Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great BFing Article

I have shared this a couple times on my Facebook page, but I just want to make sure all my readers have had a chance to appreciate this great article.


Breastfeeding in the Land of Ghenghis Khan by Ruth Kamnitzer

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Confession of a Green Mama

After almost 2 months of a leaky faucet, I finally realized my hubby was far too busy to be bothered with a small leak and that I would have to tackle the job of handy man by myself. Don't be fooled though, although I did spend an hour at Home Depot, it was my wonderful father who came to the rescue and installed a new kitchen faucet so this crunchy mama no longer had to explain to her son why I couldn't turn the sink off. "Mommy, you're wasting water!!!!"

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Just a simple blog to confess to my readers that I didn't take proper action soon enough when I noticed the leak. I guess I just thought my husband would fix the issue, but sometimes we have to take matters in to our own hands, or at the very least, enlist the help of a loved one!

Thanks dad!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A big thank you to gDiapers

The winner of the gWipes giveaway was Louise Brown! Louise won a full case of gDiapers new biodegradable, disposable gWipes. I have had a few random encounters with gDiapers recently and just want to say that the customer service is quick and courteous. I am happy to be cloth diapering my little pea in mostly g's these days and never worry knowing questions can be answered quickly through the gDiaper webpage or via email.

I will have another review up soon. Although it is not a gDiaper, I can say it is fluffy!!!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My new love for gWipes. Review and giveaway

It's no secret that I switch between cloth wipes and disposable wipes depending on my mood and the consistency of my little pea's poops. Some days it is much easier to use strictly cloth wipes and throw them right in to the diaper laundry, however, I have found myself searching through the house for that last disposable wipe. I finally finished the case of Costco wipes that were leftover from a year and a half ago when my little guy was still in pull-ups, and had occasionally purchased a package of wipes from Whole Foods, but this luxury was starting to get expensive. I was considering sticking strictly with cloth wipes when I made another great discovery. As I was searching through the new colors on the gDiapers website, I realized they also sold wipes. Their hypoallergenic gWipes were not only fragrance-free, alcohol-free and all natural, they were also biodegradable!

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I decided to only purchase one package to try out, and couldn't believe how much I liked them when they arrived. They were soft and wet, without leaving too much moisture on my little pea's bum. Although I have not quite finished the package yet, they have not dried out and continue to get the job done.

The wonderful people behind gDiapers are offering an entire case of gWipes for my giveaway. I can choose one reader to receive the entire case or 12 readers can each recieve one package, which is a great way to try them out. There are three ways to enter, and each entry is an additional way to win these fabulous biodegradable gWipes.

1.) fan Living Semi-Crunchy AND gdiapers via Facebook. Leave a post letting me know they're both "liked" and this is one entry.

2.) Follow my blog. Leave a post letting me now you're following and this is another entry.

3.) Leave a comment about why you too are semi-crunchy and haven't made the switch to cloth wipes. You can also let me know how much you love your gdiapers and have been wanted to try their gwipes!

Additionally, let me know if I should have one big winner or 12 smaller winners?! Good luck. I will select a random winner from all entries on Friday, October 8th at 9am PST.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making my own Dryer Balls!

I have been searching Facebook, Hyena Cart and Etsy for the perfect dryer balls. They all seem so wonderful, but I am terrible and making up my mind, so I decided I would attempt to make my own dryer balls. How hard could it be really? I found some classic wool at JoAnn's today that I will take with me on next weeks camping trip. I figured it was a good craft to bring along, small enoough to not take up too much space, and not too many little pieces to get lost.

Here are the colors I am going to start with.
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I'll check back next week and give an where they're at, if I actually had enough time while camping to work on them, and how they look. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 23, 2010

3 Things That Make Me Happy

I follow quite a few blogs, but recently started reading Samantha's 3 Things That Make Me Happy and today's post was about where you live. Although writing 3 things that make you happy may seem so simple, it makes you appreciate some of the small things in your life that you take for granted.

Here is a link to her blog. Take a moment out of your day to read a post and write 3 things you're happy for!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Diaper Sprayer or Shoot Me.

We are 6 months in to cloth diapering and the dreamy phase of washing the diapers has passed quickly with the introduction of solid foods. Gone are the days of EBF poop and not worrying about smells, or what went in to the washing machine. No, now my daughters diapers smell as bad as her daddy's, but unfortunately don't land in the toilet. Although I knew this day would come, I didn't quite understand how easy I had it and that the elusive diaper sprayer was needed more than I realized. Last night I found myself dunking my daughters cloth diaper in the toilet and swishing it around in order to loosen the poop. Never in a million years did I ever think this is where I would be. Standing over a toiler, full of poop, arm half way in, not even holding my breath.

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Honestly, even though the smell or idea of what I am doing doesn't bother me, this just CAN'T be the way other mama's wash their cloth diapers, right? Is the diaper sprayer really going to help that much? Would my washing machine really clog if I "accidentally" let a poopy diaper slip in to the diaper laundry?

Needless to say, I am in search of the perfect diaper sprayer. Unfortunatly, Kelly's Closet is out of the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer that I really wanted, so now I have to figure out where to get one. Until then I remain in good relations with our toilet and my daughters behind. I have become obsessed with the flushable liners and will hopefully have a diaper sprayer before we run out!

