Little Family on the Big Lake

Traveling with Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering

We have been cloth diapering for 16 months and have gone on several trips during that time. Through trial and error, we have learned a lot. Our trips have been getting easier by following these tips. We have done multiple trips where we traveled for an extended weekend. However, we recently went on a 9-day trip where we flew to Canada. Traveling with cloth diapers was definitely a learning experience!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Discuss it

Discuss it and be committed to what that means. My husband and I had many conversations before we went on this trip on what we were going to do for diapering. Should we do disposables because it is easier? But what about our commitment to making eco-friendly choices whenever we can? In the end, choosing to travel with cloth diapers was a commitment on both our parts. If we weren’t on the same page it would have been way harder.

Laundry

Plan where you will do laundry. We do not have enough cloth diapers to last a whole week without washing. Going with that many would have also been problematic because we wouldn’t have had enough luggage space. The hotel we stayed at had coin-operated laundry and this is where we planned to do the washing. We also knew that in Field (our ultimate destination) there was a hotel that might let us use the machines.

Learn how to hand wash. When you don’t have access to a machine, try hand washing. I have seen blog posts out there from people who only hand wash their diapers. I was not up for hand washing all the diapers on vacation. However, it was useful for a couple emergency situations. I have seen portable washing machines like this one, that would be great for trips where you are not flying. I foresee portable washing machines being really handy on camping trips.

We air dry our diapers to preserve the elastic. By snapping the diapers together on the ends we created long rows of diapers. We then hung them over hangers in our hotel room. They were dry in no time!

Traveling and Packing

Travel with as many clean diapers as possible. The more diapers you have, the longer you can go without needing to wash them. When on vacation I personally want to do as little amount of laundry as possible. My goal was to try to make it the whole week with only needing to wash them twice.

Pack them unassembled and in once place. When a cloth diaper is assembled it takes up much more space then when all the pieces are separated. By separating the covers from the inserts, I was able to fit way more into the luggage. Also, try to keep all the diapers together in one bag. This prevents anything from going missing or having that surprise moment when you have a dirty diaper and didn’t realize you were out of clean ones.

Put the diapers in the carry on. It would be a nightmare to have all my cloth diapers be lost by the airline. For that reason, I travel with all my cloth diapers in the carry on. If I lose other clothing items, those are easy to replace. All my diapers were ordered online and would be difficult to replace on vacation.

Bring more wet bags than you think you’ll need. We brought 2 large wet bags and 3 of the small ones. The reason for this is once we started on our day adventures, we didn’t want to bring huge wet bags with us. This allowed for moving the diapers around, so we always had a small bag to bring places.

Be Flexible

Be flexible. We had this grand plan for cloth diapering the whole week when we were gone. But then we both ended up feeling unwell. Being sick on vacation, we had barely enough energy to keep up with our little one, let alone to do laundry. We did purchase a very small pack of disposable diapers and used those for a day or two. Once we were feeling better, though, we went back to cloth. You never know what’s going to happen – maybe you get sick, maybe the luggage was stolen, maybe the washer broke. If you do end up using disposables, that’s OK. The point is that you tried, and for every cloth one you use you are preventing a disposable one from going in the trash. 

Do you have any trips planned? Are you thinking about trying cloth diapering? Hopefully these tips on traveling with cloth diapers can help. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Next, check out my some of my tips on clothing diapering here.

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Have you ever been in this situation? You’re at a restaurant and didn’t finish your food, so you ask the waiter for a to-go container…and they bring you a Styrofoam monstrosity (insert big sigh here). I just know that this Styrofoam container is going to be sitting in a landfill for the next couple hundred years. I have been saying for a long time that I needed to stop contributing to this. Now I can’t change what restaurants give out, but I can change if I choose to accept it. No more…instead I am going to bring my zero waste travel kit! 

