laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Cream of The Crop


We had a friend over last weekend, and her sweet little girl had the worst diaper rash. I’m talkin’ major owwie. And we’ve been there. We’d found a recipe for a diaper cream and were elated that it was labeled as cloth diaper friendly. In the world of cloth diapering, this is a big deal. (Regular diaper creams can cause repelling which is definitely no bueno.) We thought this was the perfect excuse for us to make a batch of the diaper cream!

The sweet little one had her rash covered in it before going home (and we set them home with a jar too!). By morning, the rash was gone. By the following day, the rest of the owwies the rash had caused were gone too! That is pretty amazing! Hubbyman is so thrilled, he wants to go into business! We have yet to use it on Littlest. (Hubbyman said he half hopes he gets a rash, just so we can try it out.) If it’s as good as my friend says it is (I’ve used it on my hands and it feels great!), then we probably will have to do just that!

I’ve spent a good chunk of time working on my syruping pictures, but they’ve been making themselves more difficult than seems necessary. If you’re interested in the cream, you should definitely go over to My Big Cloth Adventure and check out her story of how well the cream worked for her!

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Meadow Gardens


Ok, ladies and gentlemen… today I have another review. I thought about spacing them farther apart, but decided against that. Thankfully, these are products that I want to share with you, so that was all the extra incentive I needed!

The lady of Meadow Muffin Gardens, is an awfully busy one. Her shop is full of amazing products! Seriously, I can’t look at it, without wanting to throw her whole etsy store in my cart and ordering it all! I’m hoping to look through it with hubbyman, because I think he’d appreciate some of it as well. (Plus, he’ll keep me in check! ha!)

If you’re interested in any time of personal care products, her website and etsy stores are the place(s) to go. She’s got it all! I mean really, from facial moisturizers for wrinkles, to insect deterrent, to shampoo, blemish treatments… I mean the list goes on! Thinking about how you could just buy all of those things from the drug store? Well, you could… but if you’re wanting something that is kind to the earth as well as our bodies in that they are free from chemical, synthetic components.* (It’s an excerpt taking from her profile about why she does the awesome things she does!)

And now, let’s talk about the Serenity Moisturizing Cream!

Here is what her site has to say about this product:

Ideal for all skin types, a soothing facial moisturizer utilizing only natural wholesome ingredients. Ideal for sensitive allergy prone skin. Essential oils lavender and sandalwood both offer antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits. It can be said that lavender essential oil is a combination first aid and beauty kit. Its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it beneficial for blemishes, sunburn, bug bites and skin regeneration. The aroma can be stimulating as well as relaxing. Exotic sandalwood essential oil offers an earthy, sensual scent with subtle lingering power. Besides its wonderful hydrating effects for dry skin, sandalwood is a balm for the mind and spirit as well.  Rich in nutritional value almond and hazelnut oils absorb quickly into the skin without leaving an oily residue. They are light and odorless which are a plus in body care products. Both oils are unrefined and cold-expeller pressed which means there are no chemical solvents used to extract the oils. Coconut oil is added for its cool, creamy texture as well as its help to stiffen the cream. Its unique molecular structure allows it to easily absorb into your skin while not leaving behind a greasy film. The natural antioxidants found in coconut oil fight against free-radicals which damage connective tissue and cause the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkles. 

Did you hear that? fights against free-radicals, which cause the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkles?! Um, sign me up!

Does it get any better than that? No, it really doesn’t. When the package arrived, I opened it up, and hubbyman happened to be right there, so he took a look. He was impressed! He thought it looked and smelled like something I would have gotten at a store. (I’m assuming like a natural foods/products store. Because it doesn’t smell processed to me. And yes, I can smell processed.)

Now you should know, I’m usually hesitent to try out new facial moisturizers. My face is equal parts dry and oily. And I’m always afraid that I’m going to choose a product that will make it go either extremely oily or extremely dry. I am happy to say that didn’t happen. And actually, it helped heal my skin. Yeah, you heard me right. Under one of my eyes I’ve had this weird dry spot. And I have a couple of the store bought, facial moisturizers. I even have an expensive line of skin care products (that I hardly ever use)… and none of them had any effect on it at all. After using it once at night, it was gone. I’m not kidding. Fantastic! And my skin doesn’t feel all sticky and greasy the way that some moisturizers can leave you feeling. As far as the scent goes, it’s really pretty light. I think the lavender and sandalwood mix really well together. Plus, it’s pretty awesome knowing exactly what is in the thing I’m slathering on my face. (I’ve even been using it on my blistered, did-too-much-raking-without-gloves hands! And it feels really soothing.)

