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Green Family

January 28, 2010

I come from a very small town, and trying to convince people to switch their cleaning and shopping habits is not easy.  With my family, we tend to try things that we see each other liking.  So, after watching me and seeing how excited I am about the products I’m using, my family members started coming to me for advice.

A few weeks ago, my sister came to me with a challenge.  She had a men’s hockey jersey that had been worn to numerous practices and then shoved into a duffle bag while wet and sweaty.  She had washed the jersey 3 times and could not get the stench out of it.  Let’s be honest; that’s sick!  So, coming to me was her last resort.  As usual, my green products didn’t let me down. I just sprayed a little bit of diluted cleaner on the jersey, washed it with a load of laundry, and the smell was gone.  I think my sister thinks I have some kind of magic because when she gets a stain now, she says, “I don’t know what your routine is, but I have some stains for you to take out.”  It cracks me up because it’s not anything I’m doing; it’s the products I’m using!

Recently, my aunt came to me looking for an herbal supplement to help with her husband’s blood pressure.  They really didn’t want him to have to go on medication, so they were looking for something natural.  In my own experience, I’ve found that the herbal supplements for anxiety worked better for me than medication from the doctor.  I found this very exciting because herbs are so much better for your body than medications.  I can’t wait to see how the natural supplements for blood pressure work!

Even though, it’s obvious that I’m thrilled with the results of all the new products I’m trying, I’m even more interested in seeing how they can help my family.


No More Blood Stains

January 18, 2010

Everyone knows that kids are messy, and sometimes, they’re even a little bit gross. Even the cutest kid you’ve ever seen can produce some of the most disgusting messes you could ever imagine. Recently, I realized that if I ever want to be a mom, I better have an arsenal of cleaning products to help deal with unpredictable mishaps. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m getting started in the cleaning department before I even have a candidate for a husband, let alone someone to make babies with. It’s also helpful that most of the people I’m close with have kids for me to clean up after.

About two weeks ago, I was talking about my green cleaning products and how much I love my laundry stain remover, and the topic of blood came up. My friend Heather’s three year old daughter had a nose bleed, and it dripped on the light colored carpet. I know it’s really terrible to be excited about a small child having a bloody nose, but I’m not gonna lie, I was excited. This was a new test for me to try! Well, I went to her house yesterday, and we sprayed the spots, and they came out in minutes. Now when I finally become a mom, I’ll know that my laundry stain remover actually doubles as a carpet cleaner, takes out blood, and is safe to use around kids.

But kids are obviously a future concern for me, and I was thinking that there has got to be some use for this for people without kids. So today while I was writing this blog, I remembered an episode of the show “Room Raiders” that used to be on MTV. On the show, one person would creep through the bedrooms of three strangers to try to pick one that they might like to date based on what they found. On one particular episode, a very attractive boy found some unflattering undergarments which the owner proudly defended because they saved her precious Victoria’s Secret panties from accidents. Maybe if every girl had a bottle of this stain remover, they wouldn’t have to worry about having special panties for certain times of the month. Then everyone would be showing off their pretty panties, reproduction would go up, and lots more moms would be asking to learn about my business!

The Colors of the Season

January 7, 2010

It’s no secret that red and green are the colors of the Christmas season. All the decorations, wrapping paper, and even cookie frosting display these colors, and most people probably never give it a second thought.  Well, for me and my clothes, Christmas colors equal disaster.  It’s a good thing I enjoy doing laundry and find it a challenge to try to get out stubborn stains!

Every year, my friend Rachel and her family go treeing.  Now, this is not your everyday treeing experience; it is a carefully planned extravaganza.  The order of houses goes from oldest to youngest, but each year, they rotate through who gets to go first.  Each house has its own special item that everyone goes there to try.  Some of my favorites are the soup at Laura’s house, Debbie’s buffalo chicken dip, and Joe’s cherries. With that said, I can now explain to you how I got myself into trouble thanks to Uncle Joe’s cherries.

