A Life In Progress

Homemade Diaper Wipes January 28, 2008

Filed under: Around the House,Going Green — jdalsin @ 10:40 am

For anyone who was interested (Elizabeth?):

Cut a roll of paper towel in half.  Remove the paper roll from inside so you’ll then be able to pull out the ‘wipes’ from the inside of the roll.

Place wipes in a container.

Mix together the following:

2 c. water; 2 tbsp. baby bath; 1 tbsp. baby oil; 1 tbsp. tea tree oil (optional)

Pour over top of the paper towels.  Voila!  Depending on the size of paper towel roll you use, you may want to cut back on the water.  Consider buying recycled paper towel and/or select a size so you can have smaller wipes when you just want to clean up after a little pee. 

* Since we are doing cloth diapering I thought it would be easier to do cloth wipes.  So, instead of paper towel I filled my container with those tiny baby wash cloths and poured the mixture over top of them.  That way everything can just go into the dipe bucket and into the wash together.  Easier for us so we don’t have to have a garbage can in the nursery too.

Advertisements
 

An All Around Update January 25, 2008

We’ve made quite a bit of progress this month with our goals.  Jordan and I are both feeling pretty proud of ourselves.

The most exciting thing in my opinion was that we got some stuff organized.  It felt wonderful! Isn’t it funny how something like a neatly organized closet can uplift your spirit.  Jordan worked hard tidying up our the closet in our front porch.  We went out and bought a little shelf for in there to help us keep it tidy.  It looks great! We even bought little hooks so Abby can now come in and hang up her own jacket, put her boots away and tuck her mitts and scarf into her little drawer.   I also went through the linen closet and got that all organized.  It’s really our “everything closet”.  Abby’s craft supplies, towels and bedding, household cleaners, candles, etc. Again, we got some baskets and got everything looking spic and span.  I had a huge bag of stuff to take to Salvation Army too.

Regarding my energy, I got some answers this month too! After some blood work I found out that my iron is extremely low, as are my iron stores.  I’m on a good supplement prescribed by my naturopath now so I should be feeling a bit better in a few weeks.  Not only that, but for those of you who don’t know, I have thyroid disease (hypothryoid).  The normal level when blood work is done should be in between .4 and 4.5.  So, since I’m taking my medications I should be in that range.  I came in at an 11.  So my prescription has been increased.  Between the iron, the new prescription and taking some B Vitamins I’m feeling very optimistic that I will be feeling well again soon.

One area that was slightly neglected was our work on spirituality. An important one but an easy one to ignore.  We did make it out to church this month so atleast that’s a step in the right direction.

We got new Energy Star appliances this week and just love them.  Not only that, but I went grocery shopping and did a dandy job of filling the fridge and cupboards with healthy foods.  And Dad’s Cookies.  You know, the goody rings?  Too good of a deal to pass up. 

We slacked in the exercise department too.  It’s my goal to work on that one more in February.  But some how I did manage to lose 4 or 5 pounds this month without really doing anything besides making some healthier choices and avoiding the drive thru.  YAY!  15 pounds to go.

We did a few other small things around the house too, like reorganized Abby’s bedroom, stocked up on everything we’d need to do cloth diapering for the next while and switched to some healthier disposable diapers for when we are out and about, put air filters on all our vents, discovered a really cute organic grocery store and so on.  All the little things add up!

And, miracle of all miracles, it looks like our basement renovations will be done this weekend! This is very exciting as it has been consuming a lot of our time and energy.  When it’s done we can focus on doing nothing for awhile.  How sweet will that be? Very.

So that’s about it for Month One.

 

Alternatives January 24, 2008

Filed under: Around the House,Going Green,Healthy Eating,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 8:27 pm

I’m all for being green, doing all that I can to avoid putting junk into and on to our bodies and the like.  There are a few things I’m not quite ready to part with.  First and foremost, anti-perspirant.  Bad.  But I figure I’m allowed one thing since I’m sacrificing so many others.  😉 Two is toilet paper.  Some of those extra-green people use reuseable cloth wipes for going to the bathroom.  I can’t handle that right now.  Three is a low-flow shower head.  I need some power behind my rinsing.  Those things would be too hard for me to give up.

But, like I said in my last post, there are many things that can easily be replaced by safer, more natural, healthier alternatives.  Since it can be overwhelming I thought I’d offer some of my favorites alternatives here.

