Being prepared for a natural disaster/emergency!

20247619_10155558935654297_732734812776817735_o

 

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:

Ferryville7.19

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:

20248208_10155558935219297_839668471038593054_o

 

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…

20229192_10155554965489297_6018257180035110703_n

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.

20157553_10155555363339297_2939586945367488747_o

 

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.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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…

19800907_10155555363044297_5893531266965907470_o20247592_10155558935914297_2031851700226386354_o.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco-friendly USA One-Stop Shop Extras from May order

 

SELECT ITEMS (marked with ***) NOW 50% OFF, PRICES LISTED ARE FULL PRICE, WE’LL FIGURE YOUR TOTAL WHEN WE FINALIZE YOUR ORDER WITH SHIPPING.

 

EMAIL ME YOUR LIST: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

NEXT ORDER END OF SEP WITH DELIVERY MID-OCT

 

 

BLUE EGG FARMSTORE

3 kids strawberry lip balm @$4ea

 

MOLLY’S SUDS:

1x 50 loads liquid @$16.99

2x 70 loads @$13.99ea

3x 120 loads @$21.99ea

1x 120 loads unscented @$21.99ea

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Deodorant @$11: patchouli/clove

***1X lip balm w/ spf 15 @$4

***1x tanning oil @$14

BB cream samples in light, medium, dark @$3ea

Foundation samples @$3ea:  6x harmony, 6 hope,

Blush Samples @$4ea: 1x blushingly, 1x blushful

 

LUSA ORGANICS:

1x Salute to the Sun bar soap boxed, 1x vanilla/almond @$5.75

Unboxed bar soaps @$5.25: 1x calendula baby,  1x lullaby

 

6.ONYX CONTAINERS- 10% off May Special (sale prices listed)

1x babel popsicle mold set (slightly smaller mold that the original round molds, perfect for little hands!)  @$40.50: http://www.onyxcontainers.com/167-ice-pop-mold-babel-style.html

1x divided airtight food storage @$27

 

MAMA SUDS

***1x deodorant@$8

***1x 4 oz baby cream w/ zinc @$10

***1x 8 oz body cream w/ zinc in pump top @$22 (I love how easy this comes out of the bottle & applies, very creamy, not thick)

***1X liquid laundry 16oz sample @$10

 

JOSIAH’S OILS

***2x 2.2 oz trial size lavender head-to-toe wash @$3.89

***1x small aftershave/toner @$6.99

***2x small stick insect/tick away kid-safe blend (lip balm size) @$6.99

***2x lil’ noses zinc oxide stick @$4.75

***1x 4.2 oz zinc oxide sunscreen stick @$14.99 (awesome & easy to apply, love this!)

 

URBAN BABY BONNETS (10% off May Special price reflected below):

Large (2-3t) solBonnet in Paradise @$22.05: https://urbanbabybonnets.com/solbonnet-in-paradise.html

XL (3t-adult) modBonnet in Jewelia @$34.20: https://urbanbabybonnets.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=jewelia

 

GLASS DHARMA

1x beautiful bends 12×9 smoothie straw @$11

1x beautiful bends 9.5×9 ice tea $10

 

PRESERVE

2x tongue cleaners $2.75

Kids toothbrushes @$3.30ea:  15

Adult toothbrushes @$3 ea:  8 soft,  2 medium, 6 ultra soft

4x 3 blade razor refill cartridges @$8.50ea

2x 5 blade razor, comes w/ 1 cartridge @$12.99

 

REDMOND TRADING COMPANY

1x peppermint Earth Cure foaming hand soap @$7.99

 

 

SIMPLY GUM (extras from last round):

$3/pack: 1xmaple, 1x coffee,

 

EXTRAS FROM LAST ROUND AND/OR MISC ITEMS JESS HAS:

1x Earth Paint Petite kit @$19.95

This dress in size L: https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/a.1874193979262900.1073741881.397517646930548/1874194512596180/?type=3&theater

