Shopping Tip

theorie shampoo

Hello! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’m happy to say it’s because we are expecting another little one! I’m due in the early spring. I’ve been really tired and working to get Buddy’s big boy room ready so we can move this new one into the nursery.  The blog is going to be a bit sparse in the coming months but I will try to drop in occasionally with a small post.

In addition to this update I want to give a little tip that most people are probably aware of, but I’ve never realized. Discount stores are a great place to look for earth friendly and organic products! I usually see food containers in the dishware, but I’ve never thought to check the hygiene aisle for lotions, shampoos, make-up, etc. I stopped by Marshall’s Home Goods the other day and thought I would look through that section since I’m in need of a new shampoo. Before this baby, I started slowly switching to more organic personal hygiene products since it can be pricey. I already use Dr. Bronner’s soap and a sulfate free shampoo that was running low. I found, what I think, is a big score. A 28.6 fl oz bottle of Theorie shampoo for $15! This is going to last a long time. Just look at the label to see how earth friendly it is.

theorie shampoo

The price tag said it is normally $30 and what I found online seemed to confirm that. I just started using it and it seems to work just as well as traditional shampoo. I might just have to keep buying it, even at full price.  Have you found any good deals in unexpected places? Any recommendations for a safe deodorant?

Felt Dryer Balls

dryer ball core

I knew before Buddy was born that I wanted to wash his clothes in something that didn’t have quite as many chemicals as traditional laundry detergent. I started using All Free and Clear to prep his clothes before his arrival and continued to use that his first year. I then made the decision to switch to homemade laundry detergent using this powder detergent recipe. I didn’t use dryer sheets because of the chemicals, but his clothes came out with a lot of static in the winter. I searched for chemical free alternatives and all the felt dryer balls I found were very expensive. I finally found this tutorial on how to make them yourself. I did make some changes to the beginning so that I wouldn’t have to use as much yarn. You will need 100% wool yarn, crochet needle, pantyhose, and wool sweater. Make sure your yarn isn’t treated in any way or it will not felt.  I purchased the yarn at Michaels using a 40% off coupon. I bought a grey sweater and red sweater at Goodwill for $1.50 and $3 each.

First, you will need to cut your sweater into strips. You can do any size, but mine were about an inch wide and 6 inches long. You will wrap these around each other to make the core of the ball. I used 3 strips, but you can use more if you want to make a larger dryer ball. Mine will be a little bigger than a tennis ball when finished.

dryer ball core

Then take your yarn, wrap around and tie a knot to hold the strips together so you can begin to wrap.

core with yarn tiedIt will not be in the shape of a ball, but that’s ok. Once you begin wrapping it around it will begin to shape up. I usually just go in a clock wise motion around the strips of sweater so it will squish into the ball shape. Once I had a decent covering with the yarn it was about the size of a golf ball.

core with yarnJust continue to wrap the yarn until it is completely covered and to your desired size. I make mine a little larger than a tennis ball. They will be a bit smaller after washing. Then, you will take the crochet needle with yarn threaded through and pass through the ball. Don’t go right through the center. It will not go through the sweaters. Just go far enough in that it will hold the end of the yarn through the washing process.

dryer ball with needleCut off the remaining yarn.

I promise this is a little bigger than a tennis ball. I have really small hands!

I promise this is a little bigger than a tennis ball. I have really small hands!

Now you will put them in the panty hose. You will tie a knot in between each ball. Otherwise, you will have a felted mess. I didn’t use dental floss or thread because it kept slipping whenever I tried that. You could do this and reuse the panty hose for more dryer balls, but I thought the 33 cents for knee highs was worth saving myself the frustration. I just cut them out. You will wash the dryer balls on the hottest setting. I tried them with and without a regular load of laundry. They felted much, much better when they were in with some other things. I think the agitation helps.

dryer ball in hoseI was able to fit 5 or 6 into each knee high at this size. After washing, put them in your dryer on the hottest setting as well. You now have pretty, felted dryer balls!

felted dryer ball

I was able to make 6 or so balls of this size using the sweater core. My sweater was 100% wool, although I’m not sure this is necessary since it will be covered by the yarn. I just figured it wouldn’t hurt and didn’t want to chance it. I also made a set for darks using a dark brown yarn. You will get some pilling and lint on them, but you can use a sweater stone to remove most of it. Dryer balls are a great way to keep static away without chemicals. They also seem to cut back on dryer time for many people, but I didn’t notice this with our dryer.

