Category Archives: Yippie

Cloth Diaper Tips

I’ve been feeling a bit naked lately…without schlepping cloth diapers to/from the office/childcare. You see, once we got serious about potty training and having Girly visit the Toddler room for potty visits, it became challenging for staff to tote clean/dirty diapers between classrooms with up to four Wobblers. I can only imagine the feet of patience that would require, so in an effort to support their effort, I agreed to no longer using cloth diapers at “school”… naturally hoping that this will speed the process toward no diapers altogether!

cloth diaper tips Not that I want to brag about our effort to use cloth diapers almost full time, but it is pretty rare. I was lucky that the first few months after Girly was in childcare she attended a place that provided cloth service (at no extra charge!), so when we transitioned, I didn’t really want to give that up. But I also knew that it would require quite a bit of effort on my part. Beyond doing two extra loads of diapers per week , one of my initial tests was getting full support of staff to use cloth. They were open to it, but still needed some support on the learning curve…some of these tips should be helpful to new parents too!

Note, most critical factor to hauling dirty diapers is a smell proof container. I bought snapping boxes with handles at Storables, and they truly keep the smell out. I skipped expensive diaper pails in our laundry area for a large snap close tub.

Here is the personal tip sheet that I made for staff to help with using cloth diapers:

Cloth Diaper Tips

Thank you for making the extra effort to use our cloth diapers!

I try to set them up in advance so you don’t have much prep work. Here are a few tips to help make both our lives a bit easier:


  • There are a variety of style diapers – all of Makenna’s fasten in front (G’s are in back)
  • Please use the thin liners whenever possible – helps remove solids easily
  • Pocket diapers or All-in-ones: These can only be used once.
  • Wraps can be used multiple times with fresh folding cloth inserts. They are designed to be very repellent and only need to be washed when poop gets on the wrap itself.


  • Please fasten the tabs to the inside Velcro squares – see photos below, this step doesn’t take any extra time really, but it does save me from fastening before washing.
  • Using one bag to line the box daily is sufficient – saves time on both sides.

Darcy and family

Here’s a review of the new Bum Genius diapers, which happen to be one favorite brand

Do you use cloth diapers in a childcare setting…any tips?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Grocery Delivery – is it worth the price?

I’ve raved often of my love for Spud, for our organic grocery delivery service. So, I was dismayed to discover they are going out of business in the Portland area, effective immediately.

Ironically, this past week I had been inspired by Parent Hacks printable grocery list and started a draft of our ongoing grocery list. I had smugly colored all the items that we got regularly from Spud. Yet, before my list was even print ready, the sad news was sinking in…I’m going to be heading to the grocery store a whole lot more often again.

Naturally, they recommended two other delivery options in the Portland area – Organics to You and New Seasons

Organics to You surely has great produce, but they lack the dairy/staples that I’ve grown to love from Spud. The other problem is that Organics to You operates essentially like a CSA – there are no substitutions for orders – if you don’t like brussel sprouts you’re still stuck with them. 

New Seasons is a full service market, but they charge $10 for each delivery I love New Season’s, but the closest one is a 15 minute drive and I almost always spend more than I expect. I suspect that the $10 charge may be worth the savings on impulse spending.

Update:  New Seasons announces that they will soon stop their  grocery delivery service

The other problem is that time feels like money, and I have a feeling that I’m going to spending more of my valuable free at the grocery store…

For tomorrow, I know I’m now out of cream for my coffee…

Do have your groceries delivered?
Is it worth the price?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Dr. Bronner’s Soap & Film

It may be a bit nerdy, but Hubby and I love a  good documentary. Over the weekend we rented Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox from Netflix. It was a really intriguing film about the legacy of a man, and now a family.

Since my parents were some of the hippies who flocked to his “magic soap,” I’ve grown up on Dr. Bronner’s .  I’ve always loved the tingly feeling of the peppermint, and the fact that it’s biodegradable. I enjoy their lotions too, and have the lavender one at my bed side.

I remember sometime in childhood asking my Mom about the religious/spiritual messages on the soap labels…all-one seemed like a unifying belief, but I wasn’t so sure how the rest of it fit together…Dr Bronner’s philosophy blends lots of different truths to create his own unique truth. 

Dr. Bronner lived a fascinating life, and was steadfast in sharing his truth. CIA files labeled him as a “nutty,” although it’s to know if his shock therapy in the “nut house” only made his preaching more emphatic. Disturbingly, he sacrificed his children for his cause, and they grew up in orphanages while he traveled sharing his gospel.  I don’t want to give away the whole film, but the trailer is below and you can start to get a feel for the zany scientist/soap-maker/spiritual speaker. 

I also learned some more reasons to love Dr. Bronner’s soap:

  • First to produce a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle.
  • Organic and proud of it – they’ve been working hard to keep the standards high
  • Fair Trade – and not just their supply chain – DB’s top execs make no more than 5 times the lowest paid employee, and all staff have health care and retirement plans
  • Advocates for industrial hemp – hemp’s high omegas make it great for soap!

