Thursday, November 6, 2008

Soap Nuts!!!!!!

I am **so** excited to share my new discovery!

If you dont know how toxic fabric softener is read THIS.

We use cloth diapers most of the time with the baby. Because our city has really hard water we've had issues with detergent build-up even with the "right" detergents for cloth diapers. That led to me to looking for something more natural and thats how I found....

Soap Nuts!

They actually arent nuts but the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree. They contain saponin, a natural cleaner used for thousands of years to clean clothes, just like the plants used by Native Americans for washing.

I ordered some to try and I LOVE them!!!!! They totally removed the residue and got them CLEAN. Same with our clothes. And you dont need fabric softener at all with these!!!! In fact, we had some hand-me-downs for Jayna that had a strong fabric softener smell. I am very allergic to it and I have had clothes before that I couldnt get it out of, no matter how many times I washed them.....but the soap nuts got it out!

The residue from regular laundry detergent (even the "free" varieties) is what makes the clothes stiff and creats a need for the softener in the first place! Soap nuts dont leave a residue.

And they can be turned into a powder or liquid and used for a ton of cool things, for example.....
- shampoo (im excited to try this!)
- cleaning jewelry
- washing pets
- natural pesticide/mosquito repellent
- natural windo cleaner
- dishwashing "soap" (excited about this too!!!)

Click HERE to see the site that Ive found to have the best prices. I just ordered a huge bag to use all the time! You can try a sample for 1 cent plus shipping. I may even buy some wholesale to sell if I continue to be as impressed as I am!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Carters Tagless Clothes

I remember that my daughter always had a light rash on her upper back. I remember bathing her and wondering if she was allergic to something she was eating, or I was eating, etc. It turns out that this is a VERY common problem. Many moms have gone to their Drs only to be told its excema and given a cream for it. But its NOT excema....its a reaction to the chemicals they are using to stamp on "tags" in tagless baby clothes. Some babies have severe reactions (warning: graphic picts) similar to chemical burns :(

Stepping back from all the details I have to just say that this is something that never even crossed my mind (and im much more paranoid and suspicious than most after what ive learned about other products)! I always thought that organic clothing was over -the-top and not necessary. If I could afford it Id ditch everything we have and buy all new, organic clothes for all the kids (and especially our 8wk old!). The new baby has a light rash there too. He has some of the Carters shirts with the longer, white tag and I wont put them on him anymore (even though they are the cutests and fit the best of all his onesies). A lot of his other clothes are tagless too unfortunately.

It just makes me so sad :(

Nearly all baby clothes are tagless now. These stamps are reportedly made with materials containing phythlates and formaldehyde. YUCK! Its criminal. That junk is sitting on their skin all day and leaching into their body. Its so, so wrong.

You can bet that any clothes I buy from now on will have good 'ole fashioned tags. I read online that BabiesRUs' brand of clothes still have the real thing.

You can read more on Z Recommends . Carters is accepting postage-paid returns of their tagless clothing and the address info is there. I may take them up on that offer....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Its been a LONG time (2 months!) since I posted.....our fourth blessing is here and keeping me busy with other things :)

but I wanted to share one of my favorite new products.....I know that we shouldnt over-sanitize ourselves because that can lead to more issues. I do believe that theory is correct and I never buy antibacterial soap for the house. BUT there are definitely times when soap and water arent convenient but I just cant stomach what may be on my childrens hands - like after playing at the park, after they crawl on the floor at the store looking for pennies (please let that phase end soon!), coming out of church, etc.

I hated using Purell because of the alcohol and mostly because of the fragrance. blech. I saw a test done on TV of a new product called SOAPOPULAR and was very excited to find it at our WalMart!

Its alcohol and fragrance-free. It doesnt stink and doesnt dry your skin. It lasts much longer than purell so it costs less. The foam also doesnt slide off the kids hands as soon as they turn them to rub them together! I love it - especially with a newborn in the house. I use it a lot and my hands feel soft and clean!

If you go to THEIR SITE you can even get a free sample. If you are kind of a germ-phobe like me, you have to check this out!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Stained Concrete

We first saw stained concrete at our good friend's home. They pulled up all the carpet and stained the concrete. At first I never thought Id like it for my own house but as our carpet downstairs gets older/dirtier and we suffer more each spring with allergies, the idea has really grown on me.

We cant afford hardwood floors or even cork which are the healthiest options Ive found (less toxic offgassing than laminate and new carpeting especially if you use a non-toxic sealer on the wod). But stained concrete is a VERY affordable, VERY allergy-friendly option! And we can also install something else over it later.

