Archive for the ‘Homestuff’ Category

December Ecocentric Mom Box Review

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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I love getting my Ecocentric Mom boxes! Have you heard of them? Each box contains such a different variety of stuff, it’s always neat to see what they include each month. EcoCentric Mom is a subscription box, for $24.95 you get a box once every other month, and now you can also get it once a month. They have three different types of boxes you can get: Mom Box (what I got this time), Baby and Mom Box,and the Pregnancy Box. All of these boxes are packed with eco-friendly items for you to sample.  For me though, the value in what you get is so worth it.  That’s almost the most important thing to me…am I getting my money’s worth of stuff? This month’s box was all about ME. This Christmas season for us was super tough.  My dad passed away in November, the day before Thanksgiving.  The entire season was just sad, but we still worked hard at trying to make it nice for the kids.  Even though we all missed him.

When I got this box in January, it really couldn’t have been better.  It was a pampering box that focused on helping us rejuvenate.  So whether your holidays had been a blissful whirlwind or just tough like ours was, we all could use some pampering for ourselves.  Momma’s always seem to put ourselves last!  So here’s what was in the box.

 

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HelloMello Balance Body Oil

I don’t know about you, but in the winter my skin gets dry, rough and flakey. I get spots of eczema and it hurts!  This body oil is exactly what my dry winter skin needs. It’s soft fragrance isn’t overpowering, honesty barely noticeable which is exactly the way I like it. I put it on right after the shower so my skin just soaks it right in. It’s hand crafted made from natural ingredients. Just love. This sample size is valued at $12.

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The Laughing Tree Organic Lip Balm

 

I’m a lip balm addict. I admit it. I need multiple lip balms just to make sure I’m not caught with out in the winter time. Pennsylvania winters can be rough, and here is another natural product that ensures that I don’t dry out! It’s a gentle lip balm with pure natural organic ingredients. So thankful this sample was included. It’s value is $3.

 

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Smarty Pants Adult Complete and Kids Vitamins

I’m on the fence sometimes about gummy vitamins. Lots of times they are filled with food coloring, added sugar and other synthetics that really makes you wonder if you should be munching on these every day.  Not these though.  With no added sugar, you can feel good about this daily sweet treat. Sample packs for both kids and adults were included.  Yum! Sample values about $2.

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Coconut Organics Coconut Chips

Coconut Organics does one thing.  Organic Coconut! They are the coconut experts and they are doing it right.  These unsweetened organic coconut chips are perfect for your paleo cooking.  They are full of fiber, and healthy fats with no added sugar or salt.  Just plain old coconut, just the way I like it. Sample value $1.50

 

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Neelu Kaur Yogini Bliss

I posted this on Instagram earlier this week.  Possibly one of my favorite things included in this month’s box. I use this pure essential oil roller all the time.  It smells like bliss! It’s not overwhelming and it settles so nicely when it dries.  It’s not overpowering which is so important to me when it comes to fragrances.  Neelu Kaur creates these fragrances not to just smell nice, but for their aromatherapeutic benefits. It purposefully is created to give you a sense of bliss. Just right for anyone who may be blue during the winter.  Value $30

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My Konjac Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge

When I first saw this, my initial thought was “What is this?!” Momma doesn’t have time for a facial. What’s a charcoal sponge. Completely new to me, these sponges are fantastic at detoxing your skin.  Use it to wash your face in the shower, it contains minerals that help eliminate harmful toxins while it exfoliates your skin. Who knew? Not this girl. This is why I love these boxes so much.   Sponge value $10.

 

EcoCentric Mom box did not disappoint! This box’s value is around $60, not including all the discount codes for everything included! 

Why do I love this box? It’s so convenient, and there’s always such a nice variety of stuff each month.  I love that it introduces me to new products, because really, I don’t have the time or the energy to go find stuff like this in back woods Pennsylvania.  I’d probably have to travel really far to find anything like this.

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. You can opt to have the boxes delivered once a month or every other month.  They are $24.95 a box. That includes shipping! If you do a longer subscription, there’s room for savings too.

August Ecocentric Mom Box Review

Monday, September 14th, 2015

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I’m always so pleasantly surprised when my Ecocentric Mom Box arrives in the mail. Each box contains such a different variety of stuff, it’s always neat to see what they include each month. EcoCentric Mom is a subscription box, for $24 you get a box once every other month. The best part is, you don’t even have to be a mom to get a box.  They have four different types of boxes you can get: Mom Box (what I got this time), Baby and Mom Box,and the Pregnancy Box. All of these boxes are packed with eco-friendly items for you to sample.  For me though, the value in what you get is so worth it.  That’s almost the most important thing to me…am I getting my money’s worth of stuff? This box was super super genius, but I’ll let you be the judge.  Here’s what I got in my box this month.

