My mighty cleaners – Ike and Extreme 18X – free bonus goodies (Ike not included)

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2013-06-13 15.22.35Dirty windows + able-bodied, orange hair, freckle face ginger sitting around watching tv = opportunity

2013-06-13 15.14.03We have a VIP arriving at our house this weekend and in anticipation of her visit, I wanted the windows in our family room clean. Ike began the chore but grabbed a can of aerosol window cleaner we received years ago when the room was constructed.

When I checked on Ike’s progress, the overwhelming smell of chemicals had filled the room. One look at the contents in the can, I was shocked to see the ingredients used. The first ingredient on the list 2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether). Also known as 2-BU, this widely-used cleaning solvent causes anemia by damaging red blood cells, creates air pollution that exceeds workplace limits, is linked to impaired fertility and reproductive and developmental toxicity. EPA even considers it a possible human carcinogen. Liquified petroleum gas for window cleaner? Come on! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So I quickly grabbed replaced the can of toxic ingredients with a spray bottle of water mixed with about a half teaspoon of Extreme 18X. This product has replaced at least 80% of my regular cleaning supplies so it just made good, healthy sense.

2013-06-13 15.59.37

Extreme 18X is an ultra-concentrated soap berry liquid detergent and cleaner and now the good folks at NaturOli are giving a FREE BONUS GIFT of a mini or trial size” for every $25 in merchandise ordered!*

We use Extreme 18X and soap nuts interchangeably. I’m also a big fan of their skin care products – toner, skin repair creme, facial creme and the complete daily cleansing kit.

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The mini/trial Sizes are anything but small and NaturOli’s skin & hair care formulas are all FULL 1 to 2-oz sizes – FAR from typical tiny sample packets that are only a mere use or two.

– Values of mini and trial sizes are up to $9.90 each! You might like this gluten-free skin repair creme but take a look around and see what other things look good.

When placing your order, choose one for every $25 in merchandise in your cart. *Limit of six (6) per order. Put the product names (or product numbers) in the “Comments” Box during checkout. Please be specific about which items you desire. They’ll be shipped with your order. It’s that easy!

– No coupon required. Your selections will be on your receipt.

Offer expires Friday, 6-21 at midnight.

Ike and Extreme 18X made a good team. The pictures I took were not filtered in any way, there was no need. My windows are sparkly, streak-free clean and that was done thanks to two things – an awesome son and a petro-chemical free, formaldehyde free product that I absolutely love.

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Taking care of this face – NaturOli

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IMG_0062For Mother’s Day, the Hubs got me a CD about drawing portraits. I’m really a novice and many times I can’t tell if I’ve drawn a nose or a beetle. I have a lot to learn. Don’t believe me? Check out these noses I attempted to draw recently.

Yes, those are all noses.

Yes, those are all noses I’ve drawn. Yep.

Ok, now that you’re done laughing, the one thing that has struck me through the drawing process is the truth found in Scripture that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The Lord took great time in carefully crafting each one of our features and parts. Even if I can’t draw them yet, I need to honor my body. The lessons on drawing have made me look at my own face with curiosity and occasional, very occasional appreciation.

Somehow this all coincides with me learning more about the chemicals and ingredients commonly in cosmetics and cleaning solutions. I want to be more intentional about taking care of myself and my guys.

If you wouldn’t put it in your body, why put it on your body is a good adage that I first read in Not Just a Pretty Face. Quite honestly, there’s a ton of crud in our cosmetics and most of us are too trusting of the cosmetics industry. They do not have our best interests in mind.

M-CC-01-01-40-lgIt pays to think a little more about the things that I use on my skin. This is why I’m a big fan of NaturOli’s New Radiance Facial Creme, Restorative Skin Repair Creme and Revitalizing Toner Mist.

Fresh – I’m not a fancy girl but I am a fresh one! 😉 NaturOli’s products are batched in very small number to ensure freshness that sounds good to me. No skin care has an infinite shelf life unless there are a bunch of chemical preservatives.

