purchasing and choosing. On top of this we both want good quality. We were happy when we were receiving Aussie Farmers Direct boxes, but while they were able to convert us to eaters of silver beet and kale, the cauliflower, brussel sprouts, mint, and wombok just did not get used despite multiple attempts.
My husband spent a lot of time visiting markets and stores and discovered it can be difficult to find out where your food is coming from. Then we tried the Newport Substation Sunday Farmers' Market. Other Farmers' Markets we have been to often feature heaps of artisan cheese and wine and other lovely but non-staple items. Newport's market, however, is where we can do our fortnightly family produce shopping. We've been able to develop a bit of a relationship with the people who supply our food, and they often have fun things to tell us about their week on the farm or photos of what's just about ready to pick.
As for the fruits and vegetables, we were blown away by the quality and flavour. Honestly it is difficult to get produce anywhere else after tasting what the market has to offer. Even items like onions and capsicums are so much more flavourful. Previously our fortnightly fruit and veg was costing us about $40, but now we spend closer to $50 for the same amount. We have no qualms spending a bit more for the amazing quality we're getting.
So if you're in the area, try it out. They have plenty of other stalls besides just fruit and vegetables, and often street food and a coffee cart. It's a nice spot for the family to spend an hour on a Sunday.
This will be a very short post, and mainly geared to the Australian consumers. This guide: http://www.zoo.org.au/palmoil/easter, kindly collated by Zoos Victoria, will let you know whether unsustainable palm oil is in your favourite Easter treats. Use their chart to make the better choice for Orang-utans this year and support manufacturers and stores who either use certified sustainable palm oil or no palm oil at all.
It has been a very gradual change in our household to find more organic or natural personal care products. It's hard to want to change from what you know and risk irritating your skin. Or find out that your new deodorant doesn't work!! However, I find that once I notice my shampoo has palm oil in it, I have a hard time ignoring that fact. Fortunately we've found that switching to more natural products has been very good for the sensitive skin in this family. This post will focus on the Australian company Moo Goo, since we've been very happy with their products. They're natural, local, and don't cost too much. Here's a little run-down:
1. MSM soothing cream= we had to try this to combat the keratosis pilaris in our family. After 30 years I finally found a product that gave my skin the gentle moisture it needed, thereby reducing the redness and bumps on my face and arms. A little miracle. In fact, the pores on my nose are smaller now as well. A natural product that goes a long way because you don't need much of it, and the effects are more than I could even dream of.
2. Scalp Cream= my kids have inherited my susceptibility to seborrheic dermatitis, which means they have "cradle cap" for 5 years, while I have what look like dry zits around my nose and mouth. Scalp cream to the rescue. I tried all kinds of home remedies for my son and none of them worked, but my daughter will benefit from the scalp cream. And my little break outs are controlled within a couple days. I've even caught my hubby using it!
3. Natural Mini Moo Bubbly Wash= here's a good example of feeling OK that a product you used is going down the drain. Everything in this wash is natural, it does the job, and I don't have to worry that it contains carcinogens like Johnson and Johnson's! I'm even finding that since beginning to use this to wash my kids' bodies and hair, their skin and scalps are less irritated after a bath.
4. Nappy Balm= another good example of a tube of cream that will last for ages because it can be used sparingly. My bub's rashes have gone in 24 hours.
5. Deodorant= perhaps the biggest change! I was finding that the deodorant that worked best for me was an aerosol, and from a packaging/production standpoint those are not the best choice. I could have just found a different form of deodorant, but I made the big leap to go natural. In doing so, I am foregoing the antiperspirant aspect, since aluminium clogs and swells your sweat glands and Moo Goo doesn't want that. The "natural" way to go is to see sweat as a normal body response, and to fight body odour instead. It was a little bit scary to give this a go, but I'm quite happy with the results. Some aluminium-free deodorants are just cover ups and don't go the extra mile to fight the odour-causing bacteria. Fortunately I'm very happy to report that this deodorant works. Actually it kind of took two days for my body to get used to it. Perhaps my sweat glands needed to get used to something gentle? I just had to apply it twice a day for the first couple days, then everything was normal.
I might sound like I'm gushing, but I'm just so happy that in going to a "greener" product, I've also found things that work incredibly well for our skin issues. I have a few retailers near me, but Moo Goo has online stores that ship worldwide. I recommend looking at their website because it is packed with information.
We have just had a catbox revolution at our place and the Rufus & Coco Wee Kitty Clumping Litter now reigns supreme. I am so impressed with this product! There are many biodegradable, recycled or compostable cat litter options out there (thank goodness), but this is the only one I have encountered which actually clumps. Using clumping litter has been a lifestyle choice for our household, though I knew that as I "greened" my life, the clay litter was going to have to go. The Wee Kitty litter not only passed the test on actually clumping, but I can flush or mulch the waste. It is so absorbent that you don't have to use heaps of the stuff and there is NO ammonia smell. I also don't have to deal with dust and it doesn't track outside the litterbox! On price breakdown it appeared more costly, but because it lasts longer it is more affordable. I got mine at Woolies, but it's online in a few places, too. I have had cats for decades and this is truly the best litter I have ever used.
From one shoe blog to another… For Christmas I was given Sseko sandals. These sandals are made by women in Uganda working to fund their college educations. More ethical shopping! In addition to helping marginalised women and promoting education, the sandals are fun and unique. They are sold as bases and sets of straps, and the website has many videos showing you different ways to tie on your sandals. You can make them casual or dressy, and they even have a wedding range. I've got three sets of straps (two chiffon and one classic) and the rectangle sandal accessory.
The classic way to tie
With sandal accessory
So check out Sseko designs--they have handbags and scarves as well. They ship internationally from the US for a rather low rate.
I just bought my first pair of shoes from TOMS and I can tell they won't be my last. As soon as I put them on they felt unlike any other pair of shoes I've had before and I liked them quite a lot. But what drew me to TOMS was their "One for One" program. For every pair of shoes you buy, they give a pair to a child who doesn't have shoes. As a veterinarian the first thing that came to my mind was preventing hookworm by wearing shoes! But a pair of shoes can have other health impacts, boost self-esteem and shoes are often required to attend school. It's a huge win-win situation. When you find that you need some new kicks, I highly recommend TOMS. They ship internationally for quite a low fee, just a tiny bit above what I've spent on regular domestic shipping in the past.