Friday, March 30, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance of Playdough!

I have to admit that I was relieved to learn that today was going to cold with thunderstorms.  Perhaps I'm becoming acclimated to this often dismal weather here in South Bend, Indiana where the norm is overcast skies.  Beyond that scary recognition, I've also learned not to take good weather for granted.

For all of us in the midwest, these last three weeks of beautiful weather has been heavenly. It's been sunny warm and being back in Tallahassee in the spring.  LOVE IT!  As a result, I have spent a great deal of time outside with our kiddos and participating in more community activities.  Today, I can actually pick up the house and do some of our indoor activities we haven't been playdough.  I love the times I can multi-task of being present to their quiet activities while also cleaning up the house and preparing some food.

Part of me thinks I should continue to skip the housework and just sit and enjoy the creativity happening at our kitchen table.  But once again, the house will continue to feel like an explosion of clutter everywhere.  I have to get to it sometime, right?

Today, I realized that I have turned a new corner in acceptance.  I don't feel guilty that I haven't been keeping up with the housework these last couple weeks.  However, I am going to take this gift of rain, which our flowers need, and balance out our fun with picking up.  We are resetting in this home today and it feels like we are in rhythm with our environment.

Wishing you peace and balance today,

Jen Starks, Owner 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's in Your Deep Freezer?

These past few months, I have been trying to keep my food bills under bay.  I've been working on ways to save while also eating healthy and in season.  It has been a great challenge.  However, the last week of a month is always the most challenging. This week, I am not going into the grocery store.  Rather I'm working with what I already have.  Thank goodness for my deep freezer!

Last night, I was rummaging through the cupboard and the nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard came to mind.  It was kinda funny! Fortunately, I still have a few summer, fall, and winter goodies in our deep freezer and we ended up with a pretty decent meal!

For dinner, we had a mystery soup (unlabeled) from a soup swap I participated in, final round of our asparagus, sauteed spinach, and some frozen delicious peaches with whipped cream.  The peaches came from our deep freezer and is always a treat to bring out from late summer.  We have a few left
to tide us over until they are in season again.

So if you are on a food budget, what do you do at the end of the month when it's gone?  Do you have any go-to meals you seem to make at that time?  

Our seasonal produce from last summer and fall is starting to dwindle.  Here's what's left:

On the left are some frozen meals and some frozen chicken stock.  The next tray is our fruit basket and pumpkin and peaches are the only seasonal produce in there.  Our meat selection is stocked better, since we don't consume a lot of meat.  There is more meat underneath these baskets along with frozen bread I buy in bulk.  Then our lonely green pepper bag is in our veggie tray-alas!  I'm very much looking forward to some spring veggies to stock.

What's still left in your deep freezer?


Jen Starks, Owner

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mommy Moments- The Unexpected, The Endearing!

I tend to post a lot about motherhood.  Not as an expert but as something that I'm processing as I go along.  It's the most important job we have and often very tiring and perplexing.  Often we give so much of ourselves to our children without the expectation they will be grateful at the present.

 However, we are often gifted by unexpected moments.  I'm talking about those moments when your little one touches your soul and makes you feel connected to each other.  Maybe you have them all day long, maybe once a week.  Today, I had one.

My daughter came down after quiet time (aka a naptime without a nap), and brought down a bag full of "stuff" from her room.  These bags are often a mystery and usually filled to the brim.  She came into the kitchen where I was standing and talked about a little picture she had made for me.  She said, "This is a little picture you keep folded up and in your pocket. Whenever I'm not here and you are missing me, you can open it up and look at it.  Then you won't miss me as much!"

I feel grateful that she is growing up to be the little girl she is becoming.  I also feel grateful that I didn't miss that moment.  Sometimes, I'm not present to them and I miss out by being "busy."

Did you have an unexpected "Mommy/Daddy Moment" recently?  I'd love to hear it!

Jen Starks, Owner 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stain busting laundry detergent

There are TONS of recipes out there for homemade laundry detergent, and after trying a good number of them, I have finally found my favorite. I've been using this concoction for several months, and am so happy with it that I'm pretty sure this will be my new standard from now on.

