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Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Site

This Blog has been moved to a new site and new blog focus, Happy is the Journey.  Thank you for visiting!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Homemade cleaners

So, although I have been very lazy about blogging, I have been continuing on my quest for cost effective natural cleaners.  First, I should mention that the Dr. Bronners soap alone as a laundry detergent was a bust when it came to getting out the yellow baby poo stains.  So, I am now using an eco cleaner from Costco which I have noticed has a scent, so I will need to replace that.  I might break down and make my own from one of the more labor intensive recipes where you grate up a bar of Dr. Bronners.  I did get a great tip from Suzanne, of Organic Mamas, that hanging the diaper covers in the sun does wonders for getting rid of the yellow stains and eliminating the dingy element that was creeping into my laundry.  This seems to be helping and gave me the motivation that I needed to get an outdoor drying rack, which I have been planning to do for ages. 

In other cleaning news, I have started using a simple toilet bowl/ bathtub cleaning regimen that I am loving!  I just squirt vinegar, which I have poured into this little squirt bottle and left in my bathroom, around the bowl or tub (or sink, for that matter) and then sprinkle with baking soda.  Wait 10-15 minutes and wipe off with a cloth or toilet brush and rinse.  Make sure to rinse well because leftover baking soda grit is no fun for taking a bath.  We are always struggling with soap scum in the corners of the tub and this took it right off! 

I am also planning to start an Etsy shop to sell homemade baby clothes and beauty products; moisturizers, deodorants, etc.  I am trying to come up with a clever name for the shop.  Would welcome any suggestions!  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2 Months Without Washing My Hair

Well, its been two months since I stopped using shampoo and conditioner.  I tried to just do the water rinse about 2 weeks ago, and after a week my hair just felt like it was covered with a greasy residue.  I am using the baking soda and apple cider vinegar technique at this point, although sometimes if Claire is asleep, I do just rinse with water.  What I did initially was make a paste out of the baking soda and some water.  What I have found that works better for me is miking baking soda and water so that it is basically just dissolved in a liquid form.  This is much easier to distribute through your hair and easier to get it to the middle of the scalp, which was hard to access with a paste.  I can now use a squirt bottle of baking soda and water that I simply shake up before applying to the scalp, and another squirt bottle of apple cider vinegar and water that I squirt in at the end.  I have noticed that my hair smells like vinegar until it dries, but otherwise it looks and feels fine.  In the pictures below you can see my hair now.  I have not showered in 2 days... (showering later I swear!).  I have also had my hair in a pony tail since the last shower.  At what point after having a baby will I feel like doing something else with my hair?  I just don't see the point.  Anyway.  So far so good.  In another month I'll try the water only technique again. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Laundry Detergent

When we first had Claire, I was diligent about using seventh generation fragrance free laundry detergent.  I washed all new things in it before using them and felt good about it, except for the price.  With all the additional laundry that I was doing I went through so much detergent and one day I needed to do laundry and we were out of detergent.  We had a bunch of target generic up and up detergent so I used it, and have been using it for a while because it seems wasteful to not use it and we have a lot of it.  It is also hard to go out and spend another $26- $30 on laundry detergent just to wash it down the drain.

All was well until I started to notice tiny red spots on Claire's chest and occasionally on her neck and face.  Her pediatrician told me that it looks like she has sensitive skin, and I am inclined to think that it might have to do with the laundry detergent.  I looked up recipes for homemade detergents online and found a few good recipes, like the one from wellness mamas, but most of them called for grating up a bar of soap and many called for baking soda and/or washing powder.  I wanted to try the washing powder but was having a hard time finding it at the store.

One day, as I was about to do laundry again, I decided that I was just going to use a little bit of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, the baby sensitive kind.  We have an HE washer so I just added about a tablespoon to the detergent compartment.  I am a strong proponent of the less is more approach and feel that the majority of the cleaning power of the washer comes from the WATER.  So, I have been doing this and so far it is working fine.  The clothes smell and look clean.  I have not tried it with any tough stains or really dirty clothes.  My husbands basketball clothes should be arriving in the hamper shortly, however...

I have also read that adding vinegar to the rinse cycle can help to remove any buildup on the laundry and improve absorbancy of things like towels and diapers.  I have not tried that yet, but will shortly as I just got a huge bottle of white vinegar at Costco. 

