Real Mermaids Don’t Need Glitter

Sparkle is in. Who doesn’t like shiny objects? Mermaid sequins are like sparkle crack; you can’t look away, you can’t stop yourself from petting them, and unlike fidget spinners, you are not irritated by their very presence. But real mermaids? They may be beautiful, enticing, and yes, sparkly (as well as murderous) but they definitely don’t do glitter. Why?

Because glitter is gunking up the ocean. I first read this National Geographic article about how the sparkly menace lasts just as long in the sea as it does in your carpet. Falling under the category of microplastics, which includes any plastic measuring less than 5 millimenters, it contains the same chemical-sucking properties as any other microplastic; durable to last a long time, tiny enough to be consumed in fish and biomagnified up the food chain right back to the preschool kids pouring it on that adorable picture of a blue giraffe that you might hang on your wall for a month.

My new year’s resolution was to (gasp) stop using glitter, not because I can imagine a world without sparkle but because I actually love the sparkle of the ocean so much more.  So far, despite a few birthday party craft snafus and a refusal to come to terms with the fact that maybe pipe cleaners fall into the glitter family, it’s been easy. But then, I am not a teacher trying to distract screaming children with shiny objects or a sequined up tween or a Mardis Gras float.

Glitter

  • Single use plastic
  • Magnet for pollutants
  • Too small to be filtered out by water treatment plants
  • Small enough to be consumed up the food chain
  • Does not biodegrade

Glitter alternatives:

  • Eco-Glitter – Glitterevolution  and EcoGlitterFun make biodegradable glitter!
  • Make your own glitter – epsom salt, salt or sugar mixed with food coloring
  • Mariah Carey movie – just…no

 

 

This Mental Floss article has some fun, weird glitter history.

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Sustainable We

Family Project 2018: Trash Wars – The Fight to End Single-Use Plastic

Small garbage can.  Doesn’t seem like much of a problem, right? But then the enemies start swarming in from a family of four: plastic straws, bags, spoons, you name it. Used once and tossed in a landfill feeder  that only happens to hold about 2 full kitchen bags

and a few smaller bags for the week.

We could spend more and get a bigger can from the city. OR we could change our habits now and make less grody garbage permanently.  Get in line, troops, your lunch is about to go green.

Battle 1: Lunch

Turns out (new parent spoiler alert):

4 PEOPLE MAKE A TON OF GARBAGE.

Seriously, even the little one. She throws stuff out like a champ.  She uses bandaids for like 15 minutes each.  She breaks stuff just to make the automatic garbage open its jaws on her command. She even purposefully (maybe) refused cloth diapers just to up her landfill game.  I say No Way, Baby.  To be fair, she would be perfectly fine keeping all the garbage actually inside the house and making art with it or something.

So, anyway, project Sustainable We was born. We talked a bunch about garbage and how long it stays around and how trash on the ground can get into the ocean and hurt animals and such.  Kids are on board to save turtles. We are a go.

The first single-use plastic I had to consider was the plastic zip snack/sandwich bag. This actually began organically when big sis went to kinder last year and we needed lunch solutions.  She is a picky eater who would rather not eat than eat something listed in her ever-changing bible of “Gross Stuff Mom Tries to Force-feed Me That Maybe Qualifies As Torture”. I had to try a variety of snack options to get her fueled for the day and some were wet and couldn’t touch others and there were days where I threw away more food than she consumed.

Ultimately, our plastic zippy baggy replacement system included the following:

Lunchbots stainless steel bento box

lunchbot

Love this little darling.  Fits just enough for my kids and gives the ability for some separation. Dishwasher top rack safe, easy to open and close and stays cool with an ice pack. Plus cute colors = Winning.

The only drawback is that the two sides are not completely airtight from each other, so I still needed a way to house the small veggies that had some moisture like carrots and snap-peas hastily washed in the dark pre-mornings.

Voila! Silicone muffin cups!

lsiliconemuffincups

Bonus: Can also be used for playing shell games after lunch.

They fit perfectly in both sides of the bento box, allowing me to recreate the much-desired-but-seldom-purchased crown jewel of single use lunches: the Lunchable.

One for crackers, one for ham or turkey, one for veggies and one for an oreo or two. I can even fit a baby cheese in there, too. Mom for the win.

