Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Parabens in Toothpaste

It has been a super long time since updating this blog but I really really want to let my (few) readers know that our home is almost chemical free now.  When the handsoap and dishsoap run out, that's it... I'm making some.

BUT when cleaning through the bathroom last week I happened to pick up the kids' toothpaste.  We had run out of our flouride free so for some reason I decided (well after it had been bought and half-used) to look at the ingredients.  HORROR!!!  Parabens in kid's toothpaste?  Why?  Not in the adult generic toothpaste.  It must be to maintain that lovely orangey color and taste.

So FYI, check your toothpaste for SLEs, SLSs, and Parabens!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I hate plastic!!!

Well I don't hate all of it as some things just aren't available in something other than plastic. And some plastic things work well if they are good quality. Yes there are dangers to plastics as they off-gas into our air and foods. If they melt, watch out!

But living here is INSANE! It is the land of cheap cheap plastics.

1) Buy a bag of pens. Each one wrapped individually in plastic. Those pens in a pretty plastic wrap. Then wrapped in thicker nicely labeled package. 3 layers of plastic per pen. I avoid buying things in bulk just because of this! Yes I know I could even avoid buying the PLASTIC pens to begin with.

2) Grocery shopping. I should take a picture of what it looks like when I forget my cloth bags (which is more often than I care to confess). Never is a bag more than 1/2 full. Some items which could be bagged together (like a pair of socks and a snack) are not. And then there is the double bagging of things that don't need double bagging. We have never NEVER bought trashbags here because as much as we try (and there is no "paper or plastic" option) we end up with stupid bags so they are the trashbags. They don't fit our (plastic) trashcans but I don't care.

3) I got made fun of today. The pasta which of course comes in a plastic bag was cooked last night. I carefully cut open the bag, dumped the noodles in the pot, shook out the crumbs and put it in my "baggie" drawer. When I went to playgroup I decided to put my grapes in that bag. Recycling at its best as that was a nice thick bag that will take a lot of wash and wear before it finally gets trashed (as in too many holes).

4) We had a shelf installed in the kids' room for more storage space. I wanted to put in baskets that are labeled, such as "Barbies" (yes I know plastic), "Blocks," etc. So I went to look for baskets. Not a single useful wooden/wicker basket to be found unless I go to the touristy markets. Only plastics of every shape and color. So I think, maybe I'll just get plastic as at least I can wash them out and I need something now. Nevermind. Half are cracked sitting there on the shelf. Note to self, only ever buy quality if I'm going to buy plastic! I explain all of this today to a friend and she says, you want some of our plastic baskets? NOOOOOO, didn't understand it at all I guess.

So yes, this is a rant, and a big one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vinegar & Baking Soda

I use vinegar and baking soda for all of my cleaning products in the house. For the bathroom: vinegar cleans the sink, tub, toilet, etc. Baking soda in the toilet makes a good scrubber. In the kitchen: it's vinegar for all surfaces. The floors are mopped in a diluted vinegar solution. Windows and mirrors are polished with vinegar. Baking soda is good for absorbing odors and scrubbing up sticky stuff. I also use both in my laundry. For really stinky exercise clothes I do a prerinse with baking soda and a regular wash after that. For the cloth diapers and other clothes I don't want laundry detergent residue on I use vinegar in the rinse cycle in place of softener. Clothes don't smell at all of vinegar and strips out almost all laundry detergent smell.

Both are good for the environment compared to the heavy chemicals in regular cleaners. Both are also great for the wallet!

A couple things I've learned. Baking soda can leave a residue (like comet) so make sure you scrub it up completely though it won't hurt anything. Vinegar can eat away at concrete, marble, and some other surfaces so make sure it's diluted enough. For my floors which have concrete grout for the tiling I have to be careful, so I use maybe 1/2 cup for a gallon of water for the whole apartment.

Oh, and yes the vinegar smells for a while but it goes away quickly. I don't even notice anymore. Some people add essential oils to their solutions because the aroma remains but the vinegar smell does not. I skip the oils because A)I can't find them cheaply here and B)I'm too lazy.

I have 2 main solutions I've made. 1 part vinegar to 10 part water in a spray bottle which works for windex and shining. 1 part vinegar to 4 part water is a general bathroom/kitchen cleaner.

(As for the request about laminate floors, I have read that as long as the vinegar solution is diluted and you dry the floor as you go, it'll shine the floors but not soak in and ruin the adhesive. I'd use a regular wide pushing mop that was barely damp with the solution. Maybe presweep with a microfiber type swiffer first.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

I use cloth toilet paper.

This is the post my husband has been dreading. He is so embarrassed that cloth toilet paper exists in my house, let alone that I use it!

When I asked last year for all of his old, holey T-shirts that he's had since college days, he just figured that I needed more cleaning rags. Hehehe, if he only knew. Nope, I cut them into 8x8in squares. I got about 13 per T-shirt, including the sleeves. I have over 100 squares now... well probably less thanks to over-zealous toddlers.

I know somewhere I could find how much of a tree is wasted by one roll of toilet paper, but I'll spare you the details. It's not just the tree, but the resources to produce it and ship it to the store.

My daughter and I use it for pee. For #2, we usually still resort to regular TP and finish up with one damp cloth TP square. So much cleaner and softer. I also will grab one to wipe off the toilet seat or a spill on the bathroom floor or in place of a washcloth if I'm desperate.

