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  • Babies & Kids, Clean Living, Healthy Home

    The Ultimate Healthy Halloween Guide 2021: Costume Ideas, Organic Candy + Candy-Free Treats, and More!

    Every year, toxic ingredients pop up in holiday decor… and Halloween is no different. Exposure to chemicals found in vinyl costumes, masks, candy, and decorations have been linked to behavioral problems, hormonal issues, obesity and even cancer. At the present time, regulations are not put in place to protect us or our children from many of these health-altering toxins, but the good news is, as consumers, we can choose safer alternatives for both our families and world.

    In this guide, we will touch on the following topics:

    • Eco-Friendly Costume + Face Paint Ideas
    • Candy-Free Treat Ideas
    • Organic Halloween Candy
    • Pumpkin Carving & Decorating Tips
    • Switch Witch Idea + Where to Donate Leftover Candy
    • What to Avoid

    Eco-Conscious Costume + Safe Face Painting Ideas

    COSTUMES | Year after year, millions of costumes are mass produced for the sole purpose of being worn for just one day! In 2020, approximately $2.6 billion U.S. dollars were spent on Halloween costumes alone. These cheaply made costumes are often made from polyester with plastic accessories and components that break easily. Talk about ‘fast fashion’! The good news is, there are ways to have a more sustainable Halloween.

    Here are a few Eco-Conscious Costume Ideas that come to mind:

    • Make your own costumes using old clothing, sheets, cardboard boxes, and other households goods! has hundreds of easy DIY costumes for kiddos!
    • Borrow from a friend or neighbor.
    • Rent from a costume shop.
    • Browse a thrift store online or in-person. Poshmark, the Facebook Marketplace and Buy Nothing groups are great places to start.
    • Purchase cute hand-made options from Etsy if you aren’t ready to channel your inner creative genius.
    • Purchase a safer costume option. If you’re looking to purchase an eco-friendly costume this year, you’ll want to consider the following brands: Hanna Andersson, Monica & Andy , Sarah’s Silks, and Magic Cabin.
    • Sustainable Trick-or-Treat Bag. Pull out the pillow cases or purchase a cute, reusable cotton treat bag for your kiddos this year and avoid sending another plastic Halloween bag to the landfill!

    FACE PAINT | Traditional makeup and face paint are often full of some not-so-great ingredients. Ingredients like phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, lead, and other heavy metals pose a significant health risk to us, our children, and our Earth AND can be found in both face paints and everyday cosmetics. Since the FDA does not require the testing of cosmetic products or ingredients prior to them appearing on store shelves, we must be conscious consumers and choose products that are safe for our families.

    Here are a few safe Face Painting Ideas to try this year:

    • Go Green Face Paint is an organic face paint, made in the USA, and tested by Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama. Learn more about her scientific-based testing here.
    • Earth Paint and Elegant Minerals are two other face paint brands that are made in the USA and use natural pigments.
    • Piggy Paint is a great toxin-free nail polish option for little ones.
    • Clean, non-toxic makeup of your own can be used to create just about any look you want to achieve!

    Candy-Free Treat Ideas

    If you’re looking for candy-free options for trick-or-treaters this year, consider the following ideas.

    1. Stickers
    2. Bouncy Balls
    3. Halloween Erasers
    4. Halloween Pencils
    5. Halloween Stamps
    6. Mini Halloween Notepads
    7. Mini Halloween Coloring Books
    8. Slap Bracelets
    9. Mini Bubble Wands
    10. Wikki Sticks
    11. Glow Sticks | Although glow sticks are not an eco-friendly solution, kids really enjoy them for the evening – and adults do too!
    12. Mini Playdough | Not as non-toxic as I’d prefer, it is still a good candy free Trick-or-Treat option.
    13. Granola Bars
    14. Crackers & Snack Packs
    15. Natural Fruit Leather
    16. Made Good Snack Packs
    17. Mini Pumpkins

    Organic Halloween Candy Options

    Whether you have a serious sweet tooth or are looking for healthier Halloween candy options, we’ve got your covered! The following organic candies are a “healthier” option and do not contain artificial flavors, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, or yucky, questionable ingredients.

    Pumpkin Carving + Decorating Tips

    Decorate using natural Halloween decor. Pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds and haystacks are a fall staple in (and around) my home! This natural decor simply screams fall! Best of all, it is compostable and goes right back into the Earth.

    Create DIY Halloween Decorations. Milk jugs, cardboard, and old clothing can all be used to make cool, eco-friendly Halloween decor! Checkout Pinterest for some ideas.

    Purchase a Pumpkin Carving Tools Set made to last! Most tools are made from a cheap metal and flimsy plastic and they NEVER last longer than a year! This carving set is made from wood and stainless steel – a much more eco-friendly alternative that will save you money in the long run!

    Choose a natural beeswax tea candle. Paraffin waxes are made from petroleum and pollute the air we breathe. Opting for a natural beeswax candle with a cotton wick is a much healthier alternative.

    Carve the pumpkin, eat the seeds, & don’t forget to compost!! Pumpkin seeds are full of vitamins and nutrients. Roast the seeds and enjoy a delicious snack after all of your hard work! When the festivities are over, avoid the landfill and remember to compost your pumpkin afterwards. Check out composting some tips here.

    What to Avoid this Halloween

    As an eco-conscious consumer, there are a few things you’ll want to avoid this Halloween:

    Costumes made from from vinyl/PVC. Often masks, shiny or flexible plastics are made from PVC which contains chemicals linked to hormonal problems, lower IQ, and numerous health issues. Costumes containing foam are not great for the environment and most likely contain toxic flame retardants.

    Cheap plastic jewelry. Plastic jewelry often contains are harmful chemicals such as phthalates, plasticizers, and may even contain heavy metals like lead and antimony. Plus, so many cheaply made plastic items break quickly, sending them directly into a landfill!

    Costumes labeled as “Flame Resistant”. This indicates flame resistant chemicals were most likely – unless the product is naturally flame resistant which is NOT the case with most costumes. Flame retardants are known to cause a host of health issues from behavioral problems to cancer.

    Rubber face masks. This may be difficult to avoid if your kiddo just HAS to be his or her favorite superhero… And I get it… it’s only one day, for a few hours. This is one of those “weigh-your-options” scenarios. A few thoughts to consider: 1.) Most are probably made with toxic chemicals and perhaps heavy metals. 2.) Not Eco-friendly and most are not recyclable. 3.) Smell Test: If you can smell that plastic-y smell as soon as it is opened, it is probably something you’ll want to avoid.

    Eh…Glitter. This is a hard one for me! Prior to learning about toxins, this girl was 100% all about glitter! But, the reality is, glitter is bad for the environment and most contain phthalates and other yucky chemicals.

    Faux polyester spider web decor. Not only can birds and other wildlife get caught in this type of web, but more than likely, you will dispose of it the same year you purchased it.

