Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sausage and Apple Herbed Stuffing (Pampered Chef Recipe)

This is my "famous" Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. Baked in a PC deep covered baker, this is our family's favorite stuffing dish. This is the vegetarian version.

1/2 pound Prosage (or other sausage)
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 package (14 oz) herb-seasoned cubed stuffing
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups coarsely chopped apples
1 Tbsp Rosemary Herb Seasoning mix
2 cans (14-14 1/2 oz each) vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350. Thaw and crumble prosage (or cook sausage in a pan over medium heat); cook onions and celery 4-5 minutes or until tender. Combine stuffing, cranberries, apples, seasoning mix, and prosage and cooked vegetables in bowl; add broth and toss till moistened. Spoon into deep covered baker. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake an additional 30 minutes or until stuffing is golden brown and heated through.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Little Partners' Giveaway

Hi friends! Stop on over to my friend Laura's blog, here: for a fantastic review and giveaway of the Little Partners' Learning Tower, a great tool to get the little ones involved in kitchen prep. I will seriously be looking at getting my own, if I don't win the giveaway. :) Eleanor loves to be up high and involved in the action when we're in the kitchen, even while just doing dishes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fuzzi Bunz

I can't believe how big my little girl is getting already! I was just looking at a previous blog post with pictures of her in her turquoise diaper. She's much bigger now! Here are some pictures of her and her friend Liam in their cloth diapers. Enjoy!

Cost analysis of cloth diapers versus disposables

Recently I have been challenged to prove that using cloth diapers is actually cheaper than using disposables. I'm not sure why anyone would question that it is cheaper to reuse something (anything!) than to throw that same thing away, but it's been done. It seems fairly obvious that using cloth diapers is cheaper than disposables, but how much money will I actually save? Turns out it's not as major as one might think because of one thing: Laundry. Figuring out the cost of laundry took a bit of time for me to do, but I finally did. We go through about 8 diapers a day, so that's the number I'm going to use for my analysis. So, here's the breakdown:

My friends can find 240 newborn diapers for $40.99 - This is the cheapest I could find them on, which I hear is the cheapest place to buy diapers, and the cost will go up per diaper as the sizes get bigger, but let's use this as our baseline for the cost of diapers which is 17.1 cents a diaper. (Size 4 diapers cost 24.5 cents per diaper, but I'm going to give my disposable-using friends a head start in this race and use 17.1 cents for comparison.)

My stash of 20 cloth diapers cost $400, but I didn't pay for half of them, as I got them as gifts for my shower, but as we're assuming that most people will have to buy their diapers, we'll include this cost. My diapers are one-size diapers which will fit Eleanor from about 1 month old till potty training. Yay for not having to buy more (unless I really want to!). :) At 8 diapers a day, we will use each diaper 146 times in a year (wow!), so that's a start-up cost (for only 1 year) of 13.7 cents a diaper. After that, the start-up cost goes to zero (we're assuming paying off the diaper in the first year).

Now, each time we use a diaper, we have to wash it. I looked at the cost of my laundry detergent, my washing machine's energy usage, and my electric and water company's rates and figured out that it costs 32 cents to wash about 20 diapers. This is a cost per diaper of 1.6 cents. We also use our dryer, but you wouldn't have to. So, if you line dry your diapers, your costs end here. Our dryer costs us approximately 3.5 cents for each use, so .2 cents per diaper. Thus, washing and drying costs 1.8 cents per diaper.

Okay. So we see that for the first year, our startup costs and washing and drying costs together cost 15.5 cents per diaper. This is $451 for one year of cloth diapering, which would be $495 for disposables. Year 2 (and 3 if needed) our cost per diaper is 1.8 cents. For year one, then, disposables (if you get the cheapest you can find and your baby never grows out of the newborn diapers) end up costing only $44 more than cloth, but for the next year, cloth saves significantly. If the baby wears 8 diapers a day, then the savings in year 2 (and subsequent years or more kids) is $443. However, this is not even quite fair to cloth. As mentioned, we're assuming newborn sized diaper prices. In year two, a disposable-clad baby is going to be wearing 25 cent diapers, and in that case, the savings is actually $684.

To sum up:
Disposables: 17-25 cents per diaper
Cloth (year 1): 15.5 cents per diaper
Cloth (each following year): 1.8 cents per diaper

The savings doesn't really look like much in year one, but what it really looks like to us financially is that we don't have to spend our grocery budget on diapers. Instead, we have diapers already on hand (practically free since they're already paid for), and we just spend an extra $4 a month in electricity/water/detergent (total!) to use our diapers. This makes a big difference. Also, most people don't get their diapers for as cheap as my friends get them on Amazon. Go into a Wal-Mart and check out the price on diapers there and how much per diaper and you can see it's a little more significant a savings (when I looked, I couldn't find diapers cheaper than 22 cents for the newborn size). Other costs to consider are a diaper genie and refills (not necessary, I suppose, but a lot of people get them) and diaper rash cream, which more disposable-clad babies need than cloth-babies. For cloth, you'll probably buy one or two wetbags for storage, but again, these are one-time costs (as opposed to diaper genie refills and diaper cream).