I have a busy little boy who loves to play hard and get messy. Dirt, food, paint, markers, popsicles, blood, you name it - it's been on his clothes. My husband is a middle school drama teacher, and has been known to come home from work with paint on his clothes, too. Building sets and making props is dirty work!

So I need a laundry detergent that works HARD. Because the last thing I want to deal with is pre-treating or re-washing. I want a detergent that gets out the stain the FIRST time.

Enter the humble Fels Naptha soap. Fels Naphtha was developed in 1893 as a home remedy for treating skin troubles caused by poison oak, poison ivy, and other oil-transmitted organic skin-irritants. Savvy homemakers quickly realized that not only would it wash away itch-causing oils from the skin, but it was also extremely effective at washing clothes. Folks have been grating Fels Naptha soap into their laundry water ever since. It's stain-busting power is unmatched in my opinion. Plus, it's only 97 cents a bar. You can't beat that!

Ready to wash some dirty clothes? Here we go! This is what you'll need:

Round up some super washing soda, borax, and fels naptha soap. These items should be right there with your regular laundry detergents at the store. You'll also need a grater and a container to keep your detergent in. A big glass mason jar works well, as does an old yogurt container, which seem to multiply like bunnies around here.

Step one - grate your soap. You need half the bar. Looks kind of like cheddar cheese, doesn't it? I think a finer grate works better, but if you're using a microplane grater get ready for a major tricep workout. The soap bars are pretty dense. Usually I get my handy husband to grate the soap for me, but I needed detergent in a bad way so I used my plain old box grater and did it myself. The detergent works fine, but I prefer a finer grate because the final product mixes together a little better that way.

Grate the soap and put it in your storage container. Then measure out one cup of borax, and one cup of super washing soda. Add to the container, put the lid on tight, and shake shake shake!

Ta da! Here's the finished product. I use an old 1/8 C measuring cup, and a scoop with that per large load gets the job done to my satisfaction. A couple tablespoons would probably work, too, if you don't have an 1/8 measure laying around. (PS - if you have a bigger container, by all means make a bigger amount.)

Here is the basic recipe in copy/paste-able form:

Stain Busting Laundry Detergent
1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated
1 C borax
1 C super washing soda

I honestly cannot vouch for the safety or efficacy of using this on cloth diapers. I have looked all over the internet and as with most things, opinions abound. Some say it is not cloth diaper safe, others say they use it all the time. Some say it's great for busting the stinkies, others say it makes it worse. I LOVE it for our clothes, but can't say from personal experience how it would work on diapers.

If you are looking for a cloth diaper safe homemade detergent, it's an easy substitution - switch out a bar of Dr. Bronners bar soap for the Fels Naptha. Perfectly safe, and widely used.

Since we are long past diaper washing days, I'd love some anecdotal evidence. Do you use homemade detergent? What recipe do you use? Do you use it on clothes AND on diapers?

Claire Williamson
Ecological Babies
(850) 228-8322

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bento Boxes!

As an on the go mom of a 3 1/2 year old boy, I am so excited to introduce a BRAND NEW product for Ecological Babies. Keepin' Fresh Kids Stainless Bento Boxes! If you thought all we carried was cloth diapers, you are in for a treat! Preschool moms, rejoice! Your boring snapware/tupperware days are over.

Check out the super cute pink one with little fishies! I'm no kid, but heck - I'd carry that in my lunch box any day.

The prints on the sleeve are super cute, without being cute-sy. They are kind of like a cross between old-school Pyrex and Japanese anime cartoons. You can choose
from alligators or little fishies, and the silicone seals are either pink (fishes), green, or blue (both with alligators).

The boxes are from Innobaby, and feature a stainless steel inner dish with a BPA free plastic sleeve that goes over it. The sleeve keeps the outside of the container at a steady temperature, so it is comfortable for the child to hold, regardless of the temperature of the food inside. They hold 15 ounces, which is plenty of space for a portion of pasta and protein, or even a sandwich with some chips or fruit on the side.

My favorite feature is the secure lid with silicone ring seal, which snaps on tight to create an air and liquid tight seal, keeping the child's lunchbox (or your tote bag) nice and clean, and the food nice and fresh. But unlike most snapware, the seals on this can actually be opened by a child! Here's my big boy, demonstrating how easy it is to open the box.

