Soap Box

My very own cute little soap box!

Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Cloth Diaper costs

Posted by eemilla on January 9, 2012

I couldn’t put off doing the math any longer on how much we have invested in cloth diapering.

Diapers and wipes: $388

Essential oils for wipe solution (I estimated how much we’ll use in 13 months based on current usage):  $111

Increased cost of water and electricity: $455 (about $15 per month in higher water bills and $20 per month in higher electric bills for our electric water heater and dryer)

Total estimated costs of cloth diapering at 13 months: $954

Based on GoodGuide’s rating alone, I did the math on disposables assuming we’d use Huggies Pure and Natural from Target.  I assumed LB would use ten diapers daily for 90 days at size one, 120 days at size two, and 180 days at size three.  For the wipes, I kept it easy by only using one wipe per diaper change.  I didn’t go any further because at 13 months the cloth diapers are the cheaper option by several hundred dollars.

Three months of size one: $238

Four months of size two: $352

Six months of size three: $542

Thirteen months of wipes: $268

Total Estimated Cost of Disposable Diapers for 13 months: $1400

As long as the one size diapers continue to work until she’s potty trained, we should plan a fat vacation.  As a note I did look at using generic wipes and diapers, and our route was more costly for the first 13 months.  By nineteen months, the savings with cloth (again assuming we don’t have to purchase any additional diapers) would be about $500.  I also assumed that neither brand of disposable diapers or wipes would cause diaper rashes.

Advertisements

Posted in family | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

cloth diapering thoughts

Posted by eemilla on January 8, 2012

We’re over six months in with the cloth diapering, and we’ve taken two two night plus road trips without using disposables (we’re so proud of ourselves!)  Here are my thoughts about what has worked for us.

I’ll start with the least expensive option, which is also the most familiar to anyone who diapered before disposables were available, the prefold.  The prefold is a large piece of cotton, cotton/hemp blend, or other absorbent fabric that has been pre-folded to create a thicker section in the middle; these must be used with a cover.  I purchased six infant (for 7-20 lbs) prefolds and six newborn (4-9 lbs) prefolds in case we had a tiny one.  LB was a good sized baby so we used the newborn sized prefolds as burp cloths although they probably would have been better to use as doublers.

Below from back left to right are a stack of inserts for pocket diapers, wipes, some Bummis baby sized prefolds with a Kawaii Baby prefold (one size), and Bummis infant prefold.  I purchased the baby sized prefolds in preparation for our first road trip where I knew we wouldn’t have access to a washer or dryer, and they worked fine with the covers moved to a larger setting.

prefolds with inserts and wipes

This is an infant sized Bummis prefold in a one size Kawaii baby cover.  Kawaii Baby seems to have some of the least expensive options, but they so far they have been good quality products.

prefold in a cover

Below is a picture of a Gerber prefold that we purchased to be used as a burp cloth; it has never been used as a diaper which means we have washed it much less frequently than our diapers (if the forecast is for sun to dry them on the line we wash daily, but if there is rain forecast we wash every other day).  However, it has not worn nearly as well as the Bummi prefold that follows.

Gerber prefold

Bummis prefold

I’ve only purchased the Bummis and one Kawaii Baby prefold (ignoring the Gerber diapers that we have always used for burp cloths), but based on that sample of two the Bummis are super thick.  While it hasn’t ever leaked due to being soaked, the Kawaii Baby prefold was much thinner even after the three prewash and dry cycles, which has put me off from trying the generic prefolds.  Even though I’d like to have a deeper stash so we could do less laundry, we’re not sure that we will have anymore bums to cloth diaper, and part of the reason we are cloth diapering is to save money.

Prefolds do require covers; below is our collection of covers.  The Kawaii Baby covers cost about a $1.50 more than the used Flip cover (not pictured) we purchased from a local baby store.  Even when LB was gaining height faster than weight, we didn’t have a problem with blowouts or leaking with the Kawaii baby covers.  The Flip and the two generic gusseted covers all leaked with the Flip being at the scene of at least three blowouts.

