Hurried Homemaker

- for supermoms short on time -
September 28th, 2010

Green Your Clean: Make Your Own Laundry Soap by Jaime McKee

I had the privilege of meeting Jaime McKee IRL a few years ago at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. At the time, I was handling my husband’s PR and she was reviewing his concert. Several years later, we have reconnected via our blogs and Twitter. And although I don’t like running, or cats, I love her blog and her!

You can follow Jaime on her blog or on Twitter.

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For Christmas, I received two copies of “Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home.” (I gave one of the copies to a friend, since I missed the return deadline by a few days.) I had high hopes for this book. My mom has owned a copy for years, and has been making her own cleaning products since I was in college. I used to think she was a little weird for making her own cleaning products. I mean, it’s SO much easier to just buy stuff at the store.

Then my husband and I bought a house. I started realizing just how many chemicals were in our household products, and it made me sick. At times, I was literally sick. (Like the time I poured a bottle of bleach in our shower to try and clean it? Yeah. Had to open the windows for a few hours in the middle of winter to let that one air out. We’ve since figured out that a little bit of vinegar goes a long way – and is less harmful to our health.) My husband, in the past several years, has developed an allergy that we’ve tracked down to certain soaps. We started looking into alternatives for soaps, which led to alternatives for cleaning products.

I digress. Back to the book. I was really excited about this book, and it has different alternatives for making your own cleaning products, including laundry soap. The “recipe” for laundry detergent is:
1 part borax
1 part washing soda

That’s all there is to it. I had bought bars of washing soda in New York last summer, and I finally had the chance to use them. (Turns out, Ace Hardware sells the bars I was looking for in my town. Go figure.) I used a grater to grate the washing soda (we had it in bars, not the powder form), and then added borax to a container. I shook the container to mix it all, and I was done! To make things easier, and to reuse the measuring cup from our old bottle of detergent, I cleaned the cup and threw it into the container with the new laundry powder.

The best part about the laundry soap is that I don’t have to worry about touching it. I know what’s in there and I don’t have to stress out about it being on my hand after pouring it into the washer, or the cat getting into it (because she’s curious.) It’s natural. Our clothes are clean, and nobody has had an allergic reaction to the new soap. It also cost very little ($1 for a bar of washing soda, $4.29 for a box of borax on < a href="http://alice.com"> alice.comand we can make our own detergent when we run out. No more trips to Target on the other side of town to buy it.

We’re about three months into using our homemade laundry soap, and I am always wondering why we didn’t think of it sooner.

September 9th, 2010

Back-to-School Guide: Sunscreen

HH BRIEF:

Just because they’re going back to school, that doesn’t mean you should skip the sun protection! It is just as important to protect your little one’s skin from outdoor playtime during and after school as it is for a day at the pool. And protecting their little bodies from harsh chemicals is always a must. Organic sun protection from Soleo Organics (sold by Nature’s Basin) is the answer.

A little of this sunscreen goes a long way! It goes on quick & easy, and doesn’t leave that sticky feeling most do.

The folks at Nature’s Basin get it – selling all the body care products us moms need, with a commitment to quality, organic products.

SAVES:

Using organic skincare products, like sunscreen, save both the environment and our bodies. (See why organic skincare is important for you and for baby.)

FROM THE COMPANY:

Nature’s Basin is also committed to building a company based on supporting mothers that want to be responsible caretakers of our earth, loving care givers for their families and honoring their own core essence of their inner and outer beauty. Based on our own personal experience, we strongly believe that mothers play an important role in building a responsible world while fulfilling their parental obligations. Nature’s Basin is committed to building a company that supports these mothers to have a career while fulfilling their environmental and parental obligations.

Nature’s Basin is run by mothers who are environmentally and health conscious individuals who wanted to offer the finest natural, organic and mineral based beauty products with an exceptional customer service and a hassle-free online shopping experience. We offer free shipping and free returns with full refunds.

GOT MORE TIME?

