Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Clean are your Kid's Toys?

Well, school has gotten under way, and already germs are starting to get passed around!  It's a scary time as everyone is tempted to reach for their hand sanitizer, yet also contemplates the repercussions of doing so.  (read my posting here)

While you can't control how germs are handled at your kid's school, you can decide how to attack them at home.  One front you may want to consider battling germs on is those residing on (and in!) your children's toys.  Here is a great article on how to sanitize toys.

I, personally, like to use a solution of:

2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 tsp Tea Tree Oil

Mix it together in a clean spray bottle and spritz on hard surfaces, toys, light switches and door knobs!  It's easy, smells nice, and it's healthy for your kids and pets!  (Who says living green has to be hard eh?)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To sanitize or not to sanitize?

Everyone was scarred when all the stories of kids being made sick by hand sanitizer was circulated.  Many of us locked ours up, or at least hid it in the medicine cabinate or with our cleaning supplies.  The health concerns are certainly justified, especially if you, like me, have a little one who loves sticking things in her mouth.

But while the safety concerns of hand sanitizer are serious, the stuff can also do some serious good, as has been proven by many studies. (Like this one, and this one)  It can't be denied that there is good evidence that it is a proven defence against rotovirus.  

There are some new, organic hand sanitizers on the market.  They aren't perfect, but are a nice middle ground between highly toxic/poisonous and germ covered little hands.

CleanWell Alcohol-free hand sanitizer that is non-toxic and readily biodegradable.
Benedetta  Made with non-GMO (genetically modified organism) alcohol and Jojoba oil.
EO Uses non-drying biodynamic grape alcohol and organic essential oils.

Always remember that good old soap and water is really the best thing for fighting germs and keeping everyone healthy!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Perfect Pico

I am not a great gardener.  My husband teases me about my black thumb and my ability to kill a plant by not watering it for one day. (an exaggeration!)  Yet somehow my little veggie garden is doing rather well, at least in the tomato and jalapeno sections.  I had bought some huge sweet onions locally, and had some nice fresh cilantro on hand, so when I was desiring some fresh pico de gallo  (and a way to use up all those tomatoes and jalapenos) I invented this recipe!

Perfect Pico

2 cups fine chopped vine ripe (best home grown) tomatos
5 medium jalapenos, seeded and chopped super fine
1 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup lime juce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
salt to taste

Stir it all up and let it mingle for a couple hours in the fridge, for best flavor, or just attack it with the chips right away!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

At Last! Behold the T-shirt Baby Sling!

After I received a request for a baby sling pattern, I started thinking about all the baby slings I've ever made (only 3 really) and decided that I wanted to shake things up a little and offer my wonderful readers something new. To my knowledge, there has not been a t-shirt sling tutorial published before, but if so, I apologize.

I designed this tutorial to be the ultimate in simplicity, and frugality, with a little recycling thrown in. (you gotta love new uses for old t-shirts, right?!) So here we go!

You will need 2 t-shirts with little writing on them, unless you'd like the writing to be on the sling, which is up to you. I advise 2 XL t-shirts, unless you feel you need bigger. If you're a slim little thing a Large may do just fine. In this demo I use a larges, but that's because I couldn't put my hands on 2 XLs of the same color at the moment inspiration took hold of me. (sorry!) You will want to hold the t-shirt across your chest like this, from your shoulder to your hip bone. If it doesn't make it all the way across with a smidge of slack, go with bigger shirts.

Lay the two shirts down, and cut them across under the armpits. If the lettering on the shirts goes below the armpits you will probably want to just cut up as high as you can, without getting the lettering. You will have 2 tubes of t-shirt, hopefully about 15 inches from the cut to the hem. If it's going to be less than 12 inches, that's not enough, the pocket for your baby is not going to be deep enough! Pick a different shirt!

Now, we will re-shape them a little. You will want to line up the hems (bottoms of the t-shirts) because they will become the top opening of your sling. You will want to start cutting about 6-8 inches from the hems and make a nice curve down to the bottom making use of the full width down there. (the thin part will go over your shoulder and the fat part will be where your baby's bottom goes)

Once you are happy with the shape, turn ONE of the tubes inside out and stick it around the other tube, so that the right sides are together on the inside of the tubes. I prepared a loop for keys/pacifiers and stuck it in between the layers. Pin around the open tubes to keep the curves matching and help with any stretching.

(The loop is about to be slipped between the layers and pinned)

Once everything is pinned to your satisfaction, run a wide zigzag stitch all the way around the curved edge of the tubes to connect them together. (You are sewing through 2 layers, not 4! Sew around in a big circle, connecting the two tubes along the edges you cut.) Make sure it is nice and strong and sturdy, you don't want it ripping open and your baby falling out! You will now have one wide tube that is thinner on one side of the circle, and pretty nice and fat on the other side. Fold the tube along the seam you've just sewn and now you are ready to test it out!

One last thing, I like a nice pocket too, so I cut a little more material from one of the discarded t-shirts and added it close to the loop. I have it opening toward the shoulder, instead of the hem, because I think it holds things better at that angle. I also ran the zigzag around the hem edges to give it a little contrast stitching. That, and any other decoration options are limited only by your imagination, so go crazy if you want! Your little bundle of luvin' can only appreciate it more for the added personal touches!

Hope you enjoy! Please comment! Link your pics!