Start Em While They are Young – Part 2

In our previous post we talked about how important it is to instill lessons and values into our children as soon as possible while being careful not to legalistically shove our beliefs down their throats. Really we as parents and teachers need to lead by example.

This memory stays with me from years ago, before I married and had kids. I was traveling somewhere in an airport and I remember looking over at a small child eating candy while sitting next to his mom. Each candy wrapper was nonchalantly thrown onto the floor followed the child popping the treat into his mouth. The parent did nothing. She just sat there and then left the mess on the floor. I was floored! How was this kid supposed to know that the floor/ground is not a garbage can and WHY it’s important not to litter if someone doesn’t guide and teach him?

It’s not hard to see people littering all over the place every time we leave our homes. And boy does it accumulate! We can slap fines on people for littering but I think real change comes from educating and motivating our children to help the problem.

We have woods behind our house with a walking trail that we like to utilize as much as possible. This week my oldest kid (8 years) insisted that she take several garbage bags with her on the walk to clean up the trail and this is what she came back with:

We all can take part in someway to cleanup our communities to make them better for the next generation. What’s it going to be for you?

Start em While They’re Young!! – Part 1

Some people (sometimes I would think most people in our society but I want to stay real and as positive as possible here) think that it’s irresponsible to have many children. I do understand the mindset behind this…”we are in an over population crisis! People are starving all over the world!…People use and wast so much energy in our country…There are landfills popping up everywhere..” and on and on it goes. I’m not saying these points are not valid, they certainly are! However I do not believe that the solution to these problems is making sure our communities have 1.5 children. I personally have seen landfills grow and even took a class in engineering school to learn how to design one to fill MORE garbage. I personally had a grandfather that said the meanest things about me wanting a large family. But here’s the thing, there is power in patiently educating without shoving points down people’s throats.

I do believe that we need to do better. Better in taking care of what has been given to us and being grateful for this earth that we live on. We need to show our kids that these are gifts given to us and to be good stewards of them. What will happen if I shove my believes into them without patiently teaching the HEART of the issue? They’ll flee from it all.

There are so many things that I am personally learning and I’m seeing how much grace I need in this as well. (Like when I’m just too lazy to rinse out the 12th yogurt container so that it can be recycled).

One thing I want to talk about today is instilling responsibility in my kids and teaching them that they need to take part in helping diligently and cheerfully. If I do everything for them, they will grow up believing that things should come to them on a silver platter. First they learn at home so that they can go out in society and apply it there.

Every morning my children are expected to do two chores laid out for them. We have a chore chart on the refrigerator that changes every season. I’m not saying that this is easy. Goodness there are many mornings that I want to run far far away from teaching this chore thing!

Along with these chores, my kids are learning about healthy living and how we keep our home safe from chemicals. They are able to do just about every task because we use Norwex and I don’t need to worry about toxic junk getting on their hands or being consumed.

 

Using Norwex in my home has effected my kids in ways that I don’t always realize. The other day I was trying to get some supplies together to do a craft with the kids. When I asked them if we had any paper towels, my 5 yr old responded by saying “what on earth is a paper towel??! It sounds like a towel made out of paper and that’s weird”. These simple things can have huge impacts for our world and communities. We can all take part in educating in some way!

How We Potty Train Around Here

We are already on round five with the potty training process! My husband came up with an idea to train our kids from kid #1 that has worked every.single.time. Every child is different mind you, but this lovely method has worked for all of them and it really isn’t that complicated.

We start by going to the chocolate store in Richmond, VA (called “for the love of chocolate”) and buying $30 worth of eye catching animal chocolates for the kid’s #2 reward and some Jelly Belly beans for the kid’s #1 reward. A little potty is set up in a good central location and the treats are dangled in a good place for all to see. 
When ready to begin, the kid is encouraged to sit on their little potty to become comfortable with it. Then they will run around for the next few days without a diaper, pants or underwear. This is important because it gives the child the realization as to what is happening when they need to pee or poop. Of course there will be some accidents! That’s why my Enviro Cloth is always handy! (it’s nice to have one Enviro Cloth designated just for the nastiest messes).

When they pee, a jelly bean is given. When they poop, they get to pick out a fancy animal chocolate from the hanging display. See?! Simple! Wish us luck as we embark on round #5 this weekend!

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The New Chenille Hand Towel

Norwex came out with this brilliant product in August and I can say with conviction that it has improved my husband and my sanity in our household ever since we began hanging it from our oven door. It’s important to have something to dry your hands on in the kitchen. It’s even more important to have something to dry your hands on that isn’t chocked full of bacteria. This towel has Norwex’s BacLock silver agent in the fibers, inhibiting bacterial growth within the towel and allowing us to hang it for weeks before throwing it in the laundry.

Ichenille-hand-towel used to use Norwex’s Kitchen Towel for this purpose. But if you have kids, you and I both know how often towels end up on the floor! ahhh!! Norwex has outsmarted kids everywhere with this design. The Chenille Hand Towel is designed to hang from a bar, towel rack, etc. without being pulled off!

