Saturday, December 29, 2012

Second Hand Can Be Cool

     When I was in grade school is was not cool to have second hand clothes. That is all I had because we couldn't afford anything else, not that I understood this at the time. I was made fun of for wearing the same pants everyday. I had 3 pairs of the same color blue slacks that were given to me. I wasn't wearing the same ones everyday they just looked the same. Needless to say kids can be cruel. When I got my first job my senior year of high school I spent almost all of my extra money on new clothes. I was able to dress like the other kids for the first time in my life. Now that I am grown I hardly ever buy new cloths and I feel great! I have a nice fashionable wardrobe that is almost all second hand. I have learned that you can go to a thrift store and get all the same brands of clothes that you could get from the mall. Even though my husband makes a decent salary I love thrift store shopping because I can look cool and help our planet. Our whole family gets most of their clothes second hand. I feel like its a waste not to.

     I think it is funny how some people react to the idea of thrift store shopping. The only difference between now and when I was a kid is no one knows I shop at thrift stores in less I tell them. People are still just as weirded out at the idea of shopping second hand. Some wont even fiddle with the idea of going with me but are OK with the idea of garage sales (which is essentially the same thing). I tell them whats the point of buying a 30 dollar outfit for my daughter if all shes going to do it grow out of it in six months and I can get something equally as cute if not the same thing for 2 dollars at a thrift store. Buying new is just such a waste. I know that there would not be second hand stores if some people people did not buy new but there is so much at these stores that they could have more people buying second hand.

     I feel like its is such a waste of money to buy new clothes. You are not helping anyone that way either. The only store I have heard of that gives back to the community is Target and that's 5%. As if they couldn't afford to give more. The Arc thrift stores mission "is to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families". After retail operations, 100% of their profit is distributed to the Arc Chapters, Advocacy Denver and the Association for Community Living, all here in Colorado. So not only do I get a great deal I know I am helping my community by shopping there. 

     I like to donate to the thrift stores as well. It makes me feel good to know that it's not going to a landfill. I keep a container in my dinning room and when it gets full of things we don't want or need we take it down to donate. It's also a tax write off so make sure you inventory it and get a receipt. We keep our house from getting clutter, help our landfill and help our community. It a win,win, win!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Essential Oils

     I Have to apologize to any one who read or used to read my blog. I am new at this and my husband and I decided to become foster parents. So with classes and a new placement I have been a busy girl. I am going to continue to blog about my journey. I have been doing a few new things that you may think is interesting.

     I Recently went to a seminar about what I thought was going to be about natural healing. I received a call from my midwife's phone number and it was her daughter on the phone. She asked if I would be interested in a natural healing I excitedly said YES! So I invited one of my good friends to attend with me. It ended up being a pyramid Seminar, We all know these types, the most popular I can think of is MayKay. Anyway I was a little bummed that is was more of a sales pitch. I did bring samples of my new Etsy store When Nature Calls where we are making and selling reusable things that you normally dispose of http://www.etsy.com/shop/WhenNatureCallsCS. I thought it would be rude to leave so I stayed the duration of the power point and I found it really fascinating!

     I have never been fond of over the counter drugs. If I REALLY didn't need it I didn't take anything for it. Except when I was pregnant. I took a lot of drugs. I had Hyperemesis and pre-term labor. I listened to my doctors and thought that they knew more than me and what to do. I don't regret taking the meds as I am sure that I would have died if I didn't but I wish I would have tried more things that were natural before resorting to such strong medications. Sorry, I had to get that out. As I was saying I was intrigued by this seminar. They talked about how bad over the counter medications are and how we use them as a society way to much. They even talked about some prescription medications and how we get dependent on them and immune to them. Not to mention all of the side affects. I mean you know, you have probably seen the commercials of some lawyers lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company and they have a long list of side effects, if you are experiencing any of ....please give us a call we can help. Do not forget the long list of cautions and side effects they give you at the pharmacy when you get the prescription. How many of  us actually read those? Well apparently There is another way! A better way! A way that has no side effects, you don't need to go to the store every time and it costs significantly less!

     I have used essential oils around the house for a while but what I didn't know is that they can be really good for treating many health concerns and aliments. Also in general they are good for your mind and soul. I basically replaced my entire medicine cabinet. I love them they work the same as or better than any drug I have used in the past and I wish I knew about this when I was pregnant. This seminar which will remain unnamed was great because it turned me on to using essential oils the part that I didnt like is how the were trying to sell me their brand and how expensive it was. For example they have a 15ml bottle of frankincense for 93 dollars and I got my 30ml bottle for ten dollars. So I will not be promoting this brand as I think they are way over priced and they say that there oils are natural so they are not Organic as far as I can tell. 

    The oils have many uses and I had to get a book to get a better understanding of what each type of oil is used for and how to treat the symptom. I got "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils". This book tells you the history of essential oils, you can look up the symptom you are having and it will tell which oil to use and how to apply it and it goes into a deep description of the oil. In the last month I have treated headache, nausea, cold sores, the flu, acne, my husbands moods, cuts and sore muscles. I have treated not only myself but everyone in my family even the 1 year old. Of course I diluted it as her skin is more sensitive. Essential oils are derived from plants. Literally the oils from plants so this "medicine" is straight from the earth. You can't get more green then that. It doesn't take a factory to make them if you really wanted to you can even make your own. I love it and now I can't imagine my life without them and I can't see myself or my family going back. 

      Well if you are more like me and do not like over the counter medications and want or have been looking for something that is natural and works I recommend trying essential oils. Make sure you do a little homework first as you could harm yourself, a good example would be you really should not take internally but if you Google it you will see that some people do this. Stay tuned and I will be bringing more information on this topic. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Second Hand

We like to buy furniture second hand. My husband thinks I'm kind of funny because I will stock the Craigslist ads for whatever it is that we need. My most recent purchase was a living room table set. We got a great deal, practically new tables for 80 dollars. It took me about two weeks to find these. I love them! They really work with the Feng Shui of our house. 


