Updated Simply Rustic Review

My original review of Simply Rustic products was 1st shared in Nov of 2012!. The products haven’t changed all that much, the line did expand a bit over the years. But the things I love about it remain: there is very, very little plastic used in this line. Most of the products come in glass jars or stainless tins. The beloved lip balms do come in a plastic tube, but I’m willing to overlook that for this particular product as I prefer a tube to a tin that I have to use my fingers to apply it from. What has changed with this line? Ownership! I was a bit sad when Amanda, the former owner, let me know she was considering giving up Simply Rustic for a full-time job elsewhere (one that she really wanted & enjoys). Amanda was running the company from Northern WI, my state, so I was sad to know it may leave here. She asked if I’d mind posting the opportunity for someone to take over the business in my group page. I thought it was a long shot, but didn’t mind posting it for her. We were both shocked how much interest there was! At least a dozen people were interested, and eventually a long-time member of my online community took over ownership just months ago. So while I was sad to see Simply Rustic leave WI, I knew it would be in good hands in the Pacific North West (WA state) with Britney. Britney is a former teacher & this shines through in her attention to detail & how she jumped right in & soaked up as much knowledge as she could from Amanda then hit the ground running, making nothing but positive changes to this line! Here is a bit about Britney from the ‘about’ link from the website: http://www.simplyrustic2011.com/about.html

Amanda had certainly been using all-natural ingredients, some local, some wild-crafted, some organic. But Britney has converted to using organic ingredients whenever possible. For each product listed you will see she includes an ingredient glossary down below, where she describes the benefits & purpose for each ingredient selected in the recipe. There is so much great info there & I’ve learned a lot in reading up on some of the oils & butters! She has also expanded the flavor selection of the lip balms so many of us love, offering warm, seasonal selections such as : Apple Spice & Pumpkin Spice! These in addition to a Vanilla Chai, Happy Birthday Cupcake (created for her daughter’s upcoming B-day), and even a S’mores flavored lip balm (created for her Son, who was jealous his Sissy got one created for her)! There is even a new Pumpkin Spice scrub & body butter for those who love that special autumn scent! I know it’s usually a love it or hate it on the seasonal offerings such as pumpkin. Personally, I’m kinda’ neutral on them, they’re not my favorite, but I don’t hate them. My opinion on Britney’s new creations: they still go on very nice & smooth & leave my lips shiny and moisturized. I don’t think I’ll ever find any I love more than the current offerings of pomegranate/coconut/vanilla (my all-time fave), chococate/strawberry & raspberry/lemonade. Those are just soooooo good, they’re hard for me to move beyond & I don’t desire any more than them, they make me happy J She did send me a choc/straw lip tube to compare to what Amanda offered. It had the same great texture, I did think it had a bit more of a chocolatey taste to it vs former batches, which wasn’t a bad thing! Britney said one reason could be because she switched to organic cocoa butter, the flavor could be a little more intense, which is definitely a possibility. My conclusion on the lip balms: they’re still great, and have gotten even better with an increase in organic ingredients & several additional flavors. Britney does plan to keep the seasonal ones around just for a few months, unless they become so loved that y’all can’t live without them, yet to be determined! The kids flavors could make excellent stocking stuffers this Holiday season! She also is offering an unflavored option, by request, for those who desire no flavor, but still want to nourish their lips. She only increased her price by $.50 to $3.50/tube, a great deal & very comparable to other great, safe choices from my ‘approved’ list. The ingredients vary, so check them out in this link here: http://www.simplyrustic2011.com/store/c10/Lip_Tubes.html

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Other products I’ve tried out that she sent me: Revive Body Butter ($15). It smells so good, and the benefits of the oils used are amazing. If you’re used to a whipped body butter, this is a bit more dense. But it truly melts on your fingertips as soon as you touch it & a little goes a long way. As we head into winter, and dry skin season, I’ll be so excited to have this product on hand to nourish & protect my skin! Ingredients in this butter: Fair Trade and Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Unrefined Grape Seed Oil, Organic and Unrefined Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Yellow Beeswax, Organic Carrot Seed Essential Oil, NonGMO Sunflower Vitamin E Oil. E

rise and shine

She also included a Rise & Shine! Body Scrub ($12), it has become a favorite of mine for sure. I LOVE coffee. I love the smell of coffee. I’m just a 1-2 cup/day drinker, but I love it. This scrub has coffee grinds in it & oh my goodness, it’s such a full sensory experience. I rarely bathe in the morning, usually evening, and this has helped give me a pick-me-up on more than once occasion, my second wind to keep me up those extra couple hours I need after getting the kids to bed (on occasion, often I crash with them). Here’s what Britney says about it: “There is a coffee shop in Sequim called Rainshadow Coffee and they sell the most amazing smelling fair trade and organic coffee beans. I used these ground beans to make the Rise and Shine! Body Scrub. It smells wonderful and it feels so good on your skin, especially after the shower. No need to moisturize after the bath or shower.” And she’s right, this product exfoliates, but also hydrates so, so well. You do not need any moisturizer after you get out of your bath or shower. It comes in a 4 oz glass jar. Full List of Ingredients: Fair Trade Demerara, Organic and Fair Trade Coffee, Organic Grape Seed Oil, Organic Cocoa Powder, Fair Trade, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Castor Seed Oil, NonGMO Sunflower Seed Vitamin E Oil.

