Category Archives: Frugal living

A Pleasant Night In

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So things have been pretty crazy hectic around here for a while with both of us working full time and trying to juggle that with the catastrophic disaster that comes with having a 2 year old and a 4 month old who has decided that scooting about is top notch.

Occasionally, there are breaks in the chaos, though they’re often the eye of the storm. Here’s to good food and a little bit of recharging to prep for the next thing!

Garden Tortellini Soup

  • 1 12oz can of evaporated milk
  • 20 oz vegetable stock (I used a no added salt brand)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cut thick
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 packs of Michelina’s Tortellini Alfredo with Broccoli (the individual serving sizes)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1.5oz packet of Alfredo sauce mix
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

In a large pot on low heat, mix water, sauce mix and vegetable broth slowly so that the sauce mix doesn’t clump. Then add the garlic, onion, and spices, stir well and add the Michelina’s. I didn’t even thaw these, just dropped them in frozen solid and let the sauce thaw gradually and mix with the rest of the broth. Cover and keep on low heat for about 20 minutes. I used this time to wash the spinach and cut mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, spinach, and evaporated milk, and cover and simmer for another 20. Serve with black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

This makes about 4-6 servings, and is both light and surprisingly filling for a vegetarian dish.

Fluffy butts everywhere!

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Tristan in his new BumGenius 4.0, Albert print.

After taking a break with cloth diapering my daughter, we are back at full force! With two under two and potty-training on the horizon, cloth seemed like the most affordable method, and I’ve always preferred using cloth to disposables. With working part time, the extra load of laundry doesn’t cause much stress and I usually throw them in with hard-worn work clothes or towels and do an extra rinse.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I did a lot of research on cloth diapers, both the more convenient kinds like All-In-Ones (AIO’s) and the old fashioned prefolds with covers. I settled on a one-day stash of both. I went with KangaCare’s One Size Rumparooz for my pocket diapers (they had seconds available at the time, which made their price lower than normally cheaper brands like BumGenius and FuzziBunz) and Thirsties Duo Wraps with cotton prefolds for my at-home prefold and cover diapers. One size cloth diapers have been my absolute favorite, most fit from 8-35 pounds and range from $7-25 depending on the brand and quality. This allows me to use the same diapers¬†on my 2 month old son and my 22 month old daughter, completely eliminating the need to buy two different sizes of disposables. Now, the Thirsties Duo Wraps aren’t a true one size diaper. Instead of having one size or five (Newborn, small, medium, large, extra-large), they have two sizes available: one that fits 6-18 pounds and one that fits 18-40 pounds. This allows their diapers to fit tiny newborns better than most one size diapers, and also lets them fit larger toddlers (like my daughter, who is 37 pounds at 22 months) without being too tight.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this generation’s cloth diapers, there are many different kinds to choose from and benefits to each. Prefolds and covers are much like the cloth diapers that our parents used and are cheaper than the more convenient kinds, though they require a little more time for changes. However, safety pins aren’t needed for these diapers anymore: there are some products like Snappis that can be used with one hand and without the fear of accidentally sticking your baby! Pocket diapers and AIO’s run a bit more expensive than prefolds, but are worth it for the easy no-hassle changes. These diapers are put on as one piece. Some of them, like AIOs, are always one piece and some, like pockets, have absorbent inserts that are stuffed in the diaper before you change the baby. I usually stuff my diapers as soon as they cool from the dryer, allowing me to have diapers on hand that can be used just as quickly as a disposable would.

I am in the process of trying more brands of cloth diapers (I just bought a BumGenius one size pocket diaper last week and I’m really liking it), but I haven’t really run into any trouble with a diaper not working the way it should. Different kinds have their advantages and disadvantages, leaks happen (often due to user error as I’ve never really had to think about which direction my baby is peeing before…), and different brands do seem to fit differently. Though I haven’t had much time with my new BumGenius diaper yet, I like the way it fits my 2 month old better than the way the Rumparooz do.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be getting three new brands of diapers in the mail: Sunbaby pockets, Pororo covers, and a Thirsties all-in-one, in addition to trying out home-made cloth baby wipes. I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on the way that each fit, their¬†absorbency on each of the kiddos, and do an overall comparison as well.

I am not being compensated in any form for this review, all opinions written here are my own.