Why this is important – FDA has no authority to require recalls of harmful cosmetics. Furthermore, manufacturers are not required to report cosmetics-related injuries to the agency. FDA relies on companies to report injuries voluntarily (FDA 2005).

Good night, face!

Good night, face!

NaturOli’s skin care line is corn-free, soy-free and gluten- free. Many people have corn allergies and there is growing concern about GMOs (genetically modified). Un- fortunately corn is a common byproduct in skin care because it is cheap.  Corn clogs pores and can irritate skin beyond belief. If you are interested in natural skin care, stay away from corn by-products.

Did you know? Federal law allows companies to leave many chemicals off labels, including nanomaterials, ingredients considered trade secrets, and components of fragrance (Houlihan 2008). Fragrance may include any of 3,163 different chemicals (IFRA 2010), none of which are required to be listed on labels. Fragrance tests reveal an average of 14 hidden compounds per formulation, including potential hormone disruptors and diethyl phthalate, a compound linked to sperm damage (EWG & CSC, 2010).

Olive oil – NaturOli uses only the best ingredients including olive oil – found in ALL of their products. It is the basis for the entire skin care line and olive oil’s benefits far outweigh that of corn. As the mama of three olive shoots, I’m very fond of all things OLIVE!

In addition to olive oil, there are avocado and sesame seed oils, horsetail extract and Vitamin E which contain powerful antioxidants that protect, moisturize, restore and regenerate skin. Then there’s shea butter which is rich in vitamins and minerals, gives tone and suppleness while promoting skin renewal.

A little goes a long way – NaturOli’s cremes and skin care do not contain fillers nor are they watered down. Just a couple of pumps of the cremes are plenty for my face and neck.

Senior pic from high school! Gotta keep looking fresh!

Senior pic from high school! Gotta keep looking fresh!

Smells goodThe Revitalizing Toner Mist has lovely notes of Japanese green tea extract, mandarin orange oil and the essential oils of lavender and chamomile.

I like the light fragrance of sage, marigold, tea tree oil and rose hips found in the Restorative Skin Repair Creme. New Radiance Face Creme feels indulgent with the evening primrose oil, rosemary extract and the hyaluronic acid, a potent natural ultra-moisturizing agent, the skin’s natural hydrator. There’s even a purse size mister if you want a little spritz of freshness, you know just in case someone wants to draw your portrait!

There is a trial size of the Restorative Skin Repair Creme, click here.

Save 17% on the entire skin care collection here.

If I am to believe that I am God’s masterpiece, I need to pay attention and take care. So do you!

We are West Point Moms!

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I could barely eek out a few words before bursting into tears. We had never met and yet there was a bond between us as soon as she answered the phone. We were West Point moms at opposite ends of the 48 month adventure. The warmth in her voice removed the little resolve I had left to keep it all together. I attempted to ask some factual questions but really all I wanted to know is that she survived. Since she was still able to speak in full sentences, I perceived that as a good sign. 

The Hubs made this graph when 
Nate was a new cadet, it’s so true!

Don’t we all want to find kindred spirits, people who can help us along life’s way? I sure do. In many aspects, the desire to be encouraged and embraced is central to feeling a sense of community. Connection is what I’ve found in being a West Point Mom.

WP moms come in all sizes!

Perhaps mothers with children in traditional universities have a bond. As my middle OS begins college at Moody Bible Institute this fall, it would be nice to meet mothers who have children pursuing ministry. Yet I must be honest, my expectations will be high because West Point moms spoil each other with kindness.

Here are just a few examples of what it’s like to be a WP mom.  

This is the cutest Girl Scout delivery 
boy in El Salvador!

Recently my oldest OS went to see his bonita in El Salvador. She likes Girl Scout cookies and Nate couldn’t possibly go there empty-handed! He had bought her tea and nail polish which truly threatened his “Man Card” but Girl Scout cookies was another must-have item. Well, one quick message on facebook and a WP mom, whom Nate has never met, shipped EIGHT, yes EIGHT boxes to my boy, free of charge.

