Healthy Cleaning on a Budget….Part 2

Yesterday, I discussed Basic H2, an all-purpose cleaner that was Safe, Green, Effective, and very cheap!  Today, I want to discuss LAUNDRY!

When you are expecting a baby, you read all the information about washing children’s clothes with special detergent in order to avoid chemicals and irritate their skin.  Or maybe you use cloth diapers and buy a separate detergent to meet those needs.  Maybe you buy whatever is on sale.  What about those HE washing machines and buying the proper detergent for those.  There are some many reasons people buy certain laundry detergent.  What if you could meet any and all your needs with one detergent?

REALLY?!?!  One detergent that is safe, chemical free, and gentle enough for the newborn.  One detergent that does not cause sudsy build-up in your amazing HE washing machine.  One detergent that is perfect for cloth diapers.  One detergent that is effective on those tough football or baseball stains (Or spaghetti hand prints all over dad’s work shirt).  One product that can clean it all, in any machine, that is safe, non-toxic, and affordable!  Could it exist?  It does!

Shaklee Fresh Laundry is WONDERFUL!

First–why does it matter if your laundry detergent, softener, or stain removal is non-toxic?  What is so bad about it….I mean you wash it off, right?  Actually, many of the toxins stay on your clothes!  When we changed all our cleaning products to Shaklee, we took our oldest son, Jamie, off his allergy meds.  I am confident laundry was one of the products adding to his allergy problems.  How do I know this?   Because laundry was the main change (only change) I truly made for a month or two!

Have you seen some of the chemicals in common laundry products and what they can do?  Did you know that it could cause your eczema, allergies, or even aggravate your asthma?  Did you know it could effect your fertility?  There are links to hormone and reproductive effects of some of these chemicals!  Check out this list on chemicals to avoid in laundry products.  What you put in your washing machine stays on your clothes!  Some chemicals in our laundry detergents are banned in other countries!

So you are thinking–“I am okay.  I use Free and Clear” or “I buy from the Honest Company” or “I use Seventh Generation”  These are great companies.  I am not here to bash any of them.  But have you checked their ratings or ingredients?  The Environmental Working Group gave the Honest Company’s Stain remover an “F” rating due to some concerns in allergies, asthma, and skin irritations, and HIGH concerns in reproductive toxicity!  They received a “C” rating for the Free and Clear detergent because “May contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; respiratory effects; damage to vision.”  Seventh Generation’s Concentrated Free and Clear received a “D” rating, stating, “May contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; respiratory effects”

WOW….we are washing our clothes, our children’s clothes with this?

So–is there something SAFE out there that is AFFORDABLE and works?

SHAKLEE Fresh Laundry is:





No phosphates

No chlorine

Here is s great document on Shaklee’s Fresh Laundry Concentrate!

I have established how great it is, but is it affordable?!?!?!

Remember my post from yesterdayI broke everything down using coupons.  Well, let’s do the math again!

Tide Free and Gentle                    Shaklee Fresh Laundry
56 oz.                                             5.5 lbs (That’s 88 oz.)
40 loads                                          88 loads OR MORE
On sale with Coupons $5.50        $18.10 (membership price)
$0.14/load                                      $0.20/load

Now…I know what you are thinking–“Amber, that is $0.06 more a load!”  Technically, yes!  But I have to tell you that I do not use 1 oz. per load.  I use HALF an oz. or an ounce for kids’ dirty dirty clothes!  So, I really personally get about 120 loads.  Now let’s do the math….$0.15/load.

So–it’s is not necessarily cheaper IF you coupon.  If you do not coupon and get the best deals, it is definitely cheaper!  AND it is SAFE, Environmentally Friendly and can be used on HE, regular, front-load, top-load, and all clothes!

Shaklee’s other amazing product is Nature Bright
This can be used a pretreatment for stains, brighter in the wash, carpet cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, grout cleaner, and much more!  As you see, it is more than just for laundry!  Check out this great post on how effective it can be and what it can be used for.

Since it is so versatile, I cannot accurately compare it.  BUT…I will try a little:)

Shout Triple-Acting Stain Remover        Nature Bright
30 oz                                                       32 oz
Price with coupons $1.75                         $9.30 (membership price)
Price per galloon $7.32                             $2.33/galloon
(mix 2 T per 16 oz. water)

Clorox Bleach for Colors                      Nature Bright
77 oz                                                        32 oz
27 loads (according to site)                      64 loads (1 T)
Price with coupons $8.00                        $9.30 (membership price)
$0.30 per load                                         $0.15 per load

Finally–Fabric Softener
To be honest, if you are just buying a regular fabric softener with coupons, it is cheaper than Shaklee.  Shaklee’s is about $0.13/load.  Gain Fabric Softener with a coupon would cost me $0.06/load.  BUT I could not use it on my children’s clothes (it has chemicals that can remove the flame resistance on children’s clothes).  It is not Natural, toxic free, and biodegradable.  It is cheaper than Seventh Generation whose is $0.16/load.

