Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Essential Oils

February 18, 2010

I learned so much at my Holistic Mom’s meeting last night!  I am so excited about all the information I learned regarding Essential Oils.  I currently have 4 EO’s, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them other than Lavender for cloth diapers, Peppermint for deterring mice and ants, Tea Tree for acne soap and Frankincense (don’t remember why I had purchased this).  I’m excited to try out the EO’s I currently have with some of the new ideas and applications of them I learned last night.

For teething, I am going to try Thieves and Cloves mixed with Agave nectar.
For any upper respiratory sickness I am going to use Thieves on my thumb and then place it in the back of my throat.  It is supposed to make you feel well again very quickly.
Last night and today our daughter got Lavender rubbed on her feet with a little olive oil before bedtime and nap.  It seems to make her relax and feel special during this chaotic time.
For a fever, Lavender is going to be my go to in place of Tylenol. 

I learned that pharmaceuticals are based off of EO’s and herbs.  I never knew this.  I learned that your feet have the thinnest layer of skin and when you put EO’s on them, the EO’s go through every cell of your body within 20 minutes…powerful stuff.  I learned 19 EO’s that are safe for children…this will come in handy.  I learned how to use Lemon EO to take fluoride and chlorine out of your water.  I learned how to make my own hand soap using Theives….I will eventually try this.  Oh, I learned so much and still have so much to digest.  Can’t wait to share all my adventures with EO’s!

Hope you are all well!  Hopefully this little one will arrive soon and I will be MIA for a while I’m sure.  Take care!

Holistic Moms

November 19, 2009

I attended my first Holistic Moms meeting last night.  It was so very awesome!!  I felt so inspired and energized when I left (and, really within the first 2 minutes of being there)!  Finally, a group of moms that eyes don’t glaze over when you talk about nutrition, chemicals, breastfeeding, natural cleaners, not vaccinating, herbal remedies, etc.  I was totally in heaven!

These ladies set up a ‘Lacation Station’ at a recent Fall Fest, and received overwhelming support and rave reviews for it.  I would love to be a part of the next one and to help in any way I can to empower women.

Thanks to my super fantastic friend, Emily, for inviting me along.  Her mom is actually one of the co-leaders and a ‘retired’ midwife from the same team of midwives we used for our daughter’s birth and will use for this little ones birth. 

It is so moving to get a group of women together that share the same concerns and to be able to have sharing conversations with each other in a non-judgemental way.  I’m so looking forward to next month.

We meet once a month, with a different topic each month.  There is also a  play group too.  Yay, no more worrying about donut holes and other random food being served.  It is empowering to decline that stuff, but also a little awkward.  Empowering because I know I am making the right move for our daughter’s health, but awkward because I don’t want them to be offended. 

It is definitely a tough road to be an advocate for your children, and not one that is paved either.  It seems informed moms are having to pave the way themselves, and it can be a bumpy ride.  I actually had someone tell me today that they thought I was ‘silly’ researching all this stuff, but now, she is realizing that there is a lot of nasty stuff out there and wants information.  She thought I would be offended…not in the least.  I’m actually extremely honored and humbled when others ask for advice and direction.  I figure why should they have to reinvent the wheel, if I already have some starting points for them.  I definitely don’t know everything though, so I try to encourage some research on their own as well.

It is hard to swallow what you may or may have been exposing your children to unknowingly.  I think it would be harder to swallow knowing the information I know and still choosing not to make informed decisions.  I am more than happy to help anyone at any time find the information and answers they are looking for.  I know I have a support system that would do the same for me.

Well, this mama had better take my own advice and take care of myself…time for a little R & R.  I’ll leave you with this though…if you have a Holistic Moms Chapter in your area, check it out and see if you’d like to become a member.  You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Klean Kanteen’s And Other Stuff

October 15, 2009

We stopped at Nicki’s store on our way home and bought these Klean Kanteen’sfor our daughter.  I’ve been wanting to get them for her for quite some time, but they are a little pricey (okay, we bought a 12 oz. and an 18 oz. for about $33ish).  She is outgrowing her sippies and is not quite all together ready to go without a lidded drink in the car.  My stainless water bottle is too big for her, so we needed something just the right size that would have a BPA free spout and no BPA leaching lining.  These bottles will probably last her all throughout her childhood, so I can justify the cost that way.  Instead of buying drinks on the go (which we really have very rarely done…I think once or twice we bought some lemonade or tea) we just prefill our bottles at home and away we go.  So far, she loves her new Kanteen’s.  She actually drink so much water out of the one that she had a potty accident on the couch while we were reading some books.  She hasn’t done that for a long time.  They are a hit with both of us so far.  I’m afraid daddy will have a slight heart attack when he sees the receipt, but hopefully he will see the justification in it all.  (He did!  See the justification that is!)  

