School will be starting soon and lunches will need to be packed again. I’m so not ready! I do not like using the disposable plastic bags so I have a set of these Stasher silicone reusable bags. They close easily and tightly with their self loc feature; and comes in all different sizes for an endless number of uses. They are dishwasher safe and can be used again and again. We’ve never had an issue with them leaking.
You can also get larger 1/2 gallon sizes, including a stand up version, to store produce in the fridge or freeze items. And smaller sizes perfect for on the go snacks or keeping a pacifier clean in the diaper bag. And Stasher go that can clip to a bag and perfect to fit a phone, so perfect for the pool or beach to keep your phone clean and dry.
The zipper part can be a little hard to open so practice with your kids before sending their lunch in these. The sandwiches size is perfect for typical bread size but wider sizes, like some organic bread brands, may need the edges trimmed to fit the bag. They obviously are a little bulkier than disposable baggies, but we haven’t had an issue.
Stasher bags are made from food grade platinum silicone. Platinum food-grade silicone is safe for use in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, boiling water, soups vide, and oven up to 400 degrees F. Stasher also participates in 1% for the Planet. They are BPA and phthalate free.
Traditional candy has a lot of artificial colors and ingredients. But peanut M&Ms are so good! I found this Unreal brand at Whole Foods. They have versions of plain M&Ms, Snickers, Recees Cups and something like an Almond Joy. YumEarth has a yummy Skittles and Sour Patch kids alternative, all free of artificial food dyes.
Did you know artificial colors are banned in Europe and other countries because of the known health and behavioral effects they have. My oldest get very hyper with food dyes and artificial sugar, and my youngest was having some urinary issues and one of the things we were told to avoid was artificial food dyes, specifically red #40. Makes me upset food companies make artificial dye free versions for other countries and sell the artificial color containing versions in the US. We deserve better!
Side note, I prefer this natural version to the “real” one. 😉
Do you know that most main stream mosquito control companies use chemicals that are harmful to bees and other pollinators? The bee population is already on the decline and they are one of the major pollinators that help us maintain our food supply. This is why it’s very important to me to use methods that will be pollinator friendly.
If you don’t mind doing the treatment yourself, it can be done very easily, it just requires some time. I use mosquito barrier, a garlic-based mosquito repellent. I have my own sprayer and spray all of my bushes, tree trunks, low hanging leaves, and even the grass. It is very affordable. Some pest control companies may use a garlic-based product like mosquito barrier. If you do not want to do the work yourself, find a mosquito company near you that uses a garlic-based spray. This will keep away mosquitoes but be friendly to bees and other pollinators.
There are also plants that repel mosquitoes and other pests. I have not yet tested the effectiveness of this method but they will be going in my landscaping when we do our backyard. These plants include citronella lemongrass, rosemary, marigolds, lavender, eucalyptus, catnip, mint, lantana, fennel, basil, and thyme.
Mosquito dunks are also helpful and can be broken in 4 pieces and tossed up on the roof/in the gutters, to kill mosquitoes in the standing water in the gutters. These dunks can be tossed into ponds, fountains and any other standing water feature.
Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks are also good at helping repel mosquitoes. These are an incense type stick you put in the ground and light. So if you have young ones, you may want to keep this out of reach or avoid this option.
Wearing light colored, full length, light weight clothing is helpful, especially for infants too young for repellent. Natural repellents like Badger Bug Balm or Earthley’s Pest Aside are great to apply.
My husband gave me a Breadman Pro Bread machine for Valentines Day this year. I was excited to be able to make fresh bread so easily and we both agree that it’s also healthier than the store bought versions which have preservatives and typically other ingredients that we would like to avoid (i.e. high fructose corn syrup).
Everything was great for a couple months. I made bread about once a week and found a whole wheat recipe that we loved. It also made fantastic fresh bread that we loved with our spaghetti dinners. And it was so easy – just measure everything, liquids on bottom, yeast last and boom, in a few hours you have a lovely loaf of bread. However it soon stopped kneading on one cycle, then another. Since it was still under warranty, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent a replacement.
