Sunday, March 23, 2014

Baby Wipes 3: Store Bought Wipes Giveaway!!!

Thanks for sticking around through my wipes series where I shared making DIY Disposable Baby Wipes and DIY Cloth Baby Wipes. Now what about store bought wipes? Today I share some information and have a giveaway for a 3 month supply of super natural WaterWipes.

Store Bought Baby Wipes

I have bought a lot of baby wipes over the past 6.5 years. I love the disposable wipes for trips, disposable diapers, quick face washes on the go. I tried to use cloth for these purposes but sometimes a girl needs balance and convenience. You've probably seen these babies with bad chemical rashes from baby wipes. Plain water works great for baby wipes, it is all I have used for baby #3 with our cloth wipes. 

It is easy to pick out wipes, just read the ingredients like you would a food label: if you cannot pronounce it or it isn't natural, don't get it. After all, our skin is our largest organ and everything that goes on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Example: Huggies Soft Skin Wipes
  • Ingredients: Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, PEG 50 Shea Butter, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Fragrance 
  • According the Environmental Working Group, these chemicals can cause "Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Neurotoxicity, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Endocrine disruption, Allergies/immunotoxicity, use restrictions."

I use only water with my homemade cloth wipes and my baby's bottom is always clean and rash-free BUT disposable wipes are such a purse staple for me for diaper changes, dirty faces and hand washes.

Luckily, there are some really great brands out there that understands that water is the best solution for cleaning a baby.  Even my local Walgreens sells these WaterWipes that are 99.9% water and 0.1% grapefruit extract. They are a natural baby wipe that prevent diaper rash by fully cleaning my baby's bottom and keeping the harmful chemicals off her bottom. You need to know what is in your baby wipes

Can you tell that I am excited about these wipes?! My toddler gets messy and sticky diapers yet these wipes make her clean using just two wipes. Also check out their facial wipes that clean my makeup and my baby's snotty nose in an easy wipe. Thanks WaterWipes for hooking me up and sponsoring this giveaway!

Here it is... the giveaway!

Post a comment about baby wipes below and you can win 12 packs of 60 wipes! You have until 9pm Wednesday so hurry and share with your friends.  This is open to addresses in the U.S.A. only.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Baby Wipes 2: DIY Cloth Baby Wipes

Now that you all know how I made disposable baby wipes that were extra gentle on my baby's skin and chemical free, here is how my baby wipe journey continued.

I HATED DISPOSABLE WIPES! Mainly because I had to have a second trash can next to my cloth diaper pail and I just don't like clutter and extra STUFF in my life. While pregnant with baby #2, I knew that I would be washing my own cloth diapers so I made my own cloth wipes. I had never sewed before but my aunt gave me my grandmother's 70 year old sewing machine. I had it serviced and the man at the sewing machine repair shop showed me how to thread the string and sew a straight stitch forward and backwards (that's all the machine does). That 5 minute tutorial (and a few YouTube videos) was all I needed to sew a quilt, a bedroom garland banner, a sleep sack, and these cloth wipes as my nesting projects. These wipes are very easy!

Next week I will be giving away a 3 month supply of all natural baby wipes so check back!

DIY Cloth Baby Wipes
My wipes after being used on 2 babies.

The greatest part about these wipes is that when you are done wiping the baby, you just put them with the diaper right into your cloth diaper pail. They get washed the same way that your diapers get washed.

Sizing: You can make your wipes any size you want. I made mine so that they could fold in half in a standard diaper wipes container. I never actually did that but the thought was good.

1 yard 100% cotton flannel fabric (this made enough wipes for a week so I could continue to wash diapers weekly)
sewing machine or pinking sheers

Directions 1: No Sew Baby Wipes
  1. Wash your fabric in hot water and dry in the dryer to pre-shrink the fabric.
  2. Using pinking sheers, cut your wipes into the size that you want. Done!

Directions 2: Sewed Baby Wipes
  1. Wash your fabric in hot water and dry in the dryer to pre-shrink the fabric.
  2. Using scissors, cut your wipes into the size that you want. 
  3. Sew along the edges using a zig-zag stitch. My 70 sewing machine only did a straight stitch and my wipes look great two kids later. You can also use a serger if you have one.
Note: After the first few washes, there may be some small strings that need to be pulled or cut from the wipes. 

