Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is your shower curtain toxic?

Most likely, yes it is. The majority of us use PVC (polyvinyl chloride) shower curtain liners in our bathrooms. So what's the problem? Well PVC contains hazardous chemical additives, such as lead and phthalates, that leach out into the environment (and our bodies) while in use. Phthalates have been linked to liver cancer and kidney damage in some animals. They also damage rodent reproductive systems and there is concern that they do the same to human infant boys. And unfortunately, shower curtains are not the only place where these nasty chemicals can be found. Vinyl is all over the place: in our windows and doors, the pipes in our house, perfumes, nail polish and oter cosmetics and yes, children's toys.

Now what inspired my post today was my find at Target. I have wanted to get rid of my PVC shower curtain liners for a while, but I didn't know what to replace them with. I need something plastic to keep water in the shower and off my floor, so a fabric curtain won't do the trick. While at Target on Tuesday, I decided to see if they had any alternatives. I can't tell you how excited I was to see they had a PVC-free shower curtain liner. It is made of EVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) which is chlorine-free and it was only a few dollars more than the PVC liner ($9.99). Even the packaging is PVC-free! And a nice note about Target: they are working to reduce the amount of PVC used in its own brand of products. Yay, another reason to love Target! Target news release.

Tip: to help remove toxins from the air in your bathroom (or any room) you can keep a bamboo plant in there. They help purify the air.

For more ideas on how to "green" your bathroom, check out this article from the Environmental Working Group (EWG): Don't Overlook The Bathroom As You Turn The Home Green

Monday, January 26, 2009

Taco Night

It has been ages since I made my family tacos for dinner. OK, well maybe more like a year, but it feels like ages! The Old El Paso kits I used to buy were loaded with hydrogenated oils and other yucky stuff, so I just gave up. Well yesterday I was doing my grocery shopping (my only alone time) and for once I was not rushing. So I took a few extra minute to take a good look in the natural/organic section for something new to try. And I found it! I finally found taco shells sans hydrogenated oils! Ooooo, and next to it a taco seasoning mix without nasty preservatives. YES!

The brand is Little Bear Organic Foods / Bearitos (part of the Hain Celestial Group). A package of 12 shells was under $3.00 and the seasoning was $1.50, not too bad. But the real test would be at dinner time. Man did my boys love this! The little ones can't eat hard taco shells, so I took some of the mixture and put it between 2 organic soft tortillas with cheese and sour cream on my quesadilla maker and they really enjoyed it. William inhaled 2 regular tacos plus one section of the quesadilla.

I know a big concern with buying organic/naturals foods can be the taste - that it will taste like cardboard, etc. That was so not the case here. It was so tasty! Definitely something we will have again. If you are in the mood for some tacos, give them a try!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is organic?

Did you ever ask yourself "what exactly does organic mean?" Are you thinking about buying more organic products but don't know where to start? Well then you need to go check out my "What is Organic?" article over on Ohana Mama Blog! This is a great blog so while you are there, be sure to look around and enter her contests! And look for an article from me there every month! Many thanks to Sarah for letting me be a part of her blog!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Make your own household cleaner!

One of the first things I did away with in my house was all the nasty chemical filled cleaners. The only chemical cleaner left is Windex, and that is only because my husband refuses to give it up. There are a lot of chemical-free, natural cleaners out there and I have tried a few. The Seventh Generation and Method cleaners work really good. Clorox Green Works also works well, but I am still a little skeptical about it. But I’m weird like that. Honestly though, the all-purpose cleaner that I like the best is the one I make myself. No I am not crazy! It’s super easy to make and super cheap as well.

So here is my recipe, give it a try and I promise you will love it!

You will need: a 24oz spray bottle, distilled white vinegar, water, natural liquid soap and your favorite 100% natural essential oil (optional).

1. Spray bottle. Make sure you buy a new spray bottle. Do not reuse an old bottle from another cleaner, even if you rinsed it out. You don’t know what kind of chemicals will be left behind or how they will react with our concoction. You can get them pretty cheap. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for under $2.00 and most dollar stores sell them too. You will fill the bottle with about 20oz of water.

2. Next you will put in about 2oz of distilled white vinegar. Vinegar is super cheap. The gallon container that I keep in the house is usually around $1.50. Why are we adding vinegar to our cleaner? Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cuts through grease nicely. Now the smell might not be your favorite, so that is where the essential oil can come in later.

3 . Now you want to add a couple of squirts of your favorite natural liquid soap - I do about 3 good squirts. I use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds and many ladies I know use one of the Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (castile soap). The Sal Suds has a pine scent but the Magic Soaps comes in a variety of scents – I have the citrus which is nice and many people rave about the peppermint. Some of the Dr. Bronner's soaps are sold at Target.