Uncle Joe makes some delicious cherries soaked in Crème de Cocoa.  They taste exactly like chocolate covered cherries!  This year, the cherry house was the second house, so they decided to bring them along for the rest of the day.  At the third house, someone discovered that the cherry juice is just as good as the cherries, and since they were in an enormous chalice, it was perfect for drinking.  The glass was passed all the way around the room before it got to me.  At least seven people drank out of it without incident.  I took that giant cup, put it up to my mouth, tilted it back…….and all forty five cherries that were stuck in the bottom came flying down toward my face.  The force sloshed the juice all over my face, down my cheeks, straight down the front of my shirt and onto my pants!  Talk about embarrassing!  Everyone in the other room starting pointing and laughing while I sat there trying not to drip any of the juice onto the couch or the floor.  Eventually, someone got me a wet towel and I was able to wipe my hands and face to get the stickiness off, but there was no hope for my shirt.  At least not that day.

When laundry day came around, I was pretty much convinced that there was no hope for my little gray American Eagle t-shirt.  But, I was willing to at least try to get it out.  I took my green laundry stain remover, sprayed it on it, and threw the shirt in the wash.  I didn’t feel like wasting my energy scrubbing it because I was pretty sure it wouldn’t make a difference.  When the washer was done, I pulled the shirt out to find every bit of the sticky, crusty, red stain gone!  My clothes are finally safe from the bold colors of Christmas!

Burst My Bubble

December 17, 2009

What is our fascination with bubbles?  Did you ever play Poppit? Seriously! We have games where all you do is pop bubbles! I know my sister and I could never turn down the opportunity to jump on a piece of bubble wrap when we were little. So what is about bubbles that captivates us? I don’t know if I will ever know.

One thing I do know is that in cleaning, I associate bubbles with cleaning ability.  The more bubbles a soap produces, the better it works.   When I first started trying all of these green cleaning products, I tried a liquid dish detergent. I put it on a wash cloth and washed a few plates and immediately decided that I didn’t like it.  It didn’t make enough bubbles, but when I talked to my friend who has been using these products for years, she said she loved it!

So, this week I decided that I need to give this soap a chance.  I mean I am going to be eating off my dishes, so shouldn’t I be using non-toxic cleaners on them?  Well, last night I filled up my sink with warm water and some of this soap.  My sister just gave me her old food processor, and it had collected more than a little dust.  I took the whole thing apart and threw the parts in my soapy water.  I let them soak for about 10 minutes while I started dinner.  Bacon, Brocolli, and Noodles. Now, in this recipe, I had to cut a whole package of bacon with my kitchen shears.  When I got done, my hands and the scissors were covered in grease. I threw the scissors in the water and decided it was time for one of my tests.   Everyone wants soap that can cut through grease.  So I shoved my hands in the water, swished them around and rinsed them in the faucet.  Wouldn’t you know it, no grease.  I didn’t even have to scrub!  I wiped down the scissors, rinsed them, and they were clean as well.  This soap passed that test with flying colors!

So, at this point, I needed to clean the food processor parts.  Even though it had been sitting for about 15 minutes at this point, there were still bubbles.  I used the soapy rag to wipe down the base of the processor, and it looked good as new.  Test two, passed!

My final test was two-fold.  I wanted to see just how long the bubbles would last, and I wanted so see how the soap did with the pots and pans from dinner.  So I just left the sink full while I finished cooking dinner.  Thirty minutes later, we were ready to eat.  I sat down with my boyfriend, ate dinner, and finally decided I better clean up.

The water still had bubbles in it even though I had first filled it over an hour before.  It was a little chilly, so I warmed it up with some hot water from the faucet.  I about fell over when new bubbles started forming from the flow of water!  I don’t know how I thought this soap didn’t bubble. I cleaned both large pots that I had used to make dinner.  Even the burned on grease and bacon on the bottom of the pan came off with a sponge.

