Saturday, June 29, 2013

WAHM Review: The Green Rift

My first WAHM review is The Green Rift. Jennifer from The Green Rift can be found on Etsy and/or Facebook. Here is a little blurb about her company that can be found on her pages:
The Green Rift seeks to provide affordable bath and body care products for the whole family, without using unwanted synthetic fillers and chemicals. 
[About me] I am a chemist by training, a mother and a person with sensitive skin. After working in the field of organic chemistry for over 10 years, I discovered an even more enjoyable form of chemistry in my own kitchen. It was a natural progression to blend my love of chemistry with natural high quality ingredients to create handcrafted bath and body products. I found that it is the perfect blend of my chemistry training, my love of handcrafting and my environmental ethics that drive my passion for "The Green Rift" to succeed. I truly believe that “Less is More”. 
Professional Memberships ~1999 American Chemical Society
2012 Handcrafted Cosmetics & Soap maker's Guild 

Let me first tell you about why we tried The Green Rift.  We have VERY sensitive skin in our household! I also am very sensitive to scents.  The wrong purchase can end in a migraine for me.  My son has really bad keratosis pilaris. We have tried SO MANY different mainstream products. You name it and we have probably tried it. Nothing has worked for us! I have also been very concerned with "natural" and organic skincare lines have been purchased by large corporations that are not environmentally friendly or organic by any means! So, I am on a mission to find something to help my son have a normal life and not be so miserable when soaps and other skincare products irritate his skin. I was in no way compensated for this review.  My views are entirely my own and are a completely honest review of products.    

I asked a group of moms in a WAHM group on Facebook. Jennifer from The Green Rift replied! I checked her out after seeing numerous recommendations from her previous customers. I was pleasantly surprised after reading that the maker had a background in chemistry! I purchased a variety of items that fit our current needs.  I had a few questions about certain ingredients and a possible custom order.  She was very polite and understanding about all of my questions.  She even made us a special batch of organic baby cream lotion!  She gave me a custom listing on Etsy so my order would ship in the most economical way and told me an approximate time of completion for our special orders. She was very punctual! Our order actually arrived quicker than I expected! The box was packed in a way so none of our items were damaged. She even put in some cute packaging material! Each item is clearly labeled with a list of ingredients! There is no wondering exactly what is in her products!!! The fact that she has a background in chemistry is apparent. There was no "questionable gobbly goop" in our package. Each item was exactly like what you would expect any mainstream organic item you would find in a big chain store. You can really tell she knows what she is doing and isn't just a mama throwing some stuff together and marketing it as the best stuff ever! Below are reviews of specific items I purchased.

Organic Baby Cream Lotion { CALENDULA + SWEET ORANGE DREAM }
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this lotion! We apply it after bath time and my little ones smell like sweet little orange push pops! My son LOVES it and always asks for it! It really is sensitive on his skin and makes it soft. There is something about the scent that calms him and helps him relax for bedtime. After trying this lotion I do not know how I could go back to anything else! I have never tried a sensitive skin lotion for babies that actually smells good before this one! Even though it's "baby lotion" I sneak some for myself when I put it on my little ones! Shh, don't let my little man know! If you have dry skin of any sort you should try this!

Coconut Lime Vegan Deodorant
Ok, I will admit. I sweat, A LOT. I have tried so many different deodorants and antiperspirants. I even tried the "clinical strength" stuff. Well, after hearing about the yucky stuff aluminum can do to your body I wanted to try a natural deodorant. I am a big fan of citrus scents. I chose the coconut lime. I use this stuff everyday! It smells so yummy! It really does work! Yes, I still sweat but there is a reason your body sweats. You shouldn't try to stop something that happens naturally with your body for a reason! I wont get on that soap box right now though!

Muscle Rescue Bath Bombs
These are the BOMB! Seriously! I suffer from Fibromyalgia and stay home with 2 young children. I have super sore and exhausted muscles a lot! I finally got to try these bad boys out when the kids took a nap. I don't know why these work (although I'm sure Jennifer could tell you!) but man do they work! I seriously felt like it had detoxed from just soaking in a warm bath with one muscle rescue bath bomb! A warm bath by itself does help with my muscles but only for a short period of time. After using a bath bomb I felt a lot better for hours! No, these aren't miracle bombs but they do help me significantly. They work enough for me to purchase more in the future!

I will do more reviews as I try more of The Green Rift's products. I will admit I am hooked! Overall the value of what you receive is worth the amount spent on these products! The soaps look amazing and I can't wait to get some cute bars for gifts and for our house!! I'm sure the kids will love to test out the yummy bubble baths! So go check her stuff out!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cloth Diapering: Penny Style!

