Getting Creative with Recycling Plastic

Since having children, my family has become very active in recycling and teaching ourselves how we can better protect our planet. With these steps to becoming more eco-friendly we’ve found ways to make recycling plastic fun!

My kids know to think before they throw anything away and they check our fridge for what they can and cannot recycle. What they check is this awesome key to what we can put in our blue bins and where we put everything else.

And we’ve made it a bit fun for the kids by having sorted bins on the side of our blue bins for everything else.

Getting Creative with Recycling Plastic - city recycling guide

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How to Choose Eco Friendly Menstrual Products

eco friendly menstrual products 1

Since our family has started to make a more conscious effort to become eco-friendly over the past four years there was one thing that I just never jumped on board with. And that was eco friendly menstrual products.

It might have been the fact that I was either pregnant or nursing during a majority of that time and therefore had no use for them. I only had three cycles between starting again after having my son and getting pregnant with my daughter. Lucky.

But now I have no plans of becoming pregnant again and needed a great solution. So I set out to find the perfect eco friendly menstrual products for me. Here’s what worked – and what didn’t – for me.

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Holiday Decorating Ideas on a Budget

Jolly Time Popcorn

Holiday Decorating Ideas on a Budget

Decorating for the holidays can sometimes be a daunting task when there isn’t much room in the budget. But we’ve come up with a few simple holiday decorating ideas on a budget.

Grab your JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, pop up a batch, and get ready to create some fabulous crafts for around the home!

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Hiking with Toddlers and the @Boba Air Baby Carrier

One thing I’ve come to realize more and more with two children is the necessity of baby wearing. Not only does it allow me to do more activities with my kids, it also allows my family the opportunity to explore and create new memories in places that a stroller just can’t go. Including hiking with toddlers.

This Summer my family and I made the trek up to Mammoth Mountain for a mini vacation with just the 4 of us. Not only is Mammoth gorgeous this time of year, there are so many things to do out there! We took this opportunity to take the kids camping in Yosemite this time around. And while our camping trip was definitely memorable, it isn’t one I’d like to repeat any time soon.

Not only did I end up needed emergency dental work due to the altitude pushing up a crown of mine (abscess under the crown), but the mountain air was just too cold during the night for little ones.

But we did get to take advantage of some great hiking and exploring while we were in Yosemite and Mammoth! So ignore my puffy face and enjoy the gorgeous views we were able to take in. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy all that we did without the help of our Boba Air.

How to Be Prepared about our Period {Lunette Menstrual Cup}

Since having my children I’ve been on a path to making the changes in our home to create a greener environment. We’ve switched to green cleaners, we recycle, we are conscious of our purchases, we cloth diaper, etc.

But the one thing I hadn’t thought of was my “time of the month” when I considered the changes needed to create a green home.

Luckily with the help of a few friends and Be Prepared Period, I’ve found the tools I need to create a green period (as weird as that may sound). I’ve chosen a system that works for me and is completely bullet proof. That means I don’t have to freak out when I walk out of the house in khaki shorts no matter what time of the month it is.

I first started by choosing a reusable menstrual cup that would replace the tampons I normally purchased. I decided to go with the Lunette cup after some great suggestions from friends. I already tried out a brand of disposable menstrual cups and decided they weren’t for me. I love the design and look of the Lunette cup so I decided to try it out.

A few things I loved about the Lunette cup are:

  • Ease of Use
  • Hygienic and Safe
  • Economical
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Compact

 

Easy to Use and Environmentally Friendly
When I first saw the Lunette I do have to admit some hesitation. But once I started to use it I was amazed at how easy it was. It took maybe a day and a half for me to get the hang of it but once I got used to it things got quite easy.

I loved that I could wear it practically all day without worry about running to the restroom every few hours. When I needed to remove the waste I simply dumped the contents into the toilet and washed the cup in the sink in the comfort of my own home.

I wasn’t throwing multiple tampons a day away in the trash (because I’d NEVER flush a tampon down the toilet) and I didn’t have to deal with washing my reusable mama cloth as frequently. I still used my mama cloth as a liner and that made me feel even more secure while first trying out the Lunette cup.

Economical and Compact
The best part about switching over to the Lunette cup is that I no longer have to go out and purchase feminine products! It’s just like when I decided to cloth diaper.

Just think about it. A woman menstruates from her early teens into her late 40s to early 50s and sometimes beyond. One period a month for that long and you do the math. That’s a lot of money being thrown out… literally.

