I promised that I would post my favourite products for summer 2013 this week, but these are some of my favourite products of all-time. Most can be used year-round, so it’s not really an exclusive “summer” product list.
So, instead of doing the mountain of laundry left over from our road-trip, or going to get groceries (our fridge is empty), or working out (since all I ate this past week was marshmallows and potato chips), I am going to run around the house, and gather up my all-time favourite, cannot-live-without-them products, and share them with you.
Before we hit this list, I want to say that I am well aware that some of the products on my list are not that great when it comes to being “safe” in terms of chemical ingredients/toxicity. I try my best to minimize the amount of carcinogens and bad stuff that my family is exposed to, but as is the case with most families, cost, availability and functionality are also factors when choosing products. When my boys were babies, I used only organic and very gentle, “pure” products, if any at all, and I recommend that whenever you can, choose the healthier option. I try to make wise decisions, but like most people, I compromise on some things. So, when you are reading this list, cut me some slack. I’m working on a balance. I haven’t perfected it yet.
Ok, here we go…
Spray Suntan Lotion: Any brand that sprays is awesome. I like the 60 block. I know there is a big controversy right now about whether sunscreen should even be used, but as a fair skinned, light blond person, I wouldn’t last more than about 5 minutes outside without it. The first time I switched from my favourite baby all-natural and “free” sunscreen to the cheap Coppertone Spray gunk, I just about died with guilt. Until I realized that I could apply sunscreen to all three of my kids in under 2 minutes, and that I wouldn’t have to sit there for 40 minutes rubbing in white gunk. My kids are happy too, because they can get to the water and sand-castle building WAY faster. All sunscreen has bad stuff in it. Even some of the stuff from the health food store does. I use it in moderation. And we try to hit the beach early in the morning, or after supper for a swim – avoiding the worst of the sun (and the crowds).
Hylands Teething Tabs: I love these things. I haven’t used them in years, but when I did use them, they worked so well for all three of my babies. I have friends who said they didn’t work at all, but they are worth a try if you have a teething baby. And, just in case one of your kids eats a whole container, don’t panic…call Poison Control just to be safe, but the (um) three times my kids ate a whole container of these, Poison Control reassured me that they would be just fine, and that they just might have a little diarrhea. I love medication that works AND won’t poison your infants.
Benedetta Geranium Oil: This is the AWESOMEST facial oil on the planet. Unless you hate the smell of geraniums, then you might hate it. I started using this when I was pregnant with the twins, and my rosacea was really flared. It makes my skin feel like it is getting a drink of water at the end of the day. I use it in place of a night cream. It’s a splurge, but one tiny bottle lasts a long time. Treat yourself. You deserve it!
Voltaren Emugel: This stuff is full of bad stuff. But it works. Fast. If your neck is so sore you can’t turn to yell at your kids…this will fix it. I promise. Rub it on. Don’t read the ingredients. Use it when you can’t move like a human. Some of this, with two Aleve, and early to bed and you will be a new Mama the next morning.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara: I used this in the 80’s because I was a broke teenager, and it was cheap. Then I spent about two decades trying every organic, expensive, fancy mascara on the market. Then I gave up, because in my opinion, this is the best, and it is cheap. I have scrawny eyelashes, so mascara is my “don’t leave the house without it on” thing. If you get the waterproof version, you don’t even have to worry about putting new stuff on the next day. Just wipe away the under-eye smears and you get two days for the price of one! There’s lots of bad stuff in this too. But if I go out without mascara everyone tells me how tired I look. It makes me crazy. So I wear it. And pray I don’t get eye-lid cancer.
SillySouls.com: Ok, I am a little biased about SillySouls products, but seriously… Every time my baby boys had a SillySouls t-shirt or onesie on, someone would stop me and ask me where I got it. I love any product that gets my boys out of the boring blues and “jaunty” plaid baby suits from the box stores and into something funky, fresh and funny. Check out the whole line at www.sillysouls.com
Aveeno Anti-Itch: This stuff works. I carry a tube of it everywhere we go in the summer. It looks like calamine lotion, and it doesn’t seem like it will work. But it does.
The Justice League of Household Products: Baking Soda, Rubbing Alcohol and Tea Tree Oil: Go on to Pinterest, or do a search on the Internet, and you will find about 5 million things these three products can be used for. I love these three. They are super-heroes in my house. If you don’t already use these products in your home, then you are missing out. These products create my ” invisible force field” against germs and bugs.
Oil of Oregano: If the three products above were members of the Justice League, then Oil of Oregano is the HULK. When my kids come out in the morning with a sore throat or sniffles, they don’t say “mom, I need tylenol”. They say “Mom, get the Oil of Oregano out”. It works. A couple drops in a glass of water when you start to feel sick and BAM! No sick. It tastes really bad, but it works really good. HULK SMASH.
DRY SHAMPOO!: Where has it been all my life? How did I get through 5 years of Motherhood without it? I used this brand for the last two years, until I realized that baking soda, cornstarch and some ground lavender works the same but has none of the toxic aerosol badness of the store-bought stuff. The homemade version is a little messier to apply, but works great. This stuff buys me an extra day of no-shower, or at least gets rid of the greasy strand of bangs for that early-morning run to school. It is Mom-GOLD. Here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
essential oil (2-3 drops or ground lavender…I use my coffee grinder)
Combine in a shaker (I use a little tin spice shaker). Shake on hair, allow to sit for a minute or two, brush out.
This recipe works good on light hair, but there are good recipes for dark hair as well that use cocoa powder instead of baking powder! YUM! Chocolate-y hair!
BORAX: I used to buy Borax because I liked the chubby cowgirl on the box. Now I buy it because it is so useful. It is so versatile. It is inexpensive. I love a product that makes my whites whiter AND kills ants that are hiding in my kitchen cupboards. Who wouldn’t? And the box is so cute.
Burts Baby Bee: The Burts Baby Bee line was my favourite when my kids were little. I don’t know if the quality of the product has changed in the last few years, since it is now available in many big box stores, but I really loved the soft, soothing oils and lotions.
0-9 Cough & Cold: We don’t use cough medicine very often (see Oil of Oregano above), but there are some good homeopathic remedies available at the health food stores that will work depending on the reason for the cough. Lately, this is the cough medicine I go for, and find that it works well on all three of my boys. A dose of this and a cup of warm water with honey and lemon makes for a much more restful night.
And last, but not least…Kona Wailua Beer. It’s my new favourite. It is flavoured with PASSION FRUIT! Oh yum! Awesome summer beer. It’s like drinking a beer while sitting in a fragrant, fruity garden in Hawaii. Get some. Drink some. Then research 5 million ways to use baking soda.
Love Y’All. This Silly Mama has to go climb a mountain of laundry.