10 January 2012

I Need a Hobby

Welcome to the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I need a hobby and I found one. Green living.

I couldn't decide which natural experiment to write about for this month's carnival, so I did all of them. OK, OK, not exactly *all* of them, but many more than I ever thought I would do. See, I knew several months ago that this carnival would take place and I wanted to be prepared so I brushed up on eco-friendliness. I had already been using burp rags instead of paper towels for over a year, I'd used cloth diapers for over a year, I started using cloth menstrual pads several months before and I was already making my own vegetable stock from scraps so I needed to set up my game.

I became a vegetarian on August 1, 2011, I stopped using mainstream deodorant and began using coconut oil and baking soda and I stopped using shampoo. Then I stopped using a microwave, decided to start/started walking to where I will be working and even started using handkerchiefs and *gasp* family cloth! I take short showers (not necessarily by choice), bathe less often, bathe my children less often (they also take showers)and I use reusable (and homemade) bags at the grocery store. I also shop mostly at second-hand stores for H & P and can't remember the last time I willingly bought something for myself so I'm saving a ton.

By this time, I know you're looking for the point of this post. Obviously I've engaged in multiple experiments and you want to know how I feel about all of this. Well, simply put, it's working for me. All of it. I'm addicted and cannot get enough of this 'green' stuff.

Most (heck, maybe all) of the things I mentioned in this post weren't even tiny thoughts in the back of my mind for the greater part of my life. I never thought of using cloth diapers, never thought I wouldn't use a microwave and I certainly never thought I wouldn't use toilet paper! Yet as I evolve as a mother and an individual my tastes, preferences and openness also change; what I once considered outrageous, gross or downright crazy has become second nature to me. All of the steps I have taken to live a more responsible life feel so right to me I wonder how I went so long without trying them.

I will never stop working to be a better human being. The steps I have taken thus far, experiments that turned into a way of life, are just the beginning. I have such great visions of the future, of new green experiments working fantastically to create a better life for myself and my family. I'm so pleased to have participated in this carnival topic and to have had the opportunity to try so many new things. I love change. Bring it on.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Make your own moisturizer! — Megan at boho mama whips up a winter skin-friendly moisturizer.
  • Cold Water Only — Brittany at The Pistachio Project talks about how you do not need hot water to wash laundry.
  • Family Cloth... Really?? — After lots of forethought and consideration, Momma Jorje finally decides to take the plunge with family cloth.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle : 5-5-5 Things A Day — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about decluttering her home in an attempt to create a gentler living space. She takes on a new project where she sets a goal of reducing, reusing and recycling every day.
  • Pros and cons of family cloth — Lauren at Hobo Mama would love to continue replacing paper products with family cloth … if she could only get over how damp she feels.
  • Craftily Parenting — Kellie at Our Mindful Life finds that crafting makes her a better parent.
  • Changes — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen couldn't choose just one area to experiment with, so she wrote a long post about all the fun changes initiated in her life!
  • Life without Internet: Not all it's Cracked up to Be — Adrienne at Mommying My Way tries to go a week without the Internet, only to realize a healthy dose of Internet usage really helps keep this stay-at-home mom connected.
  • My Progression to Raw Milk — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her natural parenting progression all the way to trying raw milk.
  • mama's new little friend. — Sarah at Bitty Bird tries a menstrual cup to "green her period," and is pleasantly surprised when she falls in love with the product!
  • Before you throw it out, try homemade laundry soap! — Jennifer at Practical OH Mommy shows visual proof that homemade laundry soap is cheaper, easier, and works better than the store-bought chemicals!
  • Oil, Oil, No Toil, No Trouble — K from Very Simple Secret talks about her foray into the oil-cleansing method.
  • I Need a Hobby — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro couldn't decide which experiment to run, so she did them all.
  • 7 days of macrobiotics for a balanced family — The Stones make a [successful] attempt to release the "holiday junking" with 7 days of macrobiotic meals to balance their bodies and souls. Elisabeth at Manic Mrs. Stone includes an explanation of macrobiotics.
  • Chemical Free Beauty Challenge — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction turned to natural alternatives for her daily beauty and cleaning routine, with great results.
  • Greening my Armpits!? My Green Resolution — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about how she decided to give up her traditional antiperspirant and make the switch over to crystal deodorants and definitely isn't looking back!
  • Going Raw (for a while) — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares her family's experience with raw food.
  • Do we get to eat gluten today? — Sheila at A Gift Universe has been trying to figure out if her son does better with or without gluten in his diet … but it's really hard to tell for sure.
  • Hippies Can Smell and Look Fabulous Too! — Arpita of Up, Down And Natural details her experience of going shampoo-free and overhauling her cosmetics to find the balance between feeling beautifully fabulous and honoring her inner hippie.
  • Our cupboards are full...but there's nothing to eat — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud takes on the challenge of chomping through the contents of her storecupboard rather than going shopping — but there's something that she just can't bring herself to do …
  • Elimination Experiment 3.0MudpieMama recounts the messy adventures of her baby daughter trying to be diaper free.
  • Family Cloth Trial — Amyables at Toddler in Tow talks about making and using family cloth wipes in the bathroom for the first time.
  • Taking a Hiatus — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares how her experience of much less internet interaction affected her family and how it will change her approach in the future.
  • Trying Out the Menstrual Cup — Lindsey at an unschooling adventure ditches the tampons and gives menstrual cups a try.
  • Managing Food Waste in Our Home — Tired of the holiday waste, Robbie at Going Green Mama takes a weeklong focus on reducing food waste in her home, and learns some lessons that can take her through the new year.
  • Going Offline, Cloth Tissues, and Simplicity — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses over her time away from blogging and social networking. In addition, she shares her newfound love of cloth tissues and simplicity.