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Next week my family will embark on our 3rd annual camping trip to Russian River along with our good friends. Every year we pack up our cars as tight as we can fit them and drive up north and enjoy a few nights under the stars. We typically over pack while forgetting important things at the same time. Since both our kids and our friends children are the same ages, it has always been a trip geared mostly towards our sons enjoyment, but this year is already starting out much different with our 6 month old daughters in tow. Although I am extremely excited for this camping trip, I am equally apprehensive about how our babies will do in the heat and cold. Since the girls are not yet crawling or walking, keeping them confined may seem easier, but keeping them entertained will be a different story. At home we take advantage of an assortment of toys, rotate between the exesaucer and jumparoo and roll around on the playmate. What would a baby do with out these things while camping? If we had a hard time packing our car last year with two adults, a toddler, camping gear, food and clothes, how would it be possible to squeeze a baby, her carseat and all of her belongings in the same car? The answer? Simple, rent a Uhaul trailer! That's right. This year, while camping in tents we will have a Uhaul trailer carrying all the additional items we THINK we need but probably won't use. Sounds crazy right, but when you think about the things we will use for two 6 month old babies, it seems like the only reasonable thing to do.

The other thing that keeps coming up is how I will handle cloth diapering while camping. I had never thought twice about it since the camp grounds we stay out provide full size, coin washer and dryers. I figured I would bring mostly prefolds and covers and the dozen pockets I have and do a load a laundry while we're there, but then I thought about how messy my daughters poop has become and wondered how I would wash it? If I am at home I currently swish it in the toilet (I am eagerly waiting on my diaper sprayer), but I don't want to swish my daughters cloth diapers in the public toilets at the camp grounds, yuck! Then I thought about using the water hose, but then that means poop would be on the ground where we are actually camping and close to where our toddlers play, double yuck! So, then I considered using my gDiapers with biodegradable, flushable inserts. I'm still not exactly sure how or what I will be doing, but I know I need to figure it out soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lanolizing My Wool

I became a fan of wool covers as soon as I saw the custom made soakers by Little Leaf Boutique. I had purchased the "bunny luv" soaker second hand from a great mama on the BabyCenter Diaper Swap group and knew I needed to get my hands on another one ASAP. I worked closely with the WAHM, Jo Kay, to create a beautiful, original "Recycle Luv" soaker. These are the two I own currently...

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Needless to say I have had both wool soakers for a few months now and neither had been re-lanolized. Oops! I figured it was time when my daughter woke one morning soaking wet. One of the reasons I waited so long to lanolize my wool, was because I thought I had to search high and low for the right lanolin or wool wash. Little did I know that the items I needed were right under my nose. I did a google search and found Diaper Pin, had a great tutorial about making your own wash from baby soap and the leftover lanolin I had from early breastfeeding. This easy peasy step by step process took me less than a half hour, and they were ready to use the following day! Plus, her humorous approach makes the job fun!

If you're looking to lanolize, check your drawers for supplies before spending money.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Winners of the Tazzy Tote giveaways are...

After waiting patiently for my facebook page to reach 150 "likers" I am finally able to give away two packages of Tazzy Totes produce bags.

The first winner is Nicole Borkowski Penberthy who posted on the Living Semi Crunchy facebook page. The second winner is Samantha Holcomb aka star84vu who posted on the blog review of the Tazzy Totes produce bags.

I'm happy to extend these out to these wonderful ladies, but more importantly I am happy to share with all of you the importance of products such as Tazzy Totes. It's hard to believe how many plastic bags I used for bulk items on a weekly basis before them. I actually forgot mine today and had to use a plastic bag, eek!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Continuing my quest for a natural shampoo!

Shortly after posting about my Shampoo Saga on July 1st, my husband surprised me with products from one of his clients, Innersense Organic Beauty. Innersense, a local beauty company, had given my husband a shampoo, conditioner and hair gel to sample. Sweet! Little did they know that this mama was not only passionate about natural products, but dying for a natural shampoo/conditioner that worked well!

I was tempted to wash my hair that evening, but waited till the following morning. I used the Pure Essential Hair Bath and the Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner and after towel drying my hair I could already feel a difference from when I was using the previous "organic" conditioner. Plus, it scored in the green on the Skin Deep website, whereas the other product I reviewed was in the yellow because of fragrance. Gone was the oil slick in the back of my hair and the dry ends. My hair felt smooth and clean. I allowed my hair to air dry then ran a flat iron though it. It looked great.

It doesn't always happen that good products just fall in your lap, but in this case it couldn't have worked out any better. I have to admit that this company is one I had known about for years, but sometimes things right under your nose get overlooked. I'm glad they wanted me (err, I mean my husband!) to try their products. I am very happy I did, and I plan on buying from them again! Perhaps the healing oil next?

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Friday, July 23, 2010


Let me set the record straight. I have a black thumb. Not grey, not greenish, it's black. As I may have mentioned before, I have killed every plant that was given to me, every plant I bought and I've never been asked to water anyone's plants while they were on a vacation, even if said vacation was just a weekend trip. Most people know I am not good with plants. Luckily my husband never took this as a sign that I wouldn't be able to care for children. Either he took a chance or maybe he never really knew how bad it was!

