Archive | Kid’s Books

DIY Personal Care Recipe Round Up

Why do I want to make as many of my personal care products as possible? It saves me time shopping, money, and I know exactly what I’m putting on my hair and skin. DIY personal care recipes help with avoiding fragrance, phthalates, and chemicals that cosmetic companies sneak into ingredients lists by hiding behind the word fragrance so there is never full disclosure. And if we think back 60 years to how our grandparents washed their hair, face, skin, and kept themselves from being stinky without stores to shop at – well, there must be a way to do this effectively with ingredients already in your kitchen.

I have great DIY tips and so do these talented green bloggers and Facebook fans. Below is a great list of personal care DIY recipes that will replace many store bought products in your bathroom. And chances are if you already own a great big bottle of unrefined coconut oil, you can start making them right away! My thanks to everyone that shared their favourite DIY recipes!

DIY Deodorant:

Alicia from The Soft Landing shared her DIY Antibacterial + Cooling deodorant for Men and Women.

  • Mix together equal parts arrowroot powder or cornstarch and baking soda (I usually begin with 1/4 cup of each)
  • Stir in enough coconut oil to moisten the mixture, but not so much that it’s wet (I usually start with 6-8 Tbsp)
  • Add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • Add 5-10 drops of patchouli
  • Add 5-10 drops of cedarwood essential oil

Click on the full article link to find out why each of these ingredients is beneficial to fight the bacteria that causes ordor. This article clearly educates how people can remove aluminum toxicity with cool, earthy pits ~ thanks Alicia!

Facial Scrub:

Beth from The EcoSpheric Blog shares her DIY Brown Sugar Facial Scrub Recipe. I can’t wait to try this recipe and will probably omit the essential oil because I love the smell of my raw brown sugar.

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • few drops of the essential oil of your choice (I used Tulsi holy basil from Organic India because it supports the body’s healthy response to inflammation and promotes a healthy, clear complexion.)


Now that we’ve all drooled over how amazing this scrub looks, head on over to the full article link and get the directions and how to use the scrub.

Rachel, from Mommy Greenest shared her 4 ingredient DIY Organic Face Mask. With the added ingredients and instructions, I’m definitely bookmarking this face mask for a weekend treat for my skin. And the ingredient I love the most is raw honey! Here is a teaser from the face mask:

You’ll need

  • Six tablespoons raw organic sugar
  • One free range organic egg white
  • One tablespoon organic honey
  • One packet plain instant organic oatmeal (uncooked)

Sounds amazing right? Click on over to read the full link and instructions here.

Karen from ecokaren shared an Avocado Face Mask recipe which I’m super happy about because making beauty products from food that turn soft quickly (bananas, avocados) is awesome to prevent food waste. You again need a bit of time to create this face mask recipe, but I love Karen’s tip to freeze the extra you’ll have from using an entire avocado which becomes a time saver. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Guacamole Face Mask ingredients

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Egg White – room temperature
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Click over to the recipe’s full link for instructions and tips for freezing and testing. I would also recommend a test first on your arm with using lemon juice to ensure skin isn’t sensitive.

Other Facial Scrubs:

Donna, shared on the Mommy Footprint fan page that she mixes coconut oil with ground himalayan rock salt. She keeps a little pot in the shower, massage it, rinse in the shower, then wipe with a dry towel. Donna no longer needs face cream and her skin texture is improving. Thanks for sharing!

Personally, I’ve been mixing unrefined coconut oil with baking soda to exfoliate and love using this for my daily scrub. I also find my face is perfectly moisturized and I always have these two ingredients on hand so it’s an easy recipe to maintain. I put a glob of coconut oil into a cup then add enough baking soda that there is some grit but be careful to start if you have sensitive skin.

DIY Hair Care:

Sarah from Mindfully Frugal Mom sent us her article for creating a Coconut Oil Hair Mask. This is another DIY recipe that sounds amazing, especially because 2 of the 3 ingredients are coconut oil and a banana. We always have those on hand! Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (use even less if you have fine or short hair)
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana

It’s suggested this mask stays in for 30 minutes, so carve out some time when trying this recipe. Click on the full link to read the directions and advice on using Sarah’s coconut oil hair mask.