Kawaii Baby cover flat

front of Kawaii Baby cover

Kawaii Baby cover with a prefold

generic cover with gussets

gusset close up

I did two diaper trials with Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique (which has super awesome customer service plus free shipping) to help reduce our investment in case certain diapers didn’t work for us.  For the first trial I selected a Bottombumpers All in One, a BumGenius Elemental One  Size, and a Thirsties Duo Snap Wrap with a Thirsties Duo diaper.  We had our first ever leak in the BumGenius, and it took forever to dry as it is literally all in one with no removable pieces.  The Thirsties functioned well, but we didn’t like how the double gussets made it difficult to check the status without opening the diaper, plus this was a pretty pricey product ($18 for the diaper and $13 for the cover).  The Bottombumper functioned well, but it is probably the least user friendly diaper we own.  Even on the lowest rise setting, it was too high and covered LB’s stump; they also function like a prefold with very little wicking away of moisture.  Of our diaper supply, these are the worse to deal with when poop is involved, and for the price, it seems a shame the wicking function isn’t any better.  However, it has always fit, even during her tall and skinny phase, which led me to buy another one.

Bottombumpers rise settings

Bottombumpers 2nd smallest rise setting

Bottombumpers snap in insert

Bottombumpers side view

The easiest and most familiar for disposable diaper users are the pocket diapers.  We use these as our over night and road trip diapers as they do a good job of wicking away moisture and are heavy duty.  On the downside, much like the Bottombumpers, pockets are messier to deal with when there is poop involved as the insert does need to be removed for washing.  Pockets generally run about the same cost wise as all in ones, but with their overnight functionality and user ease, they are good diapers to have.  Please note that not all pockets and inserts are created equally.

During the course of my pregnancy, I couldn’t resist buying some locally produced diapers available at the Coop; these are not one sized diapers (all of our other diapers are one size diapers), and they cost about the same as many of the higher end one sized pocket diapers.  They come in cute color combos, but after LB went through her tall and skinny phase we had to stop using the Roly Polys due to consistent leaking.  Finally as she was just growing out of the small size, in a moment of desperation (all of the covers were dirty), I pulled out the inserts that came with the RolyPoly pocket and used a prefold in its place.  This worked fine several times (I just hated to not use these cute and soft diapers), but now LB is too big for the small size (8-18lbs), and we only have one medium (15-35 lbs) and one large (22-45 lbs).  The inside of the diaper does a great job with the wicking, but even after multiple wash and dry cycles, the inserts just didn’t seem to work even when doubled and changed within an hour (they have now been repurposed as wipes).

Roly Poly interiors

Roly Poly exteriors (medium on the left and small on the right)

During the tall and skinny phase, we did another diaper trial to find a good fit as basically only the Kawaii Baby diapers were fitting (barely).  Based on the recommendations from Sweetbottoms Baby, I opted for a FuzziBunz because of the adjustable elastic around the legs.  While it is pain to change the setting, it is a great feature.  Additionally, this diaper is just so soft from the outside to the inserts.

FuzziBunz outside

FuzziBunz leg elastic

FuzziBunz insert

The most cost effective has been the Kawaii Baby pockets (although at this point I don’t think it is worth paying extra for their overnight as their standard insert doubled seems to work great for us).  They also seem to fly off the shelves as they seem to be constantly out of stock.  We have never had a fit problem with these, and they seem to have worn well even with all the washing and drying (my husband has run them through the dryer on high heat on multiple occasions against their instructions).

KaWaii Baby pocket outside

KaWaii Baby pocket outside

Finally, our wipes are BabyKicks plus a handful of homemade flannel ones that I sloppily stitched together and a few Roly Poly ones from the grocery store.

Roly Poly wipes, homemade flannel wipes, and BabyKicks wipes

 For the wipe solution, we fill my peri bottle with water then add 25 drops of lavender essential oil and 10 drops of tea tree.  Whether this helps with having avoiding diaper rash or not we don’t know, but it smells better than any the wipes we used while in the NICU.

At some point I will get around to doing the math to see how we’ve done financially, but we feel good about keeping all that plastic from the landfill.  Plus cloth diapers are just so cute!