Regardless, I love plants. Is this weird? I don't see it as weird at all. I love everything about gardening. I love shopping for plants. I love getting my hands dirty and I love they way they make a house look full of life and color. So even though I may kill every plant I come in contact with, it doesn't keep me from strolling the isles at Home Depot and grabbing things I don't need. Today is a perfect example. While there looking for a new window shade, I decided we needed some colorful cactus. An aloe vera plant, jade, some random flower looking cactus and of course a venus fly trap. I am attempting to replant all these in to the various pots I have from previous plants that did not make it. Hopefully this time will be different... fingers crossed!

If all goes well, I may take another stab at my herb plants I love so much. I love to death that is!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tazzy Totes - Giveaway

I have been using reusable shopping bags for almost five years now, courtesy of Wholefoods, but throughout this time I was always baffled at how I was supposed to handle my produce and bulk items. Last year I finally gave in and stopped using plastic bags for my produce, and only use small paper bags when I had many items, but what about my bulk items? I felt so un-crunchy every time I would reach for a plastic bag, and lets face it, I used bulk items pretty frequently. From various nuts, oatmeal, raisins, and all my cooking needs, I probably went through fives bags a week on average.

Then one day all my questions were answered when I came across Tazzy Totes produce bags. Tazzy Totes are a great alternative to plastic. They are reasonably affordable, come in a pack with 3 large bags and one small bag for smaller items such as herbs, and a Go-Green Marker so you can avoid the twist ties for bulk items, plus they are washable.

I searched through the Tazzy Totes website and was pleasantly surprised to see they offer much more than just produce bags. They also have cloth grocery bags, bottle totes and great canvas shopping basket!

I like these bags so much, I am going to do another giveaway to two of my readers. One will go to a lucky winner when my facebook page reaches 150 fans. I will also give one away to a random reader of my blog. Leave me a comment letting me know why you could really use the Tazzy Totes. I will choose the winners the same day.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

...and the winner is...

Jamie Messier!

Jamie won a natural vegan deodorant from Green Body Basics in the scent of her choice, as well as two sample scents!

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I can't wait to hear feedback from Jamie and see how she likes the natural deodorant.

Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My 1st Blog Award!

I am excited to announce I received my 1st blog award! After only a few months with my new blog getting a rather slow start, Kaley from ...a tale of three poags recognized me with a Sunshine Award!! I am not only excited to receive my first award, but it could not have come from a better mama! I recently started following Kaley's blog, and I have to say, it's the every day blogs like hers that I find myself wrapped up in for hours when I should be writing my own entries!

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so the rules are -
1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you (thanks Kaley!!!)
2. List 7 things that people may not know about you
3. pass the love to 15 deserving bloggers that you have discovered recently
4. let them know that you gave them an award

Here goes my 7 random things...

1.) My guilty pleasure is US magazine. I am a sucker for celebrity gossip *gasp* I have never subscribed since I think it's a complete waste of paper, however, I do get updates via facebook! lol

2.) I have a black thumb. I have killed EVERY plant I've ever purchased, planted or was given to me. Even a cactus.

3.) I am VERY forgetful. I forget at least one thing a day. I have been known to forget things at the grocery store... even while checking off of a list!

4.) I am a window shopper. I LOVE to spend one day, every week or so, in the mall just "browsing." I never actually buy anything during these hour long sessions! ...give me 5 minutes in Target or Whole Foods and I can do a lot of damage!

5.) I love crafts. I have many, many crafts started, some of which were started several years ago. Only a couple have been completed. Although I am capable of completing most of these things (scarf, shorties, a purse, scrapbooks), I find it impossible to pull any sort of craft box out while tending to two children. My 3 year old would have a field day with my scrap booking materials!

6.) I have a new (growing) passion for food. My husband is a creative cook with an eclectic pallet and I love learning from him.

7.) I am a doula in training! I completed my courses but can't take clients until my daughter is a bit older, but I can't wait to get in the delivery room! Birth, natural or not, is very close to my heart. I want to assist people in having their ideal birth!

The 15 blogs I pass this award to are:

1. A hui hou kakou
2. Teefers Treats (Barefoot in the Kitchen)
3. Cloth Chronicles
4. Connected Mom
5. Funky Fluff Lovin (look for her wipes on sale soon!!)
6. Life: Full of unexpected Happiness
7. Organic Deals and Coupons
8. Mandi's Menagerie
9. 52 weeks, making baby and toddler food
10. Cottontail Babies
11. Crunchy Clean
12. Etsy Cloth Diaper Team
13. Lesa Speaks Out
14. Little Martin Family
15. Following her Footsteps

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Art of Making Babyfood

Since having my son in 2007, I have tried many times to perfect my abilities at making baby food. Originally I would steam fruits and vegetables and puree them in a baby food processor, however, the time it took to steam and then clean up all the utensils I used was not only daunting, but down right annoying. I knew with baby #2, something had to change!

My sister-in-law had her second baby in May 2009 and shortly after, I visited her home and saw a new contraption resting on her counter tops. It was the Baeba Babycook. "Such a simple machine" she said, "but without it I would be taking twice as long to make homemade baby food."

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What is the Baeba Babycook? The Babycook is a steamer, blender, warmer and defroster. It can steam fruits and vegetables in 15 minutes or less and puree them all in the same compartment. Fifteen minutes or less? This was going to be good.

