If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that you won’t catch me judging you whether you co-sleep, bed share, baby sleeps in a crib, do any combination of these, or you hang upside down like a bat. OK, I might at least look at you funny if you do that. I don’t think one is necessarily “better” than the other, we all choose what works best for us and our families. I do, however, want to share what I know because if I’d known what I know now, oh, 7 years ago, my life may have been a lot easier! 🙂 This is post one of a 4-5ish post series and the second is immediately after this one, since they go hand in hand!
So what’s the opposite of green? Red is the complimentary color, right? So I’m a little bit red. Red and green make…gray? So I’m gray. Okay people?! I’m gray!!
In all seriousness, I’ve talked before on various posts that while I am pretty far out there as far as being a crazy hippie when it comes to birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, food or anything relating to my kids, I’m still working on my own personal care products, as well as household products. Come on though, I have my own chickens, so that has to negate at least one mainstream cleaning product, right? Right?
OK, so what’s holding me back? Well, we all know that you can get a lot of mainstream products free or nearly free (or better than free) with coupons, sales and CVS Extra Bucks. Not so much with natural/organic products. It’s a huge leap from paying nothing for something, to paying like a zillion dollars for it. (OK, I’m exaggerating, but still!)
Plus, I like the stuff I use. Over the past 12ish years, I’ve found products that work, and I’ve stuck to them. I’m particular about my cleaning products. They have to get things clean (residue or filmy-ness makes me crazy) without tons of effort, and they can’t be too stinky.
So here’s my laundry list, my full confessional. The stuff you may have to pry out of my white knuckled grip if I can’t find something better!
Bruce Hardwood Cleaner. It doesn’t have ingredients listed, but I suspect it is largely alcohol based on the smell. It gets the floor so shiny clean with zero residue at all. It’s so easy to use and I love it. I use a mop with washable microfiber pads if that helps at all. I got really panicky when I couldn’t find this at my usual store (they have it at Home Depot, but it’s almost 25% more) so when I found some at another location, I bought 6 bottles!
Armstrong vinyl/ceramic floor cleaner. I used quite a few floor cleaners before I found this one. You don’t have to rinse (though I usually do anyway) and it makes the floor clean without leaving any residue at all. I can’t.stand.sticky.floors. OMG. I don’t want to spend 1/2 hour mopping to replace sticky with sticky, you know? I’ve heard a lot of people say they use vinegar on their floors, perhaps adding some essential oil for scent. I guess I partially just haven’t gotten the ratio of vinegar to water right, because it feels like there is a residue when I’ve used it.
I really like the Weiman’s cooktop cleaning products. The cream stuff is really similar to the Ceramabryte stuff, but I think it’s easier to get off. I adore the wipes because they are so easy to wipe the glass cooktop in between deep cleanings, and they don’t leave streaks or film.
Love, love, love (did I mention love?) these. I’ve tried various other brands of stainless steel cleaners (including Method) and none are like these wipes. Even if I spray, wipe & immediately have a microfiber cloth to buff until my arms burn, I have streaks galore. I’ve read reviews for other products and I don’t know if it depends on your appliance brand or what. With these wipes, I just wipe with the grain, then before it has dried completely, lightly rub with a microfiber cloth. Voila, no streaks! Naturally, they are nearly impossible to find in stores around here now. I’m still trying to figure out whose dumb idea it was to have stainless appliances with small children in the house. (sheepish look)
Staying on the Weiman’s train, the only thing I don’t like about this Weiman’s granite cleaner/polish is that it’s a small bottle, is expensive, and can be hard to find. It’s both a cleaner and a polish, so there aren’t two steps. It leaves the counters clean and shiny without any film or residue. I actually bought Method brand granite cleaner and it really isn’t too bad. However, it has this flowery scent that smells exactly like whatever they use to clean the bathrooms at my grocery store. So, I find the smell to be a little gross. If it had a different scent, I’d buy it.
