Friday, January 28, 2011

Call me old-fashioned.

I have been called old-fashioned, out dated, and even a senior citizen over the use of my checkbook.  No, I'm not one of those crazy people that whips it out at the grocery store and holds up the entire check out line, but I DO pay all of my bills by check.  I can't explain why, but my brain doesn't do good with online banking and paying bills online.  There is something about writing that makes me feel much more organized.  I receive all of my bills in the mail, and mail them all with a check.  And unlike most, I still keep up my checkbook register with every deposit, debit, check written and ATM withdrawal.  I check my findings with what the bank has every few weeks.  
Lately I have been a little torn about my use of USPS.  My resolution this year was to be greener and yet I receive ALL paper statements monthly, and I mail EVERYTHING.  I just can't seem to talk myself into doing it any other way though.  One day checks and paper billing will become obsolete like the VCR, and when that day comes, I will be heart broken, but will be forced to make the transition.  Until then, in an effort to be somewhat green, the checks we ordered are printed on recycled paper and have a pretty tree on them. :0)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A greener me.

     My husband says that I have turned into a hippie, but one of my new year's resolutions was to be more eco-friendly, more green.  Note that I said "one of".  The jury is still out on if it is allowed to have New Year's ResolutionS, rather than A New Year's resolution, but the two of mine kind of go together.  The second New Year's resolution was for us to save more money, isn't that everyone these days?  Well, let it be known that some of my greener ideas have saved us a little "moolah" along the way. 
     So you all know that I do cloth diapers and have been doing those for quite a few months now.  The original reason that we switched to cloth was not at all about the Earth or about money but about what's best for Leeland.  Leeland had a TERRIBLE diaper rash which eventually blistered and made me cringe and cry every time I changed him.  A friend turned me on to cloth diapers and after doing some research I decided that they would not only be what's healthiest to use but also what would be more cost effective.  We are currently saving about $80 a month from no longer buying diapers.  (I say "saving" but in actuality the money is just going somewhere else, not actually in our savings account.) We are also saving the planet, one cloth diaper at a time, as it takes 500 years for ONE diaper to decompose in a landfill-- gross and ridiculous!  Along with the cloth diapers, we use cloth wipes which were totally FREE because I made them out of receiving blankets that were cut up.  I would guess that saves us around $10-15 a month not buying baby wipes.
     The newest thing that we are doing is that we are cutting out paper towels.  We are on our last roll of paper towels that was purchased back in December and once they are gone, they're gone.  I started thinking about it, and I don't really see a point in the paper towels.  We really don't use them often and the few things that we use them for, there are other options.  Such as the cloth napkins that have sat in a drawer since we got them as a wedding gift 2 years ago.
    The next thing that I have been doing to be greener is using re-usable bags when I go shopping for groceries or other items.  Apparently plastic grocery bags are a top item in the landfills and they don't decompose all that well.  I made excuses for a while about using them and how I actual re-use the plastic bags in the bathroom garbage can or I carry my lunch in them, but if I'm completely honest-- they sit under the sink.  I attempted to clean out the area under our kitchen sink a couple weeks ago and found like 50 plastic bags.  Just to call myself out, that's a little RIDICULOUS! Plus when you take re-usable bags to a store like Target, they give you a 5 cent discount! See, being greener AND saving money!
    The next thing on my list of things to do is to buy some re-usable snack bags.  They make really cute ones, and I can use them in my lunch box or pack Leeland's snacks in them for the diaper bag.  Another greener measure that will save us money because I want have to buy sandwich bags anymore.     The last thing that I am doing to be greener is using re-usable feminine products.  I recently tried out sea sponges and fell in love with them.  I know, you probably think it's really weird, but they work better than any tampon I've ever tried and they are re-usable!  An added bonus is that I don't have to carry feminine products around and be the awkward lady trying to be discrete by carrying her purse to the bathroom.  If you want more info on the sponges you can find that by CLICKING HERE I purchased my sponges at Earthfare for around $15.00 and they should last at least 6 months.  There are other re-usable feminine products available also like the Diva cup and there are a variety of brands of re-usable cloth pads (next on my list to purchase). Cloth pads example

Well, that's the start of my New Year's resolution, combined with simply recycling.  If anyone else has other green ideas or anything I haven't thought of yet, please let me know! And I'd love to hear what you do to be "green"! :D

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leeland is 9 months!