I waited until my daughter was almost 4 months old to purchase the Babycook from Giggle and prepped the machine the same day. I was so excited to use it, and after my first batch of sweet potatoes, I knew that the wait had been worth it! The sweet potatoes were as creamy as the store bought jars of baby food. It took me 15 minutes from the time I prepped the food to the time I was feeding my daughter. I have now made sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, green beans, parsnip and avocado and all of them have turned out creamy, smooth and delicious!

I don;t think it would be as easy for me to prepare fresh food daily for my daughter if it were not for the Babycook. It had really made my job easier!

Great Article about Chemical in CD's

I don't think I need to pursue any of my readers about the benefits of cloth diapering your little one, but it still surprises me how many people I know still use cloth diapers even after they find out what chemicals are used in making them absorbent.

My friend Valerie even pointed out that SAP (the absorbent gel) is banned from tampons because it increases the likelihood of toxic shock, but is still allowed to be in diapers. Really?!?!

Here is the link to another revealing article about disposable diapers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Truth about Fragrance

I have become an addict of the Skin Deep website and noticed that many of the products I buy at the natural food store have been scoring in the "yellow" category and that the biggest culprit that was keeping it from the "green" was FRAGRANCE!

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By Law, the ingredients of all products must be listed on all products. Fragrance "formulas" are considered trade secrets and so the ingredients in fragrances are not required to be listed individually. The word fragrance on any product could mean there are many products used to give it an odor, sometimes hundreds!

Fragrance "Free" or Unscented:

As a consumer, I believe a product labeled as fragrance free or unscented is just that, however, many products may mask odors with other chemicals and hide these within the listed word "fragrance."

FDA Authority over Cosmetics:

FDA is only able to regulate cosmetics after products are released to the marketplace. Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by FDA before they are sold to the public.

FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing. If, however, the safety of a cosmetic product has not been substantiated, the product's label must read:

"WARNING: The safety of this product has not been determined."

So as a consumer, I know it is my responsibility to read the label of the products I intend to use for myself, or my family, but I wonder how many other consumers really know the truth about fragrance?

U. S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Cosmetics Fact Sheet

February 3, 1995

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LSC's 1st Giveaway!!!!

I am pleased to announce that Living Semi Crunchy is having it's first ever giveaway to a lucky follower. Kristin Cox from Green Body Basics has graciously donated one of her naturally effective deodorant's and two samples smells. The winner will get to choose their scent of choice!

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I am so excited about this giveaway, because I think Kristin has a great product and I want my readers to have an opportunity to try it out!!

I will select a winner when my Facebook page reaches 100 fans. Send your friends over and let me know who you sent, or who sent you!

I am working on a few more giveaways that I am equally excited about ad can't wait to share more information. Stay tuned for details!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Shampoo Sago Continues

I had an earlier post about "No-poo'ing" and Onesta Shampoo, and I would like to give my readers an update. Not only did Onesta leave me (personally) with an oily slick in the back of my hair, but today my hairdresser asked if I had hard water. FYI, I have lived in the same place for a year and she has NEVER asked me this question before. Needless to say, it took me awhile to figure out what was wrong with my hair.

There is something else I should mention about Onesta Shampoo. They list "fragrance" in their ingredients. I recently found out that companies are not regulated by the FDA about what ingredients can actually be in "fragrance." The word fragrance can include some of the products trade secrets or other chemicals they don't wish to disclose in the body of the ingredients.

I emailed Onesta a month ago and let them know I had a previous review of their product and asked them exactly what they used for "fragrance." I didn't need to know any of their trade secrets, but was curious why they didn't want to be completely natural? They haven't returned my email!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rock the Soak

Although it had been months since I had purchased three different samples from Rockin' Green Soap, I had every intention on buying a bag as soon as I ran out of my Free and Clear (F&C). I didn't know much about Rockin Green (RnG), but what I did know is everyone in the CDing community was talking about it. I really liked the way the samples cleaned my diapers, but then again, most of my diapers were brand new at the time and in pristine condition. There wasn't much need for anything more special than the F&C I was already using. ...or so I thought!

Last week I finally placed an order of Lavender Mint Revival from Gloria at For Mom and Keiki. This was the first time I had used this site, but with free shipping and a package on my front door within three business days, I'm certain this is where I will make future RnG purchases!! I decided to "Rock the Soak" and boy was it worth it. I started with a cold rinse (no soap), then and overnight soak in hot water and 3tbs of RnG. I then followed it with two washes on hot water. I think one would have been enough, but two really did the trick. When I went to hang my diapers on the clothesline, I noticed IMMEDIATELY that there was no ammonia smell and there were NO stains on my diapers. I didn't even have to sun out stains!!! The diapers looked like I was prepping them for the first time. Best of all, my BumGenius organic AIO's weren't repelling water! Before Rocking a Soak I wouldn't put my BG organics on my daughter because it was leaving her tush really wet, but that isn't the case anymore!

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In addition to fresh diapers and non-repelling BG's, Rockin Green also helped get my dingy microfiber inserts squeaky clean! Overall, this was long overdue experience.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I heart fluff

Although I am ridiculously pationate about everything cloth diapers, I really don't want my blog to get derailed from the other great ways a family (or even single guy or girl) could live a greener life, so I wanted to introduce a fellow mama that does want to focus specifically on all things fluff. Tara is the creater of I Heart Fluff and has created a great website for other families that need some guidance when it comes to the confusing world of cloth diapering. With the help of fellow mama's, she has clearly outlined some of the tough questions such as types of cloth diapers, how to care for or launder, cloth diapering on a budget and of course how to get started.

