Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Unintentional Test: Old Eating Habits

When things started to get tough at home and work a few months ago, my usual steadfast resolve to make my own from scratch and eat healthy foods wavered. Then crashed. Then burned. Big time.

Queue lots of eating out, eating junk food, drinking soda. Every trip to the grocery store meant either donuts(if in the morning) or a candy bar(if in the evening). I'm definitely an emotional eater, no doubt about it. Even sitting here now- after the day from Hades- I can't help but wish I had a plain glazed donut for each hand.

That's bad.

Pretty much our diet reverted back to what I'd consider to be the average American's diet. McD's, chips, soda, candy bars, easy processed meals, etc. Here's what I noticed in my 8-ish week binge with the dark side:

1. It's expensive.

2. It tastes gross.

3. It only added to my overall feelings of, well, feeling yucky.

Some may be surprised at the first item. Generally our organic diet is equated with a more expensive grocery bill. And in some things, it can be. But I think the idea that processed food is less expensive than organic whole foods is very false. Organic processed food, well, ok that definitely is more expensive. Pre-pregnancy and general life disasters my organic grocery bill was around $50 a week. That's for a family of 4 and feeding some extra mouths during the week. Now it's more like $100. That's not counting eating out.

Number two surprised me. Not sure why! As with the last 3 pregnancies, as soon as we get knocked up it's like some sensor kicks on and I can taste or smell chemicals a mile away. Fake sugars, preservatives, etc. I'm like a human divining rod for fake food! There was a time I delighted in eating the chocolate off a Milky Way; I'd flatten the remaining caramel and nougat, roll it up and finish it off. So I grabbed a Milky Way one day to eat clandestinely on the way home. And you know what? It was gross. I couldn't even finish it.

Of course there was plenty else going on that would explain some of the yuck feelings. But there's no question eating poorly contributed in a negative way. I justified everything I ate via cravings or the *need* to gain weight for the pregnancy. Not smart, Stacy!

 So, what's a girl to do?

Start being smart, for one. This weekend I put time into making a pantry list of everything I already have. Then sat down and came up with a list of meal ideas based around the pantry list. Even busted out my Fix it and Freeze it book to choose a half-dozen freezer meal ideas I'll work on.

It's time to get back in the saddle and take care of myself. And the baby I'm growing. If you've fallen off the proverbial saddle, too, hop back in with me. And pass the organic broccoli, please!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthing Pools Seized?

I came across some info on Facebook yesterday(I know, sometimes I think it's about as reliable as wikipedia) about the FDA seizing a container of birthing pools at customs in Portland, OR. The intent being to 'inspect and destroy' the pools as they are unregistered medical equipment. 

Norwex Winner and Extra Giveaway!

Congrats to the Klemm Family! I am emailing you now and will ship the product out as soon as I get your info back!


Hello, Old Friend

I'm starting to feel like a broken record, 'Apologies for my absence...'

We survived 'vacation'. What a silly word, by the way. One that invokes ideas of relaxation and/or rejuvenation. Which, if you're headed to a week at the spa, may be the case. But let's be honest- there's nothing relaxing or rejuvenating about driving 1400 miles(one way) with 6 people in a car. Add almost daily trips about, not always the healthiest food and a 2 hour time difference = potentially a recipe for disaster. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jen Speers Norwex review and giveaway!

Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably caught wind of the hot 'new' company, Norwex! I first heard about them around New Year's at my aunt's home in Minnesota. My aunt had attended a Norwex party and fallen in love with their products. She was very excited at the prospect of cleaning without the use of toxic chemicals. Which we definitely love in the Crazy Green Home!

Fast forward a few months and my mom gave me a couple to try(right about the time morning sickness set in). She kept telling me how great they worked but you know how sometimes things go in one ear and out the other when your mom talks? Even at almost 30, I just can't help it. Then my good friend, Jen Speers, contacted me about reviewing some additional products and hosting a giveaway. So I figured it was high time I found out for myself what the fuss was about.

To start, Norwex has actually been around for a while. They began in Norway, 1995. Then moved into the US and Canadian markets in 1999. From there it's been nothing but growth! It was in 2007 though, that they introduced the antibacterial microfiber. That's when things really took off. And for good reason- it truly is a remarkable product.

The Norwex Microfiber is different than the kind you'd find in stores. It's a certain blend of polyester and polyamide. They get the fiber smaller than 1/100th of a human hair and then knit it in such a way that it becomes an amazing cleaning material. It can hold up to 7 times its weight in water. And while many lesser quality materials simply smear dirt around, the Norwex microfiber actually picks it up. The idea is you can clean WITHOUT using those toxic, harsh chemicals that are affecting our health and creating super bugs. And how is this possible? Because their material is antibacterial.

