Monday, December 16, 2013

Cloth vs Disposable Diapers...

I'm not a super crunchy kind of person, but I use cloth diapers about 90% of the time with JJ. I'll be honest, a big part of the reason is cost and helping with the environment is simply a bonus.

When it came time to decide on whether I (we) would use cloth or disposable, I gravitated toward cloth diapers. And then I started researching Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers. And it became a no-brainer decision. I'll be honest, CJ was slightly apprehensive about going the cloth diaper route, but I think he's come around totally now. 

So! Why did we make the decision to go cloth? I'm cheap.

Since babies typically potty train between two and three years, and I'm not going to be neurotically potty training with M&Ms as a reward so I'll go with closer to three years before JJ is potty trained, I did some calculations as such:

If one approximates 10 diaper changes per 24 hours in the first 3 months and 8 changes from 4 - 36 months and using an average cost of newborn and bigger diapers, I found it worked out to be anywhere from $2675 - $4250 depending on diaper brands.

Now on to cloth diapers... it's slightly different to calculate as the cost of cloth diapers will remain no matter how many times (!) you change the bambino. Now, the upfront cost expenditure is higher, there is no getting around it, but after the initial purchase, it is simply laundry detergent (I use TIDE and not their recommended diaper washing laundry detergent, call me crazy) cost and water / electricity. If you get the One Size diapers, you can use them from birth til potty training. 

So, for three years, my cost will be approximately $750. Sweet! And then, when we have a second baby and I reuse said cloth diapers? Um, yeah, that's going to go down to about $300 for newborn to three years old. Ah.Maze.Ing. As I said, CJ has most definitely come around to cloth diapers... He's cheap too.

We do tend to use disposable diapers still at night (that 10% of the time we don't use cloth? It's for bedtime) as JJ sleeps through the night since 9 weeks and I don't want to disrupt that schedule. I'm frugal, not crazy.

My favorite cloth diapers are:

Also, another bonus we have noticed? He doesn't have as many blowout diapers as he does with disposable? They seem to hold everything in and not be as blowout prone. Yes, please.

Oh! and the environment. Apparently disposable diapers need to be exposed to sunlight and oxygen to decompose and in a landfill? Yeah, they don't degrade well there. According to Women's Environmental Network (WEN) they take approximately 200 - 500 years to decompose and, well, I don't want to leave that kind of legacy for JJ and his children. Global Weirding, Global Warming, Climate Change, whatever you want to call it is a reality.

And then there is my most favorite part... They're pretty damn cute. Either wearing just his diaper or matching them with an outfit. And if you're like me and have a difficult time keeping the "chatter" going while changing, it's nice to give him the option of the blue one or the red one... He usually goes with blue in case you're wondering.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baking? Bran Muffins? Who Am I?...

I've never been a cook, let alone a baker...

Don't get me wrong, I love food and I love to watch people cook. Going to the grocery store gives me a small thrill and I recently described our newest grocery store here in Doha as "sexy" (because it is...). But I'm not a cook.

That being said, I was getting antsy while JJ takes his morning naps. There is only so much Facebook and reading one can do. So! I've taken up baking Bran Muffins and I have to admit, I'm loving it.

My mom (The Ging) makes a mean Bran Muffin and I love her recipe. Unfortunately, her recipe takes up to an hour of prep (soaking, etc) and I don't have that kind of time. So! I have discovered a different, and yet, similar recipe. Here we go:

Ingredients                                           Serving (24)

Bran Cereal, such as Kellogg's All-Bran         4 cups
Buttermilk*                                                3 1/2 cups
Raisins (if desired)                                      2/3 cup
Vegetable Oil                                            2/3 cup
Maple Syrup (or Honey)**                           1/2 cup
Egg(s)                                                       2 Large
Packed Light Brown Sugar                          1/2 cup
All-Purpose Flour                                       2 1/2 cups
Baking Powder                                          4 tsp
Baking Soda                                              2 tsp
Salt                                                         1/2 tsp
Cinnamon                                                2 1/4 tsp
Ginger                                                     1 tsp
Wheat Bran***                                          1/4 cup

* I make my own buttermilk as I am unable to find it in the stores here in Doha. The ratio is 1 Cup milk to 1 tbsp White Vinegar and you allow to sit for 5 minutes. Who knew? Besides my husband and I'm sure every other well established chef in the world. But seriously, who knew.

** As we are unable to get Maple Syrup here, we have substituted pure honey. Works quite well and it's cheaper.

*** The Wheat Bran doesn't have to go in, just an added boost if you will.

Pre-heat the oven to 400*F or 200*C.

Combine the bran cereal, buttermilk, raisins (if desired) and wheat bran (if desired) in a large bowl; let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil, maple syrup, egg and brown sugar. Sift the dry ingredients over the mixture and gently stir until combined. Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.

Bake at 400* (
200*C) for 18 to 20 minutes (our oven bakes them by 19 minutes). 

Dried apple or chopped toasted pecans may be added to the batter instead of raisins. I've started adding (1 - 2) Banana(s) to the second batch for Banana Bran Muffins. So good if you're a banana freak like me.

It's nice as opposed to allowing to sit for one (1) hour, it's only 10 minutes... For someone who tries to bake while the Little Man is sleeping, a difference of 50 minutes is HUGE! ;)

****The bones of this recipe come from "The Baker's Manual; Fifth Edition" by Joseph Amendola and Nicole Rees. I've adjusted baking temperatures and included some ingredients (ginger / cinnamon or pumpkin spice should you so choose)****

As the muffins do not have any preservatives, I typically freeze all but 4 - 6 of them and pull them out accordingly.