Drum roll please!

(Really, this is a very big moment for our blog)

Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun! (Trumpet sounding, you get the picture)

Heather who said “i would love to cut out the step of pre-treating (i get chocolate on everything…) so Purex with Zout would cut out that extra step.”

AND

Heather M who said “I have 4 kids…’nuff said! ;)

I hope you all enjoyed our very first give away! We’ll be sending emails to the winners!

And thank you Purex for providing us with the detergent!

If you haven’t already heard, I’m a Purex Insider. It’s pretty neat. I get samples of their products and get to tell all you wonderful people about them.

This time around I got a sample of Purex Complete with Zout Free and Clear:

It’s a good concept, who doesn’t want to skip the step of pre-treating stains and just throw you laundry – stains and all – straight into the machine? How do they do it? By using “three powerful stain-fighting enzymes”*

  • Protease: works against protein based stains such as grass and blood.
  • Amylase: works against starchy stains such as chocolate and tomato sauce.
  • Mannanase: works against guar, which is used as a thickener in many foods, such as ice cream, barbecue sauce, and salad dressing because it’s super sticky.”*

They’ve got their bases covered, I think!

So what did I think? Well, first, I was a little wary of using liquid laundry soap again and of using it on a load that had relatively no stains. Would it be too harsh on my not-so-soiled clothes?

To give a completely honest review, I tried this on my highly coveted whitest-whites. I knew if this detergent would have an adverse affect on any load it would be this one (since I had worked so hard to rid them of liquid laundry detergent-induced yellow tinge). So, I held my breath, threw in the whites, added the detergent and pushed go. And waited.

Happily my whites came out still bright white and fresh smelling. And no harm done! I’d say if you’re looking for a good budget-friendly, good cleaning detergent I’d go with Purex with Zout (Retailing from $3.49 – $7.99). You can choose Free and Clear (like I did for a more “eco friendly” approach) or the traditional scented, which I love too (remember, Purex was always my go to prior to switching to all natural. It’s still my favorite scented detergent). Also, these detergents are compatable with HE machines.

Now how about what you’re all really here for:

The giveaway! (Hooray! Our first official giveaway on our blog!)

Here’s what you could win:

I have TWO coupons for a Free full sized Detergent for two lucky readers, compliments of Purex.


Here’s how to enter (only #1 required, #2-#4 are optional):

  1. Tell us how Purex with Zout could make your life a little easier
  2. Subscribe to The Little Green Homemaker
  3. “Like” Purex on facebook.
  4. Like The Little Green Homemaker on facebook.

Leave a separate comment for each entry. Enjoy!

Contest closes April 30th at 11 pm PST. Winners will be selected using Random.org and will be announced on the blog and emailed.

Good luck!

And while you’re waiting, why not request a free sample? 🙂

*All areas in quotations are taken from a Purex-supplied fact sheet to help you all understand their product.

Spring is my absolute favorite time of the year (though, I often will say that for autumn come the end of summer 🙂 ). But there’s something unique about spring, the smell of earth and plants growing and fresh air after being cooped up in doors and bundled in thick clothing.

Spring is freeing and happy. And, it has my favorite holiday: Easter. I think I always liked Easter growing up because I really liked bunnies and the color pink. So Easter encompassed my girly-hood. Plus, it was the one time of year guaranteeing a brand new, pastel colored dress.

The years have changed me somewhat (I no longer tote around a dress-wearing bunny doll), but I do love Easter and the renewal and celebration of the Resurrection that it brings. One of my favorite things is that flowers always signify the regrowth and renewal of this time of year. Which is why I want to tell you about an AWESOME giveaway I came across today. Girl Gone Mom is hosting a giveaway for ProFlowers! ProFlowers is, in my opinion, one of the best flower delivery companies out there. C sent me some roses for Valentines day when we were still separated 3,000 miles in college. They were GORGEOUS! (And the envy of all my floormates :))

So, to enter this giveaway, all you have to do is head over to Girl Gone Mom and tell her which ProFlowers item you would want. It’s that simple, and it could mean a $50 gift certificate!

This is what I chose:

I always knew that processed food and products are not as good for you, and honestly we never grew up with much – which I am more thankful for than ever.

Recently I read two books: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

and The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien.