I am happy to say that I have switched my liquid dish cleaner to my eco-friendly brand.  And I didn’t even have to compromise my love for bubbles!

The Colors of Christmas

December 10, 2009

Last weekend, I joined my friend for a Christmas Cookie baking extravaganza. The invitation list included several friends of my friend and their children.  In the end, the attendees were myself (the single, childless friend) the host (my friend Alicia) and one of her friends. Both ladies have 3 year old sons who are in the same class at school.  It seemed like it would be a pretty calm day.

We started our baking with a batch of Reese’s cup cookies.  Aside from being a bit messy, the first batch went smoothly, and the boys were playing together nicely. We decided that we should take on the sugar cookies.  I had NO idea what I was in for.  The mixing part was the easy, and then…..we got to the rolling and cookie cutting.  The dough stuck to our hands, the rolling pin, the wax paper, the cookie cutters, the spatula, etc.  Once I finally got the dough rolled out and the cookies cut, I broke them trying to get them from the paper to the pan!  After about 20 minutes, I had a full cookie sheet….8 whole cookies!! We baked them, and they got HUGE! I had to readjust my process for rolling, making them flatter, and I finally got into a rhythm.  By the time I had made 3 more trays of cookies, my huge ones had deflated to an acceptable size. Uh oh! I guess that means my readjusted flatter ones might be too thin.  After that I FINALLY gave up. Alicia’s friend was the master cookie cutter, so I just let her do her thing.

Once the dozens of sugar cookies were done baking, we had to frost them. The boys were all about trying the cookies and getting to frost them. So, we mixed up separate bowls of red, green and brown frosting, all made with the little bottles of artificial food coloring. The boys each iced about 2 cookies, and they had had enough. The girls got to work, and frosted every one of those stupid cookies. At that point, I was all cookied out, but we still had 3 kinds of cookies to make.

After working so hard on the sugar cookies, we decided to take it easy and make some wreath cookies. It was a simple task of melting some butter and marshmallows, adding an entire teaspoon of green food coloring, mixing in some corn flakes, and shaping some wreaths. They turned out nicely, and I was beginning to lose my bad attitude toward cookies.

We finished the day with a batch of chocolate chip cookies minus the chocolate chips and a batch of regular chocolate chip cookies. The best part of the day was learning Alicia’s special recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever! I tasted every type of cookie in each state: dough, freshly baked, and frosted. I went home that evening with close to 6 dozen cookies, an overly filled tummy, and an admiration for two wonderful mommies who managed to raise little boys that could play together for 6 hours without causing any problems.

Then, I read the new blog I subscribed to called “Euphoria for Green Mamas.”  How fitting that the topic was artificial food coloring and the effects of the chemicals in them on children. LOVELY! I had just gotten done dumping it by the teaspoonful into the cookies we made, and I found out that it causes hyperactivity and allergic reaction in children.  I never really stopped to think that a dye would be made with chemicals.  In fact, I never thought of what it would be made with period.  To find out more about the topic and where you can get natural food coloring, read the blog. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistake that I did when making your cookies this Christmas!

A Fresh Face Forward

December 10, 2009

When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to not have a problem with acne.  Apparently, the luck has worn off.  Now that I’m just shy of 25 years old, I have more breakouts than I ever have in my life.  I started using a skin care system from my mom, the Mary Kay consultant. I like it, but it really doesn’t offer any help for my pimple problem.  So, when I placed my order with my green company this month, I selected their acne defense system that is comparable to, yet far less expensive than, Proactiv.

Step one was an acne wash. The first thing I noticed was the slightly fruity, fresh scent. Other than that it was just a nice bubbly face wash. The second step was an astringent. I didn’t want to put it on my whole face for fear of drying it out, so I applied it to the areas where I usually break out like my chin and along my hairline. It was like wiping ice cubes across my face! The only way I could think to describe it was ZING! It was shocking but in a refreshing way. The third step was a spot treatment cream. This I used only where I actually have a zit. For about fifteen minutes after I applied it, I could still feel it tingling deep into my skin.

