Sodium borate in personal care?! My thoughts…

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Poofy Organics is releasing a new CBD cream, and it’s oh so exciting!! One concern with this cream is that it contains sodium borate as an ingredient, yes, BORAX!! I’ve been very vocal in speaking out against this as an ingredient in homemade laundry soap, which it is often a main ingredient of, for many years now. Why have I taken this stance? Mainly because of EWG, the Environmental Working Group, and the bad score they give it & the concerns they raise. However, over the years I’ve learned to take their findings with “a grain of salt”. My mantra on EWG over the years has developed into: it’s a good starting point, it’s not the end all & be all on any given topic.  They do rate sodium borate a moderately high 5-6, but they also give a 5 to clove bud essential oil… Those of us who’ve done our due diligence on EO’s know it’s about proper dilution & usage, and my research on sodium borate has lead me to the same conclusion…. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705996/SODIUM_BORATE/#.W0_YTdVKjZ5

Ingredients in Poofy’s soon-to-be-released CBD cream: Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Beeswax, MSM, Terpenes (Eucalyptol, Humulene, Nerolidol, Terpineol), CBD Isolate, Sodium Borate, Vitamin E (non-gmo)

ALL the concerns I can find for sodium borate are in regards to its  powder form, inhaling it, like in powder laundry detergent. But I cannot find concerns when using it topically…. Stephanie from Chemical of the Day is a very trusted source of mine, I’ve never disagreed with anything she’s shared, and she says topical is okay… http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2010/9/13/borax-sodium-borate.html

 

Here’s a post by a skin care company using it in their cream as well, I feel they have good points: https://woodspriteorganicbody.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/the-great-borax-sodium-borate-debate-and-a-few-words-on-the-ewg-skin-deep-database/

 

I’ve searched & searched for legitimate concerns when it comes to using it topically via a cream, and cannot find anything other than a few bloggers referencing EWG & saying they don’t want to take a chance. I’ve searched PubMed & other sources as well & can’t find anything on the topic. After speaking with Kristina about this personally, I learned that she feels it’s absolutely necessary to making this the most effective product it can be. She can’t divulge proprietary info of course, but she shared with me that the amount used is teeny, tiny per jar, like teeny. And of course she researched the heck out of it too, she wouldn’t put anything in any of her products that she wasn’t 100% confident in. The CBD cream is not like a typical lotion where it’s just supposed to moisturize, it needs to deliver the beneficial ingredients where they need to go, and she’s spent months looking for the right ingredient to do that, the sodium borate is it… The typical emulsifying wax used in the other lotions isn’t effective enough. Wellness Mama has a decent read on the debate too. https://wellnessmama.com/26407/borax-safe/

Another good read: https://www.annmariegianni.com/ingredient-watch-list-sodium-borate-borax-is-it-safe/

We have a thread going in our Poofy Guides group on this topic currently, and there are a lot of good comments!

From Andrea: A lot of public concern comes from the chemical misunderstanding between boric acid and sodium borate. Sodium borate is a natural salt mineral, while boric acid is harmful and toxic.

From Anita: Sodium borate is in contact solution.

In conclusion: It’s essential to keep an open mind about all ingredients. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Just because 1 source says it’s terrible doesn’t mean that’s the case in 100% of circumstances. With this new CBD line, you’re going to have to do some research. Is CBD right for you? I can’t tell you with 100% certainty. Is the Poofy Organics CBD cream among the absolute best possible choices for a topical cream should you decide it is a product you need? I can say with certainty YES.

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The case FOR supporting the MLM business model

The title should continue with: when the products are great!

In my 6+ years of blogging, I’ve seen my fair share of disdain for MLM (Middle Level Marketing) companies. A quick Google search will lead you to plenty of articles against supporting a MLM company. This is not one of those articles. I wanted to share my thoughts as to why you should not lump all of them together nor turn your back on them entirely…. Believe me, I’ve also built up my share of disdain for certain companies myself!  From time-to-time I see posts: looking for non-MLM recommendations for baby shampoo (just a random example). Here’s why I think you’re missing out by lumping ALL MLM’s together.

My motto: ingredients speak for themselves, they just need a voice. I am that voice. I have spent years looking into every personal care company I see. And in my opinion, Poofy Organics is the best of the best. You can look at this list here to see my Best-of-the-Best, So-So, and Not Recommend Lists: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/product-reviews/personal-carecleaning-master-list/. Of those on my Best-of-the-Best, Poofy is the only direct sales/MLM/network marketing option in that category.

I’ve been a “Guide”/affiliate/Rep with Poofy for 4 years now. The fact that Poofy has ~500 of us Guides sharing our love for these products & all they stand for, with our friends, family, co-workers, means Poofy continues to grow at a slow but steady pace. This means they are able to offer more USDA certified organic products than any other line on the market. This means that every time we vote with our $$ & make a purchase, they need to re-order supplies from their wholesaler. Our vote with our dollars means more organic ingredients in demand. That means an organic farmer continues his/her livelihood of growing  the organic crop they specialize in.

