I’m a hopeless romantic - I believe in soulmates. Organic food and Rock ‘N Roll are my happy. Good music soothes me. Singing and guitar are not the best of my talents. Books are my passion. Writing helps me escape while loving reality. Delicious food induces me to dance. Make me laugh and I‘ll return the favor. Magic is in everything - children are proof of this. I believe in fairies. I’m good to my word. I am nonsense and reason rolled in sugar and arsenic.
I may not be the biggest fan of cloth diapering, mostly because it is bulky and looks uncomfortable for baby, as well as restricts some movement. But I do a mix of organic cloth and Nature Babycare disposable. Disposable when we leave the house especially in the winter so he can wear pants, and during play time lately for more mobility. If you don’t cloth diaper but want to, it’s not as overwhelming as I thought it was. Super simple actually, there’s just a lot of options out there. This is the route I chose to go.
GroVia Cloth Diaper Shell – Snap covers are my favorite that I’ve tried so far. The feel of the fabric is nice. Once my baby started sitting up, I loosened the size in the waist so it doesn’t dig into his tummy.
I am not a big fan of their inserts, but I purchased GroVia Organic Cotton Soaker Pad for night time use because they are easy to pull out and snap in.
Then I purchased 12 Dandelion Diapers. 100% Organic Cotton We go through 6 a day at age 3 months, A LOT more at the newborn stage (about double) so I used bamboo disposables at that point. I suggest buying a size up based on your baby’s weight due to shrinkage after the initial hot wash 5 times and dry. I LOVE prefolds. There are many ways to fold them inside the diaper cover, but my favorite way is the angel fold. Has kept poops in with no trouble. I personally am not a fan of the Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners, but I have them. The reason being is that they aren’t stretchy when on and don’t look comfy for a baby that can sit up. They aren’t necessary for not so mobile babies, but will probably come in handy when they start crawling and running around.
Check out 6 different types of fold on this mama’s blog: This West Coast Mommy
As far as cleaning diapers, this is a controversial subject. There are some die-hard cloth diaper nazis out there, but don’t let them get you down or stressed out. Do your research and you will find the method that works best for you and your little one. I pre-rinse diapers in cold water right after they’ve been soiled and then hang them until I’m ready to start a load. I use cold water with NaturOli Soap Nuts for the 2-3 day washes, but hot water for the bi-weekly wash. I have had no issues with staining or stink or diaper rash.
After all that. My FAVORITE thing is CLOTH WIPES! I love them. I didn’t think I would because it seems like a PITA, but it’s so awesome because they clean so well and I know what’s going on my baby’s skin. I bought one 12 pack of BabyKicks Organic Cloth Baby Wipes. I only use 3-4 wipes max for a poo, an occasional wipe after pee. I rinse those as well and wash them with the cloth diapers. I looked up several wipes solutions and decided to just try something super simple, that cleans, and doesn’t cause a rash. And because he’s still a baby, something without essential oils because I don’t like to use them on such little guys. Don’t get me started on my disdain for Lavender EO. ANY WAY. This is what I have come up with and absolutely love. I make a big batch and put it in a 5 liter beverage dispenser, but this recipe is smaller and you can multiply the batch. I put the solution in a smaller jar or a squirt bottle (I’m sure you mamas recognize it) for my Diaper Caddy. Then when I need it, I either squirt the solution on the wipe or dip it in the jar. Then I put the dirty wipes on super old prefold I had from when the twins were babies to carry them to the sink for rinsing.
However for on the go, I use these Aleva Naturals Baby Wipes. Many complain about how they are dispensed, but I really don’t care that sometimes I pull out a clump of wipes instead of one at a time. They work.
To eliminate odors from your body, the best way to start is by eating foods that improve your overall health and drinking plenty of water. But everyone has those moments where they could use a little extra help. But why use store bought deodorants that contain parabens and carcinogens, especially for women and applying them so close to the breasts? Ingredients in most commercial deodorants have been linked to breast cancer and alzheimers. So let’s do something beneficial for our bodies. For example; Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is 89% silica, something our bodies require. The health benefits and uses for DE are numerous, but for the skin, it helps prevent irritation and soothes dryness. I also use it in my son’s new eczema lotion I came up with (recipe coming soon). If you haven’t purchased an organic/natural, aluminum free deodorant yet, or have and have not had success with them, give this homemade one a try.