Other DIY Hair Care Tips:

Corry responded on our Fan Page about a routine she uses for removing hair build up. She puts cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on freshly shampoed hair and wait a few minutes. Then rinse it out. I have also heard of just putting the cider vinegar in a container with water and rinsing the hair with it but that gets quite pricey. This method works well and removes hair product build up.

For years I’ve used coconut oil to smooth or slick my hair at the ends or instead of using gel for smooth ponytails. You just need a dime size amount that you warm up in your palms. Apply to the ends of your dry hair and it can be used for easy styling.

DIY Perfume:

Rachel from Mommy Greenest saves the day with this 1 minute and 3 ingredient DIY perfume recipe. With so many people in the population suffering from scent sensitivities (me, me, me!) it’s a gift to those that surround you to know ditch synthetic perfumes. They can be overpowering to many people and for those that wear them, you might be causing your own body hormone disruption.

Oh, and you can make a gigantic bottle for less than $30! You’ll need:

  1. One clean spray bottle—preferably a dark-colored glass to block UV rays so your perfume stays stable longer.
  2. One big bottle of pure cooking vanilla—organic is best, but either way just make sure there’s no sugar in the mix.
  3. One or more small bottles of essential oil—I love rose geranium, rose and lavender mixed with the vanilla; experiment to find out what you like best.

If you want to make this DIY perfume, click over to the full recipe link and get Rachel’s advice on the best essential oils to use and directions. Awesome stuff Rachel!

DIY in 1 step Recipes:

These are my tips. After reading the amazing guests posts, I’m feeling that my personal care regime needs to step it up a notch. I seem to gravitate to 1 ingredient DIY recipes for personal care. Here are my favourites:

Shaving your legs: Use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. It’s organic, fair trade, and you’re probably already using it for 30 other things in your home. It can easily replace shaving cream that actually contains teflon. It’s an easy switch and use coconut oil to moisure body after shaving.

Deodorant: this one always gets a few blinks of dis-belief from people but I love it and it works! Cut a lemon or lime in half and rub under your arm pits. I’ve even used it freshly after shaving and experiences no burning sensation. The juice dries quickly, doesn’t stain my clothing, and is SUPER effective against body odor.

Tooth Whitening: oil pulling. If you haven’t tried swishing with coconut oil, you are missing out! Especially if you are buying toxic, tooth whitening kits that are also really expensive. All you need is unrefined coconut oil and you are set. Full instructions found here.

Eye Makeup Remover: coconut oil again to the rescue. Put coconut oil on a washcloth, paper, or q-tip and rub across your closed eye. The oil will remove all makeup so you can wash your face easily before bed time.

I’ll do a followup post with more DIY recipes for personal care. If you would like your recipe to be included in the next roundup, post it in the comments or on the Mommy Footprint fan page.



Eco Easter Ideas

It seems like most things these days, making something yourself is the best way to avoid toxic nasties. Easter is no different and so I’m excited to share some DIY projects inspired by the Dilly Dally Kids display window (for DIY Easter decorating), egg dying, and Easter egg hunt ideas that minimize waste and traditional Easter junk.

Let’s start with the display window ideas that got me excited to write this article. When it comes to the wonderful world of Pinterest and DIY I try hard not to take on projects that just aren’t obtainable. So when I saw pictures of this feather garland made by Dilly Dally Kids – I knew I wanted to photograph it, write about it and try it. Owners Tyler and Claire hung feathers to twine with clothespins – don’t you love the effect? I even collected a  few feathers from the beach with the kids so that a memory and real feathers could be included in this decoration.

Also displayed by DDK (Dilly Dally Kids) store owners are beautiful paper mache eggs. And for parents looking to minimize or eliminate purchasing more plastic eggs this year to hold treasures, paper mache eggs would be a great addition to an egg hunt. I found an easy DIY tutorial for this using hodgepodge & tissue paper via Pinterest. Here is the inspiration from DDK’s window and look how beautiful the paper mache eggs look nestled in gorgeous nests made from willow branches and a sprinkle of feathers. Imagine a forest walk to collect all of these treasures?  This is so inspiring to discover and decorate with pieces of nature gathered to create unique Easter decor!