    The festivities are over… What to do with alllll that leftover candy!?

    1. The Switch Witch tradition is a healthy way to enjoy all of the fun, festive Halloween activities without all of the sugary sweets. As the tale goes, the Switch Witch visits your home on Halloween night and swaps out sugary treats for a toy or other goodies! If you don’t want your kiddo to miss out on all of the candy fun, you can throw in some organic candy or simply let them have a few pieces after trick-or-treating. Buy The Tale of the Switch Witch Book on Amazon today by clicking here!
    2. Donate to a good cause! Today wrote an article a while back that shared 6 organizations that accept leftover candy. Now, you can feel good about giving away the goodies! Here’s the list: Treats for Troops, Halloween Candy Buy Back, Operation Gratitude, Operation Trick or Treating for the Troops, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

    Looking for other non-toxic favorites for your family? Check out my Amazon Storefront for my favorite toxin-free products.

    Happy Halloween!!

    Disclosure: This post may contain “affiliate links.” Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched; and products that we use personally, have used and would use in the future. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.


  • Babies & Kids, DIY & Recipes

    Easy Homemade Bath Paint Recipe!

    diy bath paint nontoxic easy

    Unleash your inner artist with this easy-peasy homemade bath paint recipe! Soon, you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful bathtub masterpiece – and best of all, clean-up will be a breeze (you’re welcome, mamas and dadas)!



    1. In a saucepan, whisk cornstarch, water, and soap together until it dissolves and appears pasty.
    2. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir constantly to ensure a smooth consistency.
    3. Lower the heat and continue to stir until the mixture becomes gel-like.
    4. Scoop mixture into airtight containers. Then, add desired food coloring to each and stir. Baby food jars work great – we used these by OXO. If you’d like to make just 1 paint color, you can add the food coloring directly to the saucepan.

    Store any leftover paint in an airtight container and stir well prior to each use as the paint will separate a bit. Happy Painting!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched; and products that we use personally, have used and would use in the future. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Clean Living, Healthy Home

    8 Simple Non-Toxic Swaps To Live Healthier

    Create a healthier life for your family by making simple changes in your day-to-day life and switching to safer alternatives at home is a great start. With that being said, I know first hand how overwhelming it can be, so I’ve created this list to get you started.

    1. Swap Out Your Non-Stick Kitchen Cookware

    Make the switch to a safe alternative like stainless steel, glass, or cast iron. If you can’t switch out all of your non-stick items, replace a few of the most used ones. Teflon is known to cause a host of health problems including cancer, birth defects, reproductive harm, and so much more. Avoid as much as possible. I recommend and use these brands in my home: Calphalon (stainless), Pyrex (glass), Lodge Cast Iron (although I de-seasoned and re-seasoned it due to their current use of GMO oil). Finex Cast Iron is an excellent pan, but you should be aware that the brass handle contains the neurotoxin lead. Consider purchasing the Instant Pot. We use ours all the time and once you get the hang of it, you really become a pro! Plus, it is one of the healthiest ways to cook. Learn more about toxic non-stick (PFOA chemicals) as I explain here.

    2. Ditch Plastic Baggies for Reusable Ones

    Plastic sandwich bags are one of the largest sources of waste for many people. You use it once and it ends up in a landfill. Think about a family of 4 eating lunch on-the-go. A baggie for each sandwich, a baggie for a cookies, a baggie for berries… that is 12 plastic bags per day that ends up in a landfill or 4,380 plastic baggies per year! Switch to non-toxic Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags. Made of platinum grade silicone, they come in a variety of sizes and colors and are free of BPA, PVC, latex, lead, cadmium, and other toxins. You can cook, freeze, store, and more with this safe, eco-friendly option!

    3. Switch to Safe Plates and Cups

    This may sound silly, but did you know plates, bowls, and cups are legally allowed to contain toxins like lead and cadmium? Although over 90 ppm of lead is illegal to use in children’s toys, there aren’t regulations like this when it comes to dinnerware. Glazes, designs, and logos, often do contain high amounts of lead ranging from into the thousands. Clear glass (like Anchor Hocking) or plain white new Corelle dinnerware are safe options. Be aware, older Corelle plates do often contain lead (as confirmed by the company), so it is best to use something no older than 4 or 5 years old. We choose this Corelle set and love it! Learn more about dishes that are free of lead and other heavy metals as explained by Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama here. Tamara has personally tested dozens of my items and is an excellent resource!

    4. Swap Plastic Water Bottles For Stainless or Glass

    Think about how many one-time-use plastic water bottles go into the trash each day. You can easily save money and the environment by ditching the plastic water bottles and using a reusable glass or stainless version instead. Plastic water bottles also have the potential to leach chemicals, especially if exposed to heat. Our favorite bottles: LifeFactory, Contigo, ThinkBaby, KleanKanteen. Be sure to use filtered water too!

    5. Stick to Natural Cleaning Supplies

    Ditch all of the toxic ingredients found in traditional cleaning supplies and air fresheners and opt for safer options. Vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, lemon, tea tree oil clean just as good! There are also several non-toxic brands you can purchase as well. Be aware of greenwashing from companies and be sure to avoid artificial fragrances. Check out the What Mommy Knows Amazon Storefront for recommendations.

    6. Use a ‘Free & Clear” Natural Laundry Detergent

    Please, pleaseee do this – especially if you have little ones at home! Many of the chemicals in traditional detergents, even Dreft, have ingredients that are toxic or known carcinogens. Be sure to always use a ‘Free & Clear’ detergent, although they can also be greenwashed by companies, so you really want to look at the ingredients (I know, I know… why is it so difficult to find safe products?!?) Looking for something now? In my home, we switch between Better Life, Molly’s SudsMeliora, and Eco Nuts (made from just soapberries!)

    7. Replace Soaps and Personal Care Products

    Chemicals lurking in soaps, lotions, shampoos, makeup and other personal care products can wreak havoc on your body. They often use harsh chemicals like triclosan, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, methylisothiazolinone, and fragrance (which may contain up to 3,000 unregulated chemicals!). These are some of my favorite soap and lotion products from clean brands I trust: Better Life, Dr. Bronners, Earth Mama, and Carina Organics.

    8. Switch to a Natural Deodorant

    Traditional deodorants contain chemicals like aluminum and fragrance which have been hotly debated in relation to their health concerns. Opt for natural deodorants instead. After trying quite a few, this one is my absolute favorite – and it actually works!


    Our personal home favorites are linked below.

    P.S. And remember, living cleaner doesn’t happen overnight – so be patient!

    Thanks for reading!

    Looking for more swaps and safe products for your family and home? Check out our Amazon Storefront for personally vetted recommendations.

    Check out these other articles to help you live as clean as can be!

    This post contains affiliate links. Full Disclosure and Disclaimer here.