FOOD

  • It’s easy breezy to switch the whole grain varities of bread, rice, flours and pasta.  I actually prefer the taste of the whole wheat/whole grain varities.
  • Organic produce is now available at most all grocery stores.  There may not be a lot but every little bit counts.  Try swapping one thing for organic a week.  Check out this list for the types of foods most heavily sprayed with pesticides.  Choosing to buy a few of these organic would be a good start.
  • Try to shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store the most.  Most everything that’s on the shelves in the middle is overprocessed and overpackaged, like crackers and cookies.  Of course you don’t want to avoid buying crackers all together, but just limiting it and chosing the fresh stuff instead. And when buying crackers and things like that, again look for whole grain and organic versions of your favorites.  I have a new favorite cracker – President’s Choice Organics Stone Wheat Crackers Multi Seed.  Try ’em.
  • This is a bit of a toughy but try to avoid foods that have food coloring.  For example, cheddar cheese is dyed orange.  Why? I’m not sure.  Opt for the white cheddar if you can find it.

HOUSEHOLD

  • Like I mentioned in my last post, a little vinegar and water can clean most things and is a good alternative to most of your regular cleaners.  Easy.
  • If you prefer to have storebought products, I really like the Method line and the Bio-Life (Shoppers Drug Mart) line.  Both are available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Method is also available at places like Superstore and Canadian Tire.  Seventh Generation has a lot of products out there too.
  • Try to buy recycled paper products if you are going to buy things like toilet paper, napkins, etc.
  • I always try to look for products that have the least packaging as well.  For example, a regular 24 pack of toilet paper has 24 paper rolls to throw away where as a 12 pack of double rolls gives you the same amount of toilet paper with half the rolls to toss out.  May be a small difference but every little bit counts.
  • Instead of always reaching for the medicine cabinet when you are sick try some alternative methods, like essential oils.  Pure essential oil of peppermint dabbed on the temples helps with a headache and a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a warm bath tub helps with congestion.  It’s easy to find natural alternatives online like a spoonful of honey for a sore throat, etc.
  • Careful what you are washing your clothes and dishes with.  Avoid products with perfumes, phosphates and other chemicals.  If there is one super easy and wonderfully great thing I suggest you do it’s ditch the dryer sheets.  A splash of essential oil in the wash load can help add a little scent if that’s something you like.  For laundry I really like Norwex and have recently purchased some Norwex automatic dishwasher soap that I’ve heard good things about but haven’t yet tried.

Around the House

  • Recycle, recycle, recycle.  It’s really not that much of a pain.  In the beginning I thought it was going to be such a nuissance but it isn’t.  We have a big bin right beside our garbage can in the closet.  I toss everything in there that is recycleable and then once a week Jordan takes it downstairs and sorts it.  Jordan and I end up with about 2 grocery sized bags of garbage a week.  If we had a compost bin I’m sure we’d only have one.  It makes a huge difference and depending on where you live you can even return it for a little bit of cash.
  • Let the air in! Open your windows everyday, if only for a few minutes, to let some fresh air in.  Sad to say that the outdoor air that we think is so polluted with emissions from cars, etc. is actually up to 30x cleaner than the air in our houses, according to some recent studies. Of course that number would be drastically reduced if you cut out some of the chemicals.
  • Reuse and reduce.  Notice if things are overpackaged.  Buy a couple of reusable bags from the grocery store.  Or pick up a sweet EnviroBag like mine.  It rolls up so nicely and fits right into your purse.

         Roll up nice and compact.  (Blurry, but you get the idea)
Photobucket
Folds out to a nice big handy dandy bag.  🙂
Photobucket

This one has become quite easy.  Try to buy organic products or atleast watch for parabens. London Drugs carries a good varity of organic bath and beauty products.  Lotions, shampoos, face cleansers, etc.  There are so many brands to choose from.  Avalon Organics in the lavender scent is one of my favorite lines. There’s Juice Beauty, Nature’s Gate and Giovanni just to name a few from there.  For my birthday this year my mom got me a nice set of products from Lush, which is a homemade cosmetics store.  I’d be itching for get to the store but there isn’t one in my city so I made a wishlist.  I really like the Angels on Bare Skin face cleanser and the Godiva Shampoo Bar.  I really like the moisturizer she got me but it was insanely expensive so I won’t recommend buying it as an easy alternative.  😉  This point got a little lengthy but I’m just trying to get across how easy and accessible it really is!
  • Instead of perfume try using essential oils.  Smells great, available in a wide variety of scents and much cheaper.  Oh, and of course, you aren’t spraying anything nasty onto your skin. 
  • Some women have started using cloth, reusable pads.  I’m not quite sure what I think of that one yet.  If you can’t handle that, consider buying the safer, unbleached versions from Seventh Generation.  Or go for a Diva cup.
    • BABY