I made this kit from things I already have in my home. I keep it in my car for whenever it is needed. With using this new kit I also had to implement a process at home. I didn’t want to make a kit, use it once, and then never get it back to the car. We have all been in this situation with other things.

The new system is as follows. Once the items are washed they are placed next to our key bowl. On the next trip to the car it is taken with the keys. It’s pretty simple, but it is important to spell out the expectations. 

Below are the items that I have included in the zero waste travel kit. While I encourage you to use items that you have around your home, I will link similar items, too. 

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart 

Identifying Situations

So when building this kit, the first thing I looked at was the types of situations that I find myself in. I didn’t want to put something in my kit that I would never use. 

Most of the time I have need of the kit at restaurants when we have left over food. However, I would like to do an experiment to see if fast food places would put the food in my container instead of in their wrappers. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

I also find myself needing some of my zero waste products when I am shopping, so those items have gone into the kit, as well. I normally bring shopping bags with me when going to the grocery store, but when I don’t have a bag, it is nice to have a back up. 

If you set out to make your own zero waste kit. I encourage you to look at the situations that you encounter when you wish you had a zero waste alternative.

Items in the Zero Waste Kit

Large Container 

Beeswax Wraps 

Water bottle /mason jar 

Produce bag 

Straw 

Silverware

Grocery Bag 

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Travel Kit

Everything for this kit is contained in a large plastic container that I already owned. While I don’t love using plastic, I would rather be putting it to good use instead of throwing it in the recycling. This container is great for taking those leftovers home in instead of using Styrofoam or cardboard takeout containers. 

I have also included beeswax wraps for any other leftovers that need to be wrapped up or for shopping. I can foresee it being useful for bulk bin purchases. 

The water bottle or mason jar is also an essential for my zero waste travel kit. Most of the time I bring a water bottle with me but sometimes I forget. I also included a mason jar as a good alternative because it could be used for both drinking or food storage. Double duty! 

I included a straw because restaurants tend to bring you one. I like to bring my own and use one of the 5 R’s and refuse the disposable plastic type. Having an extra straw is also handy for my son, since he’s only one year old and drinks better out of glasses with a straw. Also, waiters sometimes bring us a plastic sippy cup, but I would prefer a regular glass and give him one of the reusable straws to use. 

With this kit I included some silverware. These ones are just plastic ones that I picked up some where. Instead of buying new ones, try reusing some old ones. I did link some bamboo ones that are made of a more sustainable material.

The produce bag and grocery bag are for when I find myself needing them while shopping. I got this grocery bag from a conference that I went to. I made the produce bags and you can, too…check out my post on how to make a product bag here.

Have you tried making a zero waste travel it? Let me know how it went!

Beeswax Wraps

Plastic wrap is one of the easiest things to eliminate from your home on the journey to zero waste. When you really think about it, there are alternatives to everything that plastic wrap can be used for. One of the more obvious is just using containers instead. But for those items that need to be wrapped, try beeswax wraps.

There are so many beeswax wraps on the market, like these. They are a great choice, but did you know that you can make your own? I know, pretty cool! Instead of purchasing a pack of 3 for $18.00, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Also, you can use left over fabric that you already have…truly zero waste!

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Materials Needed

Fabric – It’s best to use 100% cotton and a looser weave. Also, it works better with fabrics that are dyed instead of printed. I personally like gingham fabric.

Beeswax Pellets

Grape Seed Oil

Jelly Roll Pan

Oven

Pinking Shears

Parchment Paper

** I linked the supplies needed, but if you already have the supplies needed, use those instead of buying new.

Beeswax and grape seed oil

Process

First, press the fabric with an iron and cut it to size using the pinking shears. I normally use 12 inch by 12 inch squares but the beauty of this is that you can custom make any size you need.

Pre-heat the oven to 175* F.

Lay the fabric down on the jelly roll pan over a piece of parchment paper. It’s best if the fabric is completely flat. However, if the fabric is bigger then the jelly roll pan, then just fold the fabric over on itself.

Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of the fabric) of beeswax pellets on top of the fabric, spreading them evenly. Next, add 1/2 teaspoon of grape seed over the fabric.

Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until all the beeswax is melted. Once done, take it out of the oven and check that the fabric is covered. A basting brush can be used to move the melted beeswax around. More beeswax can be added at this point if needed, and then pop it back into the oven. Once this is done, take the fabric off the jelly roll pan and gently wave it through the air until it’s dried This should only take a minute or two.

Repeat as needed.

beeswax wrap before heating
beeswax wrap after heating in oven

Care and Maintenance

Beeswax wraps can be used in place of what you use plastic wrap for. However, you shouldn’t use it for raw meat.

Beeswax wraps can be hand washed with soap and water, then laid to dry. The wraps are good for 6-12 months. When they are showing some signs of wear and tear, they can be placed in the oven again with more wax. If it gets to the point where they cannot be used anymore, they can be placed in the compost bin (I strongly recommend cutting the fabric into small pieces first.)

Notes

The beeswax is not easy to get off the jelly roll plan, so use an older pan or one designated just for this project.

I have tried the ironing method to making the wraps. Place the fabric with beeswax on a piece of parchment paper and fold the paper over the top. Next, iron until the wax is melted. This worked well to make the wraps but I did get beeswax all over my ironing board.

Beeswax wraps are a great zero waste switch. Have you tried them? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Next, check out my zero waste switch to produce bags.

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

20 tips for flying with a toddler

We recently took our Little One on his first plane ride! Before the trip we were so worried about how he would react to the experience. Would his ears feel OK? Would he sleep on the plane? Would he scream the whole time? These questions circled around my head as we prepared for our trip. I am happy to report that the plane ride went very smoothly, and hopefully by following these tips you will have a smooth experience traveling with your toddler.

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .***

Booking the flight

So my first tip is to book the flight for a natural nap time. This will make it a lot easier for your little one to sleep on the plane. Once we boarded and I started nursing him, he was out right away. There was so much to see in the airport that I think it tuckered him out watching everything.

If allowed to choose your seats, try to get a window seat near the front of the plane. The window seats have a little extra room next to them. When on a cramped airplane, any extra space is a life saver.

Book a seat for your child if you can. I know that budgets can be tight but having an extra seat can be so helpful. We did not book a seat for our Little One and instead kept him on our lap. Most airlines allow babies under 2 to ride free if they ride on your lap. On the way there, we did not have an extra seat. It went okay but was cramped. On the way back we had an angel of a flight attendant who moved some people around and gave us three seats! It was so nice to have the extra space and once little one woke up from his nap, it allowed him to crawl around between the two of us. Also, my husband is 6’3″ so sitting in a middle seat was rough on him!

Other bookings

Rent a car seat if able. We rented a car seat because I didn’t want to deal with packing one and checking it at the airport. It wasn’t too much more added on to our car rental. If you are not renting a car and being picked up, check your car seat at the check in, not at the gate. When we were flying we saw a family who had three small children, They were also carrying a bag for each, a two kiddo stroller and three car seats….they looked miserable. Flying can be difficult with a toddler, so I always try to make things as easy as possible.

Read the fine print. When booking your flight be sure to read the fine print, especially when it comes to the policy regarding kids. Different airlines may have special rules when it comes to carry ons, bringing formula or breast milk, and the list goes on and on. I read it more than one time just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. While you’re at it head over to the TSA website and check out the kids section for special instructions for going through security.

What to Pack

Bring a stroller. A stroller is a life saver when trying to run through the airport. Bring the smallest stroller you are able…we did not. The purpose of our trip was to go hiking at Yoho National Park, so we wanted to bring our trail stroller.

Bring snacks. Bring your little one’s favorite, but not messy, snacks on the plane. Anything to keep them happy is the goal. I headed to the bulk bins at our food co-op and got yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, and dried apples. I also brought some crackers and bananas. We got Cheez-Its as our snack on the plane, which little one gobbled up.