Dr. Bronner’s granddaughter is a mom, and has a blog all about her ways of going green.

As suggested, I use it for both personal hygiene and household cleaning. I have yet to try all of the ways they suggest using it though, and I’m planning to get more adventurous in my usage. If you start using Dr. Bronner’s religiously, I promise you’ll save your family money and promote sustainable and people-friendly business practices.

Here’s the trailer to the film about the magic soap maker:

Does your family use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Changing the Conversation – Book Review

Back to writing after my “spring break“…it was a nice retreat, minus a vomiting and feverish Girly on our mini-vacation to the coast…alas I just hope she’s back to energetic self here soon…

I did manage to finish reading  Changing the Conversation: Transformational Steps to Financial and Family Well-Being . Written by financial planner, Gary Klaben, it was a refreshingly easy and enjoyable read. It was packed with personal anecdotes, and was not overly prescriptive about how you should manage your family finances. Actually, it had more professional/personal success advice than I was expecting, but truthfully all success is closely intertwined. A financial planner who can’t provide advice on how to earn money to begin with won’t be of much help managing any such wealth.

My only criticism of that the book really doesn’t dwell on the early years of family financial planner, which is where my family is at the moment. I would have liked some advice on saving for college…or in my case, paying off my college loans. I would have also been interested to know his thoughts on the financial equation of paying for child care or what he thinks about the trend toward maternal breadwinners

To his credit, Klaben does have one chapter on Financial Awareness where he discusses teaching kids about money, and his own approach to allowances. Personally, I like his approach to allowances. His family had a simple plan, starting at age 6, they gave each child their own age in weekly allowance ($6 for a 6 yo…$12 for a 12 yo.) The only string attached was that every two months the child needed to save $25, which would be matched to put into a mutual fund. He quotes Capitate Your Kids by Dr. John E Whitcomb and discusses how “Basically, a 12 year old is given a $200 monthly budget to buy his or her clothes and other non-essential items. Mom and Dad no longer provide the clothing needs.” He does admit that some hand holding is needed early on, but giving children money is the the only way they’ll learn from it.

While approachable from virtually all stages of life, I think this book would be most useful for those in their late forties and up to retirement age. Klaben doesn’t hide that he’s a baby-boomer, and it’s clear that this is a retrospective about what he’s learned in his life as a financial planner. He has a great deal of wisdom to share with regard to retirement, and I appreciate how he thinks that in order to truly enjoy retirement, you need to find ways to give back to your community (our goal is to do the Peace Corps when we retire!) 

I was probably most surprised to find him spending a chapter on “Whose property do you own?” and the notion that we can easily become sucked into the trapping of ownership, especially land. 

“I’m reminded of a saying that illustrates the power that property has over us: ‘The king fears the man who stands before him with no need.’ It is a very profound statement. During feudal time, the serf could have rebelled against the ‘indentured servant equals food and shelter’ formula. He could have repudiated the system of property rights and refused to become a slave to the system. Arguably he could have lived off the land and put himself out for hire. 

When your think about, a feudal system of property rights still exists today. The difference: The king has been replaced by consumerism. We can do without three TVs, three-car garages, three personal phones, and on and on. We choose to “own” these extras because it makes life easier and more enjoyable. 

Money can’t buy happiness, but is makes the journey more comfortable. So, are you controlling the money or is the money controlling you?”

This quote gives a good example of how Klaben suggests “Changing the Conversation” is some transformational ways.

Lastly, I found it very intriguing to read this book right on the heels of the Energy of Money, because he opens the book by talking about how our relationship with money is a very personal journey, and he devotes a chapter to financial psychology.

Have you read Changing the Conversation
I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Considering Carless

As I shared yesterday, on my “sugar mama” post, we are planning to sell our car very soon…s o, if you are in the market for a well-loved   2008 Subaru Forester with less than $25k   miles, you know where to find me 😉  

The biggest reason we are selling our car is because we don’t use it enough to justify the expense…when we bought our car we were using it on a daily basis, our commute wasn’t long, but we were using it regularly. But in the past 2 1/2 years our average use is twice a week. So each time we get in the car is costs us more than $50 a trip! Obviously this is too much.

We are also seriously considering going carless. At a minimum we will do a one month challenge, but if we can at all manage, we’ll stay carless until the fall. We have plenty of other options for getting around that are much cheaper.

Instead of driving, we’ll ride the bus/max or bicycle together. When we decide we do want to use a car for an excursion, we’ll rent a Zipcar. Within a 10 minute walk we have several vehicle options, including a few mini-vans. We also anticipate that we’ll rent a car for camping trips during the summer, but we typically plan these out far in advance and the extra cost will still be less than a car payment. For the occasional festivity, we’ll plan on taking a cab, which will be make the designated driver choice pretty easy. 

So, yes, this is a big experiment, and maybe we’ll fail miserably and decide that we need a car to get around as a family…but I figure now is the best time to try it out…

Is your family carless? 
Could you manage without a car?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.