  • Clean Living, Healthy Home

    The Ultimate Natural Gardening Guide for Busy Moms

    The tedious task of weed pulling, endless watering cycle, and quest for the perfect plant placement all seemed like a daunting task – especially with a 1 year old in tow. But, my need to clean up our yard, plant organic veggies, and enjoy the great outdoors ended up outweighing my distaste for the garden. Now, gardening is something I really enjoy! Not only is there something seriously therapeutic about it, but the reward of your hard work is pretty nice too.

    Whether you’re new to eco-friendly gardening, searching for safe alternatives to use in your little one’s play space, or just looking to for a few good gadgets to use this summer, this list is for you!

    In this article, we will discuss the following: Safe Planters for Veggies, Where To Buy Organic Seeds and Veggies, Natural Pest Control, Sustainable Lawn Tips, What to Avoid, and Eco-friendly Garden Equipment.

    Organic Veggies & Seeds

    organic vegetables and seeds

    Organic Vegetable Plants and Seeds

    As I looked near and far for organic-certified plants and seeds that met my specific criteria, here’s what I finallly found! Backyard Berry Plants (organic berry bushes – we purchased a blueberry!), Azure Standard (live vegetable and fruit plants for your garden bed), and Seeds of Change (organic seeds). I planted mine in raised untreated cedar garden beds!

    Organic Herb Garden Seeds for Planting
    10 Herbs, Plant Markers Gift Set

    This 10 pack value set of USDA organic garden seeds makes gardening easy! Not only can you grow these herbs indoor or out, but they produce pretty flowers as well. Includes: Chamomile Seeds, Lavender Tea Seeds, Lemon Balm Tea Plant Seeds, Catnip Seeds, Cinnamon Basil, Dandelion (not that we need anymore of these!), Echinacea Tea, Fennel Seeds, Marjoram, Peppermint Seeds / Mint Seeds.

    Eco-friendly Garden & Lawn Tools

    Electric Lawn Mower, Manual Mower, or Self-propelled Mowers

    Gas Lawn Mowers are known to produce up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution and according the US Environmental Protection Association (EPA), one gas-powered push mower emits as much hourly pollution as 11 cars! Wow. Imagine how much cleaner our air would be if we all used non-gas powered equipment.

    I own this electric cordless Greenworks mower and absolutely love the how easy it is to maneuver! Another highly recommended, but slightly more expensive electric lawnmower brand is Ego. Both the Greenworks and Ego mowers are ultra quiet compared to a traditional gas mower and best of all, you won’t be inhaling all of the nasty fumes. If you’re looking for a side by side comparison check out this article.

    Hedge Trimmer, String Trimmers, Dethatchers and More

    As for these tools, if you already have the Greenworks lawnmower, I’d recommend the Greenworks brand for any additional electric powered tools you need for your lawn. The same goes if you have the Ego mower. The batteries are easy to swap between tools of the same brand making for an effortless day of yard work! Ha! Recently we purchased the Greenworks dethatcher (we have warm season grass) and so far no complaints!

    Water Right Hose

    This AMAZING hose (yes, I said a HOSE was amazing), is made from NSF and FDA certified polyurethane rather than PVC like most hoses on the market and contains no lead, BPA, phthalates or other toxic chemicals. It is also extremely lightweight, making it super easy for my daughter to drag right through my newly planted vegetable garden! Ha! Water Right sells both stainless steel fittings (tested and confirmed by lead advocate Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama as lead-free) and lead-free brass fittings. Per my conversation with Water Right, their ‘lead-free’ brass fittings contain less than 0.1% lead – the legal standard is anything less than 0.25% is considered ‘lead-free’.

    Options include the 400 Series Slim & Light Hose, 500 Series 1/2 Inch Hose, and 600 Series 5/8 Inch Hose, and the Professional Coil Hose in a variety of fun colors! Made in the USA.

    Wooden Trellis

    Opt for a wooden trellis whenever possible. Wood is 100% biodegradable and if you purchase a cedar one it will last a while! Avoid purchasing a metal trellis unless you know it is 100% stainless steel. Most are galvanized steel which often contain lead and other heavy metals. And as for the plastic trellis… I have yet to find one that is NOT made from PVC – the most toxic plastic.

    Stakes & Twine

    Wooden Stakes, Cotton Twine, 100% Organic Hemp Twine are all useful, natural tools to have in your garden. I use a combination of twine and wooden stakes to create a ‘tomato cage’ for my veggie garden.

    Gardening Gloves

    Hemp, Cotton, Bamboo or Natural Latex Gardening Gloves are your safest options. These cotton gloves come in sizes for kids too!

    Stainless Steel Gardening Tools

    This 3-piece trowel, cultivator, and transplanter set is a must-have for any gardener and is complete with wooden handles!

    Safest Planters for Veggies

    Untreated Cedar Planter Boxes and Raised Garden Beds

    Untreated Cedar Planter Boxes and Raised Garden Beds come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Non-toxic, rot-resistant and one of the safest alternatives that will last a long time! You can also use Pine although it won’t last as long.


    Terracotta is safe for veggies, although you may have to water more frequently. Be sure to choose unglazed versions (as the glazing often contains lead and heavy metals). And remember… let’s help our environment by purchasing real terracotta rather than plastic.

    Avoid pressure treated wood (lots of very toxic chemicals used), galvanized steel (contains lead), and plastic (chemical leaching concerns).

    If you do choose plastic, choose #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE, and #5 PP plastics. Avoid #1, #3 PVC, #6 PS, and #7 PC. These can leach chemicals over time into your garden soil. The good news is, most plastic planters now-a-days are made from #5 polypropylene plastic. If the planter is scratched or worn, discard as it tends to leach more chemicals as the warm summer sun breaks down the materials.

    Natural Weed Control & Sustainable Lawn Care

    Hand-pick weeds.

    By hand-picking weeds, you are avoiding the use of toxic chemical pesticides and herbicides hence protecting your family and the environment.

    Use Vinegar, Baking Soda, Soap, Salt, Boiling Water, or Borax.

    Vinegar, baking soda, soap, salt, boiling water and borax are all natural ways to control weeds in your yard. When using vinegar be sure to choose the highest strength like this one that we use in our home.

    Corn. Gluten. Meal.

    Corn gluten meal is a natural way to prevent weed seeds from germinating. We apply once in the spring and once in the fall. This organic option is our go-to.

    Use cardboard or burlap as a weed barrier.

    Last year we laid old cardboard boxes down prior to planting and mulching. It helped protect our plants and keep weeds from creeping through. Plus, it is eco-friendly! Natural, untreated burlap like this one is another good option.

    Consider a Flame Weeder.

    A Flame Weeder like this one doesn’t attack the root of the weed, so you may have to use it a few times, but it does work for all types of unwanted weeds. Use caution!

    Avoid mowing the grass too short.

    When you mow your grass too short, weeds will thrive and overpower your lawn! As the saying goes, “if the grass doesn’t shade the weed, the weed will shade the grass.” Mowing higher also helps protect your soil and leads to thicker grass.