Bring a water bottle and sippy cup. Staying hydrated is obviously really important. To get though security, your adult water bottle will need to be empty, but they allowed water to be in the sippy cup, which was a win.

Bring small toys and books. Bring some of your little one’s favorite books and activities. We brought this ball, these blocks, a car, and Hello magazines. It is important to keep little one busy and toys will help with this.

Use a back pack as a diaper bag. If you already use a back pack you are ahead of the game! But if you don’t, they make life so much easier. When going through the airport and helping little one it is so much easier to have both of your hands free.

packing a diaper bag

Day of Trip

Pre-check into the flight. Again, try to make life as easy as possible. If your airline allows pre-check into your flight, I recommend you do it and skip those lines.

Dress in layers. Airplanes can be either too hot or too cold so it’s best to be flexible and dress in layers. Bring extra clothes, too, in case there is some sort of accident.

Soft sole shoes or socks. Once little one starts crawling around on your lap, you are going to want them to have soft soles. We did this and it worked great. Once the plane landed, we put little one’s shoes back on and he promptly stepped on my hand and I ended up with a bruise for a week.

At the Airport

When you arrive at the gate, check in with the attendants. If you bring a stroller or car seat to the gate, you will need a tag from them to label it. They may also give you special instructions for where to place the stroller/car seat for storage on the plane. This is also a great time to ask for seats to be rearranged, if needed. When we were assigned our seats upon purchasing tickets, they had my husband and I sitting in different rows. That was not going to work for us. The attendants were in full agreement and changed our seats so we were sitting together!

Check bags at the gate if able. Depending on how full the plane is, the gate attendants might call for volunteers to check bags at the gate. There is no charge for this. We did not check any bags at the check in counter and managed to pack everything we needed in our two carry on bags and our two personal items. By checking one of our bags it allowed us to store one of our personal items in the overhead bins. This freed up some leg room for my tall husband. It was also one less thing to keep track of and haul through the airport.

Boarding

When sitting at the terminal waiting for the plane to board, let your toddler crawl around when waiting to board. This will help them burn some energy and help get them ready for a nap on the plane.

Change their diaper just before boarding. The bathrooms on planes are tiny and I would not want to change Little One’s diaper in there. Try to change the diaper just before you board and then right after landing. Hopefully you are able to go through the flight without needing it to be changed.

Families board first. Pay attention to the announcements and board when called. Originally I thought I should wait until the end to board so Little One would spend as little time as possible on the plane. However, there are real benefits to boarding first. The first is that you are moving around less people when trying to get to your seats, which can be challenging. It also let Little One check out his new environment and watch the people come aboard. If we would have waited until the last minute to board I envision Little One having a hard time going to sleep during take off because he would have still been interested in watching everything.

airport

On the Plane

Use jackets to create a seat between the window and seat. This creates a little seat for a little butt to sit on. Little One loved looking out the window. Having made a little seat it allowed Little One to look out the window better and got him off my lap for a bit.

Nurse or give formula during take off and touch down. I have heard that this helps with ear popping – I am not sure if it did or not. But it did help Little One go to sleep, which was a big win.

Phew…those are my 20 tips for flying with a toddler! I hope your trip with your little one goes well and that this advice help you out. If you have any other tips for flying with a toddler, let me know in the comments below!

For more tips on traveling with a little one check out my preparing for travel with a baby.

Eco-Friendly Homemade Cleaners

Eco Friendly Homemade cleaners

I have some exciting news – I have developed my first product! Hopefully it can help you create more Eco-friendly homemade cleaners in order to avoid chemical cleaners and, among other things, help with your budget.

Let me back up for a minute. So this all started when I was talking to my coworker about the homemade cleaners that I use. She expressed a desire to do the same but found finding recipes confusing and had no idea where to start.