 

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Vance Family Soy Candles: First item is this beautiful Soy candle by the Vance Family. I’m pretty cautious about candles and other fragrances in my home.  Usually any fragrance comes from my essential oil diffuser.  This candle fits my natural style because it is only fragranced with pure essential oils and organic flavor oils.  This hand crafted candle is made with recycled glass that you can use again too. This candle retails for $18.99.

 

 

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Earthwise Beauty, Tangerine Skies: With fall coming I was super glad to see this beautiful sample in my box.  My skin gets super dry when cold weather comes, and Earthwise Beauty Tangerine Skies Facial Oil is such a beautiful natural product to help moisturize the dry spots on my face. I am so picky about products that I use on my skin, and this one has no artificial anything in it.  No fake smell to nauseate me. Just a natural clean oil to moisturize the dry spots leaving my skin feeling fresh and healthy. 1 oz. bottles go for $38, this sample size was .2 oz so this was roughly $7 worth of product.

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Boom Chick A Pop, Kettlecorn: Each box I’ve gotten has almost always included some kind of yummy bits to try.  This time they had Boom Chick A Pop’s Kettle Corn. My kids love this treat, and squealed when they saw this in the box.  What I love about this neat treat is that it’s organic, non-GMO certified, preservative free.  A simply made snack I’m happy to let my kids enjoy…and I might even have a bit of it too. This size is usually sold in large packs of 12 or 24, and it’s average price is about $.66 an ounce.

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Square Hue Nail Polish: Before opening this box I had never heard of hue before. It’s a nail polish subscription box that delivers full size limited edition colors every month. You can sign up for 2 or 3 polishes a month.  The collection sets are uniquely themed each month, their are 5-free, vegan-friendly & cruelty free. I got this awesome light turquoise color that really has stood the test of time on my toes! It’s hard to find high quality polish that doesn’t chip right off the bat that’s not full of horrible chemicals.  Give this one a try.  Not only did I get this polish, but I also received a 50% off code for my first collection set.  Altogether a value of $10.99.

 

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Elektra Magnesium Cream: Next was a sample of Elektra Magnesium cream. It’s a natural blend of butters and oils infused with magnesium to help keep you skin fresh looking and hydrated. It’s a moisturizer/supplement combo that’s great to keep your skin healthy. It’s free of parabens, petrochemicals, and animal ingredients. This sample bottle’s value is about $4.

 

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Ground 2 Table Spices: What a neat idea.  Little spice packets that are salt free, sugar free, organic and non-GMO. This little sample came with a salad dressing blend, a cinnamon spice blend, and a guacamole blend. These spices are sustainably sourced bringing you a wholesome addition to your kitchen. This new company is constantly expanding their product line, so hopefully we’ll be hearing more about what they’re up to. Each packet runs about $1.99, so this sample is worth $6.

 

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Branch to Nature Thyme Facial Astringent: Lastly, they included a sample of Branch to Nature’s Thyme Facial Astringent. This is a gentle facial cleanser that naturally cleanses and revives your skin. This formula is great for all skin types. This product left my face feeling clean and smooth, with out that tight chemically feel. The bottle doesn’t say what size it was, but it looks like a 1 ounce sample size.  3.5 ounce bottles go for $15.50, so I’m going to estimate that this bottle here is worth $4.50.

So far my darlings, my total comes to just over $100 in value.  This box was so generous I’m floored. I haven’t mentioned the 30 day free trial to Pilates Anytime ($18 value). Overall this box contained about $125 worth of products. I just can’t even right now. I can’t wait for October’s box.

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. Boxes are delivered once every other month and are $24 a box. That includes shipping.  For a limited time if you use the code “ecolove2015” you’ll receive $5 off your first box.  Enjoy!

Things you should know. I was not paid to write this post, but I did receive the box free for review. If you click on the links and order your own box, I will receive a small compensation for you doing so.  If you love the box, and love the blog it’s a great way to help support my blog at no extra cost to you.  I sure would appreciate it!  Xo!!

 

 

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Ecocentric Mom Box Review

Friday, April 10th, 2015

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A few weeks ago I received my April Box from EcoCentric Mom to review. I was so impressed with my last box that when they asked me to review another I was so glad to say yes! EcoCentric Mom is a subscription box, for $24 you get a box once every other month. The best part is, you don’t even have to be a mom to get a box.  They have four different types of boxes you can get: Mom Box, Baby and Mom Box (that’s what I get), the Pregnancy Box, and The Ecocentric Box. All of these boxes are packed with eco-friendly items for you to sample.  For me though, the value in what you get is so worth it.  That’s almost the most important thing to me…am I getting my money’s worth of stuff? I’ll let you be the judge.  Here’s what I got in my box this month.