  1. Good for you! You've made a lot of changes in the last year or so... isn't it addicting?

  2. Just when I didn't think I could find you more awesome, you go ahead and post this. This is absolutely incredible. I love the changes you've made - you are inspiring me to make more changes too. I'm already using green cleaning methods for my house and my family, but unpaper towels, paper napkins, etc. need to be on my radar too.
    "I will never stop working to be a better human being." Awesome. Just awesome. I love this post so much.

  3. I'm worshiping you from afar ;) No seriously, I'm amazed by all of the changes you've made in such a short time period!!

  4. we've also stopped using the microwave and before i got pregnant, i had been using cloth pads! still more steps to take for green living

  5. Envy... I want to go all-out. I really do! I have an uphill battle to fight with the rest of my family, though- so I try to introduce radical notions one at a time. Slowly... I've wanted to broach the topic of family cloth for a while now. Maybe. One. Day. Soon.

  6. Sweet!

    I am the same way - I had no idea what to do my experiment on because we are already vegan, do not use a microwave, are planning to cloth diaper in march, use natural products, etc etc etc. I'm not quite ready to switch to family cloth- we will see how diapering goes first but I know I love being vegan! I feel so clear-headed and proud that I'm doing such a big thing for my planet.


  7. I kind of had the same problem as Mrs. Stone above. We already do so many of those things, I wasn't sure where to start for this experiment. But, tell me about the no-microwave thing. What's up with that?

  8. I am totally with Jenn and Dionna on this. Every time I turn around you become even more amazing and fascinating to me. I wish I had half of the energy and conviction you do. I only remember to do most of those things occasionally. Like my awesome collection of hankies are in my other purse or my cloth bags are no where to be found when I'm running to the store. I love how conscious you are of the impact you have. You are just full of sharky awesomeness!

  9. Good for you! That's a lot of changes to make in a short time! There's no better inspiration that being a mama though, right?

  10. Awesome! It's funny how it starts out as an experiment and becomes a way of life.

  11. Some of your comments almost made me cry! Thank you so much for your wonderful words!

    Adrienne, instead of a microwave I heat food in the oven, in a pot or in the toaster oven. I do this because research on what a microwave actually does to food is not exactly positive.

  12. Oh, I love this post Amanda!! It's so true that all along this is really all just one big experiment that some parts stick and some parts don't (for me anyways). I agree that there really is no end to trying new things, and certainly takes the pressure off from being perfect NOW! Hehe!! Thanks, as always, for being the beautiful inspiration that you are!!

  13. Well done to you! I also had a big year for green changes last year and feel all the better for it :)

  14. Wow, not many mountains left for you to climb, are there? Of course there are still some: start a garden, collect rainwater, remove all plastic items, on and on and on ... there's always more you can do. But that's a lot to do in just one year!

  15. Thank you, thank you!

    Sheila I'm actually in the process of removing plastic and I feel like that's the hardest one of all! I've been a gardener for most of my life but not having my own house right now dampens my desire to have a "real" garden. I do want to collect rainwater and compost one day though!

  16. Amanda – what a fabulous list of eco-living choices! I’m right there with you on them and I love it too. I also love reading about your continual growth and feeling like I have a kindred spirit out there. Next on my list is to build my own home from the Earth – now that’s the big one. Wish me luck :-)

  17. Thank you, Terri! I'm sure your Earth home will be amazing!!

  18. It's amazing to go to see this web page and reading the views of all friends concerning this paragraph, while I am also keen of getting familiarity.

    Check out my web blog :: Dailymotion.Com