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Friday, April 27, 2012

Sew-sew

We've been pretty busy around here!  We've almost finished re-doing our basement playroom!  It's been really fun.  Once it's all complete, I'll post pictures.  Somehow it's involved a lot of sewing, which has been really fun.

I'm just a budding seamstress, so I started with the most basic project and am working toward more complicated ones.  One I finished was sewing these pillow covers.  I didn't find any tutorial I really liked, so I kind of made it up.   If anyone is interested in a tutorial, I'd be happy to write one up.
Here are some other projects I'm working on, with links to the tutorials. 

Hanging book display
Ikea has cheap double railing brackets, and wooden dowels can be found at any hardware or craft store.
Bunting
Bean Bag Chair
There are a few tutorials out there, here, here (with printable pattern), and here.  I think I'm going to try this one because I like the four panels.  I'm going to try to enlarge the picture and trace it on the computer, wish me luck!

I'll hopefully be posting the results of all these projects in a week or two!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Bedtime, To Not Bedtime

 I have had a few conversations lately with friends of mine who don't have set bed times for their children, and have been, not unkindly, poking fun at us for insisting that we have George home and ready for bed at a certain hour. I just thought I'd quickly share an on going experience we are having that has riveted us to having a bed time for our little Bun.


We just moved across state borders, which was both hectic and fun. In CA our 1 year old had weened himself to one nap a day. For the life of me I just couldn't get him to take another one until about 4:30 or 5, which meant, for him, he wouldn't go back to sleep until about 11. He just has a lot of energy I guess! With one nap a day that put him going to bed at 6 or 6:30. He loved it, and we loved it. (Let's be honest, though it wasn't our reason for letting him go to bed that early, it was SO nice to have time together as a couple.)


People have often lamented our social life -- we don't go out a lot because we're at home with a sleeping babe. It hasn't really bothered us that much to be honest, and here is why. We moved the weekend of the day light savings time change, and also changed a times zone. We effectively lost two hours. I'll review our last months sleep schedule for you: George's waking time varied from 5-7:30, he took sporadic and short naps (20-30 minutes, not nearly long enough for him), he wouldn't fall asleep at night, despite his lack of daytime sleep, until about 9:30-10:30 on average, and sometimes as late as midnight.

My son went from being a bright and happy toddler to being a cranky mess. Morale was low in our house. George just does not have the emotional and mental energy he needs to thrive when he doesn't have enough sleep. Keeping up my social life wouldn't really mean that much to me if it meant skimping on his sleep hours because I'd be too exhausted from his crankiness to really enjoy being places with friends, not to mention having him all cranky while we are with friends sort of defeats the purpose for me as well. Life is much better in our household when he gets a long nap in the day, and then goes to bed at his earlier hour of choosing.


For the science behind it, a baby needs much more sleep than an adult, most needing 14-16 hours, or more depending on the age and individual child, including their daytime sleep (see The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley for a great discussion on the science behind baby sleep patterns). As we have been experiencing, a child who is sleep deprived will have a harder time getting the amount, and quality of sleep their growing minds and bodies need. Consider all of the development small children are going through, and it just seems to makes sense.


Two nights ago, for the first times since we've moved, George had a good nights sleep, and a fantastic nap in the day time. I am hooked! He was so much happier than he has been in a long long time, and that makes me so much happier. He even sat and sang to himself in his car seat when we had a lot of driving to do that day -- he hates his car seat, so that was a miracle! In our house a well rested child means a happier and less stressful day for the entire family.

What are your thoughts on your child's/children's sleep patterns?

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Favorite Kitchen Toy

My husband walked in the door today from work and said, "Smells like garlic!"

I responded, "It's me.  I bought some new garlic lotion today."
This is how much I love garlic: he actually believed me.

In fact, I was chopping up garlic to make Ariel's delicious avocado pasta.  (Tis the season!)  I might add that it turned out very well, and you should try it at home.

But not without this!