    Mulching around plants and trees.

    Mulching around plants and trees helps to keep weeds at bay, retain moisture, and improve soil conditions. Just remember not to put too much mulch up against the trunk of a tree or you risk decay. As a rule of thumb… mulch should be at least 5 inches from the trunk and no more than 2-4 inches deep. Avoid those ‘volcano mulch piles’.

    Use an organic fertilizer.

    If you are in need of a fertilizer, choose organic and apply in spring and fall. Although this is not necessary, we love this one!

    Water New Plants Often.

    When planting a new plant, tree, or shrub be sure to water it often (every day) so that the roots can become established. Tip: Stick your finger into the soil to check the moisture level.

    Test the pH of your soil.

    Clover and other “weeds” can become a problem if your soil is too acid or too alkaline. If your soil pH is below 6.0, add lime. If your soil is above 7, add sulfur. Grass loves a pH of about 6.5.

    Dandelions thrive in alkaline soil with a pH of about 7.5.

    Make sure the pH of your grass isn’t too high and if it is be sure to lower it to avoid dandelions if you consider them weeds!

    Clover thrives when your lawn lacks nitrogen.

    If you have an abundance of pesty clover, add nitrogen back into your soil with an organic fertilizer.

    Have a serious weed problem? Consider mowing twice a week until it is under control.

    The mower will chop off the fast growing weeds, allowing sunlight to penetrate the grass below.

    Rock hard soil?

    Add a layer of good compost in the fall or make your own!

    Aerate and over seed.

    Aerate and over seed very couple of years to maintain proper soil and grass health. It is recommended to aerate once in the spring and then again in the fall.

    Consider a Rain Barrel.

    You’ll save money by using what nature gives us for free – water when it rains! Check out this barrel made in Canada.

    Or just accept and enjoy the weeds!

    Natural Pest Control

    100% Neem Oil

    100% Neem Oil is a natural oil that keeps bugs like mosquitoes and aphids out of your garden. This 100% Neem Oil works great and is completely non-toxic!

    Diatomaceous Earth

    Diatomaceous Earth is an odorless, non-toxic natural powder that has many uses in the garden and home. This Diatomaceous Earth is our go-to for natural pest control that repels ants (and other insects)! Be sure to sprinkle a thick enough line where the pests crawl.

    Mint and Lavender

    Mint and lavender are two plants that are said to keep aphids, ants, and rodents away. Although, I’ve never had a problem with rodents in my yard, I do grow both of these seasonally! Keep in mind, mint will spread like crazy! So it is best to keep it in a container.

    Citronella plants

    Citronella plants really help keep away mosquitoes and other pests.

    Citrus Peels

    Citrus peels help keep bugs like spiders away.


    Cedar is naturally rot-resistant and helps to keep bugs at bay. Try using cedar wood chips or planters around your garden.

    Soil, Wood Chips, Mulch, and Amendments

    Untreated grass

    Untreated grass is an excellent choice for children’s play areas and your home! Of course.

    Untreated, uncolored mulch

    Untreated, uncolored mulch (Colored mulches often use unsafe dyes and added chemicals). We recently purchased some from the Mulch Center, but you can always check at your local store.

    Untreated wood chips or Engineered Wood Fiber

    Untreated wood chips or Engineered Wood Fiber are great options that are safe for play areas. We used naturally rot and insect resistant cedar in my daughter’s play space.


    Soil is best when it is organic, so I always make sure to choose this for my vegetable garden – I don’t want pesticides or heavy metals where I’m planting my veggies! Two options I used this year, both OMRI Certified: Happy Frog and Whitney Farms (Disclosure: Whitney Farms is owned by Scott’s and in general, I tend to avoid products connected to Monsanto such as Scott’s, Bayer, and Miracle Grow are products I tend to avoid due to their connection with Monsanto). As for other areas, on occasionally, I will buy a less expensive organic or whatever is readily available. Living life by the 80/20 rule!

    DIY Potting Soil

    Check out Tippy’s Produce and learn how to make your own DIY soil!

    Rocks and stone

    Rocks and stones can add a beautiful hardscape to your outdoor space. A few things to keep in mind: 1.) Difficult to relocate 2.) Cost $$ 3.) It may be difficult to grow plants. 4.) Heavyyyy


    Composting is excellent for your soil and can be done for free at home! If you don’t want a compost bin outside of your home, you can always collect food scraps in a kitchen composter, blend, and then use immediately in your garden! You can also bury banana peels and other scraps to add nutrients to your soil. Be sure to add “browns” to your kitchen “greens” such as leaves, pine needs, etc.

    Look for OMRI Certification

    When choosing soil, compost and other gardening materials, it is best to look for organic OMRI certified products. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an international nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing. Search here.

    What to Avoid in your Yard & Garden

    Artificial Turf, Artificial Mulch and ‘Crumb Rubber’

    Artificial turf, artificial mulch, and “crumb rubber” can be loaded with toxic chemicals that off-gas year round, but especially when heated. Artificial turf/mulch made from rubber or recycled tires often contains neurotoxins like lead and a host of chemicals known to cause cancer along with reproductive and endocrine harm among other issues.

    Car Tires & Products Made from Recycled Car Tires

    Car tires (or products made from recycled car tires) contain hundreds of known carcinogens and have no place around children or in our garden beds. They contain heavy metals like cadmium and lead, mercury, acetone, and off-gas causing the chemicals to be inhaled by those on the playground.

    Avoid products with glyphosate and other “Weed and Feed” products.

    Chemicals in these products are hazardous to our health and linked to a host of diseases, health issues and cancer.

    Pressure Treated Wood

    Pressure treated wood uses toxic chemicals when manufactured that can leach into your soil. Arsenic is one of those chemicals. Although there are different ways companies pressurize wood these days, it is still something I steer clear of.

    Galvanized Steel

    Galvanized steel very often contains high amounts of lead and other hazardous toxins that you wouldn’t want around your children or garden. Use stainless steel instead. See Galvanized Chicken Wire below.

    Galvanized Chicken Wire

    Galvanized chicken wire is often used around gardens and often contains extremely high amounts of lead and cadmium, far above the acceptable level! Choose a stainless steel version like this one. Here is Tamara Rubin, Lead Safe Mama’s most recent post on testing galvanized products including chicken wire. In one example, galvanized chicken wire contained over 2,000 ppm of lead! 90 is the allowable amount in children’s toys (although it should be ZERO, in my opinion).

    Learn more:
    How to Improve Garden Soil with Amendments
    Chemical Watch: 2,4D present in herbicides
    Children and Athletes at Play on Toxic Turf and Playgrounds
    Artificial Turf: Metal Analysis

    Check out the WhatMommyKnows Amazon Storefront for more of my garden favorites!

    Thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched and use personally or would use. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids

    Best Outdoor Toys for 2022

    When I was a kid, the great outdoors captured some of my fondest memories and it seems my daughter has the same love for outdoor adventure as I do. Here are some of our favorite, safe outdoor must-haves!

    Step 2 Naturally Playful Sandbox

    Why I love it: This neutral sandbox is made from durable, hard polypropylene plastic (PVC-free), and made in the USA. It doesn’t fade in the sun, can double as a pool or even be used as a flower garden!

    Why I don’t: First, the lid doesn’t seal completely, but I haven’t really found a sandbox lid that does. Secondly, it’s plastic – but, at least it is made from the safest plastic available and has many uses after it’s original intended purpose.

    Step 2 plastics are made from polyethylene (#2 or #4) or polypropylene (#5).

    Berlin Flyer Ride Sport Wagon, All Terrain

    Why I love it: Made in the USA, this wagon is sturdy can hold 300 lbs! Complete with removable solid hardwood sides and air filled tires (not foam filled for this version), it really is an all-terrain wagon that is built to last. PLUS, it is easy enough to maneuver for my 2.5 year old daughter!

    Why I don’t: The bottom isn’t made from solid wood.

    Previously, we were gifted a similar Radio Flyer wagon. The back broke off within minutes of it’s first day of use. And although we were issued a refund, I do not recommend Radio Flyer for this safety reason.

    Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

    Why I love it: Perfect for hours of fun with your little one. Out of all the water tables I’ve looked at, this one seemed most fun (and really is)! Made in the USA of polypropylene plastic (#5).

    Why I don’t: Just plastic!

    Micro Kickboard – Mini Deluxe 3-Wheeled

    Why I love it: This super sturdy, lightweight scooter is perfect for your little one age 2-5! I love the adjustable handle bar and all of the color options! The handle bars use silicone grips rather than PVC too. We have this version, which includes LED light up wheels. And they make a larger version for kids age 5-12!

    Why I don’t: Made in China (hard to find items like this that aren’t!). A bit on the pricier side, but the quality is excellent compared to the competition so in my book, this was well worth it.

    Includes a 2 year manufacturers warranty.

    Little Colorado Child’s Picnic Table

    Why I love this: This solid pine kids picnic table, comes in a variety of colors and is partially assembled upon arrive. You have the option to purchase unfinished and finish to your liking. Little Colorado makes quality products all made in the USA, in Colorado!

    Why I don’t:
    No complaints yet!

    Play Platoon Spider Web Tree Swing – 40 Inch Diameter

    Why I love it: This easy to install swing has a 600 lb weight limit! It is lightweight and free of metal chains, so I don’t have to worry about the momentum of a heavy swing injuring my child.

    Why I don’t: Made in China.

    Backyard Discovery Timberlake All Cedar Wood Playhouse

    Why I love it: Made from Cedar, large window openings, and super cute!

    Why I don’t: After two years of use, the plastic hinge on the door broke. We reattached it with a stainless hinge. Not too big of a deal?

    Looking for something a bit bigger, but don’t want to commit to a full blown ‘swing set with tree house’? I love this All Cedar Scenic Playhouse – especially if you want a clubhouse you can climb up to!

    Note: Made in Maine, Cedarworks Playsets are the absolute top-of-the-line for play sets, both outdoor and indoor. They are built from high-quality white cedar and non-toxic all around, but they are $$$. Additionally, they have cute chairs, benches and other backyard items for kids that aren’t as expensive as their full sets. I highly recommend this brand if you are willing to dish out the dough – their products will last a lifetime.

    Strider Balance Bike

    Why I love it: Perfect for ages 18 months to 5 years. An adjustable seat and handlebars, plus a 2 year factory warranty make this a no-brainer. Made in the USA.

    Why I don’t: There is always a concern with black plastic containing heavy metals like lead unless specifically tested.

    The Banwood Bike is another super cute option complete with a basket that my daughter adores! It is BPA, BPS, PVC and phthalate free.

    Lifetime Climbing Dome

    Why I love it: This sturdy climbing dome is made from metal, free of heavy metals like lead and built to last! The brand offers a variety of colors and sizes too!

    Why I don’t: It’s more expensive than plastic competitors

    Best Floor Sand & Water Table American Plastic Toys Sand & Water Playset is perfect for floor play and is made with BPA and phthalate-free plastic. Made in the USA with domestically sourced plastic and materials.

    Best Pool for Toddlers: Step2 Play & Shade Pool made in the USA from polypropylene plastic (#5). Perfect for your little one!

    Best Watering Can & Bucket Sets: Green Toys Watering Can Toy and Green Toys Sand Play Set with Bucket Made in the USA from 100% recycled milk jugs, Green Toys are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They contain no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings unlike many other plastics.

    Best Bubbles: Pustefix Bubbles are the best (and safest) bubbles you will ever buy! They produce tons of bubbles with just one blow. Trust me – they will not disappoint! Made in Germany.

    Best Croquet Set: Plan Toys Wooden Croquet Set is sustainably crafted from chemical free rubberwood, formaldehyde-free glues, organic pigments, water based dyes, and tested to meet and exceed North American and European toy standards! Plan Toys is one of my favorite, most trusted brands. Made in Thailand.

    Best Wooden Toddler Swing: EcoTribe Wooden Horse Made from chemical- free, untreated wood, this swing is perfect for ages 6 months to 3 years. We use it both indoors and out!

    Best Ball: Crocodile Creek Heavy-duty inflatable balls that are made from high-quality natural and synthetic rubber. PVC & BPA Free. *Personally, I wish they were made from natural rubber only, but unlike most play balls on the current market, they are at least PVC and BPA free. If you find one, let me know!

    Best Jump Rope: Green Toys Jump Rope Made from 100% recycled plastic with a 100% cotton rope this jump rope is BPA-free, PVC- free, and Phthalates-free. Made in the USA.

    Explore more of our outdoor toy favorites including bikes and trikes, swings and things, plus water, sand and land toys by visiting our Outdoor Toys section on our Amazon Storefront. Enjoy the sunshine & thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Beauty

    Mother’s Day Gift Guide

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Being a mama myself, these are some of my favorite non-toxic, eco-friendly must-haves that mom will actually use AND love!

