I took a much needed, mental health break from writing. I hope you’ll all forgive me for that. I sometimes feel pressure to do articles to fit the seasons and holidays despite having churned out the same baloney year after year. My new philosophy here is to write what’s useful for you. I’m sure you all were waiting on baited breath for my safe Halloween posts (not)… instead I want to focus on what will make your life easier rather than more expensive. SafeMama has many plates spinning over here but rest assured, I am refreshed and hopeful that the rest of this year, which I cringe to say is now officially “Holiday Season”, will be a great end to the year. In the meantime, I wanted to kick off my refreshed sense of energy with my grandmother’s very easy can free (and bpa free) method of cranberry sauce. I shared this a few years ago with a few other great recipes for Thanksgiving. This is my spin on my grandmother’s recipe with a little spice kick.
SafeMama’s Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup organic unbleached sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup orange juice (and zest)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 package of cranberries (looked over and washed – organic preferred!)
Directions: In a large saucepan, mix water, orange juice & sugar. Stir until dissolved over medium heat. Dump in cranberries and zest an orange into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then boil gently, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. During this time you can add the cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Let cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate. Best made the day before (says Grandma… and its actually true, plus its one less thing to do on Turkey Day). Of course, there are a zillion cranberry sauce recipes on Pinterest but this one is tried and true. I make it every year! My friends at Wild Mint are hosting a great challenge for the month of November, cleverly called “No-Can-Ber“. They are posting some great recipes and will have an exciting giveaway coming up. Go check it out!
What are your favorite can-free holiday recipes?
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It’s that time again… I want to show you what awesome goodies you might be missing out on in these fabulous EcoCentric Mom subscription boxes! Lots of great products this month.
Pure + Remedy – This month’s Mom box came equipped with four samples of Pure + Remedy’s facial moisturizers! I am always weary of natural skin care products but these were really luxurious and lovely, made with many certified organic ingredients. Light and not greasy, perfect for chapped winter skin protection without the heaviness.
Possum Hollow Farm Soap – Made right in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a place close to my heart, this family owned soap company has been around for 15 years crafting natural hand-made soaps. I would love a bar of every single scent combination if possible. This month I was treated to a bar of Karen’s Red ROse soap… I don’t know how they knew I loved rose scented products but I do and this one is no exception. Thank you Possum Hollow Farm for feeding my addiction to bar soap!
Suncoat Sugar Based Natural Mascara – Finding natural make up not loaded with chemicals and junk is tricky. Made with natural ingredients and pigments, you can feel better and look gorgeous without the risk. It looks great on, and washes off easily at night.
Suncoat Girl Nail Polish – Along with the mascara there was a bottle of Suncoat Girl water based nail polish to try out too! I don’t have the best luck using natural polishes because I’m impatient. While not totally chemical free it is free of phthalates, tolune, formaldehydes and dyes. I got a cute pink shade to test out!
Moontime Tea’s Organic Fertility Blend – I was afraid to drink this because I seriously don’t need any more kids, but if you are looking for an added tasty tea boost to your fertility this might be fun to try. ”Naturally caffeine free herbs used since ancient times to support reproductive function: organic red raspberry, organic nettles, organic red clover and organic peppermint”. Sounds good and I’ll take their word for it!
ips All Natural Chips – I am new to these snacks and am already hooked. These tasty pressure puffed snacks are made with corn and egg whites, making these a protein healthy snack for not a lot of calories, sodium or sugar. Non-GMO, natural ingredients and a step or two up from conventional snacks as far as nutrition goes. I’d love these for my kids lunchboxes for a treat.
Untrash Compostable Trash Bags – Trashbags are a huge source of waste in the world. They clog water ways and trash heaps causing environmental damage we might not have such an easy time un-doing. These commercially compostable trash bags might be the answer if your area accepts them. Just make sure what you put in them is compostable too.
Truebar by Bakery On Main – I love a good snack bar that isn’t loaded with sugar, but add to that some valuable nutrition and I’m on board. Truebars are packed with Omega-3 are non-GMO, Gluten free and Kosher. Perfect sized snack for your gym bag or diaper bag when you’re stuck without lunch handy. Looks like they have some great flavor combinations but I really liked the Walnut Cappucino Bar I sampled!
