A Life In Progress

Wash Me January 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 2:01 pm

Awhile ago I told you all about my love for the laundry detergent called ECOS.  Well, I’ve found something just as good and very very cheap.

For those of you who buy ECOS for about $18/6L, approx. 100 washes- imagine doing the same amount of laundry for $1.50. 

All you need is:

1/3 cup washing soda

1/3 cup Borax

1/2 sunlight laundry bar

6 L of water

Grate 1/2 of a sunlight laundry bar into 1 L of boiling water.  Stir until no lumps remain.  Remove from heat.  Stir in washing soda and Borax.  Mix until well combined.  Add remaining 5 L of water.  Mix well. 

Add 1/4 c. of this to each wash load.  

Once my ECOS bottle was empty, I just reused it to hold this new washing liquid.  Works great!

 

All these ingredients will cost approx. $10-$12 total but you should easily be able to make 4 jugs of detergent. 

 

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Thanks to my mom for sharing this recipe she found with me.

 

A New Year January 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 10:46 am

A whole year has passed since I started up this blog! Hard to believe.  I have to say I’m quite happy with the progress I made on my on-going resolutions. I’d consider 2008 a great year healthwise! We made a lot of healthy changes, got a lot more active (well, not so much in those last  freezing cold winter months) and I did manage to lose some of the weight I wanted to.  I’d consider our home to be a healthy, clean one and all the things I was trying hard to do have now become habit.

This year I plan to continue on with what I started in 2008 and add a bit more to the mix.  This year I want to pay a lot more attention to what I eat and to what I feed the girls.  This likely won’t lead back down the path of vegetarianism but more so on eating a whole foods diet, with a specific emphasis on what we eat between meals.  That’s the area where I need some work. Much easier to throw the girls a bowl of Goldfish than it is to cut up some apple and cheese slices. Easier for me to grab a handful of pretzels than it is to cut up some veggies and dip. Worth the effort though.  Effort that I will put in this year.

I also want to continue with my weight loss as I seem to have found some of those “lost” pounds over the holidays.  I’m not going to diet though.  Only contiue eating healthily, eating whole foods and making more effort to stay active, even over the winter when my activity might have to revolve around the weather and finding things to do indoors.

One resolution that got missed last year was working on the spirituality aspect of our lives.  This year we are going to go to church, get in the habit and keep going.  I think we made it less than half a dozen times in 2008.  Our goal for this year is atleast twice a month. For me spirituality extends beyond the walls of a church and beyond religion so I do want to work on those aspect of it at home as well.

Jordan and I are also determined to go on weekly dates.  We seem to hardly get out anymore and we miss that time! We do spend most evenings at home together watching t.v., playing a game, etc. but it’s different when you don’t have to listen for the baby’s cry and feel the desire to maybe splash on a little make up and head out for a night out.

And last but not least we want to focus more on the simple living that we truly desire.  We don’t plan any renos this year (besides shingles, out of neccessity) and hope to spend our time outside, doing things more in the moment, building our friendships and saving up that money we would have spend on a new deep soaker tub (sigh! … maybe one day) to go on a trip together. By ourselves. Some place warm.

What are your resolutions for the year?

 

It’s in the Air December 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 8:23 pm

I thought this may be a good read for some.  As I stated in previous posts, I don’t use these types of things in our home but I know that many people do.  I got this article from MSN website.

“Our homes and businesses stink. Or that’s the impression you might get from the media. Clean, welcoming homes are associated with fresh scents, and busy wives and mothers can rely on air fresheners to give their home a boost. The ads feature happy family members sniffing carpets and enthusiastically inhaling the freshly-scented air.

Sure, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but what are we really breathing in when we use these products?

It’s no surprise that we don’t want unpleasant smells around. After all, we spend an average of 90 per cent of our time indoors (according to Health Canada), and we’re willing to pay to make our environments more pleasant. Air fresheners are a booming business — it’s a $200 million market in Canada, and an estimated three out of five Canadians use these products in their homes. Air fresheners also appear in many public places including offices and institutions.

However, fragranced products are anathema for people with chemical sensitivities and allergies — and new research is warning that air fresheners can pose a threat to everyone. Air fresheners contain chemicals that mask odours or deaden or interfere with our sense of smell. Some chemicals actually line the inside of the nasal passage.

But where is the proof scientific proof?

Air fresheners have been the focus of a few studies over the past couple of years. A 2007 European study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that regularly using fragranced sprays increased the risk of asthma by as much as 50 per cent. Another study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that most sprays, gels and plug in air fresheners it tested contained phthalates (known hormone disruptors), even if they were labelled as “all-natural” or “unscented”.

But that’s not all… In July 2008, a University of Washington study published in Environmental Impact Assessment found that six top-selling fragranced products (three of which were air fresheners) contained nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ten of those VOCs are classified as toxic under U.S. Laws. Further research is underway.