So the replacement came, a BR2500, so I prepped it and was excited about the delayed timer function. That night, I decided to make fresh bread to have for lunches the next day, so I set the delay feature to start about 3:30am. At about that time, I am awakened by a very loud beating noise, like someone beating metal with a heavy object. I was scared to death someone was breaking in our house. My heart pounding, I headed towards the sound and found it was the bread machine. I closed all the doors between our bedrooms and the kitchen (which reside on opposite ends of the house anyway). Still heard it, so I had to move it behind one more door into the laundry room and stuff towels under the door. I could still hear it, but at least it was faint enough I could go to sleep with a pillow over my head. Hoping for a fluke, I tried again on a different cycle, hoping for a different result, yet it was the same loud beating/grinding sound.
Needless to say, Applica (who manufactures this piece of equipment) got another email requesting a replacement for my replacement. Now, let me back up a second and mention that even though the bread machine is not working properly, they expect you to pay for shipping of a new machine to you, as well as pay for the shipping of the cord to them (with tracking no less). Applica received an earful for this. I was not about to pay for them to ship me a new machine, but I did ship them the cord the first time and got them to waive the shipping of the new machine. The 2nd time however, I was not going to spend another dime, so I requested a prepaid label to ship them the cord of the “new” bread machie.
I am currently awaiting my 3rd breadman. I am reallyhoping it will work. If not, I will put the Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine on my wishlist. While the reviews of this machine on Amazon are not perfect, they are much better than the Breadman.
What do I want out of a bread machine? At this point, honestly, I would love one that just works. I will say the different size loaves, a delay setting, and the ability to customize are nice.
If I were to start from scratch and replace my bread machine today, I would consider these, in order of my preference:
The sweet folks at Snackaby contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing a review of their reusable snack and sandwich bags. School was about to start and my hubby takes his lunch almost daily, so I was excited about the opportunity.
This was my first experience with reusable baggies. We usually used reusable containers, but sometimes those just are not practical – like taking sandwiches to the museum, or sending almonds with my husband. I really hate using ziplocks because I feel like I am throwing money away.
Snackabies are made by two moms who knew there was a better way than plastic, disposable bags. They wanted something safe, reusable and environmentally friendly. They accomplished just that.
I really like these bags. I was afraid that because they were not air-tight that the sandwiches would dry out, but that was not the case. I made a PB&J for my daughter and she only ate half, the other half stayed in the Snackaby bag in the fridge for a few days and the bread was as soft as when I made the sandwich. Love it!
The velcro closure is also easy for kids to use.
The best feature of these bags is the pull-out tab to clean the inside and outside of the bag at the same time. Genius! The bags can be washed this way in the dishwasher – another genius feature.
Of course Snackaby reusable bags are non-toxic – Snackabies are made of laminated cotton on the outside and a food-safe, polyurethane laminate that is free of DEHP, Phthalate and BPA plasticizers, on the inside.
Cons – Hmmm, if I HAD to come up with cons I’d say if you wash these by hand don’t submerge in water because they take forever to dry that way. These bags are also not completely air tight, thus not good for anything that may have liquid, like some fruits (i.e. berries, watermelon, pineapple).
Cost – $10 for the sandwich bag, $8 for the snack bag or $17 for a set. I probably spend around this a year, so it will be a cost-saver in the long-run.
But I have no reservations about recommending these bags. The pull out tab for washing is great and they wipe clean very easily too.
When the Happy Mama wash first arrived from Earth Mama Angel Baby, I was not sure I liked the smell (but read on… :). I think I was expecting something similar to the baby wash (a vanilla-orange scent – oh so yummy!). The Happy Mama wash is a ginger-grapefruit scent.
The next morning I gave it a whirl. Now, I do not know if my sniffer was having a moment when the Happy Mama wash first arrived, or if the hot steam in the shower had anything to do with it, but the scent was awesome!!! I truly felt like I was at a spa. The ginger scent is supposed to be great for those with morning sickness and since the EMAB products are rated zero (0) on the EWG’s database, it’s completely safe during pregnancy and beyond. Good to know because I had horrible morning sickness with both my kids – just in case the Lord blesses us with a third. Being non-toxic is so important as chemicals can be absorbed into your skin. So this wash is safe for the entire family!