I was excited that Tara loved my breakdown of cloth diapers and featured me in part of her website! Thanks Tara!

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So, although I will continue to stick my hand in a subject I am still learning myself, head on over to I Heart Fluff to check out all the great things Tara has to say about cloth diapers. You can even fan her on her facebook page here!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cloth Diaper Giveaway

I came across another great website the other day while cruising around Babycenter. Clothbaby.org is a place where mama's can sell their cloth diapers for free! I, obviously, am not currently sewing my own diapers, but it still gives me a great opportunity to support mom's who are working from home to support their families.

As I start to do more reviews about products I like and find useful for crunchy families, I would like to offer giveaways to my followers. Although I don't currently have a giveaway, Clothbaby.org is having a fitted giveaway that runs until July 5th.

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Head on over to Clothbaby.org for your chance to win a great mom made fitted and if your a WAHM looking for a free place to sell your cloth diapers!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cold Remedies while Breastfeeding...

Before you read this all the way through thinking I am going to give you the secret answer about what medicine you can take for a cold while breastfeeding, let me disclose this; I DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER!!!!

So here's the story. The day I came home from the hospital with my daughter I was terrible sick. I had the worst headcold known to man. I couldn't breath. My head felt like it was going to explode. I finally had enough and called the advice line of Kaiser and was told regular Sudafed behind-the-counter (BTC) was what I could have while breastfeeding. This was the first thing that confused me. I couldn't take Sudafed-D, which was sold to any Tom, Dick or Harry right over the counter, however, I could have the REAL stuff, the stuff that is kept BEHIND the counter with the pharmacist. I would have to show my ID and they would document I was buying this product. Why, because apparently people like to buy this product to make drugs with. Drugs, like Meth. Meth? Really? It was really okay for me to take this medicine while breastfeeding? Needless to say, I was on so much discomfort I (went back to the car for my ID) purchased the Sudafed and went on my way.

Now, let me remind you that I was less than a week postpartum. My milk supply was great (obviously), but quickly I started losing my supply. Why you ask, because Sudeafed is a pseudoephedrine, which reduces nasal congestion... it also reduces milk supply!!! What? Why would a Kaiser advice representative tell me it was okay to take it?

Regardless, I am posting this today because AGAIN I am faced with crazy sinus pressure, stuffy nose and a headache. I don't have anything in my medicine cabinet except for Sudafed. As it stares me in the face I am holding myself back from taking it and benefiting from what it can do for me.

So, the question for me remains, what cold remedies do you have while breastfeeding?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Green Toys

My mother-in-law has been known to buy green toys for my son. Last summer she found this great bucket and shovel for our trip to Hawaii and recently brought over a dump truck. The toys were from a company call Green Toys. I thought it was really neat that these products were made from recycled plastic milk jugs, so I decided to take a closer look and see what other great information I could find out about this earth friendly company. This is what I found from their website;

All Green Toys products are 100% made in the USA. To be more specific, they are produced in California, a state known for strict toy safety and environmental laws. It's cool to buy USA, but also think about this: transportation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses. We all know driving less is good for mother nature, but did you ever think about how many miles a toy logs before it ends up in your local store?

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Green Toys environmental mission even extends to our packaging. We strive to minimize packaging, and all of our boxes use as little material as possible. All Green Toys products are packaged in recycled corrugated boxes with no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties, and are 100% recyclable.

The best part about Green Toys was that they didn't just make toys. I was excited to stumble across their toddler utensils at Whole Foods for a reasonable price!
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You can check out their website Green Toys for additional toys, bowls, plates and more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Going Green and Saving "Green!"

There are many simple ways I have started to convert to a more "green" lifestyle, and some of the best ways have also saved me money. I decided to make a list, based on recommendations I found on various websites, of simple ways to save money while going green. This list is a work in progress and I may update or add additional ideas at any time!

1.) Turn off or unplug appliances. No matter how small or large, when an appliance is plugged in, it is still drawing power from the main power supply. Turn off your computer when you are not at home or when you are not using it. You can also put larger units, such as the television, DVD player, etc. on a power supply unit that can easily be switched off when not in use. Although this seems like a small task, we were able to reduce our monthly energy bill significantly when we turned off our computers!

2.) Turn off the lights! Although this is an old house rule, it can still reduce your lighting energy by 45%. While you're at it, make sure all your light bulbs have been changed to energy efficient, compact fluorescent or CFL's.

3.) Wash your clothes on cold water to save 85% compared to using hot water. Dry your clothes on a clothes line for added savings!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rockstar Fluff

The name says it all!!!!

I spend a lot of time wondering around Baby Center (BBC) and one of my new favorite groups is WAHM Wares, a group of Work-at-home-moms that create crunchy products right from the comfort of their own homes! I have a previous review of Green Body Basics natural deodorant (that I am still happily using) that I also found from the WAHM Wares group, but my newest sweet find, Rockstar Fluff. The owner, Tiffany, is a mom of 3 that just launched her new line on Hyena Cart in May. Her diapers are made of hand dyed bamboo velour and include a snap in soaker made of three layers of bamboo fleece and a layer of matching hand dyed bamboo velour. Tiffany also throws in a cute matching doubler!