Spot Shot. This stuff is amazing. The aerosol spray will get just about anything off of carpet (though it stinks.) The trigger spray is like miracle liquid from heaven, and I love the way it smells too. When we were building this house, we rented. My daughter has always been trouble in a small package, but the move shook her up such that she was an absolute terror. She squeezed nearly a whole bottle of some blue stuff (treatment for the fish) on the light beige carpet. I used everything to try to get it out. Every chemical, scrubbing, the Bissell little green, spot bot, you name it. I spent hours on it. All my hubby could do is bring me a glass of (white) wine and wish me luck (thankfully this happened before I got pregnant with my son!) I ended by spraying the spot with the trigger Spot Shot spray and giving up. I figured we’d just have to pay to replace the carpet, or lose our deposit. Like magic, the Spot Shot made the spot disappear over night. It just vanished!! Now it’s my secret weapon for all stains, including laundry. I’m sure it’s awful, horrible and full of nasty chemicals.
This is totally not green not only because of the cleaner on the pads, but because the pads are disposable. It’s not actually the cleaner that I like, but that the pads are scrubby, and stick to the long handle. I love being able to scrub in the bathrooms without having to bend and crawl all over the place. I use the same pad to clean the bath tub, shower, and my kids’ shower/tub combo as well. I’d re-use it if it wouldn’t get gross by the time I was ready to use it again! These disappeared from store shelves and I tried the Mr. Clean Magic Reach and hated it. After trying other stuff, I ended up finding a bunch on Ebay and bought a shameful number. I’ll just say that it was about 2 1/2 years ago and I’m not quite out yet. I wish someone would make a washable scrubbie pad that would stick to a long handle like this, and would clean effectively without damaging fiberglass and acrylic fixtures. Maybe a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a stick!
This next one is double the shame for the same reasons. Chemicals and disposable. We’re hand washing, sanitizer using, wipe the shopping cart type people, but I’m not running in front of my kids dousing everything with a bottle of bleach either. I know that exposure to some germs is good for immune systems. So I generally keep things in our house very clean, but I don’t worry that much with disinfecting things too often. For the most part, germs in our house are familiar ones, if that makes sense.
The exception is toilet brushes. Toilet brushes are just…*shudder*…nasty. Gross, gross, and gross. I’m surprised no one has made a toilet brush with a little holder for it that has a UV sanitizer (like the toothbrush thingies.) So, when I found these Scotch Brite Scrubbers, I was sold. Again, it’s really not for the cleaner, but because the little scrubby brush is sturdy enough for me to use it to scrub all 3 toilets, then throw it away. No nasty, disgusting, festering toilet brush. Ugh, I just involuntarily shuddered.
This next one makes me sad because it’s discontinued. Benefit “Touch Me Then Try To Leave” Cream. I have no idea what the ingredients were, and I don’t care. It was far too expensive (around $20 at Sephora) for me to buy regularly, but my hubby would buy it for me as a gift occasionally. It was a delicately rose scented cream that left my skin feeling like silk. It was heaven in a jar and I loved it so much. If I’d had any idea that it was being discontinued, I would have bought a whole case of it. Unfortunately, I had no idea since hubby & I haven’t bought gifts for each other in years, since our budget has been so tight for so long. I looked on Ebay but they are going for way too much when they are available. Boo-hoo. *sniff*
I used to like to get The Body Shop’s Shea Body Butter sometimes too. It was a little less expensive, but it’s really not in the same category as the Benefit cream. I loved The Body Shop in general, I could spend a half hour just walking around the store. The closest one is an hour/hour and a half from us, and I haven’t really bought anything since our budget took a beating a few years ago when I stopped working. I suppose The Body Shop is fairly “green” but I haven’t looked into it.
The real reason I mentioned The Body Shop. All this talk of discontinued stuff makes me weep for The Body Shop’s Olive Glossing shampoo & conditioner. I had received a sample of it, and loved it so much that I trolled Ebay for it, buying any time it was cheap, or when The Body Shop had great sales. If I find some on Ebay, I might be tempted to pay far too much for it and ration it out over the next year, LOL. Um, so you guys would probably think I was under the weather if I managed to write a personal post without rambling & going off on a tangent, oopsie, hee hee! Back to the subject!!
Another not-so-green personal care product I loved was Biosilk Silk Therapy shampoo, conditioner & treatment. I would buy it in bulk from Ebay and refill the bottles so it wasn’t as expensive as buying from a salon. Made my hair so shiny, soft and smelled so good!