I will update this review when I’ve had a chance to use the rest of the products she sent, which are from the face line. I don’t have much of a face routine currently, usually a hot wash cloth & my nightly moisturizer, but I do want to give the products Britney sent a try as full routine. I have tried the face/body wash & as it says on the bottle, a little DOES go a long way! Seriously ½ a pump was more than enough to wash my face, it lathered incredibly well! Here’s what Britney said about the face wash: “This product is one of the many reasons we bought Simply Rustic. This was a new product that came out right before Amanda sold the company to me. I don’t think many customers knew about it or had a chance to try it. My husband LOVES this face wash. When I started talking to him about the idea of possibly buying Simply Rustic, he said that we had to do it to keep using the face wash. It smells awesome, cleans our skin so well and the bottle lasts forever. Just half a pump goes a long way. There are so many benefits to the ingredients of the African Black Soap (listed below). It is awesome!  Ingredients: Raw African Black Soap with Shea Butter (Wildharvested and Unrefined Shea Butter Fruit, Coconut Oil, Wildharvested Palm Oil, Cocoa Pod Ash, and Water), Organic Glycerin, Witch Hazel (alcohol free), Organic Frankincense Essential Oil, Wildharvested Rosewood Essential Oil and Organic Guar Gum . Comes in a 4oz glass bottle with pump cap!

The face care regimen she suggests is this (and she included all products for me). I intend to start using all 3 products & give them a full month trial & will update y’all on my thoughts. I expect nothing but a good experience!

Suggested routine:

1: face wash

2: toner (she sent me Dancing in the Meadows). Britney’s comments on her toner: “After washing your face, get a washcloth or cotton round (whatever you use), and apply the Dancing in the Meadow face toner. I love this step. The toner smells so good and makes my skin feel like anything that was left behind is being wiped away. It’s really pretty too. Those are calendula flower petals floating around. The toner is alcohol free so it won’t dry your skin.”

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3: Dusk til Dawn Serum + Face Oil: From Britney: “This oil is the first product that I bought from Simply Rustic and I love it so much. I love that my face still feels moisturized when I wake up in the morning. The smell makes me happy and the benefits to my skin are amazing.” Serums + Face Oils available in a 1oz Amber Glass Bottle with Dropper Cap. Need a little more umph with your facial care? The Concentrated Serums + Face Oils are packed full of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and graceful aging benefits plus vitamins and minerals. Yes, you can use this as the moisturizer part of a skin care routine. Dusk til Dawn has heavier oils so if you have normal or oily skin this would probably work better for you at night. In the winter, I can use this one as a daytime moisturizer. Serums + Face Oils are designed to penetrate deeper layers of the skin compared to a facial moisturizer. Don’t want to give up your moisturizer? You can use both…cleanse your skin, use toner or not, apply the serum and let absorb and then apply the moisturizer. Have frizzy hair or fly-a- ways? A few drops applied to palm of hand, rubbed between hands and smoothed through hair will tame both.”

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on this line that has been on my ‘approved’ list for several years now. I truly love the dedication, motivation, inspiration that accompanies small(ish) lines like Simply Rustic. I know many of us like supporting the “little guys” with our dollars. By purchasing from Simply Rustic, your dollars are truly going from one family, to another, and we all benefit by voting for safer products being created with the best possible ingredients.

You can purchase these great products via the website:  http://www.simplyrustic2011.com/

You can also purchase Simply Rustic via my Eco-Friendly USA One-Stop Shop order, I do 3/year: Feb, May & Sep, the Sep order opens next week! Details for that here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

 

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My Natural Remedy Collection

It’s that time of year again: the start of cold/flu season. Many of you sent your kiddos back to school in the last week or 2, and with that comes the sharing of lots of germs. The question has started popping up: what do you do for immune boosting and limiting time spent sick? So I decided to go through my home & pull my various remedies. Some will definitely not apply to your needs, some may. I am NOT a doctor. I am a Mom who seeks out natural remedies to boost my kiddos immune systems & treat their symptoms whenever possible, resorting to conventional medicines as a final resort as needed, and sometimes they are needed. Also, we are generally very healthy. We have no known allergies or sensitivities. Many months go by that we take nothing more than our probiotics, and even those are rarely on a daily basis.  My Mom is the nurse in our local Complimentary Medicine Clinic, so she’s a wealth of info for me as needed. I hope this helps give you some ideas as to things you may want to have on hand in your natural medicine cabinet. You’ll notice I don’t mention dosages below. I’m hesitant to recommend dosage because again, I’m not a doctor. I’d like you to research that further and consult your own trusted sources to determine that.