I found a product online called SoyCrete. Its a non-toxic, enviromentally-safe concrete stain. It comes in many different colors and its easy to apply. They also make an eco-friendly top coat called Acri-soy and another one called Poly-soy. Check out the SoyCrete colors HERE.

If we dont move before the baby comes (lots of showings, no offers yet!) we'll definitely be pulling out the carpet downstairs and staining it. I like the "espresso" and the "Leather Brown" :) Im excited there is a healthy and affordable option!!!!
(We have about 700 sq. ft of carpeting downstairs - the rest is tile. We were quote about $6k to put in laminate flooring. Installying something ourselves would still be around $2800. The cost of the stain and sealer, with shipping, would be $262!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dr. Bonners suing big companies like Estee Lauder

THIS recent article is very interesting....

We knew before that the requirements for labeling cosmetics and beauty products are loosely defined - to say the least. Well now someone is doing something about it! You may have seen Dr. Bonner soaps at your local health food store...... They are suing several large companies for basically distorting the term "organic" just like they have done with "natural".

The FDA requires food to be 95% organic to be labeled organic. There are no such requirements for healthy and beauty products. Some companies like Aubrey Organics (my fav!) and Dr. Bonners take the responsibility seriously and set requirements for themselves - Dr Bonner's uses the same 95% rule for their products. But other products use no standards at all.

In that article I learned that Aveno is owned by Estee Lauder - one of the companies getting sued. Aveno does have some natural ingredients and is seen by most as a healthier brand of lotions - BUT their products do contain many of the same chemicals as mainstream brands do. Its largely a marketing scam.

*Hopefully* this lawsuit will result in some firm standards for these big companies to prevent them from cashing in on the growing trend of being more "green" and seeking out safer products. They are ripping off the public and making tons of money on it and it needs to stop (remember my post on Johnson&Johnson's "natural" line?)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mother's Touch Paint

I was shocked today at Target when I saw a ZERO-VOC paint today called "Mother's Touch". Yay for Target!!!!! (this was a super Target - if you dont have one, Im sincerely so sorry, you are missing out. I love that place!)

They come in premade colors, beige, light pink, baby blue, etc.

It was $19.99/gallon which is HALF of what the zero-VOC paint I buy from Sherman Williams costs (although I always get a discount, this is still a much better deal). I will definitely be looking into this when we move into our new house!!!!!!

You may remember from my previous post on Green Paint that traditional paint contains many toxic chemcials and those toxins can leach into your air for YEARS....... YEARS! I really think that this is one thing to put extra money in for the sake of you and especially your children! I was so happy to see a more affordable option!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oprah and "Going Green"

Did anyone else see Oprahs recent show about going green?

It was so neat to see some real hard-core facts making it onto a nationally broadcast TV show.

Im very interested in composting - I think I may take this up when we move to the new house! If Julia Roberts can do it - we all can :) anyone do it now? share! share!

Here is a RECAP of issues covered if you missed the show (they even touched on products to avoid in your skin care products! hooray! and my favorite - Aubrey Organics - was mentioned)

The Business of Being born

There is a new documentary that will be available in May called "The Business of Being Born". The executive producer is Ricci Lake. You can rent it now through Netflix (I did a trial membership then cancelled it).

Anyone who is considering natural childbirth, is studying the effects of commonly-used interventions in American, is mourning a birth-gone-wrong and needs answers, wants to know more about the difference between OBs and midwives or is just a birth junkie like me would love it.

It is full of eye-opening info. For example. In other developed countries like Japan and Sweden (etc, etc, etc) midwives deliver 70+% of all babies born. In the US (and we stand alone in this!) midwives deliver less than 10%. Consequently, we have the WORST infant and mother mortality rate in the the 7 developed countries with similar birth rates. This is disturbing.

OBs are highly-trained surgeons. They are trained to diagnose and treat problems. But 98% of pregnancies are completely normal and natural events if left alone - so why do some hospitals have csection rates near 50%?! Something doesnt add up. Our interventions are causing the problems, OBs then come and "save the day" and now most American women believe their bodies are defective and they need a Dr to help them deliver.

Ill stop there ;) OBs and csections are great blessings when medically necessary - the problems is that they are rarely, rarely necessary.

So. If you are intersted - check out "The Business of Being Born" :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pampering :)

Ive posted several times about my love for Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil :) Well a good friend bought me their skin exfoliator for Christmas and I am posting to say I LOVE it!!!!! Ive been using it on my legs after I shave and they are SO soft (such a pampering for a tired mama!) and you need very little so it lasts. Ive also noticed that the hair grows back much more slowly for some reason - I dont know why but it works for me! Sometimes essential oils bother my allergies but I have the lavendar and its very mild - I highly recommend it! (one caution: it has a lot of oil so it can make the shower slippery. be careful!)