Shirt in size 7/8: https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/a.1874193979262900.1073741881.397517646930548/1874194932596138/?type=3&theater

 

Dental Herbalism: Natural therapies for the mouth book, from Mountain Rose Herbs. Gently leafed through, in excellent like-new condition, will take a few bucks off, $15 instead of $19.95: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/dental-herbalism/profile

All items in this album available as well: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-MADE-in-the-USA-397517646930548/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1489593477722954

 

 

JESS’ HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE & DEODORANT:

Toothpaste available w/ or w/o calcium, $7.50/jar: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-homemade-toothpaste/

Deodorant, $7.50/jar: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/homemade-deodorant-body-scrub-info/

 

Turning my mattress into a couch!

17436221_10155166582454297_377387664382844445_o

I wanted to share how we turned a twin size Pure Echo from My Green Mattress into a couch! If you don’t already know, safe (in terms of no flame retardants), organic couches are super, super expensive. I’m a huge fan of recycling as many materials as we already have, so Hubby & I challenged ourselves to turn our old couch into a new couch, and to buy as little as possible for the project. We’ve had the mattress for several years, but my kids are both still bed-sharing in my king & I don’t see that changing any time soon, so this mattress has been largely unused. Our old couch was a hand-me-down from my Mom & we’ve had it several years. The bottom was coming off & once my Hubby tore it off there was no stopping him, he gutted the thing. He tore off all the super cheap materials (plywood, cardboard mainly, poly fill) & got it down to it’s skeleton of a frame, then built it back up again with good wood.  He kept one arm of it & cut the other one off as the mattress was just a couple inches bigger than the frame.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We tore open the huge pillows that came with the old couch, removed all the poly stuffing (yuck), and washed the cases several times. I was having a hard time thinking of what to fill them with, they’re quite large. Then I was going through a bin of clothes & it was full of wool sweaters, many I hadn’t worn for years but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them. Perfect I thought, I’ll stuff these cases with my wool sweaters. It makes for a very heavy, firm, pillow. But we’re mainly leaning on them when we’re sitting on the couch, not sleeping on them, and I find them quite comfortable, I really like them! Originally I velcroed them shut, it held awhile but then the velcro came a part, so I ended up sewing them shut, but can easily tear them a part should I decide I need one of those wool sweaters.

17349823_10155166582464297_261145655267872879_o

Next was figuring out the backing, it was all open & exposed wood. We considered finishing it in cedar which we had on hand, but then I came across a huge garbage bag full of my last sewing project I worked on during my final weeks of “nesting” while pregnant with my 1st born. I can’t sew well, but can sew a straight line. While nesting I started cutting up the old corduroys I wore in high school but I knew were never going to fit me again, and they had seen better days anyway, and had in mind a quilt as an end goal. Then my Son was born & that project has been in a garbage bag for 6 years! So we stapled it up as a backing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not using organic sheets, we haven’t gotten there yet, but when I need to buy new ones in the future they will be organic. I have 1 sheet, a twin wool puddle pad also from My Green Mattress that we got along with the mattress, and then another top sheet & handmade quilt to top it off.

So no, this isn’t entirely organic. But I’m pretty darn happy with how it turned out as a DIY project using entirely recycled/upcycled materials, we didn’t spend a dime on it. For those in the new couch market, I think you should consider something similar as an option! A Pure Echo is currently $719 new from My Green Mattress, Jolene, a contributing author to my page, is an affiliate & you can get 5% off even! Here’s her link: http://ss1.us/a/X8Nm5hRJ and the code is ECOSAVE5. If you are military, they offer an 8% discount (just let them know when you order). Codes cannot be combined but, they offer free shipping!

Here’s her recent review of a 9″ king size latex from them, and I purchased the same one myself in May & will be doing a review in the coming weeks: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2017/04/12/jolenes-my-green-mattress-review/

 

 

 

FEB BUYING CLUB EXTRAS

TO ORDER: Email ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com with your list of items from what’s available below. I pull & update the list after each order.