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Back Row L to R:

Boiron Chestal kids/adults: I absolutely SWEAR by this cough syrup & when I shared last winter many others chimed in that they do too. Kids can use the adult version in smaller amounts too, so if you want just 1 go with the adult, I have 1 of each & never go without it. It worked very, very well on my kids nagging nighttime cough last year: http://amzn.to/2xaMYJa

Culturelle for kids probiotics: Definitely shop around, you can find it on sale via Vitacost & other outlets from time-to-time. My food co-op had it on sale a few months back & I bought several boxes for quite reasonable: http://amzn.to/2w714X1

PB 8 adult: I take these, I get them from Vitacost (my food co-ops sells them too but they’re a lot more expensive there). They’re very reasonably priced & I feel sufficient for my needs. I know there are a TON of probiotic options out there!  We also drink kefir & eat sauerkraut to get a variety of good bugs. Vitacost has sales a LOT! https://www.vitacost.com/nutrition-now-pb-8-supports-digestive-health

Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Elderberry Tea: I brew some up anytime the kids complain of not feeling well, at the 1st sign of symptoms, as well as just from time-to-time for general immune boosting. Kids love this tea with some raw, local honey as well! http://amzn.to/2vLoeHf

Metagenics Ultra Potent C: http://amzn.to/2gLXLm1

Redmond Clay First Aid (hydrated bentonite): I’m not seeing the hydrated clay on their site currently, but you can get their dry powder & add water to make your own paste. I also add the powder to my homemade toothpaste. https://redmond.life/shop/redmond-clay-powder-10-oz/

Poofy After Sun Spray: One of those products you hope you don’t need, but it’s amazing for sun or any type of burn: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/products/1016-after-sun-spray-organic.aspx

Poofy Everything Salve: TRULY good for everything! Bug bites, stings, burns…. https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/products/1156-everything-salve-organic.aspx

Pictured below, the generic, bulk pellets: It’s awesome to be able to buy homeopathic pellets in bulk, definitely saves money & reaffirms what an alternatively-minded area I live in when I can get these over the counter at my pharmacy!

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Front Row L to R:

Hyland’s Calcarea Fluorica: used to target teeth remineralization: http://amzn.to/2xOpjLF

Hyland’s Calcarea Phosphorica: also used to remineralize teeth: purchased on Amazon, not seeing it listed currently, my food co-op also sells many of the Hyland’s remedies.

Chamomilla (generic): I used these when my kids were teething. My local pharmacy stocks many homeopathic remedies in bulk!

Kali Bichromicum (generic): again from my local pharmacy. For cough symptoms, I can’t remember if it was for dry or wet cough, that definitely matters as you’d want a different remedy for a dry cough vs a wet one.

Nux Vomica (Boiron): I swear by this remedy for bellyaches, we never are without it! My kids ask for tummy pellets if they’re not feeling well!

Four Elements Echinacea: Pretty sure I got this at my food co-op. I add this to their elderberry syrup concoction when giving it for general immune boosting.

Montana Farmacy Japanese Knotweed: purchased at my food co-op for my Son’s Lyme’s symptoms.

Hawaii Pharm Cat’s Claw: purchased at my food co-op for my Son’s Lyme’s symptoms.

NutraMedix Stevia:  Also for Lyme’s symptoms, purchased via Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gMdYYs

Cough Care: Mountain Rose Herbs, not currently seeing it listed….

Nature’s Answers Milk Thistle: from my food co-op, great for healthy liver support. This looks like a good option via Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gNDPz1

Herm Pharm Myrrh: Bought when I was dabbling in making my own mouth wash, then Poofy came out with theirs & I’ll never use anything else. But it also lists immune boosting properties so I’ll try to incorporate it there. Bought at my food co-op.

Josiah’s Germ Fight Blend for diffuser: You can select Fir Blend if you have young kids in the home. I also use Josiah’s Atomizing diffuser. This 2 oz bottle lasts me an entire cold/flu season: http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p353/Germ_Fighting_Blend_%28Previously_%22Germ_Fighting_Thieves%22%29.html

Josiah’s Oils  Germ Fight Blend Diluted: I use this topically at the 1st sign of symptoms. Kids know to ask for it & rub it on each other’s spines even! For the very youngest kids, select the Fir blend. At 4 & 6, my kids are using the regular blend now: http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p349/Germ_Fighting_Roll-On_Blend_%28Pre-Diluted_and_Ready_to_Use%29.html

Josiah’s Oils Sniffles Blend: Slightly different than the germ fighting blend, I keep on hand for when I hear them start to sniffle. You can get it concentrated for the diffuser or select roll-on from the drop down menu for topical use: http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p390/SNIFFLES%21_%28gentle_for_big_%26_lil%27_noses%29.html

Cold Bee Gone: Some use this as a preventative, others at 1st sign of symptoms: http://amzn.to/2eLqOpg (also available via my buying club for $9.95)

Front, center:

Bach Rescue Pastilles: I purchased these at my food co-op before we flew to Mexico. Many swear by Rescue Remedy, it comes in liquid & other forms, and for pets even: http://amzn.to/2wHP4Nv

St. Claire’s Tummy Soother’s (they also make throat soothers): purchased via Mountain Rose Herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/search?page=1&q=tummy+soother&utf8=%E2%9C%93#product-1576

 

Not pictured (I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting):

— I make elderberry syrup in the fall going into winter. I add wild-harvested dried ginseng & goldenseal powder (harvested by my Hubby. This is our go-to elixir for immune boosting. I do 3-4 days on, 3-4 off for general immune boosting. If they’re coming down with something I will give it twice/day for a couple days. I get 1# of dried elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs for $14.50, this is enough to last all cold/flu season. I’ve adapted Wellness Mama’s Recipe (add ginseng & goldenseal as mentioned above, remove ginger & cloves as it made it too spicy for my kids): https://wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/.  You can also buy the syrup already made (MRH is currently N/A, but they have extracts), just make sure you’re not getting additional unwanted ingredients in the syrup. Dried: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/elder-berries/profile.

