Thursday, June 26, 2008

Preserve Toothbrush

Recently, I was given a Preserve Toothbrush to try out. Have you heard of these? The handle is made of 100% recycled plastic and when you are done with it, you ship it back to them in a postage paid envelope that they provide and they recycle it for you. Couldn't be easier.

They have a partnership with Stonyfield Yogurt that allows them to pick up used yogurt cups as well as the scraps from Stonyfield's plant in New Hampshire and they turn them into toothbrushes, razors and tongue cleaners! Also? The plastic case that it comes in is sturdy enough to keep and use as a travel case for your toothbrush, complete with tiny air holes to keep nasty mold away. I will say that the 45 degree angle curve of the handle took me some getting used to but there are certain parts of your mouth that it just reaches better.

I was curious to see what else this company has to offer so I browsed their site a little and found these cool little cutting boards!

You can find these Preserve Toothbrushes at Target for just over $2 each but if you can't wait that long or (Heaven forbid!) don't live close to a Target, I have one extra to give away! Just leave a comment here before Sunday, June 29 at midnight and I'll draw one random winner for the toothbrush! Don't forget to leave an email address where I can contact you.

I almost forgot to tell you! You can get a coupon for Preserve toothbrushes here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recipe for Clean

Here is one of the recipes I came across for making your own cleaning supplies. If you have others, I'd love to hear them! I'll post more soon. I've found so many that use Borax but I'm still trying to decide if that is something that's really safe for me to use in a house with small kids.

You will see that a lot of them use essential oils. These can be found online easily or at your local health food store. I've seen several at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, as well.

This is Gorgeously Green All Purpose Spray:

32 oz. Plastic Spray Bottle

2 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Distilled White Vinegar

1 Teaspoon Pure Castile Soap

3/4 Cup Hydrogen Peroxide

20 Drops Tea Tree Oil

20 Drops Lavender or Lemongrass Essential Oil

Fill the spray bottle with the water first. Then, add all the other ingredients and use! This is safe for acrylic, ceramic tile, wood, marble and granite.

Cleaning Products Question

Christy asked in a comment on a previous post:

Love the new design! I'm still trying to figure out household cleaners and laundry detergent...make my own? Buy all natural and organic? What do you do?

First, let me admit that this is yet another area where I'm still learning. I have used/am using several different products right now for cleaners. I'm still trying to use up the last of several of my former regular toxic cleaners. I just can't throw them out and they are all on the verge of being gone anyway. Having said that, I also have several great products that are not toxic that I'm trying out.

Barefoot Home Essentials was probably the first family/Earth friendly product that I tried. I love that this is a company run by parents who were concerned for the safety of their family and thus started their own business to help others who had the same concerns. I tried the All Purpose Cleaner and the Lavender Disinfecting Spray and liked both of them.

I've also tried various Method products with great success for cleaning.

I have run across several recipes for making your own cleaning products that I will post within the next couple of days. Some of them look pretty promising and the frugal part of me can't wait to try this! I also can't wait to share it with you guys so you can try it, too!

As for laundry, this is an area where I struggle. I have been brand loyal for years to two different laundry detergents and I'm finding it hard to experiment with something that is better for us. I know, I know. I just need to do it already. That's why I'm glad I have you guys. For the sake of answering this question, I did what I've been putting off. I'm actually researching laundry alternatives aside from the very bad mainstream detergent I've been using.

I have heard Soap Nuts recommended, although I can't testify to how well they work since I haven't used them yet. I'm definitely intrigued, though. Method and Seventh Generation also have well known Earth Friendly laundry products. I recently tried Method fabric softener and I'm loving it.

The other areas where I struggle to give up my old versions of products are in the bathroom. I have used the same shower and toilet cleaners for years and I'm antsy to try something new. Again, I'm still learning about products in these areas so I'm sure there will be more posts to follow this one.

I'd love to hear what you do! Do you have products that you love? Do you make your own?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Junk Mail, Part 1

There was a time when I loved getting catalogs. I loved to browse them and marvel at all of the pretty things that I would never have. It didn't occur to me that those catalogs that I'd peruse and then toss (and not even in the recycling bin...GASP!) were going to a landfill to sit. I never considered that thousands of trees were being wasted on my desire to window shop from the comfort of my couch.

I'm now disgusted with the amount of junk mail that comes into our house and I've been looking for a way to stop it. One obvious way to stop getting massive amounts of junk mail is to call or email individual companies and ask to be removed from their mailing lists. You may also call your bank and credit card companies and request that your information not be released for marketing or sales purposes. The Financial Modernization Act passed in 2000 gives you the right to do this.

Other things that may help you reduce the amount of junk mail that comes into your house:

1. Send a letter to the Direct Marketing Association at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 and they can reduce almost 75 percent of the mailings you receive.

2. Call 1-888-567-8688 and go through the automated system to remove yourself from the mailing lists of major credit bureaus for five years. This means that those ridiculous pre-approved credit card mailings will stop. Thank you, Lord.

Tomorrow, I'll post some reasons we want to to eliminate the junk mail overload from our boxes. You know, aside from the obvious.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I want to talk about composting. I don't do it yet but I'd like to when we move (hopefully this summer!) Do you compost? If you do, would you be willing to share your method?

Monday, June 2, 2008


It's only recently that I've become aware of parabens. They say ignorance is bliss and I was living proof of that until the past year.

Parabens are chemical preservatives that are very commonly used in cosmetics and other personal care products in the United States. Studies show that parabens can disrupt hormone function and are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream without ever being broken down by our bodies.

I'm not a scientist but none of this sounds good to me. Like I, or any woman for that matter, need one more thing messing with our hormones.

As with everything, there are also studies that say that parabens are harmless and that we should stop being paranoid. I would have been in that boat until recently. Then I read that parabens were found in breast cancer tumors. That possibility alone makes me want to be more cautious.

Here's an article with some interesting information:

"Measurable concentrations of six different parabens have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. The particular parabens were found in relative concentrations that closely parallel their use in the synthesis of cosmetic products. Parabens have also been found in almost all urine samples examined from a demographically diverse sample of U.S. adults."

Armed with all of this, I started looking through all of the products that I use on a daily basis. Almost every single product I use has at least one paraben listed in the ingredients. Even the yummy body cream I got for my daughter's eczema from Lush (a known earth friendly company) has two different parabens on the ingredient list.

Usually, they will be listed with the following prefix or suffix attached to paraben: methyl-, ethyl-, isobutyl. There are more but a good rule of thumb is that if you see the word paraben, think twice. The products on my shelf that were most likely to have parabens in the ingredient list were body lotions and cosmetics. Check yours out and let me know what you find!