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=

Reflecting on 3 years as a Poofy Organics Guide

3 years ago today I became a Guide with Poofy Organics. I started my mission to find the safest products on the market 5 years ago, and when I found Poofy Organics, I knew they were IT. It. What I had been looking for. All under one roof. All I can say is: the more I learn, the more I love Poofy. The products themselves. The small business. The family. What USDA certified organic stands for. To all of you who’ve been using Poofy Organics for 4 years along with me, or those who are just learning of it now: Thank you for caring about what you put on your & your family’s body. Thank you for asking what you think are too many questions. Thank you for caring about the environment. Thank YOU for letting me Guide you on this journey to making the best choice we can https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2014/06/16/my-decision-to-become-a-guide-with-poofy-organics/

Kiddiebite Silicone Divided Tray Review

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It always excites me to receive messages from Momtrepreneur’s in my group! I had this message from Denise:  Kiddiebites is a made in the USA children’s silicone dinnerware company.  We are currently the only company making children’s silicone plates in the USA!  Silicone is a durable and safer alternative to plastic tableware.  Unlike plastic, silicone is inert and will not leach chemicals into food. We just celebrated the launch of our first product, a Flexible Divided Plate Set.   Our silicone and pigments are both BPA, BPS, lead, PVC, and phthalate free.  They are made with FDA approved, 100% food grade and medical grade silicone.  Our products contain no plastic fillers, unlike other competing brands.  Both our silicone and pigment, as well as our plates themselves, are made in the USA.  Our plates are microwave & dishwasher safe and virtually indestructible.  They are easy to stack and clean, and are designed with an angled edge to help toddlers use their own spoon. 

 

By the time I received this message, my kiddos were 3 & 5 already, so we were past choosing our 1st platters. But for those of you in that process, the Kiddiebites is a good option to consider! Glass is always my 1st choice, but I’ve heard from many of you over the years who don’t feel comfortable with glass. I do have hesitations with heating silicone, in the oven for example. I’m not convinced it’s completely inert. But for eating cool/cold foods off of, I’m not nearly as concerned about any possible leaching.

I so appreciate the motivation & dedication of those like Denise amongst us. Follow your passion! 

Currently, Amazon is the only place Denise is selling these. I hope to be able to offer her product in future buying club orders!

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2p8ChmG

Website: www.kiddiebites.com

 

 

 

RARE Poofy Organics 15% off sale is ON!

All details, including the code, how to save on shipping, how to enter to win $50 in free Poofy products are all here: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/parties/3780-poofy-organics-by-jess-earth-day-sale.aspx

 

ANY QUESTIONS, email me: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

If you dislike the party catalog & want to use my regular link, you can still enter the code before checking out here, and you can still take advantage of my shipping offer, you just wouldn’t be entered to win the host rewards: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

Toys by Category Recommendations

Finding fun, safe, made in USA toys was what started me on my mission almost 5 years ago now! I was shopping for my Son’s 1st B-day & picked up a Melissa & Doug toy after seeing them recommended over & over in the “crunchy” Mom groups I was in on Facebook. I saw that Made in China sticker & it just didn’t sit well with me. I was in a store FULL of Melissa & Doug stuff. I thought: there has got to be great toys made in the USA still, right? And the great news is YES THERE ARE! My Son is going to be turning 6 soon, my daughter is 3, and I can say that it has not been difficult at all to find plenty of fabulous made in USA options for every Holiday & celebration along the way. I wanted to break my Safe Toys Master List down a bit (found here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/made-in-usa-2/toy-list/) and share some of my specific favorites, including popular categories such as art, dollhouse & kitchen play.

A general note: My 2 all-time favorite toy vendors are Smiling Tree Toys (STT) & Pure Play Kids (PPK). As you’ll see below we own a lot of toys from them. They’re my 1st stop, and I often accomplish most of my toy shopping through them. My kids are starting to outgrow STT, I love that PPK has a shop by age function, ends at 6+. It helps narrow it down, as they have so much to choose from. PURE PLAY KIDS HAS GENEROUSLY EXTENDED THEIR 15% OFF COUPON CODE TO THIS GROUP FOR ANOTHER YEAR: ECO2017 FOR 15% OFF YOUR ORDER TOTAL!