The Mama Wash is made of essential oils and comes in a foam pump, which I really love. The soap is hydrating, so does not dry out my sensitive skin like some soaps. The packaging is really sweet and the ingredients are spelled out clearly and you can pronounce them, which is a must in my book.
The only negative I have is that the suds do not last long, but admit that could more so be because we have hard water. I use a loofa and have to reload with a few pumps of the wash several times during the cleansing process. While my son’s wash has lasted 3-4 months, I don’t think this bottle will last this long, maybe half that. Being on a tight budget, I will probably keep this as a special treat one or twice a week, and use my olive oil soap in between. It smells so wonderful though, I fully expect I will cheat….
From EMAB Happy Mama Wash
NEW for mamas and the whole family! USDA Certified Made With Organic Ingredients
Rated All Zeros on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive
With fresh Ginger to combat queasiness, and organic Pink Grapefruit essential oils to give spirits a lift
Naturally safe organic olive oil castile soap base
No harsh detergents and zero toxins mean that it’s safe enough for pregnant women, so it’s safe enough for the whole family!
A morning sickness busting companion with Happy Mama Spray
Certified vegan and cruelty‐free
The Mamas at EMAB are also amazing! They really know their stuff and have an amazing product line. And customer service is top notch.
Win some Happy Mama Wash for yourself.
OK, here are the rules. Contest is open to US and Canadian Mama’s only.
Ways to enter
1. Go to the EMAB website and tell us which product you would love to try (or which is your favorite if you are already a fan).
2. Follow @greenparenting on twitter and leave a comment here
3. Follow @earthmamahq on twitter and leave a comment here
4. Sign up for the EMAB newsletter and leave a comment here
5. RT this giveaway and leave a comment. One tweet per day allowed. Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Wash review and #giveaway will make your sniffer happy! via @greenparenting http://bit.ly/aRSlK6
I finally got a chance to try some of this stuff. We ran out of our California Baby and TruKid Sunny Days sunscreen and since Badger once again took the top spot in the Environmental Working Group’s annual sunscreen guide, I ordered some. Since my son has sensitive skin and I have eczema, I went with the unscented variety. I loved that I could pronounce all the ingredients and knew exactly what they were.
We have used it several times now and are really pleased with it. On Sunday, we really put it to the test at my sister-in-law’s pool which had no shade. We slathered each other up (2 kids, 2 adults), and since its water proof for at least 40 minutes, I reapplied before each hour we were in the sun. I didn’t take the time to reapply, but was not splashing as much as the kids either. My hubby (who has had a few melanoma removed) put it on waaay thick and wore a hat.
The results? No one got burned at all, I didn’t even notice any color on anyone. I got just a little color (color, not pink or burned!), but was the only one who did not reapply during the 4 hours we were in the sun. Which was fine by me, I needed a little color on my pasty white skin. So, we are very pleased with the results.
This is a mineral-based, zinc oxide sunscreen, so it goes on white, but rubs in well and does not leave a white coating. I like that it goes on white because I can see if I missed any spots. The benefit of zinc oxide is that it is a physical barrier so reflects and scatters the harmful rays. You can almost see the barrier because of the way it repels water, and because you can see it repelling the water, I don’t feel as if the sunscreen is washing away as we swim. It also goes on easier than chemical sunscreen if you are reapplying on wet skin.
Badger sunscreens are safe for infants too, though if you are using on an infant under 6 months, check with your pediatrician.
The Badger website is very interesting and full of information about their products, ingredients and the company itself. A few things I took away:
A little about nanoparticle vs. micronized particles. I was concerned about nanotechnology and those concerns were relived after reading this great explanation in their FAQ section.
Badger is a small family business. They provide free organic lunches and bad mitten games to their employees; and support charitable giving by giving the greater of 10% of before-tax profits or $10,000 to a variety of charities. Love this!
And their sunscreen blocks UVA, UVB and UVC rays – UVC does not reach the Earth, but is good for pilots and astronauts! So interesting!
I also did not realize the span of their product offerings – I’ve used this sunscreen and the bug balm – but they also offer soaps, body butter, balms, oils and more.
