Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The joys of summer

Who wants artificial dyes and flavors in their popsicles? 

Not exactly something I want my child eating! I grew up enjoying Otter Pops during the warm summer Nebraska nights but as I started my green/natural journey a few weeks back, I decided to capture exactly what is in a box of summer fun in the grocer aisle. I wanted my husband to go with me and capture it on video but I feared the grocery store would throw me out so I snapped a quick photo. Yellow 6! Polysorbate 80! No thank you!

I ended up buying some BPA free popsicle molds at Whole Foods and began making fruit filled, colorful frozen treats in which I could control the ingredients and sugar.  Since strawberries and blueberries were in season I blended 2 cups of each with a 1/2 tablespoon of sugar for my first run. They were so awesome, I forgot to take a photo. My son loved them but  only problem is I have to let the mold sit out for 5 mins which isn't fun for an impatient 2 year old.

For my next adventure, I took 4 kiwis and a mango and blended leaving out the sugar. I layered them with Tillamook Vanilla Bean Yogurt and then took a stick down the center and made swirl pops. Again, this was another hit with the toddler and AGAIN they were gone before I could take a photo.

Next up, I experimented with this recipe.Instead of using lemon extract, I used lemon juice and added one of the many frozen bananas in my freezer. You guessed it, they were a hit and I didn't take a photo.

The verdict: homemade popsicles rule!

I will probably start incorporating more yogurt into my frozen treats as I move forward but don't these mango/parsley or honeydoo/basil pops sound tasty? I wonder if the popsicle lovin' toddler will eat them?

What are you favorite popsicle combos/recipes?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I just want to smell like roses

When I was a freshman in college, I met a girl on my dorm room floor that was really excited to be away from her mother so she could use "real deodorant." Her mom made her use patchouli oil and it made her unpopular in high school. When I was 18, I just wanted to be away from my mom so I wouldn't have a curfew so I guess you choose your parental battles.

In talking to her, she told me her mother was concerned about Aluminum Zirconium which is suspected to be linked to breast cancer, Alzheimers and other bad things.  At 18, this didn't seem to bother me. If it's on the store shelves, it's safe, right? Wrong!

Recently, I took the Simple Organic Natural Deodorant Challenge. The Cosmetic Database didn't score my old stand-by so well so it was off to find a more natural choice.

I did an informal poll on my Facebook page asking my friends what natural deodorant worked for them and then decided to try those suggestions out. One suggestion was rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle which is going to be my last resort. Others suggest I make my own. Some items at Whole Foods were suggested.

So I headed to Whole Foods and made some choices. Three sticks of natural deodorant later, I was still needed to resort to my old stand-by laced with bad stuff.

Then somehow I stumbled upon Soapwalla Kitchen and decided to order their cream which had rave reviews all over the internet. After a week of using, I didn't have to resort to the old standby and I didn't smell like BO.  It's made from organic jojoba, rice bran, and rosehip seed oils; shea butter and/or coconut oil; a combination of all-natural and gluten-free vegetable clays and powders; aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate; organic vegan kosher glycerin; a combination of organic lavender, peppermint, sweet orange and tea tree essential oils.

The downside is they suggest you don't use it right after you shave as it might irritate your skin. Well, do you think I listened? No, I used it and it did irritate my skin and it so happened that I visited the Derm PA about something on my face (apparently I have an age spot). The lovely PA suggested what Soapwalla suggested or shave before bed to give my armpits some heal time. I shave more in the summer so I find myself not exactly using something natural all the time.

I'm toying with making my own deodorant still and using rubbing alcohol but not until I run out of my Soapwalla Kitchen stuff.

Now, if someone has a natural way of getting rid of age spots on your face, I'm willing to try those remedies.

Have you recently made the switch? Do you have a suggestion? I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How did I get here?

How did I get to this place of worrying about yucky stuff in my food and products? Oh yes, I became a mother. 


From the day I found out I was pregnant and saw those little pink lines on my home pregnancy test I swore that I would do just about anything to protect my child from harms way. I would eat organic. I would use cloth diapers. I would make my own organic baby food. I wouldn’t let my child watch TV. I would exercise my whole pregnancy. No pacifiers. I’d would only breastfeed -- no formula. Boy was I kidding myself! (you can watch my IgniteBend presentation "Being a 'natural mother' doesn’t work for everyone" at 29:52 on the second half of Ignite Bend 2).


Then my son was born -- three weeks early -- with a punctured lung. I then learned that there is only so much I can control. Don’t worry, he’s a happy little toddler now. Talking, walking and giving us Terrible Twos attitude. He won't eat his vegetable and has a horrible obsession with the three b's -- bottle, blanket and binkie.


For weeks now, my husband and I (well, let's be honest, mostly me) have been making some changes and gradually going natural and eco-friendly. Our list is long and wide and along the way, we have made some mistakes. Like the cereal bars that said preservative free that actually had high fructose corn syrup in them ... ooops. Have you tried to find a graham cracker in the cookie aisle lately? All full of yucky stuff. Took me over 20 mins to find one that I would be OK with giving to my son. 


To my credit, I have found some balances to the bad things we do in our house. Instead of buying organic veggies at the store, we take part in a CSA.We use disposable diapers but offset that with using compostable baby wipesI do let my child watch a limited about of TV and I did breast feed for 9 months until I weaned him and started him on formula.


Oh and I'm not an expert. I'm learning from different folks along the way and I'm really grateful for their knowledge and patience because I'm new at this. 


Enjoy the ride!

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