DIY Home Cleaning Products

Once I was pregnant with Buddy I became more aware of the products we were using in our home. I made sure not to use any harsh cleaning products, and left that stuff up to the husband. I switched our laundry detergent to All Free and Clear and then eventually started making our own. I’ve also made a room scent which doubles as a sort of all purpose cleaner. I’m gradually adding more homemade cleaning products to our home, and hope to eventually eliminate all the ones we typically buy from the store. Here’s a list of what I’ve tried and hope to try in the future. Links go directly to the post.

I made my own felted wool dryer balls and did a how to post about it here. I’ve loved using them. They don’t seem to have cut down on drying time, but definitely help with static.

I’ve been using this laundry detergent for over a year. I even use it on cloth diapers with no problems. Make sure to grate the soap on fine. I prefer to use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for ours.

I made this all-purpose cleaner and also use it as a room spray. I sprayed it in the microwave and wiped off with a Magic Eraser with no scrubbing!

I think making my own hand sanitizer is next on my list. I’m not a germophobe, but I like to keep it handy after I go thrifting. Yuck!

This mosquito repellent will come in hand for those of us in the south. It has been especially rainy this summer, and they are out in full force!

I didn’t make my own baby wipe solution with Buddy because I thought it would be too much work. It seems so simple and I will definitely try it when we have another.

Pinterest Favorites

We’re off to the beach for a week of family fun! I thought I’d put up some links to my favorite blog posts and sites that I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Enjoy!

We’re major animal lovers in our house. We have 2 rescue cats, 2 adopted dogs, and a toddler to prove that! Just kidding. No, really though, Buddy makes more of a mess than the 6 week old kitten. It’s kind of a zoo at our house. Anyway, this cruelty free brands list is extremely helpful if this is something important to you. Our home isn’t completely cruelty free (I don’t think), but if I’m debating between a brand that is and one that isn’t, I’m definitely going with the brand that is.

I love all things home and real estate related, and New World Home is a producer of cute, sustainable housing. We would love to have a green home one day.

When I was little my mom used to grow an avocado tree from the seed of one we had eaten. It was such much fun to watch as a child!

I’m not a sewer, but I will definitely be paying a friend to make these cute burp cloths for the next bambino.

I love these wooden pull along toys by FriendlyToys. They are just too cute.

Here is some basic info on torticollis. I had never heard of it until Buddy was diagnosed. You can read about the beginning of our journey here.

Of course a healthy mom and baby is the most important aspect of any birth, but a woman’s wishes for her birth are important too. This is an excellent post on this topic.

I’m going to shamelessly plug myself here because I LOVE this lemonade. It’s so easy and so yummy in the summer.

Using an old hose as a doormat is such a cute and thrifty idea. I’m hoping to make one for our back patio.

I love this necklace made from a recycled glass bottle. I hope the hubby sees this post.

That’s it. Some of my favorites from around the web.

*I was not paid or perked to highlight any of these posts/websites. I just enjoy them!

DIY Watercolor Paints

I used frozen blueberries since that's what we had and it's much cheaper than fresh.

Little ones seem to love to paint, but many paints on the market aren’t safe for kids that want to put everything in their mouth. I  remembered seeing some websites around Easter using food to make dyes for eggs. I thought I would try something similar to come up with some watercolor paint that Buddy could use to paint. I used red onion skins, lemon zest, and blueberries. I didn’t have all these at the same time so I made them as I could, poured it into ice cube trays, and then froze them until we had (what I thought) three colors. I don’t have measurements, but I think the color intensity will be better if you have more food than water. I will show you pictures of the blueberries. Simply put blueberries in boiling water!

I used frozen blueberries since that's what we had and it's much cheaper than fresh.

I used frozen blueberries since that’s what we had and it’s much cheaper than fresh.

Once the water was boiling I used a fork to mash the blueberries against the side. This helped to release the juice and darken the water. I let it boil for about 10 minutes. For the red onion skins, I boiled until they started to become transluscent. The lemon zest didn’t get too dark. I just boiled until it was a faint yellow. I strained the water to try and get the blueberry bits out, and let it sit until cooled. It made a beautiful dark purple color.

blueberry paintOnce we were ready to paint a couple of weeks later, I put a cube of blueberry water in a ramekin and microwaved it.

diy watercolor paint

The bottom one is the red onion skin. The color is identical to the blueberry paint.

If you have a surface that you don’t want to get dirty or will stain easy, make sure you put some paper down. The blueberry will definitely stain. I just put some tissue paper over Buddy’s high chair tray. You can see that the red onion skin paint is the same color as the blueberry, but when you put it on the paper it will be brown, then turn to yellow as it dries. Kind of neat.  It ended up being the same color as the lemon paint. The blueberry paint made a really pretty slate blue color.

buddy with diy watercolor paintThe colors are pretty faint here, but darken up as it dries. The paper did tear in the middle, but he didn’t care. After a few minutes he wanted me to paint with him and here are the final results.

final diy watercolor pictures

Buddy’s masterpiece is on the left.

The yellow is a bit more lime in real life. The colors were really pretty together. They did fade a bit over the next few days, but still look good. I would like to try this with strawberries or cherries in the future. I wonder if pomegranate would make a pretty color, although that would be expensive to try. Buddy really enjoyed this activity and actually painted longer than he does with finger paints. We will definitely do this one again in the future.