Buying things second hand is a green way to decorate your house. You can buy all sorts of items and repurpose or refinish items to make them updated or match your own style. I also feel that it has made me develop my own sense of style while saving a ton of money.


We also love buying clothes at thrift stores, my favorite store is the ARC. They are a non-profit and their mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by providing funding to support the Arc and ACL chapters in Colorado. They are so great and are stocked with something for everyone. They always have something that I will wear and always have sales. Their prices are the best. I don't think that I have paid more than three dollars for a shirt in a long time. 
I love going their to get my 2 growing girls clothes there. They grow so fast and get thing stained, I just don't see the point in buying their clothes new.


 I used to be embarrassed to go to thrift stores but not anymore. I think it's because people can be very judgmental and cruel. I would get some really interesting and disgusted looks when I told people where I got my clothes. Now I just don't care what anyone thinks. I am saving money and getting clothes that are stain free, cute and practically new. I get so many compliments on our clothes. The best thing it that a lot of the clothes are no longer in stores so you really are unique and can develop your own style rather than wearing something that everyone else has. Most sales are on Saturdays.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hairspray Rerecipe

I have tried several different hairspray recipes and talked about one I was using in a previous post. After using the one I made up for a week it became fermented. I really liked that hairspray as it worked great and smelled wonderfully but had a very short shelf life. I went back to the drawing board and tried a variation of the citrus hairspray which instead of putting the whole Orange in I just used the zest. Well this turned out the same worked and smelled great but still only lasted a week. After a few more trail and errors I came up with a simple recipe that does not go bad or ferment.

1 cup distilled water
3 TB sugar
5-10 drops Orange oil (you can use any scent)

Bring water to a boil then take off heat and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add Orange oil.

Presto, Done!

This is the easiest to make and works great with all day hold and smells great. I have had this made up now for over a month at room temp. and its smells like the day I made it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Light Bulb Upcycling

I had all these light bulbs in my garage from when we bought our new house. We replaced all of our light bulbs to energy saving ones. We were going to recycle them but never got around to it. Yesterday I googled what can be made out of incandescent light bulbs and got lots of ideas. My favorite was the mini vases. So I took them and strung them up on my valance in the kitchen. I wraped different colored string around each top to add a little something extra. Now I just need to add some plants that I can put in them. I can't wait. I'm also wanting to make more for presents. They look so cool and they were so easy to make!



Monday, April 23, 2012

Trash Update

There has been some issue in trying to reduce the trash down. Not everyone is willing to stop giving us things that require packaging. I know it will be hard to get rid of all of it but I think it is reasonable to say that we could do a lot better than we are doing now. We are doing better than we were when I first wrote about reducing our trash but I am not satisfied. We are still producing a bag about every 1/2 to 2 weeks and 1 container of recycling every week. I am now remembering our grocery and produce bags every time. We are also buying things with less or no packaging or in packaging that I want to reuse, like glass. My husbands mom still refuses to stop giving my children things made of plastic and candy. So I am not sure what I am going to do about that. Apparently I am not the only one with this problem, lol. It's not like I am going to give them this anyway, I don't see the point of her sending us this crap.

This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be. My husband still has to work on it as well. He is the skeptical type and this makes it hard for him to put his heart into it. I defiantly think the hardest part in convincing people in my life that it is possible and getting their full support. Most are laughing it off like it's not important and impossible.


"If you lived in America in 1960, you generated about 2.68 pounds of waste a day.
By 1970, we averaged 3.25 pounds perperson, and when the 21st Century started, we were on our way to 5 pounds per day. Each of us, on average, managed a 100% increase in 1/2 of a lifetime!
In spite of new recycling efforts, only 29% of waste was recycled in our earlier years.  By the year 2008, we were recycling about 46% of our waste.  Do the math and you’ll agree: yes, we’ve made progress since the baby boomers…BUT we have a long way to go because of the sheer increase in garbage that we generate these days." (http://thinkoutsidethebin.com/2011/06/18/landfill-statistics-and-zero-waste-america/, 2011)
Landfill are getting full and many items could have been recycled or even just not purchased. I feel like I have a responsibility to my children and my future grandchildren to help, so I am trying my hardest. I don't care what anyone has to say.  


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sustainable Food!

We picked up our first grass fed beef last Sunday, it was a really beautiful trip. The ranch was 2 hours from our house but was totally worth the trip! It was such a beautiful place. It was incredible! There was green grass everywhere, mountains and hills. Trees everywhere too! There was a cute little farm house and of course some farm kittens. They also had a donkey and a few chickens. Its pretty much what I envisioned a farm to be was when I was growing up but better. This is how it is supposed to be! The cows looked so happy. The little babies were butting heads playfully, wonderful! We bought 140lbs for 525. That ends up at 3.25 a lb. Not bad, when we were buying hormone free grain fed it was around 4.50 to 5 dollars a pound. Apparently healthy doesn't have to cost a fortune.



People have been asking us how sustainable our diet really is because we are doing the Paleo diet. Which isn't really just a diet, its a lifestyle. Do these pictures look like they are sustainable? Yes! This is how it was meant to be! The grazers need grass and the grass needs the grazers. When you own a heard you need them to move to different locations to give the land time to recover also this is what would happen in nature. Just like crops need to be mixed and rotated to keep the land fertile. In nature, land doesn't just have acres and acres of the same plant. Also to address the Methane that cows produce. Cows have less gas when they eat what they are supposed to eat. Just like when humans eat things that bother us (like milk) we have more gas. As the pictures show at the ranch where we got our grass fed beef nature can be beautiful! I believe we all need to get back to this. I don't mean live in the country. I mean that we need to get back to respecting nature!  No more pesticides, hormones, unnecessary antibiotics, fed lots and acres of unsustainable farming of corn, soy and others! We all need to lay off the artificial food PERIOD!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oral Hygiene, I was wrong..