BUT…

These are the lunch solution and there was still a critical problem: snack time <insert horrified face emoji>

Snack time was the real culprit of snack bags, hence the sneaky snacky cute little plastic half-bags with Elsa and BB-8 on them luring my half-people down the landfill well.  Seriously, the magic seal is like the pied piper of garbage.  Go ahead and use me only once, it sings. I will get crumbs in me and you can’t ever get me dry again even if you dare to wash me out. Tra-la-la.

NO! GO BACK! I say. GO BACK TO YOUR CONVENIENT BOX, YOU LUNCH BALROG!

And then I got these adorabchicobag.jpgle little snack bags:

ChicoBag Snack Time!

Every time time I unfurl their little two-inch of velcro I feel like Captain America. These bags are made of rePETE food-safe material, adjustable to fit a sandwich, adorable to fit your lunch style and pretty easy to wash. I hand wash to avoid velcro sucking the life out of unsorted laundry loads, but I don’t find it a bother. The biggest learning curve was teaching my kids to NOT THROW THEM AWAY! Fortunately they only had to pick through one yucky garbage bag to learn that one.

These bags are the ultimate weapon in the fight against single-plastic snacktime. Arm yourselves.

So the price breakdown:

Bento box $25

Muffin Cups $6.99

Snack Bags $14.99

Sustainable lunch = priceless.

Well, actually the supplies ran about $46.97, but if not using plastic saves even one turtle life than it’s worth every penny.

 

Should I Stay or Should I ERGO?

It’s been one week since I purchased an Ergo baby carrier.  I had fully intended on wearing my baby as much as I could, and I also had fully intended on solely using my Moby for that purpose.  For the first five months, my intentions were golden.  And then Nika hit the 18-pound mark, and things began to change a bit.  I love my Moby wrap, especially for its versatility in positions and affordable price.  That aside, I had to admit when I started spending more time with other mamas…I had Ergo envy.

After about a month of consideration and self-justification, I succumbed.  I finally decided on the Sienna Sunset Organic cotton with Organic cotton teething pads for the straps, which cost me about $160 combined.  The first time I put it on I almost thought something was wrong because I couldn’t feel Nika’s weight.  My aching back sighed with relief.

The next test was whether or not Nika would like it, and I believe she has been in the Ergo for no less than three times per day since we got it.  I call it her ‘apartment’ because it’s her little space to hang out in and she can choose her interaction level by looking around or snuggling under her “roof” hood.  I was even so impressed with myself to figure out that “C” clips that came with her play mat to suspend toys above her could attach to the Ergo straps and hold toys onboard for her, until five minutes later when she figured out how to unhook the clip!  Nevertheless, putting an extra ring and moving the clip near my shoulder seemed to do the trick.  I’m also going to try a pacifier clip to the same effect.

Saturday we strapped her in,  walked to a café (without even a diaper bag!) and stayed for over two hours without complaint from her, and I believe we only took her out once for a short time to stretch her legs.  The next day we looked at houses for five hours and zipped her in and out of the Ergo at each house from her carseat unless she was napping.  I really can’t imagine how much longer it would’ve taken to have to drag out the stroller or adjust the Moby at each stop.  To beat, Monday morning I wasn’t aching a  bit.  I’m so in love…

Pros

  • User-friendly – quick and easy to get on and off by yourself and without having to learn how to wrap or drag trailing material on the floor
  • Baby-friendly – Baby is not pressed against my chest or suspended from crotch and so is close without being cramped
  • Storage pocket for small toy/pacifier/burp cloth
  • Hood for sleeping/rain
  • Cute colors and patterns
  • BACK SUPPORT!!

Cons

  • Expensive
  • For use at four months old without separate insert
  • Can’t face forward

A Note on Selection

The Ergo-nomics made sense to me, and I already can’t imagine life without it.  The Moby worked well for us in the early months and I salute it, especially since I have heard mixed reviews about the infant insert for the Ergo.  Originally I had the Galaxy Gray on my baby shower registry, but when I started noticing the Ergos in person, some of them looked like baby-backpacks to me.  They have new super stylish Petunia Pickle bottom prints but they are pricier.

