Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Natural Family Living Ideas

Reading the posts from this week's Carnival of Natural Parenting has been inspiring and informative. The bloggers have excellent ideas on how to work towards creating an increasingly natural, healthy, sustainable home.

After the excitement of our raw milk trial, I am looking for new natural family living experiments and I got some great ideas from the natural parenting bloggers who participated in this carnival. Three posts in particular caught my eye, and I am eager to try out their suggestions:

First, I love the idea of making my own laundry detergent and have been thinking about doing this for awhile now. Some time ago, I replaced all of our household cleaning products with a simple, homemade concoction of vinegar, baking soda, and water. Homemade laundry detergent is the next step and the recipe how-to by Jennifer at Practical Oh Mommy looks worth trying.

Second, I am intrigued by the idea of trying a menstrual cup, as described by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children (a must-read blog by the way). Like her, I have not had to think much about menses since I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding for the past six years. I have used cloth pads for those post-partum times, which I really like, but this menstrual cup idea is fascinating to consider when I finally do get a period again...

Third, wintertime always does a number on my skin, leaving it dry and cracked, and regrettably my kids seem to have inherited this same trait. Megan at Boho Mama offers a great recipe for homemade, natural moisturizer that will be fun to try.

What are some of your favorite experiments with natural family living? I would love to hear your natural family living insights and ideas!

16 comments:

  1. We use soap nuts. They are an amazing nut that cleans your clothes. It's seriously amazing. No chemicals at all- just the dried nut of a tree, but my clothes are clean, no smell at all, and no build up. Plus it's good for cloth diapers. http://www.laundrytree.com

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  2. So neat! Thanks for the recommendation, Anon! -Kerry

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  3. My 3.5 year-old daughter is on the verge of forming cavities, and we're trying to heal her teeth naturally using xylitol, cell salts, & pascalite clay. Check out the dental threads on mothering.com for more info. Unfortunately, I'm having little luck finding a holistic dentist in the area (I'm also in Cambridge). Our current pediatric dentist is lovely and willing to wait and see, but she would think I was a certified nut if I told her I was smearing clay on my kid's teeth and forgoing flouride at home.

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  4. Jane, thanks for stopping by the blog! Always nice to hear from a fellow Cantabrigian! Good ideas about natural dental healing. Another blog reader and homeschool friend is going to share her recipe for homemade toothpaste which will be great to try!

    -Kerry

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    1. Thanks for the warm welcome! Toothpaste is my latest obsession. We'll already SLS-free and flouride-free, but I recently learned we need to be glycerin-free too. So the search continues... I'll be interested to see your friend's recipe!

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  5. I have been using a cup for several years now. I can't imagine going back to disposable. The cup is safer than tampons and you can leave it in up to 12 hours instead of 8. Beware though it takes a few months to get used to putting it in, but since you empty it less often it is still way more convenient even the first few months.

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  6. I loved all of natural family living experiments as well! It was definitely inspiring. I plan on trying some of these as well. I just starting using Dr.Bronners in place of my normal shampoo and am loving it!

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  7. Here is the link to a friend's recipe for homemade toothpaste!

    http://ninainteractive.com/2012/homemade-natural-toothpaste

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  8. Thanks! I was wondering if there's a particular reason your friend uses sodium bentonite? We use calcium bentonite ("Pascalite" is a trademark) because we figure if you're going to ingest even a small amount, it should be a non-swelling clay with bone building minerals rather than sodium. As a cat owner and lover, I'm also wary of sodium bentonite (the stuff that makes clumping cat litter clump) because it can be deadly to young kittens.

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  9. Jane, I am that friend :-) I came back to check comments to Kerry's post for more natural living tips and found this discussion. We do use calcium bentonite. You're right, there are two kinds of bentonite: sodium and calcium, and sodium is not that good. The one we are using is indeed calcium bentonite.

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    1. Hi Nina, thanks for responding! I had assumed you were using sodium bentonite based on the photo and link you provided. The Best Bentonite site only sells sodium bentonite and includes the line "Don't be fooled by the misinformation purposely designed to lead you to the more expensive, less effective, calcium bentonite."

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    2. Hi Jane, I've followed that link the owner of the site refers to when he talks about "misinformation":

      http://www.bestbentonite.com/Testimonial.html

      I think what he means is that his clay is pure bentonite as opposed to another kind of clay marketed as "calcium bentonite" which is essentially the same clay as his, just with more calcium added. He explains his point on that page, more on the bottom of the page under "So what’s really going on?". I think his point is, if you need bentonite to provide trace minerals for your body then you need calcium bentonite, but if you need bentonite for its toxin removal and cleansing properties (which is what we need in a toothpaste) then his pure bentonite clay will suffice. But I'm sure you can use the bentonite with added calcium just fine, if you prefer.

      I think the clay he sells also has calcium but not as much as the product marketed as "calcium bentonite". But his clay is not sodium bentonite either.

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    3. Yes, I've also read the testimonial page and found it to be confusing/misleading because he makes it seem that all bentonite clay is sodium bentonite (the 2nd paragraph on his front page says as much as well) and that anything called "calcium bentonite" is the result of a commercial additive process. Calcium bentonite IS a naturally occurring form of clay, but you wouldn't know that from reading through his site.

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  10. Such a fascinating homemade toothpaste discussion! -Kerry

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    1. I agree! And just to be clear, if I seem frustrated in my latest comment, it's just because there's a lot of conflicting information out there to sift through and I feel like vendors will tell you what you want to hear in order to make a sale. Don't get me started on what constitutes a "food-safe" lining in reusable snack bags, etc! =)

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    2. Oops, I meant to write "some vendors" in the previous comment.

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