Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Born Beta Tester

Since I am the eternal cheapskate,when I read an article a few months ago about the rising price of diapers, I knew something had to change. I also can't stand the giant pile of trash at the end of my driveway every Friday.

When a friend of mine asked me to test a new kind of cloth diaper on Prospector in exchange for some feedback and help spreading the word, I jumped at the chance.

Turns out, they work at least as well as disposables. They are made out of organic hemp with some organic cotton with snaps instead of pins so that my clutzy hands don't poke my precious little beta tester.

From a money perspective, they also passed my test. At current prices, I'd spend about $800 per year on disposables, whereas my hemp diaper stash would set me back about $150-$200 and last through a few years (and a few kids for that matter.) I am still working out how much it costs to wash, but I think I would be hard pressed to exceed $600/year in laundry costs, especially if I throw them on the line to dry now and again when the weather is nice.

As far as saving the world goes... I'm still not sure.

I do wait until I have a full load, use minimal detergent and those laundry balls , but which has more of a footprint? Washing water or diaper manufacturing/waste? I'm leaning towards the latter. But I do know that I feel a whole lot better on trash day.

The diapers are made by BabyKicks, and there are special deals listed at the BabyKicks eBay Store.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Brainwash 4-11-2008

Just a few nifty toys, books and ideas that I found this week to assist me in indoctrinating my two helpless children into the world of science, math and engineering.

My father and I have the same lame mantra "I love math, but I hate arithmetic." As dumb as that sounds, it is so true. I suffered through school math until 10th grade geometry, and then calculus changed my life. I still have issues with doing simple math in my head though, and I don't want Prospector and Panorama to be crippled by 5X7 and 9X6 the way that I am, so I am always looking for fun ways to work math into our daily lives.

For Prospector (Age 7 months)

Math Fables

I bought this book for Panorama when she was small and she loved it. There is a poem for each number from 1 to 10. Each poem works through a simple story (like an ant picnic or beavers working on a dam) with clever and catchy rhyme. Each poem has as much, if not more, appeal than most nursery rhymes with the added benefit of learning some simple arithmetic. I have a bit of an obsession with hand puppets, so I grab some from my collection and work up a bit of a math variety show for the little guy.

For Panorama (Age 4 years)

Leaping Frog Math Game

This game appears to be a simple Candyland-esque addition and subtraction game. You roll the dice, add the numbers and move your frog the correct number of spaces. I just ordered it today, so I will let you know if it is a hit.

We found this nifty little board game in our preschool's Scholastic Book Order flyer. I dug around on amazon for a few minutes to see if I could find it listed there, and I couldn't. It's made by Learning Resources, who appear to have all kinds of amazing kids' science things. If your school doesn't do the monthly book order, I think you can join directly from their website. I find the books and games offered to be of excellent quality and usually cheaper than I can find elsewhere.