Live Happy, Live Healthy, Live Green

My tips for living happy, healthy, and green!

Category : Ways to Save Money

Make Your Own Baby Food

Since my little man started eating a month ago I have been making all of his baby food. I started him on solid foods at 6 months old. He is loving eating solid foods! Making his food from the start is my way of influencing his eating habits for the rest of his life. I want to teach him from the beginning to eat healthy fruits and vegetables.

There are many benefits to making your own baby food:

1. You know exactly what is in the food! If you make it yourself you know there is no added sugar or preservatives.

2. Saves money…baby food in jars can get expensive. By making your own you can fruits and vegetables that are on sale, in season, or you can grow them your self.

3. Its good for the baby and the environment. No buying jars and recycling them. Think about how many jars of food you would go through in a month!

4. The food is Fresh. Even if you make a week or months worth of food at once and then freeze it, it will be fresher then the stuff in the jars at the store.

Its easy to make baby food. All you need is a pan, steamer baskets, and food processor or baby food grinder.

Step 1:

Wash and prepare fruit or vegetable. I leave the skin on until after I have steamed the item to keep more of vitamins and nutrients intact. I try to always choose organic fruits and veggies, this way I know they are free of pesticides and other harmful toxins.

Step 2: Steam fruit or vegetable. Place steamer basket over a couple of inches of water and cover. Timing depends of what item you are making. I just check the softness periodically.

Step 3: Peel fruit or veggie if needed.

Step 4: Place in food processor and blend to desired consistency. If stage 1 food you can add breast milk, formula, or water from the pan used for steaming to create a smoother consistency.

Step 5: If freezing place in freezer safe containers and place in freezer. Most items are good in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I like to take a day each week to make a week to a week and half worth of foods. That is what works best for me. I know some people will make food once a month and that works also.

Cloth Diapering 101

So when my little man was about 4 months old I started using cloth diapers….we have been at it for about 3 months now and things are going well. I wanted to share with you a few tips that I come to use along the way.

First here is what I use so far:

I use the GroVia One Size shells along with the snap in inserts and some pre folds. I use the prefolds during the day when we are at home and I can change him often. I use the snap in GroVia inserts at night and if we are going out and about. Also at night I have started using the GroVia soaker pads which I have found to be very helpful. My little man is a heavy wetter at night and was soaking through every night until I started using the soaker pads. He sleeps about 10 hours every nights so its great now that when he wakes up his clothes are not soaked!

To start I would have to say you should have at least 3 shells and 12 inserts of some type. I started with less of both and ended up ordering more within in 2 weeks because I couldn’t keep up with the laundry. Currently I have 12 prefolds, 12 snap inserts, 4 soaker pads, and 3 shells. For my next purchase I will get 2 more shells and 4 more soaker pads and probably 2 more snap in inserts. After that I think I will be set at least for awhile. GroVia is the only brand I have used so far, but didn’t feel the need to try anything else because I really like the way they work. I did a lot of reading and talked with a few people before choosing and I think I made the right choice for me and my little man.

Tip 1: Have enough inserts and shells right from the start. If you are just starting and can’t get a lot to begin with…make sure you have some backup disposable diapers. There is nothing worse then getting ready to leave for the day and realizing that the load of diapers you thought you put into the dryer, you didn’t! Now you have no clean diapers and are running late.

Tip 2: Follow the directions! I know this may sound obvious, but you really do need to wash the inserts and soaker pads multiple times before using if you want them to be effective.

Tip 3: Remember that the inserts are not going to look brand new forever. I have some perfectionist tendencies and that has caused me to obsess over the smallest discoloration on the diapers.  Yes you want them to be clean, but there will be some spots you just can’t get out no matter how hard you try!

Tip 4: Figure out what works best for you. I did a lot of reading to try to figure out what I should do. Then finally I just went and got some stuff to start. You just have to start and go from there to see how it works for you.

The Power of Breastfeeding

I am a new mom, my little guy is now 4 months old. And being a new mom I research everything, I want to give my little guy the best and healthiest life possible! So I am breastfeeding him exclusively until he is at least 6 months old. I know there are moms out there that absolutely love breastfeeding, I would not say I am one of those people but I do it because I know that it is best for my baby boy. And another great thing is there are benefits for you as well as your little one.

Here is a list of some of the many many benefits to you and your baby!