DIY Cloth Baby Wipes Spray

Now that you have a beautiful pile of wipes, you will need to moisten them before you use them. You can use just water, water + a squirt of baby soap, or water + a squirt of baby soap + a drop of oil. Here are the methods that I recommend:
  1. Water: Simply wet the cloth before a diaper change at the sink. Since my older kids wouldn't stop straying everyone with my diaper spray, this is what we resorted to and it works perfect! Soap can be too harsh on the baby's skin. Two wipes and we are done!
  2. Diaper Spray: Fill an empty spray bottle with water (with or without soap and oil). Spray your cloth to moisten it before wiping.
  3. Diaper pump: Use the above directions in an old pump soap bottle. If find this easier than the spray because I can do it one-handed during a diaper change.
  4. Pre-moistened: You can your pour soapy water in your wipes container and keep them there for several days so they are always moist when you go to use them. I never tried this since I wash once a week and was afraid of the potential yuck factor.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Baby Wipes 1: DIY Disposable Baby Wipes

Here's the start of a series about baby wipes (homemade, cloth, and bought) from when I used to make my own disposable baby wipes with baby #1. BUT I also use disposable wipes in my purse for the out-and-about diaper changes, playground hand/face washes, and for the babysitter. At the end of this series I will be giving away a 3 month supply of all natural baby wipes so check back!

DIY Homemade Disposable Baby Wipes

A reaction from the chemicals
 in mainstream baby wipes.

Sometimes you want more natural wipes than the mainstream brands. Maybe you're baby has a reaction to mainstream wipes or you are a natural minded person. Purchased natural wipes are great (and keep checking back for that 3 month supply giveaway that is coming up), but can be 3-4 times the cost of store brand wipes. So for those of you who have a tight wallet or are obsessed with DIY projects, here is how to make your own disposable baby wipes.

With baby #1, I was new to cloth diapers and I used a service. I was not about to use cloth wipes and have to figure out how to wash my wipes in the laundromat (which I later did when I stopped the service). To help in my transition I used cloth wipes and had a trash pail next to my diaper pail. I was buying store brand wipes and realized that they contained chemicals that I just didn't want on my baby's skin.  After a little research, I realized that I could make disposable wipes with things that I already had in the house.

1 T. castille soap (or other gentle baby soap)
1/2-1 T. olive oil
1 c. water
1 paper towel roll
large scissors or a large serrated bread knife
empty baby wipes container


  1. Using your large scissors or serrated bread knife, cut the paper towel in thirds so that it looks like three toilet paper rolls. 
  2. Place one roll in your empty baby wipes container on its side as pictured. Save the other 2 rolls for future use.
  3. Mix the first three ingredients together.
  4. Poor the liquid over the roll that is in the baby wipes container. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then turn the roll over and let sit another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the cardboard core. Pull your wipes out of the top of the wipes container. Use within a week.
These wipes can also be put in a ziploc or other water tight container for out-and-about use. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to stock your freezer with whole food meals with the help of friends

Tip 1: Baby carrots are already cleaned and cut.
Tip 2: Make an extra bag of each meal for yourself.
Whether it is in anticipation of a new baby or just needing some time off of cooking, here is how I just stocked my freezer with freezer meals with the help of friends (because I was way to shy to do this alone).

What are Freezer Meals?
Freezer Meals are meals that have already been prepped and are sitting in your freezer ready to be eaten. They could be raw ingredients ready to be dumped in a pot or slow cooker or they can be completely cooked and just require a reheating.

Step 1: Get Friends
I was way too intimidated to do freezer cooking by myself. In fact it seemed like all the planning that was required would take more time than making the meals and I don't have a lot of time.  I asked a group of friends and found that several friends were also in need of this type of meal help. Plus it is the winter and we are all bored of our own cooking.