Girl Scout cookies make girlfriends happy!

Nate was hoping to avoid parking fees at the airport while on vacation in El Sal. A simple message to my WP moms and a grandma of a cadet offered Nate to park his car at her home for the week.

A mom asks for prayers and a swarm of WP moms respond with concern. A mom posts a picture of her cadet on the page and we gush as if it were our own bairn.

There is no paucity of concern or compassion. The Scripture passage found in Romans 12:15 is fitting. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” Though most of us haven’t met in person, we understand each other. We don’t all share the same political convictions or spiritual beliefs, some don’t even use soap nuts(!) but nonetheless we are a sisterhood. We realize our cadets will most likely travel in harm’s way. We get it in ways most don’t. Current events and conflicts in foreign lands impact our children’s future. As our cadets return from Spring Break, many weepy moms lamented about missing their cadet. We reassured them and gathered them into the fold cuz that’s how WP mamas roll. 

This is a common WP mom facial
expression. It’s hard to let go!

Now I’m at the other end of this experience. Nate graduates the end of May. I don’t want it to end but I know my cadet is ready to see where life leads him.  The current trajectory is Georgia, Colorado and then possibly Kuwait.  
  

Even if you’re not a WP mom, you will enjoy this video one of my friends created. One day soon your child will embark on new journeys and it will tug on your heart even if your baby isn’t heading to the United States Military Academy. I’ve watched this video many times and I can’t get through it without shedding a tear. A picture of Nate and I at Ring Weekend is found on 00.53 of this link. What a privilege to be part of this long grey line!

Soap Nuts Winner!

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Judging from the responses left on my facebook and blog post, many of you have joined the chorus saying, “I’m sick and tired of being pococurante about laundry!” 

…um, you do know what pococurante means, don’t  you?  (looks disdainfully through bespectacled lens)   

Soap nuts amid my homemade fabric bowls



Prior to yesterday, I didn’t know what it meant to be pococurante but this mama of three oliveshoots has been pococurante about laundry for far too long, my friends! Thanks to dictionary.com, now I don’t have to say I’ve been careless and indifferent about cleaning clothes. Thank you dictionary.com! Each day a fancy new word arrives in my email box and yesterday’s word was pococurante. You should have seen the OS’s faces as I was extolling the virtues of soap nuts and then I nonchalantly told them last night that I was no longer pococunrate about dirty clothes. They were like, “wha???”

my trusted source for fancy words

Now that you are thoroughly impressed with my vocabularic (my new invented word) acumen, let me announce the winner of the DELUXE Soap Nuts Combination Package.

Way to go, Julie!

I’m working on a few more things regarding soap nuts and other items so my hunch is this will not be the last giveaway I offer though it might be the most extravagant. I look forward to hearing from Julie about her experiences with all the NaturOli products she can try. Considering she has been sick as a dog with her current pregnancy, I’m sure you can all join me in being happy that in between bouts of nausea, Julie has something to make her feel better.
This is the Deluxe Soap Nuts Combination
Package offered in the giveaway 

Based on a suggestion from an interested mom, I’m now seriously contemplating having a soap nuts party. People are curious on how to use them and how they work. If people can have Pampered Chef parties (which I think are wonderful!), then perhaps a continuing education course on soap nuts is in order. If you like the idea, let me know. If you are pococurante, I’d want to hear about that also. 😉

In the midst of celebrating the Hubs’ 50th birthday and a CRAZY compliment the orange hair, freckle face OS (future blog post) gave me yesterday, I washed my middle OS’s linens with soap nuts. The first thing I noticed was how crisp and fluffy Aaron’s sheets and pillow cases felt in the dryer. The other thing I noticed was that it took a lot less time for the items to dry. I’m not sure if this is a phenomena based on soap nuts but I’m going to ask the experts and I’ll let you know.  

Use code WPMoms for 10% off including most sale items!