I’d definitely give this product 4.8 out of 5 stars. The .2 are pretty much me… and the fact that I just hate the fact that I’m getting to the age (ok, fine, so I’m to the age) where I really do need a moisturizer routine for my face. You know, to continue fighting those free radicals!

Wondering why you should take the necessary measures to clean out your medicine cabinet, dump all the bought-at-a-drug-store/pharmacy/department store products? When pregnant, women are encouraged to forgo lots of products. Especially ones that go on the skin. Cleansers, moisturizers, and the whole gamut of facial products. Why? Because the chemicals and preservatives that they’re made up seep into your skin, and can have adverse affects on the development of your baby. Ok, hold up… if something can cause really awful things to happen to my baby in my belly, what kind of things is it doing to my body? Or yours? See… that’s what got me to this point. So, when you reach that point, I’m here to help. Along with the Meadow Muffin Gardens. They have graciously given a coupon code for anyone who orders!

So…first, go to facebook and “Like” Meadow Muffin Gardens, follow them on twitter, then go to Etsy and favorite Meadow Muffin Gardens, then you can go check out their lovely blog, and then their website. When you get to the buying products part, add in the code: JUSTFORU for 15% off (at checkout -on her etsy site!!-) whatever you buy from her  etsy store! It’s a fantastic deal and a great way to get you started on your way to healthy insides and out!

And don’t forget to keep entering yesterday’s giveaway! “Like” the post (on facebook and wordpress), comment here on the blog post, follow the blog by email, follow by twitter… are all things you can do for extra entries! So make sure you do!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for this review; a big thanks to Stacy at Meadow Muffin Gardens! No monetary compensation was received by me. This post is entirely my own opinion and you may find it differs from yours.

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Spring Has Sprung (In My Washing Machine)


At the encouragement of a friend and fellow blogger, I reached out to some etsy dealers. Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. In our efforts to go chemical free, homemade, environmentally friends, and you know- cheap… I’ve been making my own cleaning products for a while, along with dishwasher detergent. And we’ve made toothpaste (we finally have one that I looove!), made some lotion (it needs some tweaking), and continue to test out new and new-to-us ideas for personal care products. There is one thing I’m a little afraid of. Laundry detergent. I know it’s really not difficult. I even made some once. I didn’t love it. I didn’t love making it and I didn’t love using it. So when trying to decide what kind of products I wanted to do reviews on- it was a no brainer. Personal care products and more importantly- laundry detergent. A family of 5 goes through a lot of laundry. I’ve always got one of two types of laundry mountains going on- needing to be cleaned or needing to be put away. Worst case scenario is when you have both! Yikes. The first two lovely ladies to reach (back) out to me were for two different products. One is laundry detergent! And the other is a moisturizer! Today I’m going to give you my review of the laundry detergent (I’m hoping that gives me extra incentive to get my laundry done… and then maybe put away. Maybe.).

Her name is Kari and she has a lovely little (virtual) shop on etsy- Karbipbaby. Go and check it out. Sweet, right? And when she sent me the laundry soaps to test out- she included a thoughtful, handwritten note. I can already tell she’s my kinda gal! She started making them as gifts and then began using them herself. Now they use it exclusively. And the best part (well, one of the things I love about her and her products) she gets quality time in with her daughter under the guise of something to do while they watch tv. I love it! I can totally picture a tween version of my MissE, sitting on the couch, chatting about whatever happens to come out of her mouth while we work on some project or other. Actually, that doesn’t sound so different than now, only I’m working on a project and she’s generally undoing my project while chatting. (Biggest has taken to calling her ‘Yakkity Yak’ after seeing a very chatty Yak given that nickname on a cartoon.)

Back to the soap, if you’ve been looking for a more cost effective, eco-friendly, vegan, or “green” laundry soap, then this is it! Her handmade soaps have three ingredients! As a mom of kids with allergies (and thereby prone to Eczema), I was pleased to read that it’s a great product for people with sensitive skin,  babies, and yes, even people with Eczema (she has two kids with it as well and cites that using natural cleaners in her home really makes a difference!).

photo credit: Karbipbaby Etsy Store

Upon receiving my package of four different kinds of laundry detergent (Lavendar,  Clean and Clear, Original, and their newest scent- Spring Has Sprung), I left it on my counter. I kept walking into my kitchen thinking what the heck is that smell? (It didn’t smell bad, just a little out of place in the kitchen!) Now that I’ve moved them onto my washer, I am loving that smell! Seriously! As a cloth diapering mom… sometimes a little scent is a good thing.