Why is Norwex Microfiber antibacterial? It's due to special technology they use with silver particles. (My washing machine actually has a silver cycle on it, too!) The Enviro Cloth picks up bacteria and due to the silver particles, they are removed. Testing has shown it effective against E. Coli, Salmonella, Bird Flu, MRSA, SARS, etc. Some nasty bugs! The Enviro Cloth is not the only product with the silver in it. The Window Cloth, Dusting Mitt, Towels and Mop Pads do, as well.

And it didn't take me long to see why so many people love Norwex! I started out in the bathroom. On the toughest thing I could think of: our tub. Hate, hate, hate scrubbing the tub and shower tiles. Despise! Short-cut! Pass it off to the hubs! Using the yellow Enviro Cloth I went to town on it with a bit of a scowl. Which was soon replaced with a look of surprise. Followed by... delight? Joy? Oh yes, I scrubbed that tub with glee. It was amazing. We have an old cast iron tub and my wonderful (but sometimes misguided DIY) hubby used the wrong grout when he redid the tiles. The iron in our water also leaves a bit of a rust stain. But that cloth took it right off.

So I hopped out of the tub when it was done and kept going. It was a bit addictive to see what I could try cleaning next. The mirrors, followed by the purple Window Cloth. NO STREAKS. NO LINT. It was so easy! Actually, easy pretty much sums up what it's like to use these cloths. It just doesn't take as much effort and they are so effective. I'm sold. We have an Enviro Cloth, Window Cloth and Kitchen Cloth. I've heard great things about their mops, too, so will definitely be getting those to try on our hardwood floors and tiles.

Norwex carries tons of different products for the home in addition to the Microfiber Cloths. They have a floor system, bath and body products, home essentials, a kids' line, etc.

I'm so grateful to my friend, Jen Speers, for finally getting me motivated to try Norwex! And because she's so awesome, she's also giving away some great product to one of our readers to try! Here's what the package will include:

1 Pink Enviro Cloth
1 Fruit and Veggie Scrubber
1 Norwex Dishwashing Liquid
1 Micro Cleaning Hand Pads

Retail Value: $43.96

To Enter:

Please visit www.speersnorwex.com and comment which item you would be most interested in trying.

Then, 'like' Jen Speers Norwex on facebook. Comment when you've done that!

Each task is worth an entry, so make sure to leave two total comments with an email address that I can contact you at if you should be the lucky winner! That's all, easy peasy! The giveaway will run until 5/15/11 at 11:59 PM CST.

If you are interested in purchasing, hosting or selling Norwex, you may contact Jen Speers at www.speersnorwex.com or email her at Speersnorwex (at) gmail (dot) com.

***I received product to aid in giving my honest review, no monetary compensation was received. The opinions and experiences contained are my own. We would like to thank Jen Speers Norwex for the opportunity to try their products!***

Silikids Siliskin review

A little while back I was sent a pair of Silikids Siliskins for baby food jars to try out! My kiddo is largely past baby food now at 16 months but we do still carry some on the go for emergency snack situations. (He is always hungry) Silikids carries several different silicone sleeves that are great for all kinds of things. First, here's the baby food jar skins in action:

Here you can see the small and large size jars to get an idea of what they look like. 

It is probably hard to discern, but there are bumps to aid in grip. 

And here's a side and bottom view. The hole on the side I used to pull the skin on the jar. It was easy. 

Silikids is a relatively new company started by a couple of moms tired of the toxic garbage in kid products. (We can relate!) They opted for silicone as it's safe, clean and hygienic. This is due to silicon's non-porous properties. It's easy to sterilize, germs in general can't hang out and it's soft, making it great for many different uses. Silicone also is not made with BPA, lead, PVC or phthalates. 

The idea behind these silicone skins is to reduce breakage in your diaper bag or via dropping your glass jar, bottle, etc. The skin both protects the item and serves to give you(or baby) a better grip. They are dishwasher safe; technically you could even throw them in the freezer or microwave. There are several siliskins you can purchase of varying sizes- including ones with the glass or glass bottle already in them!

I've been carrying around those two jars in my bag for a good week now. They've taken all the standard beating, getting banged around, dropping the bag, stepping on the bag, etc. So far, so good! We'll be taking them with us to Arizona tomorrow. I'd really love to try the 6oz glass 4-pack that Silikids carries, too. We have some well-known plastic sippie cups we've been using and I'd love to toss them and go to glass. Plastic issues aside, dentists for years have been saying it's better to get our kids to use cups rather than sippies, anyways. They are also on my list to buy for my kids' Kleen Kanteens. Every time they drop their Kleen Kanteens I cringe; wouldn't have to if we had Siliskins on them!