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Bear’s Beauty Vegan Natural Deodorant: I was sent a travel size of the grapefruit/lavender deodorant to try. As a nursing mother I’m always happy to try new natural deodorants.  I don’t want those aluminum/chemical smelling ones near my baby’s head.  Value: $6

Country Choice Organic Steal Cut Oatmeal: I received one package of this to try (which my son absolutely loved). We got the maple spiced flavor. A box goes for $4.29 for 8 packages of oatmeal.  Value: $.50

Brigit True Organics Peppermint Lip Balm: I was delighted to see this.  First, they are an earthy pagan-like Virginia based company. It reminds me of my time living in the mountains of Virginia with my wild women friends. I miss them. I was sent their peppermint balm to try, and it’s smooth and cool on my lips.  Love it. Value: $5.00

EcoTrek Fitness Bar: Guys…they sent me a chocolate raspberry bar.  My nine year old daughter tried to steal it from me.  We compromised and cut it in half and shared it. Now I need to buy more of these.  It was so good, and guilt free. Eating that bar felt like a huge cheat (it wasn’t). Value: $2.30

EcoEggs: This was so cute, I wasn’t even sure if it was just a gift inside the box. It wasn’t until I read the card did I realize these were a sample of easter eggs. These eggs are made of non-toxic, plant-based plastic and they won’t sit in the landfill for years. They’re completely compostable. They even tucked some chocolate inside too. Yum! Value: $.40

Pure by She She Baby Wash and Shampoo. This was a nice, light citrus scented shampoo. All natural, plant based soap for your baby that you can feel good about. Love it. Great addition. The bottle I received was a 2oz. sample size. Value: $3.00

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Baby Bits Wipes Solution. Guys…this is so brilliant. I’ve never heard of these before. Their little sample contained 3 cubes which is enough to moisturize about 100 wipes.  In 3 cubes. 100 wipes. Guys. You drop a cube in a spray bottle with warm water and let them dissolve.  Then you spray your baby’s wipes, and wipe the hiney. Now I don’t have to use disposables when I go out…I can just bring his regular wipes and spray. I may just keep it and use it all the time. I’m sure you can tell.  I’m a fan. Value: $.80 (priceless)

Bright Baby Touch and Feel Easter Book: I read to my baby a lot, and he loved this little book.  I love that EcoCentric Mom always includes a little book in their box.  It’s like a little gift, just for my little boy. They always send perfect little books that fit right in the diaper bag. My little man liked his little Easter Book.  Value: $4.95

Camilia Teething Relief: My little boy is in the process of getting teeth number 5 and 6, so this was well timed. I have a few other homeopathic remedies that I got from a girlfriend who’s mom brought them for me from England. This seems like a liquid form of the same exact thing, and it doesn’t have to cross a pond to get to me. Definitely a useful addition. This sample came with 5 doses. Value: $2.00

Goddess Garden Organic Sunscreen: These little packets are perfect for us. We are an outdoorsy family and I love the idea of having plant based sunscreen that doesn’t have harmful chemicals. I can use this on my baby with out worrying. I’m looking forward to trying it once the weather gets a bit warmer.They are even waterproof for up to 40 minutes. Love these. Value: $.60

Nourish with Style Reusable Food Pouch: I feel like this box understands that we are people on the go. We are a busy family and I love being introduced to items like this that help me continue to give my baby healthy food when we’re not at home. You fill up the pouch, and pack it away.  No need to buy expensive pre-made pouches that you just throw away when your done.  Value: $1.50

So far my total is $27.00 worth of items, and this isn’t including all the coupons that came in the box.

There was a 30% off coupon for Goddess Garden (yes, I’m going to use it!), and $1.00 off, 15% off Pure Natural Organics. 

Once again I’m very impressed with the kinds of things I received in this month’s box.  All these things are practical and stuff I’m interested in having and using. My only wish? That you could get a box every month!

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. Boxes are delivered once every other month and are $24 a box. That includes shipping.  For a limited time if you use the code “ecolove2015” you’ll receive $5 off your first box.  Enjoy!

Things you should know. I was not paid to write this post, but I did receive the box free for review. If you click on the links and order your own box, I will receive a small compensation for you doing so.  If you love the box, and love the blog it’s a great way to help support my blog at no extra cost to you.  I sure would appreciate it!  Xo!!