    1. Dry Farms Wine Subscription
      Dry Farms Wine delivers the highest quality organic, biodynamic wines directly to your door.  Free of yucky additives and lab-tested for purity, this is one gift your mom won’t be ‘wine-ing’ over! Choose your favorite red, white, rose, or sparkling vino to send as one time gift or purchase a membership for your mama this Mother’s Day! 
    2. Life Factory Glass Wine Glasses
      Life Factory’s glass + silicone wine glasses are perfect for summer backyard BBQ’s! These dishwasher safe glasses are free of toxic BPA/BPS-free, phthalate-free, lead free and made in the USA. I love that Life Factory is a super conscious and reputable brand!
    3. Big Dipper Wax Works Aromatherapy Apothecary Glass
      Big Dipper candles are handmade in Seattle using only 100% beeswax and pure essential oils, complete with a cotton, lead-free wick. Moms will enjoy the candle’s clean and soot free burn for 25 hours!
    4. Lorena Canals Basket / Tote
      Made of natural and recycled cotton, this cute 2-in-1 basket can be used as home decor or on-the-go as a stylish tote!
    5. Manduka eKO Lite Yoga Mat
      The comfortably cushion eKO Lite Yoga Mat is made from biodegradable, non-harvested, natural tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-azo dyes. The mat is 99% latex free and a great alternative to mats composed of toxic PVC and phthalates. I also love the thinner, travel sized version!
    6. Organic Cotton Knit Throw
      This ultra-comfy GOTS certified organic knit is perfect for snuggles with your little one any time of the year!
    7. Magnolia Organics Shredded Rubber Pillow – Queen
      Disclaimer: I LOVE this pillow! Seriously, though. It’s. The. Best. This organic, hypoallergenic pillow is stuffed with natural shredded latex – straight from the rubber tree – and is free of all petroleum products! The GOTS Certified organic cotton case is made without the use of pesticides, herbicides or heavy metals ensuring a restful night’s sleep for the tired mama. Looking for the icing on the cake? Add this super comfy GOTS certified organic cotton sheet set!
    8. Juice Beauty Green Apple Firming Body Moisturizer
      Plus Zoya Nail Polish!
      Juice Beauty is one of my favorite brands and one of the cleanest brands out there for makeup and skin care. This affordable firming moisturizer combines rich jojoba, shea butter and a brightening complex of organic apple, lemon and grape juices to leave you with silky, soft skin! Zoya Nail Polish is free of the top 10 traditional polish toxins making it the perfect add-on gift for mama’s with kiddos!
    9. Instant Pot
      Are you ready to make your life 10x’s easier and have less dirty cookware in the sink? The Instant Pot is a 6-in-1 appliance can steam, warm, and pressure cook your food up to 70% faster! The IP (as I like to call it!) is complete with a stainless steel inside which means no leaching plastic. Perfect for the busy mom-on-the-go! I even used this to make my own healthy baby food!
    10. Chemex
      Attention Coffee Lover’s Everywhere!!! Time to toss the Keurig. The Chemex carafe will change the way you drink coffee forever. This stylish glass coffee system is made from 100% tempered borosilicate glass resulting in a clean, fresh (plastic-free!) taste every time. Perfect for hot and iced beverages! One of my favorite kitchen items!

      BONUS BEAUTY ITEM!: Quartz Roller
      I love, love, love this roller! It’s perfect for reducing stress and relieving muscle tension. Plus, eases wrinkles and more!

    Looking for more ideas? Check out our Amazon Storefront!

    Thanks for reading!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Beauty, Clean Living

    10 Natural Makeup Brands You Will Love!

    nontoxic makeup

    Personally, I. LOVE. Make-up. The flawless skin coverage, carefully contoured lines, and “effortless” look of beauty are oh-so-rewarding. But, I never considered all of the chemicals my face was soaking in on a daily basis, which is anything but glamorous!

    Did you know your face soaks up 5-10x’s more chemicals than your body? Since I’ve learned of the dangers of chemicals in cosmetics, I’ve switched to healthier, natural, organic alternatives.

    The good news is, there are many natural beauty products on the market and the list continues to grow as companies learn what the consumer truly wants: healthy, safe products.

    After endless hours, days, months, years… and decades (just kidding!) researching and testing products, I’ve come up with some of my personal favorite brands. Each brand is free of harmful chemicals including sulfates (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and much more!

    1. Juice Beauty

    My Favorite Brand For Make-up & All Around Skin Care! Juice Beauty products are made with certified organic ingredients, sustainable packaging, zero animal bi-products (vegan!) and are never tested on animals (cruelty free!). Juice Beauty products are formulated with organic botanical juice, rather than petroleum fillers or water, which means your skin is getting more antioxidants and nutrients than ever before! Made in the U.S.A.

    My Picks: Foundation, Concealer, and Liquid Lip.

    2. 100% Pure

    The brand’s natural, pure formulations are completely free of artificial colors and use fruit, vegetable, tea, and plant pigments rather than synthetic dyes. 100% Pure is free of artificial fragrances, synthetic chemical preservatives, and all other toxins. Cruelty-free. Made in the U.S.A.

    My Pick: Mascara and if you like a bit of a shimmer, you will love this Eye-shadow.

    3. Ilia

    Ilia products are carefully crafted with natural ingredients that protect your skin from everyday environmental stress. The product line is also vegan, silicone-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, nanoparticle-free, paraben-free beauty products and comes in sustainable, recyclable packaging! Made in the U.S.A.

    My Picks: Bronzing Powder and the Multistick

    4. Au Naturale

    As one of the cleanest overall brands on this list, Au Naturale uses USDA Certified Organic ingredients whenever possible with the exception of the minerals they use to pigment the cosmetics (since the pigments were never living, they cannot be considered organic). Paraben-free, gluten-free, bismuth oxychloride-free, non-nano, carmine-free, vegan, and cruelty-free (both PETA-approved and Leaping Bunny Certified). Made in the U.S.A.

    My Pick: Au Naturale Vegan Organic Lip Gloss in Magnolia

    5. Tata Harper

    Tata Harper’s highly concentrated beauty products are jam packed with vitamins and nutrients in addition to being 100% free from all fillers, synthetics, artificial colors, fragrances, and GMOs. Tata Harper also uses 100% post consumer materials in their packaging and hold the following certifications: PETA Cruelty-Free, American Vegetarian Association, FSC certified, and ECO-Cert Certifications. Made in the USA.

    My Pick: Tata Harper Anti-aging Neuropeptide Highlight

    6. W3ll People

    Made using natural ingredients and no chemical fillers, W3ll People is also cruelty-free and vegan! If you are going for a “natural” look, this affordable product line is for you. Made in the U.S.A.

    My Pick: Bio Brightening Powder and Bio Baked Bronzer Powder

    7. RMS Beauty

    Formulated using organic, natural ingredients, RMS products are non-gmo, non-nano, hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, soy-free, and cruelty-free. RMS Beauty is (mostly) gluten-free with the exception of their volumizing mascara which contains wheat starch. Made in Thailand.

    My Pick: Wild With Desire Lipstick and Lipliner

    8. Mineral Fusion

    Mineral Fusion is formulated using natural ingredients. All ingredients are gluten-, paraben-, talc-, SLS-, phthalate-free and also free of artificial colors, synthetic fragrances. Mineral Fusion is perfect for the mid-price range, non-toxic beauty products. Cruelty-free. Made in the U.S.A.