Personalization- My advice is to avoid it in general. One benefit to investing in great quality, made in the USA toys is that you can pass them along to other friends/family or sell when your family is done with them. I’ve not had any trouble recovering ½ of my cost on items I’ve sold after we’re done with them. But, if they have a name on them, that limits your market a lot, especially since a lot of us have pretty unique names for our kids. My kids both have a few personalized items, but generally I do avoid it.

I was going to organize my list by age, but it really varies so much by kid. What one 2 year old loves, the next 4 year old may love. I tend to buy things for my kids a bit earlier than they’re ready for it, but I’d rather have it for them sooner than later & they can grow into it (as long as it’s safe with no small parts). TAG Toys also has a shop by age function that goes up to 6, I don’t own much from them but they have a lot of fun stuff & I need to remember to check them out more! https://store.tagtoys.com/age-c5.aspx. Of course Etsy has a TON of options too. I’ve just come around to shopping on Etsy recently. A separate project I’m working on is an Etsy favorites list that’ll I’ll be asking for recommendations from y’all for. With so many vendors available, it’s nice to have personal recommendations.

I wanted to share some of the toys I’ve grown to love. These are all things we own or if it’s something I’m aware of as it’s been a FAQ I’ve added it. This includes popular categories such as pull toys, etc, that we don’t necessarily own items in. If you’re looking for something in particular, never hesitate to ask, even if I don’t own it, I’m likely able to point you in the right direction as I’ve clicked around a lot in many of these sites.

Recommendations for babies:

Keepsake Block: (these make a great gift!)

STT: http://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/decor-accessories/blocks

Rattles:

Smiling Tree Toys: http://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/rattles

Pure Play Kids: http://www.pureplaykids.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1

Bannor Toys: https://bannortoys.com/collections/rattles

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Giraffe Rattle from Smiling Tree Toys

Teethers-

Smiling Tree Toys: http://smilingtreetoys.com/search?type=product&q=teethers

Pure Play Kids: http://www.pureplaykids.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1

Bannor Toys: https://bannortoys.com/collections/teethers

Natulo (organic fabric with pocket for ice) : http://www.natulo.com/Natulo-Natural-Teething/Natulo-Ice-Teether-Organic

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Cloth toys:

Organic ball: http://www.pureplaykids.com/colorful-organic-baby-ball/

Organic cotton snuggle star: http://www.pureplaykids.com/organic-cotton-stuffed-star-USA/

Stuffington Bear Factory: http://www.stuffingtonbear.com/

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Organic polar bear from Stuffington Bear Factory

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Older Kids: I’m going to call this the 2-6 year old recommendations. These are things that we own/have owned to date.

Activity Cube- we have this one from Anatex: http://amzn.to/2iUKxPB. It is not solid wood, the walls of the cube are plywood, but that doesn’t concern me. I consider this to be a safe & great option for this category. My daughter got this for her 2nd B-day & is still playing with it at 3.5. They have many different options, this is one of the cheapest ones, they get pricy. They state this, so I’d double check what you’re purchasing is made in the USA: We manufacture almost all of our items in the USA! Here’s their website: http://anatex.com/

Art & projects- My kids are SO into fun projects & arts/crafts. Below are some of the things we enjoy:

Starter crayons:

Eco-Kids: http://shop.ecokidsusa.com/product/eco-crayons

Wee Can Too: https://weecantooart.com/product/natural-and-organic-veggie-crayons/

Paint: Earth Paints are our favorite- my kids love that they mix them up themselves: http://www.naturalearthpaint.com/

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Play Dough, Blue Egg Farmstore is our favorite: http://www.blueeggfarmstore.com/product-page/becef3cc-5cdc-6ace-1a59-b1d09e53df00

Pure Play Kids: I’ll just link to their category for this, so much fun stuff. The Sand Art Kits are super fun! http://www.pureplaykids.com/arts-crafts/

These are a lot of fun, from Pure Play Kids: http://www.pureplaykids.com/wax-fun-sticks-5-pack/

Art easel: beka http://www.bekainc.com/buy/01102-01110/bekas-deluxe-childs-easel This is all I own from them, but they have many great items!