9 Easy Recipes for Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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It’s that time of year again. I think nature purposefully makes us all crazy to clean this time of year. I want to open the windows, and get every spot in my house clean. Whether I actually do it or not is another story. When I do get busy, I hate using fake smelling, chemically nasty cleaners. Long long ago when I was in college I worked in a perfume store. Some of my friends thought I was lucky, but can you imagine spending 8-10 hours around fake nasty chemical perfumes? After I graduated college and left the job, I could NEVER stand the smell of fake chemical smells again. Thank goodness for the pure power of natural essential oils. After cleaning with these products my house smells so fresh and clean.

Most of these cleaners have a shelf life of 1-2 months unless otherwise stated. They don’t have all the chemical stabilizers that store bought cleaners have, so making them in smaller batches that you will use in that period of time makes the most sense.  Because oils have a tendency to separate, it also makes sense to shake them before you use them.

So, shameless plug here. I just so happen to really love essential oils, so much that I have my own store. However, retail buying is not the best way unless you want to get like…just one. So, if you’d like to get some amazing oils to go along with these cleaners just email me. I promise, I’m a horrible salesperson and just a better educator so you won’t feel like I’m pushing you. Like, ever. /endshamelessplug

 

Onward to having a clean house!

 

 

Dusting Spray:

1 cup of olive oil

3/4 cup vinegar

15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil or Wild Orange Oil

To use: Add contents to a glass sprayer bottle.I spray this directly on a dusting cloth (usually an old washcloth) and wipe down any and all surfaces.

 

All Purpose Surface Cleaner:surfacecleaner

1 cup of water

5 drops of Protective Blend

5 drops of Wild Orange Essential Oil

To use: Add contents to a glass sprayer bottle and spray surfaces that need disinfecting.  This is my go-to spray for my kitchen counters, bathroom counters, and my infant son’s diaper changing table. I use it every day.

 

Wood Floor Cleaner

1 gallon of warm water

2 tbsp liquid castile soap

15 drops of Citrus Essential Oil (Lemon, or Wild Orange)

**For a pine scent use 5 drops each of Cypress, White Fir, and Cedarwood.

To use: Mix in a bucket and mop on the floor, or use a sponge to scrub.  No rinsing needed. Make a new batch each time you scrub the floors, no storage necessary.

 

Laminate Countertop Cleaner (deep cleaning)

1 Quart of water

3 tbsp castile soap

2 drops of lemon essential oil

To use: Remove everything from your counter tops and and spray this cleaner to clean.  This is a one time use product, so no storage is necessary.

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Window and Mirror Cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

10-15 drops of lemon essential oil

To use: Put contents in a dark glass sprayer bottle, and use when needed.

 

Daily Use Shower Spray

2 cups of water

1 cup vinegar

10 drops of Melalecua Oil (aka, Tea Tree a well known anti-fungal)

5 drops of Protective Blend

To use: Spray in tub or shower after each use.

 

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1/4 cup castille soap

1 cup water

3 tbsp baking soda

10 drops of Protective Blend

To use: I put this in a mason jar.  When I make this I shake it all up in the jar, and then pour some in when I need it. Usually about 1/4 of a cup per scrubbing.

 

Toilet Bombs: (for the big job)

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup white vinegar

5 drops Melalecua

To use: Pour contents directly into toilet bowl.  There will be fizzing! Let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrub as usual and flush away.

 

Homemade Bleach

1 cup hydrogen peroxide

1 tbsp lemon juice

3/4 cup of water

5 drops of lemon essential oil

5 drops wild orange

To use: Put in a dark sprayer bottle. Use to disinfect surfaces, pull stains out of clothes (works best if the stains haven’t dried or set in yet), and even lightens grout stains. This bottle will last 2-3 months and this recipe is easily cut in half. There is a slightly different recipe I use in the washing machine for laundry, so check back soon for my post about using essential oils for the laundry room.

PS: If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils in a friendly no pressure setting, please check out my cozy little Facebook group

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Photo credit: Windows cleaning supplies

Ecocentric Mom Box Review

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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A few weeks ago I was approached by Ecocentric Mom to review one of their boxes.  I love doing these types of box reviews, specially for green/eco-friendly products specially geared towards moms. I don’t know about you, but I’m a busy work at home, homeschooling mom of three and I just don’t have the time to look for the best products for my kids.  Who has time to shop? Not this gal. Ecocentric Mom puts together a box every other month full of organic, eco-friendly products for you to sample at home.  Super convenient.

They have many different types of boxes, and I asked if I could review the mom and baby box since I have a 5 month old little boy. When I first got my little box, I wondered how much stuff you could actually get in such a small box.  I was kinda ready to be disappointed, but after I started digging in I was shocked at how many things were packed inside this little box.

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When I opened it up, right on top was a card with lots of information about the items packed inside.  This was new.

 

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And then I started pulling things out.  Unpacking, and unpacking…

 

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What you can’t see in this picture were my kids hovering behind me.  They wanted to grab all the snack bits and run.  So what was included in this box?

