Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Le Petit Refuge winner

Congratulations to entry number 21-Lara C. You are the winner of the Le Petit Refuge prizepack! I will contact you to arrange shipping. Hope you enjoy your new products!!

And a huge thank you to Amanda at Le Petit Refuge for providing the products for this giveaway. Best of luck with your new business!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shampoo/face wash follow up

It's been about 7 weeks since I tried the un-shampoo and about 6 since I started using oil to clean my face. I know some people were inspired by my posts and tried them out, but didn't have the same results I did so I'm going to take a few minutes to do a follow up on how it's going, and potential changes that can help it work better.

Baking soda as shampoo

At first, this was fantastic. My hair was clean, shiny, but not greasy, the color looked so bright. When my bottle ran out of my first 'batch', I started just eye-balling the baking soda and I noticed that my hair started getting greasy faster. When I finally took a one tablespoon measure into the bathroom to mix my 'shampoo', it was an instant change. Back to super clean and non greasy hair.

So to those who tried this out but didn't have success, maybe your hair needs a more concentrated solution. If you want to try again, experiment with the amount of baking soda, and try using apple cider vinegar as a conditioner, if you normally use conditioner.

Oil cleaning method for my face

This method calls for castor oil mixed with olive oil, but since I didn't have olive oil, I used canola. I free poured a small amount of each oil into a small bowl and just dip my fingers into the mixture and massage onto my face before steaming off with a hot facecloth. After the first few weeks, I didn't have any breakouts and no dryness, which is important to note with our below freezing temperatures and wind. In the past 6 weeks, I have noticed a few pimples, but they are normally quite small, and are gone the next day. This has been surprising to me. I assumed that slathering my face with oil would create a teenaged-style zit-city. But it hasn't. I haven't used anything except for my oil mixture to clean my face and I also haven't worn make up over much of the past two months.

So to anyone who wants to try either of these two cleaning methods, or two wants to try again, be patient. You might need to tweak your combinations a few times before they work well for you. But I can say that I haven't used, or bought, shampoo or face cleanser for myself for two months now. A box of baking soda might last me a year, as would a container of castor oil, if not longer. So that means I can wash my hair and face for around $10/year. I don't think that's bad at all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Le Petit Refuge review and giveaway!

Let's switch for a moment, from house cleaning to something a bit more fun. When a good friend of mine, Amanda, opened an Etsy store selling bath and body products, I had to check it out. And I was drawn to one product and flavor in particular-CHAI TEA LIP REFUGE. I LOVE Chai Tea. In fact, I don't know if love is a strong enough word, I'm addicted to Chai Tea. So I HAD to buy the Chai Tea Lip Refuge from her new store, Le Petit Refuge. I ordered the pink lemonade as well. In my younger days, I was addicted to lip balm, in fact, I kind of still am. I've done really well in forcing myself to not go crazy with it, and mostly just use my Burt's Bees, with a few different flavors in there as well, but now I think I have a new favorite. While the Chai Tea Lip Refuge smells spicy and delicious, the Pink Lemonade is just so fresh. I definitely love them both. They are so smooth and moisturizing. And it's been below freezing here the last few days and I haven't had to break out the Burt's Bees, which is saying a lot.

The same day I received my order, I opened an adorable little cupcake lip balm that I had gotten M for Christmas. In doing so, I looked at the ingredient list on the back of the package and had to stop and think for a minute. Here I was giving my 3 year old lip gloss that has hydroxystearic acid and tocopheryl acetate on it's ingredient list, and also has a warning MAY INCLUDE: Mica, red 21 lake and a bunch of other red and yellow lakes (no idea what that means), and red, yellow and black iron oxide when I'm using a lip balm that contains Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Flavor Oil and that's it (copied from the product listing). I'm a bit thankful that M has no idea her adorable little cupcake toy is actually a lip gloss, and she'll be using my Pink Lemonade Lip Refuge while I indulge in my new Chai Tea (mmmmmmmm).

When I went to the mailbox and found my order there, it was in a large box. I was thinking, silly girl, I ordered two lip balms and was so surprised to find some extras in there. She had also sent me a sample of the Mimosa and Mandarin Sugar Scrub Cubes and some products for a giveaway. Now you all know I use baking soda to clean my hair, and oil to clean my face so I was super excited to have a natural body product that smelled delicious. I purchased a bunch of soaps this winter as gifts, and have found that not all of them smell like their indicated scent. All three of Le Petit Refuge products that I've tried smell exactly like what they're supposed to, and they're absolutely divine!