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On the Beka Easel, we did get the big roll of paper with it when we received it as a gift for Christmas 2015 (pictured above). But I’ve not replaced it since we used it up, as I am as conservative as possible with paper usage. I’ve grown to love Crayola’s dry erase crayons & colored pencils instead of markers, they don’t stink. I believe both are made in Mexico. I’ve not found a better option for the dry erase category.

Colored Pencils: http://amzn.to/2iJuyUc

Crayons: http://amzn.to/2jodLaX, also available in neon: http://amzn.to/2jzEIuy

Chalk: My Mom, who bought the kids the Beka easel, gifted some large chalk sticks that came in a plastic holder kinda thing with the easel. They lasted a really long time  & I liked that they were big & fat as it made them easy to grip & they didn’t break right away like the small chalk can. But I’m not sure which brand they were, she likely got them at Wal-Mart, I’ve not seen them since. I’ve been meaning to buy more chalk from here: https://www.palumba.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=chalk

BATH:

Green Toys is a safe plastic option, in my opinion. It’s BPA, PVC & Phthalate-free. We have the submarine, tugboat, stacking cups, and watering can. Available through them here: http://www.greentoys.com/green-toys-bath-and-water

And on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iJGYf7

North Star has this wooden boat: http://www.northstartoys.com/products/busy-boat

Ducky: http://shop.celebriducks.com/category_s/37.htm

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Board Games: Hasboro makes many games here, some may say with foreign & domestic parts. We played a ton of Candyland & have now graduated to Chutes & Ladders/

We own these 2 from Briarpatch:

Goodnight Moon matching- http://amzn.to/2iX6DVY

I Spy Matching Game- http://amzn.to/1Gqar3F

Doc McStuffins Operation Game (yes, it is annoying….): http://amzn.to/1F50oUp

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BOOKS: We have a ridiculous amount of books, mainly I pick them up at garage sales. I LOVE the Lost my Name books, they are printed in the US although the company is based in the UK I believe. I’m not sure all their books are printed here though: https://www.lostmy.name/

Little Golden books are still printed in WI! And a friend’s Uncle works for them & has gifted us a ton of them. Otherwise, we have a total hodge podge & they are all well loved!

Building Blocks:

Smiling Tree Toys: http://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/block-sets

Bannor: https://bannortoys.com/collections/wooden-blocks

Bricks: http://amzn.to/2iJLz0L

Doll house: Here’s a photo album of what we have: https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/?tab=album&album_id=868582543157387

Furniture, TAG Toys: https://store.tagtoys.com/dollhouse-furniture-set-p58.aspx

We have this one from Elves & Angels, other options available through them as well: http://elvesandangels.com/collections/dollhouses/products/new-natural-wooden-our-maine-dollhouse-by-elves-and-angels

Dolls, we have several from here. The family, the royal family, kindness elves, birthday month dolls. I LOVE everything she makes & had to cut myself off https://www.wildflowertoys.com/

wildflowerdollslineup

DOLLS:

We have this one & the Ziggy zaggy one from Pure Play Kids. I asked them why they didn’t have a boy doll & they did make one & name it after my son: Orion. But it was only available a short time & the lady who sewed them was no longer able to. Ziggy Zaggy & Flower Girl (as my kids have named them, are still available)http://www.pureplaykids.com/handmade-organic-doll-happy-hexagons/

oriondoll

I let my Mom buy my daughter a Baby Alive doll for Christmas. Yes, I know… Her cousin has one & she really, really wanted one. All her other dolls are random grabs from garage sales, Good Will, etc. I was OK with her receiving this as a gift, and picked out some fun accessories to go along with it:

I got her this adorable doll carrier from Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/475582576/little-mama-baby-doll-carrier-doll?ref=hp_rv

And a Mama in the group made a set of 3 cloth diapers & a pack of cloth wipes for her doll (the disposable diapers used on Baby Alive’s drive me bonkers!). I do believe in moderation, and variety, and my kids are quite rough with their toys as many end up outdoors in the mud pit with them. So spending a couple hundred bucks on a Waldorf cloth doll just isn’t feasible for us.