Posted in family | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Earth Day Rant

Posted by eemilla on April 22, 2011

In honor of Earth Day, I’m hopping on my soapbox and giving my Earth Day Rant about three things that drive me crazy.

My largest pet peeve related to shopping is when my husband buys a beer or a box of beer that comes with a convenient handle, and he has to literally argue with the cashier that he doesn’t need a bag; many cashiers claim it is illegal to allow him to carry the beer outside of the store without a bag (I’ve worked as a cashier in a few different stores, and I was never required to do this).  I also get irked at the assumption that regardless of the number of groceries or items one might have a bag is requisite; nevermind that I walked through the store carrying everything I am buying without the assistance of a bag or a basket or a cart.

Earth Fare both irritated and cheered me for changing their bag donation policy; for the longest time, if you brought your own bag OR didn’t use a bag, Earth Fare would either donate $0.10 to the charity of the month or give you a $0.10 discount.  I believe it was around a year ago, they reduced the donation to $0.05, and it is only applicable if you have a reusable grocery bag (not your purse or backpack).  I don’t mind losing the discount as I always donated it, but I do hate that Earth Fare won’t give up the donation unless I put my half pound of mozzarella in a reusable bag.  They cheered me when they began requiring a donation for paper bags and eliminated plastic bags altogether (thewebsite says the donation is voluntary, but it also says if you chose not to donate the $0.05 then they give you a cardboard box not a bag).  They also sell reusable bags near the check out and at most of the checkout lines at the South Asheville location.

Along with the annoyances I have to also applaud Target for giving a $0.05 discount for reusing a bag as well as selling cheap $0.99 bags at the front of the store and at every checkout lane.  My favorite grocery store, the French Broad Food Co-op, charges for the plastic containers in the bulk room as well as selling heavy duty cotton bags and more light weight less expensive bags like those at Target.

I wish all stores would encourage customers to bring their own bags and containers either by giving a discount or by charging a fee for the bag; I also want the Coop and Earth Fare to stop providing the really thin plastic containers that are not dishwasher safe.  One of my resolutions was to stop using to-go containers for leftovers at restaurants, but unfortunately, I have failed miserably.  On the upside, we are not using new bags in the produce or bulk department when we go shopping.  Following the example set my mother and my step mother in law, we are washing out sandwich bags and  the green bags we use for produce (which purportedly keep produce fresher longer, but I like because they are strong enough to be washed unlike the freebies in the produce isle).

Secondly, I don’t want to hear one more word about how much gas costs.  I, too, hate paying almost fifty dollars to fill up the gas tank; however, we pay much lower gas rates than the rest of the world, and we generally have a choice in which vehicle we drive.  There are also many well published tips to reduce your fuel consumption (combine trips, drive less aggressively, fill up after the sun is down, carpool, or don’t drive).

Before my pregnancy we were a one car household even though we both work full time jobs with different hours.  We were able to make this work because neither of us mind walking along a busy road without sidewalks or even much of a shoulder; we live about a 1.25 walk from the bus line; and my work commute is a less than two mile walk.  Sadly, the bus runs every 1.5 hours between about 6:30a (1st run out of downtown) and 5:30p (last run out of downtown), which means we couldn’t even use it for an early night out much less a night shift commute.  I should note that there is a night route but the closest stop is about five miles from the bus stop that is 1.25 miles from our house, but again most of the five mile walk is along a five lane road with several hundred feet of sidewalks interspersed with parking lots and grassy stretches (some of which are steep banks that are difficult to traverse).  While I could walk the almost two miles from my work to my home, much of the walk is along the same five lane heavily travelled road, but this stretch contains not one sidewalk.  Fortunately much of that stretch is through parking lots, but there is a stretch that is like a goat trail which leads to a vacant lot.  Neither are generally cut so the weeds can and do hide broken bottles and various other trash (I never encountered any used condoms!)  Please note that both stretches of road mentioned above have been a part of the city for years, but sidewalk construction hasn’t been anywhere near a priority for this part of the city.