Read more about Nature’s Basin here

Get coupon codes & promotions here

Ask the Aesthetician

Join Nature’s Basin on Facebook and Twitter

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this review. We were provided with product for review, but this in no way affects our opinion of this product/company.

September 7th, 2010

Back-to-School Guide: Fashion – BabySoy

HH BRIEF:

I am a HUGE fan of babysoy (as you may already know)! So, when they told me about their new Oh Soy collection, I had to check it out! And I’m glad I did … BabySoy did it again! This collection is an adorable set of illustrated bodysuits, playsuits and shirt. The Oh Soy collection also has pants and knotted hats that go with just about anything. There are even matching reversible burpies and blankets. These folks know what a mom needs!

As always, the clothes are the softest I’ve ever felt. Given the choice between other pants and her new babysoy Oh Soy brown pants, the baby chooses the babysoy. She really knows how to pick the best of the best.

Not only is the reversible hoodie an award-winner (iParenting Media Award), but now their kimono bodysuit has been deemed award-worthy (PTPA Media Award) as well!

SAVES:

Buying clothing for your tot (newborn – 4t) from babysoy saves the environment and money. Not only is their clothing some of the most environmentally-friendly you’ll find, but it is so reasonably priced you’ll wonder why they aren’t sold in stores everywhere!

FROM THE COMPANY:

Babysoy is the 1st company in the world to use soybean protein fiber to create a soft and natural newborn wardrobe. The eco-friendly fiber uses leftover non-gmo soybean pulp from tofu and/or soymilk production as raw material for the fiber. Babysoy’s layette line promotes a green environment by reducing and recycling while bundling babies in the softest eco clothing and accessories. Each piece is designed by co-founder Amy Liang and tested with her daughter for comfort, style, and ease to dress.

GOT MORE TIME?

Read more about babysoy on their website.

Join babysoy on Facebook.

See how babysoy cares here.

See their awards here or here.

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. We were provided with items of clothing for a fair/honest review. This in no way affects our opinion of this product/company.

June 23rd, 2010

Designer on a Budget

If you are anything like me, you love designer duds for yourself, hubs, and kiddos. And if you’re anything like me you can’t afford them full-price, or even the so-called “sale” price. I have collected a list of sites that are top-notch for buying designer on a budget. All these sites feature sales of a particular brand or product for a set period of time. The popular products or sizes go fast, so signing up for the email list is essential to getting to the deals fast.

Without further ado:

FOR THE KIDDOS

FOR MOM & CHILD

FOR EVERYONE

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. This is a collection of sites that we use in real life and wanted to share our knowledge with our readers.
June 17th, 2010

gDiapers Deal

It’s no secret that I think gDiapers are the best diapers ever made! (I’m not even paid to say that.) So, I’m going to push them on you one more time (for now anyway).

1. They’re cute. I mean C-U-T-E. No worries if you don’t have a bloomer for under that dress – you won’t mind these showing underneath. Heck, you may even want to show off how adorably environmentally responsible your little is!
2. They’re biodegradable. In less than 60 days these dipes are back to mother Earth. Which leads to …
3. They’re compostable! Compost your wets to enrich your garden’s soil.
4. They’re flushable. Yes – that’s right! Flushable! No more stinky nursery.

And if that’s not enough, they just created flushable gWipes! Prefer cloth? No problem, they make those too.

And now through Sunday, June 20, 2010 save 20% with code gdad20.

Oh and one more thing: I have $2 off coupons for the first 20 people to comment. Go!

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. As a fan of gDiapers, I have chosen to share my love by being a gMum. In doing so, I am provided with coupons to give away to people and stores. If you are interested in becoming a gMum or gDad, you can learn more here.

June 4th, 2010

Pampers: Full of Sh*t

If you have read my blog for more than a second, you’re probably aware that I am anti-disposable diapers (unless they are biodegradable). So, I am being perfectly honest about my bias right up front. Nevertheless, I know many people who have or do use Pampers diapers on their children. Maybe this will convince them to change their diapering ways:

Parents are reporting chemical burns and rashes on their baby’s bottoms from the new Pampers Dry-Max diapers. Pampers refuses to recall the diapers, citing parents’ improper care for the babies’ burns and rashes.