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1. Mama loves Me.  This book apparently is out of print!  Cute little book that is hard to find nestled cutely in this box. I googled other reviews for this box, and apparently little card books are a regular.  Love it. I’m already reading books to my little guy and these books fit easily in the diaper bag and are ready to go.  On the book it says it’s value is $6.99.

2.Natural Seal, 1 oz bottle. Never heard of this stuff before but I like having it on hand.  My daughter is a little swimmer, and we have a first aid kit that goes with us to practice and to every swim meet.  We got to try out the product first day (thanks to the dangers of homeschooling…paper cuts.  The struggle is real). My daughter was pleasantly surprised it didn’t hurt, her tearful protest ended right after I sprayed it on her.  I’m glad to see it came with a coupon….it doesn’t expire either, so I’ll be on the look out for this product when I ever get a chance to get out.  The 1 oz. bottle is valued at around $12.

3. One packet of Amara dried apples baby food. Another product I had never heard of.  What a neat idea to have dried baby food for whenever you’re out with baby.  We camp, and we travel and on our next trip I will be sure to stock up on these for my little man.  What a fabulous little find. Moisten it with water or breast milk and you have your little one’s lunch.  Love it. The one package’s value is about $1.50.

4. Pura Botanica Fusions “Pick me up” Bath salts. This one obviously for momma. After a long day of taking care of everyone else’s needs, we should take some time for ourselves and recharge so we can do it all again tomorrow.  Right? These salts are lovely! So refreshing.  They retail for $11.99, but I found them on Amazon for $7.50.  Either way a nice addition to the box. Four products in, and I’ve hit my $24.99 price for the box, and I’m done yet. MOAR!

5. Bum Boosa Baby Wipes.  I received two samples of these wipes, and they went straight into my first aid kit again.  This may not have been the most valuable addition to the box, but I love sampling natural products that I will use day in and day out.  Super useful to have these little packets to wipe bums or boo boo’s with, even if the value of them is negligible.

6. Snack Out Loud Crunchy Bean Snack, tomato basil. I didn’t get picture of this one by itself because my hovering children took off with it after I snapped the group photo above. I didn’t even get to try them, they wolfed them down (because you know…I don’t ever feed them).  Apparently they didn’t read the part where it was healthy because it disappeared.  The value of the one package was $1.79.

7. Flavorz Organic Sports Drink Mix. I didn’t get a picture of this one either.  My daughter couldn’t wait to try it. Lots of the girls on her swim team bring gatorade and other sports drinks to practice and I don’t allow my daughter to drink it because of food colorings and other sugars that I think are just unhealthy.  We mixed it up right away and put it in her water bottle.  She brought it with her to practice that night even.  She loved it.  So glad we now have an alternative to gatorade! The value of the one package of mix is about $1.29.

8. Kelapo Coconut Oil, two pouches. Something I’ve actually seen before, yay for not being completely uninformed.  I’ve sampled this oil in the past, and was glad to see it in this box.  This got tucked away for future camping trips.  Loving the little pouches.  This valued at about $2.00.

 9. eInvite Idea Catchers. Cute little sampler of quality card stock idea catchers.  Perfect to tuck away in your purse to catch phone numbers or any other notes you need to take down. Great little addition.  Valued at about $5.o0

10. Coupons!!  Tucked inside was a 20% off coupon to O&N Collective. O&N Collective is an online apothecary specializing in certified organic and natural skin and personal care products. Something else to check out! 

Overall I’m pretty impressed with the quality and the selection in this box.  I love it when these boxes introduce me to new products for me to sample and try. The mom and baby box was perfect for me and my little man.  A subscription would make a lovely gift for a shower gift for any expecting mom you might know. Because really…new moms as much as we’d love to, just rarely have the time to get out there and get shopping.

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. Boxes are delivered once every other month and are $24 a box. That includes shipping.  For a limited time if you use the code “ecolove2015” you’ll receive $5 off your first box.  Enjoy!

Things you should know. I was not paid to write this post, but I did receive the box free for review. If you click on the links and order your own box, I will receive a small compensation for you doing so.  If you love the box, and love the blog it’s a great way to help support my blog at no extra cost to you.  I sure would appreciate it!  Xo!!

 

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Lavender Rosemary Bathsalts

Monday, December 15th, 2014

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I love getting and receiving home made gifts during the holiday season anytime, and if you’re still scrounging to get a thoughtful gift together here’s a quick easy one that anyone can do.

 

First, to make this gift you’ll need a cute little jar. One of my favorites are these green Ball Jars, you can find them here.

Those are a little big, so if you’d rather make stocking stuffer size gifts, check out these.