I had heard people talk about them and read mini-reviews online, but I never expected to be so changed by two books (other than the Bible, of course) when I checked them out at the library. I’m not reviewing either book today, nor am I going to go in depth about their content. Suffice it to say that both of these books touch on the food “culture” (or lack there of) in our country today, and how there is a very strong link between what we eat and how healthy (or not) we are.

If you’re curious, and want some insight without sitting down to read an entire book (I luckily get time to read while on the bus to work and back): I suggest watching these two TED videos. They are incredible to watch if you are new to all of this information. The first one is by Robyn O’Brien who wrote The Unhealthy Truth. It’s a very general overview of what she covers in depth in her book. View it here.

The other video is by Ken Cook, the founder and president of the Environmental Working Group. EWG did a blood sampling of the most vulnerable people in our population and reveals how many toxins are found. View it here.

Both reveal what chemicals are around us, and how they adversely affect us, our children and our nation.

So what are we doing about it?

We are taking some small steps which hopefully will turn into big changes. We’re reading ingredient labels and putting down items that contain harmful chemicals. We’re avoid chemicals like BPA, and are choosing to eliminate products with high fructose corn syrup and other harmful food additives.

We are buying only the natural version of items when we run out of our old products. We’re changing our brand loyalties. We’re talking about what we learn with others. We’re blogging. And we’re getting creative, so that we can be healthy AND save money.

Just last week I made homemade granola bars so we no longer consume the preservative BHT. I also found a recipe for homemade Wheat Thins and Graham Crackers, so we can still have what we love without the health cost.

Is it always easy? No, not really. But the good things in life never are. We have people make fun of our decisions and argue with our stand point. We put items back on grocery store shelves that we love and previously would have bought without a second thought. And, we’re making more things (like our granola bars) which take up time and energy.
But it’s really worth it in the end for us.

What are you doing to change your habits? Is this information new to you? And of course, if you want more information, let me know and I’ll do more in depth posts for what you’re really interested in 🙂

Honestly, this is part of the reason that the whites are now my favorite load of laundry. (Yes, I DO have a favorite load.)

I have to thank Caldrea for getting me hooked on their Sweet Pea Stain Remover. I would never had tried it, but I received a sample of it when I got the samples of the other scents in the dish soap. They don’t have dish soap in Sweet Pea, so they scent the stain remover.

I was highly suspicious that this would really remove stains. I grew up as a Shout(R)* and Spray and Wash(R) stain remover kind of person, and to be honest I had never been over-the-top excited about their stain remover capabilities. Sure, they got out a lot of stains, but there also were a lot that they never really seemed to do anything for. I was then even more skeptical that a natural stain-remover would work (still trying to break from the mind set that chemicals are better).

So my first test for this stain remover was a rather ambitious one – underarm stains, which as you know is an accumulation, so they’re by far not fresh stains. I had read somewhere online that if you put stain remover under the arms of your shirts before every washing it will help prevent underarm stains. While I am not nearly as religious as that, I decided I would give it a try on my favorite white t-shirt that was starting to look less white.

I put the stain remover under the arms, waited for about 15 minutes (it doesn’t say to wait quite that long, but I thought longer was better). So I put it on, did some other chores and came back. I didn’t see a significant difference by any means, so I rinsed it off and threw it in the washing machine. Oh well, I’d try it on something else.

But then, the cycle was over and pull the shirt out and laid it out to dry. I looked under the arms and there was a distinct circle where the majority of the stain remover had been sitting. What?! This stain remover actually helps eliminate UNDERARM STAINS! I didn’t think anything could do that! I’ve used it multiple times under the arms of that specific t-shirt as sort of a test shirt and it seems that every time I wash it with the stain remover it gets even lighter, which is an amazing thing because that t-shirt was getting to be on the verge of replacement-needed due to the stains.

Keep in mind that it does seem to help that I’m teaming this stain remover up with Nellie’s Laundry Soda and Nellie’s Oxy Brightener, which those on combined without the stain remover have worked wonders on making our whites whiter. The Caldrea Sweet Pea Stain Remover itself works wonders on targeted stains. I haven’t met a stain yet that this product hasn’t eliminated (most of them without a trace!). I haven’t had the opportunity (thank goodness :)) to test this product on grass or coffee or chocolate stains, so there are some stains that I have yet to try (and unlike expensive TV commercials, I can’t afford to randomly test stains to see how it works!). The only stains that it hasn’t been able to completely eliminate are nasty mildewy stains on our rags from washing the bathroom (don’t judge) or deep set-in stains from our rags that we use for our dishes. It makes them lighter, of course, but some still remain at the end of the wash. At least they’re two things that won’t ever be on our clothes!