When it comes to oral hygiene, I have never really questioned any of my dentists, my mother, teachers or toothpaste companies. Apparently everything I thought I knew about tooth and mouth health is/was wrong. I have more than a dozen fillings and I got most of them when I was a child and when I was pregnant. I was always told that if I brushed my teeth twice a day and flossed once a day or more that I would have good oral hygiene.  They also warned me about eating and leaving sweets on my teeth. Although that wasn't the reason for my problems as I really have never had a sweet tooth.

After many hours of research I have read many different opinions about oral health and have come to the conclusion that I have to come to my own conclusion, lol.  I have learned a lot and now believe that we are more in control of our teeth than we are taught that we do. I have learned that there are some bad things in commercial tooth paste, Fluoride, Glycerin, Sodium Laurel Sulfate and Saccharin. So I have started making my own tooth paste. We are also starting to change our diet to help remineralize our teeth. Yes, that is right! You can actually put minerals back into your teeth to make the enamel strong again and heel and prevent decay with your diet. No more sugar, soda, grains or dairy. These all have carbs and sugar that helps the growth of tooth decay.  smartealtahealth.com says;

"There are several steps you will need to take the reverse the enamel loss. First you need to ensure the teeth are clean on the surface. The saliva coats the teeth and adds minerals from the trace minerals in your saliva. Avoid anything that leads to a dry mouth - smoking, alcohol etc. or reduces the amount of saliva, won't help. You want to encourage your salivary glands, and keep your teeth very clean.
Throw away your Fluoride based toothpaste and make your own.
Important to get saliva to release the minerals back into the enamel. You have to add minerals back into your diet." (http://www.smartahealth.com/remineralization.html)




We also have made our teeth care more environmentally friendly. We now have tooth brushes where only the head is replaceable and recyclable! You snap in new bristles, it's so easy just! I think these are so cool. You can find these at your local natural food stores. I got the toothpaste recipe from http://www.keeperofthehome.org . She has done a lot of research on this. This post is the reason I started looking into oral hygiene and diet. There were many different recipes, I like this one the most because it has more than just cleaning the teeth, there are minerals in this recipe. Also it taste good! The only change I made is I added orange essential oil so I have peppermint orange flavor.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter is a Challenge

I am finding that Easter is not that easy to be green if you are making Easter baskets. I don't want to give my children tons of candy and want them to still have tons of fun so I did decide to do themed baskets after reading another blogger's article about doing this. I love this idea as it's still easy but get to put your own personal creativity to it. #2 is getting a monkey themed basket. the only thing that I had to throw away was the tags off of the stuffies. The soft book was #1's but it has been put away for some time now as she was no longer interested in it. I made a tag blanket, which is hard to see. I did put baby yogurt melts in here which will be the biggest trash item. I could not think of any other treats for her that would be less wasteful.
 For #2 I went with a music themed basket which will produce very little trash. All of the musical items here came in a drum that she can also play with. You can't see it here as the drum part is too big to fit in the basket. All of the instruments are made of wood and was purchased at World Market. They have many wood and old fashioned toys. The only candy is an old fashioned taffy that I think she will love. It will be the only candy that she will get. I do what to add a few more treats. I am making her her own little bag with lady bugs and will be putting yogurt covered pretzels in it. She loves those and I can get them at Sunflower Market in the bulk bins. I was also considering putting some oranges since she loves them. 
   
These baskets have straw as filling instead of plastic or paper. I  think they look elegant and organic then with the other fillings. I am not wrapping them in any type of plastic. It really doesn't need to be wrapped as there is not many loose items and I like the way they look anyway. I feel like wrapping them is just more waste.
Our Easter eggs (which I will post a picture of later) we will be using leftover Easter dye that we used last year. When that is all gone I will be using more natural ways of dying eggs. I like the idea of using fruit to make dyes. It seems like that is the ultimate way to go. There will be no trash left behind and no chemicals on our eggs! I don't believe that we have to be wasteful to have a great Easter! I think that I can still do better with the baskets but I am giving myself a little slack as I am still learning. I hope these ideas help others moms who are looking to make their Easters less wasteful!

In The Garden Part 2

So as talked about in my previous post that I planted some lettuce and a few sunflowers for #1. I was super excited yesterday when I went to water and saw that they are coming up. I have never been so proud. I do not have a green thumb what so ever. I have killed just about every plant to come my way. I was told by my older sister that if a frost is coming that I will need to cover them with sheets or they will dye because the baby plant are pretty fragile. I think that is easy enough and will be able to do. SO EXCITED!
  
 Sunflowers
Lettuce 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recipes #2 Baby Care


This is the recipe that I found the most often when doing research on this. I liked this one the most when using my reusable cloth wipes. My sister used to just wash her babies booty's in the sink when changing her babies. I do this when they have been really sick and got that nasty booty rash. Also you can just use water but I like the idea of having something a little extra. Tea Tree oil has many benefits such as antiseptic and antifungal properties. Also is used as a preservative. 

Baby Wash Recipe (the twos, is how I remember this recipe, I don't remember where I got this)
2 TBSP baby wash (castile liquid soap, non-scented)
2 TBSP olive oil 
2 drops Tea Tree oil
2 cups water
Mix well in a spray bottle or your wipes box. Mist on wipe before using if in spray bottle. Shake solution around wipes if using a wipes box. I just used a recycled body spray bottle. 

Homemade Recipe for Diaper Rash Cream 4oz  (My own Recipe)

1 1/2 ounces cocoa butter or coconut oil
2 ounces olive oil
1/4 ounce beeswax or approx. 2 tablespoons, grated
1 capsule Vitamin E , squeezed out 
small jar or container
double boiler
wire whisk or electric mixer
rubber spatula

On low-medium heat, in the double boiler add bees wax and cocoa butter. When it is completely melted add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk together well. Check the consistency by putting some on a spoon and let it sit in the refrigerator for 3 min. If it’s too hard, add more oil, if it’s too soft, add more beeswax. When you've reached your desired consistency give it a good mix until creamy, then add it to your container and let it cool to room temperature.


