Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homemade Cleaners: Quick & Easy Toxic-Free Recipes {Review}


I think it's been well over two years since I have purchased a designated "cleaner" for my house, besides Bon Ami, and now I think I don't even need that any more! Once I found out about the awesomeness of homemade cleaners and how stinking effective they are, it really is easier and cheaper. Do you have distilled vinegar, water, and an empty spray bottle? You are well on your way!

Two mamas who are also bloggers and a part of the Natural Parents Network came together to write a whole book on the topic, called Homemade Cleaners: Quick and Easy Toxic Free Recipes, and I'm happy to review it and recommend highly.

This handy little paperback is chock full of really interesting information, beyond recipes for your basic cleaners. Mandy O'Brien and Dionna Ford discuss the dark side of the cleaning industry, touching on carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors, unfortunately all prominent in your cleaning aisle products. And, the scary thing is, these companies don't have to disclose this information...they can label it a "trade secret." Yikes.

The rest of the book is dedicated to helping you clean as simply and cleanly as possible without fancy or hard to obtain ingredients, instead focusing on supplies like baking soda, vinegar, vodka, lemon juice, and more. They also delve into the fascinating world of essential oils and list their many antimicrobial superpowered disinfecting properties. If you're not cleaning with essential oils, this is a great book to help you start.

Each chapter is broken down into areas of the home: kitchen, bathrooms, floors and walls, carpets, outdoors, laundry, and more. What I appreciated about this pithy little book is that Mandy and Dionna also take a holistic approach to living the non-toxic life: they discuss using plants to clean the air in our homes, using natural pest control, composting, and natural yard care.

 I had all the items on hand to make a refreshing cleaner!

Check out Homemade Cleaners for yourself or as a gift - it would make a creative and thoughtful housewarming gift along with a bottle of homemade essential oil cleaner!

(disclosure: A book was provided to me free of charge for review. I did include amazon affiliate links in this page, so if you purchase Mandy & Dionna's book, I receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site!)



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

spread your wings


There are those small moments in the life of your children that you are privileged to witness but that scare you at the same time: to see them take a risk, to try something hard. To fail. To dare.

When they're young, it usually consists of their chubby little fingers letting go of your hand to climb the slide for the first time, or to venture away from your side to get a closer look at something irresistibly fascinating. Their searching glance back in your direction as they inch away becomes quicker until it's nights away at sleepovers and summer camp and college.

What do they want to see each time they turn back to look for me? That I'm still here, they're safe. And mostly I think they're searching most for that look in my eyes that tells them, Yes, go spread your wings.

Starting from the earliest days of infancy as they grow into rambunctious little humans and morph into independence-seeking teenagers, our children are searching for the ways we say, Yes, spread your wings, with our actions and words and our behavior. The smallest details to a particular toddler (red cup or blue cup?) or the car keys handed over to an ecstatic teenager (home by curfew) mean the same thing. Spread your wings.

Oh for certain, they'll crash land over and over, losing feathers and hearts and the trust of parents. The dust is a humbling place to be, but it's where life is formed, too. After all, I was not so long ago a child and oh, do I remember those spectacular falls, knowing I had dirt smudged all over my face and so many repairs to make.

My little toddler takes a tumble on her way from one activity to the next, and I slowly help her up, knowing acutely that I won't always be able to break her fall or cushion the blows of the mean world - cause and effect is something we humans cannot get around - and sometimes in the darkest moments I want to bundle us all away from everything but the cocoon of what we know.

But instead I help her up with a smile and a hug. She takes off again to join her sister in their mess-making and turns around for that quick moment. I will myself to wave and give her the nudge she's craving with a happy nod. Spread your wings!

Day 1 of ALM Writes April Prompt-a-Day. Join in! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

sunday funday links: pregnancy


Coming off the introspectiveness of yesterday's post comes my current favorite pregnancy links that I find helpful, fascinating, challenging, and entertaining. Actually, the most entertaining part is reading the comments below the posts!

The focus? Making delivery easier/faster/effective! Ha! Don't laugh! But after reading the Fit Pregnancy article, I bought a box of dates from Trader Joes and you can BET I'm going to be eating them every.single.day. And practicing correct squats. My labor with the girls was about 7 hours long start to finish so I'm not exactly sure why I think I need to speed anything up in that area. But I also pushed out 4 lb. babies, this one will definitely be a bit bigger!

I also made a page on Pinterest called Home Birthin' if you want more:

Why Was My Childbirth So Easy? from Mama Natural

Proper Squats from Katy Says

Supplements for Pregnancy from Wellness Mama

110 Positive Birth Stories from Growing Slower

 3 Surprising Tips for an Easier Labor from Fit Pregnancy (Bought my box of dates and pinned a bunch of date recipes!)

5 Factors That Made Natural Labor Easier from Wellness Mama

And ending on this hilarious video from Mama Natural: