Nuts About Soap Nuts!

IMG_4179[1]

With a family of four  I find that I do a LOT of laundry!  Since we’ve taken on cloth diapers and since our newest addition was born, I do at least a couple of loads per day.  Really, I don’t mind it too much.  It’s part of the routine.  However, when you are doing that much laundry, you really start to consider how much you are spending on laundry detergent.

Because I had severe eczema my whole life, we found out when I was young that plain ol’ Tide was the only detergent we could use that wouldn’t break me out.  I believe that my skin got used to it, not so much that it was the best solution for my sensitive skin.  When I started getting into a greener  lifestyle, I realized how many chemicals are in laundry detergents and thought maybe that was part of the reason that I had so much trouble with my eczema.  Since my son has shown the same symptoms of eczema that I used to have, we decided to go for an all natural approach.

I made my own batch of all natural laundry detergent, which made me feel wonderful because I wasn’t putting any harsh chemicals onto our clothes to soak into our bodies.  I found, however, that my messy 2 year old and newborn baby girl’s clothes were not getting as squeaky clean as Tide had done for us before, so I began looking for another natural alternative.

If I thought I was doing something right by making an “all natural detergent” before, I was wrong!  While the ingredients that I used in my homemade detergent were natural and safe, I found that it didn’t have much stain fighting power.  Enter Soap Nuts.

Read more

Natural Cloth Wipe Solution

IMG_3837[1]

When I started thinking about using cloth diapers, I immediately knew that I was going to use cloth wipes as well.  I ordered a few from Charlie Banana, but most of my wipes are old baby wash cloths that I had laying around.

When we first started using them, we would just walk to the sink and wet them with warm water.  It wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t too much trouble either.  My son gets extreme diaper rash, and I was hopeful that when we started using cloth diapers and I began making his baby powder and using an all natural diaper cream the issue would be solved.  Unfortunately, he still got diaper rash after the switch, so I started thinking about making a recipe for a cloth wipe solution that would soothe his sensitive bottom.

It has been a success!  He hasn’t had a diaper rash breakout since I first made this solution!

Read more

DIY Natural Deodorant

deodorant

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around about how deodorants and antiperspirants can be a cause of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, so I did some research to find out why…

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no solid scientific proof that deodorants and antiperspirants are a cause of breast cancer; however, parabens (used as a preservative in deodorants) have been proven to mimic estrogen, which can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.  That’s enough to make me worry.  Breastcancer.org states that 1 in 8 women (that reach the age of 70) will develop an invasive form of breast cancer.

Antiperspirants contain aluminum that is engineered to plug up the sweat ducts.  Alzheimer’s patients have a much higher content of aluminum in the brain making the correlation seem pretty suspicious.  The Alzheimer’s Association predict a 44% increase in the disease growth by 2025!

While there is no concrete evidence that deodorants and antiperspirants cause these incredibly devastating diseases, the rise in people contracting these diseases is eerie.  Clearly, we’re doing something wrong!

Why we don’t need antiperspirants and deodorants

Our bodies are made to sweat.  Other than keeping our bodies cool in warm climates, sweating is a natural detox.  Antiperspirants clog up our sweat ducts, preventing the toxins from being released and putting aluminum on your skin to be absorbed into your system.

Read more

Natural Soothing Baby Cream and Powder

I’ve had sensitive skin and severe eczema my whole life.  No amount of creams, ointments, tar, or oatmeal baths ever completely relieved me of the dry, itchy, scarred skin that made people always look twice at me when I wore shorts or short sleeve shirts.  My biggest fear was that I would pass that onto my babies.  Sure enough, my little boy was born with super sensitive skin just like me, and he has since had it rough on his teeny tiny behind!

When he was only two months old we were prescribed a steroid cream to help with his eczema.  I found that with fewer baths with no soap, he was able to produce more of his natural oils to protect his skin and prevent the splotchy, red rashes.  We cloth diaper now, but for the first two years of his life, he was in disposables which are full of dyes and chemicals.  Also, the harsh chemicals and drying alcohol in standard baby wipes always irritated his skin, and from the time he was only a few months old, we were trying out all kinds of different powders and ointments, but nothing ever helped for too long.  Putting breastmilk on the rash was the best cure that I could find.  But I quit breastfeeding when he was a year old, so after that, we were left again with nothing.

I was sure that  switching to cloth would solve all of our tushy problems, but unfortunately, he still suffers from diaper rash, no matter how often we change him.  It isn’t as bad since making the switch, though.  Also, instead of the chemically filled creams and powders, I have opted to an all natural approach!

Diaper Rash Cream

At the local farmer’s market in my hometown, we stumbled upon a woman who made all natural baby products and bought a diaper cream from her that consisted of: organic olive oil, organic unrefined coconut oil, beeswax, organic cocoa butter, and vitamin E.  When I looked at the ingredients, I was sure that was something that I could make myself!  I was on a mission!  After lots of research, I found that much of what was in this natural cream that I had bought was just filler.  The beeswax and cocoa butter, while soothing, are primarily to keep the cream at a harder, more manageable consistency.  The olive oil, though it makes the skin soft, doesn’t have healing properties.  And the vitamin E is a natural preservative.  I came to my own conclusion:

Read more

Naturally Repel Ants, Spiders, Mice…and Everything ICKY!

Recently, we have moved to the tiny town that my husband teaches in. When I say tiny…I mean the biggest thing that has happened here is the Subway they opened up a couple years ago.  No grocery store, no mall, no STARBUCKS!  A big change for this mama!  While this move is temporary, we are doing everything in our power to make the old, abandoned farmhouse we moved into a warm, comfortable home for our babies.