We are also thinking of cloth diapering our next little one, so I talked to the staff at Nicki’sabout some of the different options.  I’m glad I’ve had some past conversations with experienced cloth diaper mamas or I would have been totally overwhelmed.  I’m thinking of taking my husband there and seeing what would fit our lifestyle and budget.  I can honestly see us sticking it out if it is very easy, like the prefolds for when the baby is a newborn and the all-in-ones or pocket diapers when the baby is a little older.  I think my husband will like the prefolds for the price alone, but I hope we can handle that, as we are both easily stressed people.  I guess once I get the hang of it, it will make more sense and seem like less work.  Also, I think after talking to the staff at Nicki’s I may go with the snap covers instead of the velcro because I don’t think I’ll remember to protect the velcro before washing each time.  I also am going to buy a cloth bag that goes on the door handle and you just wash it when you wash your diapers.  Easy-peesy.

I also checked out Moby’s

 

A lot of the playgroup mom’s I know wear these and love them!  They look extremely comfortable and I have heard nothing but rave reviews about them.  They can run from $40ish to $70ish depending on what color and if organic cotton or not.  I, personally, prefer organic cotton, but the organic cotton does not come with the reinforced fabric.  If I want to wear the little one for a long time, then I’m going to have to go with the non-organic Moby.  So many color choices to choose from.  This will be tough!

So, I have a lot to think about and ponder with cloth diapering and new baby purchases.  I’m glad I have more knowledge and resources this time around.  I know I will never be fully prepared for this new one’s arrival, but I am looking forward to new experiences with some wonderful new products.

Let’s Talk Plastics And Some Other Stuff

September 28, 2009

Recently, I’ve been reading Smart Mama’s Green Guide Simple Steps To Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure by Jennifer Taggart.  Let me tell you, this woman is very smart, knows what she is talking about, and is highly respected.  I wanted to pass along some tidbits from the book, as well as keep a reference for myself.

Phthalates.  What are these you ask?  Phthalates are a class of industrial compounds.  They are plasticizers that are added to many consumer products.  They are added to make plastic soft and flexible, but do not, I repeat, do not form a bond with the plastic.  This is super important!!!  Since they do not form a bond, they can leach out of the plastic.  Phthalates are hormone disruptors, which can interfere with sexual and reproductive development, as well as being developmental and reproductive toxins.  Scary!!!  That little rubber ducky doesn’t seem so cute anymore does it? 

Also, lead may be present in some of your plastic products.  That is right, lead.  Do I need to say it again?  Lead!  Yikes!!  Lead is used to stabilize PVC plastic and since it is not bound in the plastic polymer, it may surface, where it can be picked up as lead dust.  This can happen easily with friction or heat.  Oh, not good.  Oh, and lead is also found in lots of other things too (ceramics, baby changing pads, children’s jewelry, an array of consumer products, crib mattresses, drinking water, folk remedies, cosmetics, soil, toys, wall coverings, etc., etc., etc.).  Also, very important, lead exposure is cumulative.  So, the old adage, a little won’t hurt, is not necessarily true.  A little here and a little there, really do add up to potential harm.  No amount of lead is good for your body!  (But, you already knew that!)

So, why am I telling you this?  Am I trying to keep you awake at night?  No, I am trying to pass on some information that I wish I would have known from the get go.  I wish someone would have passed this valuable information on to me.  I could have been wiser in my choices and purchases.  I could have prevented harm to my body and my family.  I know, we do our best, but when we know better, we do better.