I will shamelessly advertise here for the E-Z-Roll Garlic Peeler Tube.  This thing is masterful.  How many hours of my life did I waste hand-peeling garlic before my father-in-law gave this to me for Christmas?  I think even Christmas has taken on new meaning, thanks to my garlic peeler.

You simply put your clove in one end, give it a few rolls on the counter-top with the palm of your hand, and out it comes the other end, gleaming skinless in the sunlight!


Hallelujah.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Two Pasta Recipes

While we're talking about avocados, I found a really fast, fun recipe for avocado pasta.  Warning: if you don't like avocados, you won't like this pasta (sorry, Andrew!).  Everyone else loved it!  The recipe and picture comes from Oh She Glows.


15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Inspired by My Recipe.org.
Yield: Serves 2 (So you might want to double it!)

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste (I used 3 and it was quite garlicky, but if you are not a big fan of garlic use 1 clove)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (probably optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used 3oz of spelt and 3 oz of Kamut spaghetti)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Directions:

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.


This other recipe also came together pretty fast, considering all the ingredients (1/2 hour?).  The recipe and picture come from Cooking Light.  I ended up doubling it, roughly.  I used a whole 13.25 oz box of whole wheat noodles, and lots more broccoli and carrots than were called for.  I also just sliced the carrots, I didn't buy matchstick carrots.

Sesame Noodles with Broccoli 

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
Noodles:
  • 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

To prepare sauce, combine tahini and next 9 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
To prepare noodles, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pan, and cook 1 minute. Add carrots to pan; cook 1 minute. Drain; place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with onions and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with sauce; toss well. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Awesome Avos and Great Guac!

We are in heaven. California avocado trees are bursting at the seams, and we are taking full advantage.

Packed with such powerhouses as Vitamins K, E, C, B6, B5, potassium, folate, magnesium, glutathione, carotenoids, protein, not to mention the lovely fat and abundant fiber (the list goes on and on), the avocado is a must on your plate! Any plate of the day will do.

Opening an Avo: When you open an avocado, make as few cuts as possible, as some of the nutrition concentrates near the skin (see that dark green perimeter?). You can actually peel it like a banana if you want. We normally make one cut all the way around as shown, remove the pit, cut it into chunks with a knife, then scoop or squeeze it out.

Fun Avo Fact: Did you know avocados don't ripen on the tree? They start to ripen once they are picked, perfect to eat when just a little soft.

We love them with breakfast. We love them in sandwiches and salads. We love them to garnish soups and tacos. We love them plain (Daniel insists on a whole "avo" every day). We really really love them in guacamole. This simple recipe is delicious:

GUACAMOLE
  • Four avocados
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Cilantro (I use maybe half a bunch)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Any tasty additions to please (i.e. tomatoes)
Mash avos with a fork. Stir in lemon juice. Snip in cilantro. Mix in sea salt and any extras. Gobble it all up!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Christlike Parenting

We related well to Nonie's description of how challenging the "three's" can be for a toddler boy. As we've tried different tactics and strategies to improve our little three year-old's behavior, it occurred to us that our behavior needed to change as much or more in order to influence him positively. Rather than focus on what he was doing, we realized that we should focus on how we were parenting.