"Hey Mom! I really like the one with the alligators!"

If you're one of those fancy, crafty mamas with all the nifty little Bento accessories like tiny containers and toothpicks with cartoon faces on them, there is plenty of room for creativity. If you are looking for a little inspiration, no need to head to EBay for Bento accessories - think of things you already have in your kitchen.

In my experience, kids love variety of color and texture (but not too much or it's overwhelming), but they like it SEPARATE! Rule #1 of meal presentation in my house is - thy foods shalt not touch, and thy textures shalt not blend. Easy solution? Divided trays for meals, and foil and medicine cups for snack boxes. Fold up a piece of foil to double thickness and make it an L-shape, and it can contain softer foods like the strawberries here. A medicine dispensing cup is a perfect portion size of peanut butter or other dips, like hummus.

The boxes are just $16, and would be a perfect addition to rev up your child's lunch box or your trusty tote bag. They would also make an adorable (and practical!) gift to put in your child's Easter basket. Happy packing!

Claire Williamson, representative for Ecological Babies
(850) 228-8322

You can read more about the Innobaby bento lunch boxes here:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thirsties-Why they are the Best Investment

If you have been using cloth diapers or reading about them, you have probably noticed that one-size diapers are all the rage.  In theory, it makes sense.  Who wants to keep spending money again and again for cloth diapers (although it can become a little addicting sometimes!)?

Only a couple years ago, it was normal to buy 4 sizes from XS to L for your baby.  Some of you who've been with Ecological Babies that long remember our Thirsties Covers.  Well, the market changed to figure out how to make a diaper that grows with the baby (often in the form of a couple rows of snaps in the front).

Then the one-size diaper was born.  Let's be real though.  Not all babies fit the typical 8-35 lbs birth to potty training that most one-size diapers are designed. And those that are on either end of the spectrum aren't going to find a great fit (too small or too large).

Thirsties took this trend to the next level and created a 2-sized diaper. (One size goes from 6-18lbs and the other goes from 18-40lbs.)  In my opinion, 2 sizes is a much better investment.

Top Reasons Why 2 Sizes Are Superior:

- Less Wear & Tear on your Diapers- Size 1 will last about a year and will stay in great condition if you have future children or want to sell them used. A one-size diaper can be rough if used from 8-35lbs. It typically is worn over 300 times if in regular rotation!
- Two Sizes give a better weight range- Starts at 6lbs and ends at 40lbs.  This way, your baby can truly use them right from birth and all the way to potty training.  Who wants to have to buy more diapers when your toddler is 2 but not ready to potty train?
- Two Sizes give a much better fit- Have you seen a newborn in a one-size diaper?  Big diaper & small baby!

Why Thirsties is Superior:

-All of their products are made in the USA.
-Most of the diapers are sewn by women in their homes!
-If there is a defect (rare as it is, it does happen from time to time), they have superior customer service.
-They are one of the greenest companies in the world (e.g. 100% powered by wind).
-Their diapers/covers have my favorite features:
     -leg gussets in their covers and duo diapers- great for preventing leaks, creates a great fit for    
      skinny or chunky babies, and keeps the diaper in place when baby is on the move
    - Their inner fleece is super soft on their duo diapers
    - The inserts swish out in the laundry on their duo diapers, which keeps you from pulling it out
    -The duo diaper inserts are the best- They have 2 different types snapped together (microfiber &
      blend).  This allows extra absorbency, less bulk, quick drying, and stay cleaner after washing.
    -Finally, I love how it gives you the option of either hook/loop (velcro) or snaps.  That's another
      blog post in itself but great for meeting the needs of all families.
-Pocket Style diapers are convenient, great for night or day, dry quicker, AND can last longer than 
  all-in-one styles.  The pocket part can easily line-dry which is less wear and tear on the diaper.

If you'd like to learn more about Thirsties' sustainable choices or about their mission, check it out. It's very impressive!


Jen Starks, Owner 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why We Don't Carry Fuzzi Bunz (Anymore)!

If you've been with us since we launched Ecological Babies (in 2008), you might remember that we carried Fuzzi Bunz for awhile.  I was excited about this diaper as it was popular and also made in factories nearby (New Orleans area and in Arkansas).  The quality of their diaper was done well and we used them with our kiddos with success.