I will pull your order & send you an invoice with exact USPS regional or flat rate shipping.

You pay via PayPal or check, I ship.

For details on ingredients, etc, visit the website of the vendor, or ask me any questions!

POOFY ORGANICS: (EXCLUDED FROM 1/2 OFF)

Blush Samples @$4ea: 1X blushing, 4X blushful, 4X blushingly

Foundation samples @$3: 2X Serenity, 4X Hope, 4X Harmony

Catalogs, free with an order!

JOSIAH’S OILS (ALL 1/2 OFF)

1X Ultra Pure Pup Wash @$11.50

2X 2.2 oz lavender head to toe wash @$3.89

1X Small After Shave/toner @$11.99

EARTH PAINTS: https://www.naturalearthpaint.com/ (EXCLUDED FROM 1/2 OFF)

2X petite paint kits @$19.95

MAMASUDS: (ALL 1/2 OFF PRICES LISTED BELOW)

2X 8oz w/ pump top body cream w/ zinc @$

2X 4 oz bug spray @$9ea

2X 16 oz bug spray (4X 4 oz refills) @$25 ea

PRESERVE PRODUCTS: (excluded from 1/2 off)

5X 3 blade replacement cartridges ( 4 cartridges/pack) @8.50ea on sale for $6.50 each

3X tongue cleaners@ $2.75

Kids toothbrushes @$3.30ea: 6

Adult brushes @$3ea, medium: 2

MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS (EXCLUDED FROM 1/2 OFF)

8oz dried elderberries @$8.50

GLASS DHARMA: http://www.glassdharma.com/ (EXCLUDED FROM 1/2 OFF)

1X 9.5X9 Beautiful Bends @$10ea

URBAN BABY BONNETS (1/2 off PRICES LISTED BELOW

1X Jewelia Modbonnet in XL @$40: https://urbanbabybonnets.com/modbonnet-in-jewelia.html

1X Field Map ModCap in medium (12-24m),  $38: https://urbanbabybonnets.com/modcap-in-field-map.html

1X paradise SolBonnet in Large (2-3T), normally $24.50: https://urbanbabybonnets.com/solbonnet-in-paradise.html

REDMOND TRADING COMPANY: (1/2 OFF PRICES LISTED BELOW)

Earthpaste @$6/tube: 1X peppermint, 5X lemon, 3X spearmint (xylitol-free)

Earthcure foaming hand soap @$7.99ea: 1X citrus, 2X peppermint

1X 8.25oz season salt @$9.95ea

3X Toothpaste Tube Squeezers @$.99ea

 

HIDE & SEEK BOUTIQUE (made by Jolene Marty) NOW $2 OFF, SO $12 EACH

2X hand kites @$14 https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/a.1636191103063190.1073741875.397517646930548/1636191119729855/?type=3&theater

JESS HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE: (EXCLUDED FROM 1/2 OFF)

Please read this notes as there are 2 formulas currently: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-homemade-toothpaste/

And my deodorant: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/homemade-deodorant-body-scrub-info/

MISC ITEMS JESS HAS FOR SALE:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Eco-friendly-babyfamily-products-MADE-in-the-USA-397517646930548/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1489593477722954

Adventures in traveling south of the border with my family!

I’m fresh back from almost 2 weeks in Mexico! Some of you travel a lot, so this is no big deal. My Hubby & I traveled quite a bit before having children, and I’ve really, really missed it. I flew with my Son a few times while he was under 2 still, to visit family here in the US, but have not flown since. My daughter who is 3.5 has never been on a plane. So I was more than ready, but quite nervous. There are so many things that could go wrong. All the what if’s kept rattling around in my brain. Traveling from WI in January is always a risk. But, I decided to trust the Universe that everything would work out, and it DID. It went better than I ever could’ve imagined, and I’m so, so glad we went!