      • Again, baby products are filled with the same junk that’s in our products.  Parabens, perfumes, dyes, etc.  I LOVE the Life Brand ‘Baby Naturals’ shampoos, body wash & lotions.  They are super cheap, around $2-$3.  Choose to be mindful about what you are rubbing all over your babe. 
      • Say “n-o” to baby powder.  “Talcum powder contains a substance similar in composition to asbestos, and some studies have linked the use of talcum powder to increased incidence of ovarian cancer. Accidentally inhaling it can lead to serious respiratory problems or even death.” – From www.care2.com/greenliving.
      • If you aren’t up for cloth diapering, try using diapers like Seventh Generation‘s.  They are probably the next best thing since they aren’t bleached. 
      • Diaper wipes are full of chemicals, perfumes and chlorine too.  Try making your own wipes! I have a recipe if anyone is interested.
      • Even if you choose to use perfumed detergents and dryer sheets on your clothes, consider using something gentler for baby’s sensitive skin.

      I’ve been typing this for a very, very long time.  I have a million more ideas so if anyone has any specific things they are looking for alternatives for, ask away.  Of if you want a recommendation for a good brand name or anything like that, I may be able to help. 

      Hope this helped anyone feeling overwhelmed, lost or in search of ideas.  🙂

       

      Chemical Free Cleaning January 21, 2008

      Filed under: Around the House,Going Green — jdalsin @ 7:32 pm

      I was asked to do a post about why I’ve chosen to not use chemical cleaners in our house.  This is an easy one. 

      Simple. Because plain old vinegar is cheaper just as effective at getting things clean and the bottle doesn’t have warnings on it like “May cause irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes, may cause central nervous system depression if inhaled or ingested.” That is actually the warning on products that contain denatured ethanol which is in products like Lysol disinfecting spray.

      I started using some chemical free cleaners a few years ago but became a lot more adamant about it once we had kids.  Kids pretty much live on the floor so floor cleaners became one of the first things I banned from our abode.  Seriously- my girls have licked the floor.  It’s not the dirt or grime I’m afraid of, but the chemicals that I scrubbed the floor with.

      Another big reason is air quality.  This may sound crazy but as soon as I stopped using chemicals in the house I noticed a difference in air quality.  It felt cleaner and more pure.

      Most cleaners are made up of chemicals and often times, pesticides.   A quote from CBC Marketplace:

      “Clorox Disinfecting Wipes lists two ingredients: dimethyl benzyl ammonia chloride .145 per cent and dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonia chloride. ”  Pesticides.

      Pledge contains silicone, butane gas and propane.

       I could go on and on.  Why would you want that sprayed in your house to be inhaled by those you love and by you, who is likely in very close proximity as you spray it?

      Another interesting fact that they are linking to poor indoor air quality: (Again, from a CBC Marketplace article):

      “In Canada, respiratory illness is now the leading cause of admission to hospital for children. Childhood asthma has jumped by 400 per cent. After injuries, cancer is now the leading cause of death in children between the ages of five and nine.”

      Another contributing factor in this decision is price.  Canadians spent nearly $275 million on cleaning products last year.  Most every cleaner that I make contains water, vinegar, tea tree oil and/or a little dishsoap.  Cheap, cheap, cheap. Things you usually always have on hand.

      Last but not least is the environmental issues.  Most every cleaner you use will end up in the air or down the drain.  If you want more info about that, just google “harmful effects of chemicals/phosphates/ pesticides on the environment.” I’ve never checked but I’m sure you’d get thousands of hits.

      Basically, your skin is like a sponge.  It absorbs everything it comes into contact with.  Which is why another important change to make is with your laundry detergents.  There are many good detergents to choose from now.  Worst of all are dryer sheets.  Sure, your clothes get to smell like a vanilla field but those are sheets of chemicals and perfume. Soooooo bad for you.  Your clothes get all that all over them and then they are pressed against your body all day long.

      Anyway- this post felt very unorganized and little scattered.  Just a lot to get out I guess. 

      If you want more information about the harmful ingredients in cleaning products, check out this link below.  Pretty scary:

      http://www.purezing.com/living/toxins/living_toxins_harmfulhousehold.html

      I find this especially important if you have little ones.  It is really an easy switch to make, especially since there are now so many natural, non-toxic cleaners available on the grocery shelf and so many recipes online for homemade cleaners.