Don’t have time to make fancy pinterest worthy labels?  That’s ok, I’ve got you covered.  These are the cutest little chalk board labels and you can just write right on them, too.

Now for the salt mixing. 

DIY Lavender Rosemary Bath Salts
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Epsom Salt
  2. 1 cup Himalayan Pink Salts
  3. 1/2 cup baking soda
  4. 10 drops of Lavender Oil
  5. 5 drops of Cardamom Oil
  6. 3 drops of Rosemary Oil
  7. Optional: Dried Lavender, and dried rosemary
Instructions
  1. Put it all together, screw your lid on your jar and shake it up! Label them and give them away. Make sure you keep one for yourself too.
Notes
  1. I use and recommend dōTERRA essential oils for my projects. They are therapeutic grade oils that I'm confident won't have adverse reactions on my skin like other oils have in the past. If you'd like to learn more about these oils you can read here. Or shoot me an email. I will happily help get you set up. :)
Nearly Natural Momma http://www.nearlynaturalmomma.com/
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Non-Toy Christmas Gift Ideas

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Every year my kids write a list of toys they’d like for Christmas, and my husband I go through and get them what our budget allows.  Christmas is a fun time of year for us, and that special morning is so fun.  This year though, I wanted to give my kids thoughtful gifts that promote creativity, fun, and family time instead of toys that they’ll play with for a day or so then forget about. So my goal this year is to give them a toyless Christmas.  When I mentioned this to one of my friends, I got a chuckle…almost like I was crazy, but if you could just look at my kids’ rooms in their current state, you would see…they doesn’t need any more toys!

 

 

1. Calendars. Kids love calendars like this one. I got my son a Minecraft Calendar last year and he requested another one this year. The best part is he actually uses it. He writes down special days, and events that go on throughout the year and it fits his style. It’s hung up in his room.

2. Books. Specially ones that fit their interests. My daughter is a little creative bug, and I found this gem that I know will give her hours of fun.

3. A kindle. Speaking of books, my children requested iPads this year.  Almost laughable because they are so expensive.  Instead as their big gift this year they are each getting a kindle fire. I like them because of how programmable they are.  You can set how many hours they can play games on it, read on it, and the parental controls are great. If you get the children’s version it comes with a year’s subscription to amazon prime (unlimited books?!) and if your dear one breaks it within two years they replace it no questions asked. Well worth the price if you ask me, and it beats the massively expensive iPad.

4.  Bikes! One of the best Christmases I can remember was waking up and seeing brand new bikes by the tree, like this one. It’s a great way to get those kids off the couch, off the screens and outside! Here in PA there very well could be snow on the ground Christmas Day, but..we have a rail trail not too far from here.  It’s a great bike path, and a great fitness plan for the whole family.

5. Events and plays. In the last twelve months we’ve taken our kids to two events.  One was a Disney on Ice show, which surprisingly even my son enjoyed.  The second was a bit mature, we took them to see Les Miserables at a local theatre. I think it was the first time they saw a live musical, and I don’t think they’ll forget it. They’ve been asking to go back, so Santa may be bringing them some tickets.

6. Craft Kits. I see them all over the place, and my daughter is a super creative type. She would make and decorate all day if I let her. Here are some I’ve found that we like: Make your own wind chimes, Owl Stuffy Kit and Target’s Craftabelle crafts kits are so cute.

7. Fun clothes. I’m not talking plain every day stuff, I’m saying like mine craft hoodies, or Hello Kitty hoodies, or dress up clothes. Yes I’m that parent who lets their kid go out in capes.  It’s fun! 🙂

8. Board Games.  We have a family tradition of doing game nights on some weekends, and one of our favorites is the classic Monopoly.

9. Lessons. Whether it’s music lessons, art lessons, martial arts, sports, whatever. What a great gift to be able to learn and experience something new.  Give it to yourself too.

10. Plant or a Pet. I hesitated with this one.  Kids dream of getting puppies for Christmas and it’s hard for me to recommend getting a pet lightly.  I’m assuming that you the reader are responsible enough to know whether a pet would make a great addition to your family or not. It’d really be a magical gift, just as long as everyone is in it for the long haul. One way I tested my children was to give them each a plant.  They want that puppy so bad, but can they keep a plant alive?  Prove it by keeping this plant alive.  Also, remember a pet doesn’t have to be a big dog.  A fish, a hamster, any smaller animal would be just as cool, and sometimes just as much responsibility.  I recommend this gift with caution.  There won’t be an animal under our tree this year.