–Arnica— I’m out. I get what my food co-op has, will comment when I re-stock!

–Poofy’s Vapor Rub, there is a blend for under or over 5 years old, I need a fresh tub to start this season off with: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/search.aspx?searchterms=vapor

 

–Epic Dental Xylitol Mints. I’ve been working on Remineralizing my daughter’s teeth for a few years now & give her these mints 1-2 times/day after brushing: http://amzn.to/2wFZ9fo

 

In conclusion: am I saying you should run out & buy 1 of everything in the picture? Heck no! I’m just giving you some ideas & showing you my collection based on the needs of my family. Mountain Rose Herbs is an amazing resource for tinctures, elixirs, remedies of all sorts!

***Mountain Rose Herbs, Josiah’s Oils, Poofy Organics and Cold Bee Gone are all vendors in my upcoming buying club. You can purchase what you need from each of them (a total of 29 vendors offered in total) and have it all shipped to you in 1 flat/regional rate box! https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

 

 

The search for the best water filter

This is an EXTREMELY important topic, and I’m fortunate enough to have my own well out in the country, and I do not use any filters. But this is a very FAQ in my Facebook community so I thought I’d share the below info for those looking for more info. I was contacted by an organization with the following info, and I thought it was worthy of a blog post of its own vs just sharing in my closed group on Facebook. I am not able to independently verify this info, it’s up to you to do further research please! Email: “I’m reaching out because I wanted to share our in-depth research on water filters with you. For those trying to reduce plastic waste, one water pitcher filter can effectively replace as much as 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles. But our team at Reviews.com wondered, which water filters are the most successful at removing contaminants and enhancing flavor?

We set out to answer this by spending months analyzing dozens of popular pitchers and faucet water filters to determine the top six. Our reviewers consulted with industry experts from the Water Quality Association as well as compared filter models, initial cost, and lifetime cost of filters to create a handy guide for consumers.

You can see our resource here: http://www.reviews.com/water-filter/

Because being environmentally conscious is important, we believe this guide would be a helpful resource for your readers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”

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When asked for the reports on what specifically was filtered out I received this response: “We didn’t test for these contaminants, but rather only chose products who had certifications that certain chemicals will be filtered out. The first How We Found subheader breaks that down in detail, “The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) have set water treatment standards, and agencies like the NSF and the Water Quality Association (WQA) test against those standards. A filter had to be certified for NSF-42 and NSF-53 standards by one of those agencies to make our cut.”

Aquagear for example, was NSF-401 certified. So it filters microbiological and pharmaceutical contaminants like bacteria, herbicides, and ibuprofen. (This product also has a link in the review to a list of contaminants from the manufacturer.)

Thecontenders list shows which filters had which certifications. The NSF-53 certification covers a lot of chemicals so the specific chemical will be certified separately— “NSF-certified to reduce copper and cadmium,” for example. But it looks like they didn’t pull data on which specific contaminants each filter covered. “

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A few other resources with info I’ve gathered on this topic. This was from Sep of 2015, 1st gathering of the Berkey test results: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2015/09/29/berkey-fluoride-filter-test-results/

Another post from June of 2017 regarding Berkey: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2015/09/29/berkey-fluoride-filter-test-results/

Aquasana info: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2016/12/20/aquasana-finally-a-water-filter-living-up-its-claims/

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For those of you using water filters, I HIGHLY encourage you to do a before/after test of your water. You should 1st know what is in your water before trying to filter it out. Someone in the group assumed her city water was fluoridated, come to find out when she sent in her tap water for a before/after (using Berkey fluoride filters), there was none to begin with….. If you do test, no matter which system, please share the results with me: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

My hunt for a safe, affordable new bed!

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The hunt for an organic yet affordable mattress is a very FAQ in my group. As with other categories I’m asked about, Greenwashing abounds. Companies use all sorts of buzz words, often stating what their mattresses are free from, while glossing over some less than desirable materials that may be in them. I had my choices narrowed down to 2 companies: My Green Mattress  (MGM) or Savvy Rest. Both offer quality, organic mattresses. I ended up choosing MGM because their prices are much lower. They’re able to do this because they sell factory direct, meaning there is no middle person in the equation. Yes, they have an affiliate program, Jolene my co-author on the page is an affiliate, meaning she earns a couple percent of each sale used via her link. But it’s nothing like the 50%+ mark-up a standard whole/sale retail agreement would entail. I strongly suggest going to their showroom in La Grange, IL if it’s at all doable for you. In hindsight I’d wished I’d made the 6hr drive myself. BUT, they do have a 100 night trial, if you’re not happy, you can send it back for a refund or exchange. So that gave me the peace of mind that if I hated it, I wasn’t stuck with it.