From the Pampers website:

Q: What is Pampers with Dry Max?

Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers with Dry Max is our new high performance diapers and is the biggest innovation to Pampers in 25 years. Our Pampers team is especially excited about the new product as the development of the Dry Max technology is the result of more than a decade of research and testing involving more than 20,000 babies, including many “tests” in our own homes. These hard working Pampers with Dry Max diapers are thinner than before, and Pampers’ driest ever as they help lock in wetness.

Q: What are the materials in Pampers with Dry Max?

The new Pampers with Dry Max is made of the same types of materials that have been used in diapers for many years. The absorbent core is primarily composed of an acquisition layer containing pulp-based fibers and a storage core containing a super absorbent gelling material (a common polyacrylate). This super absorbent gel, which is used in most disposable diapers, are the small beads that turn into a gel-like material in order to hold the large amount of liquid. This has been shown to be non-irritating, safe for skin and even safe if ingested. The absorbent core also includes a touch of fragrance inside, to help mask the smell of urine and BM.

The rest of the diaper is primarily composed of Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE), soft synthetic materials commonly used in applications ranging from clothing to housewares to food packaging, as well as Lycra, a latex-free elastic. Combining these materials helps to create diapers that comfortably fit and work. In addition, the diaper contains lotion, a cosmetic ingredient to help maintain the baby’s skin health.

And my personal favorite …

Q: How can a disposable diaper be better for the environment? How are your Dry Max diapers better for the environment?

At Pampers, we’re committed to continually improving our products to reduce our impact on the environment. To reduce environmental impact through the past 20 years, we’ve decreased our product weight by one-third and packaging weights by two-thirds. Pampers Swaddlers and Cruisers with Dry Max is one step in our journey in creating more sustainable products. Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max provides trusted Pampers protection, while containing 10 percent less material weight than before, which means fewer resources are used. If every Pampers mom switched to Pampers with Dry Max, together they could throw away the weight of a billion less diapers every three years (compared to using previous Swaddlers/Cruisers, based on 08/09 volume for Swaddlers/Cruisers).

I want to personally address a few of Pampers’ statements:

The absorbent core also includes a touch of fragrance inside, to help mask the smell of urine and BM.

Not all babies can tolerate “a touch of fragrance” and this shouldn’t be allowed in ANY diaper, in my opinion. Both my children have sensitive skin and the youngest breaks out in rashes just from being close to someone with perfume on! I am sure you know someone like that, too. Babies have such sensitive systems, anyway – why should the companies that parents trust to manufacture products for their little ones be allowed to use unnatural dyes and fragrances in their products?

The rest of the diaper is primarily composed of Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE), soft synthetic materials commonly used in applications ranging from clothing to housewares to food packagingIn addition, the diaper contains lotion, a cosmetic ingredient to help maintain the baby’s skin health.

In case you are wondering, Polypropylene and Polyethylene are essentially plastics. They failed to mention that these materials are also used for auto parts and industrial fibers. But at least they put lotion on top of that plastic, right?

Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max provides trusted Pampers protection, while containing 10 percent less material weight than before, which means fewer resources are used. If every Pampers mom switched to Pampers with Dry Max, together they could throw away the weight of a billion less diapers every three years

While I can certainly appreciate that they are doing a little (and I do mean little) something to reduce the impact, they aren’t doing enough! With all the knowledge that there is out there about what is happening to our environment, why even make a diaper that isn’t biodegradable? They claim that their diapers are better for the environment – better than what? And while the plastic products inside these diapers are recyclable, they sit in landfills taking centuries to degrade.

I do not use Pampers diapers, and I never will. I have not experienced the issues that other parents are reporting. But I am disappointed that Pampers is placing all the onus on the parents and refusing to take a second glance at how they could improve their diapers. Pampers and other diaper companies just aren’t doing enough, in my opinion, to make diapers that are better for both babies and the environment.

