Friday, June 29, 2012

Go Green with a Reusable Swim Diaper

Living a greener lifestyle doesn't always have to mean big changes. I'm a firm believer that you can go green in small ways, every day. Heck, I wish I could go out and buy a hybrid or solar panels for my house, but I can't. Instead, I look for the little things. One little thing I do is to "opt out" of using traditional swim diapers for Avery, and instead use a reusable one.

iPlay Ultimate Swim Diaper

Now I've blogged about swapping out disposable-type items before (with cloth napkins, glass straws, wool dryer balls, and even cloth diapers for Avery), but when it came to deciding what she was going to wear to the pool, I was stumped. I didn't know of any alternatives out there other than the standard, "Little Swimmers" by Huggies. Nothing against "Little Swimmers", because at least they help keep some yucky things out of public pools.  But at the end of the day I just don't like knowing that each time we go to the pool, I will be dropping one more thing into my trash can. Call it "green guilt," but I just can't do it.

Our "green-bottomed" swim girl.

To my luck, I stumbled upon a cool, green alternative called an iPlay Ultimate Swim Diaper. It works in a way similar to a cloth diaper in how your baby can wear it over and over again with a simple wash in between uses. Sounds good to me! So I got one off of (you can also find them at Buy Buy Baby and other online retailers) and we tried it out with Avery.
We just put it on under her swimsuit, like you would any other diaper, and then off we went to the pool.

It didn't take long until she was hooked, I was hooked, and I bet my local public pool was glad that I had something to keep that poop in! Did you know that most states require diapers of some kind of on all babies of non-potty trained age?

Here's the details of the diaper (according to the iPlay website):
  • features snaps down the side for quick changing
  • super absorbent inner layer absorbs wetness
  • wick away liner wicks moisture away from baby's skin
  • snug fitting around legs and waist to contain solid matter
  • UPF 50
  • they have a variety of colors and sizes to choose from (Avery wears a size large right now)

Here's some other things I like about the diaper:
  • you save money since you don't have to keep buying disposables
  • reduces waste in landfills
  • accomplishes the same goal as the disposables of helping to keep the poop in, but in a greener way
  • does not get saggy when wet in the pool like a traditional diaper or swim diaper does

Here's some "cons" of the diaper:
  • it does not hold in much liquid (in the form of pee). Basically you probably should put this on right before you head to the pool, or maybe even once you get there, otherwise your baby might leak through the swim diaper, through their swimsuit, and then onto you or anywhere else they may sit.  (You could avoid this by putting one cloth diaper, or cloth napkin in with the swim diaper to absorb the pee, and then remove it before they arrive at the pool. We just try to put it on her right before we leave to go to the pool and we're usually fine.) This is one con I can deal with because I'd rather have her possibly leak before arriving to the pool than have to wear a big, bulky swim diaper that's "more absorbent".
Let's see the diaper in action!

Here's a video of Avery and I showing how to put on the swim diaper, how she wears it in the pool and then what we do with it when we get home...

A few more things:

After getting home from the pool, I wash Avery's Swim Diaper in with our laundry, just to keep it from getting stained (we don't want that nice white turning to yellow!).  After washing it, I set it out on our porch to dry and soak up some sun. I know of a lot of cloth diaper mamas who use this "sun" trick to keep their cloth diapers looking nice and white. So far it's working for our Swim Diaper too.
This post is a perfect drying spot for the diaper.
Just flat on the porch also works.

To wrap up with, here are a few more pictures of our little "fish" Avery, wearing her iPlay Swim Diaper as she swims around one day at our local pool. You'll see her wearing a life-vest contraption thing and that's because she is one adventurous swimmer! She was hesitant in the beginning (for like 5 minutes) of the water, but it didn't take long until she wanted to do "big girl things." And the last thing she wanted was me holding on to her. So in came my second must-have swim accessory of the summer: Stearns Puddle Jumpers Life Jacket ($25).

"Let's give a round of applause for this Puddle Jumper!"

This life jacket goes on her arms and around her chest to keep her more afloat as she navigates around the pool. True greenies probably wouldn't like this because it's made of polyester and uses foam to help it float, but when you've got a 14 month old who wants to go everywhere in the water, you go with the product that can give you the most peace of mind, and this is that product.

Since she started wearing the Puddle Jumper Life Jacket, Avery floats around much more in the water and we even see her trying to kick her legs as she "swims" around the pool. Obviously this doesn't take the place of someone being right next to her and watching her at all times, but at least I can give her a little space to explore in the water. Talk about a "happy mama" and a "happy baby"!

Swim Avery! Swim!