You can use this on your own rash or just use it as a lotion, works great! You can also infuse the olive oil with herbs (like Lavender) a couple of weeks prior to making this. DO NOT USE WATER, WATER WILL MAKE IT GROW BACTERIA QUICKLY!


Baby Shampoo (eHow)

12 oz. of distilled water
4 tablespoons Castile soap flakes (or shavings from a Castile bar)
1 to 2 drops of pure essential lavender oil


Boil the distilled water and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Pour the water into a glass bowl and add the soap flakes, allow them to dissolve while stirring. Next add the lavender oil and keep stir until completely blended. You only need a dime size amount to wash your baby. Store your shampoo in a cool, dry place and shake the bottle gently before every use. You can also adding camomile tea to the boiled water while it is cooling.


Important Reminders

  • All of the ingredients are gentle enough even for a newborn, but it is always best to do a skin patch test in case your baby has very sensitive skin. Rub a bit of the finished shampoo on the inside of your baby's arm and wait at least 48 hours to see if there is a reaction.
    Your homemade baby shampoo will not feel or look like a commercial shampoo. It will be a thinner consistency and will not lather up or be sudsy. Sudsing agents are used in commercial shampoo and are not necessary. This shampoo will clean hair just as well as any of the high-priced shampoos, but is made especially for your baby by you with no chemicals that are not needed or that may be harmful.
http://www.ehow.com/way_5199663_homemade-baby-shampoo-recipe.html

Stuck on Where Our Food Comes From

I'm stuck on trying to find out everything I can about where our food comes from. The more I research the more I figure out that there are still so many people that have no idea. In a documentary that I saw (I can't recall which exactly as I have seen many on food) there was a scene that was quite disturbing to me. They went to fifth graders and showed them pictures of different things and the kids could not recognize a tomato but knew who Ronald McDonald was, made me sick to see this. For the record my kids are never allowed to eat there and we are fazing out many restaurants basically any who are not "green" or trying to be more sustainable. Chipotle is one that we love and will continue eating at. Anyway, I was reminded about the children we saw yesterday when we where in a different city and went to eat at a BBQ Place (Love this place, can't remember the name, all take out containers are compostable and the food we soooo good!) there was a family sitting next to us and they had two little girls probably 4 and 2. It was around lunch time. The two girls only had french fries, that's it. The mom had a salmon wrap I think and I didn't even look and the dad's. Anyway I couldn't believe my eyes and I almost said something to them but I didn't know what to say. Why are we doing this to our children? I just can't believe it! My daughters eat what we eat! We eat pretty healthy most of the time lots and lots of veggies! It got me thinking that I need to do better and I can! So I started looking up different all natural local farms and found that there a number of grass-feed meat farms that only graze their animals! Most of them had very reasonable prices even better than the grocery stores! Also I found a wonderful blog about local food and found a list of many local farms and ranches. This is a wonderful resource. http://www.ediblecommunities.com If you look at the bottom of their page you will see a list of links of areas in the US. This is how I found my local farm and ranch guide. Anyway we are going to make weekend trips to some of these ranches and get good healthy food. I think that my daughter will love going to these as she loves animals and I will love that she will learn where her food comes from.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bountiful Baskets VS. Farmers Market

Most people have no idea what a Bountiful Basket is. Today I experienced it for the first time and found it to be interesting. Not what I expected it to be. I heard about this from a friend and it sounded good so I thought I would try it out. She said they are a group of volunteers that give out food in laundry baskets and they get there food locally. Anyway so I went online and ordered two Organic baskets which are twenty five dollars (non-organic is 15 dollars each). On their website they say that if you volunteer that you be there an hour early. So I brought #1 with me and we went at the volunteer time. I knew the food had to get there some how but it came on a huge freight truck which I was not expecting. Then the organic variety was all presorted and most of the non-organic food was labeled from Mexico and California, which was surprising. Anyway when I looked at what I got in the box it was more of the same, Mexico and California. It was just disappointing. Later another friend said maybe it is because it has been super dry here. I hope that is the only reason because I like the idea of volunteer based food system but I really want local.

I like going to the farmers markets here. I like being able to see who is growing my food and being able to ask questions. There is usually a lot of variety and sellers of other goods like bread and honey. There's still that unknown factor, is the food really pesticide free or are they just saying that to get you to buy their food. I've asked a few when I've gone and gotten the yes answer but in my gut I don't believe it. I do know that all the food there is local, that's what I like most, though it is pretty important to me to have pesticide and hormone free!

The point I am trying to make is that where you get your food from is important! I am going to the first best thing and that is to grow my own garden but until things are ready I need a second best and I think I might just stick to farmers markets. I like supporting my local farmer and I can bring my own bags and produce less trash. Prices are just as reasonable. Also if you go towards the end of the day you can get some really great deals.

P.S. I was going to buy a share of a CSA which is the very best second option to get your food but apparently I was to late in the game this year and all the shares were sold out to my favorite farms already when I tried to get it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recipes..Part One

I have many people emailing me asking me what my recipes are for my natural cleaning and personal care products. This post will be focused on giving those to you. I usually Google them and try them out before tweaking them to our specific needs.

There are a ton of recipes for laundry detergent, my favorite one come from http://www.homemadelaundrysoap.net/ and I kept this one just like it says, it works great and smells great. I think that my clothes come out brighter than with all of the other detergents we used. This is just for the liquid detergent, that's what I prefer to use and would recommend because I know it works.