Another product the same friend turned me onto is the PedEgg. It really works to get your feet super soft and smooth. No soaking, no chemicals, no pain ....I was skeptical but ended up very impressed. I got mine for $9.99 at Target.

I say spring is the perfect time for some pampering! :)

off to show my eyebrows some love LOL..........

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prescription Drugs in Public Water

HERE is a disturbing article about pharmacuetical drugs being found in public water all over the united states. Its downright disgusting and SCARY. Yuck. (seriously, read it)

My tips:

Everyone should have a Brita or Pur filter on their drinking water at home and better yet, a reverse osmosis filter (we got one a few years ago and love it!!!).

Obviously dont drink out of public water fountains or from the tap if you can help it!

Dont buy bottled water - the water isnt healthy and its a waste of plastic. Buy yourself one Klean Kanteen and fill it up at home with your healthy, filtered water! :)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dont Fear Fever!

When my oldest was one and I was quite pregnant with #2, he got the flu. He had a high temperature, was lethargic, etc. Thats when I first learned the truth about fevers.... Id always thought of fever as the disease and believed that you should take tylenol or advil to bring it down. It turns out I was wrong, on both accounts. I consider this information some of the most valuable Ive learned as a mother - and fascinating!

Fever is a natural response TO an infection and in fact a very good sign that the immune system is working properly.

My son was very ill again, soon after that first bought with the flu. The first time I gave him tylenol and/or advil consistently. His fever would break, he'd feel better for a few hours, run around and play, then konk back out and his fever would return. The second time I let the fever run its course (both times it was very high, over 102). He slept more and got better faster the second time. (I believe he had the flu twice) By breaking the fever over and over I was not only taking away a natural defense but then he was expending energy that he was actually too sick to expend.

An article from reports on an experiment done with iguanas. The iguanas were purposely made sick with bacteria. They found that raising their body temperature with heat lamps helped them fight off the illness. The iguanas were given the choice to heat up their bodies - 12 of the 13 chose to lay under the lamp. The iguana that didnt, died.

Brain Damage: If a fever goes over 106, the fever doesnt respond to tylenol/advil or the child is unable to be hydrated, these are serious situations and you should call your Dr. BUT. Not treating a fever will not cause to rise indefinitely and put your child at risk for brain damage. Dr Greene reports (as do other sources) that brain damage can only occur from having a fever of 107+ for an extended period of time. Only VERY rare and very serious illnesses can cause a fever that high as well as sun stroke and poisoning.

Febrile Seizures are seizures caused by a quick rise in temperature, not necessarily a high fever. So a quick rise from 99 to 101 can bring it on just as a rise from 101 to 103. Febrile seizures affect 5-10% of children. They are scaryto see as parents but NOT harmful and they do not cause long-lasting effects.

Conclusion: We dont need to fear fevers. My automatic, ingrained reponse when my children get a fever is still to panic. But then I remind myself to rejoice - their immune systems are working well!!!!! The most important thing when your child is sick is to keep them HYDRATED. Its best to avoid sugary drinks because it lowers their immune system but sometimes they get so sick that any liquid is good. The worst thing is to end up in the hospital for an IV and be at risk of catching something new.

Leave the fever alone and let it do its job. The only reason you need to use a fever-reducing medication is if your child is too achy/miserable to sleep or eat/drink. This is for their comfort and not to get rid of the fever. The fever is on your side! :)

Ill close with a list of signs to watch for. Many of these are signs of dehydration or a more serious illness (stiff neck indicates meningitis).

Call your doctor if your child has any of these warning signs
Changes in behavior
Constant vomiting or diarrhea
Dry mouth
Earache or pulling at ears
Fever comes and goes over several days
High-pitched crying
Not hungry
Severe headache
Skin rash
Sore or swollen joints
Sore throat
Stiff neck
Stomach pain
Swelling of the soft spot on the head
Unresponsive or limp
Wheezing or problems breathing

Why do you think we all have it ingrained in us that fevers need medicine - thats right, its all about the $$ M-O-N-E-Y $$. Booooo and hisssss for the drug companies and another example of over-medicating America to make billions of dollars.