I went with the 9” Simple Sleep latex, and since Jolene has already shared the great reasons she made that choice as well, I’m not going to re-type that info myself, but will share her post here for you to read to begin: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2017/04/12/jolenes-my-green-mattress-review/

So how did I like the new mattress? It’s very firm. I did sleep well, but after giving it a full month I decided I wanted something more pillowy. I was torn between sticking it out & getting used to it, which I have a feeling I would’ve eventually. It takes our bodies time to adapt. I really didn’t want to spend more money, but decided to go for it & get a topper. After reaching out in my group to weigh all options, I settled on the Shepherds Dream Snuggle Mate Topper from the vendor Green Mountain Organics (a Mama in our group).  About this topper: “ Add a wool filled Snuggle Mate to your mattress for additional cushion and to experience the benefits of wool.  Wool will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, while also helping to relieve aches and pains.  Feel your body relax as you lie upon the cloud-like wool in the snuggle mate. Our Snuggle Mate wool mattress topper consists of 3″ of our lush USA eco wool batting, and is encased in a thick, soft cotton sateen. The sateen fabric is grown and woven in the USA. Add this topper to any bed to provide you with the comfort and breath-ability of natural wool. If you would like to add extra cushion to your existing mattress, this is the perfect item for you. Lightweight and easy to care for, we highly recommend topping your mattress with the 3” thick Snuggle Mate. Though this mattress topper will compress regular use, wool always retains its comfort and natural resilience.” The fact that it was on sale so I saved a couple hundred bucks was the cincher in me choosing this over some that were more in the $1000 range. It was waiting for me after we got back from a 3 night camping trip, I was so excited to get it in place & lay down & truly had an ahhhhhhh moment & indeed, it has made my bed perfect for my liking. Of course, the kids sleep great no matter where they are, but they liked the addition of the pillowy softness too! Jolene, who shared her thoughts on the same 9” latex mattress in her link up above, is still very happy with hers, and she is not using any sort of topper.

Topper link (you could contact Michelle to see if she has any special offers before purchasing): http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=56_2_30&products_id=1122&fref=gc

Bed platform: we used our existing, homemade support that my Hubby had made for our previous mattress. It’s a custom red cedar platform & I love it because it has storage built-in underneath.

 

Mattress protector:  I went with the Luna: http://amzn.to/2vAryjp. It might surprise you that I bought an organic mattress but opted out of a 100% natural mattress protector, but I really didn’t want to drop another $500+ on a wool barrier. Being I am bed-sharing with my 2 kids I know there will be an occasional bed-wetting, and sick nights involving puking kids. I wanted to be realllly sure that the mattress & topper were protected. And my daughter has indeed wet the bed twice in the 3 months we’ve had our new bed, and the protector did its job perfectly. It washes very easily, I was concerned a king size wool pad would not fit in my washer. Both products from Luna did have a pretty strong plastic smell out of the plastic zipper bag they came out of, but per the instructions (and as a good rule of thumb in general) I washed them twice before using them & did not notice a smell afterwards.

I also purchased 2 new shredded latex pillows from MGM. They are not made by them, I learned once they arrived that they were made in Canada, which is OK by me. They are shredded latex. I also have 2 of the solid latex (not shredded) from MGM (they no longer offer them) that were ~ 3 years old & I did feel they were starting  to get a bit deflated, I found myself wanting another small pillow. But the new ones are plenty supportive & I don’t need more than just that for my needs. My Hubby prefers a flatter pillow so is sticking with the old ones, the new are a bit too much for his liking.

I hadn’t really thought about protecting my 2 new pillows, until someone in the group mentioned she had to throw away her pillow away after her child puked on it & she just could not get it cleaned properly. So for only another $30 I felt good purchasing the Luna protectors & knowing my pillows would also be safe:  http://amzn.to/2vAT9kk.

 

My budget really needed some recovery time after this flurry of activity. So I decided to make do with the bedding we had been using (regular cotton sheets, etc). But as my budget allows & as I need new sheets, pillowcases & eventually a comforter, I will be replacing them with organic, hopefully made in USA options as well (and will share here).

So what did I spend for all of this? I did get a couple hundred off my mattress (they upgraded me to the 9” at the 7” price, as a blogger discount and for sharing my honest thoughts with you today), but here’s what you’d pay at full price: $2922.85 (I paid around $2500 with the mattress discount & topper being on sale).

Mattress: $1669

2 king size latex pillows: $178

Topper: full price $996 (got mine on sale for $717)

Luna Mattress Protector: $49.95

Luna Pillow Protectors: 2x $14.95

So yes, ~$3000 is a LOT of money. We rarely spend more than $1000 on our vehicles (my Hubby is a mechanic so puts needed work into them). So this was a huge purchase for us. BUT, I had been on my conventional, nothing special mattress for almost 17 years! I have no doubt I will be set for 2 decades. And also remember, this was all king size, so it will be cheaper for smaller sizes of course. The peace of mind that comes with providing the very safest options for my family is worth every penny. And the fact that we spend ~1/3 of our lives sleeping, means this really, truly is a very important item purchase! Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and let me know if you have any questions.