What you need:
If you make a double batch of the liquid detergent you need a bucket, I recycled a cat litter bucket, worked great! You also need a greater and a large pan.
Where to Buy Ingredients:
Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store in the laundry aisle and at some Walmarts and Targets. Some people have a difficult time Fels Naptha soap. If this happens, you can either try a substitute (such as Zote, Ivory or Sunlight bar soaps, or other low-scented soap) or buy it online at Amazon.com. I got the Borax at Target (76oz for 3.50) I got the washing soda (55oz for 4.50) and Fels Naptha (1 bar for 1.50) soap at Ace Hardware.
What to Store Your Soap In:
To keep your large batch of liquid laundry detergent in a 5-gallon bucket with lid and keep a large wooden spoon in it to stir it before each use. I reused two liquid laundry soap containers and just stirred before transferring it. I did wash them before using them and you do have to shake them before using.
Scented Soap:
"The detergent has a fairly strong scent right after you make it, but it fades quickly. After the clothes are washed, there is little, if any, scent on the clothes. If you’ve never tried a non-scented laundry detergent before, it might be hard for you to accept that the clothes are actually clean. They are, whether they smell like soap or not. But if it continues to bother you, you might want to try adding a liquid fabric softener to your wash or even adding your favorite essential oil to your preferred liquid laundry detergent recipe"


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

This is about .0096 cent per load for 10 dollars you get 1041.66 loads. lol
Ingredients:
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap (1 full bar Ivory or 1/3 bar Zote will also work)
½ cup washing soda (
½ cup borax powder
2 gallons water
Instructions:
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda (NOT baking soda) and the borax. Stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into a 2-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours until it gels. Use a ½ cup detergent per load of laundry.

The Math!
.04 per ounce borax
.08 per ounce washing soda
.50 per 1/3 bar Fels Naptha
.62 for 2 gallons of soap
16 cups in a gallon 
32 cups in a batch
1/2 cup per load
64 cups per batch
.0096 cents per load

Hair Spray
This is important to me and I found basically 2 recipes. One with lemons or oranges and one with water and sugar. I like my Hairspray to be extra extra hold so I combined the two and made my own.

Ingredients: 
2 cups water
1 orange cut in to pieces
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 ounce Vodka (preservative)
Sauce pan
Cheese cloth or similar (I used a wash cloth)

Instructions:
Put water and orange slices in sauce pan and boil until is reduced by half. Before adding slices squeeze juice into pan and throw slices in after. Strain with cloth in bowel. Add liquid back into pan and add sugar, stir until completely dissolved. Add vodka and let cool. put in a bottle with a fine mist. (should be good for 2 weeks or longer, I'm not sure exactly as I just made this)   I recycled a hairspray bottle.

The Math 
.50 cent vodka (Cheap is fine) you can even use rubbing alcohol. 
.25 cents orange
.003 cents sugar
.753 Per bottle  .503 if you use rubbing alcohol 





Red Robin...A Deliciously Wasteful Restaurant

Last night my husband took us to Red Robin for dinner, with a little protest as I don't think they are very healthy. I also want to mention that the other day as were planning to go there I called and asked where they get their meat from and if it is hormone free. The manager came to the phone and said that they get it from the Wolverine Packing Company in MI. He also stated that their meat does not or no longer has pink slime. Which I thought was good but I told him that that is not the same as hormones. I Googled Wolverine and called them the next day and asked them if they inject their cows with hormones and a guy told me no, I asked him how he could know that and he said they test the meat. I hung up the phone and was thinking that how could that really had been his answer? How could he just not tell me that they don't shoot up their cows with hormones? Now I may not be a super genus but I don't believe him. If he knew for sure that they don't, I think that's what he would've said.  I also called the main office of Red Robin in Greenwood Village near Denver and have not gotten a response yet.

 Anyway the main reason I wanted to write about this is because all I could think about while eating there is how wasteful it was. I asked to be seated outside as it was nice out and couldn't help but notice a family walk to their can and they had 3 balloons, the little girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old, accidently let go of hers. The family just stared up at it as it went into the sky. Right then and there I decided that my girls would not be getting anymore balloons, ever. They are so wasteful. Where do they end up? Popped somewhere, just laying there not biodegrading. What is there purpose anyway, they are useless, they don't clean anything, you can't really play with them, you just end up throwing them away and they are probably more toxic then we like to think about. The other wasteful thing was the napkins we of a ton of napkins and my husband asked for more, which we didn't use. They probably throw them away when they cleaned up our table. I decided to remedy this that I will be making napkins that we can take with us. I can just stick them in our diaper backpack for now and when I am no longer using that I will stick them in my purse. The 3rd thing was my fault I forgot to bring a dang container for leftovers and had to use their Styrofoam crap! Uhhggg!  I hate styrofoam! Not good for your health what so ever! Also terrible for our planet! I have been keeping all the styrofoam I have been accumulating and I am going to take it to the Denver to be recycled as I found out there is a place there that does it. Only one in the state. 

I want to mention that this is not intended to me a personal attack on Red Robin that this occurs in many restaurants. Consumers and restaurants need to be aware and help out! Red Robin DOES need to get rid of their balloons though! Also my husband did end up getting #1 a balloon, I was very disappointed and told why I didn't want her having them anymore. He told me that I was a meany and a  party pooper. After I explained how I felt they where super wasteful he didn't say anything back but hopefully we won't be that wasteful at a meal ever again!

I did a little research about balloons and the effect on the environment and there is evidence that they are biodegradable but not all of them. If you are interested just do a little google search and there is a ton of info on this. I personally would just like to avoid them and not be a part of a possible problem!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Eliminating The Trash...Part One

  This will be a series of posts as I am still in the process of reducing the amount of trash that we produce, including our recycles. My ultimate goal is to have no trash/recyclables. It is probably one of the most challenging things I have ever done. This should be easier but with all the things that are available to make your life "easier" it is a lot to have to replace or figure out another way. I took a long hard look at what it is that we are throwing away to figure out what I need to replace with reusables or need to make from scratch. I'm doing this in steps because it would just be to overwhelming to do it all at once and because it is expensive at first. Eventually I will save $ because I won't be buying these things anymore. 
So far I have discovered several things wrong with what we were doing besides all the waste. I didn't realize what I was doing to my family and I. The first thing was all the plastic. As you already know, if you've been following my blog, I've been getting rid of plastics. When I was thinking about the trash zip lock and grocery bags came to mind. We use these a lot and and they are so temporary. What I mean is you buy them, you use them, then just throw them away. Such a waste of money! Also no where on the box does it say BPA and phthalate free. So all those bags we where using for snacks and sandwiches probably were poisoning us. Anyway I got these reusable zipper bags made from nylon that is BPA and phthalate free. I love them! They are easy to clean, water resistant and airtight, so your sandwichs won't dry out. I also bought reusable produce bags which are made of cotton and have their weight listed on them. Most stores will take 10 cents off your bill for every bag you use. I put all the shopping bags on the front door handle so I don't forget to take them when I go shopping. This used to be something I often forget to do and when I would get to the check out I would get frustrated at myself for forgetting.