Step 2: Decide on some standards
We had a few chats in a Facebook message forum to get on the same page about a few things:

  1. This was an experiment so we acknowledged that there will be a learning curve!
  2. As soon as we decided to do this, we started eating from our freezers to clean out the current contents. The date was set for our meal exchange three weeks later so we could plan to have freezer space in time.
  3. There were 5 of us so we each decided to make two types of meals so at the end of the exchange we would go home with 10 different meals. This means that each person made each of two meals 5 times.
  4. We would each make one vegetarian and one meat meal.
  5. Meals were dairy free and gluten free to accommodate everyone's needs.
  6. We would try to make it a one-dish meal.
  7. Raw ingredients to be dropped into a pot or slow cooker were fine with everyone. Pre-cooked food was also okay.
  8. Zip-loc type gallon bags would be mostly used and pre-frozen laying down.
  9. We agreed to "try" to use organic but at a minimum stay away from the EWG's Dirty Dozen. I did appreciate that no one labeled the ingredients with organic. I appreciate this because if there was a economic difference, it was not visible. We exchanged and were equals.
Step 3: Finalize Recipes
A Google-Doc was created that we could all go to and post our recipes. 

Step 4: Grocery Shopping
Since I knew in advance what I was making, I planned around a great sale ($4.50/lb for organic grass fed ground beef!).  We had been eating a lot of food from our freezer the previous weeks so the economics of buying 10 extra meals worth of food sort of balanced out. To not waste time making separate a shopping trip I added the ingredients (including the quantity) to my regular weekly shopping list. 

Step 5: Cooking Day
These are the steps that we found most efficient:
  1. Ditch the kids and set aside 2.5 hours of solid work time. We all have very young kids and it was much easier to not have them around. There are other cooking projects to do with kids.
  2. Use a permanent marker to write the name of your dish on the Ziploc bags and the cooking instructions.
  3. Get out all ingredients and put them on a pile for each meal (the floor works).
  4. Start Meal #1: Wash all produce. 
  5. Prep produce so that it needs only a final chop. 
  6. Setup your Zip-loc bags by folding over the top. Then place your hands in side the bag and make the bottom a rectangle that stands up. The folded top will help it stay in this position. Now you can put your five bags for meal #1 standing next to each other.
  7. Go down the recipe one ingredient at a time. Add the first ingredient to all bags then the second and so on. Chop as you go. Some people like to do the final chop earlier in the process but then I cannot tell how much 1 onion or 1 pepper is.
  8. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the Zip-loc bags, close them and lay them down in your freezer. They should nicely stack on top of each other.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 for meal #2.
  10. We found that the food needed at least two days to freeze solid.
Step 6: Enjoy Not Cooking!
After you meet with your friends and exchange your pre-frozen meals, you will have 10 pre-made healthy whole-foods meals in your freezer! My friends had different uses for their meals. Two ladies wanted to just not cook for the next 10 nights. One lady was saving the meals for after her new baby arrives. I am saving my meals so I can get a break from cooking on the weekends. 


So here it is. The truth. This seemed like a lot of work before I did it. I spent years reading about moms homeschooling 5 kids and making 30 freezer meals in one morning. Getting friends to do it with me and only needing the mental space for preparing 2 meals made it much easier. I also enjoyed the idea of getting to eat other people's cooking since I am so bored with my own food. 

Everyone was excited about the project except during the cutting stage. ALL of us starting thinking "I am never doing this again" but it is just like giving birth or running a marathon in that the toughest part is only a small part of the whole picture. When we exchanged meals it felt like Christmas and we all promised to do this again. Maybe next time I can convince them to do it with 15-20 meals!!!

Check out my tips on getting organized with your meal planning here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Spreading the love for Elderberry Syrup

Thanks Jennifer Leigh Mayer for sharing my Elderberry Syrup Recipe!

Friday, February 7, 2014

DIY Placenta Tincture by Jennifer Leigh Mayer

My placenta went home with me for baby #2 and baby #3 to encapsulate my placenta (a.k.a. "happy pills"). I started running really low with baby #3's happy pills and a friend suggested that I make a tincture that I could use if I ran out of pills and also for hormone balancing during menopause (1-3 capsules full in 8 oz. grain alcohol). Jennifer Leigh Mayer, a Placenta Alchemist with Mama Moon NYC and Brooklyn Placenta Services has shared her recipe for making your own placenta tincture.  Thanks Jennifer for this great placenta tincture tutorial!