I have been using homemade cleaners for years and have always just had the recipes in my head. Then when Little One arrived my husband started to take on more of the cleaning. However, he did not keep the recipes in his head. This lead me to writing the recipes on the back of the bottles for him. This way he could read the directions and refill the cleaners any time he needed them.

So with these two events my first brain child came about. So without further adieu, my first product is a digital download of labels and recipes that you can place on spray bottles to use in your home. I know it’s a pretty simple idea but it really makes life so much easier.

* Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

The Recipes

Included in this download are the following recipes for your more Eco-friendly home:

  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Foaming Hand Soap
  • Fabric Freshener
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Laundry Stain Remover
  • Laundry Scent Booster
  • Floor Cleaner
  • Cloth Diaper Stain Remover (for those of you cloth diapering)
  • Spider Repellent
How It Works

These are available right now as a digital download. You can head over to my store and purchase them for only $2! Once the purchase is made you will get an email with a PDF attachment. You can print as many of the labels as you like.

For best results, print the labels on sticky paper. You can also print them on regular paper and use clear tape to put them on the bottles. You can find sticky paper at Target or Amazon.

What You’ll Need

Beyond having your preferred paper for printing the labels, you will need something to put them on. I personally love these glass spray bottles that I found on Amazon, but any spray bottle will work. Spray bottles are also available at most box stores and dollar stores. You will also need a foaming hand pump dispenser. I have been reusing some plastic ones that I got years ago. I found these great mason jar style dispensers on Amazon. You will also need a mop bucket and a container for the laundry scent boosters.

Making the Cleaners

After sticking the labels on each of the containers, use the recipes to create your very own Eco-friendly cleaners.

Most of the recipes include adding essential oils. I personally love using peppermint, lemon, and lavender, but you can choose whatever scents you like.

You will need the following ingredients:

Just Wait Here is the Best Part!

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win 6 glass spray bottles!

Order Now!

Click this link to head over to my store. You can download the labels and attach them to any bottle of your choice.

I have also been thinking about getting the labels printed and having hard copies available. Is this something that you all would be interested in? Let me know in the comments below.

Preparing for Travel with a Baby

We are going on an international vacation! OK, so we are going to Canada, but it is still international and involves a lot of preparation. Here are my tips on preparing for travel with a baby.

* Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Documents

One of the first things to do when planing a trip is to make sure that all travel documents you’ll need are accounted for. In our case, one thing was getting Little One a passport. We learned a lot in the processing of getting this passport. This website will list the full requirements for getting your child a passport. Some of the important things we learned are that both parents must be present (or have documentation from the other parent). We both had to declare that we were allowing our Little One to travel outside the USA. Another thing we learned was that the application could only be paid by check or money order, which was more annoying than anything.

We will also be traveling with a photo copy of Little Ones birth certificate, just in case (we never ended up using it, but I guess better safe than sorry.)

Booking Travel

When booking travel its important to consider how you will be traveling, when, and for how long. Try to book any flights during your child’s nap time if they are still taking a nap. Hopefully they will sleep through most of it then. I know many people who do long flights will travel at night so the child will sleep as normal.

We are choosing to fly and rent a car once we get there. When flying, review your airline’s guidelines when it comes to flying with little ones. Most airlines will allow children under the age of two to ride for free on your lap. Depending on how your little one does, you can help your budget by having them on your lap. If you know this wouldn’t work for you, getting a seat for them is always an option.

Most airlines also allow two of the following items: stroller, car seat, and pack and play. They can either be checked when checking in for the flight or at the gate. This is most convenient for the stroller.

We also will be renting a car. Most car rentals have car seats available for a fee. We decided that the cost of the car seat outweighed the inconvenience of hauling our own.

When booking anything, make sure you read the fine print when it comes to your little one.

Post trip update: on the way back there was a row behind us that only had once person in it. The flight attendant came by and asked the person in the aisle seat to move a row behind to give us three seats. This made a world of difference for our comfort! If you are able to book a seat for your little one, it sure is nice to have that extra seat!