MacroLife Naturals Coco Greens & Berry Reds Super-Foods – Mix these vitamin and antioxidant rich supplement boosters to milk or water to give kids a healthy dose of power. Vitamins, Probiotics, calcium and Minerals for healthy minds and bodies. They taste like chocolate and my kids loved them… all natural and 70% certified organic ingredients.
Also in the box is a load of discounts for all the brands above so if you haven’t signed up for your EcoCentric Mom boxes yet hurry up and go! They are really an awesome treat for you, a friend, or an expectant mom. If you get a $21/Month subscription and use ECOMOM10 at checkout you’ll get 10% off!
I already have the next box sitting here waiting for me to tear into it!
I have found a few natural deodorants that work well for me. I assume once your body gets used to not being bombarded with chemicals you just adapt. Or I just don’t smell that bad maybe. I think it’s the former. Anyway, the lovely Andi from Good Things Green Things sent me a container of her new inventory of Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Cream to try out and I quickly fell in love. But then I kind of love everything she carries!
So what is it? If you’ve never used deodorant cream I recommend giving it a try. You apply a small amount under each arm and that’s it. I have tried this one out for sweaty workouts, gym time and during the day with no issues. I chose the Lavender Sage scent (I’m a lavender type of girl) and it kept me smelling sweet all day. Schmidt’s comes in a few different fragrances as well as an Unscented version. You can choose from Cedarwood & Juniper, Ylang Tlang & Calendula, Bergamont & Lime if you like a citrus scent, and of course the one I like Lanvender & Sage.
Schmidt’s uses natural ingredients like arrowroot powder and baking soda to keep odors at bay and the rest is a mixture of butters and essential oils to make you smell fresh. It’s a great price for a jar that will last. Give it a go! I’ve already added it to the SafeMama Safer Deodorant Cheat Sheet.
Want to win one? Good Things Green Things is giving one lucky reader a jar of Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Cream in a fragrance of your choice. Here’s how to enter!
Last week when I arrived in Chicago I was swept off for a really awesome day at the MightyNest warehouse! A highlight of my trip for sure and I’ll tell you all about it. MightyNest has been a haven for me and my readers for years and I have truly enjoyed watching their business grow and working with them on various projects. It’s been so rewarding and the opportunity to meet the people I’ve talked to and worked with over the Internet was amazing. I arrived at the MightyNest warehouse in the morning and despite the taxi dropping me off at the loading dock I was greeted warmly and got to hug the infamous Annie from the MightyNest team who blogs and researches all the live long day. (Why didn’t we take a picture together Annie??)
Anyway, we got right to it and Annie so graciously gave me a tour of the warehouse with all it’s amazing goodies lined up for me to check out. They are currently geared up for Back to School shopping and have so many great new options to choose from! New lunch boxes and bags from Wildkin, SoYoung and Crocodile Creek, really fun snack bags and food storage options like SnackTaxis, ThinkBaby and Wean Green. Lots of fun colors and prints to choose from. I’d be in serious danger of going broke if I worked in there. I also really loved the stuff geared toward older kids like this amazing Junior Backpack from SoYoung. It would even work for adults. I got my hands on one in the warehouse and was tempted to take it home with me.
Funding Mighty Schools! During my visit I had the opportunity to learn about their newest program which I think it really amazing. MightyNest is working on providing more ways for us as parents to help our schools be healthier and supportive just by shopping for safe products. 15% of your purchase can be donated to an elementary or pre-K school of your choosing simply by shopping and selecting your school. You can also raise money for your school by getting more parents involved or sending the program details to your PTO! More opportunities to participate will be coming soon… In the meantime check out their information page to find out how you can get involved in the program!
Definitely the biggest highlight is having the chance to meet and spend some time with the MightyNest family. I have loved working with them and watching their business grow over the years and I am so appreciative of all the support they have given me since the beginning of SafeMama.com. Thank you Chris and Kristen Conn for always being so welcoming and supportive. You are both amazing people! Thank you Annie Asebrook for the warm welcome, the tour and your always kind words. It was a pure pleasure to meet the entire MightyNest team Cam Balzer, Tracy Zeidler and the interns who all probably thought I was nuts for showing up in the loading dock instead of the front door.
Thank you MightyNest for the warm welcome, your continued support and for helping me get to BlogHer this year!