I'm no stranger to scrub products. I've used them on my face, feet, elbows, anywhere that needs a little polish. I've used both liquid scrubs, that are almost in a paste form, and dry scrubs that you mix with lotion or body wash for the consistency you need, and as indicated in the product description on Amanda's Etsy store, the containers get filled with water, and the scrubs become diluted and not as effective. She makes her Sugar Scrubs in a cube form, so you can take one cube with you into the shower or bath and leave the rest in the jar away from the water. And they work wonderfully. My feet have been super dry lately, so I took advantage of the sample to scrub them up and I am impressed! The cube form works great, and they are surprisingly resilient in the water. They don't turn to mush right away, so you have a chance to scrub everything you want. I went ahead and scrubbed my knees and elbows as well, since they also get dry and rough in the winter. My skin is now so soft and smooth, even two days, and two snowfalls, later. I will definitely be purchasing some Le Petit Refuge shower gel and body lotion and I'm sure many other products as well.

I can't forget to mention that not only is Amanda a very talented mama, she is also very stylish. So I shouldn't have been surprised when I opened my box and everything was packaged so professionally. Great job, Amanda, you will be so very successful with this venture. And you have to keep doing it because you now have some very addicted customers!

Now before you head over there and buy her out of stock, I'm giving one lucky blog follower a chance to try some products for free! Amanda also sent me an additional (and larger) jar of the Mimosa and Mandarin Sugar Scrub Cubes and a Pink Lemonade Slide Tin Lip Refuge to give away. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below (open to Canadian and US resident)! Good luck!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Norwex follow up and giveaway winner

It's been just over two weeks since I did the Norwex review and I'm still just as impressed, if not more. I cleaned the kids tub the other day with my bathroom antibac cloth. Normally, I use bleach and a scrub brush, and while the cleaning part is fine, it's the rinsing part that bugs me. I don't want my kids soaking in a tub with bleach left, so I go a bit crazy making sure I've rinsed it all. Then of course, I'm wasting water, and rinsing bleach down the drain, and that can't be good for the environment. When I used the Norwex cloth, I scrubbed, the same as I would with the brush, but without the bleach. The tub was just as sparkling when I was done, and I didn't have to worry about getting rid of all the harmful chemicals.

I've also used this cloth to clean my shower. When I had a tub/shower combination, it was relatively easy to clean. But now that we have a separate tub and shower, I've found it really difficult. I don't have the shower head to rinse the bleach out of my tub, and I don't want to be sitting in a bleach bath, so I have to get a pitcher from the kitchen and pour the water over the tub to rinse the bleach away. Then in the shower, it's a bit harder, since rinsing the shower is a bit awkward without getting in, and I don't want to be cleaning with bleach during my shower. But with the Norwex cloth, it's easy. I take my shower, and then wipe and rinse the glass enclosure before I get out. And there's no bleach or harmful chemicals to worry about. It's so easy,and convenient, and environmentally friendly.

So on that note, I would like to announce that the winner of our Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cleaning Cloth giveaway is SUSAN D!! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your cloth as much as I enjoy mine! And thank you to Julie for sponsoring this giveaway. If you have any questions or are interested in Norwex, feel free to visit her facebook page HERE. While you're there, let her know I sent you, and thank you to everyone else who entered the giveaway!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Starting the weekend off on a clean foot

And no that doesn't mean having a shower first thing Saturday morning, although wouldn't a nice hot soaker bath be wonderful?

Saturday mornings, M has gymnastics. And after she put on a giant show for me, K is now taking her. And since baby K naps in the morning, I get at least an hour of quiet time to myself every Saturday morning.

So today, I put baby K down for his nap, and started tidying the kitchen. Then put diapers in the wash, and then finished putting clean laundry away and tidied the living room. And now I sit on the computer with my tea as M and K storm into the house, and baby K wakes up screaming.

AH the craziness that is my life, but at least the house is tidy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thirsties Giveaway ends tomorrow

A friend of mine, Adventures in Fluff, is hosting a thirsties duo diaper giveaway that ends tomorrow. If you love these diapers or would love to try one out, head over and enter! You can find her button on my blog, but just in case, CLICK HERE to be taken directly to the giveaway.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time for an intervention-and some before and after pictures

Today, the kids were sleeping, I was wasting time online and I decided to do something pretty extreme for me-turn the computer off. This was at 2pm. Sometimes my computer addiction gets pretty bad and I felt like it was time for an intervention. So I flipped the switch. Well, actually I powered down safely, but I did it.

So then I wandered around the living room and did some tidying up. Picked up the last of the Christmas clutter, threw some laundry in the wash, did some dishes, and then thought, now what? So in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to re-organize my extra kitchen pantry. It's been a great place to store all our extra small appliances, kids dishes, baby bottles and food and other random stuff. But the shelves weren't organized anymore and everything was just getting shoved in there, so I fixed it all up. As I've said before, I'm horrible at taking before pictures, but here's the after. It even has more room if we need it!

While I'm sharing pictures, here's the locked cabinet in the toy room that I'm very proud of. Again, no before picture, although I should have taken one, it was brutal.

All the art supplies are organized, along with toy bins at the bottom with baby toys, puzzles, books, etc.

