Saturday, January 23, 2010

How you can help me

this was written by a woman who lost her children and husband in a house explosion. But I feel the words are so poignant and true for any parent who's lost a child. I see this image in my mind every day of my life.


"~Please talk about my loved one, even though she is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that she never existed. I need to talk about her, and I need to do it over and over.

~Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

~Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."

~Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

~I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

~I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving her death, but also the person I was when I was with her, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

~I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate her life and love into the rest of my life. She is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember her with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

~I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.

~When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is gone, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.

~Please don't tell me I can have another baby. What makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes after will always be someone different.

~I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

~I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

~Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, her birthday, and the anniversary of her death, and be sure to mention her name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by children, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

~Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely.
Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

~Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

~Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you."

Kaia made it into another video

Our dear daughter made it into another CHD awareness video. I strongly urge everyone to watch this video. It not only has a bunch of people with CHDs and angels who passed from a CHD, but it also has their feelings and the parents of these kids feelings. One woman said exactly how I felt with Kaia. It's 4:37 minutes/seconds in. I too remember holding Kaia's warm dead body until it got colder and colder. Only, instead of lowering the casket (which she talks about), for me it was going to the funeral home and picking up her ashes. To be eerily aware that what once was a soft and very much alive being inside my belly, was now a bag of crunching pieces of bone and much tinier than I'd expected. This woman's words brought me right back. I fight daily to break through the pain. It's a never-ending battle that I will live with until I die. A battle that I lost part of my family over. A battle that I got closer to the rest of my family over. A battle that I never wanted to fight.
Kaia is 7:15 minutes/seconds in. The video was created by a wonderful woman named Jessica who lives with her CHD. She is also featured in the video, which is alphabetical order. Please watch and donate to one of the mentioned organizations at the end, if you find it in your full hearts.
Please click here to see video.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

green month - CSAs

I thought that it might be helpful for me to list a couple of CSA (community supported agriculture) groups ya'll can sign up for. Here are some web links to some local goodness (click on their names to take you to the link):

1. Fresh Fork market: Fresh Fork is a local CSA that holds a farm market in Tremont (by Lucky's on Starkweather) in the summertime. You can sign up now for a spot and pick your weekly needs/pricing by creating an account and a payment method. They have 6 convenient locations around Cleveland to choose from.

2. LEAF: LEAF is the organization that runs City Fresh in Lakewood. You can order a seasonal pass for a family of 2 or 4. Pick up is on Wednesdays at the Lakewood Library. If you don't want to commit to a whole season, you can advance pay for the following week AT the local pick up spot.

Looking for a nearby farmer's market? Here's a list to make it easy for you! click here!

Green month - most important organic foods to buy & eat!

The other day I went over why it's important to eat organically. However, I know it to be nearly impossible to ONLY consume organic foods. For that purpose, I will list the most pesticide laden foods, so if you have to choose, you know WHAT to choose.

First of all, organic foods just taste better. Don't believe me? Try organic vs. conventional side by side. I bet you will especially notice this in meats! Because meat is the top of the food chain (and often eats,then becomes pesticide laden food) it should be your number one concern. I'm not sure how many of you saw Food, Inc., but if you did, then you already know that beef from 1,000 different cows can go into one hamburger. Gross. Everything that cow ate before you got to it, is now in that meat. Ditto on the gross. I urge you all to chose organic and humanely raised meats, not only for your health but for the animals' as well. Factory farming in this country is cruel and unjust. I will NOT take part in consuming it, and I believe that our dollars should go to REAL farmers and not to these factory farmers who's life's goal is to put the small local farmers out of business one by one. Please see the movie. It's a whole other blog that I could write, but I really believe in this, and I'll leave it to the professional documentaries to break your hearts about these animals. ;)

Moving on, I'm sure you know of the dangers of hormone laden meat and dairy, and why we should stay away from it. We are very conditioned to believe we need milk for health, when in fact, humans are the only mammals that drink milk past the age of three (rough age depending on when you ween), and the ONLY mammal to drink the milk of another mammal. Most of us wouldn't drink a family member's breast milk, and it baffles me as to why we would drink it from a cow. That's my personal opinion, and I don't want it to anger anyone or steer you away from continuing to read. So, i will get off the soap box for now (especially since I do, on a blue moon, occasionally eat organic cheese...made from goat or sheep milk). Bottom line is these added hormones create disease. Cancer patients are often told to cut out red meat and dairy. From my own research, I've found the reason is that red meat and dairy cause the cancer cells to develop at twice the normal rate of a dairy and meat free individual. One third of all dairy cows are injected with upwards of 59 hormones. Of those hormones, one is a powerful and naturally occuring GROWTH hormone called Insulin. Insulin is the same in cows as it is in humans. This hormone is considered to be a "fuel cell" for any cancer and a key factor in the rapid growth and proliferation of breast, prostate and colon cancers, and suspected to be found to promote ALL cancers.