The Lunette cup is a one-time cost of $39.99 and I’m set until menopause hits!

Plus it’s super easy to store and comes with a cute bag. I can easily keep it in my diaper bag until that time of the month and  I hardly know it’s there. That way wherever I am, I’m prepared.

Be Prepared Period is a great resource for any and all questions and resources you might need for that time of the month. Not only do they sell a wide selection of eco-friendly products, they also have some great period starter kits for young women to try out as well.

If you’re looking for a great place for answers, resources, and more on all things Aunt Flo, check out www.bepreparedperiod.com including their shop, and info on periods and puberty.

You can also find more by liking Be Prepared Period on Facebook and following them on Twitter @bpreparedperiod.

Have questions? Join PeriodTalk and find the answers! Or help someone else find the answers you already know. This online community is a brand new place for ladies to chat about the important things. Jump in on the conversation at: http://www.bepreparedperiod.com/PeriodTalk/.

How are you prepared?

 

Gardening with Kids

Gardening With Kids

Since we started our garden in November we’ve been trying to find more and more ways to get the kids involved in tending to it.

I’ve found that by including them in the process they’re not only more willing to actually eat what we harvest, they also are less tempted to start playing in the garden with trucks, balls, dinos and airplanes.

Those get left in the sand box where they belong! Below are a few ways to get your kids involved in the yard whether it be tending to an edible garden or picking the weeds in the flower bed.

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Natural Cleaning {Review & Giveaway}

Natural House cleaning products are a true cleaning revolution!

Why is it a “revolution?” Because Natural House probiotic cleaning products brings you a revolutionary, new method of cleaning the most dirty areas of your home. Utilizing non-toxic, probiotic cleaning agents, Natural House products are strong enough for commercial clean-up, yet safe and gentle for all of the members of your Natural House.

Here’s a little more info about why Natural House’s all-natural cleaning products are superior to those currently on the market!

  • The products use an eco-friendly cleaning method of probiotics that create a beneficial, odor eating ecosystem to naturally drive out and digest odors at their source.
  • Natural House’s plant-based ingredients are eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable to naturally fight the toughest problems you face in your house.
  • The products, Sinky and Flushy even break down and digest fats, oil, grease, and solid waste to ensure your disposal, pipes, drain lines or septic tank run smoothly.
  • The cleaners contain good probiotics which continue to scour, clean, consume odors, grime, grease, and germs, and they continue to do so until your next weekly treatment!

How probiotic household cleaners work

The surfaces in your house are like a garden. If you don’t seed with good plants, weeds will grow. You have the same choice with your household surfaces: sanitize for a moment with harsh chemicals leaving your surface open to recontamination or seed with probiotics to continuously weed out the bad micro-organisms.

Traditional cleaners “clean” a surface for a moment in time; the second the rag is finished wiping the surface, that surface is almost instantly polluted once again with ambient dust, dirt, and micro-organisms.

Natural House probiotics creates mini-ecosystem on a microbial level that produces enzymes which break down odors, dirt, fats, oil, grease, food scraps, waste and toilet paper products on a continuous basis between applications. This creates a natural, clean, balanced environment that is safe for even the most sensitive members of your natural house.

The action is in the foam! When using your Natural House products be sure and let it foam first to release the cleaning agents before going to the next step on the package directions. The short and skinny of it is this… our natural probiotic cleaners keep on cleaning long after you’ve stopped!


My Review

When I first received my sample of Natural House’s Flushy, Trashy and Sinky I wasn’t quite sure how impressed I’d be. Now I’ve been using natural cleaners for a few years now but I haven’t quite found a solution that worked as well as the chemical cleaners we used to use. But these three natural household cleaning products definitely worked well. And I have to say, I was definitely amused by the names they used for their products. The kids got a kick out of them too. Maybe that’ll get them more interested in helping me clean.

I first started out by using Trashy. I simply sprayed it into my kitchen trash can after I took out the full trash bag and waited for it to dry. I put in a new bag after it fully dried and proceeded to change the trash as it filled up as usual. The one thing I noticed right away was that the lingering old food odor quickly disappeared. We might be the only ones, but whenever we emptied the trash can the odor would waft through the kitchen killing everyone’s appetite (except for the dog’s). But by spraying Trashy once weekly we had no issues with odor.

The second product we used was Sinky. We were planning a party for my daughter and had a problem with the garbage disposal for a while. I tried putting a few thin lemon slices down and running it with hot water but it just didn’t take away the smell. So I eagerly threw in a Sinky pack and waited for the foam. The first time I used it I didn’t see any foam. I thought maybe I had done something wrong so I tried it again. And it was awesome. I could tell everything was working. And it continued to work because we didn’t have any issues with odor.