Packing

To check a bag, or not to check a bag…that is the question. The fees for checking the bag are outrageous, so we tried to use strictly carry on bags instead. Before traveling, try to compile a list of everything you will need. This will help your packing and try to make space as efficient as possible. Most airlines will allow a carry on bag and a personal item like a diaper bag, purse, computer bag or back pack.

We are trying to conserve as much space as possible, so we will definitely be taking clothes that are versatile and hand washable if needed. We have tested it out and can get everything we need into two carry on bags and two back packs.

Entertainment

Something to keep Little One busy while being cooped up in the plane or car is essential. We are packing a few small toys – a wooden car, a ball, and books. The Hello magazines are perfect for travel. They are small and have many activities, they are easy to wipe off and sanitize when needed, and are durable. We will also be loading up our electronic devices with shows. Normally we don’t let him watch too many shows, so it will be a special treat when flying.

Snacks

Snacks are a must. Pack snacks that are easy to eat, don’t require refrigeration, and aren’t messy. We hit up our local food co-op and checked out the bulk bins. There were a lot of options, like yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, dehydrated apples, bananas and graham crackers.

Going though security at most airlines will not allow liquids to be taken though security. There are exceptions to this rule, though, when it comes to breast milk and formula. Read the TSA rules before your flight to be current on any changes. If there is any liquid traveling with a little one the TSA will need to test it. We were able to bring a sippy cup with water in it and there was no problem.

The lines for security can be long, so having snacks, drinks and entertainment available is a must.

Be Prepared

Be prepared for traveling with a little one by following the above tips. Also try to be mentally prepared for a long day. Things are going to go wrong, so just take deep breaths and roll with it.

Just one last tip before I wrap up this post – be nice to those around you and to those working. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey then vinegar!

Do you have any other tips for preparing for international travel with a baby? Let me know in the comments below!

Exploring Lester Park

This past weekend, Little One and I explored Lester Park, which is one of my favorite parks in Duluth. It is often overlooked by tourists and has more of a local vibe. Due to this, it is not normally crowded and there is plenty of space for activities. I know there are many trails I have not yet explored in the park (future blog posts?). For my trip this time I stuck close to the rivers and checked out the beautiful waterfalls pictured below. Of course, we also played on the play ground!

Lester Park features two rivers – Lester River and Amity Creek. Both have amazing views and a host of waterfalls. When entering the park from the parking lot, you must walk over a beautiful stone bridge. The bridge is also a part of the historic past of Duluth.

Activities

There are so many activities to take part in. You can enjoy hiking, water falling, and biking. There are also picnic areas with grills, a delightful play ground, and ball area. The play ground features a couple slides, a ‘rope bridge’-like structure, and plenty of climbing opportunities. There is a rock wall feature that the kids can climb that has little wilderness animals carved into it. Very cute!

During the winter, there are many groomed trails for cross country skiing. Head to the Duluth parks website for updates on grooming and trail conditions. There is also a large open area that would be great for snow shoeing or making a snowman.

There is so much to do in this park, I highly suggest you check it out!

Getting There

Lester Park can be found at 61st Avenue East & Superior Street in Duluth. You can find out more information about Lester Park on the Duluth Parks website. You can reach Lester Park via the Lakewalk trail. If you’re taking the trail, once you cross the river take a left and head up the road a bit to the park entrance. If you take a right off the bridge it will take you down to Brighton Beach, which is also a fabulous park.

This is a little shorter post then I normally write, but I just had to share this little gem on the North Shore. Have you ever been to Lester Park? What did you think?

For more North Shore adventures, check out my post on Gooseberry Falls and Lutsen Mountain.

Exploring Lester Park River stream
Waterfall
Moss
forest path
Exploring Lester Park, water fall and bridge.