Then, the company made a decision to shut down their American factories and start producing in China.  I was very disappointed in this change and immediately emailed their CEO, Tereson Dupuy.

My response is in regular font and hers is in bold:

"After hearing your response, I am going to seriously consider whether
I'm going to choose to keep Fuzzi Bunz as a retailer.  I definitely
want to continue supporting your business, if it still meets my

"I think it is an oxymoron that people want to support US companies, but only if they are supporting other US companies.  What about our US company that just dropped us?  What about the US companies that would not do business with us b/c we could not order 50k yards in material - it is the US companies that do not want to support small growing businesses that have forced me into overseas.  It is the US companies that can't manufacturer a decent product and force you to pay for their screw ups that have forced me into non-US based manufacturing.  But I am STILL a US based company with employees to distribute product and children to feed.  Supporting MY company IS supporting a US based company.  There is a much bigger picture that meets the eye.  

Our factory produces for Walmart and Disney.  It is a very good factory that treats its workers well.  I will be visiting in a few months (not looking forward to the flight - but will get to take my daughter to Hong Kong).  

What people do not realize, and I was quite taken back myself - is that manufacturing is a very good way of life in China.  Can you imagine working for a company that housed you, fed you, paid for your medical bills and 2 trips home each year to see your family and likely bring them back home all of the money you have made?  Not bad.  

Its a different way of life and a culture.  We can't understand it b/c we are so consumed with "things" and "freedom" but I would definitly work for a lesser wage if I did not have a house note, insurance, medical etc to pay for.  China has really cracked down in the last 10 years on manufacturing practices etc.  And I am sure there are still some bad ones.  But ours is not.  

OMG and can I tell you how much better this will be for the environenment?  Not 25 containers per year shipping raw goods to one factory, then shipping them to another warehouse then shipping them out etc.  6 containers a year - one distributor.  Much better.  

I am very happy with my decision.  thank you so much for your support."

*Note:  I underlined for emphasis on the lines that really struck me. 

To my dismay, I planned on discontinuing their diapers.  I had a fill a few orders and so I ordered a few "new" batches from their China factory.  We had delaminating issues, the color consistency was off, elastic being shot after only a few months of use, and the fleece inside wasn't as soft.

More importantly, I chose to discontinue them due to their choices that crossed over my ethical boundaries.  Walmart and Disney have been cited for their human rights violations and this is the factory where these cloth diapers are being made.  She condoned the use of housing these workers, and glamourized this lifestyle.  Are they REALLY lucky that they get to see their family 2 times a year???

One thing I love about operating my own business is that I get to choose who to support.  Granted I have and will lose customers seeking Fuzzi Bunz, but that is just fine with me. There are other companies that I also choose not to support and again, have the same customer loss.  The companies I support are ones in whom I agree with their business choices and the quality of their product.

Honestly yours,

Jen Starks, Owner 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

DIY- Mold Remover

If you are anything like me, you haven't been keeping up with those sinks and bathtub rims.  In damp locations, mold quickly builds up (especially if you live in a humid location!).

I love cleaning solutions that all you have to do is spray and then easily wipe up later for great results.  This is one of those recipes.  Unlike some recipes that have to be made right before use, this mold remover solution can keep in a spray bottle to have on hand.  Heck, you could spray your bathroom after a shower and then wipe it up next time you use the restroom.

The Players:
1/2 Cup hydrogen peroxide
1 Cup water
Few drops of tea tree oil (optional)

Someday soon, I am going to write about all the great uses of hydrogen peroxide but I love that I can find a large bottle in just about at any grocery store, dollar store, pharmacy store, and it is very inexpensive.


Mix all your ingredients into your spray bottle.  Spray a generous amount on your moldy area.  Wait at least an hour and then scrub off.  I like to use an old tooth brush for this, especially for those hard to reach areas.  Just make sure you make an obvious indication that this toothbrush is used just for cleaning. :)


Happy cleaning!