In the process, we have been asking ourselves some basic questions:
  • How do we ignite in a good, smart child a desire to behave?  
  • How can we show him that obedience = happiness?
  • How can we teach obedience without focus on rewards or punishments (consequences)?
I was discussing some of these ideas with my lovely mother, and she referenced (and sent me) a really wonderful book, "Christlike Parenting" by Glen I. Latham.  Isn't it right to start by looking to Christ, a example of our Father in Heaven and our actual spiritual Father, to know how to treat our children?  There are so many examples in the scriptures of how Christ responded to all kinds of behavior. 
We have just started reading and applying what we have learned, but we have already noticed a difference in Abraham, our relationship with him, and the level of positive energy in our home.  The basic points have been simple and compelling--so much so that I wanted to share some of them with you.
  1. Focus on values, not compliance.  
    1. "Forced conformance and compliance creates a coercive environment, which in turn encourages children to escape, avoid and countercoerce"
    2. Make a list of values you want to teach your children (honesty, kindness, etc).
    3. Give them opportunities to serve each other.
    4. Acknowledge the values when you see it, "You really showed patience when . . ."
    5. Your child comes to see himself or herself as a good person, rather than just a person who does good things.
  2. "As parents, it is our responsibility to create a Christlike “world” in our homes; a safe place where children behave well because they enjoy the pleasant consequences of doing so, rather than to avoid the unpleasant consequences of behaving badly."
  3. "Revile Not." Christ is the perfect example of nonreviling, even in the face of cruel and unwarranted assaults . . . though he could have called down “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matt. 26:53), he “reviled not.”  
    1. Respond as a highly civilized adult no matter how uncivilized the child behaves.   
  4. Unearned privileges.  This was a very unique perspective that I'm still trying to internalize. 
    1. " To the extent to which the child is unwilling to comply with family expectations, he deprives himself of privileges that would otherwise be available. . . .  He needs to understand of course, that these are not being taken away from him.  Rather, he hasn’t earned them, and he can only have what is earned. (i.e. if a child is yelling, he hasn't earned the privilege of staying with the family for a little while).   
      1. When having a conversation about behavior that is not appropriate:
        1.  Stay with your expectations;
        2. Be empathetic and understanding;  
        3. Be clear about consequences;  
        4. Avoid argument, reason, logic, good sense, appeals, threats, excessive or misdirected questioning, and anything else that will most certainly turn him off; and
        5. Assure the child he is valued and has your unconditional love.  
  5. One thing Latham says is that if you state your expectations clearly and peacefully (without focusing on the consequences if non-compliant) three times, children will most often do what they are asked to do.  This is something we started doing right way, and we have been pleasantly surprised at how often this really works, no coercion necessary! 
  6. If you want your children to behave well, pay attention to them when they are behaving well.
My thoughts are a little jumbled, but I hope there has been something in there that is of use to you.  It makes much more sense if you read the book (especially if you talk it over with your mom :).
 What have you learned by looking to Jesus Christ as the example of a perfect parent?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charity Healeth the Wounded Soul

The other day a friend asked me about a certain something I'd recently changed in my life. I am always excited to discuss the things that I've learned, so I told my friend a little bit about why I'd changed this thing. Mid-sentance my friend stopped me and told me they didn't believe what I was telling them at all. And that was that. I felt awkward, and we began talking about something else.

I've been thinking about this experience a lot. I'm used to meeting people who don't really agree with my views on the world, let's be honest, my thoughts on life are different than the mainstream... I confess though, this abrupt reaction stung a little.

There are basic things that we learn about communication, and being polite. We also learn that everyone has the right to their own opinion. How then do we answer questions about our alternative views without being offended at rebuffs? We shouldn't have to absorb everyone's opinions to be nice, but where is that kind medium?

I think for me the key really is to be more full of love. The scriptures are rife with the thought that pride brings malice. I don't want to be like that. Love is the cure all for strife of any kind. If I can look at a person who does not want to listen to my thoughts, and love them, then I will not be offended. And I will be able to hear them, and answer them in a way that they, in most cases, will not be offended either.


What has helped you to better communicate in this crazy world?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is Sugar Toxic?

Last night, I stumbled across a brief interview that made me giddy with delight. 60 Minutes Overtime interviews Sanjay Gupta, who reported on the show last week regarding the health risks of sugar consumption. Here you can watch the original segment of Is Sugar Toxic? or read the transcript. It was a quick read, and I highly recommend taking a few minutes for it.

The conclusion is that we should drastically reduce -- if not completely eliminate -- sugar from our diets.


Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondant and a neurosurgeon himself, interviewed several scientists, each of whom revealed shocking truths about the sweet stuff. All-too-brief overview:
  • Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatrician and endocrinologist at UCSF, calls sugar a toxin and blames it for the rampancy of many common ailments in our society, including obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Because of their fructose levels, he equates sugar with high fructose corn syrup (I would add a caution against agave for the same reason). On youtube, you can watch his popular lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth.
  • Kimber Stanhope, nutritional biologist at UC-Davis, has been conducting an intensive study, pointing at high fructose corn syrup as a driving force behind heart disease and stroke. Her research confirms that not all calories are created equal.
  • Lewis Cantley, Harvard professor and head of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, says that the sudden spike in insulin caused by sugar consumption fuels the growth of certain types of cancers, including breast and colon cancers. Cantley says not to eat sugar at all.
  • Eric Stice, neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, has been doing MRI scans to analyze the effects of sugar on the brain. His conclusions? That sugar is highly addictive, triggering reward responses in the brain, much the same as drugs like cocaine. And like drug users, we can build up a tolerance, causing us to eat more in order to achieve the same satisfaction.
Read it yourself for more juicy details. I've been reading information like this for years now, but not always from such mainstream sources, which is why I loved this report. Here are a few other articles I've enjoyed:

Because of what I've learned about sugar, we gradually eliminated refined sugar from our household. Among the benefits we've noticed: we feel better, we lost weight (especially initially), our tastes are far more sensitive, and we need much less sweetener to satisfy. We use natural sweeteners, but still quite moderately.

A few years ago, I'd wager no one could have beaten my husband in a war of the sweet tooth, so if we can do it, anyone can!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Won't You be My Neighbor?

I feel strongly about limiting screen time for children (the younger, the more important) for lots of reasons.  However, occasionally I find myself in a position where a little screen time for the boys would really be appreciated (bringing in the groceries when there's a toddler with separation anxiety, taking a shower by myself once in a blue moon, really rushing on dinner, etc). 

But what to show them?  Where could I possibly find programming as innocent as my sweet little boys?  Certainly not anything on YouTube, and almost nothing produced in the last ten years.  Most of our movies (as fun and innocent as they are) have a few intense parts that are too much for my almost four-year-old.  Most children's programs flash images so fast that little children don't have time to orient themselves to the image before there's a new image to figure out.  So what seems like fascination with the plot or characters is mostly just trying to make sense of what they are seeing on a basic level (source).
A while ago I found that on the PBS website there are 26 full episodes of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  The first time I turned it on in desperation to get something accomplished, I ended up watching the whole thing with the boys, just absorbing Mr. Rogers' positive energy.  The show moved slowly, or at the perfect pace for my boys.  Mr. Rogers includes imaginative play and teaches important (and age appropriate) lessons, such as sharing and building friendships.  Abraham likes to play on his website for his after "school" "computer-time."

A completely enchanting and innocent movie we watched last weekend is Mary Poppins.  It has been a long time since I watched it, and it is so fun!  Abraham was in love.  He has been singing all the songs and insists it's his favorite movie in the whole wide world!  It will definitely be his favorite b-day gift this year.
What programs have you found that are thoughtfully and tastefully made and suitable for the very young?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quiche Me Kale!

I was just looking for a recipe online and ran into this little baby: Kale Quiche. Oh my. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I think.

After Joe and I got together he quickly realized that cooking is my only talent (Just kidding. I have others lurking around somewhere I'm sure, I just really, really love cooking!) so he bought me Julia Child's book on French cuisine! I was already in love with quiche, but after reading that book and gaining a better understanding of how easy making this dish really is... I've never been the same.


From what I've seen the most common add-ins in America for quiche are spinach and bacon. Thanks to Mrs. Child I fell in love with a tomato quiche as well. (Let me know if you want the recipe!!) Imagine my delight when I found the website link for kale quiche!


Have I mentioned that I love kale? I'm sort of like the man in this blog post...