Homemade Peanut Butter

As you may have noticed by now, we try to live a zero waste lifestyle. For example, we have slowly been substituting the items we would purchase and finding a zero waste alternative. This week our zero waste switch is peanut butter! I love peanut butter. It’s one of those items that if I were stranded on a desert island, it would be my food choice. Because of this, we go through a lot of peanut butter and many plastic tubs. So join me on this journey to make delicious and easy homemade peanut butter!

Peanuts

The first step in homemade peanut butter is finding peanuts. For this I headed to the bulk bin at my food co-op. This is a great option because you can get just the amount that you need. If you don’t have access to something like this, I know there are other stores that sell peanuts in bulk. Try these on Amazon if you can’t get them local.

There are two types of peanuts available. The first is the regular peanuts that are roasted and normally salted. The second are those that are meant for making peanut butter. My whole food co-op had one bin for each, making my choice really easy.

getting peanuts for bulk bin
Making the Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter is really easy to make…if you have the right tools. For this recipe, a food processor is a must. An interesting note: some co-ops have a machine that will make the peanut butter for you in the store!

Simply place the amount of peanuts you want into the food processor (I used about three cups). Blend until creamy. This can take a while but it will come together. It was really chunky when I first started and thought I had done something wrong. It took between 7-10 minutes to form a smooth consistency. I ended up adding a bit of olive oil and salt to my peanut butter mixture to enhance the flavor.

Peanuts in a food processor
finished peanut butter in food processor
Enjoy

That’s it! Easy, right? Now no more buying plastic jars of peanut butter that are full of other ingredients that you don’t need.

What do you think – can you make the switch to homemade peanut butter? Let me know in the comments below! I found this to be way easy and I am kicking myself for not making the switch sooner. Oh well, better late then never!

Next, see my last post about a zero waste switch to shampoo bar.

DIY Chair Update

DIY Chair Update

If you have read my past posts, you probably know that I am all about the 5 R’s: recycle, reuse, reduce, rot, and refuse. We have been wanting to replace our dining chairs for a while, but didn’t want to purchase anything new. I wanted to reuse and recycle some chairs that needed a new home. I have been looking on my Facebook shop and swap page for a while now and finally found some. These were originally from IKEA (similar to these ones) but I got them from a community member whose daughter happened to go to the same day care as my son – gotta love small towns! These chairs were in somewhat rough shape when we got them but with some TLC, we made them much better! Continue reading for my DIY chair update.

Cleaning Them Up

The first thing we did when we got the chairs home was give them a good scrub with our DIY all-purpose cleaner. We also took the slip covers off the chairs.

I love the construction of these chairs. They have four screws on the bottom, which makes popping off the chair pads really easy.

Dirty Chair
DIY Chair Update, Dirty Chair Leg
DIY chair update, Cleaned Chair Leg

A couple of the slip covers were marked up and way beyond repair. With a toddler, I also didn’t want white chair covers for the reason you see below!

DIY chair update, Messy slip cover
New Chair Covers

So the chairs I got have slip covers on them. I wanted to replace them so off to the fabric store once again :). I found this lovely blue fabric in the outdoor section of the fabric store. It was 50% off and I also got 20% off at the register. Yay for sales!

Upon getting the fabric home, I ditched the idea of making slip covers for just reupholstering the chairs. I got extra fabric so if I ever need to update the chairs, I can. I also purchased outdoor fabric in a dark color. This will be more durable then the canvas fabric that was previously on the chair. They are also easier to wash off.

To upholster the chairs, I first removed the chair covers. I then laid the chair cushion on the fabric. Next I cut the fabric to have a 3 inch edge all the way around.

Working from the middle of the edge, I stapled the fabric to the underside of the chair. I did the middle on each of the 4 sides pulling the fabric tight. I then worked around the other sides. Next I finished the corners, pulling them tight so there were no folds.

Assembly

Finally I placed the chair pads on the chairs and flipped them upside down. I screwed the pad back on the the chair and just like that we had a finished chair.