Ironically, when my boyfriend, David , woke up today, he came down and said, “My nose hurts!” I looked at it, and he had a huge, red, blind zit right on the tip of his nose. Lucky for him, I was bursting at the seams to have someone else try my new acne treatment system. So, I sent him up to the bathroom with specific instructions to follow steps 1, 2 and 3. I told him about the icy cool astringent, the ZING, and the tingle, and he rolled his eyes at me. Haha! I heard the water running, and a few minutes later I heard him at the top of the steps. I yelled up and asked if he felt the ZING, but he said no. Whatever, he just doesn’t like to admit when I’m right. He got to the bottom of the stairs and looked in the mirror and said, “Ew! But it did do this!” He came over and showed me that the system had caused the mucous in his big, red zit to make its way out. I accused him of picking at it, but he didn’t squeeze it once. And he didn’t need to. He just wiped it off with a tissue. He said, “You better add this to your blog.”

Most acne systems warn you that they will make your acne look worse for a bit while the fluids work their way out of the tissue, but I have never heard of anything working that quickly. I, personally, think it’s because the company I order from adds an additional natural ingredient to the typical salicylic acid. I plan to use the system every other day and monitor my results for 4 weeks. I also want to continue using my moisturizers because my skin is already chapped from the wintery PA weather. I am more excited than ever to continue this system and see how it works. I know it’s kind of gross to talk about, but for the end result, I think it’s totally worth it!

Slimy Dishes

December 3, 2009

Have you ever noticed that when you run your dishwasher, the entire kitchen smells like a giant swimming pool?  I used to love that smell because of the fact that it reminded me of summer and sunshine.  Recently, I got to thinking that if my kitchen smells like a swimming pool, then that means it smells like lots of chemicals.  That made me think, ew!  Those are dishes that I’m going to put my food on and eat off of.  I’m going to put the silverware and glasses in my mouth, and I have just covered them in who knows how many toxic chemicals. 

I also have always disliked the fact that dishwasher detergents leave a residue.  If you haven’t noticed, try it sometime.  When your dishes are still wet, pick one up.  I bet you it is slimy.  I learned this because I always rinse my glasses before I use them, and when I do so, I can feel the residue rinse off.  I started to wonder if I’m the only person who ever noticed this, so I did some research.  It seems that people go through a lot of trouble to get their dishes clean.  In a blog that I was reading, I found that one person washes all of her glasses in CLR before she puts them in the dishwasher.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of using the dishwasher if you have to hand-wash them first?  Another person I read about took apart their entire dishwasher!  Other remedies were including some vinegar in the dishwasher and using less soap.  What a hassle!

I’ve also heard that dishwasher detergent is one of the most toxic common household products. The EPA provides a website for kids, and on their site, they explain that dishwasher detergent has been found to irritate the skin or even cause burns.  Am I the only person that finds it kind of backwards that we are washing our eating utensils with chemicals that are so strong they can burn the skin?  It’s obvious that all of the residue doesn’t get washed off, so we are pretty much eating at least some of those chemicals.  I know that it’s probably not that much because we don’t hear about people dying from dishwasher detergent poisoning, but it really worries me because after a while, wouldn’t the exposure build up?

With my recent conversion to non-toxic products, I’ve found a dishwasher detergent that has eased all of my concerns.  When the dishwasher is running, my kitchen is filled with the scent of lemons.  I fill the detergent receptical about a third to half way full, and  I don’t put anything in the prewash area.  I’ve been using my current bottle of detergent since the end of August, and it is only about halfway gone.  My dishes no longer have a slimy film on them; I don’t have to wash my glasses before using them, and all of my dishes are still sparkling clean.