DIY Placenta Tincture

DIY tinctures are a wonderful remedy for mothers to use during the postpartum period. Many mothers use the tincture during times of transition such as teething, weaning, change in caregiver or even travel. They are easeful to prepare, all you need is 7-10 drops of tincture in a bit of water. The effect is a gently uplifting emotional support.

This step-by-step guide will teach you everything you need to know about making a DIY Placenta Tincture after the birth of your baby. Good luck!

First thing is first: gather your supplies
To make the tincture you’ll need:
  • A clean glass jar- preferably tinted and not clear (I use an 8oz glass blue bottle)
  • A small tinted glass dropper bottle
  • A good quality grain alcohol such as vodka
  • Paper towels, chux pad or other water proof counter cover
  • Disposable gloves
  • A small knife
  • A spray bottle
  • Bleach
  • A clean work space
  • The placenta

  1. Wash your hands carefully. Clean your designated workspace and put down a chux pad or waterproof cover. Make a stack of paper towels to put the placenta on. Take the placenta out of the fridge and place on the paper towels, the baby side with the umbilical cord facing down.
  2. Get your tincture bottle ready by filling the larger bottle with grain alcohol up to the shoulder of the bottle. Keep the cap off for now.
  3. Push aside the membranes and wipe clean the mother’s side of the placenta. There might be some blood clots present.
  4. Find a healthy looking, robust area of the placenta and trim off a piece the size of a thumbnail.
  5. Place the thumbnail size piece of placenta into the prepared tincture bottle. Wait until you take your gloves off to put the cap on.
  6. Return the placenta to it’s container.
  7. Clean up your workstation, throwing out the paper towel and chux pad. Wash the knife with warm soap water.
  8. Place a cap on the placenta tincture and a label on the bottles. Date the bottle and give the tincture a name.
  9. For professional use: Make a 10% bleach solution in the spray bottle. Spray down your counters with the bleach solution. After the knife is washed, spray the knife with bleach solution too.
  10. Let the placenta sit for six weeks in a cool dry place. After six weeks decant the placenta tincture from the original bottle into the dropper bottle. You can now use your tincture as needed!

Jennifer Leigh Mayer is the founder and owner of Mama Moon NYC and Brooklyn Placenta Services in New York City. She is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Professional Birth Doula, Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Placenta Alchemist.
Jennifer is unique in her approach to working with her clients, her philosophy is to support and guide her clients down their unique path of health and wellness. She recognizes that this journey of health and healing as continuous and evolving.
Jennifer graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder, her work has been featured in New York Magazine, Anderson Cooper’s day time talk show and Flaunt Magazine. She is currently working on her first book, The Placenta Book, about the practice and history of placenta encapsulation.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

And the winner is...

As you all know, I didn't ditch my drug store big-name makeup until I was first pregnant. I started to realize that everything that was put on my skin was absorbed right into my bloodstream. When I looked into the brands that I was using, there were chemicals like lead that I was not so fond of going to my baby.

Dr. Sachar completely hooked me up with some of his makeup products and I realized that I needed the perk up. I used to never be seen without makeup and now I embrace my natural beauty. That said, I do feel that a little bit of "enhancing" makes me look like a new woman. I enjoyed Dr. Sachar's lip gloss the most because even if I don't have any other makeup on, it makes me look put together and gives my whole face a glow. I use the foundation as a concealer and it stays on without caking or drying. The eyeliner is bold and easy to apply. I can't deal with makeup drama so I was happy that his stuff works.

Thank you to all who participated in the Dr. Sachar makeup giveaway. The winner was Christina M from Facebook! She will soon be enjoying her $118 of non-toxic Dr. Sachar makeup.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Non-toxic makeup giveaway from Dr. Vik Sachar

Do you remember how I helped you to easily remove toxins from your beauty routine? Well here is something fantastic to help you get a nice jump start. Dr. Vik Sachar created a non-toxic line of makeup that is perfect for pregnant women (and all women!). He is giving away a fabulous collection of his makeup to one of my lucky readers!