My main goal was to get somewhere warm to make ½ of January disappear quickly. It’s a long, cold, boring month here in WI. I was tempted to go to FL as there are plenty of nice beaches & warmth to be had. But I really wanted to get us out of our comfort zone a bit more. I wanted to expand my kiddos world view beyond the horizons of rural WI. We have very little diversity here in terms of different skin colors, languages, etc. and therefore I need to make efforts to expose them to the larger world around us. Some of you know, but many aren’t aware of my background: my degree is in Spanish Education. As I said I enjoy traveling & I really loved learning Spanish in college and knew I would have a chance to study abroad if I majored in it. I was fortunate to be able to spend 10 weeks in Costa Rica living in an apartment & studying advanced Spanish 4 hrs/day as part of my degree. I finished 6m of student teaching in 2 local schools, received my degree to teach K-12 Spanish in public schools, and then immediately learned I was pregnant with my Son. I still planned to get into the workforce, and applied for many jobs, but didn’t land any that coming school year. My Son was born in March & I still thought I’d get into teaching that next Fall. But, once I had my Son I realized I did not want to leave him. I had always felt that if I had kids, I wanted to be the one to stay home & raise them, not have someone else do it while I worked. So I stayed home, turned down several jobs that they were calling & begging me to fill. My Son is about to turn 6 years now & I have not used my degree in a public school setting at least (have done some tutoring), and I do not intend to.

Living in rural WI, I have very little opportunity to use my Spanish, and as they say if you don’t use it you lose it. So I really wanted to throw myself into situations where I could use it. I knew traveling to FL would not give me those opportunities. I’m happy to report it came back quickly & I received compliments over & over on my ability to speak which made me very happy. My kids loved hearing me speak & my daughter soon started speaking gibberish & saying: Mom, that was Spanish. Now that they’ve had the tiny bit of exposure I plan to keep with it. I had been regretting not teaching them from day 1, something I had intended to do but completely failed at. My Mom was born in Germany & although she has lived in the US for 40 years now, is still a fluent speaker. She never taught us a word in German & I told myself I would be different, but I had failed. Those of you who speak other languages, please pass it on, it’s a great gift!

I know a lot of people dis Cancun as being way too touristy, but there is a reason people from all over the world flock there. The beaches are AMAZING. The water is gorgeous. It is not far from anywhere in the US: it only took a little over 4 hrs in the air from Milwaukee, WI (on 2 different flights). And there are many very culturally significant Mayan ruins in the area. Chichen Itza is one of the 7 wonders of the world, and for very good reason.  There are palm trees, coral, shells, iguanas, it’s another world compared to WI, and that’s what I wanted. I was there ~10 years ago with my Mom & Sis. I was in my 3rd semester of college at the time & it helped cement my love for the Latin world & propelled me to decide on my Spanish major. On this trip, I waited too long to book our day trip to Tulum, and it was all full so we didn’t visit any ruins this time. I know we’ll be back, and that the kids will appreciate them more in a couple years, although I know they would’ve left quite the impression on them, they are remarkable!

We were definitely the minority being from the US. We met a LOT of Canadians, they really like to travel! And they’re very friendly. We were having lunch at a small luncheria one day & the place was pretty full but we had 2 empty chairs at our table. A middle-aged Canadian couple approached & asked if we minded if they sat down for a cup of tea with us. Of course we couldn’t say no & we chatted over lunch. One thing I found out about traveling with kids is we had a lot of empathy from others. I heard over & over: ahhhh, I remember when our kids were that age, now they’re grown, cherish this time, etc….. We had many helping hands along the way, many kind & understanding gestures, it was refreshing. And one of the things that warmed my heart the most was my kids made friends with non-English speakers. At the 1st place we stayed at for 4 nights, my Son befriended a Czech boy. His Dad worked for a major bank so traveled all over the world, but they chose Cancun for vacation. The Dad spoke some English, but the boy & his younger brother spoke very, very little. Yet the kids played for hours each day.  They swam together, built sand castles together, laughed, and I thought they were both going to cry when they gave their goodbye hug the day we left. Yet very few words were spoken. And to me there is something so powerful in that. Same with a Japanese girl they met on the beach. She was there with her parents, I saw her eyeing up my kids who were digging in the sand & building castles. I held out an extra shovel they weren’t using & she shyly accepted it & came & started digging with us. An hour went by and we built a super great creation together & again, very few words exchanged.