I hope this is encouraging. Its one less thing for us to worry about! There is a lot of illness going around at this time of year. We need to be alert and pay close attention to our children when they are sick but we dont have to depend on sugar/chemical/dye-filled meds. My second son woke up from his nap with a fever. I gave him a lot to drink (water with Vit C and orange Stevia) and had him rest and he was running around and playing by bedtime. Hopefully thats the end of it! I praise the Lord that we are so fearfully and wonderfully made - He has given us the gift of bodies that are self-healing! Amazing!

Green Pans

We stopped using Teflon awhile ago but I found myself sneaking out my skillets to cook eggs in. I hated cooking eggs in my stainless steel pans because for $4 a dozen for organic free-roaming/range eggs, I didnt want half of them sticking to the pan!

I saw these GREEN PANS on an infommercial and carefully considered them. My mom ended up getting them for me (ok, yes, she spoils us!) to try out and I really like them. You can cook perfect eggs with no oil (i always add coconut oil anyways for the benefits), you can brown, carmelize, etc and have no trouble cleaning them. They can handle much higher temps which means you can cook things on high without the coating breaking down - unlike Teflon which shouldnt be used any higher than medium. You CANT use metal utensils on them which the user guide clearly states (some of the reviews below claim it scratches - yes, of course, if you use metal!)

They are PTFE (bad for you) and PFOA (bad for the environment) - free which makes them much healthier than Teflon. There is still a risk that they harbor something else unhealthy but my guess is its still healthier than Teflon. So I now cook my eggs in them every day and dont waste an ounce :) I have noticed they are a little less non-stick while the pan is warming but once the eggs get hot it is fine.

They are often featured on HSN (see reviews at this link - some are good, some are horrible. Ive had no trouble with burn spots or cleaning them and I use mine every day)

There is no garuantee they are safe so this is NOT a recommendation - just sharing something that Ive chosen to use for our family :)

Stevia Flavors

My mom bought me EVERY flavor that SweetLeaf Stevia comes in so we've had fun trying them out. Since my kids never have juice its fun for them to have "stevia water" - yummy, healthy, and no sugar!

Vanilla Creme has been a longtime favorite of mine in coffee. English toffee is also good in coffe and I imagine it would be good in some healthy cookies too.

The kids love the grape and orange. I just put a few drops in their cup so it lasts forever! We'll definitely be using the "lemon drop" this summer to make lemonade or lemon slushies - a hot TX summer favorite at our house :) (even the big kids I make them for dont know they dont have sugar!!!)

I think these are great for summer, something sweet (and safe) and keeps them hydrated :)

btw - on Amazon the great deal on Regular Stevia is really hard to find on their search. Its basically two-for-the-price-of-one. HERE is a direct link.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

US Newborn Fatality Rate

I will be honest and say I am a huge proponent of natural I am many other natural things of course. I praise God for the medical technology that exists for those that TRULY *need* it and then say that otherwise I believe that a natural vaginal birth is the safest and healthiest route for mom and baby. I have had two drug-free births and we hope to have a waterbirth with this baby, due in August, at home (!!!). So Im going to post now and then about natural childbirth - its not about being "better" or getting a medal or showing off but about doing things the safest and healthiest way possible. FEAR is a big factor in the US - so many women now elect to have a csection becaues they are afraid of labor .... this is a tradegdy in our country.

Article from CNN - US has second highest infant deat rate in the industrialized world.

American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as
children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United
States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway
, Save the Children researchers

"The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care
beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but its newborn
rate is higher than any of those countries," said the annual State of the
World's Mothers report.

so all this begs the question - why????

maybe because Dr.s (immorally in my humble opinion) allow women to elect to have a csection for non-medical reasons, schedule csections at 39 or even 38 weeks and because of the constant PUSH to induce labor.

I believe God has created our bodies to birth our hand-crafted baby, usually, with absolutely no intervention or "help".

Pregnancy is not a medical condition - its a natural, beautiful, gift.

what will it take for Drs to stop putting God and His Creations on a timetable - to stop playing god themselves????

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Asthma and Homeopathy

my second son has asthma. i remember him first wheezing when he was 9 months old and started to crawl on his hands and knees - just crawling around he would wheeze. It was during the winter and even minor colds do affect his breathing a lot. Both boys always had croup each winter until they were 3 or so as well as asthma issues so this has been a long-time issue in our home.

asthma is an immune system issue and NOT just a disease of the lungs. part of his asthma is genetics - both of my parents have asthma and allergies to food and the environment as do I and my sister. he also had thrush for many months as an infant, despite my drastic natural measures to fight it off and I believe this has impacted him as well.