Pros and Cons of Using Eco Friendly Products

You are probably somewhat familiar with eco-friendly products that can help to reduce toxic wastes and prevent environmental pollution. If you start thinking about the advantages of using such products, you can come up with countless reasons for why to use them. The main benefits are saving money and energy, as well as reducing harmful chemicals. However, living a green life isn’t perfect.  Let us discuss a few advantages and disadvantages of using eco-friendly products in our daily life.

Pros of Using Eco- friendly Products

Pollution Reduction – Of course, this is the most well- known and biggest advantage of using such products. They help you reduce the amount of toxic wastes and non-degradable substances on the planet which means less pollution. Imagine all those plastic bottles and similar items that won’t disintegrate getting eliminated totally from the face of earth. Some ways to help with this are using a filter on your tap water and using cloth diapers instead of disposables.

Personal health – Plastic substances and such other items we use can produce many health issues, due to the chemicals present in them, right from the time of manufacture to the time it becomes an end product. Switching to eco-friendly items can eliminate this fear and make your lives greener and fresher. Look for items that don’t contain BPA, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals.

Long term savings – If you are looking for some savings in the long run, then eco-friendly products are a good way to go. Many of them are also quite energy efficient. Products like solar panels and electric or hybrid cars can save you a lot on energy costs. Something as simple as switching out your incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs can help save money with reduced energy consumption and you won’t have to replace them as often.    

Cons of Using Eco-friendly Products

Now that we have discussed the pros of using these products, let’s get into the cons of using them.

Limited availability – The first and foremost problem you may face when looking for eco-friendly products is where to find them. Finding the best eco-friendly products that can suit your requirements may not be such an easy job. Sometimes you have to go to smaller stores or online to find products that are eco-friendly.

Initial Cost – In the case of bigger eco-friendly products like the solar panel or the electric or hybrid car, you may find that the initial cost needed to buy them would be far more compared to a normal mass market product. This can act as a hindrance if you are on a low budget, but this doesn’t necessarily apply to smaller products or for those people who are prepared to spend more to make green changes in their life.

Implementation-It can be hard to make changes to your routine. The intention to go green is much easier than actually doing so. It’s best to start with small changes, such as changing light bulbs or buying reusable shopping bags instead of using plastic.

Also many people are now realizing the cost-savings for going green in many aspects of their lives, and with more and more eco-friendly products coming to market, it will get easier and less expensive.

Though you know the cons clearly now, buying eco friendly products can be a small change of lifestyle if you are ready to go the extra mile to leave a green world for your children.

The Dangerous Ingredients of Plastic Toys

Toys are something children can never live without! In fact, if you are the parent of a little one, you are expected to find and buy the toys of your tiny tot’s liking. But is it good enough if you buy some random toy you find in a shop? That would definitely satisfy your kid; but the fact is that you might be indirectly giving your kid a toxic substance!! Yes – you are reading right! Almost every plastic toy contains toxic chemicals and by-products that can harm your child and cause serious health issues. Read on, to know more about the toxic substances a plastic toy may contain.

You would be surprised to learn that each step in the process of making toys involves chemicals, some less harmful than others, but there are some that can cause serious health issues. The main purpose for using chemicals is to save the time and money during the manufacturing process for these toys. Lead is one of the major toxic substances found in most plastic toys available today, as has been seen recently in toys being manufactured in China. Lead is actually a component of the paint used to color the toys. The paint containing lead can cause severe health issues even in a fully grown adult. And this paint, which can peel off from the toy with time, can cause severe lead poisoning to your child. This can lead to terrible defects in the body or even death if the level of lead is too high.

Phthalates are the next type of toxic substances found in plastic toys. These are substances that are added to the normal plastic material, to increase its flexibility and durability. As far as plastic toys are considered, flexibility is very important, mostly because children love to play with something that moves and bends. But if this flexibility is attained by the use of phthalates in it, you should definitely say NO to those toys, as they can harm your child and cause health issues. Sucking or chewing a toy containing phthalates can cause this toxic substance to be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause serious problems. These substances can actually affect the development of your child, cause an early onset of puberty, cancer, stunt growth or otherwise negatively influence them.

BPA or Bisphenol A is yet another toxic substance in toys which can harm your child. These substances, if ingested through chewing or sucking of the toy, can imitate the body hormones and cause various unpleasant and unwanted activities in the body of the child, including retarded growth or early growth and development of the child’s body.
The presence of polystyrene in toys also cannot be disregarded, when looking for safe toys for your child. This chemical is present in most toys and has the ability to cause cancer in the body. It is also known to affect the nervous system, thereby damaging the nerves in severe cases.

PVC plastic, the 3rd most commonly used plastic in the world, is another material you should be conscious of. Due to its nature as a hard and brittle material, numerous chemicals must be added to it to make finished vinyl products. Whenever your child plays with toys made out of PVC and puts them in their mouth, they can potentially end up ingesting these toxic chemicals.

Testing has been done on PVC toys designed for very young children, which included teethers, for the presence of hazardous additives known by the scientific term phthalates, which are used to soften plastic. All soft PVC products contain these hazardous chemicals.
It is also important to point out that there are very little regulations on the manufacturing and distribution of toys and the harmful substances they are made of.

There are no stringent tests a children’s toy product must pass before being put on the market in most countries, including the U.S., unlike crash tests that new cars must endure before being allowed to be sold. Do NOT fall under the assumption that if it made its way onto a store shelf or is simply being sold that it is safe. You MUST do your due diligence and understand what is in the product.

So now that you are aware, make sure that you choose wisely when looking for your tiny tot’s favorite toy! If you want SAFE toys that are chemical-free, made by environmentally and health conscious companies, check out the store over at: www.earthfriendlytots.com

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.