Tuesday, April 10, 2012

spring and other random thoughts

Right now, the windows are open and our wet clothes are drying on a rack soaking up all that fresh air. And I'm realizing... this is the first spring that I've ever liked, I think. I have an intense fear of bees that typically ruins this season for me... but that's for another post. Point is, I'm learning to cope. My desires are overwhelming my fear and I'm just soaking it in. My desire to live into more... to take better care of myself, my family, the planet... all of it is just so refreshing. And it seems fitting that I want to freshen things up this spring when the world around me is full of things freshening up. :)

The photo above is one I took right after I got home from the grocery store. I saw a tip on Pinterest that if you rinse your berries in vinegar and water before putting them away - they'll last longer. I've been doing this for about a month now and I can honestly say - it makes a big difference. Plus just seeing how brown the vinegar water gets is reason enough to do it! I feel so - I don't know - green unloading my canvas grocery bags, filling up a bowl with vinegar and dumping my fresh, organic berries into it. And I love that feeling.

We've been using homemade cleaners around the house for almost two years now (something that I became very important to me after becoming a mom!). And I love them. Yesterday I made a batch of all-purpose cleaner with hydrogen peroxide (something I've never used before in a cleaner). I really like it! Did you know that hydrogen peroxide is a non-toxic form of bleach? Kind of makes you wonder why bleach was ever created when there's a natural alternative that is non-toxic. I can hardly walk down the cleaning aisles in stores without feeling light headed from all the chemical smells... it makes me so glad we don't keep any of that stuff in the house. I also made a batch of furniture polish and used it on the TV stand (haven't had time to get to anything else just yet) but... it's the cleanest it has ever looked. Seriously! If you haven't ever tried your hand at a homemade cleaner - you've got to try it. It's fun to make (and kind of makes you want to clean so you can try out your handiwork) and also super duper cheap. All you really need is baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide (of course you can add more, but those three would be enough to clean most anything!) The thing I haven't made yet but want to is laundry soap - we still have some mostly-natural store bought stuff that I want to finish up. Oh, and I made dishwasher detergent but (again) waiting to run out of our other stuff before we (possibly) make that switch for good. If you have any questions about this stuff - please send em my way, I'm no expert but the more I learn the more I love this type of stuff :)

Recently though I've become more aware of the chemicals in our body/hair care products. For some reason it made so much sense to me that the toxic cleaners for the house had to go... I wasn't even thinking some of the chemicals in my shampoo or lotion could be toxic, too. Yuck. From my research so far I'm realizing nearly everything we owned in the body care products department is toxic - for us and also for the environment. So, little by little we're trying to take steps to make what we put on our bodies totally safe (honestly only for the sake of our family... helping the planet is just a neat bonus). 

So far I've thrown out all of my nail polish (or rather, gave it to my mom), cleaned out all of Caedmon's products that weren't 100% safe, cleaned out all of our soaps and shampoos (I have these bagged up - I'm sure I know someone who will be interested in them so I feel a little guilty just throwing them away) and gotten rid of nearly all my make-up. I use (what I think) is a pretty natural kind of make-up anyway so the only thing I had to replace was my mascara. About 6 months ago we made the switch to natural toothpaste and it really is a huge difference - my teeth feel so much cleaner after using it. We also bought more natural forms of sunscreen last summer. The only things I need to get now are hair gel for Michael, diaper cream for Caedmon (although I hear I can use coconut oil - and with little ones the less ingredients the better! plus, it's something we try to always have on hand so I'm going to try this before I buy any... but C hardly ever gets diaper rashes) hand soap for the bathrooms, and possibly some shampoo for us. Right now we're all sharing Caedmon's lavender baby shampoo/wash but I'm hoping to make my own shampoo... I'll have to let you know how that one goes. And I've ditched my deodorant for baking soda. Weird, but I've been using it for over a week now and don't have any complaints! Baking soda is wonderful  - you can use it for most everything and it's super duper cheap! Michael is also going to try to use coconut oil to shave. Man, I love my husband... he always finds a way to support my crazy ideas. I love that he gets so interested in what I'm interested in, he's just the best. :) But anyway, so I realize there is potential for things to be too green to the point where the benefits might not outweigh the cost (as in if the homemade shampoo or totally natural shaving cream don't work - I'm totally open to buying something) but in an effort to save us so money and be as natural as possible - we're going to give these things a shot first. But we're excited for our grocery list of body care items to just be a few items long. Plus, I love stepping in the shower and just seeing two bottles! Way better than the seven or so we had before. It's just refreshing to realize we don't need that stuff. But throwing things out is one of my favorite things to do - so I realize that might not be as big of a perk for everyone. :) I'll have to do a post soon about brands we've decided to go with and include if the shampoo, shaving cream, and deodorant are really panning out. I think it'll be a nice cheat sheet for me!

My list is still 100 miles long on things I'd like to do to become more green but for now, I'm just going to focus on what I am doing and be proud of my efforts. Every month I try to set a little goal for myself for that month - in March it was a 30 day encourage your husband challenge that was really beneficial. This month I've decided to not use the dryer and see if it cuts costs on our energy bill... so far I've used it once just for 15 minutes to dry Michael's work clothes. I'm drying towels on my drying rack today so hopefully they won't be too stiff. I did read a tip that adding baking soda to the rinse cycle will help with that - I'll have to let you know if that works, too. :) 

1 comment:

  1. I make laundry detergent and I love it! So easy and works just as well (unless you really like laundry scent). I tried the dishwasher detergent but I didn't love that one. Leaves a film on plastics even with the recommended vinegar.