And ours gets to start a little early, because Terry has tomorrow (Friday) off! Hooray! We have a few laid back activities planned--Terry is donating blood, we're going out to lunch, hopefully some exercise here and there--but it should be a quiet weekend. It's been so nice to really kick back these last few weekends after our whirlwind month or so in May and early June. Next week we'll travel up north for my dad's birthday, which is always a hectic adventure.
Lately we've really been planning and (mostly) sticking to our meals at home. I always, always, always feel better when I eat mostly homemade foods, and yet somehow I always get suckered into wanting to eat out. I guess it's a little easier, and of course there are no dishes to do, but otherwise eating out does not make me feel good. Plus, it's expensive! I love cooking, I love trying new recipes, I love feeding myself and my family with foods I know for sure are healthy. So we're making a real effort around here to eat in as much as possible.
Of course, when we're presented with an opportunity to go out just the two of us, all that effort goes straight out the window and we run to the nearest restaurant to have a conversation over meals that we didn't cook and we don't have to clean up, and that's okay too.
So with that in mind, I thought I'd share some of what we've been eating around here lately:
Our second Blue Apron meal (blurry)--Pork chops with dressed sweet potatoes
Copycat Lara bar balls--1 cup cashews, 1 cup pitted dates, 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut, and 1 tsp salt
Our third Blue Apron meal--chicken pitas with tabbouleh
Marshall's meal (here are more!) the other day--a homemade muffin, roasted sweet potatoes, cheese, avocado, and yogurt with blueberries
Lunch twice this week: salad with shredded cheese, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, and a Dr. Praeger's veggie burger (my first time trying it--very good)
Day date with Terry! We went to True Food Kitchen for drinks. Delicious!
....And a dinner date too! We tried out The Honor Bar, and the burger was awesome. Terry had the carnitas sandwich, which was also good.
Another Marshall meal--mac and cheese, peas, and grapes.
YUM. Now it's 10 pm and I feel like I could go back and eat all those meals right now.
I also wanted to share our progress on using cloth diapers!
We moved into our place mid-May, and we love love love our washer and dryer. I caught up on laundry that first week, and we haven't had a build-up since then. I usually do a load or two every other day, and that keeps us on top of things around here. But having laundry in-unit also allowed us to bust out our cloth diapers again, which we had put away while living in our old place (walking up and down three floors plus paying per load was not a magical combination for wanting to wash cloth diapers three times a week). Here's an update in Q&A form, with questions I had before I started cloth diapering:
We have a total of 16 cloth diapers, which would not be enough for a newborn but is just about perfect for a 14-month-old if we wash the diapers every other day. For a newborn (and for our next child), I would want at least 25.
Do I still need to buy disposables?
For us, it's unrealistic to expect to forego disposables altogether. I always have them on hand--at home and in the diaper bag--because a few times we've needed to run the wash for the cloth and have to use disposables in the meantime. Also, if anyone else is watching Marshall, I don't ask them to do cloth, unless they want to, so I always leave disposables on the changing table and they can choose. I'd say we use around 5-10 disposable diapers per week now (we still love The Honest Company), which is saving us a lot of money for sure!
Umm...how disgusting is it, exactly? And what is the cleaning process?
I was honestly never too worried about the mess or getting baby poop on me, but I can definitely see where some folks might think cloth diapers are gross or won't get clean enough or something. But it's pretty straightforward. We store wet/dirty diapers in a hanging wet bag and keep it zipped. For a newborn poopy diaper, you just throw the whole thing in the wet bag. Once we introduced solid foods, things changed, so to speak, so now we empty the soiled diaper into the toilet and then place it into the wet bag. It's not that bad, I swear. Of course, there are the occasional diapers that require extra scraping, but I don't want to get too graphic here. Feel free to ask me for more details...
Portable wet bag (for the diaper bag)
Every two days, we run a load of diapers (just diapers, no other clothes in the same cycle...maybe that's obvious). The only gross part is taking the liners out of the diaper covers, but it takes about a minute. We have a high efficiency, fancy washer, so we set it to do a pre-rinse and a hot wash so that the detergent and diapers get lots of quality time in there. Then we set the diaper covers to dry on our laundry rack (some are dry within about two hours) and throw the liners and wet bag (that gets washed too) into the dryer when the next load of regular clothes gets dried. Hopefully that makes sense. Then we insert all the liners before putting the diapers away, to make diaper changes quick and easy.
Oh! And we use All brand liquid detergent. I tried Honest Company, but it just wasn't quite strong enough, so until I find a more natural detergent that really works I'm going with All Free & Clear.
What brands should I buy?
I researched lots of reviews and decided to try two different brands. Most folks say you keep trying one of each brand until you find one you like, so I think we're lucky we liked the second one. Charlie Banana are not our favorite, but we have six and still use them. They are fleece on the inside, which is HOT for LA. Also, we've had lots of leaks in those, so we make sure to change them after 90 minutes or less. BumGenius 4.0 are my favorite. They have an insert that folds over for double leak protection, and Marshall sleeps all night in those (up to 11-12 hours, no leaks!).
BumGenius Freetime is super easy because it doesn't use liners; it has attached "liners" that fold over. But it's also pretty bulky and seems less comfortable. All of them work from newborn until potty training because they have snaps all over and you just adjust the snaps to fit your baby.
Pros and Cons?
- Saves us money. Diapers are pricey, and our little boy eats a LOT, so we go through a lot of diapers (I'd say 6-8 per day, and that's at almost 14 months; it was more before!). We also got some of the diapers as gifts from our registry, and we've purchased a lot of them at Buy Buy Baby using a 20% off coupon.
- I think Marshall is a little more comfortable, but of course that could be my own idea of comfort. They just seem less hot (except Charlie Banana--see above) than disposables because they breathe a little more.
- Good for the environment. Of course, the increased water use is a concern, especially in a drought, but we have the HE washer, and we didn't notice much of a spike in our water use, but we're keeping an eye on it.
- Cute! The diapers are cute, which I really don't care about, but I get compliments on them from other moms, so there you go.
- They do take more time. Absolutely. Diaper changes themselves aren't more difficult, but of course it's an added two or three loads of laundry per week. But then again, I almost never have to buy diapers anymore, so no more running to the store just for diapers when we get low.
- The initial cost is pricey, because each cloth diaper costs $15-20. But of course, registries help, and as I mentioned Buy Buy Baby allows the 20% off coupons. We bought ours one at a time, whenever we had an extra coupon, and we have plenty now. There are cute gender-specific designs, too, but we stuck with solids and neutral so we can use them with our next baby (fingers crossed).
- If others are watching Marshall, I don't have them use cloth, because I don't expect them to deal with tossing poop in the toilet or figuring out which snaps fit Marshall best. Also, if Marshall were in day care, I don't think cloth would be worth it because I'm pretty sure most care centers don't want to deal with cloth. The logistics seem impossible.
So there you go! It's working for us right now, and of course we're flexible if for some reason it stops working. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me or comment below!
What have you been eating lately?