    My Pick: Blush

    9. Lawless

    With the tag line “Clean AF”, Lawless creates naturally high pigmented colors, free of common toxic ingredients like fragrance, formaldehyde, coal tar, mineral oil, and much more. A clean option, but not the absolute cleanest due to their use some artificial coloring and a few other questionables. Cruelty-free. Made in the USA and Europe.

    My Pick: Lipstick

    10. Pacifica

    Formulated using natural pigments, without harmful chemicals like carmine, phthalates, petroleum and silicone. Pacifica is moderately priced, 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free. Again, another clean brand in general, but beware of artificial fragrance in some of their products. Made in the U.S.A.

    My Pick: Eye-shadow Palette

    Other Considerations

    Beauty Counter and Crunchi Cosmetics
    are two other brands you may want to consider. In general, their products are clean and many people love them! But I am a little skeptic of MLM’s and personally don’t purchase their products – mainly because I’ve found other truly transparent brands that I love! Both have had some controversy regarding their products and ingredient disclosure information – even so, I would for sure choose either over conventional products.

    What about beauty brands that claim to be ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘non-toxic’ and ‘clean’? Numerous brands use ‘clean’ words as a part of their marketing strategy, but in fact, are not clean at all. They may contain some organic ingredients, but also often contain ingredients that are harmful and shouldn’t be in products at all. Some of these ‘bad’ ingredients to look out for include, but are not limited to, sulfates, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, talc, heavy metals, and fragrance. Fragrance can include up to 3000 unregulated chemicals including phthalates and other chemicals. Steer clear!

    Pro Tip: Always check the labels as ingredients may change.

    I’m ready to enhance my natural beauty. Where can I buy clean beauty products?

    Visit The Detox Market, Safe & Chic, or AILLEA online or shop my personal favorites on Amazon for a plethora of pure beauty products all at your finger tips! Additionally, some clean products are sold at Target, Whole Foods, and Sephora,

    Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow along on social media!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Clean Living, Healthy Home

    Top 10 Tips to Detox Your Home

    Simple changes can help you to “breathe a little easier” leading to healthier home life for your and your family!

    Environmental pollutants are a part of our every day lives. Cleaning products, pesticides, synthetic building materials, furniture, paint, and an abundance of other chemicals can wreak havoc on your home and your health.

    According to the EPA, “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors,1 where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.2

    Take steps towards a healthier, happier home with


    1. Open windows and air out house daily.

    This is a great way to release harmful chemicals from the interior of your home. Plus, who doesn’t love the benefits of fresh air!? Airing out new furniture is another great way to lessen the effects of chemicals which may enter your home – a few days outside or in the garage will do the trick. And lastly, if you’re looking to really take your indoor air quality to a whole new level while eliminating allergens, viruses, and pollution you can purchase a high quality air purifier like the Austin Air or Air IQ.

    2. Do not wear shoes inside.

    Wearing shoes inside brings in all sorts of “yuck” including pesticides, bacteria, feces, dirt, allergens, neurotoxins like lead, and so much more. This is one rule I am so glad I have in place.

    3. De-clutter your home.

    If you haven’t used it in 2 years or more, donate it! It’s basically just a dust collector at this point. Household items, flooring, cleaning products, and furniture all shed chemicals that end up in dust throughout our home. We breathe these chemicals in or may even ingest them accidentally by touching a contaminated surface, and then prepping food.

    4. Avoid plastic cookware and non-stick pans (AKA Teflon).

    Cook with stainless steel, cast iron, and glass instead of plastic or non-stick. Both plastic and non-stick pans are not only bad for our environment, but can leach harmful chemicals known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm, impair immunity among other health problems. Additionally, non-stick pots and pans, contain harmful PFOS chemicals which are known to leach during the cooking process. Learn more about safe dinnerware here.

    “The Devil We Know” is an award-winning documentary on Netflix which exposes the chemical industry’s cover-up of the detrimental effects of the chemical. And if you’re into documentaries, check it out! It is very informative and interesting!

    5. Eliminate disposable products from your home and switch to reusable alternatives – including water bottles!

    Globally, more than a million plastic water bottles are sold every minute! In the U.S., only 30% ever end up getting recycled which means the rest are tossed into landfills or pollute our ocean and waterways. Plastic bottles are known to leach chemicals too – use glass or stainless reusable water bottles instead. Plastic sandwich baggies, utensils, straws and takeout containers are great things to eliminate as well! All of these items can be replaced with eco-friendly, non-toxic versions – such as Stasher Bags, Glass, Silicone, or Stainless straws, and reusable glass containers, like Pyrex.

    6. Invest in a water filtration system.

    Drinking Water / Sink Filtration | A good water filter, filters out heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and an abundance of other chemicals. Most important of all is to be sure your home has a quality drinking water filtration system. We have the Pure Effects Ultra Under-the-Counter System, which filters out an extensive amount of contaminants and with every component made in the USA. The owner, Igor, is also very knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions you may have.

    Whole Home Filtration | Chemicals in your city’s water can irritate your skin causing eczema and other skin problems. Both Aquasana and Friends of the Water have excellent systems that I’d recommend for Whole Home Filtration Systems.

    Water Pitchers | Just looking for a good water pitcher rather than a whole system? Check out on Zero Water 10 Oz. Pitcher or this Zero Water 40 Oz. Pitcher!

    PRO TIP: If choosing between a whole house or sink filter, go with the sink (since it is most important to filter out what we are ingesting). Another good option is to use a bath filter or shower filter like these in addition to the sink filter if you cannot add a whole home system.

    7. Vacuum often to keep dust and dirt at bay.

    A true HEPA vacuum encapsulates the smallest amount of dust in a bag, forces all of the air through the HEPA filter, and allows none of the air to exit the vacuum. Dustless and VacMaster are two great options! We personally own this VacMaster which has a certified HEPA filter that is 99.97 percent efficient up to 0.3 microns and complies with the EPA’s new Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Act (RRP). While the vacuum is larger (and heavier) than a commercial vacuum, I do lug this thing up and down the stairs at least once per week – once you try it, you’ll know why! It really picks up every single speck of dust. P.S. Don’t forget to vacuum furniture and mattresses too! Dust often “traps” chemicals so be sure to dust with a wet rag rather than a traditional duster or dry cloth which will cause the dust to disperse back into the air.

    8. Use a VOC-free paint.

    Here’s the thing: just because a paint says “low VOC” or “no VOC” doesn’t mean it truly is and also doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain other chemicals which may be harmful to our health.

    Ecos Paint is my #1 pick and the cleanest I’ve found. Ecos also has safe varnishes, stains, and more. Plus, it is virtually odorless!

    Benjamin Moore Natura line is another good option that I use from time to time in my home. Just like Ecos paint, the Natura line is virtually odorless.

    Milk paint is harder to work with in my opinion, but usually very clean in terms of chemicals as it is made with casein.