This one I’m actually still using. I tried the got 2 b smooth operator products through a Bzzagent campaign and loved them, then got a deal at CVS where I got a few bottles pretty much free. I’m almost out and I’m sad.
There’s other little things, like lotions and toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics etc. that I’m having a hard time letting go of the mainstream stuff. Not because I’m super attached to the stuff I use, but because the natural stuff is so darn expensive. When it comes to my kids, there’s no question. When it’s for me, I just can’t bear to part with my greenbacks.
OK, so you got it. A full confession. Hopefully I won’t be judged too harshly. I’ve found that sometimes people in the cloth diapering/AP/”green” circle can come across as judgmental and downright rude, even if they don’t mean to be. I have an upcoming post in mind about something similar. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again “build bridges, not walls,” as Jennifer Labit says. I’m taking baby steps and getting greener every day, so hopefully I don’t lose my crunchy mama card because of a few mainstream products in my cabinets.
We are all at different stops on our journey, and I don’t think anyone is “better” or deserves some kind of award because they are “greener” than someone else. I welcome everyone no matter where they are, hoping to just share information and help them take another step!
Are there things you’re working on to make your family “greener?” Are there any “mainstream” products you’re having trouble letting go of?
FTC compliance: I paid normal retail prices for all products mentioned or pictured. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.
Making Babies is Wacky & Weird (Don’t Worry, I Don’t Mean the Actual “Making”)
Given the fact that I’m in my thirties, 35ish+ weeks along with my third child, and have taken biology, you’d think this would be old hat to me by now. But it’s not. I still find human reproduction to be wacky and amazing. Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) you have to admit, it’s pretty darn miraculous.
Two “cooks,” two “ingredients,” one “oven” and 40 weeks (give or take) and you’ve baked an actual, honest to goodness, bona fide human person. From scratch.
I swear I’m not completely stupid. I had ultrasounds with my first two, so I was actually able to see them moving all around in my uterus. All 3 have had hiccups, done somersaults, and caused alien-like ripples and weird corners on my abdomen. Towards the end of my pregnancy with my son, I could feel his rhythmic practice “breathing.”
Still, the enormity didn’t hit me until I was holding my babies in my arms. In fact, I think my first thought after giving birth the first two times was “holy sh&^, I had a baby.” You’d think yeah well, duh. What exactly did you think was happening? I don’t know, I really don’t. I guess the reality just didn’t hit me until then!
I still look at my kids sometimes in wonder & amazement. I can’t imagine my life without them, yet just a few short years ago, I didn’t know who they were. I know how much of our traits are “nature” vs. “nurture” is debatable, but so far my children were born with their own, distinct personalities.
Sometimes I put my hand on my belly and I wonder who this little baby is? Are you a boy or a girl? Will you look like your brother & sister? Will you like your spaghetti with sauce, or without?
I know I’m a crazy, hormonal pregnant lady but I’m just so humbled and awestruck. So grateful for two healthy children. So honored to be called their Mommy.
My husband has suffered from awful acid reflux for years. It was actually an allergist that discovered that his constant coughing was largely caused by acid irritating his throat (combined with post nasal drip.) He had tried all of the over-the counter remedies like Tums, Rolaids, Zantac, Prilosec, Prevacid etc. Zantac took the edge off a little, but the only thing that really worked was prescription Nexium. With all of the OTC alternatives available, our insurance at the time refused to cover it. At $150 for 30 pills, he only took that for a month!!
Anyhoo, when I was pregnant with my son, I had horrible, horrible acid reflux that gave me new found sympathy for my husband. I have no idea how he ever lived with that. He has found that when he’s not as overweight, eating a healthier diet, exercising and avoiding alcohol (ha, like that happens) it isn’t as bad. Unfortunately for me, the only thing that “fixed” it was giving birth!
The acid isn’t quite as bad this time. With my son, I was trying to sleep sitting up, since the acid was too terrible if I was reclined, but then my neck ended up all scrunched up and I woke myself up snoring. As you recall, I went to an OB and gave birth to him in the hospital. The OB told me to take 150 mg of Zantac 2x daily preventatively, and it was combined with 40 mg of prescription Prilosec when that wasn’t enough towards the end. Even then, it wasn’t enough to make it go away; it was just enough to make me able to get through the day. Anything & everything exacerbated it, no matter what I did or didn’t eat or drink. I was absolutely assured that it was 100% safe, only to recently discover that Prilosec is associated with fetal heart defects (I saw that on one of those junky TV/internet class action lawsuit commercials, so I don’t know how valid it is.)