We decided that having a little one and not moving precluded us from remaining a one car household.  In the two and half years of being a one car household I can only recall a handful of times the bus was critically late, and at a cost of $0.75 per ride (if you buy the ticket book, but only $1 per ride if you pay singly), it is certainly cheaper than gas or parking.  Maybe one day we’ll return to being regular bus riders, but I cannot imagine hauling a stroller and all those baby accoutrements to the bus stop then on the bus then off the bus then all around town then repeat for the return ride.  Then again we never thought we could make do with one car for as long as we did.  Unfortunately, this will be the first Strive Not to Drive that I will not join in the past few years because it coincides with my 38th week of pregnancy.  I can only hope that you might decide to participate.

Rather than subsidize multi national companies that don’t even pay taxes on their billions in annual profits to begin with, we need a New Deal type program that gets the unemployed constructing sidewalks, repairing bridges, and building rail.  Public transit eases congestion, and for those of us that like to go out and knock a few back, it provides a much cheaper alternative to a taxi (which allows us to spend more money knocking a few back and eating a good meal).  Transit jobs cannot be outsourced, and public transit encourages private investment along its corridors much like roads.

Happy Earth Day.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Climate Change

Posted by eemilla on October 15, 2009

The facts supporting climate change have been widely reported across numerous media outlets; I wanted to post this to add one more blog to the list in support of making drastic changes to our lifestyles.

Climate change is just one of the many ills our society suffers because of our addiction with fossil fuels.  Looking for purportedly cheap coal, we send fellow citizens to work in coal mines; once the vein dies or becomes too expensive, we raze the mountains and dump the top into the surrounding valleys creating wastelands in lieu of forested habitats.  Those stream beds supply someone’s water somewhere in the chain are then filled with poisons and waste from the mining, and during rainy years like this one the fills can create huge landslides (which if it doesn’t kill you isn’t covered under a homeowner’s policy).

Our love of the automobile has lead us to build massive expanses of blacktop.  The power of the car has allowed us to move further and further from work and commercial centers which leads to more traffic congestion then demand for less congested roadways.  The fuel for these vehicles will not last forever, and even if it did, its exhaust is killing us.  Furthermore is the fuel worth the national security risk; what would the economy do if for whatever crazy reason OPEC decided to stick it to us tomorrow?  Public transportation was squashed by domestic automakers, and many people still argue public transportation will never be self-sustaining (thanks for a good jab, Doug Gibson!).  Funny how the sweetheart lease deals we make with big oil doesn’t impugn them.  However, as our population grows the stress on the current roadways will increase while the demand for housing increases, and no one wants to live near the noise and smell of major roadway.

Our food is tied closely to energy prices because almost everything Americans eat is soaked in oil starting from the time the seeds are delivered from Monsanto to their drive to your home in plastic bags in the back of your car.  If you are eating processed foods then you have even more oil on your hands not to mention the spare tire around your middle.

Even if our elected officials refuse to act, we can each do something small like grow some food, bring your own boxes and bags to the store, do without the car, or insulate your home.  These little things when compounded will help, but a phone call or email to elected officials can’t hurt.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Posted by eemilla on June 24, 2009

Last week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge from Reduce Footprints really got me thinking about how many plastic bags I use without even noticing them.  I hate getting them at the store but only at the checkout line; when I’m in the produce or bulk section I think about how much I need to get reusable bags, especially for the mushrooms, but week after week I use one or two new bags.  I do save and reuse the old ones, but those thin produce bags tear if you look at them wrong so I usually only get one or two uses.  I do better with the zip top sandwich bags that I put herbs in, and for the heavy bulk (rice, beans, tofu, etc) I bring some plastic storage containers.

Single use bags are just plain bad.  Americans waste about 12 million barrels of oil annually in the production of plastic bags, and if you use paper, we harvest about 14 million trees each year.  Aside from being a waste of a valuable, finite resource, plastic bags are here to stay.  Like the bag scene in American Beauty, they float and fly and land in trees and in the water.  Once in water they can resemble prey causing some obvious issues for the unlucky predator.  Even if the bags don’t retain their original shape, once they get into the water they flock; the Northern Pacific Garbage Patch is bigger than Texas.  To help protect their seascapes, several coastal North Carolina counties are thinking of joining the growing global ban (as reported on Morning Edition last week or so).  A few of the local green grocers (Earth Fare, French Broad Food Coop, and with Greenlife leading the way) began to charge for plastic bags this year, and even if the stores didn’t want to charge, couldn’t they give a credit like Earth Fare used to that the shopper can donate to a charity (which both decreases single use bag usage and gets the company a tax deduction).