How many other blogs out there have used a unique word, talked about laundry AND soap nuts? That’s just how we do! Congrats to Julie and I sincerely would appreciate you readers telling me what you think about a soap nuts party even if you couldn’t attend. Try to find a way to incorporate that fun word into your weekend conversations!

There’s something about a soap nut – Discount and generous give-away!

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My friend Becki’s first load of laundry with
soap nuts – what a moment!

 So maybe you’re like I was and you’re curious about this whole soap nuts thing. I’m a soap nuts neophyte but a true believer in this product. For me, if soap nuts were a pop star, they would be Justin Bieber. If soap nuts were a pizza, they would be Chicago style. If soap nuts were an exercise system, they would be Zumba. Yes, I’m smitten by saponin, I cannot lie.

Saponin-based products clean naturally without chemicals or sulfates and I’ve worked out a great offer with the folks at NaturOli

Last night I spoke on the phone for over TWO hours with the co-founder of NaturOli and I’m more convinced than ever that soap nuts are fantastic. I’m not a paid spokesperson for NaturOli, just a happy customer that did a little legwork and wanted to see if I could do something special for my readers. 

A stinky load of Soldier’s clothes this past summer
from my cadet’s time at
Fort Benning this summer – PU!

So here’s the deal. You can discover the versatility of soap nuts and save money. Experience the many all-natural wonders of soap nuts products and:  

1.  Get a 10% discount on NaturOli using the following code: WPMoms. Enter the coupon code at the bottom of your shopping cart page (you have to scroll down to the bottom). The code WPMoms is not case sensitive and will work store-wide and even apply to many items already on sale. Click here to see all the cool products they offer. Some exclusions on products may apply so if that happens, please understand.

The NaturOli folks also suggested that you join their mailing list. Click here for that so you can keep informed about their products. 
  

This could be yours! I’m jealous!

2. And then there’s this…
I’m offering an awesome give-away. Leave a comment on my facebook or on this blog post. On Friday, March 9th, I’ll draw a name and have them send you this package. It’s a $70 gift (I secretly want to enter my own name but I won’t!) 
Here’s what one very blessed person will receive:

A DELUXE Soap Nuts Combination Package
…with all full size and/or large soap nuts products!
 
Includes:
– A 16-oz NaturOli “Select” Soap Nuts, USDA certified organic. (With heavy-duty wash bag and 8-page info and instructions.)
– An 8-oz “Extreme 18X” soap nuts liquid concentrate with pump.
– A rich Soap Nuts Shampoo Bar, large size.
– A luxurious, handmade Soap Nuts Cleansing Bar, large size. IMPORTANT NOTE: Currently sold out, alternate large natural soap bar will be substituted.
– A 16-oz “Extreme Hair” Soap Nut Shampoo. (Please specify formula desired.)
– A Soap Nuts Laundry Pre-Treat Stick.
NOTE: Stick dispenser type may vary from shown. Product weight will be equal or more.
– A 4-oz jar of finely ground and sifted, mukorossi Soap Nuts Powder for laundry, housecleaning or personal care.

my laundry life pre-soap nuts = blah

Up until a few weeks ago, when it came to washing clothes, I was just your everyday wife with pink highlights and the mama of three oliveshoots…a West Point cadet, a Renaissance man and an orange hair, freckle face athlete. YAWN! 😉 But now my laundry life is nearly thrilling and the possibilities are endless.

Now, here’s a freshly washed load of laundry = shazam!

So hey, leave a comment and enter the drawing. What have you got to lose? Help me spread the word about soap nuts and use the 10% discount…code WPMoms. Go soap nuts and thanks NaturOli

Love me, love my soap nuts

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You have to do something BIG for your 50th birthday.
I chose to begin life with soap nuts. 

It was destiny, destiny I tell you that the box of soap nuts arrived on my 50th birthday. I don’t usually air our dirty laundry (horrible pun) but now that it’s getting clean, let me brag for a moment about my new cleansing agent.

Do not be afraid, my friends, these are only soap nuts. 