I was excited to grab one of her slight seconds (a diaper that has a slight flaw, usually one that is hardly noticeable and never affects the function of the diaper) in a wonderfully soft, Hello Kitty pattern! I finally finished prepping this diaper last week and couldn't believe how squishy it was. The diaper is fully turned and top stitched for babies comfort and believe me, this diaper is comfortable!! She makes the wings wide, which makes for a great fit on almost any baby.

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This fitted is great quality. I am eager to fill my "stash" with more Rockstar Fluff, I just have to figure which of my other diapers I will have to sacrifice in order to fund any new purchases!

Rockstar Fluff

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do you buy it because it says "Organic?"

So, maybe you've watched Food Inc., or you've listened to a friend rant about eating organic and buying local, but what does all this really mean? Anyone can walk in to a regular grocery store, a wholesale shopping center or even a make-up counter at the mall and see the word "Organic" or "Natural" marketed all over packages, but is it really good for you just because it says it's natural?

Recently a good friend introduced me to Skin Deep, a website hosted by the Environmental Working Group that grades the ingredients in most over the counter cosmetics and gives an overall score for the safety of these cosmetics. Being that I am an avid Whole Foods shopper I was interested to see how cosmetic products such as sunscreen, shampoo, body wash, and lip gloss, measure up on the Skin Deep website. I was in need of body wash and as I stood in the isle of Whole Foods (for almost 30 minutes), I surfed the website for products that were in the green, or low hazard. Surprisingly, most of Whole Foods body washes were in the yellow, or moderate hazard, but why? I would expect to walk in to a health food store and trust that all my purchases were clean of any additives or preservatives. What on earth was causing these natural and organic products to be yellow? The answer, fragrance. Almost any product with fragrance automatically had a score of 3 or above, which meant yellow or moderate hazard.

So what is fragrance, and why is it score red individually in these products? It was scary what I found out! There is a loophole in the FDA's regulations that let's manufacturers of products like shampoo and body wash include almost any hidden ingredient or chemical in their product under the name "fragrance" without having to list it individually. The best way to avoid these companies that mask hidden chemicals in their products under the name "fragrance," search Skin Deep.

My next cosmetic need turned out to be saline solution for my contacts. I decided to research before wasting 30 minutes in the isles of Whole Foods, and started my search on the Skin Deep website. Skin Deep only has 5 reviews for saline solution currently and ironically the only solution in the green... CVS (generic) Saline Solution especially for sensitive eyes. Who would have thought that a generic formula could grade highest. Just goes to show, knowing your facts before hand really helps you make smart, financially wise, decisions.

What I learned... don't be naive and think every product that says it's organic is healthy for you. Don't buy something (or spend more money than you need to) just because it says it's natural. If you want to live healthier, research your products.

Check out Skin Deep before spending your paycheck on just any organics!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's the deal with "No 'Pooing?"

So as I scour the internet for my next crunchy find, I keep coming across information about "No 'Pooing." Sounds weird, right? Well it's referring to not shampooing your hair... still interested?

My hair is one thing that keeps me in the semi-crunchy category. I still color my hair every six weeks and I shampoo regularly as well. The "No-'Poo" method states that regular shampoo and conditioner actually strip your hair of it's natural oils, and that as your hair gets dirty over the day, the hair follicles are actually over compensating and making extra oil. Makes sense, so I read more. Individuals that participate in the "No 'Poo" method can use a combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash or cleanse their hair, but I just wasn't sure this was the method for me... so I went searching for the next best thing. A natural shampoo, if it existed.

The next time I went to the beauty supply store for my husbands hair product (not so crunchy either), I asked about a natural, organic shampoo and was ushered down the long rows of shampoos and conditioners until we came to Onesta. Onesta is a natural, plant based formula that is free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, propylene glycol, DEA, TEA, colors, dyes, animal testing, and animal ingredients. Wow, that's a mouthful of stuff that is NOT included! I liked the fact that 100% of Onestà’s energy consumption is offset by wind power, but was even more excited to learn the company donated 10% of it's revenues to Cancer research.

So, how is my hair? Not bad! It's not dry and feels healthy. I've only been using it for two weeks, but went back yesterday for the after shower hair serum. I look forward to buying more of their products as my hair products run out!

Onesta Natural Hair Products

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wholesome Baby Food

Since my daughter is almost 4 months old, I have been thinking more and more about solid foods. I know once we introduce solid foods like vegetables and fruits, I will make her baby food, but to start I wanted to give her rice cereal around 4-6 months to start with. I had never heard of making your own rice cereal before, but then I stumbled upon this awesome website!

Wholesome Baby Food

I can't wait to try this out. I really want to wait until 6 months to start solids, but this just may be a bit too exciting for me to hold off!!!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Food Inc changed my life.