One way to really trim your budget quickly and "go green" at the same time is to use cloth diapers. Did you know that the average cost of diapering one child for two years is about $1500?!?!?! You can start cloth diapering for around $300 or even less! A lot of people think that washing them would make it not worthwhile to cloth diaper. However, the cost to wash and dry them is minimal (its normally just one extra load of clothes a day)! You can check out the other reasons to cloth diaper here.  I'm not going to lie; it's pretty intimidating for most. There are TONS of websites and tutorials to help you make the switch. It can be very overwhelming at first because of the TONS of options and ways to cloth diaper! Today is the first post of many about cloth diapering! I will try my best to give the best info and links as possible and I'm sure there will be more additions as we go. One of the best resources I have found is The Real Diaper Association. They have a guide that is great for beginners. I have found that there are quite a few ways to cloth diaper on a tight budget! 

First lets go over the bare minimums of what you will need: cloth diapers, wipes, a wetbag, a pail & cloth diaper friendly detergent. A diaper sprayer makes getting the poo out of your diapers easier but is not a "have to have right now." You can also save money by hanging your diapers to dry instead of putting them in the dryer. 

Now, think of how much you spend on disposables a month (or whatever you spend per paycheck if you budget that way). That is what you want to try to stick to if your budget is super tight. 

To start out you want to have enough diapers to last at least one day. Newborns average around 12 diapers or more a day. Older babies and toddlers average around 9 a day. Here is a good page for details on just how many you will need.

Ok, lets go over how to start your cloth diaper stash! There are many different ways but I will outline a few. 
  1. "Pre-loved diapers" - some people may be weirded out by this but most cloth diapers can last thru multiple babies' diapering years! Here are a few ways to find them:
    1. your local "eco friendly" store (may have some on consignment)
    2. consignment stores (esp ones focused on children)
    3. Diaper Swappers (a cloth diaper & parenting forum - you just make an account and look in the marketplace section)
    4. your local cloth diaper group on FB
    5. Cheapie dipes B/S/T on FB (a group where diapers posted must be a maximum of $12 shipped)
    6. various other diaper b/s/t groups on FB
    7. online cloth diaper retailers (those listed below are only a few options)
      1. Kelly's Closet
      2. Niki's diapers
      3. Diaper Junction
      4. Jillian's Drawers
    8. craigslist, bookoo, etc.
  2. Upcycle!!! One of the cheapest ways to start out cloth diapering is to make them yourself out of things around the house! If you have basic sewing skills you can easily make prefolds or flats. You can use old towels, t-shirts you no longer fit or can no longer fit because of a hole or stain,old sheets, old receiving blankets, basically anything absorbent! You can use old wash cloths or any of the materials listed above to make wipes. Old wool sweaters or sweaters purchased from a thrift store are great to upcycle into wool soakers and covers! Just remember they need to be made from wool not something acrylic so check the care tag. One thing to remember is you DO NOT want microfiber to touch your baby's skin. I will do more posts on upcycling later but here are a few tutorials: 
    1. (one of my favorite blogs with all kinds of DIY cloth diapering tutorials!
    3. (you can use other materials than the fabric listed)
  3. DIY!! There are numerous patterns around to make your own cloth diapers. You wont really save much money if you have to go out & buy a sewing machine but if you already have one you can save quite a bit even with purchasing the materials needed. I will go more into detail in later posts. Check out Arfy's blog for more useful free patterns!
  4. New yet inexpensive diapers - There are a few brands that are very inexpensive to purchase new. Alvas, Sunbabies, & kawaii baby are a few of the more well known pocket brands. There are some on ebay for super cheap but those can be hit or miss. Some have delaminated with the first wash. Most are from China so they can take MONTHS to get to you. They are an option just be cautious!
  5. Prefolds or flats & covers- Whether they are new or "new to you"; this is one of the most inexpensive ways to cloth diaper. You get more bang for your buck. You can just lay the prefold in the cover or can use snappis or boingos to secure them on your baby and put the cover over them.

Accessories: For a pail you can use a trashcan. During the summer Walmart and Target normally have cheap colorful small pails you can use. You can purchase inexpensive wet bags at Target in the baby section near the diaper pails. You can also just use plastic grocery bags in a pinch for short trips and just double bag it. You can even make a diaper sprayer yourself from stuff you can pick up at your local hardware store! If you plan on hanging your diapers to dry you can use an outside line or if you don't have anywhere to hang them you can get an inexpensive foldable drying rack and set it in the tub. 

I'm sure I will be adding to this as we go. Hopefully, you will have found this helpful! If you have any questions feel free to ask below in the comments section!