Category: Natural Living

Mommy Wars

A friend on facebook shared this link on her wall showing pairs of moms who seem to be friends in real life, each holding signs that declare their opposing choices in raising their kids. It’s a great visual representation of the decisions moms (and dads in many cases) make for their families that easily become battlegrounds online but really don’t need to pit us against each other. It’s a pretty feel-good page to scan through and see women beaming about their choices, and I agree that moms shouldn’t be tearing each other down over these things – 99% of moms honestly want to do what is best for their kids, and that is why mommy wars get so intense so often – these are issues that cut to the core of our values and represent our very best efforts, so for someone to question them feels like a personal attack and we want to respond in kind.

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A Camping Adventure

This week our family shared our first camping trip! It was my third time camping EVER, and the first time I’ve ever hiked into a campsite, and Torre spent his first night in a tent with great success. Originally I had booked a day off work so that Matt could go camping with friends and I would stay home with Torre, but at the last minute some people decided not to go, and I asked Matt if it would be too crazy for me to jump in last minute (and by last minute I mean at 9:30pm the night before their 6am departure time!). Matt was up for it, and so was our friend Benson, so Matt rearranged the supplies to make one backpack as light as possible so I could carry it while wearing Torre on my front, we grabbed a couple hours of sleep and hit the road bright and early.

Torre in car

How could you not be a morning person when you wake up to this smile!?

The campsite we reserved was an 8km hike from the trail head, but due to a road closure we had to leave the car at the park office and started our adventure with a “bonus hike” of about 2km. Matt set a quick pace so we could make it to our campsite before the rain that was forecast, although we stopped at a few lookouts on the way to take in the beautiful scenery.

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Cloth Diapering in an Apartment

Before I jump in to this post, let me offer full disclosure: we used disposables on our two week mission trip to Bathurst, New Brunswick, and it was almost the undoing of us and cloth diapers. Disposables are amazingly convenient – no rinsing, washing, or hanging to dry; they take up hardly any space in the diaper bag; it is easy to know when to change them because you can see when they’re full. They’re not even that expensive. Truth be told, I changed fewer diapers throughout the day when Torre was in disposables compared to cloth as well because they could absorb so much more.

But.

Now that we’ve been home for a few weeks, I am happily back in the swing of cloth diapering, even having just completed a week of day camp at our church. I have been meaning to write this post for a while because our apartment-dweller status was one of the biggest concerns I had researching whether cloth diapers would be a good choice for our family. Would we really save money if we have to pay per load of laundry? Would the diapers really come clean with only limited washer settings to choose from?

This is not meant to be a comprehensive post on cloth diapers, but a peek at the system I’ve developed that works for me. Cloth diapering is not for every family, but I don’t think that living in an apartment is a reason to give up on it, so here’s what works for us.

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The No-(Sham)Poo Post

This is a post explaining something called no-poo, but since it’s not well known I didn’t want to get you all nervous about what the heck you are about to read. It is not advice to eat 3 pounds of poutine and take a nap; it is a crunchy alternative to washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner. It’s ridiculously easy to do but not that easy to talk about unless you want to drop the lingo and just say, “I don’t use shampoo.” Let’s go with that for now.

It all started in 2011 when I came across this idea on the internet and thought I’d give it a shot. I generally bought shampoo and conditioner on sale, but it never hurts to save a few bucks, and it never hurts to limit your exposure to chemicals, so I was intrigued and decided to try it for the month of May, after I graduated from university (an event which I rightly assumed would require many photos to be taken). Since then I haven’t really looked back – I have used shampoo on the odd occasion over the last two years, and I have tweaked my method over that time, but generally speaking I’ve been shampoo-free and love it!

My favourite thing about no-poo is that it is not a big deal if I don’t get a chance to wash my hair. With shampoo and conditioner, my hair was reliably greasy unless I washed my hair every other day. Last week things got out of hand and I may have passed 5 days without washing my hair. It’s not that I want to only wash my hair once a week, but I’m happy to have a method that lets me get away with it if I need to. Let’s be here to learn, not judge 😉

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How to Disinfect Toys Without Harsh Chemicals

In the basement of our apartment building there is a “free room” where tenants leave stuff they don’t want and other tenants take it for themselves. Sometimes books or magazines get shared through the free room, or clothes/household items are left for someone who has use for them. With the eclectic mix of people and families in our building, there are not many things that get left in the free room that won’t eventually find a home. Matt and I abandoned a ton of clutter-to-us in the great purge of March two years ago, and within hours of taking it down, most items had been picked up.

Lately I have been on the receiving end of the free room, which brings me to the point of today’s post:DSC07169 This set of wooden puzzles was a great score – they’ll be fun for Torre when he’s ready to start puzzles, and there are 5 to choose from, with animals, vehicles, numbers, letters and shapes. Even if we had bought puzzles new from a store, it would probably be smart to disinfect them, but since we got them used it was a must. After a quick google search I determined the best solution to get everything clean without leaving chemical residue or putting harmful fumes in the air was simply diluted vinegar!DSC07170I mixed 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of water and used a baby washcloth to wipe down the puzzle frames and pieces.DSC07171By the time I was done one puzzle, the previous one was dry and I could expertly put it back together. All in all it probably took 15 minutes, and now the clean puzzles are set aside for Torre when he’s ready.DSC07172And if he wants to put the pieces in his mouth, they won’t be covered in grime! It’s a good feeling.

Most of the vinegar solution was left over after this little project, so I just added it to the spray bottle I use for spot-mopping our floors (a mix of vinegar, water, and dish soap) – not having any waste makes me happy too 🙂