May 15, 2013

Cloth Diapers, Part 1

I became a cloth diapering Mama in March 2012.  A little over a year ago.  And...I LOVE THEM!!!

I considered using cloth diapers nearly five years ago, when my oldest child was a baby.  But I didn't know anyone who used them, and so I didn't give it too much thought.

Then in August 2011 my husband was laid off for the first time.  Less than a week later I spent nearly $40 on diapers-2 big boxes, one for each child.  "I'm supposed to be prepared," I thought.  I was obviously not diaper-prepared. 

Two months later I was blessed to move to a neighborhood where I quickly met three moms who cloth diapered their children.  They answered all my questions, and a cloth diapering Mama was born.

Here are my answers to the questions that I had.  These are MY experiences.

Why would I want to use cloth diapers?
  • Save money
  • Less waste
Does using cloth diapers really save money?

Absolutely!  I ordered prefolds (more on this later) from Green Mountain Diapers.  Newborn diapers (6-10 lbs) cost $24/dozen.  Size small (10-15 lbs) costs $28/dozen.  Size medium (15-29 lbs) costs $32/dozen.  If you plan to wash diapers daily, you would probably want one dozen of each of these sizes.  This would get you through the first year and beyond.  Then you also need covers.  I love Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper covers.  They cost $12.25 each.  I would recommend getting 5 of each size 1 (4-15 lbs) and size 2 (15-30 lbs).

Total price for cloth diapering your child until he weighs 30 lbs:  $206.50 (shipping is free)
Estimated cost for using disposable diapers for the first year:  $284.33 (this is a very low estimate)

Plus, cloth diapers can be used on more than one child, so you will save even more.

But what about washing diapers?  That costs money!

Yes it does.  But not too much.  At least in my area.  I didn't own a clothes washer until about a week before  I started using cloth diapers.  My electric and gas bills both went down after using a clothes washer.  (Since this was in March, the weather started warming up.  Sorry this doesn't give a very accurate picture of how much washing cloth diapers actually costs.)
And laundry soap.  I make my own (I'll post that recipe soon).   My recipe costs $1.50/batch.  Each batch can wash about 264 loads of diapers.  I wash 5-6 loads of diapers each week.  So the laundry soap would last 44 weeks if all I washed were diapers.

Total cost of soap for 1 year (for just diapers):  $1.77

My baby just woke.  Gotta go.

March 26, 2013

Preserving Eggs

With Easter being this week, we will see the best prices on eggs of the year.  So now is the time to stock up.  But how long can eggs really last?

I do not refrigerate my eggs.  Last summer, when my apartment would get up to around 100 degrees inside, I stored eggs in the linen closet.  They would be just fine for 1-2 weeks, then some would start going bad.  Now I store eggs in the closet under the stairs, and the eggs are just fine for 1-2 months.  Actually, I haven't had a bad egg yet.  We eat them too quickly for me to know how long they really could last.

On Saturday I found eggs for 88 cents per dozen at WinCo.  So I stocked up.  Some went into the closet as is, and others I slathered in mineral oil.  Directions on how to do this are HERE.  This same article links to an article from Mother Earth News that discusses multiple methods of storing eggs.  It's a good read.

This week's egg prices (I'll update this when I get the ads this afternoon):

WinCo .88 (on March 23)
Harmons .99
Petersons .88
Fresh Market .99
Reams .95
Lee's  .88
Maceys  .99


So time to stock up!  And remember that WalMart price matches!

February 2, 2013

I Have Been...

  • Washing dishes (My dishwasher broke and I relearned gratitude for it)
  • Having great success with my third batch of sourdough!!!
  • Shoveling snow
  • Studying herbal remedies
  • Washing dishes
  • Playing with kids
  • Experimenting with dietary changes for food intolerances
  • Eating lots of yogurt and sauerkraut
  • Washing dishes
  •  Taking care of sick kids
  • Washing dishes
  • Sprouting beans
  • Making a master winter menu plan
  • Washing dishes
How about you?  What fills your days?

January 29, 2013

How to Make Thicker Yogurt

I think that I have posted about making yogurt more times than anything else.  I guess that's because I love it so much.  A couple months back, after making yogurt for nearly two years I had a couple botched batches.  So I went to the yogurt troubleshooting page at Kitchen Stewardship.  And I learned the best tip!  Don't stir the yogurt into the milk until the temperature of the milk lowers to 110.  In the past I too  frequently stir the yogurt into the milk when it is at 115 degrees.  I have also been wrapping multiple towels around the Crockpot to really insulate it well. The result:  My past few batches have been the thickest yogurt I have ever made. 

To make it even thicker:

Place a colander over a bowl.  Place a dishtowel or 90 count cheesecloth inside the colander.  Pour yogurt into dishtowel covered colander.  Let whey drip out until yogurt is desired consistency.  If you just let the whey drip out a little, for maybe an hour or so, the yogurt will be like Greek yogurt.  My kids and I love this!  We can eat it plain, whereas we normally eat our yogurt with fruit.  If you let the whey drip out for longer you will have a soft cheese that is similar to cream cheese, only a little more sour.  We love this on toast.

Click here for my step by step instructions on how to make yogurt.

January 2, 2013

Pancake Apples

Cooking Traditional Foods (a blog I peruse on occasion and has a weekly podcast, some of which are excellent) gave me the great idea of pancake apples.
Here's how you make this delicious breakfast or snack:
  1. Make up a thick pancake batter.  I like to season mine with cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Cut up an apple or two into thin slices.
  3. Dip apples slices into pancake batter.
  4. Fry.
  5. Enjoy!