And lastly I used Flushy. The ease of this product was awesome. Throw it in.wait a bit and scrub! My toilet was sparkly clean. I love how quickly I was able to use Flushy and see results. And being able to use it without getting cleaner everywhere was a great bonus.

Each of these products worked great. And I’m a pretty harsh critic when it comes to cleaners. I still have yet to find a great natural dishwashing detergent so I’m hoping they come up with a product for that soon!

Where to Buy

You can purchase Natural House products directly on their website or you can purchase Natural House on Amazon — This is a nice option for those who use Amazon perks like “Free Super Saver Shipping” or “Amazon Prime.” A 1 month supply of each product is ($4.99) so $15 for a month’s supply of the full set.

If you are interested in Natural House products and want to enter for your chance to win a set of Flushy, Trashy and Sinky just enter through the rafflecopter form below! 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Zero Toxins Castile Soap – Safe for Everyone! {Earth Mama Angel Baby Review & Giveaway}

Despite marketing claims like “gentle” and “pure,” dozens of top-selling children’s bath products are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, according to the March 2009 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, “No More Toxic Tub.” This study is the first to document the widespread presence of both formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in bath products for children, including baby shampoos, bubble baths and baby lotions. Many products tested contained both chemicals. To read more please go to this article written on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

As news spreads about these toxins and the ongoing concerns about formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in baby products, Earth Mama wants to spread the good news that some hospitals are making safer choices for their newborns. Earth Mama Angel Baby® products were chosen by Miami Valley Hospital, in Dayton, Ohio, as the first step in their “greening process” following a year of research on the subject of environmental toxicants and the health risks they pose to newborns and mothers. Here is some info about their ZERO toxin gentle castile soap- safe for everyone to use!

Earth Mama makes it easy to avoid this toxic chemical with four soaps made with pure, clean, USDA Certified Made With Organic ingredients. And they have a soap or wash for every body in the home! I was able to sample their line of soaps and shampoos with my family and absolutely LOVED the experience. I was sent the following travel size items: 

* Naturally calming Lavender Vanilla Calm & Clean Hand to Toe Wash
* Truly unscented Natural Non-Scents Hand to Toe Wash
* Exhilarating, queasy-busting Ginger Lime Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash
* Gentle Vanilla Sweet orange Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

The first one I was super excited to use was the Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash. Since I am the one person in the house who doesn’t get a shower regularly (oh, the life of a mom), I took full advantage of this product and closed myself in the bathroom for a shower all alone. Now normally I have one or two little heads poking their way into the shower and moving the shower curtain so they can try and climb in with me but this shower was all mine. And I loved the soap. The smell quickly relaxed me and made me feel citrusy fresh. My skin stayed smooth and soft and felt clean.

The next soap we used was the Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash for bath time with the kids. Each child got their hair soaped up as they played along in the bath with their toys. I then wanted to use the unscented Natural Hand to Toe wash for my daughter’s sensitive skin and the Calm & Clean Hand to Toe wash for my rambunctious boy. I loved that I knew the exact ingredients in each of the soaps and that none of them contained harsh, toxic chemicals. No formaldehyde for my family!

I am absolutely in love with the scents and clean feel of the Earth Mama Angel Baby line of soaps and shampoos. Earth Mama has proven time and time again that they are at the top of the pack when it comes to providing quality products that are safe for the whole family. I’ve reviewed their products before and have never been disappointed. And these soaps made me feel even better about supporting this wonderful company. If you need a great shower gift (or even a nice stocking stuffer) I highly recommend checking out Earth Mama Angel Baby’s site to find the perfect product for your family.

Earth Mama Angel Baby has kindly offered to gift one of my readers with one 5.3 oz soap of the winner’s choice to use in their home! To enter for your chance to win simply fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Tips and Tricks for Green Cleaning in Every Room

Looking to go green? These tips and tricks for green cleaning in every room can help you tackle your daily cleaning chores without worrying about nasty chemicals! 


Ever since the birth of my son I’ve been on the hunt for ways to go green and stay as organic as possible. So when I started looking under the sink and in the closet at all of the cleaners we had I knew we had to make some changes. Thinking of my little one crawling on a ground where harsh chemicals resided and putting his mouth all over surfaces where I cleaned with chemicals made me change quickly. I have received many tips from other mamas as well as other websites so I figured why not share them here too.