Felt & magnetic boards:

Pure Play Kids: felt http://www.pureplaykids.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1

Magnetic: http://www.pureplaykids.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1

We also have Pure Plays magnetic fishing set, and the extra fish & numbers: http://www.pureplaykids.com/magnetic-wooden-fishing-rod-with-5-magnetic-fish/

Kitchen stuff:

If I were purchasing new I’d go with Elves & Angels: http://elvesandangels.com/collections/wooden-kitchens

I was so lucky to score this used set locally for only $200:

woodenkitchen

Wooden eggs: http://www.pureplaykids.com/wooden-toy-play-eggs/

We have several things from Green Toys: sandwich & pizza shop, just added the cupcake set for Christmas this year, the tea, dish & chef set as well! In the summer my kids set up an outdoor kitchen & I love how durable & washable Green Toys items are! Here’s a link to them directly: http://www.greentoys.com/green-toys-kitchen-play

All items available on Amazon too, and many have seen sales in their local TJ Maxx, etc. Here’s an Amazon link to get you started there: http://amzn.to/2iJzVD3

We added some felt food this X-mas, and I will definitely be getting more from here. Etsy is FULL of felt kitchen food. As I mentioned above though, it is one area I don’t mind having some safe plastic in our otherwise all wooden kitchen set-up, as it is so durable. We have the breakfast platter so far: https://www.etsy.com/people/KidsKitchenKreations

We have oven mitts from here, I got my niece a personalized chef hat for her B-day, lots of cute & fun stuff including aprons: http://growingcooks.com/

For accessories they have a hodge podge. Some Green Toys as I listed above, an unused stainless fondue pot of mine, misc stainless whisks, etc.

Lacing toys-

Smiling Tree Toys: http://smilingtreetoys.com/products/wooden-lacing-tracing-toy-set

Holgate: http://www.holgatetoy.com/Lacing-Products_c_12.html

TAG: https://store.tagtoys.com/lace-and-learn-p90.aspx

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Make-up:

Blue Egg Farmstore: http://www.blueeggfarmstore.com/play

Marble run:

Tedco, I love the creativity this inspires, we play with this a lot! http://amzn.to/2ims4Pa

Memory matching tiles:

http://smilingtreetoys.com/products/memory-matching-tile-game

https://bannortoys.com/search?q=memory

Misc:

Smiling Tree Toys Misc toys (we have several items, the moon balancer, camera, penguin bowling, wands, tops, lacing puzzle): http://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/toys

Bannor Toys Misc Toys: https://bannortoys.com/collections/wooden-toys

Green Toys, we own many items from them:

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Dressup- we have superhero capes & crowns from here: http://www.pureplaykids.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1

Building logs- Roys toys, they come in different sets, here’s one: http://amzn.to/2ihb1O2

Music:

Drums: Remo Djembe and Doumbek are manufactured in the US: http://www.remo.com/portal/products/5/505/remokids.html

Xylophone, Smiling Tree (we have this): http://smilingtreetoys.com/collections/toys/products/wooden-xylophone

Xylophone, Pure Play: http://www.pureplaykids.com/metal-wood-xylophone-for-kids/

Ukulele, Pure Play Kids (we have this): http://www.pureplaykids.com/wooden-ukulele-for-kids/

Palumba has a variety of items, I don’t own any but they have a LOT of cool stuff in general! https://www.palumba.com/books-music/music-instruments/instruments.html

Piggy Banks- I got my kids both one from here, the same lady that makes the plug-in wax warmers I sell via the buying club. I don’t see any listed currently but you could write her to ask for one: http://www.dcstoneware.com/

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Someone in the group let me know they got their kids one from here, a vendor on my Safe Toys List that I’ve not shopped from yet: http://www.wildapples.com/piggybanks.htm

Pounding table:

Holgate: http://www.holgatetoy.com/Classic-Bingo-Bed_p_41.html

Pull/push toys:

Hogate: http://www.holgatetoy.com/Ducking-Duck_p_171.html

Pure Play: http://www.pureplaykids.com/spinning-blocks-wooden-pull-toy/

Pure Play: http://www.pureplaykids.com/wooden-mower-vacuum-push-toy-rainbow/

Smiling Tree: http://smilingtreetoys.com/products/animal-puzzle-pull-toy

Puzzles- huge category of course! Puzzles are favorites in our house!