This chair update was really quick and made a world of difference in our dining room. These chairs are sleeker then our old ones and take up way less space. With space at a premium in our small dining room, we improved our previous situation in a couple big ways.

Attaching the chair pad

So what do you think of this chair update? I think they turned out pretty good. I always encourage you to take a look at resources around you and see what you can reuse and turn into something new!

Next, check out my my post on Eco Friend Rules to Live By.

Switching to Family Cloth

Zero Waste Switch to family cloth

A couple years ago, I watched a YouTube clip about switching to family cloth. At the time I though it was a little crazy, like it just wasn’t for me. Fast forward to now, we as a family are trying to be more Eco-friendly, and this brought me back to family cloth.

It wasn’t weird to me for two reasons. The first involved reflecting on what everyone used before toilet paper was invented – they used cloth . The second reason is that I use cloth wipes for Little One during diaper changes. If it worked for our ancestors and it works for my Little One, then why can’t it work for me, too?

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Starting Out

After exploring multiple choices, I decided to make mine out of flannel fabric. So off to Joann’s I went! After much consideration I decided to go whimsical with the prints. I purchased 1 yard of each of the fabrics, one each for the upstairs bathroom and main floor bathroom. There was also a 70% off sale on flannels – I swear it was like Joann’s knew I was coming! I got both for under $5. If you don’t want to make your own cloths, try these. We have these flannel cloths for Little One and they work great!

Switching to Family Cloth
Preparing the Cloth

The first thing I did when I got the fabric home was prewash them. This is my rule whenever I bring new fabrics into my home. Next I pressed the fabric with an iron to prepare them for cutting. The pressing will ensure that the fabric is nice and flat for cutting. I used a mat, rotary cutter, and ruler to cut the fabric into 5.5 inch squares. You can decide on any size, but I found that this size made the most of my yard of fabric and is the relatively same size of a sheet of toilet paper. After cutting the squares, I surged each edge to prevent fraying during the next wash. If you don’t have access to a surger, you can perform a tight zig zag stitch or do a small rolled hem.

Making the Switch

I found two little round baskets at a garage sale and that is what I’m using to hold my clean cloths. Of course, you can use any container you like. I also added a wet bag to each of the bathrooms. Right now I am using my son’s wet bags (we have so many of them!). I may switch later to a container of some sort or a trash bin with a fabric liner.

One of the hardest transitions for me was remembering to throw the cloth in the wet bag and not the toilet! I haven’t actually done this but I did need to stop myself a couple times and throw it in the right place.

Washing

We are currently on a schedule of washing them 2 times a week. However, this would largely depend on the amount of cloths and your own cleaning schedule. I also don’t want them to smell so washing them more often wouldn’t be a bad thing. I wash them on a normal cycle with laundry detergent. The family cloth is added to the cloth diapers that we already wash and sorted out after the drying. Each of our cloths have a different pattern from everything else, which makes sorting really easy.

What About Guests?

So being a good hostess I wouldn’t want to make guests use family cloth, unless they are comfortable with it. We do still purchase toilet paper but have switched to a more Eco-friendly brand. They are a bit more expensive, but the payoff is that we use way less of it.

End Result

I love that we switched to family cloth. It feels so much better not flushing toilet paper every time. I also feel better not wasting so much money purchasing toilet paper.

Something that I think about a lot is what I am teaching my little one. For him while growing up, this will be normal. Other than when he is out and about in the community, he will be using family cloth from the time he was born. It is important for the environment that we make these small kinds of switches and stop being so wasteful. Teaching this to future generations is one of the essential practices to make an impact.

Have you considered switching to family cloth? Let me know your thoughts, comments or questions down below. Also, if you have already switched to family cloth, let me know how it is going!

Thinking about other Eco-friendly switches? Check out my post about switching to bar shampoo.

Zero Waste Switch to Family Cloth