Disclaimer: Depending on your definition and comfort level, part of this post may be considered over-sharing. Don't say I didn't warn you.
So I've been on a journey lately to simplify my life and my home, and be a bit more purposeful in how I live. Part of this has been de-cluttering (motivated largely by the impending move), part of it is making more earth-friendly choices, and part of it is making more wallet-friendly choices.
(Oversharing about to begin)
The Land Down Under
Nearly a year ago now, I switched from using tampons to using the Diva Cup. I had a variety of reasons, but the main ones were financial and environmental since it's reusable. Considering that women use about 16,800 pads or tampons over their lifetime, that's a HUGE savings of both money and landfill space. The Cup has paid for itself a few times over by this point (it's generally around $30, but I've seen it for as little as $20 online) and it's still got at least another year, if not a few years, of life left.
Not only that, but I don't have to worry about the toxins that can be found in standard tampons (it's debatable that this is an issue, but I would rather not risk it), or the fact that tampons soak up vaginal fluids that are necessary to maintain a healthy pH balance in the land down under. I've also noticed that some of my period "symptoms" have actually changed for the better since I started using it too. I have a feeling it's linked to the pH balance factor.
Anyway, there are a lot of other reasons I could tell you about as to why you (or if you're a man, your wife, sister, etc) should try it out, but I'll get off my soapbox now.
My point is, I decided to also start switching over the cloth pantiliners for backup support.
The first one looks like crap and I put one of the snaps on backwards, but hey, it was my first try. The one on the right is the pattern I think I'm going to go with. It fits perfectly and is very comfortable. I used a cotton jersey fabric I had on hand and it doesn't slip around either (using flannel on the bottom also helps with that...some have had success using pads and liners without wings by using flannel).
Eventually, I'd like to get some natural (non-dyed) and/or organic cotton to use, but for now I'm using the fabric I have on hand.
(Oversharing is over now *wink*)
It was really nice to pull out the sewing machine after a long hiatus too. I think I might try making one of these purses next (discovered on Abby's Knits and even cooler looking in person). I love bags, especially roomy ones, and I think these would also make awesome gifts for the birthdays coming up in my family and for Christmas.
Another aspect of the whole simpler living business is food. I've been buying bulk from the IV Food Coop for the last month or so and I love it! They have excellent produce there as well. It's a little more expensive, but the quality is even better than Trader Joe's and I limit it to just a few things (avocados, bananas, apricots, and lettuce at this point). I'm sure the dairy is very good there too, but TJ's prices are half the coop's, so I can't justify that.
They have a lot of bulk goods including spices, baking items, beans, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate-covered items, and also things like oil, peanut or almond butter, liquid soap (Dr. Bronner's), and yeast.
So far, the bulk items I regularly purchase there are white and whole wheat flour, semolina flour, yeast, brown rice, oats, cornmeal, polenta-style cornmeal, sugar, choc chips and whatever misc things I might need. I love that I can get *exactly* the amount I need, and a lot of it is either organic or close to it.
I've been making more things from scratch too. I've really been enjoying baking our bread and smelling it as it bakes. I've worked out some kinks and have begun experimenting with recipes.
Below I've got the latest batch of bread along with homemade cornbread. The bread is from a basic recipe that I've used to make wheat bread. This time, I used about 1/4-1/2 C semolina flour in place of the white flour to add extra flavor. It turned out really well and I finally got the bread to rise to sandwich size. This was also the first one I baked in glass rather than metal and used the bulk yeast from the coop. I think the glass bakeware made a big difference in the second rise.
I really have loved this process. I am a natural domestic!