Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Do Magic Erasers have formaldehyde?; Magic Erasers vs Norwex Cleaning Up Pads

If you are reading this post you probably have heard someone say something along the lines of:
"Magic Erasers have formaldehyde in them!"
"Magic Erasers are toxic and cause chemical burns!"
You are probably wondering if you should ever use Magic Erasers because you are wondering if they are safe.  I have been in your position too.  Years ago I first heard something along those lines, did some research and was reassured enough to begin using them again.  Then recently I heard the same thing again and realized that I had forgotten all of my past research, so I decided to research them again, document my research, and post it for my future use down the road.  So this post is for me to remember as much as it is for you.

Along with the food and body product revolution, I have been whisked into the "clean without harsh chemicals" movement.  For me, its all about showing respect for my body and the earth.  So I have been taking baby steps to avoid harsh chemicals.  And since Magic Erasers are just sponges that work with water alone, they fit into my "try to clean with just microfiber, water, or non-harsh chemicals" ideology.  I love the cleaning power of Magic Erasers, especially for my stove-top.  So when people say that they are toxic, that sends me scrambling for answers/proof because I don't want to give them up.

Okay, so here is how this post will go.  I will provide you with a description of the ingredient in Magic Erasers, explain that ingredient, provide safety information, and then lastly compare it with Norwex Cleaning Up Pads.  I'm including the comparison at the end because both times that I heard statements accusing Magic Eraser of being unsafe was from Norwex consultants.

What are the ingredients in Mr. Clean Magic Erasers?  Proctor & Gamble reports that the only ingredient in Original Magic Erasers and their Extra Power Magic Erasers is melamine polymer, which is an "Abrasive Foam".

What is Melamine Polymer Foam?  Melamine foam is a "foam-like material consisting of a formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer."  Melamine Polymer is also known as melamine foam, and is a form of melamine resin.  Melamine foam feels soft but really is as hard as glass and cleans through abrasion.

Okay, so the scary word fomaldehyde is there.  But did you catch the dashes in between formaldehyde and melamine and sodium?  Those dashes are not just "ingredients" in a recipe--it is a complex scientific process that produces a different compound.  I don't understand it but chemical engineers and scientists do.  So in melamine resin, the "formaldehyde is more tightly bound in melamine formaldehyde than it is in urea-formaldehyde, reducing emissions".  Here's a snippet from that page for you:
WHEW!  Now onto some explanations that I do understand.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Alligator Chopper vs PL8 Professional Chopper Review....What is the Best Chopper?

Okay, so I have issues cutting onions.  They make me cry AND the leftover onion-y air particles stay in my eyes/contacts for hours.  Four years ago I did some looking around for a onion chopper.  I found a Vidalia Chop Wizard without the dicer piece at my local thrift store and I also bought a Alligator Dicer from Amazon.

The Vidalia Chop Wizard worked great for chopping produce for quite some time...until the base broke.  The Alligator dicer was loved instantly and it is still going strong.  I love, love, LOVE it.  But the Alligator dicer has only one chop blade and I have really been wanting a chopper that has different sized chop blades.  And when I dice tomatoes with the Alligator dicer, the juices run out onto the counter because its collector container is above the unit instead of below.  So I have been looking at different choppers in the hopes of finding THE PERFECT one.

So after much looking around online, I settled on the PL8 Professional Chopper and I bought it from Jet.  It has the ability to do a 1/2-inch chop, 1/4-inch dice, and 1/8-inch mince.  It also utilizes a cleaning grid system like my beloved Alligator Dicer.

Long review short, I still think the Alligator chopper is way better than the PL8.  I am majorly bummed because I was hoping that the PL8 would out-shine it BUT it just couldn't get a crisp, clean cut/dice like my trusty Alligator.  Plus, the PL8 was a huge PAIN to clean, even with its cleaning grid system.
This picture shows how the Alligator chopper can dice a red onion beautifully and cleanly.
So what now?  I have purchased an attachment piece for my Alligator that will allow a 1/2-inch chop.  I will just deal with the tomato juice issue.  And I still really want to buy this version of the Alligator but I just can't justify the expense.  Of course, I will keep my eyes open for one that can top my Alligator chopper.  ;)  Until then, I'm going to say that the best onion and food chopper is the Alligator. It rocks!!!

Thanks for reading!

PS:  I do think that it is worth mentioning that the Vidalia Chop Wizard company, when they heard about this post, offered to replace the broken part.  But since I had bought it used and had already got rid of it, I declined.  So they have good customer service.  If the Alligator choppers are too pricey for you, I would consider buying the original Vidalia Chop Wizard either directly from the company or from BBB using a $5 off $15+ purchase coupon that they often send in the mail.  I would not recommend their Elite version (based on online reviews).

Friday, October 28, 2016

Voluminous Waterproof Mascara Review; 3 Reasons It's My New Fave!

Today I am going to tell you about one of the best mascara's that I have tried.  Though my search for the "perfect" mascara continues, this has become my default mascara.