I liked the organic prints best.  The black was probably my style but I didn’t choose it because it lacked a hood pocket and I was worried it would be too hot.  At first it didn’t seem to matter, but now I realize that I can hook my cell phone clip really easily onto the hood flap when we just go out for a walk in the park or around the block, so I do like the hood pocket.  Also, the Sienna has a really nice embroidery that  just made it fell more accessorized.  Considering I have worn it more than any single article of clothing, I prefer it to have some style, although it’s not neutral enough to match all of my clothes and I’m sure that will be a consideration sometimes.  As far as the teething pads go, I purchased them because Nika is quite the teether and I hoped to limit the washings of the Ergo itself, but I don’t think they are an absolute necessity.  She tends to still like to teeth on the parts of exposed strap she can find, although I noticed she likes to rest her head on the pads.

Harvest Time at Applecheeks

As a follow-up to my last post, Applecheeks is having a wonderful sale – 10% off until September 16!  Check out their Facebook page for some of the many participating retailers or head on over to Applecheeks site.  I plan on stocking up and trying out some of the bamboo boosters.

To sweeten the sale, like sugar on top of a fresh apple pie, Applecheeks is hosting a great giveaway to celebrate getting 8,000 fans on Facebook.  Check out the blog post to enter to win one of six little bundles, which include a diaper and insert!

Mmmmm….apples in fall are my favorite.

Printalicious is here!

Back in the beginning of June, I heard of an exciting event in the cloth diapering community called Printalicious from one of my favorite diapering blogs, All About Cloth Diapers.  The company Applecheeks was revealing it’s new diaper prints.  I had never heard of Applecheeks at the time, but in my new hobby of cloth diapering, I found myself excited anyway.

It was a month of firsts for me and my cloth diapering journey.  It was the first time I participated in a live web chat, where the creators of Applecheeks explained their diapers, the new prints and gave away a ton of really great prizes.  It was the first time I actually pre-ordered a diaper, just like I used to pre-order concert tickets in my 20s.  It was also the first time I finally admitted to being a cloth diaper junkie, something I never thought I would say only six months ago!

Delish…straight from the orchard

The Applecheeks company is owned by two likable moms, Ilana and Amy, who were super sweet and sincere in the live webchat.  I liked them, and I liked the idea of their product, a trim-fitting pocket diaper that unstuffs itself in the wash – genius.  I also loved the two new prints, Delicious, which is as yummy as an apple pie, and Wild Child, which is like an adorable box of animal crackers.  Both of them are cute in design and unisex in colors.  I love prints, but I’m picky.  I’ve seen many Blah prints out there, and I’ve also bought diapers solely because I love the print.  I had to have one of these, however.  I would have liked both, but I really fell in love with Delicious with it’s blue and green apple-logo design.  It matched perfectly with the brand new Hello Kitty Apple-a-day Babylegs I had just bought Nika!  And anyway, I love apples.  Perfect apple goodness.

I was excited to try it.  Two things are the bane of  my diapering existence right now – laundry tabs and unstuffing.  In fact, I never unstuffed a diaper for the first few months when they were on small settings with minimal stuffing.  I rarely had a problem with a diaper not unstuffing itself in the pre-rinse cycle.  Once the REAL diapering commenced and my girl started heavy wetting, however, that was no longer the case.  It’s not the end of the world, but there are times that unstuffing a poopfest is pretty nasty, and she hasn’t even started solid foods yet.

Bring out your wild side

So, Delicious has now been in rotation for about one and a half months and I’m happy to report that it has always unstuffed, even when filled with night-capacity stuffing.  It has also never leaked, making it a great night option, though it is so cute that I hate using it for nighttime.  I’ve actually gotten compliments on how cute it is!  It is still in that ‘new pocket’ phase, so I can’t be sure it will never need stripping, but so far so good.  It is also so soft and very trim, which is actually my favorite characteristic.  I sized up because Nika was in between the two offered sizes, but now at 18 pounds she fits in the diaper without much excess and I can actually fit her into age-appropriate clothes.  With my other pockets, I often have to put her in sized-up clothes because of the bulk.

I also noticed that the diaper came in an envelope marked EcoEnclose.  Curious, I looked up the company.  It provides compostable mailing supplies.  Their mailers and bubble-mailers are made from polyehtylene plastic that is treated in order to break down into humus during composting, or even in a landfill, in 9-60 months.  They also provide 100% recycled boxes and packaging.  I am still too wary to put it into my own compost, but am glad to know it will degrade even in a landfill and I’m happy to see some companies tackling the unsustainable shipping-waste issue.  The prices aren’t bad, either.  The mailers start at 16 cents each and even after shipping are still one-quarter the price of the post office supplies that I buy.  It’s a good way to vote with your dollar and support a sustainable business practice if you ship things often.