School time is here! Yay. A lot of schools go back this week and next so I am BUSY trying to get my own kids started at school and trying to update the cheat sheets with new things I found. Working diligently to get that done. In the meantime I want to tell you about the great new things at MightyNest for back to school. I got to tour the MightyNest warehouse while in Chicago (I have a post about that too!) and while I was there I got to check out all the cool stuff that’s out now. MightyNest sent my little man a set of back to school lunch gear to get him started for the new year. He loves the color orange so of course MightyNest delivered everything in orange!
Wildkin Lunch Box – Wildkin has a great line of products (and nap mats!) for school and this lunch box is no exception. Roomy and easy to clean, this lunch box will keep all your food insulated and ready for lunchtime. There is a perfect pocket in the top lid for a flat ice pack to keep your food cool, and an elastic grip for holding a drink box or water bottle in place to avoid that roll around smushed sandwich effect. I can fit a good amount of food and snack containers in there for my little guy. PVC, BPA & Phthalate-free as well as CIPSIA compliant for lead safe.
ThinkBaby Bento Box – I have used these for years and years. They are the perfect size for fruit, veggies, cheese or pasta. The lid is tight enough to make it leak proof and they come in fun colors. I have several of these and use them almost every single day! Easy to clean (I put mine in the dishwasher) and totally useful! I used them all summer in my pool cooler and for on the go snacking. And they fit great in every lunch box we have. These are a staple in my house!
Hydro Flask Insulated water bottle – I have one of these for me too! This stainless steel insulated bottle keeps liquids cold or hot for hours. The double walled construction provides great insulation without any toxic materials. Very durable and holds enough to quench any kids thirst during the day. Stainless steel is perfect for kids because of it’s durability and resistance to bacteria and funk.
Snack Taxi – These are another staple around here. Instead of ziplock bags we use these for loose snacks, fruit, crackers, anything! They come in a size large enough to fit a sandwich too. The lining is easy to clean with quick wipe down or rinse and are ready to go for the next lunch. They come in some awesome fabric patterns too! Snack Taxis are always BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate Free of course.
One great new benefit of shopping with MightyNest is you can choose to have 15% of your sale donated to an elementary or pre-school of your choosing!
Want to win it? MightyNest is MightyAwesome and is giving away this set to a lucky reader! Thank you MightyNest!
I have long sang the praises of Naturepedic. Both of my kids sleep on their mattresses. People have asked me for years “which mattress do you recommend?” and though an organic mattress is an expense I think it’s one of the most important investments in a nursery or child’s bedroom you can make. If you are going to splurge on something, this should be in the running for consideration. Babies and toddlers spend an enormous amount of time collecting sleep. Sometimes up to 16-18 hours a day, laying on a crib mattress. Conventional mattresses are made with loads of materials that are off-gassing toxic chemicals, flame retardants and phthalates which are known to cause an abundant number of ailments and health problems. Babies and toddlers are growing at a fast rate and are particularly more sensitive to toxins in their environment.
Naturepedic is my top choice for many reasons. Filled with Certified organic cotton instead of flame retardant foam as well as food grade materials to protect the mattress and your child from moisture, dust mites and allergens. As a user of their products I can vouch for their durability. The crib mattress I used for two kids now still looks new despite the constant beating from rambunctious boys. It stands the test of time!
My good friends and loyal sponsors The Glass Baby Bottle have so graciously offered up a chance for one SafeMama.com reader to WIN a Naturepedic No-Compromise Organic Cotton Classic Dual Firmness Crib Mattress! The dual firmness means it’s softer on one side for toddlers and firmer on the other side for babies.
If you don’t want to wait to see if you won, The Glass baby Bottle offers free shipping and a FREE free organic crib sheet (That’s another $29 value) when you purchase a mattress. That is a pretty sweet deal! Please visit their site and check out their amazing selection of safe products for babies and kids. The Glass Baby Bottle is a small family run business and they really care about the products they offer being safe for you and your family. Thank you to them for this amazing giveaway!
Let’s have a look at what came to me this month from EcoCentricMom.com – The July Baby Box featured a ton of great stuff!
BabySoy Duo Color Socks – These cutie little booties are made mostly from soy azlan, a soft, sustainable natural soybean protein fiber. BabySoy also makes layette items like blankets, onesies, bibs, rompers and hats all in pretty colors! They are cute and stylish to boot. Would make a great gift for a new or expecting mommy. This months baby box came with an adorable pair of socks!