The funny thing is, I have had L'Oreal's Voluminous Waterproof mascara around for years, but never opened a tube to try on myself until a couple months ago.  Back in my couponing days, I got several of these mascaras for a super-low price and they have served me well for a quick gift add-on.  I'm sure glad I finally decided to "gift" one to myself, because what it does for my lashes is AMAZING!  Read on for three reasons why I love this mascara and one reason why I don't.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Physicians Formula Reviews and Their Weak Customer Service

So I have a new baby so posts have been pretty sparse.  And unfortunately, this is not a glowing review.  As you have probably figured out by now, I am on the search for products that are more natural with less chemicals.  But I am a drugstore budget kind of gal.  Which is why I was SO excited when Physicians Formula came out with their organic and natural lines.  But I have kind of just decided that Physicians Formula is just not a brand for me.  First of all, their products just don't perform as I like.  Secondly, I believe they need to revamp their customer service.

Five Physicians Formula Flops
Read on for my mini-reviews of these products.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Favorite Baby and Toddler Books that are Hidden Gems

I need to confess right now.

I. Am. A. Huge. Fan. Of. Children's. Books!!!  Ever since I took a Children's Literature class way back in my college days, I have been hooked.  Plus, I'm a mom of five and am constantly reminded to read to my kids.  Over the years, I have loved these well-know toddler/children's books like:
  • Sandra Boyton's many boardbooks
  • Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books that ALL my kids love
  • David Shannon's hilarious works, including No David and The Bunyans
  • Any MANY others that any librarian would be able to steer you to in a heartbeat!
But today I want to let you know about a few hidden gems that I have stumbled across. They are ones that we just keep pulling out again and again.

Favorite Toddler Books that Are Hidden Gems

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ollas Part 2: Best place to buy ollas on the cheap is GrowOya

2019 UPDATE: How Did My Garden Grow? for the Ollas Part 3 post

2019 UPDATED Buying Guide:
If you read Ollas Part 3 then you'll figure out that my olla gardening experience did not go well in my dry Salt Lake City desert climate.  But if you really want to try it, here are a couple of places you can buy them (it seems the only available size is small which really limits your watering radius):

If you read Ollas Part 1, then you already know about ollas and that I made my own.  While it was definitely a cheap option (about $5 per olla), I didn't enjoy the process and wasn't getting fabulous results in my garden with my homemade ollas.  For the last year, I have been keeping up with the olla online market.  I somehow stumbled upon the company GrowOya and ending up finding a good deal on Jet and bought two to try out in my garden this year.  I am beyond excited!
Here is a snippet from GrowOya's website.
So this review is not complete in that I haven't tested these ollas for a whole garden season and cannot make any statement as to how well they will do in the garden.  However, I really feel like I need to get this review public now because:

  1. I do not know how long these ollas will be on sale and wanted to give my readers a chance to buy a somewhat affordable olla if they do not want take the DIY gamble.
  2. I have high hopes that they will perform well in my garden this year based on the reasons below.
I will definitely come back to this post at the end of the growing season to give you all the details on this particular olla.

Okay, now here is the story of how I got the large GrowOya ollas for $23 each shipped.

Ollas Part 1: Gardening with Ollas and Where to Buy Ollas

I love experimental gardening!  One of my latest obsessions is gardening with ollas.  If you haven't heard of ollas, then just do a basic "olla irrigation" search and you will be promptly educated.

"What is an olla?"  Here is a link to my favorite article on ollas.
An olla is basically a porous earthen pot that is mostly buried under ground and then water is poured into the olla and it slowly seeps out water to the roots of nearby plants, according to their needs.  It is supposed to cut down gardening water up to 70%.  How cool is that!?!

Last summer I conducted my very own Homemade Olla Experiment and am here to post the results.
Testing my homemade ollas, my tomato plants surrounding olla, olla with roots, and olla root hole.
Last summer I made my own ollas by caulking together two unglazed terra-cotta pots (after sanding the top edges and plugging up the bottom hole of one of the pots).  It was a 2-3 day project to make 6 ollas that would hold 2.5 liters each and cost about $5 per olla.  Then I buried them and put about three tomato plants around each of them and almost exclusively watered with just ollas, which I filled up two times a week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Birthday Freebies that are Worth the Trouble

Ah, the never-ending birthday freebie list.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  If not, you need to do a "birthday freebies" google search and get with the program.  ;)  I've signed up for so many of these birthday clubs that every year round this time my inbox is full of "freebies".  Which I LOVE!

But, to be honest, some of those freebies are just not worth the trouble.  I mean, a "free dessert" is just not that appealing to me.  So I am kind of stingy with how I use all those freebies.  So I thought I would you clue you into my:

No Messing Around
Birthday Freebie List

Completely Free Meals:  These places offer completely free birthday meals and most of them give a range of dates that the offer is valid, so spread that birthday cheer around.