Friday, June 29, 2012

Healthy Home - My Recipe for All Purpose Cleaner

I try to keep my house as free of toxic chemicals as possible, and I'm cheap so this recipe is a perfect fit for me.

It's an adaption of the one on Gorgeously Green. Check out her web site. It’s awesome! I don’t like tea tree oil, and borax bothers my allergies, so this is how I make my own APC.

  • 1, 32 oz spray bottle (You can get these at the dollar store)
  • 2 cups of water
  •   ¾ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
  •  1 teaspoon of Castile soap (any dish soap will work but Castile creates less suds)
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  •  20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 20 drops orange essential oil

Just pour all of the ingredients into the bottle and shake.

Shake before use

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sneaky Mama - Getting Kids to Eat Spinach

Mother's and their children have been fighting the war over healthy eating since the beginning of time. Lucky for us, we as parents, have one major advantage over our children: we are better liars. Jessica Seinfeld gives some great suggestions in her Deceptively Delicious cookbooks, but I have found all of that to be a bit too much trouble for me and not very much to my tastes flavor-wise. The idea though is genius! What I've done is concentrate my efforts on one highly nutritious super food that kids absolutely refuse to eat - spinach. I like spinach because it is easy to use, takes on the flavor of most foods, and looks just like any seasoning when chopped up.

I've found, the best way to use spinach in recipes is if you start from frozen. This way you can use only what you need and it doesn't go bad. You can either pre-chop it frozen in a food processor, or if you're lazy like I am, you can just beat the bag on the counter a little to break the spinach up and use tiny pieces that accumulate at the bottom of the bag. I only add about a handful at a time to dishes, depending on their size. You want the kids to eat it, and if you use too much it becomes obvious. The key is to use it often.

Here are some of the things I add spinach to:
  • Cook in pan first (with a little garlic if possible)
    • Meatballs
    • Hamburgers
    • Meatloaf
    • Stuffed shells
    • Pizza
    • Lasagna
  • Add frozen
    • Tomato sauce
    • Soups and stews
    • Pot roast
    • Black beans
    • Chili
And pretty much anything made with cooked tomatoes.

So that's it! Do have any good ideas for sneaking healthy food to kids? Send it to me, and I might post it on the blog.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Duh Moment: The Rippoff that is Foamy Soap

 As many of you  know, foamy soap makes washing children's hands so much easier because they aren't globing 2 gallons of soap on their hands with each washing, they like it, and it's easier to rinse. BUT... it is so expensive, and the kids go through it way too fast. So I came up with a solution that has saved me a ton of money. My husband liked it so much, he told me to write about it on the blog.

So here goes....

What I discovered is that the key to foamy soap is the bottle. All you need is to take an empty dispenser (7.5 fl oz), and fill it up to about an inch with regular hand soap, then fill it the rest of the way with water, shake it up, and voila you have foamy soap.

That's it.

No. It doesn't work as well as regular foamy soap. You have to shake it up fairly regularly to keep the soap and water all mixed up, and if you want to make it really foamy. But in the great history of things I have done in my lifetime to save money, a few moments shaking a bottle before washing my hands is nothing. What really bugs me is that this discovery has essentially confirmed my suspicions that I have actually been paying a lot more money for what is, essentially, less soap.

Oh well... that's consumerism for you I guess.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Advice from an Imperfect Mom - The Hug Out

Okay, I’m just going to say it… My kids annoy the living $%@! out of me on a regular basis. Just what annoys me can vary from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment, but lately the overriding issue has been bickering. It is non-stop! All I hear all-day, every day are cries of “Mommy, he did this,” and “Mommy, she did that,” with screams of “STOP IT!” and crying fits smattered into the mix, just to keep things interesting. Now as a mother who is trying to work from home, this tends to make it a tiny bit hard to concentrate.  My solution? Yelling.  I find myself yelling so much at times, I wonder if I’ve forgotten how to talk. I truly understand my mother now. She had three of us. The fact that we all survived and are more or less untraumatized is a testament to her power of restraint, but I digress… 

Recently, my mother in law gave me a piece of advice, as to something she did with her kids, that I found so amusing I actually gave it a try. I have dubbed it the Hug Out. It works just like a timeout, except the children are forced to sit and hug each other for a pre-determined amount of time. Sounds crazy right! That’s what I like about it. 

