Monthly Archives: Aug 2010

Composting Eco-Friendly/Green Review

Nature Mill “Automatic Compost Bin” Review


nature mill composter
I have been coveting the Nature Mill composters since I heard about them a few years ago.  I was given the opportunity to purchase one at a very generous discount, but still didn’t think I could fit it into my budget.  Luckily for me, I think my husband felt guilty that I would be at home on my birthday, eating grilled cheese with my kids, while he was in Italy (on business.)  So, he told me to go ahead and order it as my birthday gift!

Before I get too far ahead of myself, the Nature Mill composter is self contained, heating and turning compost material in the upper chamber.  Then you transfer the compost to a lower chamber and add more items to the top.  A red light comes on about every two weeks, telling you to empty the lower tray.  You can compost even dairy, meat and fish (which you wouldn’t put in a normal compost pile.)

composternature mill

Initially, I was a little disappointed by how simple it seemed.  The model I purchased retails for $299.  Their specifications indicate that it is made of recycled + recyclable energy-efficient polypropylene (stamped with the “5” triangle recycling symbol.)  It has the appearance of heavy duty Styrofoam, and the overall composter just seems so simple that I felt like I had wasted my money, that there was no way I was really going to feel like this thing was worth it.  I was wrong by the way.  Perfect example of why I don’t write reviews immediately after I’ve received a product!

Lower Tray
nature mill
Upper Chamber
The composter comes with sawdust pellets and baking soda that you add 1 cup/1 tablespoon to every 5 cups of food waste you add to the composter.

nature mill

Initially, I had hoped to keep this in my kitchen, beside my trash and recycling bins.  They actually make cabinet kits for the composter, but I don’t have an outlet I could plug it into.  Also, there is nothing latching the top closed (from curious fingers) and they warn that the inside can get quite hot. 

nature millnature mill
The composter can be used in temperatures from 0-120 degrees, as long as it has an outlet that is protected from water while plugged in.  I have one of these handy dandy outlets on my covered porch, so I thought I’d put it there.  It’s just a few steps from my trash can after all.
nature millnature mill
The dead plants really add to the look, don’t you think?  OK, maybe not.  I just couldn’t manage to make it not look weird!
nature mill
So, I put it in the garage!
Here is a quick video to demonstrate the noise the Nature Mill Composter makes when it is plugged in.

I started using it right away.  You can put all kinds of food waste in it.  The box included easy to reference guides on what you can and can’t put in it.  The big no-nos are hard or fibrous items (corn husks, peach pits) and paper or artificial items (plastic, dryer lint, compostable plates etc.)  I was worried about keeping track of when to add the sawdust pellets and baking soda, but I didn’t have any trouble.  I added some every few days and I had no trash odors at all.  Just an earthy smell.

I don’t want to gross you out with pictures of icky food waste, but here is a photo of the compost along the process.
nature mill
The black pieces are all that remains of banana peels within hours of adding them.  The internal heat, combined with the automatic turning every 4 hours, breaks the material down insanely fast.

My videos are very dark, my apologies.  The next time I take video in my garage I’ll open the door!  This next video shows the composter while it’s turning, so you can hear what it sounds like.  Keep in mind that I’m right on top of it during filming, and it’s much quieter if you are just walking by.

So, I’ve been using my composter now for about 3 1/2 weeks.  It can handle up to 120 lbs of food waste per month, and produces a batch of compost about every two weeks.  I haven’t gotten to use any yet, because after you transfer the compost the first time, you let it continue to compost in the lower tray.  Next time I’m ready to transfer, I’ll be ready to use some as well!

So, transfer…it’s a super easy, 15-minute process that you start by pushing a button.

nature mill

That starts the process of the composter turning the compost, and dropping it through the trap door, to the tray below.

Here is another clip toward the end of the transfer cycle.

and a shot of the trap door opening (and the noise it makes)

There will be a small bit of compost remaining in the upper chamber after transfer, that’s not a problem, it helps the next batch!

nature mill

You’re left with lovely compost that will continue to break down and compact until your red light comes on!

nature mill

You can see I may have rushed it a little bit since there are still bits of banana peel visible. I was anxious, what can I say!

Nature mill also has pricier models with colored accents, foot pedals and lifetime filters.