  • The “Early Milk” Colostrum is a thick yellow milk that is full of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs and is the perfect amount for their tiny tummies.
  • Breast milk changes from Colostrum to mature milk about 3 to 5 days after the baby is born. The mature milk is full of the right amount fats, nutrients, protein, and antibodies your baby needs to continue their growth.
  • Breast milk is much easier on the your little ones tummy and easier for them to digest. Your babies digestive system is not full developed when they are born, so breast milk is much easier on your baby and you. If your baby has an upset tummy you are going to hear about it!
  • Breast fed babies have a lower risk many diseases. Formula cannot match the unique chemical make up of breast milk. Babies that are formula fed have a higher risk of asthma, obesity, childhood leukemia, type 1 and 2 diabetes, SIDS, and many others.
  • Newborns need physical contact to feel safe and secure. Breastfeeding is the perfect time to provide that to your baby. It is a time where you have to relax and sit with your baby. It is a great time to bond with your new bundle of joy! This bonding time is also great for the new mom, you have sit and relax which is something you need to do.
  • Breastfeeding can save you a lot of money! According to womenshealth.gov the formula and feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 each year.
  • Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and postpartum depression is the mother.
  • Breastfeeding is “Green”, there is a lot of waste reduced by breastfeeding. Less formula packaging and bottles in our landfills.

These are just a few of many many benefits for you, and your baby! Here are few links that have more information.

http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/why-breastfeeding-is-important/

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/index.htm

http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1028/mainpageS1028P0.html

Being Green Everyday

Here is a list of few things we have started doing to continue to be green…

  1. My husband got a bike to ride to work, since we moved a couple months ago we are now only 3.5 miles from my husbands office.
  2. Join are local freecycle group. This is an online group where local people can offer items for free and people can post things they are looking for. A great way for items to be reused and not just thrown into the land fill!
  3. Stopped using paper towel for cleaning. Rags work just as well and this also saves money on buying more paper towel. I use old t-shirts and dish towels as rags which is another way of reusing!
  4. I try to no longer get plastic bags when I grocery shop but there are the times I forget or don’t bring enough bags. So we use the plastic bags for picking up poop…we have 2 dogs and use the bags when we take them out. Much better then buying the special bags to dog poop.

What are the little things you do everyday to continue your green lifestyle?

Monthly Grocery Shopping Trips

After doing a lot of reading on different blogs I have decided I am going to try to do once a month grocery shopping.

Reasons Why:

  • Less time at the grocery store…I hate the grocery store
  • Less opportunity for impulse buys…we all do it
  • A months of meals available and planned
  • Save Money

Step 1:

The first thing I am doing to get this plan started is to create a spread sheet with a list of the dinners we enjoy and where and if I need a recipe for them, also on the spreadsheet I have included side dishes, lunches, and breakfasts. This way when I sit down to plan a months worth of meals I don’t have to open all my cookbooks, magazines, and recipes boxes…I have all of our favorites in one spot. This may take a few ours for me to create, but will save me a lot of time in the longs run and I can add to it as we go with new favorites.

Step 2:

Print out a Monthly Menu Planner I found mine at Organized Home. I will sit down with my spreadsheet and create a menu for the month. First I will mark on the calendar any days I know we will either be out of town or have plans for dinner already. Now I will start with breakfast because that is easy, we usually choose one thing for the entire week and then have some sort of eggs on the weekends. Next I will do dinners, I will do lunches last so I can figure in leftovers from dinners. Lastly lunches for myself and to pack for my husband.

Step 3:

Create a list based off of the menu and what I already have available in the freezer and pantry. During this time I will also go through my coupons and my online coupons to find as many as possible to take a long with me to save money…which is one of my main goals in all this. I will also sit down with the local papers to see if any of the local stores are have a wonderful sale on items I may need. I have not completely decided where I plan to do a majority of the shopping, I leaning to Aldi for the staple items, Trader Joe’s for the majority, and other for sale items and coupon items. Although that may seem like a lot of stopping, but most of the stores I would go to are within a couple miles of where I live.

Step 4:

Shopping day. I will be doing the shopping on either a day I can go on my own…leaving my 2 month old with his daddy or on a day that daddy can come with us. Its not easy to grocery shop with a 2 month old unless he is sound asleep. I also hope to either get to the store early in the morning or later in the evening, I don’t like crowded grocery stores.

Other things I am still working out. I plan to freeze items that are perishable like bread, veggies, and fruits. I also plan to get some fruits and veggies at our local farmers markets which I enjoy visiting. Also if I plan to have an item for dinner twice in a month I will make it once and freeze the second half.

Any ideas or advice would be great. I will report back to let you know how things are working and if it is saving us money on our monthly grocery bills.

Zucchini Bread

My garden has been producing a lot of Zucchini and one of my favorite things to do it so make Zucchini Bread/Muffins.