Jen Starks, Owner 

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Wearin' o' the Green

We are celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a green inspired giveaway. All you have to do to enter is share in the comments below a way that you and your family save some green, and make the earth a little more green at the same time. You can get a bonus entry by posting a picture of your child (in a cloth diaper, of course!) enjoying the outdoors on our Facebook page. Let's all celebrate making the earth a little greener!
The winner will be announced on Saturday by noon, and will receive a Thirsties Duo Diaper in meadow in the size of your choice. Size 1 fits babies 6-18 pounds, size 2 fits babies 18-36 pounds.
• Two-piece diapering system with an absorbent insert & a waterproof sleeve diaper
• An adjustable rise for extended use to suit your growing baby
• Two sizes will fit from birth-to-potty
• Leg gussets provide superior protection against leaks
• Pliable and breathable in 8 fun colors!
• Sleeve design for easy stuffing & easy cleaning
• Microfiber terry & hemp combo insert for optimal absorption-7 layers in all!
If the winner is local to Tallahassee, you can come pick it up at the REUSE Festival at Railroad Square Saturday from 1-6. There will be recycled art vendors, gardening and composting demonstrations, information booths about sustainable living, arts, crafts, and games for kids, and even a farmers market! Also lots of good food and live music. We hope you'll come see us if you can!
Happy St. Patrick's Day from Jen and Claire at Ecological Babies

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's in Your Treasure Chest?

What you spend money on says what is important to you.

What a profound statement for reflection.  Have you looked at your bills recently or around your home, your car, or your activities with a close eye recently?  Are they congruent to what you value or not?

I thought about this statement for awhile today.  Then I made my list (not comprehensive).

My Top Treasures:
Being home with my kids
Being present to my kids
Personal Balance & Empowerment/Spirituality
Healthy Eating
Having Fun
High Ethics & Social Justice
Community Building

And even though I fall short on many of these categories, I'm just going to focus on one.  I can honestly say with regret, that I have not been living as intentionally simple as I value deep down.  Simplicity is something I treasure and it feeds me spiritually.  When I am in line with my "treasures" I am a balanced person, a balanced mother.

Of course, now that I am taking the time to look, it motivates me to align my values with my wallet.  Every time I let cheap plastic "crap" implode in my house (sometimes through no fault of my own that they arrived), I am making a personal statement.  My children catch on to this statement.  Is this what I want them to see as normal?

Ok before I go and feel guilty about this, I am going to take action to get back on track.  This comes as a perfect time of the year (spring cleaning).  While I'm at it, I can do a little deep cleaning in those neglected areas of the house.   I'm not out for perfection, just intention to move in the direction I want to be moving.

What about your treasure chest?  What's in there?  Do your treasures need to be taken out and polished to shine?


Jen Starks, Owner 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Diaper Liner vs. Diaper Inserts-What's the Difference?

The cloth diapering lingo can make the learning process daunting.  What's worse, some companies labels their parts different (inserts, soaker pads, doublers, liners, etc) and it can completely put a beginner into a state of confusion.  Today, I want to clarify the difference between Diaper Inserts and Diaper Liners.  Very simple to learn!

Diaper Liners

These are strips of fabric (usually fleece or some type of rice-paper) that lay on top of the inside of the diaper.  It will be the material that actually touches your baby's skin.  Its purpose is to both wick away moisture (or draw moisture away) from your baby's skin and to make cleaning up poopy diapers easier.  It can also be a safeguard if you want to protect your diapers from certain ointments (prescription creams, etc) Note: They do not add any absorbency.

When it wicks away moisture, it obviously leave the baby's skin feeling dry.  This means more comfort to the baby, less skin irritation, and more protection from diaper rash.

When you are on the go, having the disposable liners (rice-paper like material) make cleaning up poopy diapers a breeze.  Instead of carrying around a poopy diaper in your wet bag, you just remove the liner and flush it down the toilet.  Moreover, you aren't dunking your hands or swishing the diaper in a public restroom.  Yuck!  These disposable liners also wick away moisture and are very inexpensive, so it's a win win.

The fleece liner serves the same purpose as the disposable liners.  The fleece liners are obviously washable, so you can use them again and again.  I would also bet that they are more comfortable against the skin compared to their disposable counterparts.  Fleece liners are a great option to add more comfort to babies exclusively wearing prefolds or other cotton materials leaving their skin damp. 

