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.

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 8th, 2010

Organic Skincare for You

Millions of chemicals seep into our bodies over the course of our lifetime … chemicals that can cause all sorts of harm. As you are probably aware, I am still breastfeeding my youngster and it only makes sense that what I put on and in my body goes to her as well. So, I was thrilled when Jim Kueny from ONEgroup/Miessence contacted me to try some of their products. I had heard about Miessence, but had never tried anything made by them. I will try to break the info in this post down to the essentials along with an overview of my thoughts on the products I tried.

There are many chemicals in the everyday products you use that can cause harm. This was included in the MiTme Newsletter (the ONEgroup/Miessence newsletter):

ABOUT ONEgroup (from their website):
Organic and Natural Enterprise Group (or ONEgroup) is an Australian based company who creates and manufactures the world’s first Certified Organic skincare, haircare, personal care, health care and cosmetic products. ONEgroup’s range of products stand in a class of their own by being independently certified to international food grade standards by some of the world’s most respected organic certifying organisations, namely, Australian Certified Organic (ACO), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and IFOAM (Europe).

I tested 3 of their skincare products:
AROMA FREE ROLL-ON DEODORANT
• No Aluminum (aluminum is a toxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease)
• Based on bi-carb soda (bicaronate of soda neutralizes bacteria that causes odors)
• Natural antibacterial ingredients
• Doesn’t block pores
• Effective long lasting deodorant that actually works!
• Certified organic
• 3 varieties to choose from:
Ancient Spice – a blend of fresh citrus and spices.
Tahitian Breeze – a blend of intense floral and citrus
Aroma Free- no essential oils added

Honestly, at first I didn’t really love this product. I was used to using a deodorant that was scented. It also seemed as though my old deodorant was lasting all day because it took a good scrub to wash off in the shower. I used the Miessence aroma free roll-on deodorant for a few days and discovered a slight sting after shaving. I emailed Jim about it. He emailed the formulator asking about it and she responded! Wow! Turns out the slight sting after shaving is due to the bicarb and the fact that my old deodorant had some sort of numbing agent in it.

I decided to keep using the deodorant to give it another shot. Now it is all I wear. I feel clean and fresh when I apply and still at the end of the day. On days where I am super-active, I apply a second time to insure freshness. This was
something I’ve always done anyway, so nothing new there. The only difference? I smell like me (remember I use the aroma free) and I’m not applying any harmful chemicals to my underarms. I feel good knowing that, especially since I know that nothing from my deodorant is getting into the ducts that make and supply milk to my little one.

TRANSLUCENT FOUNDATION
• Evens out the complexion
• Translucent natural coverage
• Contains zinc oxide (known for its superior sun protection capabilities and preventing skin damage, the safest and most effective ingredient that protects the skin against UVA rays)
• Keeps skin hydrated and protected from pollution
• Natural mineral colours in four different shades
• Certified organic ingredients

I am a makeup snob, I’m not going to lie. I was hesitant to try this foundation for several reasons: (1) I don’t wear liquid foundation; (2) my face can be sensitive to new products; and (3) I don’t wear makeup on a regular basis. But I decided to try it anyway. It went on smooth and even. It blended with my complexion beautifully. It was so lightweight that by the end of the day I had forgotten I was wearing it. My sensitive skin looked like I had simply worn moisturizer all day – no break outs, no oiliness.

SKIN CONDITIONER
• Nutrient rich active ingredients makes this a vital step!
• Replaces the use of a toner with an alcohol-free herbal infusion
• Dual purpose – feeds the skin, and provides hydration base for moisturiser to seal in
• Moisturiser will last longer
• Balancing – nourishes and tones
• Rejuvenating – energises and stimulates
• Soothing – calms redness and soothes
• Purifying – balances secretions and purifies
• Pat onto skin and leave to absorb for a few seconds before applying moisturizer
• Certified Organic

Again, I was a bit hesitant to try something new in my facial skincare routine, but I did it anyway (just for you wonderful readers). And am I glad I did! I wish I had gotten more of this stuff. There are days where my skin is dry and I feel like I am applying moisturizer all day long. And because it is dry, it is sometimes spotted with redness. And to top it off, my pores are large (great for looking young, terrible for soaking in everything that goes on my face). The skin conditioner did just that – conditioned my skin. The redness faded and the moisturizer stayed put. Especially on days when I wore no makeup, this kept me feeling confident that my skin still looked great. Bonus points for making me feel like the beginnings of aging are paused every time I wear it!

Miessence makes a huge line of skincare and makeup products. If the rest of their products are anything like these three, I would recommend them all.

Hurried Homemaker was not compensated for this review. We did receive samples of the products mentioned in order to provide a proper review, but the opinions expressed are our honest thoughts.

March 3rd, 2010

Organic Fibers: The Basics

A baby’s skin is precious and sensitive. Think about it – they come stright from the protective womb into an environment that is shockingly harsh. Bright lights, clothing, diapers, etc. Whoa, what a change! Both my girls have sensitive skin, which is one of the many reasons I try to buy as many organic products and fibers as possible – for all of us. (How else can you get cuddly with a sensitive-skinned little one?) I will get into products in another post, but today let’s dive into the discussion of organic fibers.

The most common organic fibers are: wool, cotton, bamboo, hemp, and soy.

So, why and how are these fibers better for you and your kids?

