Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wetbags are for more than cloth diapers

For anyone who has never cloth diapered before you probably aren't familiar with the term wet bag. Basically it is a bag that is designed to hold your dirty diapers, then you throw diapers, bag and all, into the washer on laundry day. I got some terrific ones from a company called Knickernappies that snap right around a door knob. Great for hanging in the bathroom or at the edge of a changing table.

But enough about diapers! About the same time we started with cloth diapers, we also started using cloth rags, napkins, wipes, bibs, and such too. Wet and dirty napkins and rags were hanging out all over the place just waiting to get washed. I actually think it was my husbands brilliant idea to hang one of the bags on the door going from the kitchen to the basement were our laundry is. Now, just as you would buss a dish our throw away a tissue, you just toss your cloth in the bag and then toss the whole thing on the laundry when it is full.

I find now we rarely ever use paper towels and we are working on reducing other things like tissues more now too. Cloth napkins are the norm, and I'm hoping bibs are on their way out. So even if you don't cloth diaper here's an idea inspired from that world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I've been traveling for a few days now and I'm finally on my way home. Between planes and events I no idea what time it is or when exactly I get home so I might as well blog. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for right now. First and foremost to my husband for taking care of our girls while I'm away (no small task).

Second being a thankfulness that there are still people out there who can simple laugh and not take life to seriously. In several days of flight delays, insane boarding procedures, and long flights it's so good to know some people can just laugh it off with me.

Finally I'm thankful for the relaxing and healing powers of mother earth. The sun, the sky and the ocean shores I visited this week truly touched me. It was especially interesting to be on a gulf side beach and reflect on last years oil spill impacts. These are the days I know I must do more to live on and with less.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Money collecting dust

My kids love to read! We get books from the library nearly every week, but still we have a lot of books. It it not a bad problem to have. But they are everywhere. So we decided that it was finally time to give up the decades old college book collection collecting dust and make some room for kids books.

We of course wanted to do this right. Good books can be donated and those not so good can be recycled at specialty recyclers (due to binding glue, etc.). But what do we do with those huge text books we paid $50 used for, could some poor college student really still be having to read these books?

Sure enough there are tons of college text book buy back websites out there that will pay you for your books, and even pay for the shipping. Here are some things we learned in the 2-33 hours we spent searching sites and punching in ISBN numbers from the back of the book:

- Don't wait 15 plus years to try to sell your books :) Most of our books didn't fetch much money, were too old and will likely just be recycled.

- Remove all the tape over the bar codes so you can just sit down and punch in all the numbers fast ( this would have been a great project for my kids).

- There are a lot of site options with various prices for buy back, in the end I went with Amazon because the gave me Amazon credit (slightly more than cash) and I felt they are reputable.

- I was very surprised to find it so text book specific on what the would buy back. We had double copies of great classics like Plato's Republic. Maybe it was the version we had, but I was shocked to find they wouldn't buy it back. Huh? Maybe there is a different buy back program for those types of books?

In just a short time we had about a half dozen books sorted out and about $12.50 in store credit plus a ups shipping slip. Not a goldmine or anything, but along with donations and recycling it felt good to think the books might find use somehow at least for a little while longer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Can one grow tomatoes in Portland?

I've only been 'urban farming' (ok, gardening) for about 3 years now. Two years ago I had so many cherry tomatoes I sun fried them and then swore I wouldn't grow them again. Last year I had green tomatoes due to bad weather and this year I haven't even planted any yet.

Still, this is what gardening is all about. One year to get too many zucchini (ok, every year) and the next year you actually grow an eggplant. I love the surprise. It's way better than just opening the refrigerator door.