Smiling Tree now has name puzzles: http://smilingtreetoys.com/products/wooden-name-puzzle

The Puzzle People: http://www.puzzlepeople.com/  (we have several, I LOVE them!)

turtlepuzzlepeople

Portrait Puzzles: https://www.portraitpuzzles.com/home.php (they make great gifts!)

TAG: https://store.tagtoys.com/i-can-spell-alphabet-puzzle-p87.aspx

Shape Sorter:

Smiling Tree Toys: http://smilingtreetoys.com/products/shape-sorter

Train tracks: Bought for Son’s 3rd B-day, almost 6 now & both play with it often. I love that you can add on to. I’ve given add-on’s for recent B-days.

Maple Landmark: https://www.maplelandmark.com/detail.lasso?sku=11240

It’s currently available cheaper via Pure Play Kids actually, and sometimes it’s on Amazon for cheaper: http://www.pureplaykids.com/complete-train-track-and-town/

Name train: https://www.maplelandmark.com/nametrains/brightcolornames.lasso

traintracks

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Summer fun:

Pure Play Kids has several great things for this category, we have their shell collecting bags, beach stamps, butterfly nets & bug house: http://www.pureplaykids.com/all-outdoor-fun/

Green Toys sand castle set (very durable plastic!): http://amzn.to/2icvBzd

Green Toys Watering can: http://amzn.to/2hRty0q

Water Table: We have a Little Tikes one. It’s made in the USA of foreign & domestic parts. I know the accessories are definitely made in China, I did send one in to MisLead in a package of random things I sent her & it came back free of lead & other heavy metals which was good news. We improvised our own accessories, peg people & random things. My kids have enjoyed this a couple of summers now. Yes, it’s plastic but short of making something yourself, there aren’t many other viable options for this category. Step2 also has similar options. http://amzn.to/2iJRdjk

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Easter: This is an older note of mine with some good suggestions: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2013/03/05/made-in-usa-easter-basket-ideas/

easter16

Easter 2016 consisted of:  Hand kites made by former page co-admin Jolene, wooden egg paint kit from Earth Paints (where we got our egg dye kit also), Easter matching tiles, and 2 other word/picture matching games from Bannor Toys, and they each got a personalized bunny wand from Bannor also, Repositionable Stickers from Pure Play Kids (made by Mrs. Grossman’s), foaming bath paints & scented play dough from Blue Egg Farmstore, Bunny teethers from Smiling Tree Toys (they each received their 1st Easter, now I make them part of their annual basket as I will the bunny wands). They got NO candy from me, we went to a fabulous egg hunt yesterday hosted by my friend who had 300 eggs for 15 kids to find, filled with almost exclusively organic candy. Fun, fun, and more fun!

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Conclusion: Do we own some things made outside of the USA? Yes, we do. I mentioned the Baby Alive doll above. I’m not 100% hardcore on not allowing anything not made here into my house. For example, my Son really, really wanted some transformers for Christmas & I did buy him some, he loves them, and I’m fine with it. For the 1st few years, I absolutely recommend sticking with safe, minimal, wooden toys, and it’s easily doable. Now, at 6 I’m more lenient with what he plays with as it’s not going in his mouth. At 6 he’s really into mazes, connect dots, art projects, making stews & potions in his kitchen & transformers. I can say, when I look around my house, there are very few items not made in the USA, and that makes me very happy! I hope you’ve found this list helpful & I will continue to add to it as my kids grow!

Jess is unplugging!

