Barefoot and Fancy Free

I’ve been thinking about feet lately. Strange, I know. Here’s why.

I’ve always had problems with my feet. I had orthotic inserts as a child for fallen arches. I seemed to grow out of that problem as I got older, but my feet still would get achy and tired much quicker than anyone I knew. I found that foot massages would help and made it through my twenties able to wear cutsey shoes. And then, I grew up. I mean, I got old(er). I mean, my body did this thing at age thirty which told me suddenly that I was not in my twenties any more. And my feet were a part of this mutiny.

I found my feet unable to tolerate anything but good quality sneakers. Now, at age 36, I wear them every day. They are my “lace up shoes” and I wear them to work at my job, in the home.

Learning from the Flylady how important it is to wear shoes in the house only confirmed to me that barefoot was not a good thing. But now, I am reconsidering.

The other day we went for a walk to the park. We took off our shoes to walk barefoot in the grass. My two year old cried and thought the grass was hurting his feet. And it didn’t feel too good to me, either. I realized I’d caused a problem.

By saying “no” to bare feet, I think our feet are getting to be too sensitive. I am now wondering if perhaps my sore foot problem is actually a lack of strength, caused by wearing shoes all the time.

Have you seen these funky shoes? They are like gloves, to be worn on your feet, so that you can still feel the ground.
Here’s an interesting article about running barefoot.
And another article.

And a whole site for “Healthy and Natural Barefoot Activities

Welcome, Spring. I think it’s time to kick of my shoes for a little while.

Do you like being barefoot? Do you let your children go barefoot? Let’s talk.

Serious Germ Paranoia

“So it’s come to this. Kleenex Disposable Hand Towels: the ultimate in germ paranoia. Our dear friends at Kleenex want you to think that you NEED protection from nasty cloth towels that, heck!, everyone in your family uses. Shudder. Think about it: you’ve all dried your CLEAN HANDS on the SAME TOWEL. What are you, savages?”

I didn’t write this. But I really liked the post. You can read the rest here at Enviromom.com.

Let The Sun Shine In–Frugal Fridays

When I was little, I’d see movies or commercials that showed little girls running through the sheets that were hanging out to dry. It looked like so much fun & I asked my mom why we didn’t do our drying like that. She basically said that only “poor” people dry their clothes that way and that it didn’t look nice to see laundry hanging. And I saw that she was right; in our neighborhood nobody would do such a thing, but driving into other sections of town we could see their laundry hanging. I just accepted it as the way it was and went about my business.

Until I moved to Israel. Here, hanging laundry is the socially accepted norm. For years I couldn’t fathom hanging it every day like my neighbors and didn’t like the way it looks. Then one summer my dryer broke. And I hung all summer long, until the rainy season began (winter here), and we prioritized the dryer repair.

But I’ve been thinking about it again, and a few weeks ago I decided to start utilizing this (free) power we all have-the sun, to save on electricity (translate: $$$). Good for the environment, good for the pocket, I’m happy.

It does take more time to hang the clothes and bring them in than it does to load and empty the dryer, and that has been my main objection. However, I have decided to enjoy those few minutes outside by myself as a little break. All moms need that!

And as for the way it looks, I hang it out on my roof deck where it doesn’t show-not to the neighbors; it’s out of my view as well. But twice a day I have a reason to stand and look at my gorgeous view of the Judean hills. (That’s my laundry and my view) Nice!

I do one large load every day (keeps Mt. Washmore away), plus a load of cloth diapers. My drying rack holds only the one load; for now I’m still using the dryer for the diapers or if I need to do more than one load. Another drying rack or a line would solve that problem. I’ll get there. Babysteps.

For more Frugal Friday ideas visit LifeAsMom.

For more about saving electricity, visit this site.

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

I used to think that disposable diapers were the only way to go….

In my previous post, I started giving the reasons why we switched to cloth diapers a few years ago. In this post I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.

Except for very limited uses, we’ll never go back to disposables!

