Does your living room look like a tornado went through it at the end of the day? Are you completely exhausted both mentally and physically from the never ending clutter?
I know I was, and something had to be done.
One day while watching my daughter play with all her toys out, I noticed she did not seem satisfied with any of them, and even to the point of being frustrated with the whole area. I remembered back to when my son was little (he’s 9 now!) and how few toys we had for him, and he seemed all the happier for it!
I got to googling and kept coming across the idea of toy rotation- basically limiting toys to a certain amount and just rotating them out. It made sense to me. For one thing, how many different types of the same toy do you have sitting around? How many different stackers, push toys, and imagination toys do you have? Even if you have a very moderate amount of toys, I would bet you have at least 2 or 3 of the same type of toy…
Which leads me to ask the next question-
Are you ready to control the chaos and help your child engage deeper into play time?
Try these easy steps:
Step 1- Dump all toys out
I know, the purpose is to avoid chaos, so why am I telling you to put it all out on the floor?! Well, for starters, you’ve got to see what you are working with. I highly recommend waiting until nap time or bedtime or any other time that they kids will not be with you for at least an hour. Otherwise, it is a constant battle to keep your piles sorted. If you have older kids, they can be pretty great helpers with this
Step 2- Sort (Trash/Donate/Keep)
Probably the easiest first step in sorting is getting rid of the trash- broken/missing pieces, dangerous toys, and things that just don’t work. Donate all the toys your kids have either outgrown, don’t like to play with, or that you hate. Yes parents- I’m giving you permission to donate that one toy that you HATE with a passion. The one that makes the most annoying sounds you’ve ever heard! Pass that on to someone else :) LOL. Maybe they will love it.
By now your pile should be whittled down fairly well. Good job!
Step 3- Categorize
Time to think about the types of toys your kids are playing with. Broadly, there are these three categories:
-Moving Toys: All things that bounce, roll, slide. Toys your child can ride on, push, or pull. All great for getting out some energy and working on gross motor skills!
-Thinking Toys: Generally toys that require fine motor skills, like puzzles, sorters, stackers, and art supplies.
-Imagination Toys: Dolls, action figures, kitchen sets, pretend play, and the like. Uses the child’s developing social and emotional development as well as some other motor skills.
No need to stress or get too rigid in the categories. These are just some basic ones to get you thinking. Feel free to break it down even further if you like!
Step 4- Create your rotations!
Depending on how many toys you have, you may be able to make just two rotations, or 5 or more. If you have much more than 5, it’s probably time to reassess how many toys you really ‘need’ and revisit the donation step.
If your child spends a lot of time with grandma, or another person, consider making a toy rotation box for their house as well.
I personally liked to separate my toys by having at least 1-2 of each category, and then varied the boxes by toy size as well, so they all fit nicely in a box. For example, if I had a large imagination toy, I would add in a smaller thinking toy, and a medium sized moving toy. You decide what works best for you
Step 5: Enjoy!
Figure out about how often you want to rotate and then stick to it. We rotate once a week, and also have a different puzzles or busy bags available each day.
I also keep a climber/slide out at all times, as well as a play kitchen in a different room. That way, fun things are to be found all over the house, and it is much easier to supervise.
There are many ways you might store your toy rotations- we have a simple cube storage shelf from Ikea that blends in with our living room and keeps most toys out of sight, except the ones we have out for the week.
Doesn’t this look much better than the chaos?
I would encourage you to look around and see what you have to work with :) An empty closet works just fine as well!
How did you end up sorting through the madness?! Share your before/after pictures on our facebook page and leave a comment below!
I tried a little experiment last week…… regular detergent on cloth diapers. A big *no no* in the world of cloth diapering…. and guess what?
It worked GREAT!
No funky smell after washing/drying, lots of previous stains removed, and a very functional diaper still remaining…. so what gives? Why is there such a fuss about using a cloth specific detergent?