Feeding-time Follies

August 1-7 was the official World Breastfeeding Week for 2011.

I wasn’t expecting to celebrate in any particular way.  I certainly never thought I would be a part of a flash mob of any kind, let alone one that involved a dance simulating giving birth, but at my local Saturday morning farmer’s market I found myself dancing with my baby to the beat of steel drums and doing a cute bouncey dance that served as my morning workout as well as to educate the strolling market-goers about breastfeeding law.

The night before I was still uncertain about the flash mob idea.  I could feel the lukewarm “are you going to do it?” attitude among my weekly breastfeeding momma support group.  Plus, I had an east coast guest visiting for only one day.  At the beginning of the week there were only twenty or so mommas signed up.  Hardly a mob, and the last thing on my busy baby-mind was learning dance moves to not be the worst dancer among such a small group.

My guest arrived and we went out to dinner.  I fed baby first, but by the time we drove, parked, and made it to a restaurant, Nika was already getting a little anxious.  The restaurant was tiny with only one main room and a small single bathroom.  Normally, I would take her to a nursing-friendly baby store right downtown where we could pop in, sit in a rocking chair and change her in comfort and ease, but the store, Mother Nurture, was long closed for the night.  I thought to take her to the car to nurse instead.  It was Friday night and we had parked in front of a bar, so of course there were half a dozen smokers crowded right in front of my car.  No, thanks.

I drove to a car lot across the street from the restaurant, and by this time Nika had fallen asleep.  Whew!

Back in the restaurant, she immediately woke up again and she was HUNGRY!  So, back to the car, but by now I was boxed in tight by SUVs and the garage was dark and humid.  I bemoaned my situation, squeezed the carseat back in place and took off for home, leaving my husband and friend to cab it (after a leisurely baby-less meal and a bottle of wine, so I didn’t feel too sorry for them!)

In the comfort of the nursery, with a happy, sleepy baby, I thought about how grateful I was to have Mother Nurture to go to when I was downtown during the day.  It was a great resource that I knew I had to support, not just by patronizing the store but by dancing.  Publicly dancing.  So, flash mob it was!

The California breastfeeding law is as follows:

California Civil Code § 43-53.
1997 Section 43.3 of the Civil Code

43.3.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. 

It’s so hot even my diapers are Thirsties

I’ll admit it.  The main reason I purchased a Thirsties Duo Snap Wrap diaper cover was for the print Blackbird, a print perhaps even more beloved than those sassy little monsters the Ooga Boogas.

Blackbird, blackbird, have you any PUL? Yes, sir!

I’ll also admit that on those bleary-eyed newborn mornings, a pre-stuffed pocket was a welcome sight over the two-step diaper-and-cover process.  I never quite got the hang of newborn prefolds.  Originally, I bought a dozen Bummis newborn prefolds and a set of three Snappis.  From my research, I thought I would use the prefolds often.  I was right – except I ended up using my prefolds to lay baby on for changing and to make sure her little bummi was nice and dry before a fresh dipe (and I still use them for this!)

Don’t fear, though.  My Thirsties never got neglected.  For the the first four months (to 15 pounds) that it fit, it was perfect over fitted diapers (Under the Nile and Green Mountain Diapers fitteds).  Also, oddly enough, my husband actually preferred the prefold/snappi routine over all other diapers.   This was one of the reasons I decided to get a dozen infant-sized organic prefolds and a Thirsties Size 2 when Nika needed to size up.  Now, I am enjoying the power of prefolds.  I’ve got the Snappi-dance down and the organic cotton is soft, smell-free and great for days at home.

I do have a few words of caution.  My new Size 2 is a solid color (rose).  I washed according to directions and still had some color bleed into the white seam, so I would recommend a careful first wash.  Also, be gentle with the snaps, as always, but especially with the rise snaps.  I found that they are more easily dislodged than on the Size 2 for some reason.

That being said, I would love to try some other Thirsties products like pail liners, prefolds, doublers, or even the diaper cover, which is said to have a roomier fit than the trimmer wrap for nighttime stuffings .  They have a give-away every week called Thirsty Thursdays.  Check it out.  This week is wipes and diaper bags!