Leeland is officially 9 months tomorrow!  He is becoming more and more active, developing more of a personality by the day and as cute as ever!  Here are some of the things going on at 9 months....

-He is crawling as fast as ever, he'll crawl after whatever catches his eye.  He crawls up to strangers when they come to the house and crawls after the dog.
-He is pulling up on EVERYTHING, and checking it all out.... he's even attempted to pull up on the dog and up on a wall in his room.
-He can walk with assistance.  He walks if someone holds his hands and also can walk with his dinosaur walker.  (Not the best at steering the dinosaur yet.... see video)

-Leeland FINALLY has teeth coming in!  Apparently it's perfectly normal for a child to get their first tooth between 7 and 12 months... but I was beginning to wonder.  Also I learned that late teeth is hereditary and usually if they get their teeth later they will lose their first teeth later.
-He is eating like a linebacker! I feel like he must be going through a growth spurt because he would seriously eat ALL day if we would allow it.  He also has started "begging" when we eat which is kind of cute and funny
-He has celebrated Mommy's birthday and Mommy and Daddy's wedding anniversary this month and we are looking forward to Daddy's birthday next week.
-Unfortunately we don't know his size (height & weight) yet, he won't go to his "9 month check-up" until the beginning of February.
-I am getting more and more excited as the days pass about planning a 1st birthday party!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Great start to my new year :D

So at the Kroh house, we have LOTS of celebrations all at once!  There's Christmas of course, then there's a week of calm and then starts the other festivities.  What festivities you ask?  First there is my birthday.  I am a "New Year's baby"!  Interesting fact about me:  I was the first baby born in my county in the year 1987! Being a New Year's baby has it's perks but it also has it's downfalls.  

-It's your birthday and you get presents
-It's a national holiday which means for most you are off work
-Traditional new year's food: black-eyed peas, turnip (or collard) greens, cornbread and hog jaws. MMM! It's definitely a southern thing

-You never really get a party, people party to celebrate New Year's eve and then kind of say "happy new year!.... oh, by the way... happy birthday"
-All of your friends are too hungover to remember your birthday
-Every time you pull out your license you get the comment "your a new year's baby!!" (smile, nod, hear that all the time...)
My sister's birthday is Dec 28th, so my family celebrates both
of our birthdays together.
So after all of the birthday festivities, Daniel and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on January 3rd!  Call us crazy for having all this at one time of year, and we are, but we were very anxious to get married.  Daniel proposed June 20, 2008.  We originally set our wedding date for June 20, 2009 so that we could get married after I graduated from college.... but then we thought twice about it.  I mean WHY WAIT? We were so excited and ready to get married that we didn't really want to wait, I could go to classes and be married.  I won't say that it was easy to do, but we bumped the date up and if I had it to do all over again, I would make the same decision over and over.  This year we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary which has really flown by!  I hear that's what happens after you have a kid.  


Gotta love the self-timer function! This is our family on our
2 year wedding anniversary.
So what's next on the agenda for our family?  Daniel's birthday! Daniel's birthday is January 20th and I CAN'T wait.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Traveling with cloth.

As mentioned in a previous blog, we spent almost a week in Michigan at Christmas.  Much of Daniel's extended family lives there and we hadn't seen them in quite a while.  The deal when we got married was that we would spend every other year with Daniel's family, however I was pretty pregnant last year and was not about to ride in a car 13 hours.  When I told some of my family and friends that we were traveling over Christmas, I was shocked to realize how many asked about me taking my cloth diapers.  Until I was questioned, I had never really thought about it-- why wouldn't I take my cloth diapers with me???  I guess I never realized that many people who use cloth diapers, use disposables when they travel.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I understand that often there is circumstances beyond control where you need to take disposables such as being gone for an extended time with no washer or dryer, weight limits on suitcases when you travel by air.... Again, there is nothing wrong with using disposables when you travel, I just don't want people to get the wrong idea and think that it's difficult.  It is no more difficult to me than the traveling I did with disposables before we started cloth.  No matter what, you have to pack diapers, the key is being organized!