Jolene’s affiliate link: http://ss1.us/a/X8Nm5hRJ

Also, you may be interested in reading how I turned a twin mattress from MGM into a couch: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2017/06/26/turning-my-mattress-into-a-couch/

Life and Balance Deodorant Review

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A very FAQ in my group is what is a safe yet effective deodorant? I’ve been making my own for 4+ years now & it fits both those criteria, but it is a cream style, meaning you apply a bit of the cream with your fingers. For some, that is not something they want to mess around with, they just want to be able to roll it on. Many times when this question is asked, I’ve seen people comment that they use liquid magnesium & nothing else, and it works… So when Nicole, a group member, contacted me asking if I’d like to try her magnesium-based deodorant I thought it would be a great time to try this simple ingredient out!I asked Nicole to describe her business in a few words and she said this: start up company, organic when possible, cruelty free (I only test on friends 😂), non-GMO, nature-based ingredients.

I’m happy to report the deodorant has worked well for both myself & my Husband, we’ve both used it for a full month & went through just about 3/4 a bottle. I LOVE that it comes in a glass bottle! Also, there is a refill available!!! The refill is a glass bottle that will refill the roll on bottle four times!! The roll on is $5 and should last you 6-8 weeks of daily use ($3 shipping) and the refill is only $12 and should last you 6-8 months! ($4 shipping).

It goes on very easily & smoothly, and soaks in quickly. I also love the lemon scent as it’s refreshing, uplifting, and has beneficial properties itself. But also, as I’ve mentioned I’ve been using natural deodorant for many years, so had no detox period which is a very real thing for most who are switching from a more conventional deodorant. We were on vacation a good deal of the time we tried it, and often ended up swimming mid-day in a lake, and sometimes re-applying afterwards, sometimes not. But also while home, my Hubby was doing a lot of work around the house, preparing for winter by splitting wood, etc. And he was happy with its effectiveness (he also uses mine otherwise).

Ingredients: magnesium hydroxide, purified water, organic corn starch, organic lemon essential oil. That’s it!! I did a bit of reading on different types of magnesium as Milk of Magnesium was the 1st thing that came to my mind, here’s an article if you want to read up on the differences: http://www.livestrong.com/article/472107-magnesium-hydroxide-vs-magnesium-oxide/. She also currently offers lavender as a scent, and has friends testing out more manly scents presently.

 

You can order via the “shop” button here on her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LifeAndBalanceLAB/. Or email: LifeandBalanceLAB@gmail.com

Great news to add: Life and Balance will be a new addition to my Eco-friendly One-Stop Shop (AKA buying club) order, and she’s offering us an introductory special offer: her deodorant at $1 off meaning it’s only $4/glass jar! She also has lip balms which she’ll offer us for $2. That order isn’t until 9/11-9/26, with delivery ~2 weeks later in Oct. If you don’t want to wait that long, I urge you to order from Nicole now, try it out, and then stock up with your buying club order if works well for you! For more info on that, I have a tab on my website with this note, which constantly gets updated with new details for each order: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

 

YES! An organic, edible, FUN slime recipe does exist!!

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If you’re like me, you’ve been on the hunt for that perfect slime recipe. Borax is a no-go in my home for any reason, so I was excited when my Mom made slime with my kids that did not include Borax. But it did still include shaving cream, contact solution, glue, ingredients I don’t consider ideal either. So when it cam up again in my group & someone shared THIS RECIPE, and commented that she had made it & it worked well, I was SO EXCITED to test it myself: http://www.kidsplaybox.com/sensory-activities-for-kids-1-ingredient-edible-slime-recipe/

 

The main ingredient is psyllium, a type of fiber supplement. The above recipe calls for psyllium husk powder. I realized I had some on hand that I’d received as free samples from Nature’s Flavors, where I get my flavor oils & also my natural food colors! The fun thing about these is they are scented, so the slime smelled like the  peach or raspberry flavors in the sample packs, adding to the sensory experience! I just checked & for some reason the product is not currently offered on Nature’s Flavors site.  Psyllium comes in other forms, someone reported making this successfully with whole flakes as well. If you have it on hand in some form, try it! I used up my samples, and ordered this from Amazon. My most recent batch was made with it, and it turned out perfectly, and it’s organic! http://amzn.to/2vjXNEP. You only need a little bit, so this bag will make a LOT of slime!

How I amended the original recipe: we don’t have a microwave, which is what the recipe called for. It mentioned success on the stove top, but didn’t give many details as to how hard of a boil, how long, etc. So my 1st few batches were a bit sticky on the hands. It was perfect in the glass bowl that I let it cool in, did not stick one bit, but did to our hands. Still tolerable, kids had fun with it. But the recipe mentioned it not sticking to the hands. So I let it cook longer & higher temp & bingo, a non-sticking to the hands, organic, edible even, SLIME!!!! My kids love being part of the process and this recipe could not be any easier!

 

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

1 CUP WATER

1T-2T PSYLLIUM. 1T WILL MAKE IT MORE STRINGY, 2T MORE GLOBBY

FOOD COLORING OF YOUR CHOICE, IF DESIRED

— combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil on med-high heat on your stovetop. Simmer for 5min, just gently boiling & bubbling up those ingredients. Transfer to a glass bowl & let cool & ENJOY!

 

There are several options for all-natural coloring, I’ve gone with Nature’s Flavors options most recently, mainly because I was ordering other ingredients from them as well. https://www.naturesflavors.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=food+color&submit_search=

Being prepared for a natural disaster/emergency!