Insulin is a normal part of ALL milk because newborns are SUPPOSED to grow quickly. What makes the 50% of obese American consumers think they need MORE growth? Consumers don't think anything about it because the dairy industry has us brainwashed. The most I can say, is do your research on what is going into your body. Kale, broccoli, sesame seeds, spinach, almonds, flax, oranges are all high in calcium. The non-dairy list goes on. I ate dairy free for 3 years, and I never felt better. All excess mucus stopped. I stopped having to clear my throat all the time. I plan on going back to this. Right now, I'm still eating dairy, but I prefer to only eat goat cheese, almond milk and yogurt. I can't get away from the occasional pizza slice. Nobody's perfect. ;)

Anyway, as promised, here's the list of the most important foods to purchase organically.
1. Strawberries!!! These are the most pesticide laden fruits there are. And forget washing them. The pesticides are in the dirt and grow INTO the fruits and veggies. I won't touch them if they aren't organic.

2. Peppers (Bell, green, red & yellow)

3. Spinach

4. Cherries

5. Celery

6. Apples

7. Red raspberries

8. Grapes (including raisins!!!)

9. Nectarines

10. Peaches

11. Pears

12. Potatoes

13. Apricots

14. Cucumbers

15. String beans

16. Winter squash

Cantaloups and melons are also bad. Just remember to always scrub all fruits and veggies before you eat them. Even if you plan on peeling the rind off, cutting into the fruit/veggie causes what's sitting on the outside of the food to then be brought inside via the knife.

To find some local farms, markets & restaurants serving/selling sustainable and organic foods, please visit

Cheers to good health!

tweet tweet

I'm always in the belief that if one person mentions that you should do something, listen, but don't feel pressured. If two people mention it, think about it a little harder. If three people mention it, you'd better get off your ass and do it because you are clearly not listening to the signs the universe is putting right in front of you.

Thus little lion joining twitter. Tweet tweet!
Won't you please follow us (and urge others to do the same) by clicking here.

spread the word! Thank you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Please help spread the word

Hey all! I have a small request. With a new little one coming and no job options available, i'm really trying to make the fabric art work. Please spread the word, if you find it in your hearts or if you like my work. I have a facebook page with all of my work on it. Please become a fan! Click here to do so.

Feel free to email me at littleliondesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com to commission a piece. Or visit and send a communication through there.

Thank you so much for your support!

Green month! - Eating organic

This carrot was NOT organic. Full of hormones ... given to us by our neighbors.

Here's one my MY organic carrots next to the ones our neighbors gave us. What are they doing to our food????!!!!

Today I want to go over the importance of eating organically. It's not only better for the earth, but it's imperative in the fight for our health and against cancer. Tomorrow I will go over the most important things to eat organically (if you have to choose), and why it doesn't end with fruits and veggies. Meats & dairy count too!

Here are some hard facts to digest.

Each year, and average of 911 lbs of pesticides go into our conventional crops. For those of you who don't know what conventional is, conventional are foods grown non-organically. I will be using this term when describing all foods non-organic. These pesticides never go away, they remain in our soil, in our drinking water, in our oceans, in our bodies, and the numbers continue to grow.

Why is this bad for our bodies?
1. By the age of 5, the average American child will have digested an ENTIRE LIFETIME of carcinogenic pesticides just from their food alone. This doesn't even count the cleaning product chemicals we talked about the other day.

2. More than half the country (38 states) are drinking contaminated tap water, which is laden with these pesticides.

3. In one year, the number of contaminated fish in US rivers and streams considered unsafe to eat, jumped 26%, and that was 15 years ago. Our food is being destroyed. It's being poisoned from the ground up. The nutrients within our food are dwindling.

4. Pesticides are being linked to the rapid rise in breast cancer. Rates have increased from 1 in 20 to 1 in 8 women in the past 40 years. This is the case for prostate cancer, as well.

5. Studies have evidential proof that pesticide (and toxic chemical exposure from our deadly cleaning and pet products) are linked with significantly increased cancer, birth defects, and diseases of the reproductive, immune, and neurological systems.