As we all know: there is no place like home. And traveling out of country or to less developed areas of our country even, definitely gives a greater appreciation for what we have. My family lives quite simply & modestly. We have a 1400 sq. ft home, only buy things we can pay for, etc. Going to a place in which many people live in extreme poverty, in which you cannot drink the water or even brush your teeth with it gives me such extreme gratitude for my safe well water. Except for the super fancy resorts, you generally never flush your toilet paper in Mexico. There are garbage cans next to the toilets & you’re supposed to put your paper there, their septic systems cannot handle it. My kids easily adapted to this, but again, it gave me a great appreciation for flushing paper again. There are vast, significant differences between the lives of us here and there, but at the same time, when it comes down to it, we have more in common than not!

On packing: I felt I did a really good job. We have 1 huge suitcase that is at the max specs for not being charged for oversize, and it weighed in right at 50# so we didn’t have to pay more than $25 to check it. I felt I was packing really lightly for each of us, and I was, but X4 it adds up quickly. But still, we had plenty of clothes & not any that we didn’t need. My daughter brought 1 doll, my Son 2 of his transformers & his stuffed rooster that he takes everywhere, but other than that we had 1 small backpack with art supplies, maze & other activity books. One small backpack with snacks & water, my purse, my Hubby’s manpurse with his tablet, and that was it! The 1st aid essentials I chose to bring were: Josiah’s Oils Germ Fight Blend which I applied to all of us several times/day, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, Nux Vomica (not sure the brand, I get it at my co-op, but I SWEAR by this for upset bellies), Poofy’s Everything Salve & After Sun Spray, Traditional Medicinals Elderberry/Echinacea tea, and that’s it really. I used everything I brought.  We all stayed remarkably healthy the entire time. In the beginning my Hubby had a bit of a belly ache, nothing major just was feeling bloated & not so great. Me: here, take some of these nux vomica tabs, they’re amazing. Him: no, no, I’m fine (as he rolls around in bed trying to sleep). Finally I hear him take a couple of them & drift into sleep shortly afterwards. The next morning: wow, shortly after I took those I felt much better…. Classic! So the entire time we were in Mexico that was really the worst of any belly aches any of us had, we truly stayed healthy. On the way home we flew from Cancun to Denver, and although we had a 2 hr layover which I thought would give us plenty of time to get through customs, etc, we barely made our connecting flight. We had all of 10 min before our next flight was leaving by the time we got to the gate, and the kids were starving. The only food in sight was McDonald’s right next to the gate. My kids have never, ever eaten McDonald’s in their life, they don’t know what it is. But we went for it, the next flight was 2 hrs long & didn’t get to our destination until 9pm, and we were out of snacks. We got a chicken nuggets meal & a cheeseburger meal for them, cheeseburgers for Hubby & I & ran on the plane, sat down exhausted & chowed down. I’m not joking that within ½ hr of eating that crap food, we all had our 1st upset stomachs of the entire 12 days we’d been traveling. My Son suddenly said: Mom, I have to go to the bathroom reallllly bad, and there was someone in both of them on the plane, and I truly thought he was going to soil his pants. All of us were running to the bathrooms. I’m sharing this because I think it provides great insight as to why so many Americans are so sick, it’s the food, I will never eat there again, nor will my kids as long as I have a say.