I took him in yesterday to see our pediatric allergist beacause his asthma got so bad last week they called in a prescription for liquid predisone. We of course used it because Id never seen him struggle to breathe like that, even after the slightest physical exercise (he has a cold) he would heave and wheeze (SO scary because I know what it feels like!!!).

they want me to get a nebulizer and do daily cortisone treatments as a preventative measure. ive used these myself so I know they can work but I also know they bring risk (for example, of oral thrush). I DONT believe in treating symptoms, I want to get to the root of the problem - i just know that there is a better way to strengthen his immune system (besides what we already do, health diet, enough sleep, vitamin C, cod liver oil, etc) and fight the asthma. Now that the critical stage has passed I can think more clearly and consider other options.

so ive been reading online and im going to give homeopathy a try. ive had success using it myself in different instances, and even one called Rescue Remedy has helped me calm down during an attack. Thankfully he doesnt have anxiety when he has asthma, probably because he is only 3 (!) so it makes it easier to just treat the symtpoms. The ones I am going to try are called pulsatilla and Ipecacuanha ..... it cant hurt. Homeopathy is safe, even for newborns and pregnant women. I will update with how it goes!!!!!

Article 2

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Check out an awesome blog, with healthy sugar-free recipes for kids at KidFeed. She's inspired me to try some chocolate chip cookies today, using agave syrup instead of sugar! They still arent perfectly healthy but at least they wont have sugar ;) (Im using organic unbleached flour and organic butter - these are for mommy and daddy...and the baby in the belly!)

There is a new natural soda that actually ISNT bad for you! Its called ZEVIA. You can read all the details on their site or on Green Republican's blog. Our local health food store has it already. I tried the lemon-lime and it tastes like diet to me but it was fun to have soda (I never, ever drink it) and know it was ok!

I havent been doing great with my eating because this first trimester has hit me hard - often I make a ymmy, healthy, organic dinner, and it looks good, even tastes good but I cant physically chew and swallow more than a few bites.....then I cry and feel sorry for myself and eat anything that sounds good. So Ive had a lot of unhealthy bagels and cream cheese but right now thats all I can do, so Im giving myself some grace. I always lose weight when Im sick like this and I want to make sure Im getting enough to keep up my energy and feed the little bean inside :) I do intend to be more strick when the sickness passes - keep me accountable with the sugar!!! :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Babies R Us Organic Line

Recently on a message board discussion about a safe, chemical-free, organic mattress bad for a baby's crib, someone posted about Babies R Us' line. So of course I had to check it out.......yet another example of marketing loopholes. Their mattress pad (and mattress) say "organic" but they arent 100% organic at all.

From their site:
A 100% natural cotton surface with an allergy barrier that is a soft knit fabric backed with ultra-thin breathable, waterproof polyurethane membrane.

so its organic cotton with a layer of what I presume is "soft knit" polyester and polyurethane (probably in the form of foam for cushioning).

Polyurethane materials can make hard plastics, soft plastics, foams, adhesives and even paints and varnishes. Definitely NOT something organic you want your baby breathing in all night long.

From an article called "Five Problems with Crib Mattresses (Toxic Chemicals)"

Polyurethane foam (essentially solid petroleum) is extremely flammable. To combat this hazard, industrial toxic fire retardants are added. The most common chemical fire retardant used to treat polyurethane foam has been pentaBDE, a toxin associated with hyperactivity and neuro-behavioral alterations. PentaBDE is not bound to the foam, and leaches out into the surrounding air.

And the sad thing is so many moms buy these products from BRU because they are trying to do whats best for their baby (its a top registered-for product on their site). Its another shameless marketing ploy.

More to come on how to make your mattresses safe for baby.......

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


My apologies that its been FOREVER since I posted. I always have things running through my mind that I want to share - so there is definitely more to come. For now - an update on me and why Ive been MIA :)

- at the end of Oct I cut out dairy and sugar from my diet and committed to not eat after 7pm. I let myself eat what I wanted for the holidays. I have lost 22lbs!!! I felt like a huge hypocrite, posting blogs on how bad sugar is and then eating a pint of Ben and Jerrys at night so I buckled down and did it and I feel great!

- I am pregnant! Blessing #4 is due in early August. I became very sick with nausea nearly at conception so I have been very "under the weather" lately and not up to doing much at night. Im thankful for signs that this is a healthy pregnancy but its quite a battle taking care of 3 little ones when I feel like this!

- I am eating dairy again because right now Im eating whatever doesnt make me want to throw up :) I plan to get strict again once Im feeling better!

- I hope to write soon about natural pregnancy and childbirth.....lots of thoughts there! Stay tuned! :)