Here is my favorite recipe:

Applesauce-Zucchini Bread

1 c. Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2 c. Sugar

1/2 c. Brown Sugar

3 Eggs (slightly beaten)

2 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Baking Powder

2 t. Vanilla

2 c. Grated Zucchini

3 c. Whole Wheat Flour

Mix eggs, sugars, applesauce and vanilla together. In a separate bowl stir together all dry ingredients and add to applesauce mixture. Squeeze excess water from grated zucchini and stir into batter. Pour into greased and floured loaf or muffin pans.

Bake loaf pans at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

I had to eat one of the muffins before I could even take the picture!

Yummy!

How To Blanch Tomatoes

My garden has been producing a ton of tomatoes! A great way to store them is to blanch them and then freeze them. This is easy to do and doesn’t require any items that you don’t already have in your kitchen. This way you can save the tomatoes for making fresh salsa, spaghetti sauce, and chili throughout the fall and winter!

Items Needed:

  • Large pan of boiling water
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Strainer
  • Bowl for compost
  • Freezer bags

Step 1:

Boil water and place tomatoes in for 30-45 seconds, I usually put about 5 in at a time.

Step 2:

Using slotted spoon move tomatoes from boiling water to the bowl of ice water

Step 3:

Peel off tomatoes skin and cut tomatoes into quarters

Step 4:

Remove seeds and squeeze out excess liquid, then place tomatoes into strainer

Step 5:

Place stained tomatoes into freezer bags and freeze

Tip: leave tomatoes in stainer for a couple of hours or overnight to drain out all excess liquid

Now you have tomatoes ready to thaw and use. Also the seeds and peels are great to put into your compost.

Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Making your own baby wipes is a great way to save money and it only takes a few minutes.You probably have everything you need already.

Start with a roll of paper towels….I use Viva (less then $4 for 2 rolls)

Cut the roll of paper towels in half with a bread knife (now you have 4 rolls for wipes)

In a bowl combine:

1 C Water

1 T baby wash

1/2 T Olive Oil

1 t lavender or tea tree oil (optional)

Pour mixture over one of your four rolls in a tupperwear container with a lid. Let sit for 10 minutes and then flip over and let sit for another 10 minutes. Now pull your roll out and remove the center cardboard and you have a roll of wipes, store in a air tight container.

My next project is to learn how to sew my own cloth diapers…that will be a real money saver! I can’t believe it costs me over $10 for a 30 pack of newborn diapers!

New Get Clean Water from Shaklee

Get Clean Water Get the new “Get Clean” Water filtration pitcher from Shaklee.  We all know that there can be harmful contaminates in our water and who wants to be constantly going to the store to buy bottles of water…not to mention all the plastic used to make those bottles and the amount of waste they create. The “Get Clean” Water filtration pitcher is a great way to save money, be green, and know that the water you are drinking is safe, clean, and tastes great!

I can’t wait to get this product. I am tired of buying bottled water or gallon jugs of water. The water we have in our new house is not something I want to drink without it being filtered first!

Click Here for more information and to order the Get Clean Water Filtration pitcher!

Save Money…Plant A Garden

Now that I am a stay at home Mom! We are finding as many ways as possible to reduce the amount of money we spend. One way we decided to do that is by putting in a vegetable garden. Not only does this save us money on the items we buy at the grocery store, but this way we know exactly where our veggies are coming from and what has been put on them. I used organic plant food and organic bug killer with no pesticides in them…this way I know that we are not eating the residue of anything toxic!

I planted the garden Memorial weekend and have already been enjoying many fresh vegetables.

Items in my garden:

Tomatoes – 3 variates

Basil

Jalapeno Peppers

Red Pepper

“Hottie” Peppers

Green Peppers

Sweet Potatoes

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Watermelon

Pumpkins

Onions

Swiss Chard

Here is what we have done with the ripe items so far…

Swiss Chard: We use on sandwiches and in salads…no more buying lettuce!

Basil: Made pesto, use in salads, to flavor many recipes, and to make spreads.

Zucchini: Great grilled as a side dish for dinner, made zucchini muffins and bread.

Peppers: Use to flavor many recipes, use in salsa, and dried for future use

Cucumbers: Made cucumber salads, eat plain, and made pickles

Uses for future ripe items:

Tomatoes: Will be used in salads, on sandwiches, to make salsa, and to make spaghetti sauce

Onions: Will be used in salads, on sandwiches, in many recipes and to make salsa

Hopefully you can use these ideas to create your own garden or to use the items you already have in a garden. Any other ideas I haven’t mentioned for these items please let me know.