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Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Is it just me or or does it seem like it’s ALWAYS flu season or just about to BE flu season? As if that weren’t enough to worry about, we now have the Coronavirus to contend with pretty much everywhere in the world. Keeping our hands clean is always good but now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we wash them for 20 seconds with soap OR use hand sanitizer to keep ourselves and our kiddos healthy.

Well…I went to my local drugstore and they were sold out of hand sanitizer. So I went to, literally, seven other stores and they were all sold out, too. Then I checked Amazon and only third party sellers had any left and the prices were through the roof. The laws of supply and demand were in full effect *sigh*  Naturally, I had to immediately complain about this to my bestie, and she said “Just make your own.” My first thought was “Nahhh…I don’t feel like doing all that”  but then I remembered that hand sanitizer is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND and decided I’d give it a try.

So I did it and it couldn’t be easier. This recipe is simply aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol. Are you shocked? Yeah, me too!

Combine in a bowl:

2/3  cup of rubbing alcohol (91 or 99% isopropyl alcohol – available in most pharmacies or from Amazon)
1/3 cup of aloe vera gel
A few drops of lavender oil, peppermint oil or any other scent you like (this step is totally optional)

Stir thoroughly and pour into a clean pump bottle or, if you prefer, a purse-size container to carry with you.

Remember, in order for hand sanitizer to be effective, you must cover your hands with it and let it dry.

Oh, and while we’re talking about sanitizing, don’t forget to clean your phone periodically with some rubbing alcohol. Phones are really germy!

Wee Sprout Glass Baby Food Containers

Glass Baby Food Storage ContainersWhat: Set of 12 glass baby food storage container jars with 4 oz capacity, durable measurement markings, 12 multi-colored leakproof lids that seal airtight for freshness

Features: High-grade food-safe glass. Microwave, freezer, & dishwasher safe. Germ Resistant.

Green Factor: Reusable and 100% non-toxic with a chemical-free finish. Free of phthalates, mercury, lead, cadmium, PVC and BPA.

Bonus: Dry erase marker included for easy labeling

Find It Here: Wee Sprout Glass Baby Food Storage Jars

Thrift Score: My Funky New Old Dishes

A few years ago, I’d read that some of the cheaper dinnerware produced in China was turning up with lead in it. I looked at my inexpensive and chipped (but very pretty) dinnerware and got a little concerned. Rather than spend a couple hundred dollars on what I really wanted, which was a set of lead-free Fiestaware for eight, I decided that until I could find something made in the US that was also not ugly or overly expensive, I’d go with something simple and safe—glass.

I looked at a few department stores and didn’t find much in the way of glass and what I did find felt flimsy so I decided to check my local thrift stores. I didn’t find any complete sets but I did find tons of glass pieces in a variety of patterns and suddenly it hit me…I didn’t need a matching set at all! I would mix and match and have a funky, eclectic set of with everything I needed for a next to nothing. I picked out 8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates, 8 bowls and 8 saucers in a handful of patterns —bamboo, florals, vines, contemporary, lattice, and textured.

I brought everything home, washed it and unceremoniously trashed all the old, chipped stuff. I put my “new” dishes away and have used them ever since. In that time, not one piece has chipped or broken. Once I realized how durable my funky, mismatched dinnerware was, I gave up looking for anything else. Best of all, though, is that it cost me less than twenty dollars for peace of mind that my stuff is lead-free.

The takeaway? Things don’t have to be new OR expensive to be awesome 🙂

Photo by Nancy Bea Miller

Yoocaa Reusable Collapsible Straws

What: Yoocaa Collapsible Reusable Metal Straw

Features: Portable, collapsible, reusable, dishwasher-safe and made from food-grade stainless steel and reusable at least 1,000 times.

Green Factor: Billions of disposable plastic straws litter our oceans and cause great harm to marine life, as well as our oceans. Bringing your own portable straw and foregoing the plastic disposable ones is one way you can help stem the plastic straw pollution of our planet.

Bonus: The Yoocaa collapsible straw comes with a keychain style case that you can attach to your belt, bag or keys so you always have it with you, plus a brush to clean the inside of your straw.

Find It Here: Yoocaa Collapsible Reusable Metal Straw

Non-Toxic & PVC-Free Air Beds (Updated 11/19)

41rt0nikjlThese days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress will be found on most packing lists.

The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful chemical fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.

A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have many more options:

KingCamp 2-Person PVC-Free Ultra Light Airbed with Pump: Made of 100% polyester with TPU coating, this 2-Person PVC-Free airbed is only 6 lbs, damp-proof, comfortable, durable and very firm with 192 stabilizers between the top and bottom. The Boston valve air tap and battery operated pump provide rapid inflation and deflation. It is convenient to adjust the comfort level of this airbed. Includes compression straps, an oversized oxford carrying bag and repair kit. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

ALPS Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed: Made with durable PVC-free fabric, this air bed is incredibly lightweight which makes for easy transport. It utilizes a coil system for a more solid and comfortable sleeping area and comes with a state-of-the-art rechargeable pump inflates and deflates quickly and easily.

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush Self-Inflating Sleep/Camp Pad: Maximum R-Value of 9.66 keeps you exceptionally warm with supportive insulation. Non-PVC materials eliminates toxic plastic odors and crinkle noises for a more peaceful night sleep and dual oversize air valves for quick self inflating and deflating without the need for a pump. Includes compression straps and oversized carry bag + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

Lightspeed Outdoors Airbed: Made from eco-friendlier TPU, this PVC-free and phthalate-free two person air mattress comes with a battery operated pump + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.

S.Y Inflatable Air Mattress: (Recently added!) Made of PVC-free and phthalate-free TPU material, this mattress has an inflated size of 76.7” X 24”. Uses a built-in pump or it can be inflated by mouth and weighs only 1.8 lbs. Comes with a lifetime and money-back guarantee.

The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat over the Ecolite because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.

Happy PVC-free sleeping!

Light Up Your Life

What: HybridLight Journey Flashlight

Features: SOLAR RECHARGEABLE  Charge using the built in solar panel outdoors OR indoors under incandescent lighting, OR by connecting via the included USB cable for rapid charge

CHARGE MOBILE DEVICES – Connect using the included USB cable to charge cell phones and other mobile devices while away from home or during power outages

EXTREMELY DURABLE AND WATERPROOF – Tested to 3 meters and it floats so you won’t lose it

DUAL MODE –  High or Low Beam. Super bright LED shines for up to 25 hours on low beam and 7 hours on high producing 160 lumens of bright white light

HOLDS A CHARGE FOR YEARS –  Always ready when you need it. Perfect for any emergency

Green Factor: You can avoid contributing to the hundreds of thousands batteries discarded into landfills by solar recharging instead of relying on the lithium ion battery that comes with the HybridLight Journey Flashlight

Bonus: The HL160 can be stored without sun for 7 years and still retain 90% of the original power. Also, guaranteed to work every time you turn it on!

Find It Here: HybridLight

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