Wellements Baby Organic Gripe Water – When my kids were little I would do anything to relieve their crying but never felt good about using gripe water. I wish I knew about this product when they were crying the night away! Wellements Baby Gripe Water is Certified Organic and it’s great for upset tummies, gas, teething, and hiccups in infants. All organic ingredients and natural flavor make this a great choice against the conventional gripe water at stores. You can simply add to breastmilk, formula or a little water to make your life easy or just with the provided oral dispenser. I never liked giving kids medicine since it’s so junked up with crazy chemical ingredients. I’d feel much better using a Certified Organic natural remedy. Thumbs up from SafeMama!
LARABAR ALT Protein Bars – The Alternative Protein bar! They put a goodie for mom in the baby Box this month. I am a protein eating machine. One of my biggest pet peeves is the pack of natural protein snacks on the market. I don’t need to be stuffing myself with whey protein all the time and if you’re vegan, you can’t. LARABAR has made a new line of snack bars that are loaded with 10g of protein to keep you full and it’s made with pea protein, along with other natural ingredients. These are vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO and Kosher. And they taste good! I just saw them at my local grocery store too so you can find them easily!
Wellinhand Kiddie Calmer Sea Baths – Sprinkle this into your or baby’s bath for a dose of calming scented water to soothe them to sleep. All natural ingredients, no chemicals, and responsible sea salts used to make this product great for anyone needing relaxation! Sleep is a great remedy for many of our daily ailments and getting there is easier after exposure to these calming ingredients. I used this in my kids baths and they slept like angels. I took some for Mommy too.
Milky! – This little herbal tea supplement is meant to aid breastfeeding moms in encouraging milk production quality and quantity. I’m not in love with the preservative choice but a shot of Milky which is made with natural ingredients, features Fenugreek and Fennel which are known to increase milk supply and aid in let down.
Bumkins SuperBib – I love Bumkins! I found this brand years ago when we were all looking for bibs without lead in them. These bibs are great especially for travel and diaper bags because they fold up all small and tidy and they wash up with your laundry perfectly! I had many when my kids were little and I always recommend their products! This months box included a Keith Harring adorned SuperBib which are always PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free. I love Bumkins!
Aromatics and Herbs Not Just For Butts Diaper Rash Salve - This month’s box came with a sample of this salve which is great for all kinds of skin ailments like eczema, burns and scrapes, (and cuticles). Safe for cloth diapers and made with organic ingredients so you can;t really go wrong. I love to support smaller businesses with my shopping and this would be a great one to start with!
Greene Street Soap – I immediately liked this Oatmeal soap sample from Greene Street Soap, purely because they are based in my favorite city Philadelphia. Handcrafted natural soaps made with organic butters and essential oils. These vegan soaps perform and the oatmeal is a soothing addition to your shower arsenal! It appears their site is not working but you can visit their Facebook page for updates! I plan on ordering a few things when they are up and running.
Nourish Reusable Food Pouch – I was mildly confused with this at first but if you make your own baby food and want an easy way to have it ready on the go, these reusable pouches rival the non-recyclable food pouches sold at stores. You can refill and reuse and they are BPA and PVC free as well as recyclable! I would imagine you could use them for water or milk too. They’re pretty cute too!
NurturMeals Organic Dry Meal Pouches – These are like nothing I’ve seen before – a great discovery! NurturMeals makes DRY food that you can easily mix with water, breastmilk or formula to make a baby food puree in minutes. These certified organic pouches pack a mean nutritional meal and would be great for travel! They come in healthy combinations like Peas, Quinoa and Apples(and guess what the ingredients are in that one – yes, peas, quinoa and apples. That’s it.) These 4 ounce servings are also Non-GMO, gluten free and USDA Certified Organic. July’s baby box came with 3 full sized samples and if you are a subscriber you could take advantage of the online discount.
Cascadian Farm Oats & Honey Crunchy Granola Bars – As a biker, I am always carrying snacks with me on rides to keep me going through the long miles. I love taking granola with me and Cascadian Farm products tend to go where I go. These granola bars have fewer ingredients, wholesome ingredients and great flavors. These are great lunchbox snacks too.