The most important part of my arsenal of tools for green cleaning is vinegar. I buy it in the huge gallon size and use it for just about anything from cleaning toilets to freshening up my laundry. I mix vinegar together a few other natural cleaners to create the perfect solution for different problem areas. I’m going to list my “must have” ingredients and then will go into detail by room on how I mix and use them.

Must Have Green Cleaners

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Oxy Clean
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cedar Hanger Rings
  • Wash Cloths or Cloth Rags
  • Sponges
  • Stiff Bristle Brush
  • Steam Mop

The Kitchen

Tile Floors
Any hard floor surface in my house is cleaned with the steam mop. The hot steam paired with the cloth, re-usable pad cleans my floors deeply. I have purchased extra pads so that I can clean more than one room at once. I’ve found that one pad gets dirty after cleaning 1/2 of my living room or all of my kitchen and I don’t want to have to wait to get the energy to start cleaning again. Side Note – I recently broke the handle off my steam mop because I am apparently a very deep cleaner 😉 I’m hoping to upgrade to the steam pocket mop soon!

Counters
My all purpose cleaner for any surface in my house consists of the following:

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

I place this solution in a spray bottle and use it to spray down the counters, stove top, oven door, microwave door and fridge. I wipe everything down with a sponge  

Cutting Boards
To clean my cutting boards I sprinkle them with salt and use 1/2 a lemon to scrub the salt into the wood. I then rinse with a wet wash cloth and let air dry. This also works great for the counter tops if there are bits and pieces to be scrubbed off.

Sink
When the sink needs shining (every morning ;)) I sprinkle baking soda all around and spray with the vinegar solution given above. I then scrub down with the abrasive side of my sponge and rinse down with water.

Microwave
The most favorite solution I have in my cleaning arsenal is the solution I have for my microwave. I not only love how well it works but also love how it leaves my kitchen smelling!

Take a microwave safe bowl and fill it with water. Then sprinkle in a few drops of either lemon or vanilla extract (based on my mood) and place a microwave safe wooden spoon into the water to reduce the chance of a boil over. Then set the microwave to heat for 3 minutes.

Let the bowl cool a bit before removing from the microwave and be careful! It’s hot. Take a wash cloth and wipe off the sides, top and bottom of the microwave. Any food bits and pieces should come off easily without the need to scrub.

Oven
Confession… I’ve never cleaned my oven. And I use it. Like a lot. But if I were to clean my oven I’d use the simple tips from The Daily Green and would make a paste out of baking soda and water. I’d then spread the paste all over the inside of my oven and would leave it overnight. Then I’d use an abrasive sponge and would scrub the inside down (with gloves on, of course). After I scrubbed like crazy I’d use a wet wash cloth to wipe down one last time.

The Living Room

Laminate Wood Floors
I use the steam mop on my laminate wood floors as well. I make sure to wipe them down with a towel after if the water doesn’t evaporate right away just in case. I don’t want them to warp on me 🙂 My husband has also used a dry cloth mop before with Bona wood floor cleaner if he thinks my steam mop isn’t doing a good enough job.

Tables
When we had our table resurfaced when we got married we were told by the wood worker to only use water and a wash cloth to wipe down the table. So we’ve stuck with this. I make sure to wipe it down soon after we eat our meals so nothing sticks.

Couches and Chairs
I’m not sure about you but I just vacuum my couch and chairs off. I also wipe down my leather chairs and wooden dining room chairs with water. Sometimes, if needed, I use the vinegar solution but I try to stay away from any cleaners for fear of discoloring them

Windows
I clean my windows the same way I clean my mirrors. I spray them with my vinegar solution and use newspaper to wipe it up. No streaks and no dirt! Although I do confess that I clean the windows maybe


The Bathroom 

Laminate Floors
Due the the small space in the bathroom we usually just sweep it every day and mop with a regular mop and a solution of water, Dr. Bronners, vinegar and tea tree oil. I then dry with a towel (usually a bath towel that needs to be washed). I could also use this solution with my kitchen floors if I’m too lazy to get the steam mop out. 

Sink/Mirror/Toilet Surfaces
I use my vinegar/water/tea tree oil solution to clean the sink. That way I can spray everything in the bathroom down at the same time. I then wipe the sink and toilet (in that order) off with a clean towel or wash cloth and dry the mirror with newspaper so no streaks or particles are left behind.

If there is something stuck to the sink or surface and I need a deeper clean I just sprinkle with baking soda then I spray with the vinegar solution and scrub with a sponge or stiff brush.