Can we talk about Easter morning and one easy, Eco way to reduce plastic crap? Get your kids moving and working for their Easter treasures! The hunt my kids have loved over the last few years didn’t include little trinkets in each egg for the kids; rather a clue to where the next egg could be found. And at the end of the hunt my kids would find one sustainable gift from the Easter Bunny. Last year the kids found fishing rods and I think this year it will be tennis rackets. Anything that promotes keeping them active and playing outdoors I’m all in favour for. For the younger crowd that still delight in discovering toys – check out these adorable wooden bunnies & chicks from DDK. This line of wooden toys is from Europe, each one handmade and painted. You could create a nest similar to the one featured above (in mini form) and arrange these little friends for your sweeties to find.

Now that my sons are a little older (ages 9 and 10) the Easter Bunny sends them all over the neighborhood Easter morning. Pictures taken from a camera or handwritten clues leading kids from egg to egg to a figure in a neighbor’s garden, traffic sign, unique fence/door/garden decoration in the neighborhood is really fun and awesome for the kids. They go running from clue to clue – not thinking about chocolate or candy. They are on the hunt and using their mind, body, and energy to uncover each clue. This is the part of Easter my kids talk about every year and I love it. For my younger kids, the Easter Bunny sets up their hunt in a forest trail. It keeps them safe from traffic and the eggs are scattered along the forest floor and they also lead the kids to a more sustainable Easter gift rather than lots of little trinkets.

My last Easter tip is for parents that have the traditional egg dying craft with kids. With my new found love of using beets to dye icing, play dough, and to eat – I find it easy to dye using vegetables from my fridge. But one drawback to organic colours is sometimes they are not as bright or exciting as artificial. If you are looking for a kit to give you more of a colour spectrum, but still keep the process natural – check out these great egg dying kits! Lucky locals to Vancouver still have lots of time to stop by Dilly Dally Kids on Commercial Drive to pickup thoughtful selections of chocolate, toys, egg dye kits and totally adorable Easter books!



Dilly Dally Kids – Wooden Wonders

I rarely get the treat of walking into a business to write a review – normally we focus on online stores. So while this article is more directed at Vancouver consumers, the rest of North America will meet an online Dilly Dally Kids later this year when they launch their online store. So bookmark them on Facebook and stay up to date on their beautiful sourcing. The wooden selection at this toy store caught my eye last Christmas where I picked up many wooden characters for stockings and rainbow stackers for gifts. This year at Dilly Dally Kids is no different and the wooden selections are hands down unique. Why? I’m convinced you could replace or never be tempted to purchase the plastic characters we buy purely for the detail and durability. Want to see an example? All kids of any age like staples and dinosaurs are one of these toys. Check out the below design of these hand painted wooden dinosaurs available at Dilly Dally – so bright and fun that a child won’t feel ‘forced’ into sustainable play. All of the wooden play figures ranging from woodland, farm, dinosaur, fairy tale, forest creatures have such great detail. The pictures below were all taken from my visit. . .I had a little too much fun setting up the toys!

Continuing on the wooden journey at Dilly Dally Kids – more wooden wonders kept jumping off the shelf. I think wooden toys are my favourite because at the end of their play life – they can be composted. Especially now with wooden toys covered in beeswax or orange oil, then painted with veggie based paints. Do we not all wish we could do away with the hoards of small plastic toys our children collect over the span of their childhood? There is nothing to do with these toys except continue to pass them down until someone finally puts them in the garbage. Knowing these toys will then outlive our grandchildren at the landfill is not a good feeling. It hurts to give plastic toy characters and receive them! So I’m just a huge fan of wood and a classic toy that all children love – BLOCKS. Normally I would give blocks an age rating of 5 and under but I was reminded by my 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son recently how awesome blocks are. Especially the spheres and different shaped blocks – kids will build and discover with a good quality set of blocks for a long time. Invest in a great set early and watch their play evolve over the years. I love the back wall of block at Dilly Dally Kids – it’s just a solid display of all the different classic block options.