Below is a table comparing the prices for laundry products.  I found these prices on Amazon unless otherwise noted.  If you know of a better price for one of these products, please let me know and I will update the chart. 

150 oz
40 oz
32 oz
4 gallons
Price/ Load

From this price analysis it is clear that you can save a bit of money using the Dr. Bronner's liquid soap when compared to the seventh generation free and clear, but it is not a huge savings.  When it comes to fabric softener, I calculated this with the assumption that a half cup of vinegar would be used in each load and the savings are considerable.  I should probably do a price compare when using the grated solid Dr. Bronner's soap.  Perhaps that would motivate me to put in the effort required to make it.

The other clear conclusion is that there are many less expensive detergents out there.  I compared this to seventh generation as seventh generation is gentler on the environment than your run of the mill tide or gain detergent.  When it comes to saving money, they would be less expensive than either of the above detergents.  Perhaps less Dr. Bronner's would be necessary.  If I used a teaspoon, that would triple the loads per bottle, dropping the price significantly.  I will have to experiment with the amounts. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giving up Shampoo and Conditioner

A few weeks after giving birth, I was reading Us Weekly (I got Paul a subscription as a joke and I now read every issue.  I can identify the Kardashian's now, but still don't care about the bachelor or bachelorette or the housewives of New Jersey) where a read that Adele does not shampoo, she uses only water on her hair!  I was intrigued so I turned to Google for some answers.  I found a bunch of articles and info on the "No Poo" movement.  Nature moms spells out many of the benefits, and I liked the info I found on the crunchy wife.  Considering that my hair care regimene consisted of shampoo and conditioner then finger curling my hair absentmindedly while it dried or throwing it up into a ponytail, I decided to give it a try; my routine could be even easier!  I have not used shampoo or conditioner for about 3 weeks.  I have not noticed any major changes, honestly.  My hair gets greasy after about 2 days without rinsing, but it would have done that before.  I use a bit of baking soda rubbed into the hairline about twice a week when it looks really oily and then, when I use the baking soda, I do a dilute apple cider vinegar rinse.  My goal is to be able to use straight water only in a few months.
Just woke up- no rinse for 3 days

Major ponytail hair

See the grease at my hairline?  And dry tips. 

My initial concern was not with the use of no shampoo, it was more with the fact that all of the websites that I consulted told me that I would need to brush my hair in order to distribute the scalp oils throughout.  I don't brush my hair.  I haven't owned a hair brush in 10 years.  I finger comb.  That is it.  I am still not sure how this will affect the final result.  I might have really dry ends all the time.  That would be a bummer. 

Even if my hair does not improve at all there are a lot of positives:
  • Save money
  • less chemicals on my hair and in the water
  • Easier
  • Faster showers
    • save water
    • get back to potentially crying baby faster
I will report back as things change.  

Wipes on hold

I will be waiting a while before I try to make wipes out of paper towels as I want to use up the napkin wipes that I made first.  They do not pop up so I have to open the container and peel them apart each time I want one, and they are so thin that I often need many for each diaper change, which means peeling apart thin delicate paper towels many times, but that is okay.... waste not want not, right?  I did swipe a few paper towels from the dispenser in the Macy's bathroom to measure them against the wipes dispensers.  (On a side note, thank you to Katrina for introducing me to the lovely women's lounge at Macy's.  Perfect for nursing in comfort.)  The towels are about 1 inch too long for the dispenser, but I am going to try it out anyway and just cut that 1 inch off the end.  I wonder if I can come up with something clever to do with the little scraps that I will cut off... suggestions?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Restaurant Napkins; day 2

Well... something that I seem to have overlooked is that the napkins in restaurant napkin dispensers do not pop out.  So they are useless in a dispenser or warmer, although they do fit.  Unfortunately the roll towels are still a better plan.  Next I will try with a pack of commercial paper towels, but will need to cut off about an inch in order for them to fit.  Not sure how feasible this will be.  I am also going to do my best to find a commercial establishment that will give me a single package so I don't have to buy a whole case, as that would be frustrating if they don't work.  I am feeling a bit defeated and frustrated.