So that's how we go green with a resuable swim diaper. What type of swim diaper alternatives do you use? Share below!

Just so you know, I purchased the iPlay Swim Diaper with my own money and this is my honest review of it. (  :

Friday, June 22, 2012

Make Your Own Fruit & Veggie Wash

One of my favorite ways to go green is to learn how to make things instead of buying them, case in point: fruit and veggie wash. I don't know about the kind you buy, but the kind I used to get was pricey!  Now I'm all about getting my fruits and veggies clean (even if they are organic), but I'm not about to spend an arm and a leg to do it.  So after some researching I discovered that vinegar is an excellent cleaner and when mixed in a 1:1 ratio with water, a simple fruit and veggie wash can be born! Talk about cheap considering that I've had the same bottle of distilled white vinegar for over a year and am just now getting below the halfway mark.

Get those fruits and veggies clean with your own
homemade cleaner!
Now onto that recipe....

Fruit & Veggie Wash

  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I use distilled white vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • funnel
  • spray bottle
The short ingredient list.
  1. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar into spray bottle
  2. Pour 1/2 cup water into spray bottle
  3. Shake and you're done!
  4. Spray onto fruits and veggies and then wash off with water to get them clean and ready to eat.
Here's a video of Avery and I making the "Fruit & Veggie Wash" and boy she is as lively as ever! 

Have you ever made your own fruit and veggie cleaner? If so, share the recipe below!
Happy veggie cleaning!

This post was recently linked up to Frugally Sustainable's: "Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop". So be sure to head on over there and find some other fun, frugal, and green ideas!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIAW & Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Happy Wednesday to you all. It's picture time, food time, and of course...Avery time! That girl hogs more space on my camera than food sometimes, but I don't mind one bit. We sure are having fun on our summer adventure together as I'm home from my teaching job for summer vacation.  Aside from playing outside, reading lots and lots of books, and me blogging through her naps, we've also been eating lots of yummy food like the vegan sloppy joes you'll find a recipe to below!

Here's our gluten-free, vegan food for the day as linked up to Peas & Crayon's "What I Ate Wednesday" with our special theme being "Sensible Snacking".

5:00 AM: Warm water with the juice
from half a's why.

5:30 AM Pre-workout snack: 2 gluten-free, vegan pancakes
from The Cinnamon Quill blog, with Maple Agave Nectar
as my syrup.

Workout: 1 hour of yoga with 10 Minute Solutions: about an arm workout! All those chattarungas (aka yoga push ups) really start to add up in this DVD.

8:30AM Breakfast: Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie
Have you tried this smoothie of mine yet?
So many greens and it still tastes like
ice cream, love it!
Avery's Breakfast: EnvrioKidz Organic Gorilla Munch Cereal
and SO Delicious Sugar-Free Vanilla Coconut Milk.
Avery loves the gorilla on this cereal,
"Ooo ooo ahh ahh!" she'll say as I pull it out of the pantry.

I threw a few organic strawberries in there since she's loving
those right now.

She's usually pretty happy in the morning, especially when
she's got her cereal.

Just in case you're wondering...she's still nursing several times a day (especially before and after naps and bedtime), so it really helps me to not worry so much if she doesn't eat "all" of her food because I know she's getting any extra nutrients or calories through the breast milk.

Then we were off to play with her new dollhouse. My awesome brother and his girlfriend got this Little Tikes house for Avery off Craigslist (one way to go green!). Apparently they don't make this style of house anymore, but they were able to find it on there in great shape and full of furniture, little people, and fun accessories. It's been fun seeing Avery learn some imaginative play skills with it, like making the people go up and down the stairs, rocking them in the rocking chair and singing, "La la la" as she pushes them in the pretend swing.

Avery's new/used Little Tikes dollhouse.

Her favorite character to play with: the baby, or as she says,

I'm sure we will have many years of use to come from this
fun dollhouse. Thanks Austin and Brittnee!

On this particular day, I was feeling
adventurous and added some real water
to the pretend swimming pool. Avery
went crazy for it!

10:30 AM Morning snack: Peanut Butter & Jelly Larabar

12:00 Lunch: Vegan Sloppy Joes (see recipe below), on
Rudi's Multigrain Gluten-Free bread, with Salt & Pepper Kettle Chips
and an ear of organic corn on the cob.
One of my favorite things about summer has got to be fresh,
organic corn. You know that kind you "shuck" yourself?
It may be messy, but it always tastes so much better
than the frozen kind.

Avery was pretty excited about it too.
She chewed away on her "little ear" for a long time!
After lunch we headed outside to play...