Every product you purchase has a wholesale & retail cost. When Kristina first launched Poofy Organics over a decade ago, she offered her products in a traditional brick & mortar way, to a bunch of Whole Foods on the East Coast (Poofy is located in NJ). So yes, it was convenient that you could swing by Whole Foods & pick up a select handful of  Poofy products. But only if you were on the E. Coast would you even see them. Or only if you found out about Poofy’s retail website somehow would you even have heard of them. Now, with ~600 products, there’s no way any brick & mortar could stock even a portion of their great offerings.

I know from my hours of volunteer staffing in my food co-op that we markup personal care products 70% there. Yes, 70%! Most retail mark-up is at LEAST 50%…. So while yes, I earn 25% of your purchase when you shop via my Poofy link, it’s nowhere near the 50-75%+ mark-up you are paying for items you’re buying off the shelves elsewhere.

Poofy is different in many ways. There is no push to get out there & recruit others. Many never recruit anyone. Poofy is not interested in exponential growth like many other MLM’s, they want to get as big as possible, as fast as possible. Poofy doesn’t. Kristina, the owner & product creator at Poofy, wants to continue making products by hand, and is very proud of the fact that all products are hand-poured and hand-labeled, in addition to being hand-made. Also, our 25% commission is far less than many companies. Earning 50%+ commission with other MLM companies is more of the norm than not. Kristina believes in keeping Poofy prices as low as possible so as many people as possible can afford them. I urge you to do some price comparisons with other companies, both MLM & non. You’ll find higher price tags for products with few or zero organic ingredients.

So yes, I am earning 25% of your Poofy purchase instead of Whole Foods earning 75%. Are you seriously going to hold that against me for telling you about this great line? Are you seriously not going to consider these products, which I consider the best of the best on the market, because it’s an “MLM”. I really hope you’ll reconsider… The ingredient speak for themselves, and Poofy uses the finest organic ingredients on the market. In addition, you can shop directly from Poofy is you choose, you don’t have to purchase through a Guide as many other companies force you to do, even if you don’t know one. So you can go straight to poofyorganics.com & make your purchase there, they don’t pay out commission to anyone for that purchase. But I hope you’ll consider using my link, so I can keep on doing what I’m doing: researching the safest, best, made in USA products on the market. Here’s my link 🙂 https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

 

 

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Jolene’s UPDATED safe make-up GUIDE!!

After a lot of requests, Jolene has updated her recommended make-up options! If you should choose Poofy you can take 10% off your 1st order, via rebate, let me know if you have any questions! I’m so so thankful that she volunteered the time to do this! I do not wear make-up myself, so this guide is a huge help!

EcoFriendlySafeMakeupGuide2018

 

My Poofy Organics link: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

 

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.

Humidifier! We heat with wood, and it makes for a very dry environment in the fall & winter months! We went with this one, it is made in China unfortunately but I love that it doesn’t get things wet at all around it! I’m going on my 3rd winter with it now!  http://amzn.to/2yldRqs

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–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/

 

9/23/17, I added this kit to my collection! http://amzn.to/2xBB5v7

 

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Being prepared makes me a happy Mama! Someone asked about a good kit last week, and I recommended Boiron because that’s the name I’m most familiar with. I learned about this brand, Helios, and they come highly recommended. They hand-dose their pellets vs using machines like the bigger companies. The company is based in the UK but I felt good supporting them vs Boiron or Hyland’s….Yes, this was $69, but for 36 remedies that’s less than $2 each!! Many of these are ones I use regularly, others are new to me & I’ll be reading up on them more. They list a 5 year expiration date, but they really never go bad if stored properly (out of sunlight & away from moisture).

 

 

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.

PILLOWS: 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.

PILLOW PROTECTORS: 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.

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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.

(additional expenses listed below, came in at right around $3500 total when I replaced every, single item for the bed!)

ADDED OCT OF ’17:

COMFORTER I went with a comforter & duvet from the Company Store, which is local to me here in WI. Here’s a link to the comforter I got, it was 60% off last month (in store), so only $120. I bet they’ll have a Black Friday sale too. The shell is imported from China, it is stuffed & finished in WI. I would’ve loved to stick to 100% made in USA on both these items but compromised. I’m very happy with my bed, just waiting for those sheets to have it finally complete. We refer to it as paradise 🙂 http://www.thecompanystore.com/…/organ…/c2v6-ps-h16.html

DUVET: This is the duvet I got, I absolutely love it. The duvet is GOTS certified organic but made in Pakistan, I almost passed it up but I really, really liked it so went back for it. I loathe white & beige which is the norm for organic fabric it seems, so was happy to find a pattern I liked…. So, I compromised on it not being made in USA. I fell in love with the duvet then saw the made in Pakistan & put it down, bought the comforter (from the Company Store & left). I got 3 blocks away & turned around, the duvet called me back…. (not my bed pictured below, from Company Store website)

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Sheets- Coyuchi had 40% off sale in Oct!  I purchased king size, 300 count sateen organic sheets & pillowcases (and a toddler pillow), for ~$240 total via Green Mountain Organics. Contact Michelle, she often has sales! No, not made in USA.

ADDITIONAL EXPENSE: comforter, duvet, sheets & pillowcases= ~$450, and all were on sale! So that brings the total of my bed to right around $3500, really not too bad in my opinion, considering the 2 decades or more I’ll get out of it all!

Jolene’s MGM 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/

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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