My thoughts on all-inclusive vs not:

All inclusive (El Cid for 4 nights)- The things I liked about it: it was at the end of a dead end road about ½ hr south of Cancun. It was very quiet, there was no street noise, no barking dogs. A bit of hooting & hollering here & there but mainly all I heard every night was the sound of the wind through the palms & the waves crashing! I liked that there was a huge, very nice pool with a small water slide & a bigger one for older kids including a cliff jumping area, my kids were still too young for those activities.  At their age the ocean is a bit much for them, and being winter in Cancun means a lot of wind, so the ocean was not calm at all. I liked that I didn’t have to cook a single thing for 4 days! There were 4 restaurants as well as a huge buffet that was constantly changing. What I disliked: We over ate. I saw sooooo much wasted food & I’m very sensitive to that, I absolutely hate it. But we’d go to breakfast, then a few hours later it was like: let’s go see what’s for lunch. Even though we weren’t really hungry we’d try a dab of this & that & have a plate full before long. And I just saw so much wasted food. My hope is that they do something with some of the waste…  And it was quite expensive, but considering we didn’t have to spend any money the entire time we were there other than a tip here & there, it didn’t seem so bad in the end.

View from the balcony of our all-inclusive:

balcony

Non-all-inclusive: We spent 7 nights at a quaint, very traditionally decorated, lovely villa on Isla Mujeres, just north of Cancun. It was 1/3 of the price/night of the all-inclusive, but suddenly I was responsible for all meals again which I hadn’t really missed. My Dad & Step Mom joined us for an overlapping 5 nights, and had their own room near us which was nice. Grocery shopping in a foreign country is always an interesting experience. Our 1st day there we went out for lunch then I asked where the supermercado  was & got pointed in the right direction. We found a corner convenience store & I was a bit worried that was the place. Nope, there was still somewhere bigger a few blocks down, phew. I got the basics there: coffee, fruit & some veggies, 1st night’s dinner & next morning’s breakfast. Then the next day someone pointed me to the SUPERmercado. I took a taxi without the family & spent a good hour+ cruising the aisles for our week worth of groceries. There were familiar names like Johnsonville, Sargento, many organic offerings, and even canned cranberries from WI! The island is only 5 miles long by ½ mile wide, so very small. The natives all use mopeds or bikes to get around, the tourists rent golf carts or take taxis which there are tonnnns of. There is a constant whir of golf carts, long into the night, and this actually was a downfall in my opinion. Back home we live on a very quiet back road that gets hardly any traffic, so the street noise really bothered me while in our room, especially at night, that and barking dogs.  The place we stayed at was a marina as well, and it was fascinating to hear the stories of those docked there. We met people from all over the world. My kids befriended a 7 year old Australian boy who had the most amazing accent, I wanted to listed to him talk all day long! He lived in Australia until he was 5, and they’ve been docked there on Isla Mujeres living on the boat for 2 years now! The kids played so well together and again, I thought they were going to cry when saying goodbye, he asked if we could please stay longer. Other than being too noisy for me,  it was a nice home base for the week, and our days were mainly spent at the gorgeous beaches on the north side of the island, building castles, collecting shells, relaxing.

The beach we spent a lot of time on in Isla Mujeres:

playa

Shopping in Mexico: I’m not a shopper. I prefer online shopping vs malls, get most of our clothing handed down or via garage sales/thrift stores. Shopping in Mexico is overwhelming. At 1st, haggling for deals can be fun, seem rewarding & be a bit of a thrill. But for me, it quickly got very old. Example: I pick up a gorgeous dress for my daughter at the 1st stop, ask how much it is & am told $35. Ok, see ya I say. Wait, Wait, how much you want to pay? I never pay more than $20 for any kids clothes I say, which is true, they outgrow them so fast, and I am used to hand-me-downs as I said. Him: how about $21, a small tip for me on top of your $20. Me: pulling out $14 worth of pesos, this is all I have. Him: Ok, deal. Seriously, you wanted $35 but will take $14 (the dress is SUPER cute by the way, so I was happy). But this gets repeated over & over, for every item, and I got super burnt out on it quickly. Speaking Spanish gets you even better deals for sure, and I loved the practice & compliments I received on my speaking skills. I watched people paying full price for t-shirts, $35 or so, when they likely could’ve gotten it for $10. I didn’t do much shopping, but did get 2 adorable dresses for my daughter, a couple of shirts for my Son, 2 dresses & a couple pairs of cute & comfy pants for me, some vanilla, a sea shell wind chime, a couple magnets & that’s it! My Hubby & Dad went fishing & their catches were made into fresh ceviche as well as grilled up for us for that nights dinner which we ate under the stars, it was a real treat!