First off, to be considered organic, there are several requirements (these are also great reasons organic is better for you):

  1. it must be produced according to federal standards
  2. no parasites used on sheep for wool
  3. no pesticides used on plants for fibers
  4. grown with little environmental impact

Now, we all know about cotton and wool, but what about the others? What is so special about these particular fibers? Besides the fact that they’re all easily compared to the softness of cashmere, here are a few other great qualities …

Bamboo: wicks moisture away from the skin, can kill odor-causing bacteria, is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and is great for sensitive skin and those allergic to fabrics made from wool or hemp

Soy: is durable and strong, wicks moisture away from the skin, retains warmth, doesn’t shrink, doesn’t wrinkle, can kill odor-causing bacteria, and provides natural UV protection

Hemp: is strong, breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, and provides natural UV protection

So, now that you know what’s cool about all these, you’re probably wondering where to get stuff made from these fibers. Well, the Hurried Homemaker Spring Fashion Guide is coming up soon, and you will find most (if not all) of these fibers listed. I guarantee that you’ll find my choices as adorable as they are safe on the wallet and the envrionment!

January 19th, 2010

Why Buy Organic Foods?

I mentioned before (in my first post this year on organics) that I would touch on the subject of WHY organic food is better for you and your family. While I realize that not all of our groceries can be organic (that wouldn’t be practical – even I love my Hershey bars!) we can all strive for healthier ingredients. Buy organic where and when possible. I shop weekly at my local farmers market – buying all my family’s fruits, veggies, dairy, and meats organic. And, believe it or not, because almost all of my groceries are purchased at my local farmers market (most by local farmers) I actually don’t pay more!

Ok, so here is the WHY of it all … are you ready?

why organic food is better for you & your family:

  • grown without conventional pesticides or chemical additives
  • animals raised without antibiotics and growth hormones
  • often helps local economy, especially when buying from local farmers market
  • richer in antioxidants and nutrients
  • more flavorful and brighter in color
  • animal products richer in poly-unsaturated fats
  • not modified genetically

Ok, so that’s all fine and dandy, but now you need to know this …

why pesticide-free is better:

conventional pesticides have been linked to …

  • cancer
  • fertility problems in men
  • fetal abnormalities
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • higher body weight in children

… and this …

why additive-free is better:

additives like food coloring linked to …

  • allergies
  • headaches
  • hyperactivity
  • growth stunts

So, go … find your local farmers market. Don’t wait another week to put the healthiest, most nutritious foods in your kids’ bodies!

January 8th, 2010

HH Guide to Organics

or-gan-ic (adj):

The National Organic Standards Board defines “organic” as follows:

“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.

‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole …”

Buying organic has become quite the craze!  I am admittedly an organic addict. I buy as much organic as possible for our family.  So, the question is:

  • Why is “organic” important to me/my family?
  • What things should I buy “organic”?
  • I see a lot of organic baby products, what should I buy?
  • Where can I find affordable organic products?

We will be answering these questions with information, examples, places to buy, and giveaways!  Do you have other questions about buying organic and what it means?  Send us a message, comment on this post, or tweet to us!  We will be sure to include your question in our Organics guide!

December 18th, 2009

Friday Find: Eco-friendly Stationery from Paper Culture


PaperCulture.com - Modern Eco Stationary

I have a confession:  I have a “thing” for stationery.   It’s borderline an obsession.  It isn’t very “green” of me, I know.  But there is just something special about sending out a pretty baby shower invitation, announcement, holiday card, or birthday party invitation.

I think I found a way to make up for the guilt:  Paper Culture – eco-friendly and made from 100% recycled material.  Oh, does it get better than this?  As a matter of fact, it does!  You should SEE this paper!  Thick, heavy, beautiful – feels like it costs a fortune (only it doesn’t).

And … get this … they will address and print a message for you!  For FREE!

FROM THE COMPANY:

Who are we? Well…

We’re designers who appreciate a clean, fresh, modern aesthetic.

We’re busy and love services that make our lives easier.

We’re parents who care about the environment and the future state of the planet for our children.

We’re obsessed with modern stationery.

And… we aren’t willing to give up one thing for another.

We’re the team at Paper Culture. Who we are says a lot about how we think about our business and what’s important to us:

Our holiday collection is here!: Christmas cardsholiday invitations,Hanukkah cards and many types of holiday photo cards

We’ve launched new categoriesbaptism & christening invitationsBar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah invitationsholy communion invitationsbridal shower invitationsthank you cards and note cards / personal stationery.

We’ve added new designs to old categoriesbaby announcements,birthday invitations (with a lot of new photo birthday cards) and moving announcements

FROM THE HH:

This adorable kitty is even cuter in person, if you can believe that! It is a perfect postcard size and the colors are beautiful! This is perfect for a kid’s party, or plain as a thank-you note!
I wish I had a whole set of these – matter of fact, I think I will order some! What a great notecard for sending to the teacher or another mom. This comes in green too. And there is a pear set too!
A simple, yet sophisticated, invitation for grown-ups. Great for a wine tasting or birthday party. This comes in several color choices.

SPECIAL FOR YOU:

Now through Jan. 16, 2010 you’ll get $15 off and free shipping on orders over $100 (code – JOY)

Now through Jan. 16, 2010 you’ll get free priority shipping on orders over $75 (click image on left)

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