I use pre-fold diapers so it was pretty easy to pack them up.  I folded them all and placed them in a 10 gallon Rubbermaid tote.  My covers and my detergent also fit in the tote and though 10 gallons, sounds like a lot, it is a pretty small tote so it fit perfectly in the trunk with our luggage.
For the ride up as the diapers got dirty, we placed them in our wet bag in the trunk. We ended up being in the car for a total of 12 hours including stops.  My only wish is that we would have had a larger wet bag.  I use a small bummis wet bag which I think is only supposed to hold 3-4 diapers, so by the end of the ride we were really shoving them in.
Once we got to Daniel's grandmother's house (where we were staying), I unpacked all of the clean diapers from the tote, lined the tote with a laundry bag and placed the dirty diapers from the wet bag in there.  The tote was going to be used as my diaper pail for the week-- it's actually what we use for our diaper pail at home as well.  Nothing beats a tight lid for the stinkies! Some people invest in pail liners but I just picked up 2 laundry bags at Target for $4.00 a piece, they are NOT waterproof though so it wouldn't be conducive without the tote.  When I do laundry, there is occasionally some wetness at the bottom of the tote that I just wipe up with soap and a towel-- no biggie to me.

We traveled on a Tuesday and traveled back the following Monday, so we definitely needed to do some diaper laundry.  Daniel's grandmother had no trouble with us using her washing machine for our diapers, in fact she was very interested in our cloth and how far cloth has come since she diapered her children.  I wouldn't go anywhere with my diaper stash without my Rockin Green laundry soap, I had packed a few sample packs for the trip.  They sell them on their website ( Rockin Green )
Cloth diapering has become a HUGE passion for me.  A mommy friend of mine shared her knowledge of cloth with me and I look forward to sharing it with others.  I also know that if you ask 10 different people about their cloth diapers, you will get 10 different answers.... it's all about what works best for you and your family, but please let me know if you have any questions, I would love to chat!

**Also, if you wanna know how our trip went and how to travel with a baby for 12 hours, this is what worked for us.....
We had a GREAT trip! Leeland travelled SO well! Our schedule went as follows:
- 7:30am  Packed up and left home
-10:30am Stopped for gas, used the restroom, change the baby's diaper
-11:30am-12:30pm  Stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch, fed the baby lunch, changed the baby's diaper and got gas
-4:00pm Stopped for gas, coffee, used the restroom and change the baby
-6:45pm Stopped for dinner (took it to go), used the restroom, changed the baby
-7:15pm Arrived at Grandma's

Some crafty gifts...

So I had all these intentions of posting blogs about all the crafts I made for people for Christmas.... then we lost internet connection for a good 3 weeks, and now I'm a little overwhelmed playing catch up. SO, with that said, here are some of the gifts that
I made and hopefully I didn't miss much ;D

First for the children in my family, I made canvas bags with their name or monogram on it. We have several new babies in our family, so I figured they could be used to carry baby things or as a "spend the night with grandma bag." I also made one for my niece and thought she would probably carry it as a purse or books in it to school.

I also did some crocheting. I made hats for many of the babies in my life, and also a blanket for Leeland.
Rachel and her flower hat, Hopelyn wearing a bunny hat and Leeland with a penguin hat :D

Hooded birdy blanket
I printed photos from my dear friend Alisa's family photo shoot of us for my parents & grandparents and also for Daniel's parents & grandparents.  And I made a necklace for Daniel's grandma that I unfortunately didn't get a picture of... It was a blue pearl necklace with blue ribbon roses.  

Christmas with the Kroh's

We didn't intend for Christmas to be a major event, yes it was Leeland's first Christmas but we didn't want to blow it out of the water or spoil him too much.... And we didn't have to! Our family spoiled him pretty hard core. We spent Christmas away in Michigan with Daniel's extended family so we opened our presents as a family and celebrated with my family before we left. We opened presents here at home on the 16th. Daniel and I were working with a small budget, so we just exchanged a few things, and got Leeland a couple toys and a toy box. I also made Leeland a few things-- a blanket and a bag with his monogram.

We went to my parents house on the 18th and exchanged gifts there. My family draws names, which is really nice so that we don't have to spend too much money and everyone gets something. As adults, it's not really about the presents anyways. Of course the children don't draw names and boy do they get spoiled! We had no idea that Leeland would get so much!

Daniel's parents came over on the 20th to give Leeland his gifts. They went to Michigan too, but didn't really care to travel with ALL the presents they got him. Leeland RACKED UP! Most of the toys that Leeland got for Christmas won't even fit in the toy box that Daniel and I got him. For the past 9 months, I have been storing away a lot of baby items thinking that we will keep them for the next child if we are blessed to have more, there is NO way I am going to be able to keep all of this stuff! We truly are blessed with a loving family!