Now I’ve always had sensitive skin when it came to laundry detergents. Chemically induced fragrances have always been a big no-no. So I will admit to being a little hesitant about the fragranced detergents. But guess what? I totally love them. I always thought I wasn’t a big fan of lavender scented things (my mama loooves her some lavender!), but I think that was my favorite of all the detergents she sent me! No rash. No itchy, scratchy skin. Just clean (and clean smelling) clothes! Oh and did I mention it cleans the clothes? Because it does. Toddler dinner mess? No problem. Big kids playing in the dirt all day? No signs of that here. Hubbyman’s shirts that smell like him even after being washed?  They smell much better. Not having to worry about all the chemicals and preservatives that are in the bottle? No worries here. That’s pretty priceless. I am totally sold! I haven’t used all of the Spring Has Sprung yet… I’m thinking of saving some just to keep near the diaper pail because it smells so good! Haha! (It’s funny, because I mean it.)

I should also note two things about the scents. 1) The lavender is a lighter fragrance than the Spring Has Sprung. 2) Neither of the scents are incredibly strong after being through the wash. The lavender is very light, and the Spring Has Sprung, while  your clothes will smell like Spring has Sprung, it won’t be overpowering. Because I’d never used fragranced detergents, I had no idea how the clothes would come out smelling. To me it was perfect, it makes the wash smell wonderful (and therefore my laundry room smells good!) and my clothes come out clean and smelling good without smelling like I’ve got a really potent perfume on. Got it? Good.

photo credit: Karbipbaby etsy store

Our of 5 stars… I’d give this laundry detergent mama all five of those stars! 

Want to know something almost as fantastic as the laundry detergent? She has been gracious enough to offer THREE of you a Multi-Pack of her laundry detergent! The multi pack contains a sample of each of the scents. Enough to do 10 loads of laundry! How do you enter? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Just click right HERE which will bring you to my facebook page, under the lefthand column, click on Giveaways and follow the instructions to enter! The contest ends Friday at midnight, so be sure to get all the points you can between now and then! And be sure to stay tuned for tomorrow’s review!!

Disclosure: I received the products mentioned above in exchange for this review; a big thanks to Kari at Karbipbaby! No monetary compensation was received by me. This post is entirely my own opinion and you may find it differs from yours.

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Winds of Change


Things are starting to get a little bit shaken up over here at the household full of E’s. (Seriously, I’m the only one in my house -other than the animals- that isn’t an E, did I ever mention that? My children think I feel left out, or that I should feel left out… I think it just makes me that much more special. Right?) Anyways, our house itself, is not in upheaval or anything. Ok, that’s a blatant lie. My house is pretty much always in a state of upheaval. Unless the children have gone to Grandma’s. What I’m really meaning is that things are changing over here.

Biggest is 5, and will be kindergarten age for this fall’s school session. We have decided (for numerous reasons) to homeschool. At least for kindergarten. We’ll take this year to feel our way out and see how we both feel about it. So we have been scouring the internet, fielding phone calls, and taking in numerous pamphlets via the good ‘ol USPS. It’s a little intimidating and a lot overwhelming. We think we’re settled. Now we just have to get our “school area” prepped and ready. Which means I need some more shelving. Which I’m hoping means a trip to The Container Store. (I love that place. Hubbyman took me there for Valentine’s Day last year- and I declared it the best Valentine’s Day ever. This is a true story.) So we’ve got that going on.

And… we’ve got the whole converting everything to homemade/non-chemical. I left some messages with some lovely etsy ladies yesterday on doing some reviews of their natural/homemade/chemical free home cleaning and personal products and in less than 24 hours I already have 2 in the works! This is SO exciting! Letjoy, of My Big Cloth Adventure, has been encouraging me to reach out to some retailers and start doing reviews. And I finally did it! So be on the lookout the next couple of weeks for a review and maybe a giveaway or two!

And… I’m going to be doing daycare for some very dear friends. They’re due in the fall. We just told them yesterday. They’re excited. I’m excited. We’ve been asked about doing daycare for a few other people. While I was always willing, it turned out, I didn’t always want to. And hubbyman has always been very adamant that my time at home be devoted to our children. He didn’t want them left out. And then there’s the deal of not being able to go places during the week. The thought of that always stressed me out when it was just the older 2. Now that there’s three. I really don’t do a whole lot of outings during the week. And I’m totally ok with that. I mean, we go to the park, we go to the farmer’s market, we go for walks, we play outside. We play inside. We do things, we just don’t drive places. And all the places I would feel I was “missing out” on (like walking to the farmer’s market, the park, or even the grocery store) are all walk-able. Even with an addition. And while, obviously, it won’t be the same as having my own brand new little baby. I am so happy to help with theirs. They are one of my favorite couples and I am so thoroughly excited for them. This was the first time where hubbyman and I were immediately like- we want to do this! And I’m excited to have a little baby I’ll get to snuggle on a daily basis! So while it will obviously mean some changes here, I am looking forward to it. Just as I am the rest of the changes goin’ on.  So bear with me as I’m trying to figure everything out and how to schedule it all out… and hold your breath until tomorrow. (Ok, don’t really, but it’s gonna be good.) I am going to share my super delicious ice cream cake that I made for hubbyman’s birthday a few weeks ago. And I may or may not have for lunch. (I got a piece out to have for lunch yesterday, and somehow ended up eating a salad. I’m not sure how that happened, but I promise not to let it happen again!)