Well, first off, many companies that sell cloth diapers have their own detergent that they feel is best, and want you to buy. I have tried most of these cloth specific detergents, and just don’t like them. They were expensive and I didn’t feel they worked very well. I came up with my own basic version here, and a fancier version here. I like them both, and they are what most people would consider ‘cloth safe.’ But I ran out. And was not feeling up to buying all the ingredients again and making it….
While at Publix, I saw the giant bottle of Purex Free & Clear was Buy One-Get One, so I got a bottle. I figured worst case scenario, I could wash our regular clothes and towels with it, and then make more diaper detergent in a week or so.
Now, it looks as though I don’t have to! I am very pleased with the results. Easy to use, no stink, and best of all- NO FUSS! In case you are worried or wondering about the ingredients, I’ve got a breakdown below:
(courtesy of The Soft Bums Blog)
2. Alcohol Ethoxy Sulfate (cleaning agent specifically to break up oil based stains)
3. Sodium Carbonate (Water Softener-no need to add your own water softeners if you have hard water-this is not a fabric softener)
4. Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (Linear alkylbenzene is a family of organic compounds which is emerging as the dominant precursor of biodegradable detergents)
5. Sodium Chloride (aka table salt–controls the thickness of the detergent)
6. Alcohol Ethoxylate (Used as an emollient and emulsifier-to remove those nasty stains)
7. Sodium Polyacrylate (thickener for detergent)
8. Fatty Acids (controls the detergent so it doesn’t get too bubbly)
9. Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonic Acid (Fabric brightener)
10. Tetrasodium EDTA (It makes hard water become soft. As water makes its way through the water cycle, it sometimes picks up metal ions such as calcium and iron. These metal ions can make water hard, which is a problem because hard water won’t get you clean. Again, not a fabric softener)
11. Methylisothiazolinone ( Methylisothiazolinone may be used in cosmetics and personal care products alone, or it may be used in combination with Methylchloroisothiazolinone. In cosmetics and personal care products, Methylisothiazolinone may be used in the formulation of hair products, shampoos, skin care products, bath products, eye and facial makeup, and suntan products.)
I have a super capacity top load washing machine and used this simple wash routine. I used the regular amount of detergent for the first cold wash with 1/4c bleach and half of the regular amount for the second hot wash, with an extra rinse.
Just out of curiosity, I checked to see if any suds remained during the second rinse cycle, and nope! No soap there. I’ve washed the diapers using the same method multiple times since this first try and have great success each time.
I have to say that I’m glad I was too tired to make more detergent, and stumble across this easy solution.
Have you ever tried a regular detergent? How did it work for you? Please leave your comments below, or sound off on our Facebook page!
Searching the perfect diaper cover?
One with outstanding quality, tons of options for colors and prints, as well as a great price?
Search no more! I have found just the company: The Assunta Store
And the best part? The entire store benefits abandoned babies and disabled orphans in China! Check out a little bit more about the store:
“We are Americans living in China; we have been here working with abandoned babies and disabled orphans for the past 15 years. We never planned to set up a store, yet over the years we have seen a great demand for the items that we use in our projects. We have had many requests to supply snaps, presses, sewing notions, diapers etc at a reasonable cost; Assunta Store is our answer. We sell items that we use ourselves, so we are confident of the quality and understand how they work. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our products, either through e-mail or on the Assunta Store Facebook page. You can also visit our blog for store-related news.
All sales from this store support China Little Flower. China Little Flower is a non-profit organization caring for disabled and dying orphaned children in China. Little Flower cares for orphans in a number of projects:
The Hospice is a special place to provide comfort, love, and care to orphans who are dying.
Special Care for Infants: We provide intensive care to babies who are abandoned with complex medical needs. We focus on caring for babies born prematurely, those with club feet, and babies with birth defects or illness requiring skilled nursing care.
Group Homes allow disabled school age orphans to live in a supportive family environment while attending school and aquiring life skills that will allow them an independent future.