 

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Nine Things No One tells you about Having a Baby

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

 

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When you’re pregnant everyone tells you how much your life is going to change.  Sleepless nights, babies cry, how much worrying we’ll do, yadda yadda.  What is it people don’t tell you? Probably lots because everyone is too embarrassed to discuss it.  Well, I’m not.  Here’s what people are less likely to tell you.

 

1. Babies fart.  They fart like adult men, and it can be so loud that people will think it’s you. Yeah right mom…blame the baby.

2. Babies always know when you’re about to sit down and eat. Just as you sit down, they’ll wake up from their naps and sing you the song of their people.

3. Poop! Babies poop, and they will load up a diaper like no one’s business.  Newborn poop isn’t so bad, but it can be frequent. That all changes once they start eating table food. Then, luckily it’s less frequent, but the stink factor goes way up.

4.  A highly scientific internet study has shown Babies are more likely to poop in a fresh diaper. Also, they are more likely to spit up right after you’ve put them in their new adorable outfit.

5.  Neck cheese. You know…that curdled milk that found it’s way into your baby’s neck folds after they spit up. Sure you bathe them, and wash them, but what’s what weird smelly stuff in their neck?  Neck cheese. Sick.

6. Hand lint. Newborn babies clench their hands most of the time.  Those little hands get sweaty and filled with lint. Lint collects between their fingers, and specially between their thumbs.  Why it smells so bad, I have no idea.  Hot, sweaty hand lint. Yum.

7. Baby fingernails grow super fast, and the skin around their nails bleed really easily.  Luckily it doesn’t seem to hurt too bad if you miss the nail. Also, even the cleanest babies seem to always get dirt under their nails. You’re usually left with a choice: bloody fingers or dirty ones.  Weigh your choice carefully! greenboogie

8. Bulb syringes are the DEVIL. It’s just not a simple task to jam these “nose plungers” in your little one’s nose, and suck all the boogies out.  If you don’t clean them out after your little one isn’t sick anymore than so many fabulous friends grow in there. Tasty.

9. PPD.  Going to get serious for a minute, bear with me. If you are feeling mentally off after you have a baby it’s not due to the fact that you failed to keep yourself together.  Your hormones are going CRAZY. You just made a tiny miracle, and whether you’re breast feeding it or not, your body has lots of settling down to do afterwards.  Making babies is really hard on momma. Some women get symptoms right away, others its a gradual decline that can be difficult to notice at first.  Admitting you need help does not mean you lose.  Don’t isolate yourself, don’t feel shame, DO break out.  Go see friends, talk to people, tell your doctor, exercise and bring that beautiful little being with you. You won’t feel blissful every day, and once that initial honey moon phase is over you may feel gray. You don’t lose unless you tell yourself you do.  Think for a minute…when was the last time you thought someone who had post partum depression was just a wimp? Never? No one will think that of you either.

 

Did I miss anything? What surprising thing did you find out after you had your little one?

Fiddlebumps – A Review and Giveaway

Friday, October 17th, 2014

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You all know I just had a baby, and this Nearly Natural Momma wants to use the most natural products that I can…just so long as they work. I’m not talking about bathing my kid in sunshine and roses because Ermagerd Kemikals! However, I am cautious about what I want to put on my children’s skin, specially my littlest love. I’m always skeptical when it comes to alternative products because lots of times they just don’t work, or they have adverse reactions to fragile skin.  I will never forget the look my newborn baby gave me when I applied California Baby diaper cream on his poor little hiney.  It burned… the tears of betrayal flowed down his sweet face, and into the trash bin it went. After that experience it was hard for me to trust the alternative cream on his sensitive tush.   We had been using conventional grocery store cream on his hiney until Holly from Fiddlebump’s sent me her Tiny Hiney cream along with her Healing Salve to try out.

The Tiny Hiney Cream is a gentle alternative to conventional store bought cream.  Holly makes them herself in small batches from completely natural ingredients. They contain no petroleum, no paragons, no preservatives or anything synthetic. The healing salve is a gentle natural way to help your kids scrapes and scratches heal with out resorting to antibiotic ointments or other conventional creams that may sting the already painful spot.  It contains essential oils known to be antiseptics, such as Tea Tree, Lavender, and Shea Butter which helps improve skin elasticity, and aids in reducing scars. Together the oil blends provides anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

 
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Both products have a gentle smooth feel and a faint fragrance.  It’s easy to tell right away it’s the oils, not a fake fragrance you’re smelling. The Tiny Hiney goes on smooth, and protects his little bum from any moisture that may be in his diaper. It does all this with out the nasty chemicals, and most of all it does it with out tears unlike the other diaper cream I tried. She has so many different products she sells for baby’s, first aid, cleaning products, bath and body products….if you’ve been looking for natural products this is a company you should definitely check out. Click here to check out her products.