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Jess is unplugging from Fb for a month! It has been an amazing year for me, one that is going to be hard to top but I sure will try! I’m a low tech Blogger Mama, I do not have a smart phone, have not had cable TV my adult life (I’m 37), no ipad.. So when I decide to unplug, I truly do unplug. I hope many of you will do the same, even if just for a day or 2! It has been an amazing year, here are a few top highlights:

At the end of Jan I blew the whistle on Ava Anderson, the worst greenwasher in the history of greenwashing, in my opinion. I heard from a college professor who was teaching a lesson on greenwashing, and was using this as an example! It was something that was not just months in the making, but years in the making and was a huge weight to get lifted off my chest, even though there was a bit, Ok a lot, of drama surrounding the event. You can read a summary here:  http://www.swnews4u.com/archives/30214/

In May I was blessed to be able to fly to NJ & attend the Poofy Organics Annual Conference- As most of you know, I’ve been a Poofy Organics Guide for 2.5 years now. I 1st fell in love with the line 3.5 years ago, so it was amazing to be able to meet the founder & owner of the company,  her family, and many of my fellow Poofy Guides. I was honored to speak at the conference on the topic of Be the Change, something near & dear to my heart.

May was a huge month as I was also followed around by a producer from WI Public TV. A week after they contacted me to let me know they wanted to feature me on their WI Life show, they were here to film.  They followed me around for 5 hrs, and in Nov. this 5 min episode came out J It is truly one of the greatest honors of my life to be featured on WI Public TV. http://www.wisconsinlife.org/story/natural-and-organic-product-blogger-exposes-greenwashing

Summer was amazing, with late nights catching fireflies with my kiddos, lots of swimming, camping trips…. I hated to see it end & am eagerly awaiting this coming summer!

Annnnnnnd: we’re going to Mexico in 2 weeks! We do not live on credit, we only charge what we can pay off that month (and take advantage of the points earned for charging!), so we’ve been saving for some time to make this happen. I will be away for 2 weeks in January which is very exciting as Jan is a long, cold month here in WI. I flew 3 times with my Son when he was under 2. He’s now 5.5 & has not been on a plane since. My daughter who is 3.5 has never flown. So this is a big deal. Wish me luck J  We’re spending 4 nights in a super fancy all-inclusive outside of Cancun, then a week on more laid back Isla Mujeres. I majored in Spanish education, but haven’t used my Spanish much since finishing up my student teaching then having my Son & deciding to not pursue teaching. I’m in love with the language & the culture (I know, Cancun isn’t a highlight of Latino culture) & am looking forward to exploring the grand ruins & soaking up some sun, sand & lots & lots of family time. My Dad & StepMom will be joining us for our week on Isla, in their own room in the villa we’re staying at. So Hubby & I may even get a date night ♥

 

Projects I’ll be working on during my non-Facebook time:

Toys by age list—I have my Safe Toys master list, but I’ve been meaning to break it down a bit more with my favorites by age & by vendor. My kiddos are now 3 & almost 6, I have a 1 & 4 year old nephew & niece, so I have lots of great ideas & I know it’ll be helpful to those not sure where to start. Here’s the Master list at this time: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/made-in-usa-2/toy-list/

Companies to look into—I have a To Do list of companies to look into, company X comes up & I don’t always have time to look on the spot so I’ve been making a list & will be updating that Master list.

BUYING CLUB:  It is a ton of work but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. While they just take place quarterly, they end up stretching 2 months from the time I start taking orders, to the time I send out the last items from that order. I take orders for 2 weeks, spend days consolidating orders to then submit to the vendors. I have a few days of down time, then shipments start arriving daily. I start packing orders once I have all items needed from 25+ vendors. I spend days packing, invoicing, printing shipping labels, making trips to my post office. Then the paperwork, filing insurance claims for the few products that didn’t make it, having new product sent out… But the THANK YOU’S I start receiving when people get their box.  Being surrounded by all that great product & packing each individual box full of what I consider to be the safest products on the market. THAT is why I do it. And I look forward to 4 more orders in 2017! They happen in Feb, May, Aug, Nov, with delivery the beginning of the following month.