Ditch all the hand towels that you have billowing out of that drawer in your kitchen (you know what I’m talking about) and simplify things by having one of these in your kitchen. It’s a must.

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Our Dinner Table – Cloth Napkins

attachment-1Kids get real messy at mealtime. Face, hands and sometimes more. If my kids don’t have something to use to wipe their hands throughout their meal, their shirt WILL become their cleaning tool. I don’t like buying paper towels and the throw-away-after-one-use type napkins. I would rather use the money for some tasty cheese or ice-cream and I’m not a fan of contributing to my local landfill for such things. Plus with messy kids they don’t work very well anyways. I tried the cloth napkin route and that worked for a season but it didn’t 100% suite my fancy. I became tired of laundering cloth napkins after a kid only used it once.

cloth-napkinsNow I have a system that I like. At meal times, each child receives a damp mini (travel size) Enviro Cloth. When mealtime is over, I simply rinse the cloths out, hang to dry, and allow the BacLock silver agent to clean the cloth between meals. I LOVE that I don’t
have to care/worry about who gets what cloth since I have peace of mind that there will be no cross contamination. If my Claire uses pink at breakfast, my Elliott can use the same pink at lunch.

I also like using the Travel Size Enviro Cloths in the car, while I’m out and about (shopping carts, kid’s hands, cell phone, etc.).

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The Body (Child) Wash Mitt

If you are a parent of a wee child, you would agree that an outside shower and wash down station would be quite lovely; especially during warmer months. I hate to pull my children back from getting good and dirty outside but the cleanup can be daunting!! This is a site that I regularly see throughout my days:

Body wash Mitt

The new Norwex Body Wash Mitt was released a couple weeks ago and I’m over the top excited!! Like the Body Cloths, the Body Wash Mitt has BacLock (antibacterial silver agent) in the soft microfiber on one side, a scrubbyish exfoliating material (for washing feet) on the other side, and is designed to clean your body with just water. Cleaning my kids between playtimes and my own self has been SO easy!

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R R & R

I do believe it is my responsibility to teach my kids how to be good stewards of this earth. I cannot help but cringe when I see trash littered all over the place because I am reminded of how some people just don’t care about taking care of our planet for future generations to come. Who wouldn’t want their kids and grandkids to enjoy clean lakes to swim in, clean hiking paths, clean drinking water, healthy air, and more and more.

I grew up in a state that values taking care of the environment so there were strict penalties for littering and pollution causing which is all fine and dandy BUT I think it is MY job as a parent to instill these values into my children. How?

*Model the behavior you want your kids to have by showing your kids how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We show them what is important to us with the choices that we make and the priorities that we have (car we purchase, house we buy, being creative with using things over for another purpose, etc.)

RRR*Talk with them! Talk about why we choose not to put everything in the trash and why we hang a Norwex grocery bag in the kitchen that continually overflows with recyclables. Talk about why we don’t take 20 minute showers. Talk about why we don’t leave our toys around for the dog to chew up (and possibly choke on). You get the picture.

* Involve your kids as much as possible. Plant a garden with them. Clean up dog poop in the yard with them to show the value of keeping things from getting nasty and how we all need to have some dad gum responsibility.

*Celebrate Earth Day or something like it. My kids LOVE any reason to party 🙂 and they remember all the parties that we have no matter the reason. Many times we think of the nasty things happening on the planet (oil spills, plastic in the ocean, extinction of the whales) which is good to be aware of to learn from. But I want my kids to celebrate the beauty of what God created for us to be stewards of.

* Practice being more sustainable. We recently bought 6 backyard chickens to eat the ticks & other bugs without needing to use a chemical to do so. We will use our chickens for some winter dinners and then buy more chicks in the spring.

Being a good stewart is a big and sometimes hard job but the rewards that we reap from what we sow are more than worth it.

It’s a family affair

After growing up on a farm, my parents taught me the value of a good days work. SO glad! This is what I want my kids to learn. This Norwex business of mine isn’t a “me only” business while the kids jump around the house with dad, not knowing WHY mom leaves the house a couple nights a week. They understand that mom does Norwex for the family and that this is their business too.

In case you didn’t know, I have 5 children ages 7, 6, 4, 2, and 1. Many people would ask “what on earth can kids that little do to earn money and be actual employees of a business?”. Goodness there is a lot! My 7, 6, and 4 year old kids stuff and label catalogs, put together hostess & booking gifts, prepare binders, count postcards, label sample bottles, and any other officely thing. The youngest two travel around the house making messes for me to use Norwex products on and then blog about later (hehe).

claire working

I pay my kids $5/hour. When they get their paychecks, they are able to do whatever they want with 25% of it (or last week the three older kids took their little brother’s new ball and broke it, so they will use their savings to buy him a new one) while the remaining funds are given to a cause or invested for the future (college etc.).