You can purchase Silikids Siliskin products on their website at www.Silikids.com! The pair of baby food jars is only 6.95. Definitely worth checking out if you are a glass user or wanting to switch to glass but concerned about things getting broken.

Follow Silikids on facebook and twitter

**I received product in order to provide my opinion and experiences; I was not compensated monetarily. The words contained herein are my own and not influenced in any way.**

Wordless Wednesday- Sibling Love

Pardon the poor quality camera phone picture! But I think you get the idea. The kids have started holding hands in the car between their seats when we go places. They laugh, make silly noises together and in general, melt my heart.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SCOTT Naturals review- 4 Week Test Drive

The company SCOTT Brand, known for their paper products like napkins, paper towels and bath tissue, has recently come out with a new line called Scott Naturals! SCOTT Naturals are a made with a blend of recycled and new materials. The result are hybrid products that both perform well and are kinder to our environment. 

(Sorry, wasn't smart enough to grab a picture BEFORE I opened and used the product!)

I've been participating in their 4 Week Test Drive to see just what I think about their new products firsthand. Now I'll preface the following with this was actually a little difficult for me. 'How hard can it be to use paper towels and napkins, Stacy!?' Well, you'd be surprised how hard it is to break a 4 year habit! Since shortly before my daughter was born, we switched to using mostly cloth. That being said, I recognize cloth is not for everyone and am thankful for efforts being made by companies to use more recyclable materials. SCOTTS Naturals Brand Manager Jennifer Nobui states, 'If we all used SCOTT Naturals products for four weeks, we'd save over two million trees.'

So obviously, if cloth products aren't an option in your home, it would be eco-prudent to consider using ones that contain recycled material. I can hear what you're thinking. 'I've tried them before and (insert product here) fell apart, didn't work well, wasn't soft, etc.' Oh yes, I've been-there-tried-that 1-ply recycled toilet paper!(Yuck!) But after giving SCOTT Naturals a go for the past 4 weeks, I can tell you they are indeed both functioning and eco-friendly.

Here's a break down of what I tried:

Bath Tissue: SCOTT Naturals tissue is 2-ply and contains 40% recycled material. Even the packaging is made from 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and the cardboard tubes are 100% recycled material. 

My take: Not bad for a recycled bath tissue. My family will tell you, I've bought some pretty tough stuff, but I've heard no complaints from them while using SCOTT.

Paper Towels: SCOTT Naturals towels are made from 60% recycled material. They also offer the option of using half a sheet versus a full one. The packaging is again 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and the cardboard tubes are 100% recycled material. 

My take: I really can't tell a huge difference between these and ones made from all new materials. They function just as they ought! And amazingly enough I actually WAS thankful to have them available while struggling with morning sickness. We'll leave it at that. 

Napkins: SCOTT Naturals napkins are made from 80% recycled material. 

My take: I love that they have such a high content of recycled material. Again, you really can't tell the difference between these and those made from all new materials. They were quite handy for my daughter's tea party!

Flushable Moist Wipes: SCOTT Naturals flushable moist wipes are made from 100% sustainable resources. Available in tubs or refill packs. The tubs contain 30% recycled material, the refill pouches contain 25% and the bags the pouches come in are 20% recycled material. 

My take: This is the only product to date we haven't used. Why? Because I'm saving them for Arizona! What better test than a 24 one-way trip with 2 kids?

I found it interesting how the recycled content percentage varied from product to product. Part of me wishes it were all 100%, but the logical part of me knows that isn't possible if we want a product that people will actually use. (Because I totally know just how fun that 100% recycled, 1-ply tissue is!) Bottomline, I truly believe you'll find SCOTT Naturals to be a quality, eco-friendly alternative to products made with no recycled materials. 

'Take the 4-Week Test Drive' Sweepstakes!

(From the sponsor) In honor of Earth Month, the Scott Naturals brand is challenging Americans to take an easy green step by testing out its line of hybrid paper products for four weeks- and to enter the brand's 'Take the 4-Week Test Drive' sweepstakes for a chance at winning a new 2011 Ford Fusion hybrid sedan.

For more details and official sweepstakes rules, visit www.ScottBrand.com. Promotion ends 9/30/11.

Monday, May 2, 2011

SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion review

A few weeks ago I was sent a bottle of SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion to try out! I'll be honest- I'm not a huge lotion fanatic. You won't find me at a certain large bath products shop as scents make me nauseous and we're really trying hard to reduce product use in the home that contain parabens, sulfates and the like. SkinMD is definitely my kind of lotion, although it took me a while to really start to use it since it hasn't been habit.

This little bottle packs a lasting punch!