The bottom line? Yes, I am absolutely recommending this product. If nothing else I bought it for eliminating underarm stains – it’s saving the life span of our white clothes! But I’ve also been impressed to see it remove many organic stains.

Once again, a win for a natural product!

As an added bonus, I was able to find the stain remover for a reasonable price on drugstore.com, they currently have a sale (through today!) where you can buy two Caldrea products, and get $2 off. I was able to buy two bottles of stain remover (one for my mom and one for me) for $6.99 each! (They’re normally $10 each on the Caldrea site). Also, if you’re a first time buyer on drugstore.com, you receive free shipping on orders over $25.

*As a side note, I was researching whether Shout (R) was safe for people or not. While I was looking, I came upon a British website (I would post it here, but I can’t remember) where it stated how to clean up a Shout(R) spill safely. Let’s just say it involves haz-mat like suits. That in and of itself makes me want to get rid of a practically unused bottle of that stuff. Who knows what’s leeching into our skin if it doesn’t get completely rinsed off!

So I would be lying if I didn’t say that this was one of my most girly (and self-indulgent) road tests yet. But the idea intrigued me to no end – all natural nail polished that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals and solvents so doesn’t smell like nail polish? Who’s ever heard of a nail polish that truly doesn’t smell bad? So, I was dying to try out Scotch Naturals.

I first discovered Scotch when I was digging around on EWG’s cosmetic database: Skin Deep. I started trying to find products with the least impact on our bodies, and I stumbled upon Scotch as the lowest ranked (as in lowest chemicals, only a rating of a 1 out of 10 – on this site a low rating is a GREAT rating). I did some google snooping then and found out that many people loved this brand and that this is one of the only brands safe for pregnant women and children. And the most curious thing of all? No nail polish smell.

There were some reports of people being unhappy with this polish as it chips easier than conventional polish, but I was willing to give it a shot. To me, even if this polish lasted half the time as conventional nail polish – the health trade offs would be worth it!

So, when I saw that I could get this brand on Abe’s Natural Market with free shipping one weekend, I knew this was my chance. The polish is pricier (retails for $14.99), so I definitely waited for at lease free shipping – as there is no where to get in Oregon, yet. On Abe’s you can “share” your purchase with 3 other people (basically it emails them, telling them about what you bought) and you get 10% off. Good for me, good for them.

What is in Scotch Naturals?


POLISH: This is my favorite part because there’s only three ingredients: water, acrylic polymer emulsion, and non toxic colorants!

POLISH REMOVER: water, tall oil fatty acids & alcohols (plant based), nonionic surfactant, organic buffer

No ingredients that will leech into your skin and blood stream to wreak havoc! AND no smelly ingredients!

A little bit on Use

Since this nail polish is water-based and not solvent-based, you have to give a little more attention to your nails than you have with other nail polishes (like buff jojoba oil into your nails). With an order, Scotch adds a nice little tutorial on how to prep and care for your nails using this polish. You can read it here (scroll down to where it says “For a long finish”. But, in the long run, with proper attention, this nail polish claims to actually improve the healthy of your nails. I’ll have to wait for that one, but I’m glad it says you won’t ever have to worry about that nasty yellow-nail outcome from conventional nail polishes and acetone!

The Testing

So much fun. Who doesn’t want to test safe-for-you cosmetics??

When the box arrived on our doorstep, I rushed out and opened it right up. Seriously, I was like a kid at Christmas. I couldn’t wait to tear into the package!

This is what was inside:

(Keep in mind, I ordered the Polish remover too, separately…and this picture was taken after I used the buffer, hence the wear.)

I made myself get some housework done before I dove it – it did give me the motivation to get things done quickly!

Once I finished some chores I decided to paint my toes and buffed them with Jojoba Oil (as per the instructions) and began to paint. My first reaction was that I felt like I was trying to smell that nasty nail polish smell. I even opened it up and held it to my nose, trying to detect a faint scent, but really there wasn’t any. Which is great! No more headaches while painting!