Many of you have asked about my experience “unplugging”. It was easy for me! I do not own a smart phone as 99% of you likely do. I do most of my work from my lap top or our home PC. So when I’m out of the house, I’m truly away from technology. We did not activate international functions for our phones, so turned them off in Atlanta & didn’t turn them back on until we got to Denver 12 days later. I didn’t bring my laptop on vacation but my Hubby did bring his tablet as it’s our camera/video camera as well, and he installed a couple super basic kids games on it as well which kept them entertained on the planes when needed. So it came in handy, and we did have internet at the 2nd place we stayed so I did update my personal Fb page a couple times to let friends & family know we were safe & having a great time. But other than that, with all my groups shut down, I spent no time browsing Facebook, and didn’t miss reading daily news updates, etc. It truly felt good to just focus on my family, how we were going to spend our day, and not think about the rest of the world for a bit. I lost an entire week of productivity between Christmas & New Year due to a terrible toothache. I had a lot of projects planned & got very little done… I urge everyone to try to unplug a little more. Give it a shot! I know many people who have a tough time balancing their online time with the rest of their life. I know people who suddenly feel the need to pull the plug completely, deleting their Fb account entirely. Then a month or 2 or 6 later they’ll pop back up. I really do like & value Facebook & with all things in life: balance is key. Ying & Yang. Speaking of Facebook, here’s a fabulous page that has many great posts & inspiring messages, it’s one of my favorites: https://www.facebook.com/TheHandsFreeRevolution/

We squeaked home between some wicked ice storms that hit the Midwest. My Dad, who had joined us for a week down there, got stuck in Chicago for an extra day & a half, but luckily his Sis who lives there was able to come & get him & he had a great, extended vacation. Had we gotten stuck in Denver with the kids, it would’ve put a sour note on the end of the trip. But everything, seriously everything, went as it needed to go to make it a happy, successful trip & I know my kiddos will be thinking & talking about it for a long time to come. It gives me the motivation to work hard and continue to live modestly so I can save the money needed to fund an annual adventure. I don’t know that we’ll go back to the spots we visited this time, as I like exploring new spots, but I do know we’ll be heading south of the border again for sure!

So, that’s my vacation in a nut-shell, I enjoyed writing about it, I hope you enjoyed reading about it! It was not cheap, but it was priceless family time that I would not trade for anything in the world ♥

Nov Buying Club extras

You can email me to claim your items after 9am central on Sunday, 12/11: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com.

I use regional or flat rate shipping via USPS. I will get your order boxed up & send your grand total to you, you pay via check or PayPal, I ship.

Next order is in Feb, I’ll be taking orders 2/1-2/13.

If you have questions about any of the products listed, go to the website of the listed vendor for product description, ingredients, etc. There websites are all linked to from this, the original note for this buy club order: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

 

 

SIMPLY GUM @$3/pack, order 6pks & get them for $2.50ea

3 mint, 5 coffee, 5 fennel

 

 

JOSIAH’S OILS

1 lavender head to toe body wash 9 oz @$11

1 lavender hand soap (label in bad shape, got wet in transit to me) 1/2 price @$4.50

1 Ultra pure Pup shampoo 9 oz @11.99

1 after shave toner @$11.99

Pre-diluted Essential Oil Blend Roll-on’s listed below:

1 focus @$10.99

1 sniffles @$10.99

1 regular germ fight blend @$9.50

1 relax $14.99

1 headache @$14.99

 

 

COLD BEE GONE

$9.95 ea: 3

 

 

POOFY ORGANICS:

mascara @ $20ea: 1 brown, 1 black

Wax melts @$6: Let it Snow

 

REDMOND TRADING COMPANY:

Earth Paste @ $6/tube: 2 spearmint (xylitol-free), 3 peppermint,  1 cinnamon

Earth Paste samples @.25ea: 2 peppermint, 1 cinnamon

Earth Cure foaming hand soap @$3.99 ON SALE!