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My Toothpaste Is Salty


Well, the long weekend is over. Boo. Hoo. Wah! And we currently have more snow in our yard than we have at any other point this winter (I think). It probably won’t happen, but I’m crossing my fingers that hubbyman decides to come home a little early to fulfill his biggest boy’s winter dream of finally going sledding down the hill in the backyard.

Even though it was a long weekend, it felt… short. Or maybe just compacted? No, it just felt short. Maybe because it was compacted? Whatever. Friday night we ran errands trying to get everything we needed to make our homemade cleaning products and personal care products. We didn’t find everything we needed at the local health food store or a local regular store. The next morning the Big 2 had Tae Kwon Do. Actually, they don’t normally have it on Saturday, but today was test day, and they got a new colored stripe on their belts. It was their first big test, and Biggest boy did so good- I was so proud! I’m normally banned (by hubbyman) from their lessons, because I’m “distracting.” (They’ll run off the mat to give me a hug or a kiss… every 2.3 seconds or so. I guess I can understand.). Anyhow, my boy did fantastic! My girl did… well, she did it. But their last test was in a small room with just Master Lee, so to be in a room full of other kids and their families, and extended families… it was a bit overwhelming. When he called her name, she immediately burst into tears and cried, I don’t want to go in front of everybody! (I don’t blame her- I felt self conscious up there in front of everyone, and I was just there for her moral support.) Anyhow, afterwards we went downtown St. Paul to a bigger healthfood store. And the rest of the ingredients we ordered online. Which is probably what we should have done to start with, because it was way cheaper. Way cheaper.

Hubbyman was so excited about the process, that he began to make some of the things that we did have all the ingredients for. We have shampoo, toothpaste for us, and toothpaste for the kids. He also shampooed the carpet with our homemade version (but we’ve been using that for a while). While I love the homemade carpet shampoo… that’s about where my love ends, so far. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I love the way the shampoo smells, and I love how clean my teeth feel after using the toothpaste. Seriously, the only clean that compares is right after the dentist. So we obviously have some work to do before any recipes are released. But I may just be feeling a little grinchy, because he also vinegar washed my coffee maker.  Now, that really is a good thing. And far be in from me to criticize a man doing some househelp. But I will admit that having to do all the flushes to get the vinegar out this morning, before I could have my cup of coffee, kinda squelched those feel-good, thanks-for-helping feelings.

I have found my Green Book! It’s not really called that, but to me, that’s what it is. What it really is:  Homemade! How to make everyday products fast, fresh, and more naturally.  702 ways to save money and the earth. It is pretty awesome. Everything from how to make things you love, but don’t want to spend the money on (hello, starbucks frappuccino) to things you want to make healthy instead of toxic. You can duplicate cough syrup, deodorant, aftershave, I even have a “recipe” for Oil of Olay’s all-day moisturizer (and wrinkle cream). And that’s without all the icky stuff that you don’t want in it or on you! The food recipes seem a little silly to me, except for the ones that are how to make this famous thing at home (like said frappuccino, or condiments- you know, things you wouldn’t find in your every day cookbook). But that may be just because I have to have some cookbooks I keep in storage, because I have that many. I love cookbooks. Seriously. And, it’s a collection that my husband actually approves of. More cookbooks = more cooking = satisfied hungryman, I mean, hubbyman.

Anyways, so long story still long… good weekend, filled weekend. Homemade stuff was not a total bust, but not a total success. But we will be working on it. And next batch of toothpaste will be minty instead of citrus-y. I think that’s my problem with the toothpaste. Minty freshness just feels cleaner. If you are wanting to start in on some homemade household things, I  HIGHLY recommend you check out the book. Lots of from scratch, lots of almost from scratch.    So even if you’re not going to be making your own toothpaste, or shampoo, there are lots of things you can do. Whether it’s your own cleaning products (imagine, safe to have around and you get to pick out the scent!) to homemade skillet meals (want the ease of the throw the frozen bag in the bowl meals, without all the gross additives and for a fraction of the price?).

And now I am off to fight the raging war on the evils of clutter… either that or I’ll just eat a piece of hubbyman’s birthday ice cream cake (which was also homemade, GF, and delicious!).

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