It’s not as constant this time, but at times I feel like (TMI) I have acid right in my throat that I will vomit at any moment. Heaven forbid I have to bend over to get something, I feel like I will leave a puddle of acid on the floor.
So as my hubby has watched me suffer, he keeps saying “I’m telling you, just use my trick and it will be gone.” His trick is about 1/2 of a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a little bit of water. He told me it was nasty, but you’d let out a big belch and feel all better within a few minutes. Uhm, no.
Eventually, I was having such a miserable, acid-filled evening, that I gave in. He was right, it was disgusting. I dissolved the baking soda in just enough water, downed it, and had another glass of water ready to chug. It tasted like a mouth full of ocean water. (note: given that a teaspoon of baking soda has 51% the RDA of sodium, I seriously doubt this is a good/healthy thing to be doing regularly, LOL.)
We sat down on the couch and every time I shifted, he looked at me expectantly. I told him that if I bubbled over like an elementary school volcano science experiment, it was his fault and he was cleaning it up! Eventually a burp snuck up on me and the acid was somewhat relieved, but it was by no means gone. I’ll not be doing that again, LOL.
Has anyone ever told you a bizarre or unusual home remedy (for heartburn or whatever else) that they swore by?
2015 edit: The title of this was supposed to be tongue in cheek since when I wrote it, this was a hot topic. If you want the TL;DR what I actually think is that you made the right choice for your family. That’s it. When I started writing my weekly “personal post” on Wednesdays, I swore I would stay out of controversial subjects. So much for that. I’ve been seeing this come up so much, that I just can’t keep my mouth shut anymore. I’m not even sure if this post is an “opinion,” it’s just a whole lot of me rambling…not that me rambling is anything new. Definitely not intended to point fingers at anyone etc. etc.
Jennifer Labit (founder/owner of Cottonbabies) wrote an article about cheap cloth diapers and I agree with her 100% about why Cottonbabies products are worth the price, and why they can’t compete with the cheapies as far as price point (the Cottonbabies’ family of products are some of the most reasonably priced “name brand” cloth diapering products out there in my opinion.)
The Diapershops blog posted an article about why you shouldn’t buy cheap cloth diapers, and while I actually agree with a lot of what they said, I think it could be taken as judgmental, even if it wasn’t intended to be.
If you haven’t been here with me since the beginning of my journey, you won’t necessarily know that I started my stash with 3 Bumgenius 3.0 cloth diapers “just to try,” then bought 3 more a few days later. I had a pack or so of disposables left over, and to use as few of them as possible, I washed diapers twice per day. Yep, really. I would wash 3 diapers at a time and often tumbled them dry so they were ready before I’d used the other 3. $100ish investment, and I still actually have a pack of disposables in my son’s closet (it’s been two years.) My husband sold blood plasma as often as he could, so we could pick up some extra diapers. My Mom gave me a Kelly’s Closet gift certificate for Christmas that year and I was able to pick up a few more diapers & accessories with that, then I slowly added to my stash as I could, staying under my monthly budget for disposable diapers.
When I was coming up on the 1-year mark, Cottonbabies’ awesome warranty replaced half of those original 6 diapers for me, since the hook & loop closures were showing that I had washed them a zillion times! I probably put two childrens’ worth of wear on those puppies!
So, do I have a point? Well, lots of people have written posts about cloth diapering on a dime. The Eco Chic wrote about how to cloth diaper your baby for $50. Dirty Diaper Laundry’s flats challenge showed that you can cloth diaper even without a washing machine. Other people have shown how you can “diaper” your baby with things you have around the house (blankets, towels etc.)
I’m being realistic here. Sure, if I were in the position where I literally had to choose between food and diapers for my children, I’d make something work. However, I was hesitant to invest over $50 in 3 diapers, when I had no idea whether cloth diapering was going to work for us. I really recommend not buying a huge stash of a brand you haven’t tried, since you never know what will work for your baby, but buying one here and one there like I did, does put a lot of stress on you to hurry up and wash them & get them ready to use again.