I think this would be a super cute craft for the fall. You could make a few from different colors and put them in a wood bowl on the coffee table, or in a glass vase on the mantle. They are so easy, earth friendly, and cute!

Earth Day 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Check out our Holiday Pinterest board for some fun ways to celebrate Earth Day with your kids.

Holiday Pinterest Board

You can also watch this short video on recyling from Sid the Science Kid on PBS. Our little one enjoyed it.

Sid the Science Kid: Recycling!

Have a good one!

How to Teach our Kids to Go Green?

tree

Don’t you think it’s time to teach your tot’s to go green?  Because of people littering everyday, factories polluting, and not enough recycling, it seems like our planet is going one direction-and that’s down.

Here we list some ways to help teach you children to be environmentally friendly.

1. Replace the forest: Our forest are being taken down one at a time. When there are fewer trees there is less oxygen, and more pollution. Teach your children the importance of keeping and planting trees.

2. Teach your children to recycle when possible instead of littering. Explain how littering pollutes our land and water.

3. Buy eco-friendly toys: they are safer and most of the time last longer-and your children can hand them down to their children.

4. Reduce time using electricity: Teach your children the importance of spending time outdoors, explain to them why they shouldn’t leave the lights on, or leave their electronics on when not being used. Not only will your electric bill go down, but there will also be a reduction in energy used.

5. Use the library: Teach your children to use the library or download books when possible. Not only will you save money, but you will protect our forest and cut down on waste in our landfills.

 

Tip: Buy Toys With Minimal Packaging

alphabet

Americans buy 3.6 billion toys per year, and in some cases the packaging volume for a single toy can be more than ten times the toy itself. Look for toys with the least amount of packaging , you will reduce pollution, save on waste, and fuel cost when having shipped. 

DOES YOUR CHILD NEED HELP WITH BALANCE AND MOTOR SKILLS?

car

Are you looking for a way to help your child with balance and motor skills? http://earthfriendlytots.com/PushAlong-Hybrid-Car could be your answer. The Push Along Hybrid Car aids young children in balance and motor skills. Shaped from a single piece of earth friendly Rubberwood, with smoothly finished edges this whimisical toy is a delight to hold and play with. Rubber wheels will protect your floor.  Measures 5x4x1

WE NEED YOUR HELP SAVING THE PLANET!

dump truck

Need help hauling a big load while helping save the planet? The Green toys dump truck is ready to get working.  Made from 100% recycled plastic milk container this really is the most energy efficient vehicle on the entire planet. The super cool eco-design has a workable dumper and no metal axles. Your little boy is going to love this dump truck. http://earthfriendlytots.com/Dump-Truck.

TRAVELING?

Bead Maze

Is your family planning on traveling during the holiday season? Children will delight in our bead maze while developing visual skills, eye-hand coordination, and color and shape recognition, made of rubberwood, and earthfriendly hardwood, these colorful toys provide hours of  play! Handcrafted and hand-painted using child-safe paints. http://earthfriendlytots.com/BeadMaze-Frog

WILL YOU LOVE ME?

Dr. Seuss

Will you love me, cuddle me and chew on me?  DR. SEUSS HORTON BLANKEE is going to make the perfect Chrismas gift for that special baby or little one in your life. DR SEUSS  is safe to chew on and loves to be cuddled. http://earthfriendlytots.com/Dr-Seuss-Horton-Blankee

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING THE EASY WAY

Ramp Racer

Why would anyone want to fight the crowds during the busiest shopping days of the year?  Earth Friendly Tots has the perfect toy waiting to be delivered to your door. http://earthfriendlytots.com/Jr-Size-Ramp-Racer