Cost To The Environment
(from an article by the Sustainability Institute; entire article here: http://bit.ly/KIuk2)

…”18 BILLION disposable diapers are used in th US each year. Each one has an outer layer of waterproof polypropylene and an inner layer of fluff made from wood pulp plus super-slurper sodium polyacrylate that can hold a hundred times its weight in water.

Those 18 billion diapers add up to 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp — 250,000 trees. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed undegraded for several hundred years. “…

Cost To Our Pockets

“Disposable diapers” was absolutely the highest on-going expense we had with our first two babies. Consider this:

Your baby will use about 6500 to 7000 diapers from birth to 30 months.

Most parents seem to spend an average cost of $50-$80/month for Huggies® or Pampers® OUCH!!! That would come to $1500-$2400 over a 30 month period, more if you diaper longer — and there are reports that show cloth diaper babies often potty-train up to a year earlier than those who wear disposables.

Now….I’ve been using Mother-Ease One Size diapers since March of 2006, and (full disclosue) we will soon be offering them for sale here on my blog. The same diapers fit my newborn all the way to my toddler. It only takes 4-6 months to completely recoup our family’s initial costs. After that, we’re essentially diapering for FREE. The laundering costs are minimal in both time and money.

By choosing cloth diapers over disposables, you will save thousands of dollars on each child!

Especially in these difficult economic times, who doesn’t want that? Let’s face it, who doesn’t NEED that?!

Caring for Cloth Diapers
Caring for the diapers is quite simple: just rinse poop into toilet (NOTE: we have a sprayer attached to our toilet that makes this easy; in the US where it’s not as simple to connect this, I think most folks dunk&flush) & place diapers in a covered pail with water and some vinegar (neutralizes odors). When ready to wash, empty the soak water into toilet, do a prewash or rinse cycle, and then a full cycle in hot water with detergent. Dry. That’s it! We wash diapers every night before we go to bed. Our older children (even the toddler who still wears one at nighttime) know how to fold them and put them away. It’s as simple as that!

I love knowing that my babies are touching comfy soft cloth and not toxic chemical-filled plasticky-feeling stuff. I love knowing I’m doing our part to keep disposable diapers out of landfills, and I LOVE the amount of money we have and continue to save!

(There’s a lot more to say regarding using cloth diapers vs disposables — including the benefits of natural fibers, tips for making the care of cloth diapers even easier, and the scientific links of disposable diapers to asthma and male infertility. I will cover these issues in future posts.)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

With a new baby in the house, of course we are changing a lot more diapers — and even with five children under the age of seven, with two in diapers full-time, I’ve been reminded why I love using cloth instead of disposables.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my environmentally-conscious husband approached me to consider using cloth diapers. I didn’t know anyone who used them, and didn’t know that “modern” cloth diapers had been designed. I was too overwhelmed with all that would come with being a first time mom and never looked into it. When my second son was born only 11 months after my first, I was once again too overwhelmed. Not until my third did I dare to enter what I was sure would be a complicated world…only to find that it wasn’t! I wish I’d started using them sooner.

The cloth diapers I use really are simple (ours have built in snaps to accommodate all sizes, so there is no pinning) and don’t take much time at all to rinse and wash. I love that I never need to worry about running out of diapers, like I used to with disposables.

The way I see it, there are 3 main reasons to choose to cloth diapers over disposables:

1. To avoid the toxins (and their negative effects on health) in disposable diapers

2. To reduce environmental waste

3. To save a bunch of money

In doing research for this post, I discovered that the many costs of disposable diapers were more than I realized:

Costs To Our Childrens’ Health
from an article on The Diaper Hyena; entire article here

SODIUM POLYACRYLATE – This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel.

Can absorb up to 100X its weight in water.
Can stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions.
Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.
When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death.
Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it.
Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it.

DIOXIN – This is the chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process, using chlorine gas, in the manufacturing of diapers.

Carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical)
The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of all cancer-linked chemicals.
In small quantities it causes birth defects, skin/liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals.
Banned in most countries, but not the United States.

If we really care about our babies’ health, isn’t this information alone enough to make natural-fiber cloth diapers the right choice?

(In my next post, I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.)