Now I’ve only tried this with the kids a couple times, but I’ve threatened it a ton. I tell the kids that if they won’t love each other, I’ll make them love each other – to which, of course, they laugh at me.  But I got the last laugh when I made them sit for 3 minutes and hug. Actually, we all laughed out a**es off, but they’re still young. They still like each other for the most part. What really gives me a charge is thinking about how they’ll react to this as teens – oh yes! It will be done. 

Will this force feeding love actually work to make them closer, more loving siblings? I don’t know, but if nothing else, it provides me with a bit of entertainment and what mom can’t use more of that?

Monday, June 25, 2012


Kolcraft Contours Options three- and four-wheeled strollers (June 14, 2012) - Recalled due to finger amputation hazard


 Evenflo Convertible High Chairs        (June 5, 2011) - Due to fall hazard

Tots in Mind Crib Tents (May 16, 2012) - Due to entanglement and strangulation hazard.

Safety 1st product recalls - They've had to recall a number of "saftey" items because they simply don't work properly.
  1. Slide Cabinet lock  (May 17, 2012)
  2. Sure Fit Toilet Lock (May 17, 2012)
  3. Push n Snap Cabinet Lock  (March, 22, 2012)  

Due to threat of finger laceration or amputation.

Just in case you haden't heard: Arsenic in Juice and formula

Okay, so this is the kind of stuff that really ticks me off. I feel like I try so hard to keep my family healthy, but the FDA could give a crap less so we end up unknowingly feeding our children products laced with toxins like BPA  and arsenic. Anyway, Here is the gist of what's going on:

Arsenic in Apple Juice 
Consumer Reports
This all started when Consumer Reports did a study that discovered large amounts of arsenic in some of America's top juice brands . They tested
"88 samples of apple juice and grape juice for lead and arsenic. We found that roughly 10 percent of the samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and 25 percent of the samples had lead levels higher than the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. Most of the arsenic detected in Consumer Reports’ tests was a type known as inorganic, a human carcinogen."
You can read the full results here

Dr Oz
Jumping on the bandwagon was, of course, Dr. Oz (who admittedly kind of annoys me but I can't help but appreciate the information he provides) did a bit more research into the subject, and was helpful enough to give us some ideas of what to look for in our juice to keep our families safe. He made 2 recommendations:
  1. Look for juice concentrate made in the USA - we have higher standards than some other countries particularly China. Look at the label carefully. Product of "country"  doesn't always mean that the item came from that country just that it was packaged there. Look for Conc of "country" if possible. This is hard. Check the bottle thoroughly.
  2. Buy Organic - Dr Oz's independent test didn't find high concentrations of arsenic in organic juices which is why he recommends it, but that recommendation did not take the consumer reports findings that showed high levels  in a number of organic juices.
So what can we do?  Looking at the test results, buying Made in the USA is a good start, but I' not totally sold on the whole Organic thing yet, but it can't hurt. If you have the money to buy organic juice.

Bills have been. proposed to to create standards for juice companies. We will just have to ee what happens.

 Arsenic is Formula
Here is the other lovely finding. It seems that formula made with  organic brown rice syrup (the organic version of high fructose corn syrup) leads to high levels of arsenic in organic infant formula. Just when you thought you were doing something good for your baby. It seems that the rice pulls arsenic naturally from the ground - great!

What can we do? Dr. Allen Green advises us to purchase rice products that are from California where testing is stricter or through companies that demonstrate that they are testing their products.

Safe choices
  • Earth's Best - Issued a statement saying that  their formula does not contain organic brown rice. Read that here.
  • Natures One says they conduct independent testing to assure that their brown rice is arsenic free  - read more here.
So what can we take from this?

We're screwed! 

Just kidding. We just have to stay informed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Web Sites

 I thought I would share with you some of the great web sites I've relied on over the past several years. I hope you will find them as helpful as I have.

  • - This was so wonderful resource when I was pregnant. It's an enormous database of medications, and how they are graded for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Kellymom - Great resource for breastfeeding and parenting.
  • Baby 411 and Toddler 411 Developmental Checklists. - I love these checklists because they show age ranges.
  • Family Watchdog - A searchable database on sex offenders.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Database - This database lists detailed information about the substances in health and beauty products, and rates their toxicity.
  • - A guide to toxic chemicals in toys. Also contains a database of the results of hundreds of toys and baby products tested for lead, bromine, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury.
  • Kids-In-Mind - This is great site for parents who want more information about the movies their children are seeing than the rating system can provide. Movies are broken down by three categories: sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity. Ratings are given for each, but the really useful part is the detailed information they provide about the movie under each category.
  • - This site contains a wealth of information on vehicle and car seat safety.
obviously marvelous

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