Where to buy? Many online retailers carry this, but right now it can be a little harder to come by since it’s in such high demand. Best bets: Amazon, Vitacost, Diapers.com, or try your local organic grocer, health store or Whole Foods.
My now 18 month old son had 8 ear infections in 1 year, from the time he was 4 months old to 16 months old. At that point, we were walking a fine line and were told that 1 more and we would be sent to the ENT to discuss getting tubes. I really did not want tubes, so I dug deeper into my search for a natural preventative.
The problem is my son has allergies, thus frequently has a runny nose. His ears would get infected and he would just be a mess. As far as antibiotics (which I hate to use) Augmentin did not work, we had used Omnicef so many times and he had a bad allergic reaction to Amoxicillin. So we were out of “traditional” options for treatment.
I posted an inquiry for suggestions of ear infection preventatives and got several good suggestions. One suggestion was to take him off dairy. I promptly stopped giving him cow’s milk and switched to rice milk. Another suggested garlic oil drops in the ears, so I ran down the street to the natural/organic food store. The lady there suggested these homeopathic allergy pellets in addition to the garlic oil drops.
These did seem to help, but one night I stumbled across a device call The EARDOC. It seemed too good to be true – non-invasive, no medicine – just a little device that vibrates and you hold it behind the ear for 1 minute. Dr. Sears highlighted The EARDOC on “The Doctors” TV show. With his seal of approval, I was sold that this may actually work. Plus, there were lots of great testimonials on the EARDOC website.
The EARDOC treats otitis media, ear infections, swimmers ear, hearing loss, middle ear fluid, Eustachian tube dysfunction, ear pain from air travel, ear fullness brought on by colds, allergies or sinusitis, and other causes of ear pain in children as well as adults. The EARDOC website states:
About 75% of children up to age four suffer from earache caused by the accumulation of liquids and air in the middle ear. Swimmers, divers and air travelers also suffer from the same problem. The EARDOC is an efficient & proved non-invasive device that reduces the ear pain by treating the problem rather than the symptom. The EARDOC significantly reduces the need for ear tube surgery (Myringotomy) by naturally opening the closed Ear tube and drying the trapped fluids.
The EARDOC has gone through clinical reviews and is found to be safe and effective at opening the ear tube and reliving ear pain.
The folks at the EARDOC were kind enough to send me one to try and review, and one to giveaway (details at the end of this post).
The first day I used the EARDOC, I am certain my son had an ear infection, or at least was in the beginnings of one. He had a runny nose and was waking once or twice at night (our only 2 indicators). That morning, he was pretty fussy and I knew he was tired, but he would not settle. I used the EARDOC for 1 minute on each ear, as directed, and he promptly fell asleep. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief.
After day 3 of using the EARDOC, his nose was clear! What’s also amazing is he sat still while we used it on him. I expected him to squirm, but it seemed to relax him and he was more likely to balk once the treatment was over, rather than during it. He also wanted to use it on himself and treat me, his sister and his daddy as well.
I also had a little ear pain during the same time, so I used it on myself. After a couple days, I no longer had any ear pain! The pain that I had off and on for a few months was gone. I am an EARDOC believer.
The EARDOC is very easy to use. It is battery powered (batteries not included) and has a siding button that allows you to control the vibration level. Start out at a low setting and adjust for your
comfort level. You can use on each ear up to one minute, but you can use as often as needed throughout the day.
It’s been about 3 weeks since using the EARDOC. Yesterday was my son’s 18 month visit and as I suspected, we do NOT have an ear infection! Thank you to the EARDOC. I truly believe we would not have gotten such great news without it!
Want one of your own? Enter our giveaway and ONE very lucky reader will win their very own EARDOC.
Leave a comment here as to why you would like your own EARDOC (1 entry)
Don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account? No worries. Send an email to your friends with a link to this giveaway and copy bhamgreenparent (at) gmail.com. I promise you will not be added to any mailing list or otherwise. Or you can also post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook profile. (1 entry)
Contest ends at midnight CDT on June 17th.
Disclaimers: While the EARDOC is safe and effective, and can be used in conjunction with medication and if your child already has tubes, it is always wise to consult your doctor before any other treatment.
