PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How safe are your personal care products?

I found EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to be extremely helpful in finding natural and safe products. I was appalled that some of my so-called natural products are not very safe because of some of the chemicals in them. Check it out and search your every-day products and see how they score.

I was concerned that the Arbonne products, which claim to be pure, safe and beneficial actually scored worse than my cheap discount store brands. I will definitely have to factor that into my review once they arrive...I'm a little scared to use them now. And, this site is helpful in identifying products if you have a member in your family who has extremely sensitive skin, such as my Griffin.

Ciera and I was up late one night this week doing some fun girl time. We made our own skin treatments: sugar honey scrub, pore strips (made of gelatin and milk), aspirin scrub & mask, and my favorite, kitty litter mask. Kitty litter without additives is actually a natural occurring mineral bentonite which is great at absorbing oil and impurities. Unfortunately the kitty litter that I had purchased was a different kind of mineral and wasn't as great at dissolving into a clay so we'll have to try that again another time. Check out Michelle Phan for some cool skin care DIY's.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Lot Going On Around Here

So that you will be forewarned, this post will be full of randomness and it will probably end up being fairly long. That's so unlike me to be random and disorganized but that seems to be the flow of my life right now, so...we'll go with it.

Ciera has been with us all summer helping with light housekeeping (kids' laundry, vacuuming, dishes as needed, etc.) and babysitting. She has been a huge help! I DO NOT look forward to her returning to school, but she's a smart girl and her education is important. Working here probably reinforces her need for an education so that she's not stuck being someones maid or babysitter for life. I think our busy home wears her out.

Lily began therapy for Central Auditory Processing Disorder at the beginning of the summer. This disorder is very complex. She was recently tested by UT's audiology department, as referred by her therapist, so that we could get a baseline reading of her auditory system. She scored "severely" low when her left ear had to discriminate sounds that are very familiar: ba/da, chu/shu... She also scored low when her right ear had to listen closely to a voice when background noise was also present. This background noise would be similar to a classroom, restaurant, or even our home with 4 kids. It's amazing how in-depth the testing was and how revealing the results were. Based on those results, she will begin Fast ForWord on Monday at Parent-Child and will be there 2 hours per day, 5 days per week for 6 weeks. We will work around her school schedule when that starts up. But what's super exciting, this intensive computer program should help her auditory system mature quickly and she will no longer suffer from CAPD! What a huge praise!! Meantime, she will also continue to receive Occupational Therapy for some other sensory things. I am optimistic that all these things will help resolve some of her learning struggles this year.

Charlotte is almost 6 months old. I can hardly believe it! She's growing up so quickly. She is super sweet, laid back most days, loves lots and lots of attention from everybody, makes lots of noises, smiles and coos at us all the time, laughs out loud at our silly faces, grabs all sorts of toys and anything within reach not excluding my hair and jewelry. She is a precious blessing to our family.

We visited Nana Kaye and Nana Faye last week. The kids had a blast seeing the chickens, exploring the gardens, making a camp out spot on the floor (Doug style), and eating ice cream cones and the best iced lemon muffins you will ever put in your mouth. Nana Kaye's gardens are beautiful right now - green, blooming, lush, perfect.

I might be going vegetarian. I know that sounds weird and completely random. I started thinking back about my week and realized I hadn't had any meat and I didn't miss it at all. I then began to think how much I don't really love meat and in the past have just sorta ate it because I thought I needed to for protein and iron. I'm not opposed to eating meat, I just don't think I really love it enough to miss it. And besides, BJ avoids beef because his cholesterol had crept up and needed to cut it out. On my last grocery shopping trip I stocked up on a bunch of Tennessee homegrown vegetables and fruit since they are in season. And so this week I made meals around those veggies and not around meat. This week we've had vegetable pasta, black bean & homemade salsa burritos, sauteed squash & zucchini, rice, oven-roasted rosemary potatoes, harvest grain bread, corn, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, bananas, SC peaches, and a bunch more things that I can't remember. I did make some homemade chicken noodle soup for the kids because they like it and I can sneak in whole grain noodles. I realized that I enjoyed cooking all those veggies this week and mixing up a bunch of fruit into smoothies. I know I could never go vegan because I still enjoy dairy and eggs. And I do enjoy salmon and some seafood occasionally. Maybe I'll say good-bye to beef and poultry (never liked pig anyway) for a while and see what happens.

I'm still on my quest for natural beauty products, but I'm happy to report I've found some things I really like:
Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo & Conditioner - These products are not 100% natural but I love how it smooths without weighing my hair down. It smells amazing too. I purchase these at an Aveda salon.
Tom's of Maine Moisturizing bar soap - It is, in fact, moisturizing & gentle and can be found at Target and Walmart.
Alba facial cleanser & toner - Effective cleanser that takes off all my makeup, even waterproof mascara. Found at Target and Walmart.
Fresh Sugar Body Oil - This is a splurge at $45 a bottle but a little goes a long way. It gives me super soft non-greasy skin. I detest greasy lotions and creams. Purchased at Sephora.
Arbonne RE9 Advanced - I have not received this product yet, but I placed my order and I'm excited to start trying it. My tired worn-out skin needs an anti-aging remedy. I will report back on this one but the trial of it was great. I'm really impressed that Arbonne is botanically based (non-GMO's) and vegan (no nasty road kill in their products). There are not many cosmetic companies that can say that.

School starts back in 3 weeks. Lily and Schaeffer will both be at River's Edge. I'm excited for them to start a new year and see how much they grow and learn.

I think that's it for now. Until next time...