That is a lot to take in!  The important thing to note is that Shaklee’s Laundry can be used for everything–baby’s clothes, linens, stains, cloth diapers, and much more!

If you purchase Nature Bright, Fabric Softener, and the Fresh Laundry, you will pay the following:

Fresh Laundry     $18.10
Soft Fabric           $8.80
Nature Bright       $9.30
Shipping             $12.40
TOTAL                $48.60

Monthly Costs:  13.89**

**Depending on if you use fabric softener with every load and how often you use Nature Bright, here’s the monthly Breakdown of what I PAY (I am a family of 6 washing about 8 loads a week so 32 loads a month). 

That is $14/month for SAFE, EFFECTIVE, GREEN laundry products!
*Our family, couponing, spent $15-$20.00/month depending on sales on laundry products that were not safe, were not Green, and did not always Work.  And only added to asthma and allergy problems in our home!

Tomorrow we will discuss the dishes!

In the meantime, check out Harper’s Post on Four Ways You Can Love Laundry!

Healthy Cleaning on a Budget….Part 1

Would you like to go “Green” and use products that are biodegradable?  Would you like to use cleaning products that are safer for you and your family?  Would you prefer to use products that are non-toxic and have no harsh odors?  Would you prefer to use cleaning products that would not aggravate your allergies and/or asthma?

All this sounds great, but…..IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE!  Right?

I couponed and saved a lot on all my cleaning supplies.  I bought most of them at CVS for around a $1.00.  So to consider ordering something I cannot use a coupon with is just not realistic.  Let’s consider a typical CVS run for some name brand cleaners. (This is a typical scenario of how I could use sales and coupons, along with CVS Extra Care Bucks, to buy my cleaners).

2/$5.00 – Lysol Disinfecting Wipes (35 count) reg. $4.69
– COUPON $0.50/1
2/$5.00 – Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner (32 oz) reg. $4.99
– COUPON $0.25/1
2/$5.00 – Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner (24 oz) reg. #3.49
– COUPON $0.50/1
PLUS….receive $5.00 in Extra Care Bucks when you spend $15.00 (Lysol Products)

Buy two of each listed above
TOTAL : $15.00
COUPONS: -$2.50

TOTAL:  $$7.50 for all 6 products!

Breakdown $1.25 for each product!  I know you are thinking that is pretty good!  But what if I told you that you could do BETTER financially and GO GREEN!!


Basic H2 All-Purpose Cleaner – (Cleans counters, appliances, floors, windows, mirrors, everything!  See this post for more detail.  Or Katie’s post for more information.)

Let’s Compare it to my scenario above:

Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner                                 Shaklee All-Purpose Cleaner
$1.25 (with coupons and sale)                              $10.25 (membership price)
32 oz.                                                                   16 oz
Use (per galloons) Straight from bottle             Use (per galloons) 2 teaspoons per galloon
Cost per Gallon $5.00 (4 x $1.25)                       Cost per Galloon $0.22
CANNOT be used on wood, windows,             Use different amounts to clean ANYTHING!
mirrors, cars, or furniture
Products Comparison

This is just Basic H2 Cleaner!  I use my Windows Bottle (only 2 drops per 16 oz. bottle) to clean windows, mirrors, wooden furniture, the inside of my car, and my LCD TVs and monitors (spray on a cloth first).  This means 2 drops of Basic H2 replaces Windex, Pledge, and Armor All in my home.  The All-Purpose bottle in my home is used to clean the kitchen counters, appliances, sink, bathrooms, spot clean floors, walls, and more.  This replaces Lysol Bathroom, Lysol Kitchen Cleaner, 409 Cleaner, and more!

The best part…..SAFE!  GREEN!  EFFECTIVE!  I purchased my All-Purpose Basic H2 May 2012.  Fifteen months later….yes 15 months later, and I still have HALF the bottle left.

Did I mention you can use this on your floors?  And to clean your car?

But Amber, I have to pay for shipping for this. Let’s say you JUST bought Basic H2 and did not divide the shipping among other products.
$10. 25 – Basic H2
$8.49 – Shipping
TOTAL – $18.74

That is still ONLY $0.39 per gallon of Basic H2!