Long Term Care: In this program we care for older disabled orphans with severe mental and physical impairment. These are children who have no hope of ever being adopted or living independently as adults.”
I first discovered these cloth diaper covers while canvasing the internet looking for a high-quality cover that would meet the needs of The Cloth Diaper Closet here at Frugal Green Baby. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do! It’s a fabulous lending program for those in need!)
The covers needed to first and foremost be functional- they had to work very well, and be of outstanding quality to last through as many families as possible. It also didn’t hurt that they have tons of cute prints and lots of solid colors as well :) Obviously price was a factor- because we are a self-funded program, funding is limited and the better price I can get, the more families I can help!
Two sizes of covers are available: The Tiny Cover (for newborns) and the One-size Cover (adjusting to fit around 12-35 lbs!).
The cost of either cover is only $4.99! Discounts are also available if ordering in bulk. Shipping is free for orders over $39 as well! Frugal Green Baby readers are welcome to use promo code LITTLEFLOWER for an extra 10% off!
The Cloth Diaper Closet is stocked full of tiny covers and one-size covers as well! They are such great quality that I truly have not found any other brand, even the expensive ones, to be better. I feel so glad putting in orders knowing that not only will recipients of the Cloth Diaper Closet will be blessed, but that they order also goes on to help orphans in need.
This post is not at all sponsored by Assunta Store. I took the time to write this post out of the passion I have for supporting their store and to share great value with my readers. If you choose to buy through the links above, you will also have an opportunity to make a difference and help fund the Assunta Store and The Cloth Diaper Closet at no extra cost!
As my little one’s top three teeth all come in at the same time, I am reminded to take my own advice and pull out the natural remedies!
We’ve all been under the weather lately with bronchitis, a uti, and the virus that will not die! I hope you enjoy this article, previously published in Sept 2013.
Drooling, restless, fussy, and refusing to eat baby?
Yep, you’ve got a teether on your hands. And chances are, it’s just about as hard on you as it is your baby! Your sweet pumpkin is in pain, and everyone is sleep deprived!
Thankfully, there are some very effective natural remedies to help ease their pain and rest easier. Here are 7 ways to help baby (and you!) feel better in no time.
Not quite voodoo, but maybe a little bit of magic- Amber Teething Jewelry works by releasing healing oils from the amber resin which is then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. Amber’s anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties have long been used by parents in Europe.
Side note- this jewelry is for boys or girls to wear, not to chew on.
We have both a necklace and bracelet/anklet which is a highly effective combo! I love that they are reusable and double as an accessory!
#2- Teething Oil
Right as baby’s tooth is popping through their soft fleshy gums, and you’re scared the neighbors are about to call 911 from the ear shattering scream they just heard, you’ll be reaching for this. Made with essential oils of chamomile, clove, and peppermint, this teething oil will knock out teething pain and calm baby.
I love knowing the essential oil mixture is perfectly blended with just the right amount of oils to ensure it’s safe, effective, and therapeutic.
This is also great to have on hand for older children (molars, anyone?) and adult tooth pain. Get a sample for just $1!
#3 Clove Oil
Clove oil is a natural numbing agent and is very potent. This DIY teething oil can easily be made by diluting ONE drop of Clove oil with 1 Tablespoon of a carrier oil.
Sunflower Oil, Almond Oil, and Sesame Oil all make great carrier oils. Olive oil will work as well, although has a stronger flavor.
Note: Make sure to carefully dilute the clove oil , ensuring that only one drop is mixed into 1 Tablespoon of carrier oil. Adding more will burn baby’s gums. It will not make it more effective!
A classic stand-by, Hyland’s Teething Tablets are a homeopathic remedy that we use quite often. The tablets melt quickly under baby’s tongue and are easy to take on outings. A good solution if your baby is mildly fussy and needs help relaxing. Great before bedtime.