I have been sick for the last few days and during that time I didn't eat much food. I really didn't have much of an appetite. When I do have an appetite, my husband and I usually turn to bread and cheese from the deli for a late dinner. Protein, like chicken and turkey only find their way in to our diets about 3 times during the week, this partially due to watching the much publicized "Food, Inc." Although I was never a big red meat eater, Food, Inc had a huge impact on my life. As a semi-crunchy mama to a hungry toddler, I had my fair share of stops through the drive-thru window at McDonald's for french-fries and chicken nuggets, but knowing what I was allowing my son to put in to his body, makes me upset for being naive and angry at the corporations that are allowed to "create" food the way they do. It just doesn't seem right to me that they have so much control over not only the food that they produce, but much of what is put in to grocery markets all over the country. For this reason alone, my family has decided free range, grass fed, non-antibiotic, organic chicken is the only chicken allowed to enter our bodies.

Although the younger generation of parents I surround myself with completely understands this lifestyle change, try explaining this to the generation of parents that came before us. My family has been committed to eating organic since 2007, and during that time, I always new my own mom wondered what all the fuss was about. Why spend more money on product that looks the same. Well, I had my mom and dad sit down to watch Food Inc., and although they were interrupted multiple times by my son, I'm pretty sure they walked away feeling different about where food really comes from. It's hard to watch the many scene's of slaughter houses, chicken houses and cruel conditions and still want to eat a McDonald's hamburger.

I think with may of the small changes I see my own peers making with their families, we may even see a small impact on the larger food corporations, but may not see the big change that is needed during our lifetime. What I can guarantee is that I educate my own family about healthy alternatives that we can eat without worrying about the affects on our bodies.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

How "crunchy" are you?

As I was strolling the Crunchy Mama's board on Baby Center tonight, I came across a cute little quiz. Since I am fighting a stomach bug, I figured it was an easy post tonight so I can spend time recuperating.

How Crunchy are you?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Cloth Diapering Addiction

As I venture further in to the exclusive world of cloth diapering, I have quickly become addicted to buying more diapers, finding the best deals, and stalking the newest patterns to add to my "stash." When I made the original commitment to cloth diaper our youngest baby, I immediately searched for stores in the area to buy new cloth diapers. Luckily for me, The Nurture Center in Lafayette sold BumGenius (BG) AIO's and 3.0's. As I would quickly learn, not many Mama's had the ability to buy from a brick and mortar location. Matter of fact, if I wanted anything other than BG, I would have to buy from online stores such as Kelly's Closet, Mom's Milk Boutique, Diva Diapers and Green Mountain Diapers. These stores sold big name brands such as BG, Fuzzi Bunz (FB), Happy Heinys (HH) and Thirsties, to name a few, but one thing these online stores rarely sold was work-at-home-mom (WAHM) diapers made right here in the US. Hyena Cart hosts many of these WAHM made diapers such as Bagshot Row Bamboo (BsRB), Cloth! is the new Diaper (CND!) and Bebe Britches. It was not unusual to see mom's on BabyCenter (BBC) posting that they were "stalking" these sites as new dipes were becoming available. Almost as quickly as the dipes were stocked, they were bought by mom's all over the country. The slightest of hesitation meant you wouldn't end up with the diaper you wanted. I learned this quickly when I was hesitant to spend more than $20 on a diaper that was adorable, but still required a cover. As soon as I had made my mind up, that it was in fact worth every penny, the diaper was gone. Another veteran mama got to it first.

There were other ways to find diapers. DiaperSwappers and BBC had communities of women who often sold their old cloth diapers or never been used diapers. Sure a never been used diaper from another mama with good feedback sounds appealing, especially at lower than cost, but would I really want to buy a used diaper to put on my new babies clean little tush? Although shopping from "The Swap" may not be for everyone, I will say I have found many great deals on brand new diapers and saved even more money for my family, and since my plan in life is to be a good mom, wife AND save the planet, then you better know I'll certainly be selling MY used diapers on The Swap!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Naturally Effective Deodorant

For the past few months, I have slowly been switching to products with natural, organic ingredients. I decided it was in my families best financial interest to switch things out as I ran out, as opposed to throwing everything away, but there was one product that I had been looking in to frequently. Deodorant. Other friends had made the switch to Tom's of Maine, but after reading reviews online, I just didn't think Tom's would be the natural product I was going to reach for. The stinky truth was, I wasn't sure I wanted to stop using my chemical packed, factory made deodorant. I liked the fact that I didn't smell and considering I do perspire at times, I wasn't sure I wanted to switch to something "too natural." I kept coming across a WAHM product called Green Body Basics. The reviews of her products (from a few different sources) were all positive. The owner, Kristin Cox, stated her product was free of aluminum, alcohol, parabens, artificial fragrance and animal testing. She used ingredients I could pronounce such as cocoa butter, cornstarch, coconut oil and essential oils, but would these natural, easy to pronounce ingredients keep me fresh even during these hotter days?

Without much more hesitation, I purchased a 2.5oz twist-up tube in her Classic scent. Within a few days, I found my deodorant tightly packaged in shrink wrap in my mailbox. I was so excited to try it, but waited till the following morning.

Here I am, a week later, happy as a clam and dry as can be! I have not perspired ONCE since starting her natural deodorant, my husband loves the smell and I like the fact I am using something natural on my body! I have to say the Classic smell is AMAZING. I look forward to sampling her other fragrances.

In short, if you are looking for a natural deodorant, try Green Body Basics! For $7 it won't break the bank, even if it doesn't work with your body chemisty. I look forward to letting my other name brand, store bought deodorant sit on the shelf in the bathroom!

Green Body Basics

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Cloth Diapers, Break it down!

