Sunday, March 15, 2009

A few "Favorite Things" of my own

OK, so I'm no Oprah, and I'm not giving away all of these products to my readers, but I have a list of a few of my newest favorite products to share. Feel free to skip the "commercial break" in my blog, but I thought I'd share a few things that have made my life easier this past month.

1. Totally Toddler Stain Remover

I can only find this at Babies R Us, and it is a little pricey, but this stuff is like magic--it is amazing. It will take out the worst baby poop stains in one wash--it has saved several white outfits that I just knew were destined for the trash bin. I initially bought the $5 small bottle with the built in brush, just to try it, since I was tired of having to wash and scrub 3 and 4 times with other detergents and stain removers to get rid of the baby poop stains. But after a week of using it, I went back and bought the gallon jug, which sells for $9 and will last me a LONG time. It is a non-toxic enzyme cleaner which breaks down poop, spit-up, puke and food stains particularly well, but it is gentle enough that it doesn't irritate Aubrey's super sensitive skin. I just brush some into the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes or so, and then throw the item into the wash in the warmest water the fabric will allow, and the stain is GONE! And it can be used as a spot cleaner on carpet, upholstery, furniture, etc. as well--particularly good for getting poop stains out of the car seat without having to disassemble the entire thing and wash the cover. If you want to try it for FREE, click this link, print out the letter and take it to your favorite grocery store. Ask the store manager to stock it at their store, write down the details, and send it in to the company and they'll send you a coupon for a FREE bottle!


I've dabbled with using coupons over the years, but until I found this site, I never really saw the benefit of clipping all those coupons. I'd inevitably lose them, they'd expire before I could use them, and half the time store brands were cheaper, so what was the point? But the Coupon Mom system helped me put it all together, and I've really seen some amazing savings in the past month. My first trip, I saved $96, almost 40%, off my grocery bill--that's HUGE! I generally save about 30-40% off my total grocery bill by using this FREE system, and considering that the bulk of my grocery purchases are for produce and meat (items that don't have coupons available), that's pretty amazing. And the great thing--no clipping and organizing coupons. You just save the coupon circulars and write the dates on the front, and each week the site's Coupon Database will tell you exactly which circular to go to and clip only the coupons you need that week. Check out the system and start saving money!

3. Shout Advanced Stain Lifting Foam for Greasy Stains

I'm referring to the one that comes in an aerosol can--not the traditional Shout in the white bottle. I am a very messy cook, and I can't tell you how many shirts I've ruined with greasy sauces or butter or oil splattering onto me while cooking. This stuff will take out any greasy stain--even ones that have been washed and dried in the past! I had a tank top that I had resigned to using for working in the yard, etc. after I had cooked fried chicken while wearing it--the chicken popped suddenly, I was splattered in oil, and no amount of washing, even with dish soap and warm water, could get the stain out. After buying this product and having luck with getting out fresh stains, I used it on the tank top, which had been washed and dried probably 10 times since the initial stain, and it STILL go the spots out! It is amazing! Can't tell you how many shirts of Aiden's and mine it has saved! The only drawback--this stuff is horrible to breathe, so use it sparingly and use it outdoors or in a well-ventilated area (I have to turn on the exhaust fan in our laundry room and shut the door--it is strong!).

4. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner in Lemon Verbena
Did you know that the air in most homes is more polluted than the air outside? Seems crazy, but energy efficient homes with air-tight doors and windows combined with cleaning chemicals and fumes from paints and adhesives equals poor indoor air quality. I gave up harsh chemical cleaners when Aiden was born, wanting to rid our home of as many harmful chemicals as possible, and since he's developed so many allergies and is at increased risk for developing asthma, I've really cracked down in the past few years on what products I use. Before, I was mostly using Method brand cleansers from Target. Method stuff is great, but the small bottles of cleansers get expensive. Recently I bought a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's and I'm a total convert. At $10 for a large bottle, it seems pricey, but it is a concentrated cleaner--you put just a couple of tablespoons in a spray bottle with warm water, and you have an all-purpose cleaner that you can use in the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. It's also great on floors, and it doesn't leave a sticky residue like so many cleaners I've tried do. My one, $10 bottle has been around for 4 months now, and it is still 1/3 full, so that one bottle goes a long way--great value for the money. It SMELLS FANTASTIC, and the best part--I don't have to worry about toxic fumes or dumping harsh chemicals into the world! (The dish-washing liquid is also great, and there is a whole line of other products, but these are the only ones I've tried so far.)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these products as much as I do--each of these has made my life as a mom a little easier lately, so I thought I'd share.

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Want to hear more about the Pack?

Check out A Belly in Bloom, a page devoted to Angela's pregnancy with Aubrey. You can see belly pics, sonograms, and learn more about how Aubrey (formerly known as "The Bean") came to be the lovely little girl she is! You can also find Angela's favorite recipes and newest food experiments at Cooking with the Parker Pack.