Diaper Inserts

Ok, diapers inserts.  They are multiple layers of material (cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfiber, etc) sewn together that are design to absorb all the liquid in the diaper.  Most often they are inserted into a pocket-style diaper but sometimes can also be laid inside a diaper cover.  I typically don't recommend laying it inside a diaper cover because it can move around causing the diaper to leak or sometimes sag down.  And putting a microfiber insert directly against the baby's skin can cause a rash and is highly not recommended!

Any questions?


Jen Starks, Owner 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY- Dishwasher Detergent- That Works!

Ok folks!  I'm very pleased to share that we've had much success with the homemade dishwasher detergent I've made for us.  Honestly, I'm thrilled about this one because this is one product I never seem to keep track of until we were out.  Now, I can pull out my recipe (maybe even memorize it!) and just make a fresh batch at the convenience of my home.  (Note: Who said making your own cleaners are a hassle and inconvenient?!)

Again, this one just has 3 simple ingredients and some were used in our glass cleaner.


Borax & Washing Soda- Equal Parts
White Distilled Vinegar- 1 Cup (optional)

Note: If you have water that is softened, this should work just fine.  This recipe (without the white distilled vinegar) did not work.  We have very hard water.  If your water runs on the hard side, adjust your washing soda and put in about a cup of water.  I actually doubled the washing soda.

Keep the dry mix in a container.


1. Scoop out enough mix to fill the soap dispensing container in your dishwasher and lock it up
2. Then pour in some white distilled vinegar directly into the dishwasher (I actually don't do exact measurements but just pour about a cup from the bottle).

Here's a comparison of what my dishes looked like without the extra washing soda and vinegar.

I love that I can adjust the ingredients to make it work for the hardness of my water.  Many of my purchased detergents have left a film and I've been dissatisfied.  Now I have that autonomy (and you can too!)


Jen Starks, Owner 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Perks of Homemade Green Cleaners!

Making my own homemade solution reminds me of some of the major reasons we chose cloth diapers.

1.  Health Benefits (for baby AND mama)

One of my favorite parts of using my own cleaning solution is that I'm comfortable having my kids use them to "help" clean with me.  I don't have to worry if they spray it accidentally in their eyes.  I don't have to hide it in a top cupboard or locked cabinet.  I don't have to do it while they are sleep, so they won't come in and inhale toxic fumes.  It is safe if they come up to a mirror and lick their reflection. :)

I know it is not going to cause a skin rash because of some strange preservative or artificial fragrance that is in it.

For my own personal health,  I am not concerned about breathing in any fumes while I'm cleaning.  In the winter, I'm not opening the windows to ventilate the air and freeze my kashunkas off.  Hours later, I'm not smelling bleach in my nose or feel a burning sensation in my lungs.  That's kinda nice! :)

2. Cost Benefits

Now I am the first to admit that numbers aren't my strong suit.  Not in a long shot!  But like cloth diapers, it is an upfront invest where the savings add up with each use.  If you haven't already purchased some of the major players in cleaning products (vinegar, baking soda, borax, etc), you'll have to put in a little bit of money up front. BUT these can often be found at dollar stores and you can purchase them in bulk for even more savings.

I am going to have to sit down and plug in these numbers and compare it to my seventh generation products I was using previously.  It appears that I am paying twice as much for store bought items than what I am making but it might even be more than double.  Stay tuned!

3.  Better for the Earth

In our culture of convenience, Mother Earth seems tends to be a low priority for reasons to change our personal choices.  However, I am sure we all want the Earth to be as nice (OR NICER!) for our kiddos than what it is currently.  Green cleaners don't put nasty chemicals in our water system and poison animals and plants.

When you make your own cleaners, you use less packaging and resources to use it.  It feels good using our containers and spray bottles over and over again.

4.  Personal Satisfaction

There is much personal satisfaction when I learn a new way to become self reliant.  I now know that I don't have to rely on big companies and spend their inflatable costs in order to clean up my house.

Making my own solution gives me more autonomy.  I get to choose what scent I want my room to smell like, can add more ingredients to cater to my specific needs (e.g. harder water, etc).  I don't have to wait until a product goes "on sale" to stock up or head to the store when I'm desperately needing to run my dishwasher.  Yes, that has happened to me more than once!!

