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!