In addition, scientists in Korea found that many household products such as air fresheners emit toxic compounds. All 42 products they tested contained acetone, ethanol, limonene, perchloroethylene (PCE), phenol, and 1-propanol. Another 10 per cent of products also contained other potentially hazardous chemicals.

Closer to home, the CBC recently tested air fresheners currently available in Canada. They found that nearly one third contained DBP and/or DEP (the same two phthalates banned from children’s toys in 12 European countries). The phthalates are used to make the scent last longer.

While many people are questioning the safety of these products, not everyone agrees. Companies that produce these products claim they are safe and that they meet all safety regulations. Further, they claim that the levels of any chemicals present are too low to be harmful and that the studies as misleading.

Trade associations such as the Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA) also say air fresheners are safe. The CSPA’s website says that the items are subject to strict standards and that manufacturers choose chemicals with low toxicity. The products do not contain known cancer-causing ingredients and are not known to cause or exacerbate asthma. In addition, its consumer information attributes health benefits like reduced stress, increased productivity and enhanced mood with the use of “air care” products.

There are currently no recalls of these products due to health concerns, and no government agencies have issued any warnings to consumers based on the results of these studies.

So what’s the bottom line for consumers? As is usually the case with allegedly harmful chemicals and products, more research and investigation is required. A direct causal link between the product and specific disease states is hard to prove, and the risks to children, pets and the environment haven’t been thoroughly investigated.

In the meantime, there isn’t much information available for curious and concerned shoppers. Currently, manufacturers in Canada and the U.S. aren’t required to list all of the ingredients on the packaging. As a result, University of Washington researcher Anne Steinemann argues that consumers don’t have enough information about these products, and may even have a false sense of security about the information they do have. She, and many other researchers and activists, advocate that people need more access to information about the products they come into contact with on a daily basis, and laws need to provide better protection for customers. …”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

 

Consume, Or Not to Consume December 2, 2008

Filed under: Around the House,Going Green — jdalsin @ 8:37 pm

I’ve written before about simple living, about how we are all after the bigger, the better, leaving the good, and the big enough in a heaping pile behind us.  Driving cars that consume twice as much gas as a standard vehicles, building bigger homes (which, even if they are all energy star approved and what not, is still worse for the environment than not building), never bothering to fix what we have.  We are raised in a society where “throw it out and buy a new one” is the mentality.

 

And Christmas. Oh, Christmas. While I love the season, the twinkly lights, the family gathering, the gaining of five pounds from binge eating, it has become a consumer driven holiday.  Our houses get overflowed with new heaps of plastic toys for the kids, we get a new blender, a new drill.  What happens to the old toys, the old blender, the old drill? A landfill somewhere, is my guess.

 

So, just as a friendly little pre-holiday reminder, take 20 minutes out of your life some time this week and learn a little about where you stuff comes from and where it ends up, who it effects and if it can really go on like this forever.

 

Watch the video here: http://www.storyofstuff.com/

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Taking Better Care November 19, 2008

Filed under: Exercise,Healthy Eating,Me,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 2:03 pm

I’m horrible for this.

I always take care of myself last. There’s no way I’d give the girls just a bowl of noodles and sauce for lunch, for example.  I’d slice up some fruit or veggies to go with it.  I’d do the same for Jordan too.  But for me? I’d eat that bowl of noodles and not bother to make it a rounded meal.

Or when someone in my family is sick, I insist they take it easy, drink a lot of fluids, up their vitamin c, drink tea while snuggling on the couch with a movie, a dab of eucalyptus oil on their collar.  But do I do the same? Rarely.  Same goes for our vitamins and supplements.  I never forget to give the girls their vitamins in the morning but can hardly ever remember to take my own.

I’ve decided that it’s time I started taking better care of myself and then, in turn, be able to keep giving and caring for my family.  It may seem minor but I think all the small things add up.  I want to try to do something I enjoy every day, I want to be sleeping before 10 every night, take all my supplements and my medication, I want to slice veggies for myself, darn it! I am also going to give pilates a try. So those, among a few other things, are what I plan to work on in these next few weeks.

I’ve been feeling like junk for over a month now.  I called about two weeks ago to get into my naturopath and I got the soonest appointment available, January 9th.  I e-mailed her a few days later to give her an update on my thyroid condition and after hearing about it, she said she wanted to see me ASAP.  I go in tomorrow. I’m hoping that together we can find solutions to help me feel my best again.  Because it has been oh so long.

 

The Essentials November 2, 2008

Filed under: Around the House,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 7:46 pm

I’m still here.  I am.  Just busy as heck.

Not only busy but feeling like I’m lacking on topics to blog about.  Until tonight at supper that is.

We were eating and my 3 year old daughter, Abby, started talking about her bath that would follow dinner that she shares with her 1 year old baby sister each night. 

“Hmm… which oil drops should I have in my bath tonight?  Maybe eucalyptus since we have runny noses.  Or maybe lavender so we can relax.  Or, Mom, what’s that one for headaches again?”

“It starts with a ‘P'” I prompted.

“P.  P-p-PEPPERMINT.” 