Kale is a super food, packed with nutrition. Among other things it is full to the brim with vitamins such as C, K and A (making it a good idea to consume with plenty of good healthy butter, as vit. A is a fat soluble vitamin). Kale is also a good source of calcium and magnesium.

Just one little tip for this amazing food, kale, like spinach, is full of oxalates. Oxalates are a substance found in nature which make the absorption of calcium difficult for your body. A quick steaming, or any form of cooking, is enough to neutralize the oxalates, however, and you're good to go!

Note: In writing the above I am not implying that you should never consume raw kale. I simply believe oxalates and ways to *ahem* take care of them, are good things to know about.

Note Part 2: The source link for the photo of the kale leads to a fun little web page about kale in Germany.

I'll let you know how this new quiche turns out!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our Basic Body Products


What started out as a comment to Meredith's great previous post on EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database just needed more room. This is such an important subject! You can eat real food, drink pure water, take pains to avoid environmental pollutants, but still swamp your body with a slow drip of toxins because of what you smear into it.

Thanks to a friend, I discovered Skin Deep several years ago and was hooked at first glance. I've been slowly transitioning to safer body products, for the good of both my body and the earth. Based on Meredith's categories, here's some of what we currently use:

DEODORANT
I think my very first post on this blog was for our homemade deodorant. It is the best stuff I've ever tried, and that's coming from this potentially smelly girl! Keenan uses it too, and we both love it. Among other things, women's antiperspirants contain aluminum, which was the big worry that propelled me to a natural deodorant. If you can only face making one change to your hygiene bag, start with this one. You don't want to be rubbing a heavy metal (among other things) into one of the most absorbant areas of your body, right by that precious breast tissue.

TOOTHPASTE
My current favorite toothpaste is Jason Sea Fresh paste, which is not on Skin Deep (the gel version is, but some ingredients differ). When checked individually, the ingredients on my box all rank very low. I love the taste, but I was mostly drawn to it because it doesn't contain fluoride, and because it sounded like fun.

MOISTURIZER, LOTION, DIAPER CREAM, AFTERSHAVE
Truth be told, I often use straight coconut oil for this purpose. If I shave my legs (yes, if...), I just rub in a little coconut oil afterward and never have a problem. I tend to blame my red hair for my sensitive rash-prone skin, so if this works for me, it will work for anyone. One of the beauties of coconut oil is that it absorbs 100% into the skin, not to mention its myriad other benefits. Become an addict.

You might also try this great homemade lotion recipe, which doubles as an unrivaled diaper cream. Keenan uses this very similar homemade aftershave.

MAKE-UP
The only make-up I wear is mascara. I used to use Maybelline (which only gets a 4 on Skin Deep, better than I thought), but one time I visited home for a couple weeks and had to borrow Meredith's mascara because I left mine home. That worked out fine, but when I went back home to my Maybelline, I got a persistent red rash around my eyes (??). I finally threw out the mascara, which solved the problem. Since then, I've been experimenting with various mineral mascaras: more expensive, but much lower on the hazard scale.


SOAP
We love Dr. Bronner's castile soaps! We love them in the bottles and we love them as bars. The Baby Mild is one of my favorites, both for the kids and for me!

SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
This deserves a post of its own one day. Long story short: last year I stopped using shampoo and conditioner for about 8 months. Instead, I did a baking soda rinse followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse. I felt like I was cleansing my hair. I also stopped having to wash my hair nearly so often. Whereas before I had to wash it every other day, now I only use shampoo/conditioner about every 10 days, often with a baking soda/vinegar rinse in between.

When I do use poo (sorry Mom), I alternate between a Trader Joe's brand and Desert Essence Red Raspberry. I was surprised to find that the latter gets a 4 at Skin Deep. When I first bought it, it wasn't on their site, so I looked up every ingredient individually before purchasing. Most of the ingredients were very low, maybe one was as high as 3. Apparently, they stay very up-to-date, so keep checking back on the products you use!