6. For all the folks who treat their lawns with chemicals, studies prove that children under 14 had 4 TIMES THE NORMAL RISK of connective tissue disorders. Pets exposed to these chemicals are twices as likely to die from cancer, mainly malignant lymphomas.

7. Parkinsons is now being linked directly to pesticides by numerous studies

8. Each year, an estimated 300,000 conventional farm workers were made ill by pesticides and 67 million birds die each year, as well as 6-14 million fish from pesticides alone

9. Only 1% of imported fruits and vegetables are tested for illegal pesticide residues. Eat local!

10. Each year there are 1 million human pesticide poisonings ending in 20,000 deaths

I don't want you to be one of them! I always hear people say "eating organically is too expensive". I beg you to look at it this way, a few cents more for each organic item you buy could save you thousands in medical bills later. My daughter was in the hopital for 34 days, and the bills totaled a quarter of a million dollars. Cancer and other diseases last longer than a month and will cost thousands (if you have insurance) or millions (if you don't).

There are options for you to purchase organic at a cheaper rate. Local farm markets are often organically grown produce. Most small farms can't afford to go through the three step process to get an organic certification, but they do practice organic farming. Plus, eating locally prevents thousands of pounds of fossil fuels from going into the environment each year.

In Lakewood, I did some digging and found an awesome program called "City fresh". Each wednesday I pre-pay $25 for the following wednesday and I pick up a huge bagfull of fresh local vegetables. They set-up at the library right down the street. It's a great little community event full of people, fresh foods and great energy. The produce is so cheap, I could never buy that much conventionally grown produce from a grocery store. Also, you eat seasonally, meaning, the veggies grown reflect what your body needs during that time of year. Earth knows best.

The program ends in fall, and at that point I shop at our local grocer (shout out to Nature's Bin!) who focuses on local first and has plenty of organic choices! Buy ONLY WHAT YOU KNOW YOUR FAMILY CAN EAT. Don't go crazy and buy everything because it's so pretty :) and end up throwing half of it into compost or landfills. Be conservative. It's better to buy less and be able to go back than to buy too much and throw away money.

Stay tuned for the top choices when it comes to buying organic. Until then, stay healthy and happy! But, above all, a positive attitude can make all the difference in your health.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby Urban part deux!

As most of you know (and some of you might not) Eric and I are expecting our second child, due August 14th. We found out in early December but decided to wait to dish the scoop until we had our first appointment with our midwife. During this appt, she couldn't find the heartbeat on doppler so we had an emergency ultrasound to make sure he/she was alive and okay. Of course we knew it was/is but we got to see the little guy in there wiggling around with his/her heart a flutter! I am a little over 10 weeks pregnant right now, which has been going well. I'm having the same exact pregnancy I had with Kaia...fairly easy but a little nausea...aversion to all things vegetable (daddy's fault I'm sure).

WE know our darling daughter is guiding us through all of this and making sure she has a healthy brother or sister. The baby will be a Leo. For those of you unfamiliar with the astrological signs, Leo is Lion. I think it's a sign directly from Kaia, our first "little lion". She's a tricky little girl and always love to find creative ways to make mommy know she's up there helping put the pieces of our lives together. I always knew she'd be an artist.

Another sign that this is meant to be a healthy Uncle Rick's birthday is August 14th. Rick was taken way too early from a heart issue. When Kaia passed, you might remember me writing "Rick, please take her fishing." I think they're in cahoots with this!

We are meeting with a genetic specialist, as appointed by our midwife (the great Colleen Brezine! who we love and adore and trust with now our second child). That visit will be in a little over a week from now and will include a very detailed ultrasound of baby. We will also be receiving a level 2 ultrasound by a specialist for the 20 week anatomy and probably several (at least one) fetal echocardiogram in utero and one right after he/she's born. I could have an amniocentisis, but I am refusing it because all of our bases will be covered by the non/minimally invasive tests we will be having. I don't feel we need to put the baby at risk by getting the amnio.

With all of our faith, hope, support and love, we know this baby is going to be healthy and very much loved! We will always keep working with the CHD communities we have found and spread awareness and support to other parents who have or will go through what Eric and I went through. It's in our lives now and always will be.

here's a pic of the little guy/girl. Head is to the left, body to the right.
click to make it bigger!
Keep the positivity flowing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I recently found this blog, which I want to share with you all. A wonderful heart mom & CHD warrior for awareness, named Kelly, started it in honor of her little girl, Chloe. Chloe was born with a rare CHD called Taussig-Bing which wasn't discovered until 9 hours after she was born. Kelly's intuition & a Pulse Oximetry Screening (not standard on newborns) confirmed her CHD. She's fighting to make the Pulse OX screenings mandatory in her home state. This could detect CHDs in newborns BEFORE they go home. Many babies go home with their CHD undetected and the problem worsens, possibly leading to death. Her blog is choc full of info on CHD, and she has a page of heart babies, including Kaia.
Click here!

Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect. This year, nearly 40,000 children will be born with one. Kaia was my baby, but yours could be next. Yet, CHD still has very little research and funding. It's up to us to change that. The only way to prevent this defect is by knowing the causes of it.

It's really hard to fight for awareness once you've lost your heart baby. But we have to do it for our future children and yours!

Behind the scenes

Please watch this trailer.

About the film
Michel Ilbawi, M.D., leads the pediatric heart surgical team at The Heart Institute for Children. Headquartered at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, they perform over 400 operations and care for more than 3,500 children with heart defects each year. With over 25 years experience as a pediatric heart surgeon and more than 20,000 surgeries performed, Dr. Ilbawi is nothing short of a miracle-worker to the families whose children he treats daily.

The documentary film, Hearts of Hope, is a once-in-a-lifetime, behind the scenes look at this amazing doctor, his dedicated staff and the families of children they fight to save everyday. In the delicate realm of pediatric heart surgery, sometimes hope is all you have. Hearts of Hope unveils a world of courage, strength and the spirit to survive, at any age. Go to the website.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Behind on green month, but I'm back! Plastics....

I'm not even sure anyone reads this blog, but if one person stumbles here and changes to one green habit, it's worth it.

As promised, here are the types of plastics and dangers therein.

Plastic types:
#1 PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) - Used in most clear beverage/water bottles - use in moderation and recycle after ONE use

#2 HDPE (high-density polyethylene) - Opaque food bottles, milk and water jugs - This is the safest choice if you have to use plastic

#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride, aka vinyl) - Used in food containers, some plastic or cling wraps, some soft bottles, nail polish, photo album pages, pipes, vinyl siding, bean bag chairs, car seats, etc. - AVOID THIS PLASTIC. Do NOT let it touch your food. Toss that plastic wrap and use reusable containers instead. There are some eco friendly ones (crate & barrel has nice glass ones, has some stainless steel ones). PVC is a known human carcinogen that can lead to a number of cancers, endocrine disruption, endometriosis, neurological damage, birth defects, impaired child developement, and reproductive and immune system damage. PVC releases dioxins during its manufacture and disposal and cannot be easilty recycled because of its chlorine and additive content."* PVC also lowers sperm counts in men.

(low-density polyethylene) - Used in food storage baags and some soft bottles - this is a fairly safe plastic. It's one of the better choices if you have to use plastic

#5 PP (polypropylene) - Used in rigid containers, including some baby bottles, cups & bowls - Another safe plastic, if you need to use it

#6 PS (polystyrene) - Used in styrofoam, take-out containers, meat and bakery trays, clear take out containers, plastic silverware & plastic cups - AVOID THIS PLASTIC! It leaches chemicals into food, some of which are disruptive to normal hormone functions within our bodies. You ever get take-out in a styrofoam container, and the restaurant put too hot of food in the container and melted it? Throw it out! Do not eat it as this chemical will be IN your food and therefore, in your body

#7 polycarbonate
- Used in 5 gallon water bottles, baby bottles, and some metal can linings - AVOID THIS PLASTIC! Polycarbonate can release bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disrupter that causes chromosomal disruption, miscarriages & birth defects and is now known to cause cancer. If your water bottle has a #7 on the bottom, throw it in the recycling bin! It's not worth it. This type of plastic is deadly to the human body

* "The Complete Organic Pregnancy" by Deirdre Dolan & Alexandra Zissu, HarperCollinsPublishers, C 2006

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Green day #3-bottled water

I don't think there is a human in the US who doesn't know of the huge burden water bottles are on our environment. That plastic NEVER goes away. It will break down into smaller and smaller bits, but it cannot EVER go away completely, leaving it to live forever in our streams, drinking water, etc.

There were studies done to try to prove the plastic from water bottle leaches into the drinking water, but the International Bottled Water Association said it wasn't sound proof because it was never peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, yadda yadda, b.s., b.s. Water bottles are made out of PET (polyethylene terephthalate, plastic type #1). This plastic type is meant for SINGLE USE ONLY. Please, if you insist on drinking bottled water, 1. recycle your bottle and 2. do NOT refill it for a second use. Keep water bottles out of the heat and sun. When exposed, it will leach a labeled carcinogen called di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate into your water. Frankly, bottled water can lead directly to cancer. I remember seeing Sheryl Crow in an interview right after she was in remission, and she was asked what #1 thing we should do to prevent cancer. Her answer was "no bottled water, and if you have to, don't let it in the sun or heat."