In the end she chose to have a few drops of essential oil of lavender in her bath water.  One of my favorites too.

I think essential oils are some of the world’s best kept secrets.  Nothing cures a headache for me better than some peppermint oil on my temples, nothing makes a bath feel as relaxing as adding a few drops of lavender and the girls always benefit from a bath with eucalyptus oil when they are sick.  Or a drop or two somewhere in their beds to keep their noses clear at night.

I don’t know a whole lot about essential oils, besides the ones I have.  I’d love to own more since I know that so many of them are theraputic, some are great to use as perfume (since I don’t wear commercially made perfumes anymore) and some are good to keep in the first aid kit, like Tea Tree oil.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the oils, finding out what each type of oil can be used for, etc.  this website might be a good place to start:

http://www.aromaweb.com/essentialoils/default.asp

 

You can mix and match them and make really nice combinations for perfume, to use around your home or theraputically.  Bergamot is a very popular one for emotional well being and another one that I’d like to own.

Some of them can be quite pricey to buy, such as oil of oregano, but since they are so concentrated, a drop or two can really go a long way.

 

Changes & Updates October 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdalsin @ 10:04 am

I haven’t done an update post in awhile. 

I was thinking this morning about the goals I had set for the year and if I had really done much to work on them.

My first post said I was going to work on becoming more green/environmentally friendly, working on my parenting, spirituality, ‘me’ time, weight loss and eating healthy.  I think I’ll do an update on each area.

Green/Environmentally Friendly

This was an area that was definitely already in progress before the start of this blog.  We’ve continued to use natural cleaners in our home, continue to recycle, etc.  This year we have made an effort to walk where we can (weather permitting), have tried harder to reduce our waste and reuse what we can.    We are always on the lookout for healthier, greener options for our home.

Parenting

This year I’ve been trying to consciously work on the way I communicate with the girls, mostly Abby in this situation.  Watching how what I say and how I say it impacts the way it is reacted to.  I’ve read a few books on the topic and try to put my knowlegde to use.

Spirituality

There hasn’t been much growth in this area, to be honest.  Spirituality in the sense of self-awareness, self-discovery – yes.  We are planning FOR REAL to start going back to church this month.  It’s something that is important to Jordan and I know that it is something that could again be a positive thing in our lives.

Me time

I have found that I am taking more time for myself.  Even if it’s just a few minute here and there.  Whatever the case, I’m not feeling starved for alone time anymore so that must mean something is going right.  In fact, as soon as I hit ‘publish’ on this post I am headed out to shopping, lunch and an afternoon at the spa ALL BY MYSELF! :) 

Weight Loss/Exercise

If I remember correctly, I have lost about 20 lbs since the beginning of the year.  Around 40 since I had Josie one year ago.  I’d still like to lose 5-10 more lbs but realize that these last pounds come off more slowly.  This summer I have walked a lot with the girls and taken a yoga class.  This fall I have begun exercising a few times a week at home doing things like the stationary bike, yoga and workout videos.  I have been majorly slacking these past two weeks since we’ve been so busy but it is definitely something I am enjoying, am able to realistically do with the girls around and that I plan to continue on with.

Healthy Eating

Our eating habits have gone back and forth a few times this year.  Right now we mainly are eating fish and chicken at home.  More lenient when we are out to eat, occasionally having beef.  We are settled into a diet that I am happy with.  Healthy and balanced.  Balanced includes pizza every Thursday night.😉

 

Now for some changes I plan around this blog.

1) I get quite a few e-mails/facebook messages/comments asking me more questions about what I’ve said.  I find that I am responding and having to type the same things over and over.  So instead, if I do happen to do a post that generates questions, I will have a follow-up post answering any questions a few days later.  I think that will save me a lot of time and also provide those interested with more info.

2) I’ve always tried to make my blog feel more personal and not attack people with stats, even though I love statistics.  But I have now decided that I will be trying to do somewhere in the middle.  Still making it personal and sharing my opinions but backing myself up with a lot of statistics, quotes, etc.  For example, 90% of what I said in my childbirth post a few days ago is fact proven by statistics.  I think perhaps that entry would have been more appreciated and better understood had I included stats, quotes from ob/gyns graduated from Ivy League schools, etc. rather than just me sounding like I’m pushing my opinions for my agenda.  I actually look forward to doing this since I think stats hit people a little harder than things like “This is what I think ….”

3) I hope to have a lot more conversation and discussing in the comments section.  Not that I’m looking for more comments but I will definitely be encouraging others to share their opinions, thoughts and ideas.  I love hearing different viewpoints.  When someone disagrees with me I always enjoy researching the topic a little further.  Sometimes doing that validates my opinions even more and sometimes I get a new spin on an old topic. 

Anyway, that’s my fall update.  Thanks for reading and a special thanks to all of you who wrote me this past week to support me, those of you who saw comments that knew would be hurtful and e-mailed to send their encouragement, those who wrote to ask that I do keep posting about things I am passionate about. It’s so appreciated!

 

 
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