Paper at least breaks down when thrown away, and all of our textbook covers were repurposed grocery bags.  However, paper still wastes plenty of resources.  Some of those trees may be old growth stands while others could be from GMO tree plantations, but either way a whole bunch of trees go down.   The GMO trees for paper production are being selected for less lignin which makes them easier to process.  The issue is that lignin makes trees strong (literally it fills the spaces between the cells’ walls), and it also helps the tree conduct water efficiently (sounds like a recipe for more less efficient water usage and increased pesticides).  On the carbon side, it also plays an important role in carbon sequestration.  Even if you recycle your bags a great deal of energy is used to do so (in both transporting and processing).

My organic cotton bags have another one up on plastic and paper: they hold pounds more.  Two bags can easily handle a week’s worth of groceries (I usually keep the delicates, like bread & fruit, in their own bag).  On the downside, baggers at the Ingles are so used to flimsy plastic bags that might hold ten pounds, I bag my own groceries which saves Ingles on labor costs (I avoid the stupid robo-checkouts) as they will invariably use half the bag then resort to plastic.

This weekend I will make or buy some reusable bags for my bulk items so I cut the plastic bags out all together.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Before and After

Posted by eemilla on May 29, 2009

 

 

rainy Hendersonville and Royal Pines bus stop

rainy Hendersonville and Royal Pines bus stop

sunny day with a sidewalk at Royal Pines and Hendo

sunny day with a sidewalk at Royal Pines and Hendo

 

 

 Although it is only a tiny section of the road, at least there is some progress (the before is November 08 and the after is last week).  The next few photos show the most dangerous part of my walking commute (between the 2nd and 3rd photos there is a muddy/straw covered/sparsely grassed lot that has plenty of room to walk away from the road).  The strip of shoulder is narrow and really overgrown with itchy, irksome interlopers; it is also a favorite spot for littering (mostly of the twenty-two ounce variety, although there are also some forty and twelve ounces too).  During Strive Not to Drive, I walked this stretch complaining to myself about how weedy it was only to encounter two women and a large stroller heading north along this very same foot path.  Recently some government agency or contractor dug up the pavement, but even though this stretch is within the city limits, it doesn’t look like the sidewalks are forthcoming.  It was my understanding that an ordinance a few years ago required any new construction or large enough renovations to install a sidewalk; hence all of the sidewalks to nowhere (e.g., the eight foot stretch near the new South Asheville Dunkin Donuts that promptly ends into a mess of overgrown weeds or any number of stretches of Merrimon Avenue).

 

 

North on Hendo

North on Hendo

 

 

south on the Hendo footpath

further south on the Hendo footpath

 

On the bright side, an entire street of my walk has a nice sidewalk.  The stupid and ironic thing about the sidewalk shown below is that it isn’t new; it is a reclamation of a long neglected sidewalk.  There is another stretch of the lost sidewalk along Royal Pines Drive, but as anyone familiar with the area can attest that walking (much less taking photos) along that road is scary especially during the high volume times of evening and morning.

 

sidewalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Strive Not to Drive!

Posted by eemilla on May 8, 2009

With the summer driving season quickly approaching (hello $2/gallon gasoline), Strive Not to Drive is next week.  Join me in taking a moment to think about you might be able to complete a few errands or a few commutes using the bus, walking, cycling, or carpooling.  With the weather clearing up, I plan on packing my lunch, clothes, and a book so that I can walk to and from work.  For our elected officials I will be photographing the most dangerous parts of my route (especially where road construction has recently occurred but no sidewalks have appeared).  Take that Big Oil!