So, why I love the Nature Mill Automatic Compost bin:

  • I love a gadget.  I do, I can’t help it.
  • It’s all self contained.  No piles of food waste on my counter and trekking to the backyard to add it to the pile.
  • No worries about our skunks, raccoons, wild turkeys, deer, cows, groundhogs or bats getting into it.  We’ve had animals get a bag from the bottom of our garbage can and spread it all over the yard.
  • No trash smell!  My kitchen smells better having all the food waste out of it!
  • We’re only producing 1/2-1/4 bag of trash per week (we’re fortunate enough to have a county-wide recycling program as well!)
  • Nitrogen rich compost!
  • It’s fast!  No turning by hand and compost is ready in 2 weeks.
  • It’s attractive.  It’s about the size of an old school CPU case and is much better looking than a pile of waste outside.
  • It’s so easy.
  • You can even put dairy, meat and fish in it!
  • Other things I am probably forgetting right now.

We have so much food waste around here between banana peels, other fruit skins, sandwich crusts and all the confetti that signals a toddler is finished with his meal, hee hee.  It’s fantastic to not be putting that in the trash!

The composter uses about 5 kWh of power per month (about the same as a night light.)

Who knew trash could be “fun?!”  There is even more to say about the Nature Mill Automatic Compost Bin, but I don’t want to make this post a mile long!  Read more about how it works and “earth facts” on Nature Mill’s website!

Thank you to Nature Mill for allowing me to purchase this composter at a discount.  The discount in no way affected my review, and all opinions are my own.

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Cloth Diapers Giveaway One Size Diapers Pocket Diapers

Smartipants Diaper Giveaway (CLOSED 8/27)


smartipants diaper
I’ve had my Smartipants diaper for about 8 months. 
Initially, I didn’t think it was anything to really write home about.
smart sleeve diaper
However, the more I used it, the more it became a favorite. It has been used nearly daily for the 8 months I’ve had it.
I just took these pictures last week, so this is what it looks like after 8 months of wear & tear!
smart sleeve
The Smartipants diaper has a “smart sleeve” that the insert slides into.  Much like a pocket diaper, it has a waterproof outer and soft fabric against baby’s skin.
cloth diaper
Each diaper comes with a smart sleeve microfiber insert. 
cloth diaper
Here are the two things that really make Smartipants stand out to me.  First, the insert agitates out in the wash.  It really does!  With my other pocket diapers, I use the wipe to yank the insert out before I throw it in the pail, so I don’t have to touch it later.  The smart sleeve insert comes out by itself, so just throw wet ones in your pail as is! 
Second, each diaper and smart sleeve insert costs only $14.95!  They’re also available in 3-packs, 12-packs and 24-packs with discounted prices.  24 diapers cost $279.95 or about $11.66 per diaper!  That’s enough to cloth diaper full time, washing every other day, with a few to spare.
More important than price (to me) is the fact that they do not leak, and our Smartipants has held up wonderfully!  8 months of mostly daily use and zero problems.
Smartipants have snap closures, with just two snaps on each wing, which is easier for me to do than three!  They are also one-size by way of a snap down rise.  All photos of my son in this post are on the medium setting where he is about 18 or so pounds.
Small setting, folded:
cloth diaper
Small setting stretched:
smartipants small
Medium setting folded:
Medium setting stretched:
medium setting
pocket diaper
Large setting folded:
Large setting stretched:
cloth diaper
large setting
Smartipants recently introduced new products, including newborn diapers, smart-fit covers, smart tote wet bags and smart pail hanging wet bags!
They also introduced their first limited edition diaper color, chocolate.  A new color will be available for a limited time each month, and the color will be chosen by Smartipants users!
cloth diaper
So, I bet you want your own.  Smartipants is giving one of my lovely readers their own Smartipants diaper with smart sleeve insert, in his/her choice of color!
Here’s how to enter:
Mandatory Entry: Visit Smartipants and tell me what product you think they should add to their line!
Bonus Entry: “Like” Smartipants on Facebook.  Let them know I sent you!  Leave me a comment on this blog post, letting me know you’re a “liker” in order to get your entry.
That’s it.  Single comment entry, or double your chances by liking Smartipants on Facebook, and keeping up with all their latest news!  Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment if it is not visible in your profile.
I’ll accept entries until Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.  I’ll draw a winner using’s true random number generator and notify him/her by email. S/he will have 48 hours to respond before the prize is forfeited and another winner is chosen.
This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only.  Review my general giveaway rules for complete details.
Although Smartipants has agreed to provide a free diaper to one reader, I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are my own.
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Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 8/16/10



Every Monday I will answer user submitted questions. They don’t have to be about cloth diapering! I’ll always answer questions via email, but if you would like your question to be answered in a Mailbox Mondays post, send an email with the subject “Mailbox Mondays” to at gmail dot com!

Stephanie asks:

Have you ever tried an Amber teething necklace? If so, what is your opinion? I like the concept, but fear they would be a choking hazard.