I am also trying to remember when we go out to eat to bring along a container to bring home leftovers in. I have yet to remember this, but I have faith that I will. I'm also in the process of making my own reusable paper towels. I am making them from birds eye fabric and surging the edges. The are super cute and can even wrap them around a paper towel holder to make them just as convenient as disposables. I am choosing to stop buying sponges as washcloths do a great job and I can wash those. I am keeping all the containers for my personal and cleaning items so I can put homemade products in them. I think that's all I've actually done so far. 
There is still a lot that I need to replace but I have done my homework on what and where I need to get.   For plastic wrap/ aluminium foil I found a great solution on Etsy. They are cloth waterproof container covers with elastic and for the oven silicone pan covers from reuseit.com. reuseit.com also has metal straws I would love to have. When we start seeing all the money savings I want to start getting royal crest milk to stop throwing all those away since they reuse them. I love love Swiffer because of how fast and easy it is to use. I am going to make pads for them that are washable. I will post these so you can see what they look like. I am also looking at getting these upcycled dryer pillows to replace clothes softener and dryer sheets.


I got the sandwich and shopping bags on Etsy. Below is the link to her store. She also sells produce bags and some other great items! 

For Dryer Pillows


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Luna Pads Rock!

These are my Luna Pads, I have had these for 2 years so yes they are a little worn but are still like new as far as for their performance. I love them! They work great, I never leak, not even once. They are comfortable, they feel like you are just wearing your underwear. Best of all they are cute. I know that it really doesn't matter what they look like and any guy who reads this will probably be like WTF? but I find comfort knowing that I have some thing totally cute down there. Oh and those of you who are concerned about the cleanliness factor, they don't smell as long as you change them regularly (as you should be doing anyway) and they are easy to clean. I wash mine like I would my own laundry with my all natural non bleach soap and dry on regular cycle. Just don't use fabric softener as it will prevent absorbentness.  

This is a tampon that a girl was about to use and it got knocked out of its applicator. If that had not happened then she would've never known that she was using a MOLDY tampon! Can you say gross! I couldn't believe my eyes today as I saw this on my facebook page (I have lunapads,com liked on there and it streams its blog there). What really gets me is that I used to be a tampon wearer. I couldn't be more glad that I switched. What really gets me is the idea that people wear these not knowing where the materials are from, what kind of place they are made in, how clean they really are and not to mention the fact they are covered in plastic that isn't labeled BPA or phthalate free. (ok, well not all are wrapped in plastic but some are). I really hope that those people who told me that I was gross for wanting my vagina to be healthier and natural takes a second look at those disposables and make the switch to something that they know about. I know where my stuff has been and how safe it is!

To see the article “Eww” By Kotex

Those cute little Dandelions

I've heard about eating dandelions but never had the guts to actually try one, after all they are weeds. Well the other day I noticed that there was a few growing in the back yard. Well, with my new found greenness I wanted to try it so while nursing #2 I looked it up and apparently you can eat the whole dang plant including the flowers. After that I went out and harvested about seven of them I washed and sauteed them. Turned out to be pretty good food. I can't understand why people try and kill these plants instead of eating them, they are everywhere, free and delicious! 

"With all of the recent focus on eating locally for the sakes of our health and the environment, we may be overlooking one of the easiest and most wholesome vegetables available. The Dandelion is a highly nutritious and versatile wild food that has been harvested for ages, dating back to a time when our winter diets were heavy in fats and starches, and sorely lacked the lush, seasonal greens that we can now buy at the grocery store year-'round.   
Dandelion greens are rich in vitamins and minerals. Half a cup of leaves contains more calcium than a glass of milk, and they boast even more iron than spinach. Plus, they're packed with protein, inulin (a natural fiber) and pectin (which has been reported to lower cholesterol). And when you start looking at Dandelion greens as lunch, you'll be glad that they're so easy to come by. Unlike several other wild edibles, there's no need to worry about confusing Dandelions with poisonous look-alikes because there aren't any.ust be sure to avoid plants that may have been sprayed with chemicals by those who have yet to discover that Dandelions are delectable." (http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/newsletter/10/march/dandelion.php)


Removing plastics

I just watched a documentary, Plastics. I also did some of my own research. After doing so I realized that we have a ton of plastic in our house. This probably doesn't seem like a big deal, right? Well then I started really looking around and what did I see? Almost all of my kids dishes and toys are plastic! What do my kids do?, they put these in their mouths! I couldn't believe it. First thing I went down to the thrift store and bought ceramic and wood dishes for the girls. I went to Target and got new metal sippy cups and silverware. I also started listing all of their plastic toys on Craigslist so that I can afford to replace them with non-plastic toys.

Why am I doing all of this? Well most of the dishes where labeled BPA free but not phthalate free. Almost all of their toys were not either BPA or phthalate free. Below is part of an article that I found when doing research.