 

 

MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS:

1# beeswax pastilles @$17

1 4 oz Pu’erh tea (damaged box) @$7.20 (20% off because of box)

1 4 oz yerba mate tea (damaged box) @$3.80 (20% off because of box)

 

 

MOLLY’S SUDS:

Powder detergent Samples @$1 ea:  2 regular powder

 

 

ECO NUTS:

1X organic veggie wash @$6.99 ea

1X ammonia booster @$16.50

 

 

PRESERVE:

Kids brushes @$3.30ea: 4

2X 3 blade razor refills cartridges (4 refills ea)@$8.50ea

4X NEW 5 blade razors@ $12.99ea

4X 5 blade refills (4 cartridges/pack) @$14.99

 

 

DORIS & DANA

3 sets of these cloth napkins (1 free set of reusable make-up remover pads to next person to claim a set of napkins!): https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/a.1529877193694582.1073741874.397517646930548/1529877297027905/?type=3&theater

Jess’ toothpaste is $.50 off/ jar @$7.50ea, details here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-homemade-toothpaste/

Jess’ deodorant is also $.50 off/jar @$7.50ea, details here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/homemade-deodorant-body-scrub-info/

Misc album of items here:

https://www.facebook.com/397517646930548/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1489593477722954

Origin: FINALLY, a made in USA stainless steel baby spoon!

IMG_3934_1024x1024

(above photo taken from Origin website)

Review of a stainless steel baby spoon,  mostly made in Waukesha, WI (with components made in MN)!! As most of you know, finding anything stainless steel AND made, not just designed, in the USA is very, very tough. It’s one area that I will compromise my made in USA mission as I do feel stainless is a great option when glass (my 1st choice) isn’t an option AND the vendor conducts 3rd party testing to make sure the stainless is the real deal (free of heavy metals). So of course I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to pass along the great news that there finally is a made in USA option for this one category at least! Most of us take the 1st utensils our babe’s will eat from very seriously! I was sent this to review before it’s even available to purchase, but that date is coming up very soon: http://www.originutensils.com/products/the-origin-baby-spoon?variant=12933245319

About this spoon: “BPS, BPA, phthalates…it seems like every month there’s something else to avoid. How do you know what you’re using is safe? The fact is that when it comes to food contact, some materials are just better than others. Plastic and silicone may be fine when new, but after normal washing and use, dishwasher heat cycles and scratches, are they still hygienic? Is the material breaking down and becoming part of the meal?  Is today’s “safe” plastic tomorrow’s material to avoid? The Origin Baby Spoon is made of food-grade, 316 (18/10) stainless steel. This material is time tested and universally recognized as safe for food contact and preparation.  It’s not just BPA free, its everything free – and it won’t add little bits of plastic to your baby’s meal or emerge from the dishwasher looking strange.”

Holding_food_1024x1024

(above photo taken from Origin website)

There is some great info in this link as to why the spoon was designed as it was: http://www.originutensils.com/pages/design

No, this spoon is not cheap at $33, but I assure you, they did not randomly choose that amount. That is the cost of bringing a stainless steel spoon made in the USA to market, and that is why you don’t see many such offerings. I know may not be able to swallow that price tag, but I do know that many of you can, and will, to show your support with your purchase of this product. We vote with our dollars, and if enough people can vote to show support for products like this, we will see more of them. 1st baby spoons turn into an heirloom item for many families. Will a plastic spoon be handed down from generation to generation? No. But this one surely can, and will be!

I will remind y’all when this has officially launched in the coming weeks, and hope this company meets great success so they can bring more products to the market!!

http://www.originutensils.com/

Previous Older Entries