Much like cloth diapers, I know I am making a good choice for my entire family (and our wallet!).  It's another choice that seems as intimidating as rocket science, yet it's soooo simple to do.  Jump on the hippie band wagon (or not!) and join our series in green cleaning this month.



Jen Starks, Owner

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cloth Diapers-What is the Hardest Part?

When I was pregnant with my first child, Rita Clare, I used to have nightmares about cloth diapers.  I spent many hours poured into different websites trying to learn what I needed to know to get started.  Overwhelmed, I almost gave up on the idea entirely.  I ended up registering for a random mix of what I could find online and when they arrived, I had no idea what to do with them. 

That is a big reason I started Ecological Babies.  I wanted to educate and support those of you who sincerely want to give this a try for whatever reason is driving you to use cloth diapers.  It turns out that cloth diapers aren't difficult at all.  The hardest part was the initial learning about the types, how many, how to wash them, etc.  If you let us help you learn, it is even easier (and actually quite fun!).

The next difficult part is making the initial leap after you baby is born.  There are so many new experiences when the baby arrives (breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, baby wearing, and MUCH more), starting cloth diapers doesn't seem to be on the radar for some.  Again, I didn't have the support I needed and when Rita Clare was first born (picture of her above at 4 wks), I used what the hospital gave me until we came home.  When Tyler was born (my second), it was a no brainer to put him in cloth straight away.

But much like all other aspects of parenting, you just jump in and call us if you need extra support.  Once you go through 2-3 cycles of using your diapers, washing them, and then getting them ready for their next use (stuffing them, putting them away), it is a snap.

Honestly, that's it.  Ask any cloth diapering mama or daddy and they will testify.  If you are needing any support in this initial stage, seriously contact us.  We'd love to help!


Jen Starks, Owner 

Monday, March 5, 2012

March Newsletter

I'm going to start posting our  monthly newsletters on here, in case people want to read about new products, specials, and our themes for the month.

Click here to check it out.  If you like it, we'd love you to subscribe.  That's pretty much the only email we send out like that.


Jen Starks,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Glass Cleaner- DIY

Here's our first green cleaner to add to your new homemade products.  I have to say that I am almost embarrassed to post this, as it is SOOOO simple.  Many of you savvy readers have probably been doing this one already.  For those of your novices, this is an excellent example of how SIMPLE it will be to start making your own cleaning solutions.

1 liter (1/2 gallon) Water
2 teaspoons White distilled vinegar
~1/2 teaspoon dish soap (optional)
few drops of essential oil (optional)
Spray Bottle

I buy my vinegar in these giant sizes as buying in bulk is both better for the environment (less packaging per ounce) and significantly cheaper.  Some have used other kinds of vinegar but this is easily accessible.

Easy Directions:
Mix the water and vinegar together.  The dish soap is the next to add.  Dish soap is really only necessary if you are new to switching over to homemade products.  The commercial brands (like Windex) put a wax film on your glass and mirrors. Without the dish soap, you'll have streaking.  After the wax has been removed (it may take 2-3 time of washing with your new solution), you don't need to have the dish soap.  Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lemon or tea tree oil are good ones!).

The solution is going to go in a spray bottle.  At this moment, I just have a clear plastic one but am looking into "greener" options.  If you have one you like, please let me know!  I would advise you to purchase a spray bottle of either good or at least decent quality.  This is a bottle you will hopefully be able to still be using for a long time.  The cheap plastic ones break so quickly and when you are cleaning, the last thing you want to do is to have a leaky bottle or one that doesn't spray well.

Some of you prefer to use crumpled up newspaper to wipe up the solution.  I use a few old rag socks.  But one of the best options are microfiber cloths.  If you have any old microfiber inserts from your diapers that you aren't using anymore, here's a chance to revive their use!!! The key is to wipe before it is dry to avoid streaking and to go up & down rather than in a circular motion.

At first, the room will have a vinegar scent.   But the smell disappears much faster than when you use other commercial brands.  If you use an essential oil, that scent remains for awhile after the vinegar smell is gone.  

Voila!   :)



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235