Genius! This mesh feeder also doubles as an amazing teether. Place any type of regular food your baby likes to eat (bananas, berries, pre-cooked veggies) inside and stick in the freezer.
Since many babies are fussy eaters when teething, I find this really helps get food in their tummies, and relief to their mouth!
This is my favorite way to let young babies feed themselves, and free up your hands to hopefully feed yourself!
This gently calming herb will restore your sanity as well as bring baby some relief. Brew a cup according to directions (medicinal teas have a different brewing method than regular tea) and pour some into a small dish to cool for baby.
Feel free to sip yours hot while the rest cools. Start with 1 tsp of cool tea, using up to 1 ounce. This herb will help your baby wind down, and is especially helpful if they have been crying for a while.
#7 Gripe Water
Last, but not least, Gripe Water is the best baby essential you may not have heard of. All that drooling leads to excess saliva being swallowed, causing everything from diarrhea to upset tummies.
Made with Ginger and Fennel, this sweet tasting herbal supplement will have baby’s tummy fixed up in no time!
So there you have it! 7 natural remedies that take the bite out of teething!
What are some natural teething remedies that you have had success with?
Share your experience on our facebook page!
Sounds too good to be true, right? What if I also told you that this secret deodorizing ingredient also helps keep over 300 enzymatic functions in the body in check, as well as contribute to a healthy energy level? Helps calm the nervous system, and actually can reduce or eliminate morning sickness?!
So what is this miracle ingredient?……
Magnesium! We’ve all heard of it, but probably never given too much thought to it. In fact, most people in the United States do not get enough Magnesium, simply because our water has it removed, as well as soil is depleted of it. So even the best whole food diet would be lacking.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, irritability, nausea and vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasm and weakness, hyperventilation, insomnia, poor nail growth, and even seizures.
I found this magnesium oil spray at Vitacost for a great price. If you have never shopped there, you can get $10 off any $30 purchase by using this coupon. Sign up for a free account and you will get a credit!
How to use:
Every day after I shower, I simply spray two sprays either directly on my underarms, or 4 sprays into my hands with a couple drops of lavender essential oil. Two sprays per armpit seems about right to me
Lavender is a great essential oil to use because it’s antibacterial in natural, and smells great! Other good options would be tea tree oil, lemon, or sweet orange. All of these are considered safe during pregnancy, but you should always do your own research first.
This is personally the only natural deodorant I’ve found to be effective in the long-run. I’ve tried just about every store brand with minimal success. I’ve also tried a lot of the homemade versions, and they are good, but not enough to stay smelling fresh, especially in the hot humid summers we get in the South!
When I got pregnant the third time around, I noticed a lot less nausea and vomiting as well. So I can personally attest to the fact that it does help! And this is just with the 4 total sprays under my arms each day.
One word of advice- some people say that magnesium oil can burn a bit when applied. I haven’t had any trouble with it under my arms, but have felt some sensitivity on my legs and back. I have applied it on the soles of my feet with out any problems either.
Have you ever tried using magnesium oil before? What was your experience? Please share below!
I love Spring. Beautiful weather, all sorts of flowers and trees blooming, and pollen, beautiful pollen floating through the….. NO! Not allergy season again!!
Unfortunately, each spring my kids and I have an allergy flare up. Growing up, I was on just about every pharmaceutical under the sun in attempt to mananage my allergies and asthma. Now as a mom myself, thankfully I’ve found some effective & natural ways to treat them. First, let’s take a look at what allergies really are all about:
When you understand what’s happening during allergy attacks, treating them naturally seems like plain common sense. First, picture a grain of pollen — it looks something like a spiny sea urchin. Now imagine this prickly invader entering your nasal passages and latching onto soft mucous membranes. These mucous membranes line our bronchial and nasal passages and contain immune cells, called mast cells, which are loaded with histamines. Receptors sit on top of these mast cells, and when an allergen trigger — such as pollen, mold or pet dander — lands on top of the receptor, it alerts the mast cells, which respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals. The histamine initiates a series of reactions designed to help the body get rid of the intruder, including sneezing, watery eyes and itching. For some people, particularly those with asthma, this reaction may also include swelling in the bronchial tubes that makes it difficult to breathe.