I’ve already secured 3 brand new, exciting vendors & am working on at least 1 more!

–Salonsolids, you can read my recent review here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2016/12/10/salonsolids-review/

–Urban Baby Bonnets: http://urbanbabybonnets.com/

–Starlight Amber— She will offer a selection of her gorgeous jewelry to us, here’s an example of her work: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarlightAmber

Also, I’m going to be looking into FedEx as well as other ways I can save money on shipping for the buying club. USPS rates are going up yet AGAIN in January (by some percentage, probably small but still, it is already quite expensive). I’ll be investigating Stamps.com & other programs out there that can hopefully save y’all some money getting your buying club box. I charge you exactly what it costs me to ship, and am hoping to bring that cost down.

I know this is a tough time of year for many. It’s not all cheer & joy. Families are struggling for a variety of reasons. Those who’ve lost loved ones can find this time of year especially difficult to cope with. My 1st cousins just lost their 1st cousin on the other side of the family who they were very close with due to a car accident. Syria and Standing Rock are both weighing heavy on my heart. While this has been an amazing year for me & my family on a personal, local level, there is a lot going on in the world that brings me great sorrow. I’m looking forward to down time. Yes, total down time. Completely unplugging for days at a time. Sled riding, hot cocoa, Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, train tracks, sheet fort building, new Christmas toys to play with… These are things I’m looking forward to very much. As well as many Birthday celebrations: My Hubby’s is on the 23rd, his Mom’s is the 25th, 2 good friends on the 26th, a few in early January. So many blessings!

I thank you all for taking the time to read this. For being involved in this wonderful online community we’ve built. At the end of February, on 2/22/17, my original page (the non-closed group), will be 5 years old! I’m approaching ½ a decade as a blogger, and that wouldn’t be the case if no one cared what I had to say. I truly believe it does take a village to raise a child, and for many of us, we’ve found our tribe online in addition to locally. My breast-feeding, baby-wearing days are over. Current topics I’m immersing myself in are treating Lyme’s naturally (after my Son was diagnosed and we’re on round 2 of antibiotics), homeschooling, safe toys for the 6+ crowd. There’s always something that needs more research, no matter how old our kiddos. I have no co-admins, it’s just me. If anyone out there who has young kids & has time (I know, doesn’t seem possible, but it is) to submit some of the hot, new products on the market, I’d sure appreciate it. There are so many topics of interest out there & just not enough hours in the day for me to cover them myself. I’d love for contributing authors to share what you’ve spent hours researching. Have a topic you’re passionate about? Put what you know into words & share it!   In the spirit of collaboration, community, peace & love, I look forward to all that 2017 has in store for us!

There is a TON of info on my blog: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/

My original Fb page, which they finally added a search bar to, yay! Or you can scan the timeline, going way back to my 1st ever posts if you want: https://www.facebook.com/Eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-MADE-in-the-USA-397517646930548/

I will be checking my email occasionally, except for while in Mexico, so if you NEED to get in touch, do so here: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

Kicking that nagging cough!

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Above photo a random grab from Google images.

I will start out by saying I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. My Mom is a nurse in a complimentary medicine clinic. I do seek out complimentary medicine whenever possible. I’ve heard from SO many of you who are dealing with the same thing as us, no matter when you live in the country: a persistent, nagging , dry cough. My almost 6 year old Son has had it a solid 2 months straight. My 3 year old Daughter has had it, gotten over it, had it again & kicked it again. I tried so many things in the past few months, and I wanted to share what I feel really helped us finally kick this. There is nothing worse than sleepless nights, sick & crabby kids & parents. As always, do your own research, consult a trusted medical professional with any questions/concerns, and follow your gut for what you feel is right for your family.

