OK, stumbled on this idea today and since I wanted to keep track of it, what better place to put it than to share it with all of you?

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

The author literally went to the hardware store and bought a rain gutter (although I suppose if you had some lying around, they would work, too) and made bookshelves! So awesome! 🙂

Sadly, Erin over at The Conscious Shopper has made the decision to stop writing her blog. Read more about this decision here.She will be leaving her blog up for anyone (like me!) who is only just now starting the Conscious Shopper Challenge and will continue to issue Challenges through her other blog: The Green Phone Booth.

————————————————————————————–

Challenge #1 – Trim Your Waste-Line

  1. Week 1 I kept track of how many garbage bags we used.
  2. Week 2 I used ONLY reusable bags in all of my shopping.
  3. Week 3 Start using a reusable water bottle or thermos.
  4. Week 4: Green Your Household Cleaners
  5. Week 5: Ditch those Disposable Paper Products
  6. Week 6: Go Green in the Bathroom

Obviously, I am taking longer than a week to post on these challenges. That doesn’t mean they weren’t completed in a week. It means I have 2 children under 2 who take priority over this blog. 🙂

Regardless, going green in the bathroom was not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, for the requirements of the challenge, I was well within the Marathon guidelines.  My goal was to advise all of you better ways to Ditch the Disposables in your bathroom.   And in the research for that post, I’ve stumbled on ways that I can further reduce our/my waste in the bathroom.

#1- Shampoo: I’ve decided I’m going to try the No ‘Poo method as soon as my current bottle of shampoo is finished (which should be this week).

#2- Subscribe to the Preserve Toothbrush plan. 🙂 Will be doing this after the holidays.

#3- Deodorant: Make my own. After I’ve mastered the No ‘Poo challenge.

So, as I move through these, I will be sure to let you in on it all!

The next mini-challenge from the Conscious Shopper is: Green Your Diapers.

The varying degrees on this challenge are:

  • Baby Steps: Switch to eco-friendly diapers.
  • Jogging Stride: Use cloth diapers at home.
  • Marathon Runner: Use cloth diapers full time.

Well, as my regular readers already know, we use cloth diapers on both of our children.  The only time they are not cloth diapered, is when they are at my MIL’s (2 days a week) and that is simply because she chooses to buy disposable diapers. For us, choosing cloth was to save money. So, if she wants to buy disposables and isn’t asking us to pay for them, that’s up to her. If she wants us to pay for them, she’s going to use cloth. 🙂 Simple as that. Our other two sitters use our cloth diapers without any problems. One watches them at her house and everything just goes in a wet bag. The other watches them at our house and knows our system.

So, for all of you who want to take on this challenge, go ahead. But I’m moving on to the next challenge: Reduce Packaging.

The varying degrees on this challenge are:

  • Baby Steps: Buy concentrated products. Buy products in bulk.
  • Jogging Stride: Eat fresh foods. Limit individually packaged foods.
  • Marathon Runner: Buy from the bulk bins. Choose used over new.

Some of this is so easy for me: I buy used whenever possible and encourage it from others when they are buying gifts for myself or the kids. I love fresh foods. Some is new: I’m researching concentrated products like Dr. Bronner’s and as soon as my budget will allow, I’m buying some! I’ve never bought from the bulk bins at Whole Foods or at any store (other than produce). And with #2 constantly wanting a snack or a “treat”, individual items are sometimes easier.  *sigh* Ok, I’m going to take on this challenge this way: With each and every purchase, I’m going to stop and think:

  1. Is there a way to get this used or with no packaging?
  2. Is there a way to buy more of this item, to limit the amount of packaging?
  3. Is there a way to buy this that great-grandma would have recognized it – pure, whole, and fresh?

Check back with me next week!

Anyone want to join me on this? Head over and take the Challenge!

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader.  Choose one of the options at right!

 

I had already been cloth diapering #1 for a year and a half before a friend told me about an actual brick & mortar store about an hour from my home. This friend was due to have a baby in a few months and had been considering cloth diapers. But she wanted to actually hold some in her hands before she made a decision. She had been one of our weekly sitters for #1 and was familiar with what we used, but just wanted to see what else was out there.

So, enter Cutie Poops & Bottoms of Orland Park IL.

First Impressions

My friend and I knew nothing of what to expect when driving to the store.  It is located in a shopping strip mall and using the directions on the website, very easy to find.  From the outside, looks like a children’s specialty shop.

Friendliness & Knowledge of Staff

We were greeted right away and almost immediately began a discussion of baby carriers, because I was wearing #2 (who was only 2 weeks old) in a Moby Wrap.  This was back in April and the store was going to start carrying different carriers and having classes. (See products and services sections below). Although we didn’t realize it right away, we were speaking with the owner, Sherri. And, goodness, did she know her stuff!

Discovered she is the mother of twin boys – 100% cloth diapered from birth!  She gave a short demo of the various CD’ing options for my friend (who was so excited she was able to actually touch the diapers!) And it was nice for me to be able to see in person a lot of the diapers I’d only seen online (Happy Heinys, GroVia, etc.).