"Health Effects

Immediate Health Effects If SWALLOWED, phthalates is Slightly Toxic
If ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN, phthalates is Moderately Toxic
If INHALED (SNIFFED OR BREATHED IN), phthalates is Slightly Toxic

Longterm or Delayed Health Effects This chemical is likely to cause cancer. It is considered a Probable Carcinogen by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or another agency. Allergen Suspected Endocrine Disruptor = May interfere with, mimic or block hormones Development Toxicant = Can interfere with normal development of a fetus or child Reproductive Toxicant = Can harm reproductive system Other Birth defects, including cleft palate and in male reproductive organs, due to prenatal exposure. In laboratory animals, exposure to some phthalates prior to or after birth caused damaged, shrunken, undescended, or atrophied testicles; reduced sperm production; destruction of Sertoli cells, which produce sperm; lowered testosterone levels in offspring and ovarian abnormalities. In humans, some studies have found decreased sperm counts and damaged sperm in men with higher levels of some phthalates. Prenatal exposure may increase a child’s risk of developing behavioral problems in childhood. Some indication that a mother’s exposure to phthalates may shorten her pregnancy by one week. DEHP causes liver cancer in laboratory animals and the EPA considers it a carcinogen. Phthalates have been found in breast milk and may contribute to altered hormone levels in infants. At high doses some phthalates have damaged the liver and kidneys of laboratory animals. Respiratory difficulties in children with bronchial obstruction (such as asthma)." (http://healthychild.org/issues/chemical-pop/phthalates/)

Please Read The Rest Of This Article.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In The Garden...

Yesterday I planted 3 types of greens in my backyard garden. Two types of lettuce and swiss chard. I hope they grow. I have never had a garden and never been much of a green thumb. This year I am determined to grow food! Last year I grew a couple of tomato plants in a couple of buckets. One did really well but only produced two tiny tomatoes then died. The other looked sickly then flourished near the end of the season but never grew any fruit. I guess it was more of an experiment to see if I could grow anything. So this year I have bought many types of seeds to try. I have tomatoes again (hopefully they will do better in the ground), squash, green beans, peas, lettuce, swiss chard, carrots, grapes and a variety of sunflowers. Also I have strawberries from last year. They actually did well. It helps that we have a drip watering system in our yard. I don't think that I can remember to water all the time. All of the seeds are organic as I don't want any pesticides in my food and should include the seeds which will be plants which will be food, lol.

I think if this goes well then I will do this every year. I like the idea of growing our own food. I was even considering getting some urban chickens so that we can have fresh eggs but even though the city says we can have up to ten our HOA says we can't have any. So its on my to do list to go to the monthly HOA meeting to see if I can have that rule changed. If I grow a lot, meaning more then my family can eat I might consider selling a share or two next year or maybe have a friend help with the garden and take a share that way. I think we need to have more back yard gardens. Its gets people and children outside instead of in front of the TV. My #1 girl was so cute! I got her a miniature set of garden tools and she was out there watering the seeds and helping plant them. I was just soaking up the learning opportunity and her cuteness!

Present Time, Eyes are opening!

The reason that I posted about the past couple of years is just to show that since my children have been born I feel like my eyes have been starting to open. It wasn't until I got Netflix that my eyes opened all the way. I started watching the documentaries. Which my husband says that every time I watch one something changes, lol. I don't think that there is anything wrong with change as long as it is for the betterment of our selves, others or the planet. So there were several that were really interesting to me but one in particular, The No Impact Man. http://noimpactproject.org/  I guess it was because I could see how they actually did it and it really didn't seem that hard. (a little side note, I don't think they should have gotten so much guff for doing that) After I saw that I started looking at my own house and there was still so much that I can change. None of the changes that I've made so far have been difficult  except maybe mentally. I think those mental blocks is what I have been thought my whole life have been the toughest thing to get past. One of the hardest, yet easiest thing to do was changing the toilet paper to the family cloth. I have always used toilet paper and when I met my husband we only use the most softest and luxurious of toilet papers, Charmin Ultra Soft. So when I went looking for an alternative I was a little stumped. What is going to be as clean and painless as our current wasteful tp? I googled it and found many people use all kinds of different things. Some use a bidet, some use cloth that they wash in the laundry that they already have to wash anyway. There are lots of choice when it comes which type of fabric and processes to use for reusable tp. I choose to make my own with fabric that I already had which is flannel. It is absorbent and I had many cute patterns. I made it 2 ply and just surged the edges. If you don't know how to make your own you can just use old wash cloths or you can purchase pre made "wipes" on Etsy. Anyway the ones I made cost me about two dollars for 70 sheets. I found that I only need one sheet per use. They are 6x6 and are very soft. We are using regular tp for my husband and myself when it comes to the #2 still but my #1 girl is using it for both and I am happy to report that she is doing great and wasting none! We are not using it for both because I can't figure how to make that clean for us yet or maybe I just can't get past that mental block yet.

Anyway I know I kinda went off on the tp thing but that's not all I changed. I made our own laundry detergent. Which I love. I think it works better then the store bought stuff and even though I was buying an organic type there was still things in it that I have no idea about. My laundry soap has 4 things in it that I control!  Bar soap, Borax, Washing Soda and water, that's it! Also It smells great! I've decided as we run out of something I will make that item myself.

I feel like my eyes are open now because before I didn't realize how bad some of these things that we use everyday are bad for us. I feel like I broke out of a dark closet that I've been in my whole life. Some of the reason I've been in this darkness is not all my own fault, I do believe that some of this is do to the way I was raised and companies. Companies don't want to help me they want to make money. Now I have taken my own body and my family's bodies into my own hands. I feel good about that and that we will be helping the planet along the way.


Monday, March 5, 2012

A little catch up...Diapers

When it came to diapering number one I just went with it, at first. The hospital gave me diapers, they were Pampers brand and they seemed great. They were soft and they didn't leak much. They even had a line on them that changed colors indicating they were wet. So I bought those for a couple of months. Then I saw an article on how it takes about 500 years for a typical diaper to decompose. I could not believe it! So I did some research and would you know it they weren't as good as they seemed.

According to http://www.realdiaperassociation.org There are many health risks and environmental concerns of why you shouldn't use disposable diapers. Here are the health reasons:

"Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S.
Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.
In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis."

I did notice the gel in the Pampers Brand diapers.

Here are some f the environmental reasons

"No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone. Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5 Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp."