Homemade Graham Crackers. This recipe is pretty flexible. I am currently working on a gluten free recipe, until then, here’s this one which has lower gluten because I used spelt flour (an ancient grain) and gluten free oat flour. (Vegan option in recipe.)
(click image for link to purchase the popsicle molds)
I had seen this electrolyte drink recipe being passed around on facebook composed mostly of citrus juices and it just didn’t seem like enough. So I decided to do some research on healthy ingredients that provide a good amount of electrolytes and minerals. This is what I’ve found:
- Coconut Water is high in electrolyte minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Bananas also contain potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. .
- Himalayan Crystal Salt contains essential minerals, including sulphur, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, sodium and chloride. It also balances the body’s pH level through its alkalinizing effect.
- Oat Milk contains riboflavin B2, thiamin B1, vitamin C, patothenic, vitamin b6, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamins A, E and K. There is a high calcium content as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium. It is high in fiber and only has good fats present.
These were all ingredients I always keep in stock, so I set out to make something yummy for the kids. Of course the Himalayan salt added a salty flavor so I needed to add a little sweetener to tone it down a bit. However, I did like it salty, the kids, not so much. So I decided the sweetener I would use was organic coconut sugar. And the recipe was complete.
Here in Germany, oats are called Hafer. So while it’s awesome and looks like I got me some Hater Drink, it’s actually Hafer.
Dairy can be a trigger for eczema flareups, so I have eliminated dairy from my son’s diet. Unfortunately, he loves cheese and yoghurt and milk. Mostly yoghurt. I was determined to find him a dairy free alternative. I couldn’t find any pre-made where I am located so I decided to make some. I searched recipes and listened to others’ suggestions. Armed with what I felt was enough knowledge, I purchased a yoghurt maker from Amazon because I didn’t want to mess up even though everyone kept telling me how easy it was to make it without one (using a crock pot, the oven, hot towel methods, etc.). After making yoghurt several times, there is one thing I can recommend if you go the yoghurt maker route: get a large batch maker instead of the individual jars. This is the one I got: Dash Yogurt Maker. They look cute and all, but it’s a PITA. However, I have it now so I will continue to use it. I failed the first 2 times making this yoghurt in that I was very displeased with the runny texture. So I found that refrigerating the coconut milk and only using the cream that rises to the top gives me the nice thick texture we love. But I added an extra option for those who like their yoghurt extra thick.
One day, I realized that I’d tell my kids not to touch something or walk on the floor because it was ‘poison’ after I’d cleaned it. I thought, “Why am I using poisonous chemicals to clean my house?” and decided to go with homemade natural cleaning products. Now I don’t have to worry about my children touching anything after I’ve cleaned!
I use Skoy brand towels and love them. No more need for paper towels as these are reusable and durable. The microfiber dusting towel and lint free window towel were found at the commissary in the cleaning aisle.
The containers are Ball brand plastic freezer jars. Mine are an older version of the ones I linked.
The spray bottles and scrub brush are from IKEA and were about $1 each. The caddy is also from IKEA and was maybe $3. I don’t recall the price exactly.
As for laundry detergent, I do not make my own. Instead I use Soap Nuts. I buy an organic brand in Germany.
To make a safe hand soap for my son with eczema, I buy Unscented Castiile Soap with Cocoa Butter. If you don’t have sensitive skin, the scented versions of this castile soap should be fine. I mix about 3 parts water to 1 part of the soap then put it into foam dispensers. I do not use castile soap for cleaning products because I found it leaves a waxy coating on surfaces.