What I like best about the Shielding Lotion is how non-greasy it goes on. A little bit goes a long way and it absorbs readily without leaving you feeling like you might need to wash your hands to rid the residue. It also doesn't have a scent, which I greatly appreciate(as does my husband). Of course the big question is if it works- and I'm happy to say that under the most dire, roughed up, dried-out gardening hands, it truly does.

This is all I put on. Initially you can apply every 2-8 hours, then once or twice a day. I probably use it twice a day due to gardening. 

In the last week of gorgeous weather we've really put the Shielding Lotion to the test. One of the worst things I get from gardening without gloves(I know, I know, just can't stand wearing them!) are these prickly bits of skin that stick up on my fingers and grab on to anything with texture. Getting dressed can be pure torture!  However, after a couple applications of the lotion, the condition of my hands greatly improve. Even to the point I can pull on my cotton, sweater-knit top and not cringe!

There are other things I appreciate about the SkinMD Natural company. For one, they don't do any animal testing. They are also free of animal products and use 100% solar energy to manufacture their product. If only every company made such efforts.

SkinMD Natural has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and you can even request a sample to try before purchasing here! They have two formulas; the original and one with SPF 15. You can purchase on their website or use the store locator for a retailer near you.

Catch up with SkinMD Natural on facebook and twitter for the latest news and deals.

***I was sent a complimentary bottle of lotion in order to base my review; it in no way influenced my review and the words contained here are reflective of my honest opinion and experiences with the product.***

Menu Monday?

Menu Monday has been a disaster the last month. I kept trying, but any effort to stick to it has been outdone by work stress, morning sickness and family events. My usual healthy, frugal, home-cooked diet has been replaced with eating out and convenience foods. Don't get me wrong- I've discovered some very handy and healthy fast fixes(hello, creamy tomato soup in a box!) but it adds up quickly to a much higher grocery bill than what I'm accustomed. Truthfully, there are no plans to rectify this sad state of affairs until we get back from our 'vacation' to Arizona. So, barring any disasters or continued morning sickness, my goal is to resume Menu Monday with the usual gusto May 23rd. Possibly a trial run on the 16th, but don't hold your breath!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Many apologies for my lengthy absence, life kept tossing tomatoes quicker than I could catch them! Ok, not all tomatoes, some lemons which were made promptly into lemonade. But things have finally eased up a bit to the point I feel I can blog positively again! Skipping the tomatoes, let's do a quick picture recap of the things that have kept me happy the past few weeks:

Girly's birthday(s)
My sweet daughter had her 4th birthday mid-April. The much loved birthday girl pretty much had a whole month of birthday goings on! From a special mommy/daddy/daughter date to purchase our first fish(that debacle shall be saved for later blogging), to birthday parties with 3 sets of grandparents(all separately) and one tea party hosted by yours truly for her little friends, it was busy. Think, lots of balloons. Lots of missed naps. But lots of great times with family!

Easter pretty much ran like all of our other holidays; aka: 4 family dinners. Three of those crammed into one weekend! No, we don't do anything the easy way here. That's just how it rolls with a large, close family. While it all ends with the wish of one more day to recover, wouldn't change it if I could.

We lucked out in the midwest with a week of great weather around the start of April. It was well timed as we had 4 fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries all delivered about that time. We worked hard to get everything in and were rewarded with just barely making it before the rains moved in. Lovely! Even managed to get the flower beds somewhat cleaned of debris and winter cover which I'm hoping equated to less chance of slugs. The last week of April was once again gorgeous, so we've been back at it mulching, tilling, planting, building raised beds, etc. There is still lots to do but I feel so much better now looking out at my tidy gardens.

I wasn't joking when I said we don't do anything the easy way here! To add to life(pun intended) we're expecting baby number 3. A bit of a surprise, but we are very excited. I'm about 13 weeks now and finally starting to feel something akin to human again. Technically this is my 4th pregnancy and I have to say, out of all of them this has been the hardest. The morning sickness has been difficult(may as well call it half of the day sickness) but the worst has been the exhaustion. Sheer, utter, indescribable exhaustion. Most likely exacerbated by stress from those tomatoes and lemons. But thankfully it's easing! Our due date is sometime November. My belly is definitely sticking out earlier than the others!

So that's about it. Minus the produce which you don't want to hear about. There's a lot to catch up on- I'll get there, bear with me! We have a mini vacation coming up next week but I'll be taking my trusty little netbook with me to blog our experiences. Twenty-four hour car trip one way with 2 kids and my in-laws? Check. First experience in Arizona? Check check. Copious amounts of delicious Mexican food? Check, check, double check! If nothing else, I'm sure you'll want to peek in to see what nuggets of wisdom were gleaned from the 24 hour, one way drive. Did I say 24 hours? Oh yes. Yes, I did.

Happy May Day!
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