There are plenty of options out there to avoid risking carcinogens leaking into your body just by drinking your daily allowance of H2O. My personal choice is a stainless steel water bottle. I carry mine wherever I go. I never ever leave home without it. It's like my purse or my cell phone. It just lives with me. Period. I got mine at Bath & Body works. But there's a great company out there called Klean Kanteen ( who makes them with all kinds of nice adapter nozzles. They even make small versions with sippy lids for kids. Yes, bet you never thought of your child's sippy cup giving them cancer in later life. ;) If you have to use a reuseable plastic water bottle, choose only #2, #4, or #5 plastics. Never expose them to extreme heat, handwash with a mild detergent and rinse them well. Harsh chemicals and bleach should never be used to clean them.

Most of us now know the dangers of BPA (bisphenol-A, a suspected hormone disrupter that may cause chromosomal disruption, miscarriages and birth defects), and most companies have recalled or pulled their reuseable water bottles made from this type of plastic (#7). Science has yet to discover what any and all forms of plastic are doing to our bodies, but we do know for certain some of the effects, and this particular plastic is deadly. If you get the 5 gallon water bottles and refill them for your water station, most are made of #7 (even still). Many baby bottles are made from this too, although the BPA-free train has been rolling strong over the last couple of years. If in doubt, check. If the number inside the recycle triangle on the bottom of the bottle has a number 7 in it, throw it in your recycle bin.

Tomorrow I'll go over the types of plastic, what's in them, what you should steer clear of and what is (known as of now) safe to use.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be informed. Ignorance is not bliss. It leads to disease, toxic living environments and the rapid death of our rainforests and precious planet. Here's to clean living in 2010!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Green month day 2! Household cleaners

Did you know that since WWII, at least 75,000 new synthetic chemical compounds have been developed and released into the environment? Did you know that there is a wealth of evidential proof linking cancer to environmental contamination? Breast cancer rates are 30 times higher in the US than in Africa. 80% of all cancers are attributed to environmental influences. We are giving ourselves cancer.

You may not know it, but many of these cancer causing chemicals are used just to clean your house. Did you ever wonder why you have a bit of a sore throat if you use bleach to clean your bathroom? Or your eyes and skin burn when using such cleaners? Cleaning chemicals suspend in the air for hours and even days, and are easily inhaled. Just like a laboratory, when different chemicals come together when cleaning they can create entirely new toxic substances. This is why the air in our homes is 5 times more toxic than the air outside. Bet you never thought that was possible! It doesn't disappear when it goes down the drain either. It's forever in our water supply. There is no such thing as throwing anything "away".

The companies that make your cleaning products aren't required to list their ingredients because they are considered trade secrets. So, I'll list them for you, but I'll only list a small fraction of them. Alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols-laundry detergent (stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells), ammonia (causes bronchial damage, chemical burns & corneal damage), Benzene-class cleaners/all purpose cleaners & disinfectants (carcinogen made from petroleum and coal), Butyl Cellosolve-all purpose cleaners & cleansers (irritates mucous membranes and causes liver and kidney damage), Chlorine-bleach/diswasher detergent/scouring powders (causes reproductive, endocrine and immune system disorders. In all bleach action cleaners.), Dioxane-window cleaners (hazardous air pollutant and supresses the immune system)...the list goes on and on.

There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaners out there. If you're local to NEO, Green Clean makes a killer product and is now available at Whole Foods. If not, Seventh Generation makes some great all-purpose cleaners. Use a micro-fiber for dusting, and you will not need any dusting spray. Use newspaper and water as a glass cleaner. It's a great way to recycle your newspaper, and it's an excellent no-streak cleaner! Steer clear of products that claim to be green (clorox green works) but still contain some unnatural ingredients and are owned by one of the largest producers of chemical laden cleaning products, only to jump on the "green bandwagon" for the sake of the mighty dollar.

If you're looking to save some green yourself, make your own products! We make our own, and they work just as good (if not better) than any of the $4/bottle products out there. We make them for pennies! Buy a couple of spray bottles, and here are some recipes:

Simple recipes:
We use these three recipes for EVERYTHING!