Are you a subscriber yet? I really love the variety of the samples in each box I get and really, these are more than just samples! Full sized products! Not only do you get all this great stuff but almost every product featured comes with a discount code as well as Expert Tips from people like yours truly Head on over to EcoCentricMom.com and sign up for yourself (it’s so fun!) or I keep saying this would be an AWESOME gift for someone. You can choose the length of your service (And you can pick from the Mom, Mom-To-Be, and Baby themed boxes) but if you choose the $21/month box service you can use this ECOMOM10 coupon code good for 10% off!
I am so thrilled to finally be getting a chance to MEET the fine people who run MightyNest.com! MightyNest has been a long long time supporter or SafeMama.com and I cherish our relationship tremendously. not only are they an amazing group of people (and family) but they are so knowledgeable and kind. I am beyond happy to be representing MightyNest at the BlogHer Conference this year.
If you don’t know about MightyNest allow me to give you the scoop. A family owned business born out of a desire to find the safest products for baby, kids, home and family… from table to bedtime. These folks scrutinize every material and ingredient in everything they sell. Nothing that doesn’t pass their rigorous standards gets into the store. That is why I trust them to completely and love their product selection. While I have your attention, I will be working with them to build a “SafeMama Approved” shopping section in their store of products I personally love and adore… I will be adding more to it as we go but feel free to check out my picks and visit often to see new ones added. But honestly, I trust all their choices and back their product selections 100%. They truly care about what goes out the warehouse doors each day into customers waiting hands.
If that’s not awesome enough, MightyNest has launched a great program that donates 15% of your purchase to a school of your choice. Check out their website for details. Our schools are such an important part of the growth of our children and I just love that they are taking steps to enhance them. Thank you, MightyNest.
I am headed to the airport bright and early before the conference tomorrow so I can head out to the MightyNest warehouse to check out all their great products and see the think tank where it all happens. Stay tuned to my social media outlets for clues on a great giveaway and highlights of my MightyNest experiences!
See you in Chicago!
I have so much fun up my sleeve for you coming up this week and next. I’ve got giveaways out the wazoo and GOOD ones at that. But I wanted to kick off the week with a couple of introductions to my amazing sponsors for Blogher. One of the brands I will be working with is Better Life along with Lori of Groovy Green Livin and Michaela also known as Mindful Momma! They are both incredible and I admire their work, and I get to hang out with them and Better Life in good ol’ Chicago for a few days.
If you’re not familiar with Better Life, allow me to introduce. I have been a Better Life supporter since their inception in 2007 which coincidentally is when I started writing SafeMama.com. I feel like we’re grown up together and I’ve enjoyed working with them over the years as they improved their products and added new ones to the line. Tim and Kevin, the dads who started it all, wanted to create products that were effective, yet safe enough to use around kids and pets.
As their brand grew, they’ve added a ton of new products to cater to every facet of our cleaning lives. Gone are the days where I suffer from “fume headaches” while cleaning my house. I seriously don’t know how I’d have survived without my What-EVER All-Purpose spray. Better Life’s mission from the onset has been to create safe for people, pets and the environment while maintaining effectiveness and value. They don’t release a product to the market that doesn’t meet their strict standards.
As one of my sponsors for the Blogher Conference this year you’ll get to see what we’ve got up our sleeves via social media and some other fun stuff. So stay tuned to the blog here for updates. If you aren’t already a fan on Facebook, please consider becoming one to keep up with us during the upcoming week!
To celebrate, how about I give away 3 bottles of my favorite Better Life products What-EVER All Purpose Cleaning Spray! 3 winners so get to entering!
Better Life products have been in my home for years. I do like to do some “do-it-yourself” cleaning potions but I’m a busy lady and I like having already made cleaning supplies handy. Especially when I am expecting visitors and need to bust a cleaning spree. Better Life has come out with some great new products and most recently, a really great Produce Wash!
I buy organic fresh produce when I can, but even then, you need to wash off dirt, residues and sometimes wax before you eat them. I had never used a produce wash before but I really like knowing I gave my food an extra boost of clean before feeding my family.
Purified water and organic fruit extracts work to clean off any yucky residue and it’s safe to use on berries and lettuce too. Just rinse and agitate the excess off in a colander. I don’t know if it’s meant for this but it also works great to deodorize my garbage disposal… a few sprays, hot water and go.
Want to win some? I’ll give a bottle away to a SafeMama reader