There was more magic to discover and I urge you to checkout Dilly Dally on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. They have classic games, work books, stories, stocking stuffers, Waldorf inspired, and traditional toys. I’ll be sharing more of their selections via Facebook, but the last picture I want to share is the fleet of wooden bath toys that are water safe. I also love wood in a child’s bathtub – although it’s trickier to ensure the toy dries properly; tip the boat over and you shouldn’t have any problems. You’ll find less mold on wood toys than plastic ones with holes in the bottom and you don’t need to worry about anything leaching from the plastic. With many of the wooden toys made in Europe at Dilly Dally Kids – these boats are made in Canada. Great sourcing Dilly Dally and check out their holiday gift guide to view more of their amazing toys!



Book To Engage Children With Nature

Over the years I’ve read some wonderful children’s books, but recently with a renewed dedication to visiting our local library each week, we’ve discovered books that really capture the essence of bringing children closer to nature. I love hearing about favorite books so I’d like to share my new discoveries. To make the list fun and more complete, I thought I’d select a book from each age bracket starting from babies until mid-elementary. After this age, chapter books enter the picture with bed time routine, so this list is for the under age 10 crowd.

Babies Pick:

When I think about books to read to babies I always think Dr. Suess. Since you won’t get the immediate gratification or feedback when reading to a baby – pick books that are fun to read, flow easily, and have a message for you to understand and remember once that baby starts to grow. The Lorax and The Giving Tree have two of the strongest messages and are books that can be read all throughout your child’s development. The Lorax is the type of book that you take away a new message each time you visit the pages. Long before your child discovers the movie, they should experience the strong messages on helping the environment from hearing the words read by their parent.

Preschool Pick:

Kiss The Cow – I was smitten by the book cover before even opening the book! The story is wonderful and current in today’s world of appreciating and respecting the work that goes into producing food.  Kiss The Cow is about a curious little girl named Annalisa and her cow named Luella. When the little girl milks the cow and forgets the kiss – who will be the first to back down? A magic cow who demands a kiss on the nose to keep milk flowing is a message of thanking our food supply, explained in a light and funny way! As you’ll see from the book cover (via Candlewick Press) this book is precious for both parents and younger children to read!


Kindergarten – Grade 2 Pick:

We keep renewing Seal Song from the library because it is such a refreshing change in children’s literature. Seal Song is a story about a boy that helps his father fish in a small town and secretly swims with seals in a secret cove. When he rescues a seal tangled in netting, he makes a wish that the seal could live on land. That night the seals sing and a mysterious girl arrives on the docks. The main character Finn and this girl immediately start a friendship but there is unease that she is a magical selkie until the seals sing again. Andrea Spalding did a great job writing this book and I love the special messages about our connection and rewards for helping nature.

Grade 2 – Grade 4 Pick:

Eagle Boy has another amazing book cover and is published by Random House. This story is based on a popular Northwest Coast Native tale and tells the story of ‘Eagle Boy’ who is born an orphan and grows up to love his eagle friends, despite the fact the rest of his tribe distrusts these birds. He is eventually outcast for his love of eagles, but after the tribe can’t find a food source, both the boy and tribe are saved from starvation by the eagles. A great book about individuality, standing up for what you believe in, and humanity. The pictures are also stunning!

Here is a variety of book picks from mom contributors via Mommy Footprint fan page. Here are their suggestions on books that engage children with nature! I know I’ll be adding a few of these to my Christmas list – what about you?

– Hey Little Ant

– Owl Moon

– The Last Wild Witch

– The Salamander Room

– We Planted A Tree

– A Log’s Life

– The Nature Corner

– Bear Hug

– The Whale and the Snail

– Jessie’s Island




Eco-Cleaning Made Easy

Have you thought about switching over your traditional cleaning products but find it overwhelming thinking about cost and confused by the number of ‘eco cleaning products’ on the market? If you are still using Windex spray and traditional chemical cleaning agents for your bathroom, kitchen, floors, etc., put them away in a big box, high up where little hands can’t reach them and replace with very few products. The total cost can be under $20…in addition to pantry items that help like baking soda, olive oil, and vinegar. You will notice immediate improvements with your health from removing products that off-gas with ‘cleaning’ chemicals and fragrances.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Pure Castile Soap