For an added bit of fun, Holly has agreed to host a fun giveaway to introduce one of my readers to her products.  Check out the rafflecopter below to enter!

 

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Ways to Enter the Giveaway:

1.  Click here and check out Fiddlebump’s products. Leave a comment below telling me which product you’d like to try.

2. Follow Fiddlebumps and me, Nearly Natural Momma on Facebook.  Links are provided in the Rafflecopter below.

3. Subscribe to our newsletters!  Links are provided in the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules: A winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.com. We will announce the lucky winner on Sunday, October 26, 2014. Once contacted, the lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name, address, and phone number. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone except where prohibited by law!

Our Birth Story

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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Well folks, our birth story now feels like it is a long time coming, if by long time I mean almost two months.  I’ve been writing it on and off since my boy was born.  I’m going to warn you now, this post will be long…and it’s not like most I’m used to writing. So here goes…seven weeks ago I was 41 weeks pregnant.  Look at that face. Just look at it. I was so so tired of being pregnant.

 

41 weeks...does my face tell you how tired I was of being pregnant?

 

That photo was taken two days before my induction, I felt like a whale. My body just doesn’t go into labor on it’s own.  Three pregnancies and I just can’t get that ball rolling on it’s own. Walking, sex, spicy food, pineapple…none of it mattered. I pre labored for over a month with contractions, and braxton hicks.  It only exhausted me, and never got things moving. My doctor suggested that I get induced a week after I was due, and the day couldn’t have come soon enough.  Little man made it just to 42 weeks, just like his big sister.

This induction was different from both of the two I had before, and truly third time is a charm.  This time they used a foley catheter. I have to admit, the catheter thing was a bit frightening.  I liked that it helped my body prepare for labor more naturally instead of using synthetic hormone cervical creams. I tried googling for birth stories with the catheter, and couldn’t find much which inspired me to write this.

My appointment was Thursday evening to have my catheter inserted so it could do it’s job overnight. They took us in about 8:30pm, and by 10:00pm they had finally started putting in the catheter. This process wasn’t painful, just maybe slightly uncomfortable.  Almost like an extensive pelvic exam. The nurses told me the catheter will fall out once I reached 4 cm, and I was starting at almost 1cm. I was able to get up and pee while it was in, which I must have done at least 4-5 or a hundred times. I started cramping shortly after it was inserted, and this cramping gradually became more intense.  An hour after it was put in, I was pretty sure my water broke but I realized later when my water really broke that it hadn’t at that point.  It was likely water from the catheter leaking out. About 1:00 a.m. just as I felt like I was reaching my pain limit, it fell out on my hundredth a trip to the bathroom. What a relief that was for it to be out. My nurse then decided to put me on a low dose of pitocin just to keep things going.

Labor takes a long time, yet it seems to fly by at the same time.  Two seconds hours later I was asking for an epidural. The pain hadn’t gotten unmanageable yet, but I knew what was coming.  I had not had great experiences with epidurals in the past, so I was really hoping this one would take (my second delivery was with NO pain meds…ouch!).  A pair of anesthesiologists came in, one was a recent grad and was being trained by the other.  The trainee was the one doing my epidural that evening, so nerve wracking.  Last thing I wanted to hear was the other one say, “No, you’re doing it wrong, you really didn’t want to do it that way.” Really guys?! She did a good job though, and it was about as painless as it could be. It really was the perfect strength too.  Not too strong that I couldn’t feel anything, but strong enough it took the edge off.

After that, I slept for a few hours.  The nurse at one point came in to shift me, my little boy didn’t like it when I laid on my left side. Unfortunately when I shifted to my right side, the epidural stopped working on the left side.  It was so weird to be completely comfortable on one side, and feeling every contraction fully on the left.They came and increased my epidural dose, which gave me relief for a couple hours…just in time to get to work.

My water broke with a very noticeable pop around 6:00 in the morning. I was grateful it happened on it’s own because my OB was going to break it for me around 7 if it hadn’t. The contractions were still very intense on my left side, but all was progressing smoothly. It all seems like a blur from that moment to when I was finally 10 cm and we were ready to go.  I was ready to go about 9:30 that morning, and by 10:00am we had our boy in my arms. He was 20 inches, and weighed 8 pounds, 5 oz.  My smallest baby of my three.

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His first breath was followed by him completely protesting life and his new surroundings.  He cried so hard, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear those healthy lungs go. He latched on right away, and the next two hours were glorious and peaceful.  We laid in the delivery room just in awe of this little man we brought into this world.

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Maybe because this was my third delivery, or maybe because I’m lucky we had absolutely no complications with this birth. I had no tearing, no extra bleeding.  I was walking in just a few hours from having him.  We even went home the very next day.  Bliss..

 

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