The EARDOC was provided free of charge for review, however the views and opinions expressed here are completely my own. No other compensation was given.
The first night I used this bowl, I was totally geeking out about it. I LOVED it. My determined-to-self-feed son spilled very little of his dinner on the table thus most of his dinner made it to his mouth – success! Just to be fair, I decided to use the bowl a few more times before writing the review just to be sure it continued to live up to its expectations, and it has!
The contoured shape is great. It helps guide food onto the spoon. I was a little worried that my son would get a heaping spoonful and still spill food all over the table, but I think because the bowl only holds 4 ounces, it helps him get the proper amount on the spoon, so spilling is very minimal. And he does not throw this bowl like he does his plates.
This bowl should be on every baby registry – a must-have for anyone with a baby or toddler in the house.
Very good at helping babies learn to self feed with the innovative shape of the bowl and rubber base to keep bowl in place
Utensils are just the right size and shape for little hands to easily grasp
Most of the food stays in the bowl or on the spoon
If you are holding baby and feeding with 1 hand, the bowl stays put with the rubber base
Free of all the ickies – BPA, phthalate, lead and PVC
Can be washed in dishwasher (top-rack ONLY!)
Mom-invented and I love that!
I wish the bowl was available in a bigger size – it only holds 4 ounces, so I have to refill his bowl 3 times to fill his growing belly – but it is not a huge issue, as I mentioned above, I think the size helps him get a reasonable amount onto his spoon
It’s a little expensive at $12.95 per set (bowl, spoon, fork)
Other spoons/forks may not work as well with this bowl unless they are the same size and shape as the Baby Dipper set. Meaning you will want to use the set together every time to prevent having to use an alternate spoon. (hard for DH to grasp, though my almost-4-year-old seems to get it)
I love the bowl so much that I gave one to a friend for her baby shower. I think this will be my new baby gift staple.
Want one?? Enter to win!
There are multiple ways to enter. And enter as many ways as you wish, just follow the rules!
1. Leave a comment here and tell us your favorite thing about the bowl (1 entry)
6. Tweet about the giveaway: Enter to win! Baby Dipper bowl review and #giveaway http://bit.ly/cDIH9G (via @greenparenting) 1 tweet per day, post link to status in comments
You can also keep up with the latest news from the Baby Dipper on Facebook (though following does not count as an extra entry).
Contest ends at midnight CST, April 12, 2010. Winner will be notified via email and must respond within 2 days. If no response, a new winner will be chosen. Baby Dipper LLC will provide shipping to a winner in the US or Canada.
Disclaimers: Previous winners of the Baby Dipper bowl giveaways sponsored by Baby Dipper, LLC are not eligible. I received the bowl from the Baby Dipper LLC, though the views expressed in my review are those of my own experience with the bowl. No other compensation was or will be received.
Roughly 7 years ago, I learned that aluminum was linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and even more recently learned of it’s potential link to breast cancer. So I set out to rid my life of aluminum. Aluminum is the active ingredient in most antiperspirants, so I tried several natural deodorants. Some worked better than others, but nothing seemed to work for my husband. He either broke out or smelled. Neither of which was acceptable.
Then I found a homemade recipe that got rave reviews, so I figured, “Why not?”
The recipe is easy to make, inexpensive and it WORKS! My husband is amazed and has been singing the praises of this homemade deo. He has not had any odor issues since using this, even after playing basketball.
Coconut oil has antibacterial properties, so it will not spoil and is likely the main reason this is so effective since body odor is caused by bacteria. I’m just beginning to see all the wonderful uses for coconut oil.
The recipe is very simple:
5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil (use in solid form)
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
Mix together the baking soda and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) until blended. Add in the coconut oil until you get the same consistency as regular deo. You can store in a lidded container and apply with your fingertips or an empty deodorant container (which is the easiest to use).
To avoid any redness, I reduced the amount of baking soda just slightly and added some Shea butter (probably 1 tsp – 1 tbls).
Also, check out the comments in the post to find other ideas of things to add. Like a drop or so of tea tree oil for added antibacterial properties, or essential oils for a nice scent.