CLEANSER (replaces comet or bon-ami): Baking soda.....that's it....just baking soda. We use it on our tub and it works great! Add a smidge of vinegar for foaming action. To make a cream cleanser, add a dab of liquid dish soap.

SPRAY CLEANER-ALL PURPOSE: Equal parts white vinegar & water and a few drops your choice of essential oil (try for affordable essential oils). We like lavender and peppermint mixed.

1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

More complex but lovely recipes:


Mix together in a 4 Cup (or larger) Wide Mouth Jar with Lid then pour into spray bottle.
* 2 Cups of Baking Soda
* 1/8 Cup Liquid Castile Soap
* 25 drops lavender essential oil
* 15 drops tea tree essential oil
* 1 1/4 Cups Water

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit.
Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid dish soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be informed. Ignorance is not bliss. It leads to disease, toxic living environments and the rapid death of our rainforests and precious planet.

• Environmental facts are taken from & available to read in "The Complete Organic Pregnancy" by Deirdre Dolan & Alexandra Zissu, HarperCollinsPublishers, C 2006
• Cleaners are either my own recipes or recipes found on the internet or a combination of both

Friday, January 1, 2010

Green month fact 1 and maybe 2 and 3....

Thanks to seventh gen, I read this fact with every roll of TP I open up:
"If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of 1,000 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissue with 100% recycled ones, we could save:
*469,000 trees
*1.2 million cubic feet of landfill space, equal to 1,700 full garbage trucks
*169 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 1,300 families of 4

Did you know that paper towels, TP, office paper, etc is chlorine bleached to get that white color? These products contain by-products of that bleaching (not to mention it all gets dumped into the environment during the process), which are serious carcinogens. When buying EVEN recycled paper products, look for "processes chlorine free" (PCF). Seventh generation is a good one for this.

Let's take this a step further and look at diapers. Most Americans go for speed and "whatever's easiest" while paying no mind to the environmental impact. Disposables are one of the biggest fillers of our landfills, taking 100-500 years each to biodegrade (which they can't completely because they are made with a petroleum which cannot break completely down in nature and goes into our water systems and into our bodies). This means that every single disposable diaper ever made, used and thrown away is STILL TRYING TO DECOMPOSE. The average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before potty trained. I'll let you do that math.

What they don't know (or do and don't care) is that, not only does it have a huge environmental impact, but also, the chlorines and chemicals that go into producing, bleaching the diapers leach into baby's skin causing diaper rash (babies who are cloth diapered RARELY get diaper rash!) and are also being linked to reproductive disorders and cancers later in the child's life.

I've heard the argument "but cloth diapers need to be washed and that's environmentally harmful". Well, here's what I say to that. READ! How do you think disposables are made? With billions of gallons of water and chemicals. Having a baby requires laundry to be done every couple of days anyway, and they are never full loads. Diapers can be washed in those loads, minimalizing extra water useage. Use eco safe detergents to even lessen the impact on the earth (and baby's skin). Crunchy clean makes a good one specifically for cloth diapers, and there are lots of yummy scents created by pure essential oils (not chemical scents) that are easy on skin.

That's my soap box for the day. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be informed. Ignorance is not bliss. It leads to disease, toxic living environments and the rapid death of our rainforests and precious planet.

Happy new decade!

Open letter day!

Dear tofutti,
I used to buy your "better than cream cheese" until I learned that it has 2 grams of trans fat per serving. Two years ago, when I quit buying it, it had nutritional facts on the
lid AND on the side. The facts on the lid said zero trans fats (which is the one I used to pay attention to). Then my mother read the
facts on the side which said two grams of trans fats. They can't both be true. My cholesterol is really high due to genetics, and I quit buying it. In the grocery store, your product still said it has trans fat, but on your website it says zero. I'd like to know if the product in the store is right in saying it has 2 grams of trans fat, or if your website is correct. Again, they can't BOTH be true. I'd like to know why tofutti would put trans fats into their product in the first place, knowing how terrible it is for the human body.

Lastly, I purchased the "no butterfat better than cream cheese", which says it has zero trans fats, and I need to know this is the truth. Understandably, I'm having problems trusting your labels. It is very important to me to know what I'm eating, as my uncle died of a heart attack, and my father had one, as well. I lost a daughter due to a heart defect. I feel I deserve to know what ACTUALLY is in your product. I hope someone can give me a straight and honest answer, as it's pretty appalling that the customers of your product (which is what/who keeps you in business) feel we are being lied to. I'd like to know it's being rectified.

Thank you,
Stephanie Urban