Well, what have I done with all this new knowledge?  I have made some recent changes around our home.  I have taken off the PVC waterproof mattress cover.  It is not really needed, and I’d rather have a few unsightly stains on my mattress than be inhaling toxins while peacefully resting.  I have removed all PVC items from the nursery.  This means I will be making a new changing pad for the new little one, but that is fine by me!  I plan to make it out of organic fabric and bamboo batting.  Nothing too fancy.  I have shopped around for an organic mattress for the new baby.  Costco has one that I am still researching for about $200.  Yes, it is a splurge, but knowing what I now know, and me being the worrier that I am, I could not sleep at night knowing full well I was knowingly exposing my baby to toxins for a $100 savings.  I’ve also researched appliances and flame retardants.  We may be in the market for a new TV, refrigerator and washer/dryer.  The only not necessity would be the TV, as the other three are on there last legs I’m afraid.  I’m also vacuuming and dusting more, as I’ve learned it is one way to avoid some of the toxins.  A lot of toxins you pick up from household dust.  I’ve also made many mental notes about new products I buy and have become more label savvy.  I still have a long way to go, but feel I’m improving our environment, health-wise, everyday.

Lastly, I strongly encourage you to be an advocate for your child.  It is not easy, but it is extremely important.  If you believe strongly in something, then voice it.  It is not always easy for me to find the right words, but it is important to try. 

What have you done lately?  Any good research or books you’ve read?  Do share…I crave knowledge!

Cloth Baby Wipes And Hello

August 31, 2009

Hello again!!!  We finally have the internet at home again, so I will try to post from time to time when something comes up to talk about.

My latest adventure is trying cloth baby wipes.  I got some great advice from a friend over the weekend and am going to see how they work.  Anything that is better for the environment and keeps me away from the stores is a great thing!

We’re really tossing around the idea of cloth diapering our next child, so it would be nice to also use cloth wipes.  If we can get one thing down before adding the cloth diapers, it would be an easier transition I’m sure. 

I’m using a recipe for cloth baby wipe solution I found online months ago.  I know I printed it out for a reason then.  Anyway, the solution I am using is 1/8 cup olive oil, 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 8 drops lavender essential oil, 1 Tbsp. baby shampoo (California Baby) and 3 cups water.  I mixed it up in a spray bottle.  I’ll spray it on the cloths, wipe her bottom and put the rag in the laundry.  I’m not sure what I’ll do for poops right now, but I’m sure toilet paper might come into play and then the cloth wipes.  (We are still working on potty training, so poops still end up in the undies and she still wears a diaper for nap and nights.)

Well, after the night diaper change this morning and the nap diaper, I am liking the cloth baby wipes.  They are easy to use.  I should mention that I am using organic cotton washcloths.  I think I will cut them in fourths and sew the edges.  They are much too big right now and I would need to buy a lot more or do laundry every day. 

Do you know anyone who uses cloth wipes or cloth diapers?  Any advice?

Take care!

Sara Snow’s Energy Bars

January 13, 2009

Just made these today.  jan-09-emmafinger-painting-001

They were very easy to make.  Just throw in the ingredients, stir and place on wax paper.  I found the easiest way to do this was to use the spoonula to mix it and to drop it on the waxed paper.  Then, just fold the wax paper over and smash down a little to make a flat patty.  I froze a few and put a few in the frig.  Here is the recipe from Sara’s website:

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups old fashioned organic quick oats
1/2 cup whole flax seed  (I got this in bulk at Whole Foods…reasonable as well)
1/4 cup organic dark cocoa power (or slightly less)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 t spirulina
1/2 to 1 cup HOT water (I used 1 full cup of hot water)

INSTRUCTIONS
Stir ingredients together.
Form into individual sized paddies, like hamburgers.  (See my little hint about spoonula and throwing it on wax paper instead of forming it into patties.  It is very sticky, so I found it worked the best to just put it on with the spoonula.)
Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in freezer or fridge.

Also, I was able to get the spirula at Whole Foods.  I did almost have a panic attack when I saw the price…$39.99 a pound.  But, don’t worry I got enough to make this recipe about 8-10 times and it only costs me $.80.  Under a dollar.  I looked up spirula online and found out that it is awesome for you.  Very high in protein, vitamins and other antioxidants. 

Taste….

Well, I liked it and so does our toddler.  I would say that picky eaters may not eat them, but you can try it on them.  They would definitely be worth the nutrients you and your children would get.

Bleach Commercial…Are You Kidding Me???