And finally, my ensuite. This was a huge source of stress for me in the townhouse. We lived there for five and a half years, knowing the whole time that both bathrooms would have to be redone. First came the wedding, then money and time issues, then the baby, then an injury and finally, we decided to move, and HAD to get it done. When we moved in here, and the inspection showed possible water damage behind the ensuite shower, I swore it was the first thing to get done. And it was. The tile has been done since the spring. And just in the past two months, we chose a paint color for the wall. The holidays in there kind of put a slight delay on the job, but we haven't even been here for a year and now it's done!

Bathroom before (and my preggo belly):

Close up of wall color and tile before:

After looking in from the door (with my new towels on the counter):

Looking towards the door from the shower:

Ok, that's it for pictures for now. I've said before it takes one year to really move into a house. We have about 2.5 months left, and I really feel like we're almost there. I just have to finish organizing the office, and get some wall decor/pictures put up and we'll be done.

Until we look at the rest of the renovations we want to flooring, new kitchen, new roof....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Norwex product review and GIVEAWAY

About two and a half years ago I attended a Norwex party at a neighbors house. I had never heard of the company, but was just getting to know my neighbors and thought that a girls night out with wine, and within walking distance was a great thing. Turns out, I learned about a great company with amazing environmentally friendly cleaning products. What's not to like about that?

So let me tell you about Norwex. From their website:
All Norwex products support our company mission to improve the quality of life by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning. With a commitment to effective cleaning, responsible care for the earth, and the power of information, together we can become a generation to leave behind a legacy of improved quality of life.

Norwex Microfiber Cleaning Products
Our line of cleaning products will save you time & money, improve health, and move towards creating a better environment. Norwex microfiber goes beyond "surface clean" with the innovative use of silver particles integrated into synthetic microfiber cloth.

Cleaning with water only produces a healthy outcome for us and the environment.

Cleaning with water only? And yet still removing bacteria from the surface? That's amazing! So at that party oh so many years ago, I bought one of the antibac microfiber cloths. And loved it. Maybe a little too much, and it's been very used.

So this fall, while thinking about what I could get K for Christmas, I thought, why not invest in some more Norwex cloths. As I've mentioned before, I'm the queen of Lysol wipes. With Norwex cloths, I can still basically wipe the counter clean, but I'm not using the Lysol chemicals, since the silver that's integrated into the microfiber has bacteria killing properties. Perfect! After mulling over the catalogue, I decided to get the 4-pack of color coded cloths, a window cloth and a car cloth. Now I have 4 brand new Antibac cloths, in blue, green, yellow and pink and I will color code them for dusting, bathroom, kitchen and other. I can clean windows using a wet Antibac cloth and polishing with the window cloth, and we can do the same with the car cloth.

Now time for the review!
My bathroom mirrors have never been so clean! What better time to test out a window cloth than on a freshly renovated bathroom mirror with drywall and renovation dust all over it? Oh and the mirrored closet doors with toddler fingerprints.

Ensuite mirror before:

Ensuite mirror after:

Toddler fingerprints before:

Toddler fingerprints after:

When I first contacted my Independent Norwex Consultant, Julie, I was looking for an environmentally friendly way to clean my glass shower doors. I don't know if it was soap scum or water marks, but it bugged me every time I had a shower. She said that the Antibac cloth should clean it off and I was skeptical. But I tried it today, as part of the review and she was right. In the after picture, you can see that I only cleaned the far right side of the door. It took a little bit more elbow grease than the mirrors but it's definitely a LOT cleaner!

Shower door before:

Shower door after:

On the mirrors, I simply took my bathroom cloth and got it damp, washed the mirrors and then took the window polishing cloth and dried them off. No streaks, no lines between the sections I did, not even any dust. And no chemicals, just water! Not bad!

I'm glad I invested in these cloths. I hated cleaning with windex, especially since M loves to help clean the windows and I'm always so careful after to wash her hands, since I hate the idea of her touching those chemicals. Now, I don't have to worry at all. I also hate spraying windex since it goes everywhere and I'm paranoid about moving the toothbrushes. I don't think windex will polish our teeth. And since these cloths have the silver in them, I don't have to worry about the surfaces not really being clean.

Norwex also offers a variety of other cleaning and personal products including skin care, baby care and more. It is all sold through independent consultants and the company is always looking for more people to join. It's a great way to make some extra money while helping people stay clean and environmentally conscious. And no, I'm not a consultant. Although I have considered it.

For now, instead of selling these products, I'm going to give one away! I think that's much better! To win one Norwex Antibac Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, just fill out the form below! You must follow my blog, but there are ways to get additional entries, including following me on Facebook, and tweeting about the giveaway, which you can do daily. The giveaway will run until January 15th, so you have plenty of time to enter!

Giveaway rules:
This giveaway is open to blog followers in Canada and the US. Fill out the form below and earn additional entries by following me on Facebook, or tweeting about the giveaway, which you can do daily. Also head over to Julie's Facebook page and let her know I sent you! Make sure you spread the word, and good luck!