Credit: Mother Earth News
So now that we understand exactly what is happening to us, we can search out treatment options. Some obvious ways to prevent an allergy attack is to stay indoors when the pollen count is crazy high, wash hair & body thoroughly after playing/exercising outside, and to maintain a good rest and nutrition routine.
The next line of defense is a simple saline rinse with a Neti Pot. You’ve probably seen these all over recently, even though nasal irrigation is a very old practice. I like and use this particular brand because it is cost-effective, durable, and travels well. It also comes with 50 pre-measured saline packets, so there is no guess work involved.
A Neti pot simply helps the saline solution flow in one side of your nose and rinse the cavities out thoroughly of excess mucus, pollen and other irritants, such as dust and pet dander. A great practice to use all year round, this will absolutely make a huge difference for you and your kids during allergy season.
I recommend a rinse in the morning, after outdoor playtime, and before bed. Just make sure to completely clean out the Neti pot in between uses and allow to dry. Sharing one pot between family members is perfectly fine as long as these simple hygiene practices are followed.
So the Neti Pot helped you say, but you still have some troublesome symptoms? Time to break out my little miracle worker! A homeopathic supplement called Allercetin allergy & sinus.
Allercetin™ Allergy & Sinus is a Bio-Aligned Formula that utilizes natural homeopathic remedies for the treatment of allergies. Allercetin supports multiple body systems involved with hay fever: the respiratory system, sinuses, mucous membranes, histamine inhibition, immune desensitization, and cellular energy.Credit: Source Naturals
This stuff really works! In fact, it has been so effective for me, it is the ONLY supplement for allergies I regularly use!
The key to effectively managing allergies with a homeopathic supplement like this is to make sure you follow the instructions. Natural medicine is taken a bit differently than a standard medicine that is once a day.
Allercetin is taken again just 2-4 hours after the first dose and then as needed. I find it particularly helpful to take a dose (just one chewable tablet) before going outside to garden and then following it up 2 hours later, and then only as needed throughout the day. I usually only need those two doses!
I hope these two natural remedies make it possible for you and your kids to really get out there and enjoy nature instead of having to stay inside and feel miserable.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. You can read all about that here. I am, however, a mom, person, and allergy sufferer on occasion. If your allergies get too out of control, please see a dr. While these natural supplements work great for me, I’ve even had to break out the Benadryl and even a nasal spray on occasion. So no judgement, ok?
It’s gardening season, my friends! To get you started, I’ve got a great give-a-way for one lucky winner- 365 Non-GMO vegetable seeds from seedsnow.com!
Roma Tomato- 75 seeds
Basil- 120 seeds
Cilantro- 90 seeds
Yellow Bell Pepper- 30 seeds
Broccoli- 50 seeds
Year after year I find myself ordering from seedsnow.com. Here’s three main reasons why:
-All their seeds are Non-GMO and very high quality.
-The price is very modest (starting at .99) as well as low shipping (less than gas costs to drive to the garden center!)
-Customer service is the best and they always include a free bonus seed pack in every order. What’s not to love about that?
If you are wondering when to plant your seeds, I recommend using The Old Farmer’s Almanac. You can enter your zip code here and get specific planting dates. Remember, if you missed the planting date, you can always start late- it just means you will harvest later than you could have. No worries!
Dsclaimer: seedsnow.com is not in any way affiliated with this give-a-way. This is simply my way of sharing gardening and seeds with my fabulous readers! All seed counts are approximate and were tested 12/2012. With proper care and storage, seeds can be saved and used for many years to come!