January 11, 2009

The Clorox Bleach commercial that has been running recently has been driving me nuts.  Well, seems I’m not the only one!  While I was reading my blogroll today, I came across this post.  So, instead of just yelling and shaking my head at the TV, I thought I’d blog about it too. 

Here is some of my research I’ve done over the last few months on chlorine: 
*  Toxic respiratory irritant that can damage the skin and other membranes
*  Listed in 1990 Clean Air Act as hazardous air pollutant
*  Very dangerous for children because they have higher metabolic rates and greater lung surface area
*  OSHA monitors exposure because it ranks 1st in industrial injuries and deaths in the U.S.
*  It is heavier than air, so it hangs around low-lying areas.  Think kids…shorter than we are sucking in all that nastiness.
*  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found dioxin (a toxic byproduct of chlorine) to be 300,000 times more potent as a carcinogen than DDT
*  In 2000, U.S. Poison Control reported chlorine bleach was implicated in injures to 18,863 children under the age of 6
*  Mercury is used to produce chlorine.  Need I say more?
*  It’s by-products and compounds have been known to cause cancer and have been linked to liver disease.
*  The cumulative effects of dioxin (a by-product) in humans have been linked to birth defects, cancer, reproductive disorders and immune system breakdown.
*  Chlorine is a highly corrosive substance, capable of damaging skin, eyes, and other membranes.
*  Household bleach is the most common cleaner accidentally swallowed by children
*   It is considered an unclassifiable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
*  It is classified as a development toxicant, which means it can interfere with normal development of a fetus or child.  Most people I know would not use bleach while they were pregnant, so why would anyone use it when the kids are outside the womb? 

Have I convinced you yet?  I’m sure you can find a ton more on your own.  I’m convinced not to use the nasty stuff.

Here are some common names of chlorine that you may see on your cleaners:  chloramine, sodium hypochlorite, bleach, hydrochloric acid, trihalomethanes, disinfection byproducts.

Some alternatives: 

*  Use cornstarch to lift stains. 
*  Use distilled white vinegar to clean the floors, toilet, fruit, etc.
*  Use a truly green product, like Seventh Generation or Shaklee.  Not the greenwashed products that do not disclose all ingredients.

I feel better now.  Thanks for reading!

Ahh Someone Who Says It Way Better Than Me…

January 1, 2009

Read this blog post from Mom-101 about plastics.  She says it way better than me!  Sometimes we don’t want to know.  We are fearful of knowing.  We want to pretend that companies and the government wouldn’t screw us and make us sick for a profit, but in Mom-101’s words, ‘We need to get our heads out of the sand.’  Join me in removing your head from the sand and start taking action everyday. 

P.S.  I think my husband is finally on board.  He took the initiative to remove some plastic toys that our daughter loves.  She hasn’t asked for them yet, and it has been almost a week.  We’d rather have her a little upset in the short term, then harm her in the long run.

So I’m Not A Lunatic

December 31, 2008

So, I’m really not a lunatic!  There are lots of nasty chemicals in our everyday products that have been PROVEN (!!!!!!!!!!) to cause cancer and/or developmental problems.  Check out this comprehensive list of Prop 65 chemicals.  I was referred to it by the Friskars Company when I called about a warning on the product packaging of a sewing ruler I recently purchased.  They assured me that their product has since been cleared of all the chemicals on the Prop 65 list and that the package I bought was outdated packaging that had not yet cycled through the warehouse.  I’m still a little skeptic.  I’ve become that way more and more over the past year.  It is good and bad, but I do feel momentarily better knowing I called and am not knowingly harming myself by using this plastic ruler thing that makes cutting fabric so much faster.  Well, that is until you get your fingers too close to the rotary cutter and slice a big chunk out of your left index finger.  Good thing husband was home to play doctor.  Even though he got super annoyed when he was trying to help me stop the bleeding and all I could do was laugh hysterically.  Laugh or cry baby…it hurt and is still bleeding a little almost 24 hours later.  I plan to have my sister (an EMT) look at it tonight.  I don’t see how they could stitch it, so for now, just a little blood and a big old band-aid to try to maneuver around.

Hope your new year is filled with health, love, happiness and lots of fun along the way!!!

Mercury in CFLs and Go Wal-Mart!!!

December 29, 2008

You’ll have to read the article here to find out more, because I’m trying to limit my computer time today.  Priorities…sewing machine manual to read!