Let me know if I've missed something in this analysis; I want to be able to give the most correct, up-to-date information on cloth diapering possible.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So long, 8 hours of sleep in a row!

Well, my baby is 4.5 months old now, but I still don't get to sleep through the night. I know, that's probably pretty normal. In fact, many many parents have babies who sleep less than mine, so I'm probably pretty lucky, actually. Except for last night. Last night wasn't that great. (Sorry, to all you moms who have it even worse than this, I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but it's my own molehill).

The main reason last night was a not-so-good experience is that our cloth diapers were being stripped (this is a process that I don't like much, but at least this is the first time we've had to do it and may be related to washing our diapers on vacation). The reason this is a problem is that we had to use our non-favorite cloth diapers (tested and tried and found wanting) or disposable ones. The stripping process basically took all day and night because it involved washing the diapers in blue (original) Dawn then rinsing again and again until all the Dawn was rinsed out. It took many washes. I didn't count them, but I'm thinking it was about 6 cycles (pre-wash, hot wash, extra rinse) to get them clean. Anyway, I am reminded why I hate disposable diapers so much. Again, they're papery feeling, but also they don't work as well.

So, last night Eleanor started off in our GoGreen Pocket diaper (the tested and found wanting diaper) which leaked after 4 hours of sleep and woke her up. And I mean really woke her up. She wouldn't go back to sleep for an hour and 15 minutes! I changed her, fed her, and swaddled her then woke a grumpy Ryan to rock her back to sleep (meanwhile I had to throw those aforementioned diapers in the dryer and feed the kitties - at 2:45 am). Ryan was up with her for 30 minutes, so I finally went in to relieve him and finally got her back to sleep 5 minutes later. Whew! Oh, did I mention I put her in a disposable diaper after that? Oh yeah. So, we were up again at 5:15 with a wet baby, wet swaddle, and wet sheet. So, diaper change, short feeding (yeah, she was hungry again!), sheet change, and back to my bed with baby. It's easier to get sleep that way (note: we don't co-sleep on a regular basis and never overnight. This is an occasional nap situation where I'm not really asleep anyway). This time I put her in her Happy Heineys diaper, one that works well but the fit just isn't my favorite. At least I didn't have to worry about waking up in a pool of pee! Guess what, though? My night isn't finished! At 6:30 I got up to change Eleanor to get ready for the day (yay for dry fuzzibunz!), I decided to change her on the twin bed in her room instead of on the changing table. Why oh why? She promptly peed on the bed (and her last clean swaddle blanket). Awesome. So, I have tons of laundry to do tonight, and I had to scramble to find one clean swaddle (remember she wet on 3 of them over night) to send with her to Mimi's house. Sigh.

Normally, you must realize, Eleanor wears a BumGenius diaper to bed and stays dry all night. It's wonderful. They work great. She wears fuzzibunz during the day, and they may leak after 6 hours overnight, but they're still way better than 'sposies. Anyway, more on stripping later. It's definitely a downside to cloth diapering.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My fuzzi stash!

I counted up my cloth diaper stash last night to see how many diapers I have that I actually use. My mom just bought me three more, so I figured I probably have enough now. I have 14 fuzzi bunz, 7 charlie banana, and 3 bumgenius. All 3 brands are pocket diapers (the only kind I use), and the bumgenius ones I use for nights only right now (they're a bit bigger than the fb and cb, so there's more room for stuffing). So, I have 24 diapers in use.  It's about the perfect number of diapers. I do laundry every two days, for one reason because my dirty diaper bag gets full and also to keep my diapers from staining. With 24 diapers, I have plenty to get me through while the laundry is getting done, in case it takes a little while, like if I start the laundry at night and put the diapers in the dryer before I go to work, she'll still have diapers to wear that day.

We have a range of colors, too! The newest additions were turquoise, mint, and choco truffle which gave me some more "gender-neutral" colors. I also have several pink, one purple, a few buttercream (one of my faves!), and 7 white diapers. My favorite is a Charlie Banana patterned diaper. It is white with pink flowers and butterflies; so pretty!

Here are some pics of Eleanor in her newest FuzziBunz diaper! I love the turquoise color (actually called "spearmint"). Isn't she the cutest?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Missing my baby

This morning I had to leave a smiling, happy baby and come to work. It about broke my heart. Last night, Eleanor was cranky and it seemed like nothing we did could make her happy. Eventually she settled down with a bath, a clean diaper, swaddling, and her paci. But then she just went to sleep. This morning, she wanted to play, but her mom had to go to work. Why does it seem to go like that? Yesterday she went to one grandma's house and was playful, talkative, and all in all a very happy baby. Today she's at another grandma's house, presumably having just as lovely of a day without me. I wonder what mood she'll be in tonight. I really hope I get to play with a happy baby for a couple of hours before she goes to bed! I miss my Eleanor.

Why do moms have to go to work? Is it this bad for dads, too?