I can’t say it enough how much I love this brand. They’ve been around forever, USDA certified organic, making fair trade and wonderful organic products for 60 years.  I’ve used their classic liquid soap for a few years now – my favorite is the Peppermint Liquid Soap because the scent is like you’ve cleaned with candy canes. <smile> There are so many uses for Dr. Bronner’s soaps but it’s been a life saver for me with replacing all of my store bought traditional cleaning supplies. I use it in the bathroom, kitchen, floors (even hard wood), and to dust with (diluted in water). The price tag for this product is on the higher end in the greener stores but if you’re eliminating all other products…it’s so worth it.

The combination of ingredients from Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap are organic extra virgin coconut, organic olive, jojoba and hemp oils, with pure essential oils. Doesn’t that sound lovely to inhale and ingest while you’re cleaning rather than toxic fumes? The essential oils added to the liquid soaps are for those that still enjoy scent associated with cleaning – without the headaches that a chemical fragrance will give. You will also notice that their isn’t the action of foaming or bubbles because it doesn’t contain synthetic foaming agents. From an environmental standpoint, Dr. Bronner’s is fantastic because they are completely biodegradable and vegetable-based. So not only will you enjoy better health for your family, but the environment will also be improved from you making this switch.

Microfiber Cloths

Norwex isn’t the only company that sells microfiber cloths, but with the number of Nowex representatives in most communities, it’s easy to find someone selling these products. I was introduced to Norwex over 2 years ago by my friend Michelle and I was the mom at the meeting asking “But HOW does it clean?”  I didn’t get it. The idea that a microfiber cloth + water will clean your house is hard to wrap your mind around at first. But once you try the cloths – there’s not going back. The silver agent in the cloths traps the bacteria and dirt and these cloths will last literally years. I clean my walls, kitchen, bathroom, countertops with a dab of Dr. Bronner’s and my microfiber cloth. For my windows I use water and the microfiber window cloth (Norwex brand too).  I can’t imagine using Windex to clean glass or my windows – the thought literally makes me sick.

Norwex and Nanoparticles

I have written about Norwex products a few times, but recently did some investigation about Norwex and their rumoured link to nanoparticles after being asked by a friend about the products. I always want to write in full disclosure when recommending a company or product. I could not find anything linking Norwex to Nanoparticles. I saw a few articles from respected sites questioning if the two are related because of the antibacterial properties within the cloths. Here is the article from the Treehugger forum and an interview with Adria Vasil author of Ecoholic. Norwex has publicly stated that their products use micro-silver technology rather than nano-silver and that cloths do not leach silver while being used.

I also agree with the mind-set that while the technology is still widely untested (the world of nano-particles and micro) – I appreciate the fact I’ve been using a reusable product that has saved me money and my health with eliminating traditional cleaning products containing chemicals.

Baking Soda

I can’t believe how much baking soda I use on a daily basis. In additional to freshening up my laundry with a sprinkle, I use on tough-to-clean stains, sprinkle on my carpet before vacuuming, make paste to clean my oven, and over the last few month…I’ve been using it to wash my hair. Baking soda is such an effective odor removing product – it’s a great arsenal with household cleaning products.


Vinegar is great for everyday cleaning. Household cleaning recipes that contain vinegar have been around forever and the list of vinegar solutions continues to grow every year. My favorite uses for white vinegar is to kill weeds along my driveway (fill up a spray bottle and let the kids have fun), fixing CDs or DVDs when they’ve started to skip (wet a rag with vinegar and wipe the CD and dry), along with baking soda to unclog drains, and a natural fabric softener.

Olive Oil

The only way to clean stainless steel, pour olive oil on a paper towel or rag and wipe along the grain of your stainless steel appliances. This is the most effective way I’ve found to clean stainless steel. It’s not cheap, since olive oil is rather expensive, but the results are fabulous and you are polishing without chemicals.

Related Articles:

Home Made & Eco Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Self Cleaning Oven – Toxic for Humans or Only Birds?

Home-Made & Natural Home Air Fresheners

No Poo Anyone?

Tips to Improve Carpet Health



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