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Green Dish Soap
- Essential Oils (lemon, lavender, tea tree, mint etc)
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Olive Oil
I keep a jar of borax, vinegar, and baking soda in my caddy for just in case I need extra. I usually add vinegar and borax to the toilet and let it sit in the bowl while I clean the bathrooms, then scrub with the toilet brush at the end.
I made this image to save to your phone or tablet for quick reference. I make the all purpose cleaner in bulk using old vinegar gallons because I go through it very quickly. Then I just refill the spray bottle.
We bought a small pool for the kids at the Toys R Us in Germany. It was only 50 Euro and came with a filter and while it was small, it was just perfect for the kids to have a refreshing summer in the yard since we have NO AC in our house. It may as well be hell.
We had only purchased one packet of ‘kinder safe pool cleaner’ and I decided to move the pool off the grass and onto the patio for a more even surface. Of course I had to dump out the pool and I sat and thought about what to put in it to keep it clean-ish and safe. Remembering how the ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) baths helped my son a bit, I decided to put some in the pool. Before letting the kids out, I of course needed to put sunblock on them and made some from scratch, modifying a recipe from Wellness Mama. Basically a lot of butters and oils that I will share. So with a mixture of the sunblock and the ACV and 3 hours in the pool and then a rub down of my homemade lotion concoction before bed … my son’s eczema almost completely cleared up. No sunburn and a nice tan, aside from the white spots where he was originally red. His skin is smooth and he hasn’t itched for 2 days. He said he feels AMAZING and doesn’t itch at all. Downside, BEES LOVE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! After the kids got out, there were at least 50 bees drowning themselves in the pool and drinking from around the filter. So my husband emptied the pool out for me and I started again, this time using Dead Sea salt, which I hear is also good for eczema and keeping pools pretty clean. So if you want to do the ACV be prepared for bees.
Original Sunscreen Recipe
I left out the Zinc Oxide because while I did order it and do have it, it didn’t arrive for a month and I was still wary of adding it to the sunblock.
I left out essential oils, unnecessary for our needs.
I added 2 TBSP Avocado Butter for extra sun protection.
Many mothers have asked me “How do you do it all?” The short answer? DETERMINATION. I have goals as a mother and wife and homemaker and to get them done I NEED to be organized and scheduled. And I have what I call “Mild OCD” or my husband likes to call, “Fricken ANNOYING.”
So this is how I roll:
- I plan my to-dos. I usually do this on Saturday or Sunday evening, figuring out my week in advance keeps me on track for things I absolutely have to do. Tools that help me stay on track:
- iPhone’s iCal which I sync to my email calendar that my iPad and my husband’s phone is also synced to. That way he is in the know of appointments, trash days, and what’s for dinner. I plan all my dinners in my iCal and use ZipList.com and their app to keep all my family’s favorite recipes in one place. Then I add the ingredients I need into my ZipList and place them in their specific store (I shop 5 stores). I add breakfast and lunch staples as well after the dinner must haves are listed. This eliminates food waste as well! And prepping your food for the week cuts down your prep times. I do this as soon as I put all my groceries away. I hate doing it, but I do it any way.
- To let me know what I need to do for the week, I use my Home Routines App. I schedule each day by what needs to get done (Monday; clean and laundry, Wednesday; crafting or baking day, Saturday; grocery shop, etc) and then add what I have to get done that week to my to do list in the app. Bake cookies for the unit bake sale (lol, like I would do that), make more lotion, weed the garden and so on. Note* I do plan for the unexpected and have learned how to be more flexible with my schedule. One thing that is ALWAYS made time for is my workout. The times when I do it differ depending on if it’s summer break or during the school year or even leaving for a mini vacation or trip.
- I wake up early. Any time between 4:30 and 5:30 AM. Now that I’ve planned my week, I need to maximize my time. I know many are not morning people, but after 2 years, I have trained myself to become a morning person. 24 hours in a day is just not enough, and I lose 8 of those hours getting the ever important SLEEP. So that leaves me with 16 hours in which to be productive and get shite done. Having this extra time before the kids wake up gives me either time to work out or make lunches. I empty the dishwasher and begin breakfast, cleaning as I go and reloading the dishwasher with the newly dirtied cook ware. The kids have chores and one of theirs is to clean up the table after each meal. That includes wiping down the table and chairs. This way they bring me the dishes and I load the dishwasher, keeping my kitchen counters and table clean right away. One annoying task out of the way. Then I’m free to get on with our day.