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The last decade has taught me a lot about being prepared for emergencies. You NEVER know when you will lose power for days, and my experience: it usually goes out very close to dark, so you don’t have much time to prepare. That’s exactly what happened to us recently! A storm came through starting around 7pm, took the power out, and we were without it ~36 hrs! They were able to restore power to everyone BUT us in my immediate area. We were without longer because we had a limb wrapped up in the lines in OUR yard. The power crews were dealing with F1 tornado damage just 30 miles south. And each & every neighboring county was impacted one way or another, so all crews were working around the clock. They told us it could be days. It was 2 nights, and they got it back around 4am that 2nd night/morning. This was the last straw in us finally getting our own generator. We’ve lived through 4 major floods in the last decade. I’m only 37, so know that in my 60+ years I have left, I’ll likely live through many more. I’ve learned we’re just 1 all-night rain away from a flood here. And although we’re not in the “tornado belt” the F1 tornado was just 1 county to the south. Be it excessive rain, winds, tornadoes, ice storms, snow storms, the chance of us needing our $400 generator multiple times in the coming decade is quite good I think! The peace of mind that comes along with having it now, is priceless.

My Hubby had just gotten off THIS water (the MS River) 2 hrs before THIS front hit & knocked our power out:

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Speaking of water…. When we lose power, we also lose our well water. The pump that pumps it from the ground is electric. We knew to fill up as many containers as possible with drinking water, while we had the chance. Then we had a limited time to collect everything in the pipes before nothing comes out of our tap. We also can’t flush toilets then. This is fine for a couple hours, but going on 36+ hrs, it gets old quick. So when it rained all day following our initial power outage (and greatly contributing to the flooding), we got smart & filled up every cooler and large container we could find with rain water. We used this for flushing toilets & doing a batch of dishes, until the power came back the next day.

Then we bought the generator! One of the worst things about flooding where I live, is we live on the banks of the flooding river. We live up on the high side, so our house is not in danger, but 2/3 of our exits from our house to neighboring towns always go under, check out this pic, this is our exit to the south:

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BUT, we were able to make our way uphill via our one & only exit, and to our locally owned hardware/ One-Stop-Shop store, and they had Briggs & Straton Generators on the shelf! By 2pm, after being without power since 7pm the night before,  in 95 degree heat, we were able to power our deep freeze and fridge w/ freezer up top for several hours, bringing them back up to full freeze. As well as a  small room A.C with a fan so we were able to get a good night sleep that 2nd night. We went through about 4 gal of gasoline in ~12 hrs. That gave me an idea of how much I should always have on hand.  The sound of the generator (they are VERY loud) was drowned out by the A.C, so that was nice.

We don’t own smart phones, and the internet was taken out along with our power. So it was a very interesting feeling of truly being disconnected & now knowing what was going on out there, except I could text with my phone & knew others in my area had power restored, but we did not. It was hours later we saw the limb on the line in our yard.

BATTERY POWER: A few months ago we invested in 4 (1 for each family member) rechargeable battery fans for camping. They have certainly came in handy during the 4 camping trips we’ve been on so far this Summer. They are also GREAT to have on hand for Summer storms. Unfortunately we had not yet re-charged them from the camping trip we had returned from 3 days prior. LESSON: always re-charge fans (and other equipment) after each use. They would’ve reallllly helped me get some sleep that 1st night when it was very hot & humid & I could not open the windows since rain was blowing in sideways. Thankfully, the kids slept all night, but I didn’t sleep at all…. Same goes for flashlights. We own a ton of them and had plenty of them charged & ready to go. I’m not that comfortable with burning candles during a storm. What if a tornado did hit the house with a tornado going & start us on fire….?  But I do keep some in the reserves just in case we have no other option for light. Lack of light is not a big deal, it’s lack of water & power to freezers that is a big deal. I kept telling my kids: it’s like we’re camping from home… Except we don’t usually have a thawing deep freeze with us.

The rechargeable fan we have via Amazon link, USB chargeable, and uses laptop batteries (of which my Hubby has many as a computer tech): http://amzn.to/2sHvW2Y

 

These are some tips sent in by group members on this topic:

— ” I just heard a story of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the pilot light on her furnace was extinguished from flood water. She had no detector. It may seem like a obvious but then again not. Checking those detectors is SO important.” And indeed, our appliances do largely run on gas, and we do also have a detector. This is the one we have: I just heard a story of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the pilot light on her furnace was extinguished from flood water. She had no detector. It may seem like a obvious but then again not. Checking those detectors is SO important.”

–“We have a “go bag” for every family member that has food, water, clothing, reusable diapers, pads, etc..and other essential survival type items. We have it packed all the time and go through it once a quarter to make sure all items are good, etc….it helps during tornado season since we live in a manufactured home and they don’t hold well in tornadoes.

–” I live near New Orleans, so my family went through Hurricane Katrina. We didn’t have electricity for weeks. We had a generator, so we could watch the news, power an a/c unit, and have a light. We used our grill, which also had a stove to cook. We also ate MREs a few times. We just dealt with it and did the best we could with what we had!

