In these uncertain times of Covid and quarantine, many families are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory with online or at-home schooling. As a homeschooler for the past ten years, I am no stranger to the challenges of learning at home. Whether you have made the switch to homeschooling or your child will be learning remotely through public school, you may find yourself and your child struggling with the change. The best advice I can give you is to put yourself in your child’s place.
You do not need to use non-stick cookware. I have not owned a single non-stick pot or pan in thirteen years, when I decided to avoid non-stick coating at all costs. Why? Because it is full of pretty nasty stuff. Toxic chemicals in non-stick coatings have been linked to cancer, birth defects and more. Read more for ways that I avoid non-stick coatings and for a shopping guide to safer bakeware and cookware options.
At nine months old, my daughter was intent on getting her hands on anything that is not appropriate for babies. My cell phone was her biggest obsession. According to HealthyStuff.org, researchers evaluated the level of toxic chemicals in 36 different cell phones and found chemicals of concern in every single one. So to minimize the amount of toxins that your child is being exposed to, cover your phone with a case that is low in toxins.
With Mother’s Day only a week away, I thought I would post a list of gift ideas for moms who love nature and the outdoors. This post is in no way a hint for my husband and children (did that sound believable?). If you know an amateur naturalist or someone who loves hiking, gardening, nature art and photography, reading about the outdoors, or just being outside, then read on. I made sure to include ideas that are no-cost and low-cost. I also tried to include gifts that are eco-friendly and don’t involve purchasing more stuff.
My closet is not a comforting place. When I enter it, I am overcome with anxiety. The sheer volume of clothes is enough to put me into a state of panic. I am also overwhelmed by the piles of clothes that are one or two sizes too small for me; the bargain purchases that I wore once; and the poorly made and misshapen clothes that make me feel like staying at home when I wear them. I have read a plethora of literature about decluttering and why it is so important. So now is the time to clear the clutter from my closet and to replace those items with quality, sustainable clothing.
If you are anything like me, you need a little boost in the morning, especially after a sleepless night with a cranky toddler. And the last thing you want to do is worry about scary stuff in your coffee. Conventional coffee makers and Keurig machines have a great deal of plastic in them. When you expose plastic to boiling hot water, the plastic degrades and releases toxins such as BPA and phthalates.
After more than six years, I am still using my homemade deodorant, and I am still loving it! It is not an anti-perspirant, but it keeps the smell in check and it lasts all day. It even works to neutralize smells if you forgot to put it on in the morning. My husband, however, is not in love with my deodorant. So, I am on a mission to find a nice, “manly,” natural deodorant for my husband. One that is free of nasty ingredients such aluminum and parabens. I’ve done some research and found the following options.
For a woman, underwear is arguably the most important piece of clothing. The wrong pair of panties can contribute to yeast infections, UTIs (urinary tract infections), bacterial infections, bad odor, and even pain during intercourse. To avoid all of these unpleasantries, you need to be choosy about the type of underwear that you buy.
I have learned many important lessons during my eleven years as a parent. When you have to be somewhere, plan to leave at least 30 minutes early in order to get there on time. Embrace your kids’ individual personalities instead of trying to fit them into a preconceived idea of the perfect child. Laugh at their nonsense knock-knock jokes. Put together that ocean puzzle with them for the thousandth time because you will regret not spending the time with them later. And give your children a tribe instead of more toys.
So you bought the organic mattress and the organic sheets. You found a beautiful wooden crib and painted the nursery with VOC-free paints. You are confident that your sleeping baby will be resting on materials free from harmful chemicals. But what about those fabrics that separate baby from the bed? Pajamas and other clothing come closer to baby’s skin than just about anything else, so it is important to choose jammies that are made with the safest materials.
When I was pregnant and shopping for baby gear, I gave the most attention to where my babies would sleep. After all, babies spend more time asleep than awake. Safety was my primary consideration – not just whether they would be physically safe and not roll out of bed or get their head stuck between the crib bars, but also whether they would safe from harmful toxins. Children develop at a rapid pace and their bodies are not always efficient at resisting or excreting contaminants. In other words, all of those toxins in the environment have a big impact on your growing child. So, I chose bedding and mattresses constructed from organic, all-natural materials.
Pregnant bellies are beautiful, glowing signs of new life. They are also itchy, tight and susceptible to stretch marks and saggy skin post-childbirth. The use of pregnant belly balms, oils and creams can help keep your skin supple and hydrated. While they won’t stop stretch marks completely, these products can help with the itchiness and tightness. Below is a list of belly balms and creams that are made with natural and organic ingredients. And they are formulated specifically for pregnant women.
I applaud all of you parents and caregivers who are able to use nothing but cloth diapers. I wasn’t so dedicated. When I wasn’t at home, I brought along disposable diapers. Of course, I always tried to choose brands that were not only safe for my baby but also kinder to the environment.
At home, I used cloth baby wipes when changing diapers. But when I was out and about, I found disposable baby wipes so much more convenient. I really tried to use nothing but cloth wipes and diapers but it was causing more stress than I was willing to handle. Plus, disposable wipes are great for wiping hands, faces and car seats too. I still use them now even though both of my kids are well out of diapers.
Only the safest and most natural products should be applied to your baby’s skin. This includes diaper rash creams and balms. Some people swear by creams, others by ointments and others by balms. I have included a selection of each. These products are in no particular order and none have an EWG rating of more than 1 (meaning they are super safe and natural). I always used California Baby Diaper Rash Cream and Motherlove Diaper Rash & Thrush Relief with my kids and found both really effective (although I would not recommend California Baby for open cuts because it can burn). I used The Honest Company Healing Balm in lieu of petroleum jelly for things like lubricating thermometers.
For me, New Years Day is a time to think about how my life has changed and what my priorities and goals have become. Then I try to work toward changing how I do things so that I meet my goals. In other words, I try to live life as simply as possible and not waste time on things that really don’t matter to me. This list of ways to be a green parent looks somewhat different than it would have when I first started all of this ten years ago. I think it is more manageable, less product focused, and more affordable.
Last year, I shared a post with ten non-toxic men’s colognes for Father’s Day. Since publishing that post, I have removed a couple of the colognes after discovering they weren’t so natural after all. But I have also discovered four new options, thanks to my readers. You can find these all-natural, non-toxic men’s colognes listed below. I realize that it’s probably a little late to get any of these for Christmas (unless you have Amazon prime) but maybe you know a special guy with a birthday coming up (like my husband). And please continue to let me know if you come across any other great finds.
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