$100 to keep my home, family and myself clean (and moisturized!)

Washing Hands Under Faucet

I’ve been experimenting with natural, non-toxic substitutes for my personal and home care for about the past six months. While I’ve been trying lots of different products and combinations, I think I could set up a kit to take care of my family, my home and myself for less than $100! Here’s what my kit would contain (prices are what I paid last time I bought them) and what I already use these products for:

Apple cider vinegar ($4/32 oz., store-brand):

  • all-purpose cleaner (showers/tubs, glass, mirror)
  • hair rinse

Dr. Bronner’s unscented castile soap ($17/32 oz.):

  • all-purpose cleaner for just about everything if it is diluted enough, including dishes
  • body wash and shampoo
  • laundry detergent (not the best but it can do the job)
  • toothpaste (OK, I don’t use it for this right now, but it would work)

Avocado oil ($14/16-oz.):

  • moisturizer
  • shaving cream

Jojoba oil ($16/8 oz.):

  • hair conditioner
  • moisturizer

Lavender essential oil ($12.50/.5 oz.):

  • treatment for a host of skin conditions including rosacea and acne
  • perfume
  • sleep aid
  • amazing additive for moisturizing oil
  • air freshener

Tea tree essential oil ($8.50/.5 oz):

  • treatment for more skin conditions than I can list including acne
  • antiviral and antibacterial for small wound care
  • great for dandruff and athlete’s foot
  • deodorant

Peppermint essential oil ($9/.5 oz):

  • helps with stuffy noses and headaches
  • air freshener (especially good for bathrooms!)
  • mosquito repellant

Microfiber cleaning cloths ($6/3-pack):

  • clean EVERYTHING with these – every brand I have ever used has worked well enough

The grand total: $87! Yep, that’s it. All I need to keep my family clean and my home shiny. With the leftover $13, I would buy some baking soda, which I already keep in my kitchen anyway, and I would hope to finally find a non-toxic SPF solution for my family (I’m thinking of making a cream using zinc).

I can guarantee that my family would complain a LOT if I actually did this to them! Yet, it would work wonderfully and we would all be a lot less toxic personally and for the sake of our environment.

What about you? Leave a comment: Could you take care of all of life’s essentials for under $100? Am I missing anything really important in my list?




Multigenerational living pioneer

My family and I have decided that we are going to purchase my parents’ home and build them an addition to live in, while we will take over the main house. So far, the only difficulties we have encountered are things we just did not expect.

Hurdle #1: getting a mortgage for construction. Our circumstances are a bit unusual, in that I am the breadwinner in the family and my husband is the stay-at-home parent. Nevertheless, our finances and credit history are rock-solid. So, I never would have guessed that our biggest hurdle to getting a mortgage would be revealed when a banker asked me pointedly, “Where is the husband in all of this?” Meaning, of course, that he could not figure out why I was the one co-signing a mortgage application with my parents, why my husband has no income to report, and how it is possible that I could be the parent to move to a new city in advance of my family. Maybe this banker stayed up too late watching a marathon of Mad Men and forgot what year this is.

Hurdle #2: everyone thinks that the only reason we could possibly have for making this choice would be a crisis of some sort, whether health- or job-related. This is just not so, at least not for us. Aren’t there any other families out there who have made this choice because it was just the best choice for the family, for long-term finances, and to make a plan for how to care for aging parents in years to come? Aren’t there any sources of advice on, say, how to share a kitchen with your parents? In all fairness, I have found a small handful of references to this kind of information, but to say they are limited in number would be an understatement.

I’m extremely glad we’ve made this choice, but I just did not realize that we would be considered “pioneers.” I don’t really have any desire to be a pioneer in this area! Nonetheless, we will tread on without fear, with love in our hearts, and hoping that we make good decisions on our family pioneer trek.

Cradle to grave healthcare

Regardless of whether you are male or female, and regardless of your opinion about abortion (gasp! I put the “a” word in my post!), the ugly situation occurring this week between the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Planned Parenthood has brought into focus one very important public health issue. That issue is the need for affordable healthcare for women of all ages.

I know that healthcare in general is a hot button issue! But since women remain the primary caregivers in the world (and even in the U.S.), the overall health and well-being of families is directly tied to the health of women everywhere. I’m not even going to limit this opinion to “mothers,” because aunts, sisters, grandmothers, and the lady next door have been providing nurturing for families across the world for untold generations.

It says a lot about healthcare in the U.S. that two of the giants fighting for better healthcare for women can be so at odds. It is such a shame that healthcare, like so many other American issues, has become so politicized in recent years. It’s about healthcare, folks, NOT about who is in power over whom. Or it should be, anyway.

By the time I turn 100 in 2073, I hope we can find a way to work together to improve public health in the United States. I will have experienced the full spectrum of available care by that time and I will offer up many prayers that it only gets better between now and then.