OK, so the obvious answer would be to have a few pockets for Daddy, Grandma, babysitters, daycare etc. and fill the rest of your stash with prefolds or flats, and inexpensive covers. I’m going to be totally honest here and say that I just don’t know if we would have stuck with that. Velcro closure pockets were an easy transition from disposables, and we’re not “afraid” of prefolds now, but I don’t know that we would have jumped right in to folding and snappi-ing prefolds as easily. Now, I know I have readers who started out that way and did just fine. You rock. I’m just being honest about what would work for our family.
There are used cloth diapers out there, but not everyone is comfortable with that. Then, there are these cheap diapers, where you can get a full stash of diapers for $100 or so. I haven’t used any of these $5ish diapers that are sold under several names, so I don’t have an opinion about the fit, function or longevity of the “cheapies” that are usually being referred to. I’ve heard some people say that they were great, others said they weren’t so great. Naturally I have some concern about their quality, safety of materials used, working conditions in the factory where they were made and so forth. I haven’t done any research about that, so I don’t know.
Personally, just for me I was happy to scrimp and save, and do what I could with fewer diapers, so I could have good diapers with a great track record, customer service and warranty. I have also been so, incredibly blessed to have received so many diapers to review in the past year or so. That means my stash grew without shrinking my bank account, and I don’t have to rush to wash diapers anymore. 2014 note I donate all diapers I receive for review but am grateful that those review diapers helped me in the beginning as I was building my stash. I was able to donate diapers, as well as pass some on to a friend. If I were still trying to get by with a day’s worth of diapers, I might have a different outlook.
My husband and I have joked that we’re too poor to have convictions. We’re not really “poor” but we just don’t have the financial means to say I will only buy such and such products or only products that were made in the U.S. etc. We have to balance our desires with our wallets. We use mostly reusable products, in large part because they are affordable in the long run. My cloth napkins were the only purchase of reusable products that didn’t actually save us money.
My husband’s “two cents” was that cloth diapers aren’t much different than, say, performance bicycles. You don’t want to start out with a super-expensive bike, but then again, you don’t want to start out with a total piece of junk (or something difficult to use/that frustrates you) that turns you off from the whole thing.
So where am I going with this? I keep going round and round in circles. Well, I just keep coming back to the signature in Jennifer Labit’s/Cottonbabies’ emails “We believe in building bridges, not walls.” I prefer Bumgenius diapers, and I got by with fewer diapers vs. buying a whole stash of cheapies. (I didn’t know about the cheapies then, or I may have been tempted.) Others may make another choice. So what.
It’s easy for me to say what someone should do when I haven’t lived their situation. Shoot, even if you have, your experience isn’t necessarily the same. A younger, more hip Mom would quote Lil Wayne here “We walk the same path but got on different shoes.” What if I were working full time, and daycare would only take pocket/one piece diapers? Would I want to stay up late every night trying to wash & dry diapers for the next day? Buy disposables for daycare? What if my son’s skin couldn’t handle being wet from prefolds or flats (it really can’t…we have a few diapers that don’t have stay-dry inners, but they are rotated out with stay-dry diapers.)
What’s my point? Do I even know what my point is (not really)? Well, my point (I think) is that while I see the value in name brand diapers, beyond the label, I respect those who make different decisions, and I refuse to point fingers or belittle people because they made different choices. I’m not saying that people who are making a case against “cheap” diapers are doing that, but it can come across that way. I’m used to the “wall” between cloth diapering and disposable diapering moms (along with every other parenting choice!) but good heavens, do we really need another wall between cloth diaper users? Edit: I still do not judge those who use “cheap” diapers. That said, the RDA’s co-op report has opened my eyes to how illegal co-ops affect cloth diapering. My post about illegal cloth diaper co-ops is much more strongly worded than my average post, and some took it as judgement of those who use cheap diapers. Not so. 🙂
(The other “walls” I’m referring to are the “I’m greener than you” argument that seems to come up about various subjects and products, along with the “detergent police” and the buying WAHM vs. “big name” arguments…among several others!)