After reading this and many more articles I decided to go cloth, gcloth that is, http://www.gdiapers.com/. I love gdiapers, they work so great and take all the guess work out of washing cloth diapers. They come with great instructions and they seem very comfortable. They were a little expensive at first but quickly paid for them selves. I opted for the cloth insert because I thought they look more comfortable and I could reuse them instead of having to continue to buy something. gdiapers.com was was very helpful when I called them with questions. I am bummed that with my second baby they no longer directly sell their products and I had to buy them through a third party. To make things easier for the cleaning process a I bought a toilet sprayer so I don't even have to touch the "yucky" (as number one would say) part. I still use disposables when we are out and at night but I switched to Huggies Pure and Natural as they are more Eco friendly.

A little catch up... Baby # 2

Before we got pregnant with our second baby we (or I) decided that I was going to have it at home. I didn't want the experience I had the first time and wanted to be in control of my own birth.When I was pregnant with her I was sicker than the first time and still had to go to our local hospital as my husband gotten out of the Military upon his return from Afghanistan. So still had medical intervention during my pregnancy. I will thank the medical system for that because I feel I would've died. Probably the first time from dehydration. Anyway I do have a OB/GYN who I told I had a Midwife and that I was planning a home birth. I don't think he was thrilled at the idea but helped until it was safe for me to have my baby at home.

It was the most wonderful experience! I was laying in bed resting, I woke thinking that I urinated on my self but with closer examination realized that my water broke. I called my Midwife and told her what happened and that I felt like I had to use the bathroom. she told me not to do anything until she got to my house as she didn't want me to give birth in the toilet. She arrived about 20 mins. after I called her (about 30 min. before my husband could home from work) She was the best! She brought 2 helpers with her and they set everything up and helped make me comfortable, rubbed my back and helped me breathe. They filled a pool with water put me in there and she came out about 10 mins. later, healthy and beautiful. At first she didn't want to take a breath but they were completely knowledgeable and got her breathing in I bet under a min.

After the birth my Midwife and her team helped me into bed and they cleaned my baby and gave her to me right away. They helped me with the breast feeding.They left the placenta attached to her for about 45 min. It helps balance her blood. After a bit they weighed and measured her. They also gave me a choice when it came to giving her Vitamin K. I could give her a shot or give it orally. I choose oral. With my first daughter they kind of just told me they were giving her the shot. I really liked that my baby didn't need to experience pain right away. They were there for about 4 hours after the birth and came back to check on me once a day after that for 2 days. Then I went to their office once a week for a couple of weeks for check ups.

There was a clear difference between the way I was treated at home vs. the hospital. If I was to ever have another I would do it at home.

Decideing what my baby should eat.

After the birth of my first baby who I will call number one. It was a no brainier for me what my baby would eat. Breast milk! Natures best food. It was easy for me as I had my husband and my sisters support. I also have a surrogate parents who breastfeed their babies. It was difficult at first as number one didn't latch very well. I used a nipple shield for about 2 weeks and then is was no longer needed. She was a champ after that. At 4 months she was very very hungry and I tried baby cereal, Organic. We did this once a day for about a couple of months before introducing any real foods. When she was about 6 months I started her on baby food which I made all her food at home with organic or at least pesticide free veggies. I did all of this with little or no research. It just seemed right. Why would I give her anything else? I don't eat crap why give that to her? There were other parents that I knew that that were doing things different and I couldn't understand it. A perfect example of this was a friend of mine was feeding her baby run of the mill store bought baby food. I asked her if she thought of making her own baby food. She said she didn't have time. Later I was thinking about how much time it actually took me. Let's see, I buy the fresh veggies when I'm already a the store. Once a week I would chop them in peaces throw them in a double boiler to steam. I did this while cooking dinner. Then I would puree and freeze them. The rest of the week all I have to do is take it out and stick it in the microwave for a few sec. Just enough to melt it and then feed to baby. It wasn't more than having to trek down to the store and buy food.

Once I was visiting my mother in law and I bought a few of the organic baby food thinking it was better than the regular. I tasted it, oooooooohhh it was really gross. My daughter wouldn't touch the stuff. she liked the real thing better. She was like that with breast milk vs. formula too. We thought about weening her to formula because my husband thought that it might be good to do six month breast feeding and the other six months formula feed. Well needless to say she was breast feed until she was 13 months.

Now that shes two she is still eating healthy. She eats whatever we eat. Also whenever we go out to eat we always buy her an adult meal as we see that all the kids choices are crap and not worth the money. For a few dollars more she can have a healthier choice for only a few dollars more.

Anyone that is thinking of not breast feeding because they are afraid that their breasts are going to be saggy please don't worry about it, your breasts are not going to be that bad after and after gravity takes it toll its likely that you're going to be that way anyway. I know because My other in law told me that's why shes didn't and now my husband has the suckest immune system ever!

There are many benefits to breast feeding and there is a lot of research that you can do but http://www.americanpregnancy.org says it all with this table from their website:
Breastfeeding vs. Bottle-feeding
  Breastfeeding Bottle-feeding
Nutrition
  Perfect balance of nutrients Not as efficiently utilized as breast milk
  Contains high levels of nutrients Nutritional content depends on proper preparation
  Easily digested and absorbed Some babies have difficulty tolerating certain nutrients
  Content varies according to milk production stage, which meets the changing nutritional requirements Pediatrician/care-giver determines amount
  Infant determines amount  
Costs
  Free Formula ranges from $54 to $198 per month depending on brand
  Nursing pads, nursing bras, etc. Bottles, nipples, etc.
  Breast pump (optional)  
Advantages
  Always the perfect temperature Anyone can feed the baby
  No preparation time  
  Milk is readily available at any time and any place  
Disadvantages
  Mother must be available for feeding or to provide pumped milk if she is absent Warming formula
  Mother must pump if feeding is missed Preparation time varies
  Early breastfeeding may be uncomfortable Baby may not tolerate formula well
  Certain medications can interrupt breastfeeding Always have to carry bottles, formula/mixing items with you