The one thing that I didn’t expect to be such an issue is all the little critters sneaking around.  The first time we left a plate out next to the sink without rinsing it, our whole kitchen seemed to be taken over by little, teeny tiny black ants in an instant!  I’ve found several GIANT spiders lurking around including in my sons bathtub right before a bath, and our BED right before I laid down on it!  YUCK!  I’m lucky that I have a husband willing to take care of all the nastiness that comes with moving into an old farmhouse, and a dog that will eat anything I point out to him when my husband isn’t home.

Recently, though, my biggest fear became a realization…a MOUSE in the house!  I don’t know what it is about them that freaks me out so much…maybe it’s how quiet they are so you never know when they’re around until you find the little droppings, or maybe it’s the fact that they can contort their little, disease-infested bodies into cracks and crevices so small, they are impossible to keep out completely!

Read more

Wool Dryer Balls

One of the most dangerous, chemical-ridden products on the market is most likely sitting in your laundry room right now and you’ve probably never given it a second thought.

Dryer sheets.

The chemicals that make these products work remain on  the clothes even several times after they are washed.  They’re absorbed through the skin and lungs and certain traces of these chemicals have been found in urine, blood, and even breastmilk!  The worst part of all is that the manufacturers aren’t required by law to put their full list of ingredients on the product!  So when you read “Fragrance” on the box, you have no idea how many chemicals that “Fragrance” contains or how extremely detrimental to your health it is!

Research of these chemicals have linked them to:

  • asthma and other respiratory conditions
  • reproductive and fertility problems
  • developmental issues
  • skin irritation
  • kidney, liver, and nervous system damage
  • cancers
  • massive hormones disruptions

Read more

Natural All Purpose Cleaner

no chemicals

If you’re looking to live a more chemical-free lifestyle, there are some big changes you’re going to have to make, but the hardest part is making the commitment to do so.  The easiest transition for me was switching to natural household cleaning products.  We learn to love the strong, chemical odor that our favorite cleaning products give off because it reassures us that the product is doing what it’s supposed to do…clean.

After my son was born, a different perspective worked it’s way around me.

Let’s face it, babies are gross.  They pick up anything they can get their tiny little fingers on and it goes directly into their mouths.  They lick the windows.  They eat off of the floor.  I knew this was going to happen.  So, I would clean and clean and clean to make sure that all the disgusting things my son was bound to do wouldn’t be as disgusting.  But all of those products are chemicals.  In fact, the labels TELL you that they are dangerous and that you need to seek medical attention if ingested.  So why would I be wiping these dangerous, hazardous chemicals around my house, when I know that they are going to end up in my son’s mouth?  I started looking into alternatives and found that not only do they work just as well as the chemicals I had been spraying everywhere, my homemade concoctions save me money, too!

Read more

Honey…more than Pooh’s favorite snack

I don’t know about you, but as soon as my kids were born, all of the money that I had spent on myself previously seemed like nothing but waste.  Of course we ladies still need to indulge and pamper ourselves every once in a while to keep our sanity.  Pampering nowadays consists of half a bottle of wine and maybe an interrupted hour to take a nice, hot bubble bath.  Spending obscene amounts of money on beauty products just didn’t make sense to me anymore.  It’s easy to find affordable beauty products, but looking at the labels is a bit scary.  Do I really want all that junk that I can’t even pronounce seeping into my face?!  I don’t think so!  I started looking for alternatives and what I found was a little shocking.

honey

Honey.

You know, what bees make.  The same sticky sweetener I have in my kitchen to put in my tea.  All of the research I did to find the easiest, all natural face and body wash lead me back to honey.

So…how does it work?

Have you ever seen The Bee Movie?  I justify watching it as much as I do because I have a 2 year old, but let me tell you, Jerry Seinfeld knew what he was doing with that movie!  Basically, it divulges into the life of worker bees and all of the work that goes into making honey.  Pretty empowering stuff.  Anyways, there is some merit to what I am getting at.

Bees use nectar and nectar contains over 600 different compounds.  Honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a gentle antiseptic.  Basically, when you put honey in your beauty products, it actually cleans!  It also contains other antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals and encourage growth of new tissue.  That means that it heals irritated and damaged skin and also prevents scarring.  Honey is a natural humectant which means that it attracts and retains moisture, leaving your skin hydrated and fresh!

What skins types does it work on?

Read more

Getting crunchy

It started with cloth diapers which quickly lead to cloth wipes.  Next was making an all natural laundry detergent. From there, I began questioning the chemically filled soaps and lotions I was using on my babies’ perfect skin, which lead to what I was using on my own skin…and hair…and armpits…and even teeth.  Slowly, an all natural lifestyle creeped it’s way into our home before my husband could say “coconut oil”.

After working as a manager at a major beauty store, and filling my vanity with expensive name-brand make-ups, moisturizers, hair serums, and several other different beauty products, I began to look at the labels.  I’d be lucky to find one ingredient that I could pronounce, let alone have any idea of the purpose for it.  Even the products I had been selling as “natural” weren’t what I had believed they were.

A quick Pinterest search lead me to many all natural alternatives.  And when I say all natural, I mean ALL NATURAL.  I began tossing the bottles of chemicals and replacing them with items I had kept in my kitchen!  I’m talking honey…olive oil…vinegar…cocoa…plain old water…and so much more!  Essential oils played a huge part in the transition, too.  After much research, I found that I trusted my own concoctions  more than anything I had ever bought, even compared to the higher end products.

Read more