I’ve been blessed with good health all winter long- until the end. Now it seems like every nasty little bug that comes around attacks me and my family. Sound familiar?
Now that I’m expecting our third child, I am even more cautious about what I am putting in and on my body. When my friend introduced me to Thieves® Oil a while back, I was blown away! This stuff was outstanding!
Sadly, my bottle was empty.
Thieves® Oil is an awesome product. I believe Young Living’s Oil to be very high quality and worth every penny. However, I did not have *enough* pennies to buy a $45 bottle plus shipping (on the high side). I did however, have all the essential oils to make my own blend, so I got to experimentin’ :) Here’s what I came up with:
This blend is based on the recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs blog which seems pretty spot on to me. But the proof would be in the blend, so to speak. Here’s what I discovered:
It smells just like my original Thieves Oil! I could not detect any difference.
It worked just as well as my original Thieves Oil! I once again experienced a strong and fast recovery!
It is a fraction of the cost. When counting pennies, this one takes the cake.
It took about 2 minutes to make, and I am very pleased with it. While I had all the oils out, I went ahead and made an extra for a friend that was also sick. Normally I would sort of hoard my Thieves Oil because it was so pricey and I wanted to make sure that every drop was put to good use! This DIY version is great because I can make tons of it for so little, and have extra oils left over for cleaning, diffusing, and other health needs.
Verdict: This one’s a Winner!!!
Since my bottle was out, I reused the original. If you decide to make your own, make sure you store it in a clean, dark colored glass.
Also, I don’t play favorites with essential oils. It is my personal opinion that there are many good oil companies out there including all the big name ones, and plenty of mom-and-pop run stores. I have a variety of oils and like it that way. Feel free to use whatever brand of oils you feel comfortable with, and remember, this is just one frugal green mom’s opinion.
Always do your own research and decide what’s right for you.
Have you ever blended your own oils? What type of outcome did you have?
Please share in the comments below!
Thieves® is a registered trademark of Young Living Essential Oils, LC.
Looking for ways to get free baby clothes? Just follow these easy 7 steps:
Start with friends and family. Let them know that you are happily accepting used clothes for your little bundle of joy.
Post on social network sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Keep it simple- ‘If anyone has used baby clothes they’d like me to take off their hands, please let me know! Thanks!!’
Don’t just limit to those with kids- spread the word to neighbors and friends without kids. They may know someone who has tons of clothes for you!
While many people register for big ticket items, small items, such as clothes, makes a much more affordable price point for those who would like to buy baby a new gift.
Keep selections modest. People will be more inclined to buy items off your registry if they aren’t extravagant (Time to cross off that $30 Organic Onesie!). Register for basics in each size, up to 12 months.
3. Check out free websites
Freecycle- Place a wanted ad, and while you are there, why not list some things you don’t need as well! Save the Earth by ‘freecycling!’
Craigslist- Regularily check the free section- items move fast here. You can create a wanted ad, however, freecycle will provide better results.
Attend or create an event! Invite all other moms to bring their baby clothes and swap them out. Choose a safe location, such as a public park.
This is the perfect opportunity to swap some of the free clothes you have been given. Remember, just because it is not your taste does not mean someone else won’t love it!
Know someone who has awesome baby clothes that you would love? Offer to exchange something they need for clothes.
Consider your talents: Do you garden, bake, or babysit? Carefully leverage your talents- your closet (and possibly wallet!) will be full in no time!
Keep tags and gift receipts (if possible) for all new items.
Take stock of what you already have in each size. Does your baby really need 20 newborn outfits?
Weed out the excess and exchange for clothes in the right season and size.
7. Contact Charities
If your situation is especially dismal, contact local charities. Do a quick web search to see what is available in your area.
Another good place to start is a local church. They may have resources within the church, or at least be able to point you in the right direction.
How is your baby’s closet looking now?! What was your favorite score, and which method worked the best for you? Please leave a comment below!
This article was previously published Sept 2013.