–“I think it depends on where you live. We live at high risk for wildfire so my prep plan is two fold, if we only have minutes to leave my truck has extra clothes for each person, snacks, blankets, dog food and leash so we literally just get in and run. Second plan if we have more time grab the camping gear and run. If you have all the gear to camp + shelf stable food & water it should be okay. We already buy in bulk rice and beans I just make sure I don’t let them get low. Having a water filter is good too but not as helpful if you’re not near water as stored water. When you know how to camp with a family it makes it easier if you have to “extended camp” in your house or other location if your home is unsafe.

–“Cash! If the power is out and you can’t use the atm, or stores/gas stations cant use credit cards, bank maybe not open yet, you’ll have no funds. I keep a small purse in my go bag with a 2nd license and throw cash in there whenever i have a spare $5 or $10 for emergency money.”

–“Having copies of important documents in a safe place other than your home. Also having knowledge of where the gas and water shut offs are in your home and how to shut the off/tools needed is good to know. Power converters for vehicles so that you can plug in items for charging like phones/etc are nice in case you do not have a generator.

COMMENT FROM JESS: Yes, I keep all my most important docs (SS cards, birth certificates, letters to my kids) in our safety deposit box at the bank, it is high & dry & away from flood danger.

–” Being from Joplin Missouri and tornadoes and now in Georgia and hurricanes. Having at least 1 gallon of potable (drinking) water per person per day for three days. Because boiling isn’t always good enough. We also have the msr guardian water purification pump. It’s a bit pricey but water is so important. And some awesome water cans not American but they are the best I’ve found to not leech chemicals is specter cans from Canada. If you have a generator you would need to have proper fuel storage that does emit fumes also by specter is really good. We also have a small solar panel that charges a few power blocks and lights and batteries for our battery fans. Keeping all medications and emergency medical items up to date and in one central location labeled is also important. Along with any major legal documents being in something that protects them. Dry ice can actually keep a deep freezer pretty frozen for several days also as long as you don’t open it. Many grocery stores have it you just have to ask.

–” I’m working on a bug out bag, or rather a bug out suitcase for my family of 4. I’m adding items when they come available. Work gloves, basic tools, extra clothes, first aid…. It was recommended to have 1 bag vs separate bags for a family since it the likelihood of a disaster it would be more efficient to grab one. I thought that was a great tip!

–“We used to live in an area that is often in the path of hurricanes so my preparation is based more on if we have to evacuate. We keep all important documents in a small fireproof box that’s shaped like a suitcase. It’s ready to grab should we need to go. It also contains a spare set of epi pens for my son. We keep a go bag also with a copy of the docs, more epi pens and some non perishable foods that are safe for him along with items others have mentioned. My biggest fear is being unable to access safe food for him and not having his medication

–“We also have a generator. We have used it many times for our sump pump, the primary reason we purchased it. We also have hooked up the fridge and a few lamps. We have even run the whole house’s heat system off of it during bad snow storms. Totally worth the expense!

 

MY post from 7.21.17:

“When people say climate change isn’t real, I have to shake my head. While we can differ over the causes of that climate change, it IS real. Here in SW Wisco, we’re on track to come in 2nd, or break, the historic flood level for my tiny little river town. I’ve lived through two “500 year floods” in the last decade. Yes, it is a river town, built on the banks of a river for a reason (sawmill & other milling needs). And yes, as it has flooded repeatedly, the town has adapted & built further & further away from the banks of the river…

Below are historical flood crests, since they’ve been keeping record. 3 of them are in my lifetime, the 1978 one was when my parents had just moved here, I was born 1 year later in 1979. And the pic below is the predicted for this food. It will either be #1, or #2 likely…

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1: 20.44 ft on 06/09/2008
2: 19.80 ft on 07/02/1978
3: 19.79 ft on 08/20/2007
4: 16.75 ft on 02/10/1966
5: 16.50 ft on 06/01/2000

I personally am high & dry on the banks of the mighty river. I have a birds-eye view of this meandering river becoming a whole valley full of water. I take nothing for granted, nor do I ever doubt the power of Mother Nature.”

 

Below is the view from my front steps. I believe it ended up being the 5th largest on record, it is still to be determined, will update soon.

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And to end with a chuckle: my 6 year old Son’s “survival kit” is in the photo below. We did have severe thunderstorm & tornado warnings. We do not have a basement. My home was built on a cement slab, and into the north side of a hill. I like no having a basement, as when it floods, most homes have basements full of water. I do not. And I’m incredibly “tucked in” from a storm. I started filling water jugs as soon as the power was cut. I also grabbed pillows & blankets, and made the closet comfy, JUST IN CASE. My Son packed the below: his net, water balloons, completely random, not that important stuff. It seriously cracked me up.

 

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But we all did worry for a bit, it was an intense few days. My 4 year old daughter kept looking at the flooding waters saying: this is NOT good. Not good Mama… I wanted to share all this info to maybe urge YOU to become prepared. Whether you use your survival gear once every 10 years, or 5 times in 10 years, it’s worth it. Seriously, the peace of mind of having the generator is HUGE, we’ve just had it a few days now….

 

ONE THING this wet weather is good for: my Hubby is a wild edibles connoisseur. Our spring morel mushroom tree has given way to these Oyster mushrooms. He’s eating the heck out of them fresh, and drying them for months from now…

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