4 . Now you can add some essential oil to make your cleaner smell nice. This is optional, you may be perfectly happy with the smell of the mixture you already have. Personally, I am not all that crazy about the pine smell of the Sal Suds so I use some Lemon essential oil. Another favorite of moms is Sweet Orange. Add about 5 drops. Note: Be sure that what you have is essential oil and not fragrance oil. Many fragrance oils contain synthetic scents which I like to avoid. Now screw on the top and give it a gentle shake and you are almost ready to go!

5. Finally, it is very important to label your bottle and all bottles with the ingredients. That way you and other members of the house know what is inside and if god forbid a child should ingest it, you can tell the doctor or poison control exactly what is inside. Be sure to keep all cleaners out of reach of children. Once you do this, you are done!!! Happy Cleaning!

Extra!What makes this even better and even “greener” is to stop using paper towels and switch over to reusable microfiber cloths. If you head over to the automotive section of Wal-Mart, you can get a pack of 8 for only a few bucks. They can be thrown in the wash, just be sure you do not use chlorine bleach, fabric softener or dryer sheets as they will reduce their absorbency. I wash mine with my other towels and then hang them to dry.

Extra! Extra!The same ingredients also makes a great solution for cleaning your floors. Get out your big bucket and mix hot water (enough to fill the bucket to your desired level) and about a cup of vinegar. You still only need a few squirts of soap and a few drops of essential oil. This works great on our ceramic tile and wood floors. Happy mopping!

Do you have your own cleaner recipe that works great for you? Please share it with us!

Friday, January 16, 2009

PR & Advertising Info

Marianna is a PR friendly website. If you have a product that you would like me to review, would like to sponsor a giveaway on my blog or are interested in advertising opportunities then fill out the contact form below!

A media kit is available upon request for my monthly statistics, review/giveaway policies and advertising rates.

I am now accepting submissions for my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide.

For more information please read my Holiday Gift Guide One Sheet.

Tech Gear I Use
Canon Rebel XS
iPhone 6
iPad Pro
iPad 4
iPad Mini
Kindle Fire
Kindle Paperwhite
Xbox One S
Nintendo Wii U
Nintendo 3DS
Xbox 360 w/ Kinect
Playstation 3

Dog - Labradoodle

Thank you Agway!

Here in New England we get lots of snow and ice. Since we have a steep driveway, it poses a problem and we go through a good amount of ice melt every winter. Last winter I asked my husband if he could buy safer ice melt. I saw that lots of pet stores sold ones that were safer for everyone. But he was not on board, mainly because they cost more. We had a lovely ice storm last week and ran out of whatever it is he uses. Yesterday he headed to our local Agway to see if they had more. When he got there, the staff person helping him told him how bad for the environment, animals & people the one he wanted was and actually talked him into buying a safer one (Magnesium Chloride, see photo). This is such a huge deal for me because my husband is so reluctant to do anything more natural. So I now love Agway!

Anyway, he spread an entire bag on the driveway last night since most of it was covered with about an inch of ice. When I looked this morning it seems to be doing a pretty good job. A large section in the middle and toward the top (where my car got stuck 5 times yesterday) is completely clear. I only wish I had taken some before pictures.

For those of you in the colder climate like me, I would definitely recommend you try a Magnesium Chloride ice melt and let me know how it goes!

About Marianna

photo by Laurie Gaboardi
Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Marianna and  I live in Connecticut with my husband and our 4 sons. W is the oldest and is 6, twins L and J are 4 and D is 2 years old. My husband and I have been married for over 8 years and together for more than 12. We are both big Star Wars fans and have already corrupted all of our boys, who are now completely obsessed with Star Wars.

I love hockey and the New Jersey Devils, my iPhone, reading Star Wars novellas and all things green. When my twins were about 5 months old I started to investigate a little more about the products I was using on my kids. After learning how many toxins are in the personal care products we use every day, I started to make a switch to more natural products and so began my journey down the green path. From there it snowballed into natural cleaners, organic foods and so on. As a friend once told me, its a "slippery slope!" It sure has been a challenge with a resistant husband and a family who probably thinks I am nuts, but I know that what I am doing is good for me, my family and our planet.

I started this blog as Green Mama's Pad, primarily a green blog, in hopes to help others make the leap to being more green. Over the past 3 years of blogging this blog has grown in to so much more. There is still plenty about green living to be found here, but also personal posts about my life and our family. I also love trying cool new products and introducing them to my readers so I frequently have Product Reviews.  Of course, life with 4 boys is interesting to say the least, so in between all the green tips, news and products you will also find a little bit about our crazy life mixed in.

So take a look around. I hope you like what you see and visit me often. Have a question for me? Drop me an e-mail at marianna(at)greenmamaspad(dot)com.

PR and companies can head over to my PR Info Page to fill out the contact form. "Hi Impact Radius"

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