...and run!
2:15 PM Afternoon snack: bowl of seedless organic green grapes
(fruit is one of my favorite sensible snacks!)

She had fun pretending to hand me one of her grapes and then
right as I went to get it from her, she would pull away.
Sneaky girl! ( :

Avery was loving them!

4:00 PM 2nd Afternoon snack: 2 slices of Rudi's Multigrian
Gluten-free bread with Earth Balance vegan butter and honey.

5:30 PM Pre-dinner snack: Apple Juice and
Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Powder

Avery munched on a few of her favorite
snacks: Veggie Straws!

Then I told her we were going to go
eat dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's
house...hold the phone!
 Before leaving, I got dinner all set to go. Tonight's meal was a cheesy broccoli with pasta dish, or "Broc and Mac" as I call it.

Want to know how I'm still able to have
cheese even though I'm vegan? Well, I often
make my own here in the blender!

The ingredients are probably a little different than traditional cheese,
but the end product comes pretty close. Some ingredients in this
"cheese" include: cashews, water, corn starch, gf all purpose flour,
nutritional yeast, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.

Usually then you put it on the stove to warm and thicken it a bit.

End result: yummy, gooey "cheese"!

Here's the finished product for dinner:"Broc and Mac".
The cheese recipe is "Cheezy Mac" from Vegan Diner,
with 1 pkg. gluten-free Tinkyada noodles, and 1 head of broccoli.

n all honesty, I like to add a special ingredient to my "Broc and Mac"...
KETCHUP! Kind of crazy I know, but the tangy flavor of the
ketchup really compliments the cheese!
Any other ketchup fans out there?

Trying out her new "Lansinoh mOmma Straw Cup,"
since her Lollacup bit the dust.

"Pasta with ketchup is always a fun time for me!"
Dessert: "Genuis Chocolate Chip Blondies"
from Chocolate-Covered Katie. (It's made from beans!)

Now onto that recipe...vegan sloppy joes!  On my vegan journey, sloppy joes were one of those foods that I had given up hope on "veganizing," I mean how could you recreate the texture of ground beef? Those that can have gluten may be able to come close with seitan (a wheat-based meat alternative), but since that option is out for me, I thought I was doomed to a non-sloppy joe future.  That's until I came across a sloppy joe recipe that used TVP (or textured vegetable protein). Now I don't eat TVP often since it's one of the more processed versions of soy, as compared to tofu or tempeh, but there are some dishes that it really lends a hand with to recreate that "crumbled meat texture" and sloppy joes are one of them.

On top of getting a nice protein punch from the TVP (12g in 1/4 cup dry), these sloppy joes are also full of veggies like onions, green peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. So get out your napkins and prepare to get messy with these delicious, vegan sloppy joes

Vegan Sloppy Joes
Inspired by "Sloppy Joes" from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and found here

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 1-8 oz. pkg. of mushrooms (I use Baby Portabella)
  • 2 cups of strained tomatoes I like to use a jar of Bionaturae Organic Strianed Tomatoes because it comes in a glass jar as opposed to a can since canned tomatoes have been found to have some of the highest levels of BPA. There are some cans out there that are BPA-free, but since I haven't pinned those down yet, I stick to the glass option whenever I can.)
  • 1/4 ketchup
  • 1/4 Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups TVP
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
The ingredient group shot.

One thing that will really help cut down
on your prep time with this meal is
a food processor. Mine is pretty
basic, but it gets the job done.

1. Chop the onions, celery, and green pepper into small
pieces or food process until they are small enough for your

2. Now add this veggie mixture to the stove top (I use a cast iron
skillet since I avoid Teflon) on Medium-High heat and saute
for 3-5 minutes.

3. While the veggies are sauteing, food process or chop the
mushrooms into small pieces.
4. Next add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute for another
2-3 minutes.

5. Now add the 1 1/2 cups of water

6. Followed by the 2 cups of strained tomatoes. Tomato
sauce would probably work too, as well as some diced
tomatoes blended up to equal 2 cups.

7. Add the 1/4 cup of ketchup, along with 1 tsp. chili powder,
1/4 cup Braggs,  and 1 tsp. salt.

8. Time for the magic ingredient: TVP, you'll need 1 1/2 cups of it.

9. Combine all the ingredients and increase the heat until
the mixture is boiling.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer
for 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, all the liquid and flavors should have
absorbed into the TVP leaving you with some fabulous sloppy joes!
So eat up!

You could serve them up on some bread, buns, or
 just use it to dip chips in!
Rest easy vegans, sloppy joes are back.

See you all next week!

Recently this recipe was linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan GirlVeggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan.  So get your "vegan on" and check out some other great vegan recipes!

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