With Norwex we are building a legacy for future generations. Not only do we have the opportunity to share these products to create safer homes in our community, but also to experience freedom in this kind of business. It is such a gift to be able to share this with my kids.

lets talk about wet wipes

I have three children that still need help cleaning themselves when they poop. There is a three-year-old boy that calls “MOM! come here and wipe my butt!!” at least once a day and a two-year-old toddler that also calls from the toilet after doing his business and flushing the toilet 10 times while he waits for mom to show up. Oh, and my Ari girl is 4 months old…need a say more? Some days I think I deserve a medal for being an expert on poop.

With lots of poop to clean up there’s lots of wipes used under my roof. To be honest, I barely used disposable wet wipes in the past because they cost $ and I’m not a fan of spending $ on things to just use for a second and throw away! (this may sound nasty to some) but I have been using reusable wipes since my oldest was born mostly to save money. BUT when your 5th child comes, anything to make life a little easier is totally welcomed. My lovely neighbor friend gave me a HUGE  Costco box of disposable wipes and this is the beginning of my story.

With two boys needing to be wiped throughout the day, I thought it was a marvelous idea to put a big box of wipes on the top of my toilet. This is a great convenient place to grab a wipe when needed. I soon learned that the subconscious mind will throw nasty used wet wipes in the toilet once in awhile (and who wants to fish it out afterwards?? NOT ME!). So this is what happened. A wet wipe was flushed instead of trashed…one here and one there. But oh dear, one soon leads to more and more and more.

One Friday night (Friday is laundry day around here by the way. Probably 10 loads go through the washer) after starting the washing machine for the 10th time, human sewage began rising from all the drains. My house smelled like a wastewater treatment plant and nothing would go down the drains. Poor husband rushed to the Home Depot (we otta get some stock in that store!) and came back with a $500 tool to unclog the pipes.

After a couple of hours taking toilets off and sloshing this new fancy tool through the pipes, it was brought to my attention that these lovely wet wipes were to blame! Thanks to my personal experience and costly mistake, I was forced to do more research on these wipes because I imagine that I’m not the only one flushing them “here and there”!

WHY SHOULD WE DITCH THE WIPES AND SPEND OUR $$ ON SOMETHING THAT’s HEALTHIER?

Wet wipes contain chemicals that you don’t want to use on your baby’s (or anyone’s!) behind. They contain alcohol, perfume, chlorine, dioxin, potassium laureth phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Maleic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) and a formaldehyde-based preservative that has been linked to allergies and cancer.

All wet wipes are NOT biodegradable and generate 7.6 billion pounds of garbage each year. People (including me) will flush them down the toilet, clogging pipes and doing A LOT of damage to wastwater treatment plants, oceans, and beaches.

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A mechanical rake at the Newtown Creek plant collecting solid waste, mostly wet wipes, for disposal. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

Use reusable cloths! It really isn’t hard and they work a million times better anyway.

travel

I like using the Norwex Travel Pack while I’m out and about. I have a pack in my purse/bag and dry them out on the dashboard of my car. I love knowing that they are removing 99% of bacteria off surfaces with just water!

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The Baby Pack is wonderful for cleaning messes off my kids’ faces and hands. I’m not using a wipe soaked in chemicals every time they need to be cleaned (which is mostly on their little faces and hands!)

Here’s to not using expensive chemical filled wipes that clog our pipes (and turn our homes into wastewater treatment plants!), decorate our beaches and landfills, and ruin our sewer systems. And here’s to using a better, cheaper, and healthier option!

When Messes are Dad Gum Fun

I love being fearless with my baking. I tend to try new things when people come over for dinner or when it’s someone’s birthday. My son’s second birthday is today and I thought I would utilize this occasion to make a lovely chocolate beet cake with cream cheese beet frosting. This is in NO way an attempt to get my kids to eat veggies (call me old fashion but I simply make them sit at their seat until their greens are in their tummy) by hiding them in a cake. This is a birthday people and on birthdays you don’t focus on healthy cakes. At least I don’t anyway. I want something to go in the memory bank and I thought this fun treat would do. The man of the home hasn’t been as thrilled as me for this cake (I have to admit, I have been talking about it ever since I saw beets at the farmers market) but I’m excited to surprise his taste buds.

Fun recipes mean fun messes. At least for me they do. Have you ever worked with beets? Or beets with kids?

beetmessWhen my 6-year-old saw this georgeous spill she nonchilantly says “yeah that’s fine. We have an Enviro Cloth…”. Yep we do. I personally don’t mind if my cleaning cloth becomes stained with beet juice.

FullSizeRender copyWhen the birthday kid found us making messes in the kitchen he didn’t want to miss out on the fun! I handed him a wisk and the dry ingredients were soon mixed AND spilled all over the floor. Nothing the mop can’t handle.

When the cakes were baking in the oven, the helpers dove into the left over batter in bowls and utelzels.

The end result:

FullSizeRender copy 2In case you are wondering how my fearless cake turned out, it was a hit. Even my husband loved it and even put a large piece on his nightstand so that he would have it waiting for him in the morning.

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I love that I don’t have to completely freak out when mess bombs go off in my home. Norwex really does help ease the mess tension and gives me the green light to hand off cleaning tasks to the little people of the home. No chemicals and a very effective cloth give those little busy hands something to do and a mom that can sit a little longer with coffee in hand.