If you use Pampers diapers with Dry-Max, and your baby has experienced any burns or rashes OR if you are just disgusted at the lack of healthy innovation, you can do one of several things:

  1. Join the Facebook Group to bring back the old diaper technology here
  2. Learn more about boycotting Pampers here
  3. Contact Pampers directly via website email or phone (1-800-726-7377)
  4. Report Pampers to the USCPSC here

Do your own research, form your own opinion. Take action. It is time for our children’s bottoms and their future world to both be protected. There is just no excuse!

May 2nd, 2010

Five Easy Ways to Green Your Routine by Cathy of Let’s Be Green Together

I’ve had the great pleasure of become online friends with Cathy from Let’s Be Green Together via Twitter. She is sweet, funny, and a great “greenie”. It only made sense when I was searching for guest bloggers that I ask her to write a post of the easiest ways you can go green. Luckily she obliged. Check out her site, too!

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When my friend on Twitter, the Hurried Homemaker, asked me to write a guest post, I said “YES” without hesitation. I am so excited to be here and share my top 5 ways my family lives a “green” lifestyle and how you could, too. First, I will say that I live green because it is better for my family. Sound selfish? Well, then I am selfish. I am not green because I love the planet and hug trees, but because I want the most healthy and non-toxic home for my family. The planet just gets to benefit, too. It’s so lucky, isn’t it?

Okay, let’s get started on what I would consider the easiest ways to green your family’s routine and even save money while doing so.

• Ditch the plastic water bottles! Do you know it can take around 1000 years for plastic to break down in a landfill? They are simply bad for the planet, but they are also expensive. Think of the money you could save if you stop buying plastic water bottles and buy a really cool reusable one? Everyone in my family has their own unique bottle (actually more than one at this point) and we take them with us everywhere we go.

• No Paper Products in the Kitchen! Okay, don’t get all crazy on me. I know you are thinking, “She said these were easy ways to be greener.” This is easy, I promise. It just sounds like it might make you hyperventilate, but it really isn’t that bad! We did it cold turkey. My husband broke out in a cold sweat when I made the announcement, but he survived, and we don’t miss the paper towels or paper napkins at all. Here’s what I did: I scoured for clearance deals on cloth napkins whenever I was out shopping and have now built a fun collection, enough to host a birthday party! For paper towels, I went through some old clothes that weren’t in good enough shape to donate, but that I couldn’t bear to just throw away, either. I tore them into various sizes and put them in an old container under my sink and another in my bathroom. Whenever we need one for a clean-up or to wash dishes, we just grab one, use it, and toss it in the laundry! We have saved so much money by not buying paper towels or paper napkins anymore. If you buy these items, do the math for about a month, and see how great the savings would be.

Buy a Reusable Coffee Mug! Obviously, this one only applies to you if you are a coffee drinker like my husband and I are. We were going to the drive thru at our local coffee shop many times a week, throwing those awful cups in the trash and spending a lot of money! Then we made the change. I only buy organic and fairly traded coffee and we brew it at home. Honestly, I think it tastes better than what we used to buy. If we leave the house with coffee, we fill our travel mug and head out on our way. It’s just a way of life for us. Even if you don’t want to make your own coffee at home, at least purchase a travel mug and bring it with you to your local coffee shop. Sometimes they actually offer a discount for bringing your own mug. Just ask…. they may surprise you!

• Recycle! Recycling is possibly the simplest green thing that you can do and this one doesn’t cost any money at all. As a matter of fact, it will save you, especially if you pay-per-bag for your trash disposal. More in the recycle bin means less in the garbage. Even in the smallest of spaces, you can recycle. We live in a duplex and have a small area of our kitchen designated for our recycling. Cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, and some plastic are much of what we recycle.

