Friday, January 28, 2011

A Matter of Money, Cuteness, or the Environment? I say all three.

When I was expecting William I looked at possibly getting cloth diapers to use on him. I almost spent a few hundred dollars on it, but couldn't bring myself to make the leap. Lately I have been looking at the prospect again. He still has at least a year more of diapering left before he is potty trained so it's would still be economical to make the investment, though not as much if I started when he was born.

So now I that I am looking at it again I am leaning towards an economical basic one size cover from Econobum. Then I want to get a bunch of Indian prefolds and sew them into fitted diapers with elastic and velcro so I don't have to deal with pins etc. I also want to get a diaper sprayer to make easier to clean the yucky stuff off the diaper. (The boys will be told upon threat of death or something that they cannot touch it.)

Today I wanted to do a details price comparison for cloth diapering vs disposables for what I buy. I get Sam's Club Member's Mark diapers and figured that William will go to a size 5 when he is 2 and won't potty train until 3ish. I guesstimated the amount of time a baby is in each size of diaper and took current prices for each item from Sam's Club and Walmart for the Parent's Choice size 1 and 2.

I know it's small so click on the picture to see it blown up.

The table says that for diapering a child in disposables from birth to potty training at 3 results in 6909 diapers costing $1,228. That doesn't include the cost of wipes. To get enough diapers from birth to potty training expecting to do laundry about every 3-4 days will cost $208.70.

If cuteness is a factor you could spend a lot more on covers. There are some way cute ones by Bummis that cost about $13 each but you would have to get some in each size. But even the Econobum covers come with 3 colors of binding to add a little to the cuteness factor. You can also make your own covers out of laminated fabric (PUL), heavy fleece or wool.

A lot of people site environmental reasons to why they choose cloth diapers. They say that a child from birth to potty training will contribute 1 TON of stinky waste to the landfills. That is a lot of stink and diapers can take from 250 to 500 years to decompose (source). To borrow from the same source:
  • Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.
  • The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
  • Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.
It sounds like I'm sold right? Well I have a neighbor that uses cloth diapers and she lent me some of her extras that would fit William. I have been trying it out and so far my only complaint is that they are a lot thicker than a disposable diaper. The poopy diaper and washing in the toilet thing is gross, but once I get the sprayer it will be a lot better (I hope). Finally it is really hard to beat the ease of a disposable diaper. I think I am still going to try it though. For William, instead of the almost $400 I will spend on disposables over the next year I can instead spend about $150 to get started with 6 covers, 24 diapers, and a sprayer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Surprisingly Good

A new year means making that goal again to eat right, so while KC and I were looking for good healthy recipes we happened upon this, Sweet Potato Curry with Tofu.

Upon first look at the ingredients I wasn't convinced that it would taste good. My experiences with tofu haven't been positive. But I promised KC I would make it and it turned out surprisingly good.

Now served over a cup of rice it isn't the most low calorie dish. The culprit? Coconut milk. But if you increase the number of servings to 8, reduce the rice to 1/2 cup, and if you can find light coconut milk all will be well. 

KC and I like the count our calories using the weight watchers point system. Basically 1 point is about 50 calories and your daily allowance is based on your age, activity level and current weight. I am only allowed about 22 points a day. Before changing this recipe it would have sucked 12 points out of my day allowing me to eat hardly anything the rest of the day. With a smaller portion size and taking all the fat out of the coconut milk it is now 7 points per serving... awesome. Now the problem is only eating one serving.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled, smashed with the side of a heavy knife, and minced
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (2 medium), peeled and diced 
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen is fine) 
  • kosher salt
  • Chopped cilantro and roasted peanuts for garnish
  • 2 cups of rice (cook to make 4 cups)
  1. Press the tofu to dry it a bit: wrap it in a clean dish towel, and set a heavy pot on it while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a wide skillet over medium-low heat and sauté the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds or so, until just fragrant. Stir in the curry powder, then add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and water, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and stir, then cover the pan and cook over low heat, at a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender (around 15 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan and slice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Fry the tofu for 10 minutes, turning it to brown as many sides as possible (don't try to brown them all -- just a few is fine).
  5. Add the tofu and the green peas to the pan of sweet potatoes, and simmer it uncovered for 5 minutes to blend the flavors, cook the peas, and thicken the sauce.
  6. Taste for salt (you may need to add a lot or a little, depending on whether there's salt in your curry powder) and serve over 1/2 cup rice, garnished with chopped cilantro and peanuts.
Nutrition Information: 8 Servings - 364 calories, 9.8 g fat, 4.4 g fiber - 7 points per serving

Friday, January 7, 2011

Been Busy

Where have I been? Of course there were the holidays, that always keeps us busy. We also spent most of November working on a project inside the house. Time to share the results. I didn't take any before pictures. Just imagine white walls with finger prints, scuff marks, and pencil from busy and creative boys.

First here is the dining room. We added blue paint, chair rail and made wainscoting boxes using pencil rail.

This the entry hallway. It is far from finished as we are trying to come up with the best way decorate this massive hallway. We thought a great first step is the paint and more wainscoting. We love the brown.

 Then everything was continued into the living room.

In the bedroom we took a slightly different approach and made cornice boxes inspired from All Things Thrifty. Then inspired from Suzy's Sitcom we used the same textured wallpaper as on the cornice boxes and glazed it with the wall color framing it with chair rail on top and the pencil rail on the bottom.

 Closer view of the wall decor. We also painted the bathroom the brown color from the bedroom (not pictured).

Lastly, KC got a new job that he started this December. Instead of working from home in his pajamas he now commutes on the bus to downtown and wears a suit everyday. Here is a hint at the new job.

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