I have!  I reviewed an Inspired by Finn Baltic amber teething necklace way back in April.  I thought it was adorable, and did seem to make a difference for my son.  One thing I really like about IBF is that the string has a teeny bit of “give” to it, and it will break if needed (like if your child were caught on something.)  At the same time, the beads are separated by individual knots, so if it broke, you wouldn’t have beads everywhere. 
That said, we stopped using it when the teething eased up because my son started lifting it over his chin and into his mouth to chew on it.  I thought about buying one in a shorter length so he couldn’t do that, but I never got around to it!

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Econobum Winner


econobum winner
I hope everyone enjoyed the easy entry for this giveaway!  Expect to see easier giveaway entries from my blog in the future.  Of course, if they are sponsored by someone else (other than me) there will be at least one optional entry to benefit them (such as liking their Facebook page.)  You can expect to see an optional entry from me every now and again, but I will try to keep it simple and easy.
The winner of the Econobum is Michele of Found Giveaways.  Congratulations Michele!
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Friday Giveaway Linky Giveaways Linky

Weekly Friday Giveaway Roundup for August 13th, 2010


Each Friday, I will post cloth diaper, babywearing and “green” giveaways that I’ve found, or that readers have submitted. The post will be accompanied by a linky where you may enter any family friendly (no “adult” products please!) giveaways, they do not need to be diaper related.

If you have a cloth diaper/accessory/babywearing/green giveaway you would like to be listed in the next giveaway roundup post, please email a link, blog name, giveaway title, end date and photo (if applicable) to at gmail dot com.


My Econobum Giveaway ends tonight, 8/13  Very easy entry, single entry method, just leave a comment!

This week’s giveaway finds
The Cloth Diaper Whisperer 
Wahmies Diaper from The Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative and Tender Loving Cloth Diapers (ends today, 8/13)  Mandatory entry is a Facebook “like,” which I do not care for but you might want to enter.
FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diaper from My New Life as Mom and Snappy Diapers (ends 9/6)

Bummas Wipes from Happily Southern (ends 8/21)

Bum Essentials AI2 from Mama B and The Baby Plus Store (ends 8/20)

Thirsties Duo Hemp Prefold from The Cloth Diaper Retailer Cooperative and Earth Angels Diaper Co. (ends 8/31)

Planet Wise Wet Bag from Living on Love and Cents (ends 8/23)

Envibum Diaper or cover from Mama to 3 Blessings (ends 8/17)

Envibum Diaper from Mommy of 1 and Counting (ends 8/21)

Envibum Diaper or cover from A Mom’s Take (ends 8/20)

Bum Essentials Diaper from My New Life as Mom (ends 9/9)

Mother-Ease fitted diaper & cover from Dirty Diaper Laundry (ends 8/23)

Sleepy Wrap from Survey Junkie (ends 8/31)

Lovelybums hand painted organic fitted diaper from Sap’s Mama (ends 8/25)

Green Acre Designs Diaper from Home Grown Families and The Diaper Wagon (ends 8/25) Requires a Facebook like, comment and blog follow for the mandatory entry

Super Doopsy Insert from The Cloth Diaper Report (ends either 8/16 or 8/20, the title says 8/20 but the bottom with the entry instructions says 8/16)

Bummas Wipes from A Mommy’s Blessings (ends 8/27)

Snappi from Happily Southern (ends 8/28)

ReThink Crafts Cloth Diaper Cover from Everything Mom and Baby (ends 8/26)

Super Undies Cloth Trainer from Liz Has a Life (ends 8/27) 

Giveaways still running from last week:

pediped® Originals® from One Savvy Mom (ends 8/31)

Thirsties Duo Diaper from Happily Southern (ends 8/21)

Happy Heiny’s Diaper from Happily Southern (ends 8/21)

Mother-Ease Diaper & Cover from My New Life as Mom (ends 9/3)

Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag from Mommy is Green (ends 8/19)

Nifty Nappy Diaper from It’s Me Melbie (ends 9/4)

Tiny Tush Diaper from Liz Has a Life (ends 8/18)

FuzziBunz Starter Kit from Pregnancy360 (ends 8/31) Super easy entry!!

Diaper Sprayer from My New Life as Mom (ends 8/25)

Thirsties duo diaper from Organic Girl (ends 8/18)

Knickernappies Diaper from Wee Little Changes (ends 8/22)

You may enter any family friendly giveaway in the linky below. The format Blog name – Giveaway Item – Ending date works well. At a minimum, please include the item and end date, and link directly to the giveaway.

Please view my post on where I list my giveaways to find more great places to link up!

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