Tub
My disinfectant solution for the bathroom is a simple solution of:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons of Dr. Bronners 
  • 15-20 drops of tea tree oil

I put this solution into a spray bottle and keep it under the sink. When my children are done bathing I squirt down the tub and take a wash cloth to wipe everything away. I then spray the surfaces with the shower head and let air dry.

Once a month (or more frequently if needed) I take all of the toys out and soak them in the disinfectant solution given above while I deep clean the tub. I sprinkle the tub with baking soda and spray the vinegar solution over the baking soda. I then use a scrub brush to scrub the tub down. I then rinse off with water.

Clogged Drains
Now most of the time if my tub is clogged I use this nifty little tool my husband picked up at the hardware store. Seriously. This thing stays in our bathroom and is used once a week. It always gives us results. No matter how gross they may be (and being 7 months postpartum I’m still shedding like crazy). I highly suggest keeping one of these in your bathroom. You can even buy it on Amazon if you don’t find it at Pro-Build!

But if your drain gets really bad and the Zip It can’t fix it just pour some baking soda (about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup) and boiling water into the drain and wait a few minutes. Then rinse with water from the tub spout. You can also use this for your toilet as well.

Trash Cans
The trash cans in each of our bathrooms are lined with plastic bags that we receive at the grocery store when we fail to remember our reusable bags. If we don’t have any plastic bags we use paper bags in their place. We try to clean the trash cans with the disinfectant solution once a week to get the funk out of them and allow them to air dry before placing a bag in them. 

The Bedroom

Carpet/Rugs
The best natural deodorizer and stain remover out there is baking soda. You can sprinkle a little bit of baking soda directly on your carpet or rug and just vacuum it right up. Or if you have a spot to remove, mix a little water into the baking soda to create a paste and spread it on the stain. Scrub it into the spot with a terry cloth towel and let dry. Once it’s dried just vacuum the remnants up.

We also get our carpets professionally cleaned every 6 months. We have a fabulous carpet cleaner who has been helping us keep our carpets beautiful since my son was a newborn. And all of his cleaners are safe for my children. He even has a heavy duty cleaner that takes care of any doggy or kid problems you may have.

 Closets
A great and natural way to keep the moths away (and other bugs as well) are cedar disks or planks. Just line the closet with cedar or grab a few cedar disks to hang on your hangers and those pesky bugs will look elsewhere for things to eat. 

The Laundry Room

Washing
We don’t use anything special here. We wash our clothes with Kirkland brand eco friendly detergent. I used to pay more for a special eco friendly powder detergent on Etsy but after a few months I couldn’t justify the cost and switched over to the Costco stuff.

Rinse
Another room where vinegar is the star is the laundry room. Instead of using static dryer sheets and leaving a film on our clothes (and the dryer) we use a 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of our wash. You can also buy a downy ball and fill that 1/2 way up with vinegar so you don’t have to wait for the rinse cycle to add the vinegar. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar afterwards! The scent washes off completely

Drying
Whenever possible we try to either line dry outside, hang dry in the garage or dry our clothes in the dryer on the lowest setting. Using either the natural power of the sun and heat outside or the lowest setting on the dryer saves energy and is also less harsh on your clothes (meaning you don’t have to buy new clothes as often). We also use dryer balls in the dryer to aid in the reduction of static in the dryer.

Stain Remover
The best stain remover for white clothes is the sun. When you set out wet clothes to dry the sun acts as a bleaching agent and will bleach out any stains (or color) from your clothes. This method works the best for removing stains out of cloth diapers as well.

We also use oxyclean in our wash to remove other stains in our darks and lights. If there’s a lot of stains on one piece of clothing or if there’s a stain that I don’t think the regular wash will handle I will create an oxyclean soak in a large 5 gallon bucket and add a concentrated amount of oxyclean to warm water to soak the clothes before the wash.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that throughout the post I haven’t mentioned bleach. I don’t like bleach. It scares me a bit to be honest. There’s lots of articles about the harmful effects of bleach so I won’t preach about it here 🙂 

Sources: The Daily Green, Natural Rug Cleaning Secrets

I know I have to be missing something so if you have a question on a particular room or spot in your house please let me know! And if you have any tips to add please feel free to share them 🙂 I’ll make sure to add them and give you a link back for credit.

Read more: 

Kids Cleaning Tips

Trading Clean Time for Screen Time

5 Tips for Cleaning the House Before a Party



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