I used to use Aubrey Organics, which rates between 2 and 4, depending on the flavor. :)

SUNSCREEN
I also stumbled on Katie Kimball's thorough review of sunscreens, and since last year have used mineral-based Loving Naturals. It works great, but it's a little hard to rub all the way in. Katie mentions this in her 2012 update on the product (talk about staying updated).


As our bodies are strong and resilient, they are also delicate and vulnerable, and must be cared for mindfully. I feel a vigilance and urgency to keep out anything that might harm, and I'm grateful we've made some progress over the past few years. I have become an avid, even obsessive, ingredient-reader. But since it's nearly impossible to stay on top of everything going into products these days, I am happy for a resource like Skin Deep to help us along in our quest toward wholeness. Along with the reading Meredith recommended from their site, I recommend their Top Tips for Safer Products.

Isn't it great to be in this together?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You Are What You Wear

Wow.  My topical world got turned upside-down this week, when I discovered the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website.  What an incredible resource!  I am completely in love, especially because of how thorough it is.

Here's how it works.  Type into the search field any "cosmetic" you like --- skin care, eye care, etc. --- or any brand that you are curious about, or any ingredient in one of your products that you aren't certain is safe.  It will pull up your product (or a list from which you will need to select it), and a "safeness" ranking that has been assigned to that product based on its ingredients as currently ranked in their database.  They have a huge database.  (Please take the time to read About Skin Deep to understand how they work.  You'll be impressed.  I also recommend their Myths on Cosmetic Safety to get started.)

Anything assigned a number 0-2 is "Low Hazard," 3-6 is "Moderate Hazard" (sounding scary?...) and 7-10 is "High Hazard" (not on my face!).

Underneath the number there is a comment on the data used to come up with the number.  Most products say "Data: Limited," but don't let this throw you off.  That just means that the number of studies in their database on one or more of the ingredients is limited, but what studies there are lead them to assign your product this number.  If you click on the product, you can see a list of all the ingredients, and if you scroll down you can see each ingredient ranked for its own safeness, and a list of health concerns associated with it if they exist.  They also list the studies done on each ingredient, on that ingredient's page.

Here is my full bathroom product disclosure.  I have not put any make-up or lotion on my skin at all this week, thanks to my discovery that most of what I use isn't as safe as I thought.  I'm on the lookout for better products!  Thankfully, you can also just type in something like "lotion," and then go buy products that you see have low hazard rankings.


 
The funny thing?  I bought this as a more "natural" alternative to what I was using before, and felt all proud of myself.  But it's a 6!  Turns out it contains the ever-ambiguous ingredient, "fragrance," which "represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate."  Turns out "fragrance" can include as many as 80 such unidentified ingredients.  


 
Of course I knew this one was going to be bad, but didn't expect it to be as high as a 7.  Reading up elsewhere on the website, skin-lightening products are notoriously dangerous.  This one also contains fragrance, but almost as bad, it contains methylparaben and  propylparaben, not to mention triethanolamine.  Into the garbage!  What you don't know does hurt you.


 
Whew!  All of these soaps are a clean 1 on the EGW website.  We use these on ourselves and the baby, and to clean the house.


You guessed it, this gets a 6.  The worst ingredient is Retinyl Palmitate, but there are plenty of other bad ingredients.  I am going to investigate a few different natural mascara alternatives (that get ratings of 0-2) and report back later.  One day perhaps I will phase it out altogether, but for now whenever I appear without it someone inevitably asks me if I am ill (not joking :).


 
I was surprised to find this shampoo scores a 4 in EGW's database, mainly because it contains Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which gets a 5 because it has been associated with "irritation and allergic contact dermititis."  I assume if I have not had such reactions that it is okay for me, although I know some such chemicals are "sensitizers," which means one can develop sensitivity over continued use.  But both the shampoo and conditioner contain (*gasp*) fragrance.


  Glad to say this gets a 1, as does their deodorant. Probably still better to use Nonie's homemade stuff!