I usually wash them with the cloth diapers. Because I only wash with cold water, I wash them 2x. First time is just with baking soda. Second time is with a tiny bit of detergent and a white vinegar rinse. They come out squeaky clean.

End of embarrassing post.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Scriptures supporting green living

I was searching online a while back and saved this sermon that I found. It is the preaching notes so you'll have to look up the verses yourself. Here is the outline:

I. New Testament Lessons

1. Jesus Christ and Creation
 Christ as Creator and Reconciler of all of creation
Colossians 1: 15-20; I Cor. 8: 6.
 Christ as Creator and Sustainer of all of creation
Hebrews 1:1-4.
 Christ as Creator
John 1: 1-3.
 God sending Christ for the whole cosmos
John 3:16.

2. Christians' responsibility to care for creation
 Christians are to preach the good news of Christ's reconciliation to all of creation.
Mark 16:15, Col. 1:15-20.
 We help show God's glory on earth by helping creation sing the Creator's praises.
Revelation 4:11, Revelation 5:13, Revelation 21:5-6
 The Holy Spirit will help us. Romans 8:26-27
 We are to teach others.
Mark 1:16-18
 There are consequences for destroying the earth.
Revelation 11:18.
 Creation is waiting for Christians to fulfill their stewardship obligation.
Romans 8:18-22.

3. Creation-care is people-care, too
 One way we express love for our neighbor is to care for the creation that God has provided for them and that they depend on.
Luke 10:27, Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:12.
 There are consequences to ourselves and to others if we do not care for God's creation.
Revelation 11:18, Matthew 25:44-45.

4. Creation-friendly Lifestyles
 Begin now to heal the rest of creation from the damage caused by pollution and overconsumption in preparation of Christ’s final reconciliation in the future.
Rom. 8, especially verses 18-23 (see also Schaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man, Chapter 5).
 The story of the rich young man as an invitation by Christ to free us from that which keeps us from fully following Christ.
Mark 10:17-27.
 True contentment comes from the presence of Christ in our lives, not through overconsumption which harms us spiritually and the poor and the rest of creation physically.
Heb. 13:5.

II. Old Testament Lessons

1. All creation praising God
 Psalm 148
 portions of Psalm 104
 Psalm 96:11-13

2. God's care for the creation
 Psalm 119: 89-91
 Psalm 65:9-13

3. The earth is the Lord's
 Psalm 24: 1
 Psalm 95:3-5
 Genesis 1, the creation story
 Nehemiah 9:6 (mentions oceans)
 Job 38:2,4,8-11 (mentions oceans)
 Job 12:7-10 (mentions oceans)

4. Creation affected by humanity's sins
 Hosea 4: 1-3
 Ezekiel 34:17-18
 Genesis 3:17-19, 23
 Isaiah 24: 4-6
 Leviticus 18:24-26,28
 Isaiah 5:8

5. The final goal of creation: a new heaven and new Earth.
 Isaiah 11:6-9
 Isaiah 32:15-17
 Isaiah 65:17, 21-22
 Psalm 72:18-19

Monday, September 17, 2007

Smaller houses

Check out this house! This woman lives in an 84 sq. ft. home.

OK, so this may be a little extreme, but then again, maybe not. Why do we need big homes?

When I moved to Asia, I thought that a 1500 sq ft home was average. Now I see it as huge! Homes here can be large, but the average Thai family may share that 1500 sq ft or so with 10 or more people! Or, like my neighbors, 400 sq ft for a family of 6.

We are living in 800 sq ft downstairs. This is 2 bedroom, 2 bath, living/family/dining room, kitchen. One bathroom doubles as a laundry room. We also have a 400sq ft apartment upstairs that we rent. It is our guest room, office, storage, multi-purpose room. I'd love to get rid of it... it's too much space! Our friends (and my mom during her visit) think we're crazy not to be looking for a bigger home. Why shouldn't we make it work?

Why do we feel we HAVE to have so much space to live in? I hear all kinds of reasons. Each kid needs their own room, I like to entertain, I have so much nice furniture, I've got the money why not, it's the neighborhood, I want more than I had as a child, who cares there's no impact around me, and on and on! I think the #1 reason is too much junk!!! Look around you and what do you see? Closets, wardrobes, dressers, storage bins in all rooms. Why do we need these? Is there really that much stuff needing storage?

Start thinking of ways to live simply. Not only will you save money, but you can live smaller as well. How is this green living? All of our homes, purchases, and stuff impact the environment, for good or bad. That's to come later.

[Oh, and if you find this offensive, too bad! I would've found it that way too a few years ago. This blog will step on toes unlike my other blogs]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why am I green?

When I was little, I watched my dad hook up a solar panel on our roof. Instead of needing electricity to heat the water for our showers, the sun did it. And did it well. I literally burnt my butt more than once from superhot water in the shower!

That was the beginning of my education in living green. Ever since then, I've been fascinated with the different ways we can live to better our environment. And I was interested in this waaaay before the "global warning" and "Al Gore" junk came out. (Yes, it is junk, but that's a much later post!).

So if not for that, why go green. Simple, as a Christian, the Bible commands me to be a good steward of the Earth he has given to all of us. Plenty of verses support this.

I see the way so many people (including Christians) take advantage of what God has given them. Whether it's using too many plastics, driving gas guzzlers, living in an unnecessarily big house, not recycling, etc..

I hope this blog will help you make changes in your life to help you be a better steward of what God has given to us. Even tiny changes are wonderful.