Variety of Product

As Sherri finished answering my friend’s questions, I wandered to see what else the store carried.  I was in the market at the time for some wool or fleece covers, plus searching for some diapers that would fit #1 – who was outgrowing everything we had!

The products carried in-store are a great sampling.

  • one-size diapers of all kinds
  • pocket diapers
  • AIO diapers
  • prefolds
  • covers – PUL, a few wool
  • fitted diapers
  • hybrid diapers
  • baby carriers
  • diaper bags, nursery furniture, and more!
  • A lot of WAHM stuff as well.

And her website has a TON of stuff, also! More than what is in the store. Although, in-store has some different products also, including local WAHM products.

Although my friend didn’t buy anything that day (but DID set up a baby shower registry), I walked out of there with a KiwiPie one-size fitted diaper to try with #1, an AhGoo Baby Plush changing pad, a Happy Heiny trainer, and a tub of Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm.

Since then, I continue to receive Cutie Poops & Bottoms e-newsletter and follow the shop on Facebook.  The store inventory is CONSTANTLY changing.  She now has a ton of natural toys (including Sophie the Giraffe and Global Green Pals!), the baby carriers we discussed (including the Ergo Carrier!), and super unique diapers like these tie-dyed ones.  And she’s currently looking into more wool covers (and they sound like they should be a great price).  So, I’ve learned to never stop watching her inventory. 🙂

Services Offered

  • Cloth Diaper Trials – These are great programs if you’re not sure you want to actually go with cloth, but want to try it out. Pay a deposit, get a sampling shipped to you, use the diapers for a set amount of time, mail back the diapers and get a refund (minus a set up fee). If you like it, purchase the ones you want. Easy as pie.
  • Fluff of the Month Club – Ok, this is really for us CD addicts out there. 🙂 Buy a membership (varying lengths offered) and every month you get a new diaper shipped to you!
  • Diaper Packages & Starter Kits – everything bundled together!
  • Gently Used Program – buy and sell your used diapers. Great way to save money (and earn money!) when you’re starting out!
  • Gift Registry – having a baby? Register for gear, diaper, and accessories!
  • Classes – Oh, my goodness, the number and variety of classes Sherri offers are amazing.  Just a few:
    • Baby Boot Camp (for new parents)
    • Baby Wearing 101
    • BabyCare Express (for new parents)
    • BLAST Babysitter Class
    • Breastfeeding for Dummies
    • Diapering 101
    • Infant CPR
    • Infant Massage
    • Lamaze
    • Natural Birth Classes (the Bradley Method)
    • Pediatric First Aid
    • Pre-Natal Yoga
    • Financial Planning for Parents
    • Special Events – she recently had a Buy, Sell, Swap event. I was so bummed I couldn’t make it!

Customer Service

In general, the customer service Sherri offers is outstanding. She knows her products, her vendors, and she knows what works and what doesn’t. If she for some reason doesn’t know an answer, she will find out for you.

My friend had a slight issue with some of her registry items shipping from the warehouse, but Sherri was good at explaining what was going on.  My friend did have to ask for an update once, but seemed overall satisfied.

I have not had to make any returns or had any issues with products, so I cannot speak on that point. However, I have had many conversations with Sherri, both by email and on Facebook, and she is always prompt and courteous.

Website

The website is very clear, with minimal items on the homepage (great! I hate the clutter on some sites!). Products are divided into sections For Baby, For Mama, Baby Gear, Cloth Diapers, For the Nursery, as well as a photo gallery.  The class listing is posted, with information on how to register.

There are also a couple of helpful articles: FAQs, Diaper 101 and Why Choose Cloth that are really helpful.

Everything can be purchased online and shipped to your home, which means the store is accessible to anyone! Not just those in the Orland Park area. Which I love, because I don’t get down there often. But this is great, too, for all of you no where near Chicago. You can participate in any of the sales, promos, clubs, trial programs, right through the website. Obviously, the special events and classes are for local residents who can come by the brick&mortar store.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like Cutie Poops & Bottoms. Because I try to support local businesses first, CP&B is one of the first I check when I’m looking for new items. I like that I’m dealing with a business that is giving back to the community with education classes and support, instead of just an online store. Although it is not the only store in my area, it is one of the few with an actual storefront that I can send people to.

So, if you’re ever in the Orland Park area, stop by and tell Sherri you found out about them on Green & Frugal Mama!

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader.  Choose one of the options at right!

 

Sadly, Erin over at The Conscious Shopper has made the decision to stop writing her blog. Read more about this decision here.She will be leaving her blog up for anyone (like me!) who is only just now starting the Conscious Shopper Challenge and will continue to issue Challenges through her other blog: The Green Phone Booth.

————————————————————————————–

Challenge #1 – Trim Your Waste-Line

  1. Week 1 I kept track of how many garbage bags we used.
  2. Week 2 I used ONLY reusable bags in all of my shopping.
  3. Week 3 Start using a reusable water bottle or thermos.
  4. Week 4: Green Your Household Cleaners
  5. Week 5: Ditch those Disposable Paper Products

This last week I really tried to focus on what paper products we have in our home that are non-recyclable. Ones that I could maybe replace with a reusable alternative.  (I did not include the diapers, because – looking ahead – that’s another Conscious Shopper challenge. :))  Erin @ The Conscious Shopper suggested to really focus on paper towels, napkins and and toilet paper. Well, that made me think of facial tissues and wipes as well. (And she mentions a link to a post of hers on gift wrap… hmm, will have to look at that closer for the holidays.)