    9. Replace your air filters in your furnace and maintain your humidifier.

    Air filter replacement should be at least every 2-3 months to keep energy bills low, prevent damage to your furnace, and discourage buildup in duct work, and effectively filter particles and contaminates. If you have allergies, pets, live in a larger home or polluted city, consider changing every 6-8 weeks. Additionally, it is important to ensure proper working order of your home humidifier since moisture causes mold growth and bacteria which is not only dangerous to your health, but can worsen allergies and cause an even bigger problem down the road.

    10. Test home for radon, mold, and other toxins.

    Fix accordingly. Radon is a odorless, colorless gas that is known to cause cancer and is the second leading cause of lung cancer is in the United States. Mold can cause allergies, asthma, and other ailments. The best way to control mold is to control moisture. Purchase home radon, mold, and lead test kits to ensure the safety of your family. Then, re-mediate, if necessary. Always consult a professional to be sure.

    Practice natural lawn care & safe pest control.

    Use alternatives instead of highly concentrated chemicals like the cancer-causing glyphosate that contaminates our soil and our food. Pesticides are harmful to not only the person spraying the chemical, but also to children, pets and people who play on the surface. Chemicals in pesticides often contain ingredients that are banned or restricted in other countries and are a threat to our environment in addition to being suspected endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins, and probable carcinogens. For ways to practice ‘greener’ lawn care consider a rain barrel, composting, over-seeding and purchasing an electric lawnmower instead of gas. Be sure to check out my posts Natural Weed & Pest Control for a Sustainable Lawn and The Ultimate Natural Gardening Guide for Busy Moms.

    “If just 20% of US homeowners switched to electric mowers, 84,000 fewer tons of carbon monoxide would be emitted into the air each year, saving the average user 73% in total energy costs.” – GreenSeal.Org

    Looking for eco-friendly, non-toxic replacements to commonly used items, but don’t know where to start? Check out my recommendations on my Amazon Storefront here.

    Additional Reading:

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Therefore, if you click on a link and purchase the item, we may receive a small commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and have extensively researched. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

  • Babies & Kids

    15 Items NOT to Add to Your Baby Registry

    what not to register for baby

    Creating a baby registry can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you have all of the essentials, plus any extras that will make your life a little bit easier as you adjust to parenthood. But, what are some items you actually don’t need? Below are a few items to pass up.

    Here’s What Not to Register for…

    1. Crib Bumpers.

    The AAP strongly advises against the use of bumpers, stating bumpers increase the risk of suffocation and strangulation. Before I had my daughter, I had no idea how dangerous bumpers were and even purchased a pretty pink one to match her bedroom set. Needless to say, the only use it got was as decor before she was born.

    2. Baby Detergent (like DREFT).

    I cannot express this enough: DREFT should NOT be used on babies. It drives me crazy that it is marketed as a baby product when in reality the amount of chemicals can cause so many issues for little ones (and adults too!) Let me also say, I was guilty of using this very early on for a few loads of laundry prior to tossing it. A free and clear detergent like this one is a great option, but any free and clear detergent will be so much better for your little one!

    3. Baby Magic Bullet.

    Coming from someone who made all of her own baby food, there is absolutely no need for a Baby Magic Bullet. It does the same exact thing as a blender or food processor. Check out my post on how to make your own baby food for some tips!

    4. Sterilizer.

    OK – I’m guilty of purchasing one of these and we did actually use it. But, you technically don’t need one. You can easily boil your baby’s bottles and pacifiers in hot water on the stove or run them through your dishwasher on the ‘hot water’ cycle and ‘heat dry’ cycle.

    5. Diaper Pails.

    This is one thing I registered for and realllyyy wish I didn’t. Yes, we did use it when we changed my daughter in her room, but if we were downstairs changing her we would just throw the diaper in the regular garbage provided that it wasn’t a huge blow out! Plus, OMG, that smell of opening it after a day or two is horrendous (I know, some of your moms know EXACTLY what I mean – LOL). With that being said, IF you MUST have one of these, this one did work well for what its worth.

    6. Diapers.

    I’d register for a few if you’d like, but don’t go overboard! As time goes on, you will learn which brands work best for your little one. Also, if you do register for diapers, don’t register for the newborn size as many babies don’t even use them. Skip right to size 1.

    7. Baby Powder.

    You really shouldn’t use powder on your baby. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against it. Simply pat their little booty dry! And if your baby has a diaper rash? Use a little ointment like this one to soothe and protect their skin. Lastly, I must add… Johnson and Johnson (a company I do not recommend) finalllyy pulled all of their baby powder off of the shelf after numerous lawsuits regarding asbestos contaminated powders.

    8. Wipe Warmers. 

    The thought of a cool wipe on your babies bum may freak you out, but it is so much less traumatic than you may think. A wipe warmer is much more hassle than it is worth and some say it even dries out the wipes faster! Save your money for something else.

    9. Bumbos.

    What is a bumbo?! Something you don’t need! Babies absolutely do not need to sit before they are able. Plus, it can be dangerous if the baby tips over (the strap doesn’t help!) and doesn’t help with development.

    10. Changing Table.

    Hear me out… I am not saying you don’t NEED a changing table, although many people do just fine changing their little one on the bed, but I am saying it would be a better use of your time, money and space to register for a dresser and changing table topper instead.

    11. Exersaucers, Jumpers, and the dreaded Walkers.

    Let me begin by saying, walkers should never be used. They are banned in Canada and should be banned in the USA. The amount of children who fall down the stairs and severely injure themselves from these things is frightening. As for exersaucers and jumpers… Our pediatrician always said to avoid these, but some people feel mixed about the issue. From what I’ve researched, exersaucers and jumpers can hinder development and may cause hip issues. If you are looking for something to occupy your little one while you make lunch, purchase a playpen like this one instead.

    12. Baby Hats & Mittens.

    I have a million of these little ornamental hats and mittens and have only used them a couple times. Of course, you will need winter hats and gloves, but those little hats for wearing around the house? You can skip. The same goes for those little mittens. The reality is, mittens are rarely needed and some hospitals even discourage it. We always just kept our baby’s nails short to prevent scratching.

    13. A Zillion Baby Outfits.

    Babies grow so quickly and you’ll never believe how many outfits my daughter has wore once or not at all. Plus, you’ll definitely receive them as gifts when the baby is born so no need to add them to your registry.

    14. Baby Shoes.

    Baby shoes are so cute, so irresistible … and so impractical. These little things end up on the floor in .2 seconds! Stick with socks until your little one begins walking. After all, barefoot is best for foot development!

    15. Baby Blankets.

    You’ll receive plenty of baby blankets without adding them to your registry and soon you’ll be swimming in blankets galore!

    Looking for product recommendations you’ll love? Click here to view my Amazon Storefront! Thank you for your support.

    Additional Reading Sources:
    Injuries Associated with Infant WalkersAAP Publication
    Baby Walkers: A Dangerous  

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched; and products that we use personally, have used and would use in the future. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.