- I keep it neat. If I let messes build up, the task becomes more daunting. As soon as a mess is made, I clean it up, or make the kids clean up if they’ve made the mess. Wiping down sinks and mirrors, vacuuming or wiping up a spill on the floor, toys that aren’t played with must be put away, little quick chores that make my deep cleaning Mondays a lot easier. That and my carrying case of green, homemade cleaning supplies. (I’ll post about those later). After dinner, vacuum under the dining room table to get up the crumbs. Clean up as I cook for every meal. There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing a sink full of dishes, so as soon as the dishwasher is loaded after dinner, I start it right away. A bonus of keeping it clean is unexpected guests. We all hate it when they just ‘drop in’ to say ‘hi’ and then one wonders what their motives really are. Oh well. At least the house is clean, can’t judge me today, Sally!
- I keep the laundry in check. Every Monday, I wash EVERYTHING. Bed sheets, towels, rugs, all the clothes. While the washer and dryer are running I am being productive in my cleaning. Luckily, my husband and twin daughters now put away their own laundry. I place their baskets in their room and they put it away themselves. I still put away mine and my son’s laundry, but he actually tries to help put away his own. Having my family help with their laundry accomplishes two things: 1. Keeps them aware of how often they change in a day and 2. Makes laundry day less stressful for me. No wanting to throw every item of clothing into the trash instead.
- I plan for the next day. I recap what needs to be done tomorrow at the end of each day. If I need to defrost meat for tomorrow’s dinner, I pull it out of the deep freezer and put it in the fridge and get the prepped foods for it ready to go. If it’s during the school year, I make sure the kids have their bookbags packed for the next day and figure out what they will have for lunch so when I wake up in the morning, I can put it together quickly and get their lunch bags packed in no time. If I have an appointment, I make sure to have the necessary things ready like paperwork for school or doctors, etc. And then we go into our bed time routine.
- I go to bed early. I mentioned I need those 8 hours of sleep, so if I’m waking up early, I HAVE to go to bed early. I’m usually tired by 9:00PM any way! I’m OLD! But usually after dinner and things are cleaned up and everything is ready for the next day, we get the kids showered and in their PJs. Books are read or I Love Lucy is watched or Wizard 101 is played for a bit. We make a bit of extra family time during the week days too! It’s IMPORTANT. Once the kids get to bed, the husband and I have a moment to talk or just spend time together, and then WE go to bed. Then next day begins! I’m not always that enthusiastic about doing it all over again. But the weekends are for fun and it’s my ‘mini-break’. If we stay home, I still keep it neat and if we leave the house for an outing, I make sure the house is straightened up before we leave. I find it irritating when I come home to a mess after a fun, tiring day. The last thing I want to do is clean.
So this is the shortened version of how I find the time to get it all done. If I get too detailed and include my schedules down to the minute, it would take up pages of blog if you are like me, you most likely wouldn’t read it. It may not work for everyone, but it really works for me.
My son has eczema. It seems to be flaring up a lot more now that it’s allergy season. I wanted to make him something that he could take to school and wouldn’t be messy to apply to his face. He has a small spot near his mouth that needs to be consistently moisturized. So I decided to make some lip balm for him and the family. I purchased these empty containers from Amazon (of course!). Empty Lip Balm Containers I have a stock of organic, fair trade butters and oils for use in making deodorants and lotions already, so I used what I had on hand. There are 11 pictured here, my son has taken one of his tubes to school. You can decorate them if you like. I used wrapping paper and some packing tape and wrote the kids’ names on the backs of the labels as well. This mixture has kept my lips soft for hours. I put it on before bed last night and woke up with still moisturized lips! Let me know what you think if you make it as well. For added sun protection, add a bit of avocado butter.