      I could go on to also mention the chemicals and carcinogens in beauty products.  Most are filled with parabens and chemicals.  Check out these articles for all the motivation you’ll need to switch over to organic products. http://www.livingbeauty.ca/intoxicatingbeauty.html

      http://www.thenaturalhealer.ca/mag/03/01/hiddendangers.php

      Again, there are so many great alternatives available that this would be another easy change to make to benefit your health.  I often find the organic stuff works better too!

      O.K.  I’m done for now! Hope this answered ‘anonymous” questions.

       

      Energy January 16, 2008

      Filed under: Me,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 10:12 am

      I feel like a slug.

      Not just today but everyday for the past six or so years.  Nothing to do with having a baby and a toddler, although I’m sure that doesn’t help the energy levels either.

      I can’t remember one day in the past six or so years waking up and feeling refreshed. Nor do I remember a single day where I felt like I had enough energy to do the things I wanted to do.  I’m not a lazy person.  I want to do things. I feel motivated to do things.  But the thought of doing them sometimes makes me want to bawl.  Simple tasks are waiting for me, like organizing the linen closet.  It would probably take an hour but I’ve been putting it off for weeks.  Every time I go to do it, I open the door, close it again and think “I just can’t do it today.”  Not “I don’t want to do this today” but actually physically feel like I’d either need a nap first or a long nap afterwards.

      I’m finally trying to do something about it.  I’m taking a high potency Vitamin B complex supplement and faithfully taking my iron.  I really hope to be feeling/seeing some results soon.  It is really very hard to not have the energy to do the things you want to do, like run and play with Abby, get organized or even make it through the day without feeling exhausted.

      I fall asleep within about 2 minutes of hitting the pillow each night.  Not only that, but I can fall asleep anywhere, any time.  I’ve fallen asleep at the movie theater, in the car, nursing, sitting up reading in the middle of the afternoon.

      I feel like I could have such a better quality of life if I just had the energy.  This is something I defintiely want to work on this year.  Six years is too long to feel tired.

      Here’s to hoping that in 2008 I get the energy to live the life I want.

       

      The Cloth Diaper Debate January 11, 2008

      Filed under: Around the House,Going Green,Natural Health — jdalsin @ 1:46 pm

      I posted on my other blog  recently about my recent struggles with cloth diapers and how I was considering just going back to disposables.  Then I started doing some research I amazingly enough hadn’t done before.  I’d researched the environmental and financial aspects of both types of diapering but for some reason, never did check out what was in the disposable diapers I was wrapping around my babies bottoms 24 hours a day.  I came across some good articles.  I wanted to post this one here.  I think it’s worth checking out. 

       http://www.mommyclub.ca/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=cloth-vs.-disposable-diapers.html&Itemid=287

       

      Plastics By Number January 9, 2008

      Filed under: Around the House,Going Green — jdalsin @ 9:28 pm

      This is directly from the book I mentioned earlier called The Healthy Home Workbook.  Thought it may be of interest to some of you.

      You know how on the bottom of your pop bottles, tupperware, etc. there is a little number in a triangle?  This is the list of what those numbers mean:

      If the triangle contains a …

      1 – Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Soda and water containers, some waterproof packaing.  Not recommended for reuse because difficult to clean and remove baacterial contamination.  This type of plastic may also leach DEHA, a known carcinogen, when reused.

      2- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Milk, detergent, oil bottles.  Toys and plastic bags.  Less toxic than many other plastics.

      3- Vinyl/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, blister packages (some kids toys and soothers too!) Made flexible by use of phthalates (suspected carcinogen) and dioxin (known carcinogen) released during manufacturing and incineration.

      4 – Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)  Many plastic bags, shrink wrap, garment bags.  Less toxic than many other plastics.

      5- Polypropylene (PP)  Refridgerated containers, some bags, most bottle tops, some carpets, some food wrap.  Considered safest.

      6 – Polystyrene (PS) Throwaway utensils, meat packaging, protective packaging.  Known to cause functional impairment of the nervous system.  Styrene is carcinogen and a mutagen, highly toxic and may be leached into foods contained in polystyrene.

      7 – Other.  Usually layered or mixed plastic.  No recycling potential, must be landfilled.  Plastic labeled 7 is LEXAN or polycarbonate plastic and is used in water bottles purchased from sporting goods stores and in industry.  Bisphenol A (BPA) linked to chromosome abnormalities in mice, chromosome damage and hormone distruption, can leach harmful chemicals in to the water.

      Just a little FYI.  So make sure that when you are buying teething toys and soothers especially for your babes that they are marked ‘No PVC’.