  1. Mineral lipstick
  2. Mineral eyeshadow
  3. Mineral cream foundation
  4. Mineral blush
  5. Professional blush brush

That is a $118 value and free shipping.

One lucky reader will be chosen at random on Sunday February 2nd at 8pm. You can be entered up to three times. Each action enters you:

  1. Comment below (make sure to link your email to your name so I can contact you if you won).
  2. Like my Facebook page and comment on the Facebook giveaway link.
  3. Share the Facebook giveaway link to your on Facebook page.

Dr. Vik Sachar is a double board certified Maternal Fetal Medicine (High Risk Pregnancy) & Ob/Gyn Physician.  He created a product that will benefit all pregnant women; the world's first safe, non-toxic cosmetics for pregnancy. Babies are born with over 200+ toxins in their blood! These toxins get passed to the baby from maternal exposure to air pollution, pesticides (food we eat), and even makeup (through skin!).  Dr. Sachar wanted to give all pregnant women a safe alternative for their pregnancy. You can view his catalogue and fantastic blogs and videos about pregnancy topics at

Friday, January 24, 2014

Your labor and delivery is a marathon - are you training?
My friend Liz had a midwife during her first (of three) pregnancy. Her midwife explained to her that giving birth is like running a marathon.

There is no way that you are going to have a good experience running a marathon if you just show up the day of the race and start running. If anyone has had a good experience doing this, keep it to yourself! I have ran and was glad that I trained. I hear from endless women who made little to no effort to prepare for their baby's actual birth. They planned for the nursery, the clothes, their diets, their maternity leave but completely left out the birth. I've heard pregnant women say "I'm just going to show up and get that wonderful epidural" or "my doctor is going to step me through it". I know no one in these situations who looks back on their experience as beautiful and being in control of their body. So here's the issue with those thoughts.

That epidural is usually only given during certain stages of labor. You have to be laying down and cannot move naturally to let the baby fall with gravity. Just picture which way gravity pulls. Yep, the woman's body is designed to let the baby fall vertically and not to projectile shoot horizontally. My friend Liz found herself to be in a painful position unless she was on her hands and knees. Then the pain was gone and it was just the pressure of the baby pushing out. I enjoyed laboring while dancing with my husband (actually that is the last time that I danced with him!). The epidural doesn't even alway work. I know many annoyed women who got the epidural only to find out that they could feel everything and were stuck in a bed that did not feel good to be laying in. Since it causes you to go against your body's natural flow and changes your bodies natural hormones, you are at high risk of having a longer and more complicated birth thus a longer recuperation time. All of this snowballs and causes you to have a less positive experience and less success at breastfeeding. Here are some great epidural free positions.There are many women who had to resort to epidurals during their labors but they were educated and waited until the last minute in case the baby changed positions. If they were prepared and educated then they asked their caregiver the right questions and were okay and accepting of their birth and their body. Here are some Hidden Risks of Epidurals from Mothering Magazine.

I've heard all about your great doctor that you have had since your first period. You have a vision of that caregiver by your side coaching you through every contraction. Really you should be at home until the contractions get rather close and who is coaching you there? Your caregiver might be on vacation in Hawaii and then who is filling in? Doesn't your caregiver have a whole hall of pregnant women that he or she is tending to? Good birth planning programs take weeks to finish and entail a good amount of study and homework. Here are some good birthing classes. I very much recommend a doula for first births, home births, births in need of support, and for you and your loved ones to feel less stressed and more in enjoyment with your labor and birth. My husband and mom enjoyed the massages that my doula gave them.

The more prepared that you are and the more positive planning that you have put towards anything in life, will make it a better experience. Knowledge is key.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

red tricycle: Blogs Every New & Expecting Mom Should Know

If you are online, you have probably found red tricycle's website filled with helpful (often funny) product reviews, mom advice, modern styles and more. They put out their list of "Blogs Every New & Expecting Mom Should Know" and this blog made the list.

Thanks red triangle, I am happy you like this blog.