From the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, several pounds of the dried shells of the sapindus mukorossi trees have found purpose in the suburbs of North Carolina. Oh how I wished I had these nuts when my oldest OS was a lowly plebe just starting at West Point. My olfactory buds have suffered greatly from the mounds of West Point laundry. There have been times when I have nearly driven home from the airport with the windows in my SUV open because Nate smelled really bad. Oddly enough it wasn’t due to poor hygiene, it was his clothing. When I informed Nate that he REEKED, he expressed confusion not knowing whether it was the cheap laundry detergent he was using or the frequently used washing machines on post. I’m still in disbelief that he went to see his bonita in El Salvador with that unpleasant odor attached to his clothing. 

The Soldier and his bonita in El Salvador. He’s going there for Spring Break.
Clean your clothes well before you leave to go see her, Nate!

But perhaps I have found the solution. My chest swelled with pride when Nate came home recently and I introduced him to soap nuts. While he was a bit skeptical about Mom and one of my latest “things,” here’s what I told him about the newest addition to the family. 

This is the equivalent of at least eight loads of laundry
  • Our clothes are cleaner – Imbedded stains have nearly disappeared. Without any additional spot removers or bleach, the soap nuts are kicking stains’  butts. It’s shocking how fresh and bright our clothes and linens have become. 
  • Our clothes feel nicer – Dare I admit I now even enjoy folding clothes again? Please don’t tell anyone else in the family. The texture of our laundry is more authentic. Ungainly t-shirts hold their heads up higher, towels have absorptive confidence. Who’d have thunk?
Soaking them soap nuts

And here’s a really weird thing I’ve noticed 

  • Our clothes even sound better – As someone with sensitive hearing, sounds influence my daily life. The sizzle of popcorn after the kernels have just finished exploding delights but I’m drawn to the brink of insanity by the smacking of lips or the licking of fingers. A very prominent person in my life does the latter so I’m quite familiar with this sound. And while it might sound really strange to most people, I have noticed the laundry sounds different and I never perceived the sound of laundry until my encounter with soap nuts. 

Enjoy this brief “music” clip of my soap nuts. For artistic purposes, I included some almonds in the picture. Do not use almonds in your laundry! 😉

  • No residual odors – Have ever washed your face with a wash cloth that smells like it had cleaned an armpit? It has happened too many times to me and I’m sick of it! Especially frustrating is when I know that the towel was freshly cleaned and still throw it out because the smell has lingered. Well friends, that is a now thing of the past. With soap nuts, there is no funky smell. I cannot detect the body part previously scrubbed with any towel. 
  • Much less lint – the dryer has about a 10th of its previous lint! I guess that’s a good thing, right?
  • No odors – aside from the slight vinegar smell of the soap nuts, my nose detects no chemical odors or perfumes.
  • Fun to use – I just soak about six soap nuts in a small muslin bag, immerse them in warm water during my washing machine and that’s it. After the rinse cycle, I just hang my nuts on the knob on the cabinet until the next time. You can use the soap nuts for about 4-7 times before they are done and then I just toss them in my backyard. They are eco-friendly like that. 
“I’m taking these pants and my mom’s soap 
nuts to college!”
  • Take up less space, weigh nearly nothing – As we prepare for our middle OS to attend Moody Bible Institute in the fall, Aaron will have his own supply of soap nuts quite possibly with a small monogrammed muslin bag. 😉 I might even give them as gifts for his college bound friends. Aaron will surely be the coolest guy pursuing a ministry degree and he will have more room in his dorm. Perhaps he will even wear his homemade bibliophile pajama pants to the laundry room and send the ladies into orbit!

“I think West Point needs soap nuts!” 

Here’s some more information if you are interested in learning more about soap nuts. Many times I have purchased products and been disappointed. My experience with soap nuts (click this to see how they work) has exceeded my expectations. Thanks to my Himalayan Mountain treasures, I can now proclaim, “Bring on the stinky Soldier! Send hither the malodorous minister! Come nigh thy athletic ginger, your mother and her soap nuts await you all with open arms.”

A friend sent me this link, thought I’d pass it along.