There are certain things I am passionate about, and cloth diapering (CDing) is no exception. I became interested in CDing while pregnant with my daughter, and quickly became addicted to the cute styles, however, the different options were overwhelming to me. I didn't know what AIO, OS, prefold, pocket or fitted meant, I and I certainly didn't know what options would work best for me and my family. So, I am going to break down the different options for diapering, and try to make it as easy as possible for anyone who may be interested in cloth diapering.

First I will explain sizing. Keep in mind all babies grow at different rates. Some babies are full in the waist and thighs, whereas others maintain a leaner, skinnier frame. When possible, try to measure your babies waist and thighs and/or go by weight. Some diapers companies use age as a way to measure, which may be less accurate. Here are some approximate weights vs size that I have averaged/compiled from various diapers.

x-small/newborn: 6-12lbs
small: 7-18lbs
medium: 15-27lbs
large: 22-30/40lbs
One-size (OS): This is a diaper that adjusts with 2-3 layers of additional snaps. The snaps make it possible to change the diaper from a size small to a size large, without buying multiple size diapers. Although these diapers usually cost more money, they last longer and can be used for more than one child in the event you have multiple children in diapers. This diaper should last you from birth (approx 2months) to potty learning.

Cloth Diaper options:

1.) Prefolds(PF) or Flats

Prefold refers to a rectangle piece of cloth that has a thicker center for added absorbency. Most prefolds have a 4x8x4 measurement, with the first and last numbers referring to the number of layers on the right and left side of the prefold and 8 layers for the middle section. Prefolds can still work great with less layers, but often need a doubler (see below for more info) for added protection. Prefolds come in bleached (white) and unbleached (natural) fibers. Both work well, although the unbleached tend to last longer since the fibers have not been chemically weakened by the bleach. Organic fabrics are now commonly available at a higher cost, but for many people the benefits of organic fabrics out way the cost. Among organic cotton, hemp and bamboo are becoming more commonly used as a prefold fabric because of it's ability to absorb more wetness.

Chinese Prefolds vs. Indian Prefolds:

Chinese Prefolds are made in China and tend to be a bit sturdier and will last a bit longer. They are made with a slightly more durable fabric. Indian style is made in India or Pakistan. These are usually softer and a bit more absorbent, but will not hold up to as many washings. They also "quilt up" more when washed, although both styles will plump up and become softer when washed. The differences are subtle and no matter which you choose you can't go wrong as long as they are diaper service quality (DSQ). This means that they are made to stand up to industrial strength washing.

Flats simply refer to a prefold that has equal number of layers throughout, without a bulky middle section. Flats are usually less absorbent for this reason, but work great as "stuffers." PREFOLDS REQUIRE A DIAPER COVER.

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2.) Fitteds

Fitted diapers are a contoured or tailed fitted diaper that requires no folding like a traditional prefold diaper. It typically fits snugly against babies body and secures with snaps or velcro/aplix, although some fitted diapers come without snaps or velcro and close with either a snappi or pins. This gives a more customized fit. FITTEDS REQUIRE A DIAPER COVER.

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3.) Pockets

Pocket diapers are a contoured diaper that usually consist of three layers. An outer waterproof shell, an inner fleece (or similar material) that touches babies skin and a stuffer or doubler that goes inside the pocket between the outer and inner layers. Since pockets are waterproof, they do not require any additional cover. Since the inner stuffing is removed for washing, the diaper tends to dry quicker than other diaper options.

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4.) All-in-Ones (AIO's) and All-in-Two's (AI2's)

AIO's are diapers that consist of an outer waterproof shell, and a number of inner, absorbent layers. There usually is no need to stuff like a pocket diaper, unless you have a heavy wetter and need added protection. AIO's are the closest thing to a disposable diaper and are typically the easiest cloth diaper to use. AI2's are similar to AIO's, but have a removable insert much like a pocket, making it easier to dry.

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5.) Hybrid Diapers

Hybrid diapers are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional disposable diapers. They come with a cover which can be used multiple times during the day unless soiled and is washable. Covers can be used with cloth inserts or biodegradable inserts.

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6.) Covers

Covers are typically used over prefolds or fitteds, since neither is waterproof. There are many different styles of diaper covers, including wool, fleece and PUL. Some PUL covers can simply be wiped cleaned between uses and can often be found as a OS, which will work from birth to potty learning.

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Here's to a new beginning.

After almost 4 years years of blogging under my Baby Hamzeh blog, I realized I had finally found my focus and have decided to start fresh for my fellow followers. This new blog will be dedicated to my green ideas, healthier living tips, and crunchy alternatives.

Let me start by telling you a bit about myself. I am an organic eating, natural birthing, cloth diapering, baby wearing mother of two beautiful children and the wife to a wonderful husband. Since becoming a mother, I find new ways EVERY day to live a greener, healthier life for myself, my children and the planet. I still find myself making sacrifices based on convenience, but am passionate about "Living Semi-Crunchy."

I plan on posting links I find helpful for busy mom's and dad's, information about living healthier, and sometimes I may write about nothing relevant to these subjects!

I am open to input from others, positive criticism and the occasional challenge to my ideas, but please, if you do not agree with my writings, then just move on to a new blog.

I hope you enjoy the things I have to say. Here's to a happy, long-term relationship!