• Shop and Donate at Your Local Thrift Store! I’ll be honest. I used to think only poor people shopped at thrift stores and they smell bad and everything is gross and dirty. Hey, I am confessing, don’t judge me. Now I realize people of many different income levels shop at thrift stores. They do, in fact, smell a bit different to me, but I am used to it. I love finding great deals and my husband even enjoys shopping for new work clothes and his favorite is the electronics corner. I have found clothing that’s barely worn, looks like new, and some that even still had the tags on them. Big score for me! Another important thing for me is to donate, too. I love that my store has a drive-up at their back entrance. I don’t even need to go inside. They come out with a cart to collect my stuff, offer me a receipt for tax purposes (yes, it’s deductible), and take my stuff inside and I drive away feeling pretty great!

I am so happy to have been invited into Hurried Homemaker’s home here on the web and to share with you, her readers, some of my favorite ways to go green without spending a lot of money. If this list seems a bit overwhelming, take it one at a time. Commit to one change each month. A gradual change might make it an easier transition for you and your entire family. On the other side, if you are ready, willing, and able to jump ALL in, then go for it!

Thanks for having me! Stop by my place anytime!

http://letsbegreentogether.com/
April 22nd, 2010

Happy 40th Earth Day: My Blog is Carbon Neutral!

As you already know, going green is something that is important to me. So, when I found out that I could go green with my blog, I was psyched! A young company in Germany, kaufDA, is helping the environment by planting a tree for every blog/website that signs up.

The goal: 1,000,000 trees

Did you know that even though we are saving paper by posting via internet there are still CO2 emissions? That’s right! Check out the fancy chart the kaufDA folks created:

Along with the Arbor Day Foundation, kaufDA will plant a tree for you (and me) to neutralize the carbon dioxide emissions of your blog/website. The trees will be planted in this spring (2010) in the Plumas National Forest to replace those that were lost in fires.

Want to participate? (And we strongly suggest that you do – hint, hint.) Click here to read about how easy it is!

April 20th, 2010

Organic Skincare for Baby

While I think it is important for Mom to have an organic skincare regiment (see why), it is even moreso for your babe. It is crucial that your little one’s precious skin steer clear of harmful chemicals as long as possible!

You breastfeed because you think it is better for your baby. You pick them up when they’re going to fall. You teach them “hot” and “danger” to prevent injury. You hold their hand when you cross the street.

You do all these things to protect your precious little babe – so why not include organic skincare too?

I gave Little Twig a try after our other “natural” baby wash was still causing eczema. After just one week of using the Extra Mild Unscented Baby Wash and Extra Mild Unscented Bodymilk her eczema was almost completely gone! Now, after regular use, flare-ups are almost non-existant. It is so gentle that even if it accidently gets in her eyes, she barely flinches – a simple rinse with water and good as new.

The Mini Gift Set comes with an adorable wash cloth embroidered with a bumble bee. It comes packaged nicely and would make a great baby shower gift!

The lovelies at Little Twig even list the ingredients of each and every product right there on the site; and they have this page to tell you more about what’s in their products. And these folks are fabulous greenies! Read about how they help your family and the future of our plantet here.

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this post. We were sent products to try for review, but this in no way affects our opinon of this company/product.

March 20th, 2010

Spring Fashion Guide: The Hessnatur Organic Cotton Cardigan

Spring weather is so nice compared the dull, cold days of winter, but it has its own share of cool days. What’s a spring wardrobe without a simple cotton jacket? Even better if it is made from organic cotton!

This Organic Cotton Cardigan is the perfect quickie jacket for weekends or runs to the school. Made by the eco-conscious, fair-/humane-laboring, customer-friendly company, hessnatur. This cardigan is soft and the perfect weight for spring! It comes in 3 colors: terracotta, bordeaux, and putty. I love the natural putty color, and even better – it is only $48 (the other colors are $75). Not only can you save by choosing the putty, but enter: M1U001 and enjoy free shipping and returns on your first order.

hessnatur - Pure and Natural Fashion Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this review, however Hessnatur is an affiliate partner.

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