Napkins: we use exclusively cloth and have since our marriage began 5 years ago. So, that one was a no-brainer.

Tissues: *I* use handkerchiefs. It is a bit of a personal challenge to get  DH to do this also.  Right now, we have no disposable tissues in the house. I took our last box (free from my stay at the hospital with #2), cut out a square in the bottom, and actually folded the handkerchiefs in a way that by pulling one out the slit in the top, the next “pops” up. Just like disposables! I’m pretty proud of it. Need to “beautify” the box, but it works for now. (My mom even used one when she was visiting to wipe #1’s nose! Into the laundry basket I keep in the pantry for laundry day. I was so impressed. )  If anyone is interested, I can post some pictures.

Paper Towels: another personal challenge. I use dishtowels or dishcloths for everything you might use a paper towel for. In the past it has taken us years to use up the pack of paper towels. But DH finds paper towels easier for the “messes” #1 likes to make when eating, etc. so we have been buying them more lately.  I’m still fighting him on that one, but I will win. It doesn’t help when we find paper towels for nearly nothing at the store.

Wet Wipes: I only thought of this one the other day, so it wasn’t part of my week’s challenge. We use cloth wipes with our diapers, but often find disinfecting wipes best for cleaning down the high chair and #1’s eating spot, as well as disinfecting items during cold & flu season. It really has been bothering me, because we can chew through a lot of these depending on the time of the year. And then I came across this post over on Money Saving Mom (love that site!), which linked me to Live Renewed (another new site I love!) that had a recipe for “Homemade ‘Clorox’ Wipes”. This is what I needed! Now, sadly, I don’t have all of the supplies. I think I could make do with the dish soap instead of Castile Soap until I can pick some up, but the tea tree oil I definitely don’t have a substitute for.  But I can make it up in principal, try it out, and the next time I’m at Whole Foods pick up the rest of the supplies. On my to-do list for the weekend. Seriously, we go through so many of these wipes.

Lastly, Toilet Paper: It is possible to use cloth wipes for yourself in the bathroom. People do it all over the world!  For some reason, it’s deemed icky here.  I’ve decided I’m adding The Bathroom to my list of Ditch the Disposables series and I’ll go over “family wipes” there in detail.  Suffice it to say, while I did not reach my goal of 100% use while at home, I did use them 80-90% of the time.

This week’s mini-challenge is: Go Green in the Bathroom and the main focus is on greening the personal care products you use there.

The varying degrees on this challenge are:

  • Baby Steps: Use fewer personal care products
  • Jogging Stride: Avoid the Dirty Dozen
  • Marathon Runner: Switch to products that score low on the Skin Deep Guide.

Now, for myself and the kids, we are already Marathon Runners on this one. In fact, I wrote a post about it. I still can’t get DH to drop his Head & Shoulders shampoo.

So, my goal for the week is to write that Ditch The Disposables: The Bathroom post and let you know the options and where you can find them for purchase (or how to make them!).

Check back with me next week!

Anyone want to join me on this? Head over and take the Challenge!

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader.  Choose one of the options at right!

 

Here’s what came into my inbox from myself:

“Enter these giveaways”

Rumparooz G2 Cloth Pocket Diaper @ One Little Mister – ends 10/7

Bella Pamela Apron @ New Age Mama – ends 10/4

Green Sproutlets @ New Age Mama – ends 10/4

“Read these articles”

Weatherize your Home @ Do Something!

Conserve Water @ Do Something!

Make your Home more energy efficient @ Do Something!

Green Up Your Pet @ Do Something! (#1 received a kitten as a birthday present this week – unexpected gift from an aunt. Shouldn’t people normally ASK the parents first?? Oh well. She’s a good kitten).

“Check out this website”

http://www.dosomething.org

“Make these recipes”

Crock Pot Apple Butter

Favorite Canned Salsa

“Ohh! Awesome tutorital! Bookmark it!”

How to Freeze Apples

What about you?

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader. Choose one of the options at right!

Some things I came across today…

Fence Rails>Curtain Rods

Cabinet Door> Artwork – Hmm… I have a wooden gate sitting in my backyard…

Pillowcase> Dress – oldie but a goodie

Sweater> Cupcake Pincushion

Old Nylons> ChiaPet

Cereal Box> Journal

Sea Shell> Nightlight

T-Shirt> Clutch

And for fun, 20 Headboard Ideas. These are AWESOME. I’m filing this one away….

Find anything good today?

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader.  Choose one of the options at right!

GIVEAWAYS I WANT TO ENTER:

PROJECTS TO TRY

ARTICLES TO READ

What did you send yourself today??

Don’t miss a single post! Be sure to sign up to receive updates either by email or through a reader.  Choose one of the options at right!