This is what worked for us:

 

Essential Oils: I upped the time I was diffusing essential oils. I diffuse Josiah’s Oils Germ Fighting Blend with Fir (safer around youngin’s): http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p353/Germ_Fighting_Blend.html. In general I run my diffuser 20 or so minutes 2-3 times/day. I upped that to a good 40-min to an hour, on low/med output, a couple times/day & especially before bed in our room. I use this diffuser, I’m on my 3rd winter with it & can’t say enough good things about it. It’s quiet, adjustable (in terms of output) and has never given me a single issue: http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p163/Atomizing_Diffuser.html. And finally, I also use their pre-diluted roll-on of the same blend & apply it several times/day to my kids spine. They do it to each other usually, up one side, down the other. http://www.josiahsoils.com/store/p349/Germ_Fighting_Roll-On_Blend_%28Pre-Diluted_and_Ready_to_Use%29.html

Immune boosting. I had been relying on homemade elderberry syrup on & off over the fall months, and I do believe in it (I use Wellness Mama’s recipe). But like anything, our bodies become used to something so I feel making the switch to Echinacea tea was a good one! We love the Traditional Medicinals line. I bought the last pack my food co-op had & it was going to be 2 weeks before they got more so I grabbed a 6pk from Amazon to stay stocked up for winter. I have their Throat Coat, Cold Care assortment too, but my Son who especially needed an extra boost (he’s fighting Lyme’s as well, a topic for another post) really prefers this over all the others: http://amzn.to/2gJw7Uj. As with elderberry, from what I understand it’s best to do a few days on, then a few days off, that goes for most remedies. And that’s what we’ve been doing with the tea. We hit it hard for about 3 days when I really ramped up my efforts on all the things listed here. And then took a couple days off. Now we’re back to a couple cups/day for a few days.

 

Drosera by Boiron. I picked this up at my food co-op, it is labeled for a dry cough that is worse at night, exactly what we had. It was 30C & I gave 3 pellets every 2 hrs (waking hours) to both kids for 2 days. Here’s an Amazon link, but these actually were a better deal at my food co-op as they had a $2 off coupon if you bought any 2 Boiron remedies. http://amzn.to/2hLL1qP

Chestal syrup: This is something I will not be without again. I picked it up at my food co-op for $13/bottle, not cheap, but it worked so, so well. The adult version has a blend of 5 homeopathic remedies, and does have dosage for children 2+ on it (it has honey so should not be used under 2). There is also a Children’s formula, it has a blend of 9 remedies. My Son disliked the children’s blend because he said it was too sweet, but my daughter loved it so I kept both around & both worked great as needed. There were several nights when I failed to give it before bed because they seemed fine, but when they laid down they started coughing & coughing. After a capful of this, they’d be out the rest of the night. It does have sodium benzoate in it, I wish it did not but it is so beneficial otherwise that I give & recommend it without hesitation. I posted about this in my group page & heard from many, many others who’ve had great luck with it as well! You may be able to find it locally, or it is on Amazon of course: http://amzn.to/2hriIl0http://amzn.to/2hfcm5Nhttp://amzn.to/2hfcm5Nhttp://amzn.to/2hfcm5N

Humidifier! We burn wood & have a very small & tight house. We constantly have a pot of water on the wood stove, and I’m not a fan of the humidifier running constantly. I hadn’t pulled it out for the year yet but once I did, in conjunction with all the above remedies I mentioned, I did feel it helped. Also, getting a good hygrometer can be beneficial too (measures humidity). Dry air can aggravate a cough, and knowing the humidity level in your house helps. This will be our 3rd winter with the following humidifier (we call it our fog machine). Yes, it’s plastic, and made in China, 2 qualities I try to avoid but believe me, for this category there are not many alternatives. It is quiet, very easy to clean, does not leave stuff around it wet & I’ve been very happy with ours! http://amzn.to/2gCZ80E

NAPS! Huge of course. My Son will be 6 in March and has been a very regular napper until the last few months, when we started skipping them most days & going for earlier bed times. Although he’d maintain he was NOT tired, he’d be out within a couple minutes of laying down with me & his Sissy. I knew he needed them!

So, the combo of those things were what finally seemed to kick this cough for our family. Could any 1 remedy alone have worked? Of course. It’s not a controlled study. It’s my life experience & that’s what I share here. I’m sharing in hopes this will help at least 1 other family struggling with kicking this too! Do you have a remedy that has worked well that you’d like to add to this list? Let me know, we can’t have too many options!

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