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Victory Garden and Mountaintop Removal

Posted by eemilla on March 27, 2009

It has been a good week for environmental awareness and stewardship.  I was thrilled that Mrs. Obama broke ground on the first victory garden (in lieu of the Axis I think of unsafe food and corporate agriculture) since Mrs. Roosevelt; sixty years is too long to wait.  While I applaud the thought of it being organic, its proximity to swaths of golf course looking lawns might render the harvest much less than organic.  One step at a time, though, and I really am quite pleased.

The garden was the cherry, but the sundae came later.  On Tuesday announced that the EPA will stop issuing permits for mountaintop removal mining.  I have never encountered one of these wastelands, but the pictures are eerie.  Although this stops new mines, there are still existing mines.  Ashevegas mentioned this earlier this month.  Representatives Pricey Harrison, Phillip Haire, Susan Fisher, and Julia Howard are the primary House sponsors for H340 (Senator Steve Goss is sponsoring the sister bill, S341).  I hope you will join me in taking the time to say thanks as well as question the missing Senators Nesbitt and Apodaca and the missing Representatives.

Thank you!

Susan.Fisher@ncleg.net

Julia.Howard@ncleg.net

Steve.Goss@ncleg.net

Those that have yet to sign on:

Martinn@ncleg.net

toma@ncleg.net

Don.East@ncleg.net

Sarah.Stevens@ncleg.net

Cullie.Tarleton@ncleg.net

Shirley.Randleman@ncleg.net

Phillip.Frye@ncleg.net

Joe.Queen@ncleg.net

Mitchg@ncleg.net

John.Snow@ncleg.net

Roger.West@ncleg.net

 

To toot our own horn, we are thirty weeks into our one car household adventure.  Admittedly my wonderful husband deserves the bulk of the credit as he sacrifices the most sleep and convenience.  However, I am stoked that the bus stop we use is finally getting a sidewalk, so I will have to ride the bus more to enjoy it.

Posted in food, gardening, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One Car Household Week Twenty-Two

Posted by eemilla on January 30, 2009

We are fast approaching the half year mark, and I am so amazed about how easy this has been.  In honesty, I must say my husband bears the greater burden.  Now that we are not suffering from the bitter snowless cold, I plan to resume my Thursday treks home.  I actually walked past three other pedestrians in the neighborhood, and I also felt like an old lady as I wanted to yell at a few cars to SLOW DOWN as they whizzed by me.  Although I spend much time complaining about the dearth of sidewalks, I must say I do appreciate the good long stretch of new sidewalk on my amended route.  The sad and inefficient note about this stretch is that they had sidewalks already, but no one had bothered to maintain them so they became a part of people’s yards.

Speaking of public transit and government waste, I wanted to give thanks to Doug Gibson over at Scrutiny Hooligans for his great comeback: “When did I-40 start making a profit?”  How can public transit be profitable if we live so far from everything and we don’t pay tolls?  How much sense does it make to spend millions on a parking deck then charge one dollar an hour to park there with an eight dollar per day maximum?  The newest downtown parking deck was estimated to cost $12 million dollars for 650 parking spaces, which breaks down to over $18,000 per space.  The notice doesn’t mention if this lot will be like the other decks that give the first hour for free, but I assume being closest to the courthouse this will not be an option.  

I think the economic stimulus will push us in a new direction as far as our transportation priorities fall; gas prices will rise again as oil is not a renewable resource, and the demand for transit will increase.  The Asheville Transit System seems really interested in listening to its ridership; hopefully, more service will arrive before Strive Not to Drive.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Rainy Day Bus Stop

Posted by eemilla on November 14, 2008

Please do not think I am complaining about the rain; since we are in the midst of a multi year drought, I refuse to complain about the rain.  I am, however, complaining about the city expecting it not to rain.  At least we have the bus service, but I do not believe there is a single covered bus stop on the entire route six.  As the two examples below show, not only is there no shelter, trash can, or bench, but one cannot even avoid the deep mud puddles when getting on the bus.  Please either provide more service or show some love to the existing riders on the especially unloved route six.  I must note that I am not a dedicated bus rider, and I am fortunate enough to have the car for inclement weather commuting days.

* I would like to note that we are just passed the eleven week mark as a one car household in spite of the less than ideal alternative transportation options.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »