Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DIY Natural Products Dish Soap

DIY Natural Products Dish Soap
Written By Renee Arbia

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.
If you have been following the blog along lately you will have noticed we started making our own products at home. There are many reasons to make your own products, our main reasons are because they contribute to our green living lifestyle and are better for us and the environment as well as being cheaper than alternatives and are fun to make. Check out some DIY NaturalProduct basic tips and our recipe for Laundry Detergent.

This is my recipe for hand washing dish soap. We hand wash a lot of dishes. I do not like to put my nice pots and cookware in the dishwasher. Plus, with kids and babies around the majority of their items get hand washed because they need it before the dishwasher can be run. We go through a lot of dish detergent so I definitely wanted a cheaper alternative, but something that could still cut grease really well. This is one of the best recipes I have found and we are very fond of. You will find when making your own soaps that they are not as “foamy” as commercial soaps. That is because it is not necessary to have suds to clean. Most make your own soaps are less “foamy” and are thinner and not as thick. Although this recipe is thin it still cuts grease really well and because it is cheaper I do not mind using a little more if necessary on stubborn stuck on food. However, you can mix it with a little regular dish soap to help fight grease better, to thicken it up or to save you money and make your store bought dish soap last longer. If you notice in the picture the end result is blue. This is because I used this to fill an almost empty container of Dawn Dish Soap so the combination of the two gave it a thicker texture as well as cut grease. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Next Generation SAHM DIY Dish Soap
(for hand washing dishes only, not suitable for dishwashers)

-          3 cups of hot boiling water
-          1 cup liquid Castile soap
-          2 TBSP White Vinegar
-          2 TBSP Washing Soda
-          ¼ tsp. Tea Tree Oil

-          Boil water and combine other ingredients in a bowl. 

Pour in the boiling water and whisk. 

When it is thoroughly mixed let it cool and transfer to a container.

 I usually make a double batch to really fill the entire container and have a little left over. If you love the DIY Natural Products we are having fun labeling our products with the Sacar Stationary Chalkboard Labels. They are great as they can get wet and still stay on bottles of plastic and glass. They easily wipe clean like a chalkboard and are as good as new if you want to change your container for your next natural product. Check them out Sacar Stationary Chalkboard Labels on Amazon!

#sacarstationary, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #diynaturalproducts, #dishsoap, #diydishsoap, #greenliving

Monday, May 16, 2016

Buy Food and Grow Food with Chick-fil-A

Buy Food and Grow Food with Chick-fil-A
Written By Renee Arbia

You may have noticed we are spending a lot of time at Chick-fil-A this year, and that is because I am on the Chick-fil-A Mom Panel. It has been a lot of fun testing out new foods and seeing what is happening at our local Chick-fil-A restaurants.
 Growing up in the northern part of the country Chick-fil-A has been new to me since I moved down to the south and I did not know much about it. It was not until I became a mom that I started going so frequently. A good friend of ours took us and we instantly fell in love. Chick-fil-A is no ordinary fast food restaurant. Food is made fresh, with real ingredients and is brought to your table where you wait and look at their fresh flowers. Many have play places for kids to play in. 

They also have great family events all the time. I think one of our favorite things is that they let your kids decide if they want to keep their toy in their meal or trade it in for an ice cream cone. It has been so funny for us to watch Xavier make this decision. After all it is a big decision for a four year old, toy or ice cream? He will examine the unopened toy or sometimes book and decide if it is more important than the ice cream. Most of the time he cannot pass up the ice cream, he loves going to the counter and asking for it all by his self. My husband and I are addicted to the spicy chicken sandwich. It is by far the best spicy chicken sandwich I have ever had and I love their new frosted lemonade.

For springtime Chick-fil-A has brought in a few new dishes with a super food kale side salad, frosted coffee and a spicy southwest salad. I admit I am not one to order salads at fast food places. I have a hard time passing on their spicy chicken sandwich. However, I was in the mood for the salad as I do like salads and I was intrigued to try the spicy southwest salad. My husband got the frosted coffee, (I cannot drink coffee, though I did steal a couple yummy sips) and he loved it. 

The spicy southwest salad is a very big and fresh salad filled with all sorts of delicious delights from corn and beans to shredded spicy chicken. There are a variety of salad dressings you can choose. I asked the cashier for a recommendation on the dressing and she recommended the creamy salsa dressing, which did not disappoint. I love this salad; it was a huge, fresh and flavorful salad that thoroughly filled this seven month pregnant woman’s hungry belly much to my surprise. It was a big hit and I plan on ordering it again and again.

Chick-fil-A has some awesome plastic containers that we frequently upcycle into other food or toy containers in our household. Xavier usually chooses fruit with his meal and I always take the small plastic box home to store snacks in for later use. The spicy southwest salad container is a big plastic container with a lid with some small holes in it. I could not just throw this container away. We are in the midst of our heavy gardening season. Our vegetable garden is in full bloom and we are getting our seeds and seedlings ready to be planted in June for our summer garden. I decided the Chick-fil-A spicy southwest salad container would make an excellent seedling starter container, especially since the lid already has some strategically placed holes in it. We simply filled it with soil and seeds, watered it, left it in the sun and our seedlings took off and are now ready to be planted! We are already in the midst of starting some more.

I simply love that Chick-fil-A is not just another fast food restaurant it is an experience that you can have with your family. You can get affordable, yummy, healthy food and some great containers to keep as souvenirs. Be sure to check out the new Spicy Southwest Salad, frosted coffee, kale side salad or frosted lemonade at the Chick-fil-A near you!

#chickfilamomsDIY, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #lifestyle, #upcycle, #chickfila, #gardeningwithkids

Monday, May 9, 2016

DIY Natural Products Laundry Detergent

DIY Natural Products Laundry Detergent
Written By Renee Arbia

If you follow my blog regularly you will notice we tend to be a very “green” family. Or at least we are working on trying to be. We do it for many reasons, it is better for our health, our environment and the longer you live a “green” lifestyle the cheaper it ends up being. Many people who turn to a green lifestyle use their own home products. This took us a while to get into. My husband and I are slightly nuts about germs and getting sick so we were reluctant to switch a lot of our products for home remedies that we were not sure just how well they worked. One of the first things that we switched was cleaning products. I have always had a big chemical sensitivity and have always had a problem with cleaning products. The smell always makes me sick in bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleansers and dusters. I never dare put a smelly candle or scent spray in our air. Plus many of those products if they came in contact with my hands would leave a rash and make me blotchy.

Through trial and error we have switched our cleaning products and use our own recipes of different combinations using vinegar, water, lemon juice, tea tree oil and baking soda. We have been using these cleaners for several years now to a great success. We use natural essential oils in our cleaners and now in our humidifier to clear the air and make the house smell nice. I have always loved essential oils and have been using them for years, but recently with the popularity of them I have been able to incorporate them more into our natural recipes for cleaners as they are much more affordable then they used to be. Essential oils not only smell good there are many that are antibacterial. They can kill bacteria, fungi, viruses, fight bodily infections, prevent illnesses, treat skin conditions, disinfect the surfaces of your home, and eliminate microbes in the air of your environment. Some you can ingest and some are topical only so be careful how you use them, however, they are much safer for you than the toxic chemicals you will find in most cleaners, soaps and cleansers.

My husband and son have very sensitive skin when it comes to soaps and detergents. They break out in a rash if we use soaps or detergents with too many chemicals in them. One time someone used our washing machine with a different detergent than ours and the next time I did laundry with our regular detergent my husband broke out in a rash. However, for some reason with the popularity of natural products big companies seem to think it is a good idea to charge customers more for the “more natural” brands of soaps and cleansers. This has started to irritate me. Why should I pay more for a more natural product? Shouldn’t it cost less to make if they do not have to manufacture toxic chemicals? After doing a lot of research most products are not very natural at all, they are diluted so you have to use a lot for a little cleaning and they cost much more than they are worth. After doing more research I discovered there are tons of moms out there who are making their own household products. Just look it up on Pinterest and you will find thousands of different recipes for homemade items. The trick is finding the recipe that suites your family the best.

It took me a lot of convincing to get my husband to trust my skills at making our own home products, as he just did not see the value in it. First of all, was the cost, I admit, you may think the cost of making your own products is high in the beginning. The problem is you have to buy things like washing soda, borax, Castile soap, glycerin and some essential oils. However, for all of those items that you buy they come in big containers and you use a little of them to make a ton of product and when you use the product you use a very small amount of product. Therefore, over time it is worth it, but you may have some upfront fees to start off if you do not have all these items already in your home. Remember when making your own products though that there are tons of different recipes if you do not have something chances are you can find a recipe with different items that you may already have. It is best to have some essential oils in your arsenal, not only do they add smells to your products but they also add the antibacterial properties as well. Here is a list of antibacterial essential oils my personal favorites are Tea Tree Oil, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass.

Antibacterial Essential Oils
1)      Eucalyptus
2)      Peppermint
3)      Lavender
4)      Tea Tree Oil –DO NOT EAT THIS OIL
5)      Bergamot
6)      Lemongrass
7)      Oregano
8)      Thyme
9)      Clove
10)  Basil
11)  Rosemary
12)  Cinnamon
13)  Patchouli
14)  Lemon
15)  Grapefruit
16)  Sage

So note that in recipes that have these essential oils in them you can switch them up for different smells. Most of them have the same types of qualities. Be careful though not to ingest them as not all can safely be ingested. Most are great for detergents, soaps, lotions and cleaners.

So the recipe that hooked my husband and started our DIY Household Product journey was our laundry detergent. When he saw how easy it was to make, how much it made, how little we used and how well it worked he was hooked and he has let me turn our home into an industrial product place when I choose to make ourselves some natural products. I will periodically share with you our perfected recipes. I hope you like them and enjoy them as much as we do.

When you make your own products you do need to come up with containers. It would be nice to have everything pretty in glass mason jars but that is not always practical. I have found that saving old containers works best for most of our products but use whatever you are comfortable with. I put our laundry detergent in a plastic jug and found a scoop that is exactly two teaspoons which is what you use per load. I first tested this laundry detergent on our dog’s comforter and we were pleasantly surprised to find it worked awesome. It was clean and fresh and we have been hooked on it ever since. Since you use so little product this amount should last you about four to six months at least depending on how many loads of laundry you do!

Next Generation SAHM DIY Laundry Detergent

2 Cups Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda
2 bars of Castile Soap

-          Grind up all ingredients in a food processor or heavy duty blender to a fine powder.
-          Use 2 teaspoons per load and about 5-10 drops of Tea Tree Oil per load

Feel free to change the essential oil to one of your choosing. I love tea tree oil particularly for laundry as it has a nice fresh scent, and helps to repel bugs and fleas off of fabrics.

To further green up your laundry ditch the chemical ridden dryer sheets and invest in wool dryer balls, they last at least six months and help dry your clothes in less time. We love them! Do you have a favorite product that you make?

 Don't forget to enter to win three boxes of IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields!

#NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #diynaturalproducts, #laundrydetergent, #diylaundrydetergent, #greenliving

Monday, May 2, 2016

Keep Your Traveling Toothbrush Safe with IntelliDent Shields

Keep Your Traveling Toothbrush Safe with IntelliDent Shields


Written By Renee Arbia
Sponsored By: IntelliDent

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

Springtime is almost over and we are almost into summer time. If you have not taken the family for a fun trip somewhere yet, chances are you are planning on one in the summer time. We are getting together our preparations for our small family vacation this year.

As we get closer to our vacation time I mentally make note of items I need or see in our house and need to dig out. For example, while searching for toilet paper in our bathroom closet, I notice our toiletry bags and make a mental note to clean them out before vacation. I notice our luggage bags buried in the back of a storage closet and make a mental note to dig them out before the packing begins. While cleaning the bathroom I notice piled in a storage drawer are our awful plastic toothbrush containers. I cannot stand these things. I have been traveling with plastic toothbrush containers since I was a child and I have never found a better alternative. I do not like them because they do not always fit my toothbrush. It is a matching game to figure out whose toothbrush fits into what plastic container. No matter how much I clean them they inevitably seem dirty and gross and I am afraid of all the bacteria my toothbrush will pick up on it. When we are on vacation I usually have to stash our toothbrushes in the holder without our toothbrushes having time to dry off meaning more bacteria breeding on my toothbrush. Did you know that plastic toothbrush travel cases are so gross the CDC even recommends NOT using them?

Needless to say my plastic toothbrush container anxiety was gone when I heard of the new toothbrush shields from IntelliDent. IntelliDent toothbrush shields are breathable, quick drying shields that act like a surgical mask for your toothbrush. It is effective at blocking 99.9% of airborne and surface bacteria getting on your toothbrush. Whether it is from traveling, sitting in a cup holder with other brushes, stored in an enclosed dark space that breeds germs (ie- medicine cabinet, or plastic toothbrush holder) or even in close proximity to the toilet, your toothbrush is completely protected from germs when your IntelliDent Toothbrush Shield is on your toothbrush! Each breathable quick-drying IntelliDent shield blocks microbes as it wicks moisture away from brush bristles, creating a cleaner healthier environment for your toothbrush and your mouth.

The IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields are so easy to use even our four year old son; Xavier was able to use his unassisted once we showed him how. You simply open the package, and put your toothbrush into the shield. It is sort of like a woven cloth cover that lasts for up to seven days (it is recommended to throw it away by then and use another). 

IntelliDent also makes Mouth Guard Shields for dental devices and dentures. They do not recommend using plastic cases anymore for mouth guards and dentures. The IntelliDent mouth guard is a great alternative and is easy to store in your bag.

Our whole family really loves the IntelliDent Shields. It is so much easier to pack our toothbrushes and I feel so much healthier knowing that they are not breeding bacteria and they will stay clean the entire vacation!

You can purchase IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields or Mouth Guard Shields from, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, local pharmacy chains and Amazon. For more information feel free to check out their website at

Enter for your chance to win 3 boxes of IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields to keep your toothbrush and your mouth healthy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#sponsored, #intellident, #toothbrushshields, #traveltips, #reviews, #NextGenerationSAHMBlog, #giveaway, #giveawayalert


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