The polish goes on thinner than normal polish, but seemed to glide on a little better for me. My favorite aspect (contrary to today’s times) was that the nail polish dries slow. I’m by no means an expert nail-painter and the slower drying time helped me touch up the areas I missed with out a big half-dried gloppy mess I usually have. Keep in mind, this nail polish does require several minutes (they suggest three, but I waited longer) between coats.

The result though is flawless. I love the feel of it more than normal polish. Once dry, it has a smooth, glossy finish. C even mentioned how much it shines. If the polish gets dull after a couple of days, you can even buff it up with the smooth side of the buffer to increase the gloss. The polish feels different to the touch, and I did notice that you need to be careful within the first 24 hours or so to not chip or dent the polish. I really didn’t have much of a problem with it though. I guess if you are super active and rough on your hands it could be an issue.

I was also worried about prolonged water exposure. I had read that some people had the nail polish chip severely after long showers. I’m notorious for taking warm showers, and worried that the next morning would be the end of the polish. Not so! I’m not quite sure how the person who gave the review had all the polish chip off, but I didn’t have that problem. Maybe if I had consciously picked at them they would have, but not with normal use.

I waited to do this blog post so I could honestly comment on the wear and tear durability of this polish. See for yourself:

Polish after 5 days wear.

Some chipping, but not bad.

I didn’t see a big difference in the wear of this polish compared to conventional. It seems that the tips wear down a little faster, and if you do touch-ups post-polish drying, those areas are prone to chipping (my mistake). But overall, this is about the average amount of chipping I get compared to conventional polish. In fact, I think the chipping factor is even less. The areas I had chipped were where nail polish had pooled and I didn’t fix it before it dried (this happens with conventional polish too). The big difference in chipping is if you’re not careful, this tends to peel if you pick at the chips. The dried consistency is more “rubbery” than conventional polish and adheres to itself rather well, so you may be able to peel off a whole bunch at one time if you tried. But if you don’t pick, this will last as well as conventional polish.

My favorite hidden bonus is that I can paint my nails while C is home – even when sitting right next to him because it doesn’t smell bad! 🙂

The final conclusion

I really like Scotch Naturals. It’s safe for you – which is worth more than anything. It doesn’t smell bad. And it has some pretty awesome colors. The only downsides are it could come off faster than conventional polish (if you’re the peeling type) and (this one is completely my fault) the color Kiltlifter is a little more of an orange-y red than a pink red. I thought it was more pink (as it looks on the Scotch website), but it’s not, so I have three VERY similar polishes now. Darn.

But, if you’re looking for a safer alternative to conventional polish, have been told by a doctor not to use conventional polish because of being pregnant, breastfeeding or another medical problem, take this opportunity to buy Scotch. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

I am SO STOKED for some of the upcoming road tests C and I get to perform. We have been super lucky to get some of this stuff for FREE! And the rest at reduced pricing with free shipping (yay for deals!)

Here’s our upcoming Road Tests:

  1. ALL NEW Purex with Zout! (this one will include a giveaway!) [this one is in thanks to being a Purex Insider. I received a sample to use and share my findings with you]
  2. ALL NEW Purex Fabric Softener Crystals [everyone click on this link! It’s an educational video about the crystals, and helps me in a contest for being an Insider – thanks!] – And as a bonus, these crystals are 92% natural!
  3. Scotch Naturals – all natural water-based nail polish…no fumes! This is one of the few nail polishes that is safe for kids and expectant mothers. I will also be reviewing the polish remover.
  4. Caldrea Sweet Pea Stain Remover – this stuff is AWESOME, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Seriously amazing.
  5. Every Man Jack Body Wash, Citrus Scrub – this will be reviewed by C. It’s a masculine, all natural body wash! No parabens, dyes or sodium lauryl sulfate.
  6. Earth Friendly Products WaveJet, Auto Dishwashing Spot & Residue Eliminator – this has great reviews online, and comes at a great time since we just ran out of rinse aid (which seems to be essential to our particular dishwasher)

 

It looks like we’ve got a lot of reviewing to do, but it’ll be fun. We don’t have a set schedule, but will be sure to let you know our schedule. It will be similar to the order we listed, but not necessarily followed to a T. Be sure to check back often for our reviews. Who knows, some of these might become favorites of ours or yours!