EXTRA BENEFITS to saving money and Going Green!
Did we discuss how you could Save the Planet and Save for College?  Or how Toxins in your home can effect your allergies and asthma (or here for another).  

Want to learn how to save on SAFE laundry, follow Part 2!

In the meantime, checkout ALL the Great Get Clean Products!

Teaching….One of the Hardest Jobs!

Being a teacher is one of the best and hardest jobs.

I remember when I graduated college and everyone asked the same question, “What are you going to do now?”  I graduated in December and was fortunate to line up my first teaching job to begin immediately—as in the last three days of the year before Christmas break began!

When you tell people you are a teacher, their first response is generally “You have to love your schedule!  I’d love to have the whole summer off and be home at 3 every day.”  You are right-teachers have a great schedule, 8-3 (or something to that sort).  And yes, teachers get the summer off, but do you realize what they do not get off or what they give up or what they really do outside of those “great working hours?”

Teachers give up the ability to clock out at 3 and leave work at work.  Do you realize how much grading, planning, and even researching a teacher does at home?  I know what you are thinking, “That’s what their planning period is for?”  Have you asked a teacher what he/she does on her planning?  MEETINGS—team planning, discipline discussions, grade level meetings, parent meetings, IEP meetings, etc.  The list can go on! What about the pre-service days before school starts or teacher workdays?  Well…let’s say, staff development, teacher-parent conferences, meetings, data collecting, workshops, etc.  You name it, teachers have to do it.  Anything but what they NEED to do.

Teachers give up the ability to be worry-free.  Teachers have a lot of kids.  And a good teacher genuinely cares about all of her students (could be as small as 15 kids or over 200).  As a middle school teacher on block scheduling, I had roughly 3 classes with 25-30 kids in each.  When I was at a school with a normal schedule, I had 6 classes with about 30 kids in each class.  Yeah….180 students that were my responsibility to teach math to every day.  Teachers (most of them) care about each student.  They genuinely want to help them learn, grow as a person, and develop character.

Teachers give up their health.  Do you know how many germs all these precious students pass around?  Not only do teachers get to enjoy these wonderful germs, but teachers are generally more stressed during the school year.  They are planning, grading, teaching, and parenting all their students.  Do I need to mention the demands of No Child Left Behind, Common Core Standards, and whatever else your state, district, or school requires you to do?  All this plus they have their families to take care of, cook for, plan for, spend time with, teach, and much more.

I taught at three different schools.  One was your high income, top-notch school with parents who gave me a $500 budget when I began mid-year and told me to pick anything I wanted for my classroom.  Every Friday, parents brought us coffee/hot chocolate and donuts to our room during announcements.  75% of my students gave me gifts for Teacher Appreciate Week and even at Christmas when they only knew me for 3 days!  Then I taught at a low-income inner-city school.  A school that the state of Maryland’s Dept. of Education took over, let all teachers go, and hired a brand new staff.  A school where over 75% of the students received free lunch, a school where fights were daily, drugs was common, and most all my students had one parent, no parents, were in and out of foster homes, and even homeless.

I remember my first day at that school it was four years ago this August.  I called my husband at my lunch break and was ready to quit.  I already had a student throw a desk across my room and three get in my face and scream every cuss word possible.  But when I left that school, I was heartbroken to receive sweet letters from students about how much I meant to them, how much I cared, how much they learned from me.  Those letters, those students, those moments, make teaching one of the best jobs.

As your children go back to school, remember how much their teachers are giving up to teach your children, care for your children, and be responsible for your children while in her care.  She is your eyes and ears for 7-8 hours every day for the next 180 days.  She is giving up a lot of personal time and family time to plan for and prepare for her daily job to teach your children.  She is stressing over who is struggling with reading, who is in 8th grade math but still can’t add 8 + 6 without counting on their fingers, she is worrying about the students in a bad home situation or with no home, she is wondering when the state is going to “let go” those teachers not meeting a high enough passing rate on the state tests that are now changing due to the new Common Core Standards, and she is wondering when the government will pass a new budget to decrease her pay or cut more jobs.

To my teacher friends–thank you for your hard work.  Thank you for caring about the kids in your classrooms and for desiring to give them the best education you are allowed to give them.  Thank you for your hard work, all the time you sacrifice, and for the passion you have about education. You do this because you care, because we all know that after you pay for gas, classroom expenses out of your own pocket, and childcare (If you have small children), you bring home little to nothing!  To my homeschooling moms–You are a teacher who may not have as many students to take care of and plan for, but you are planning, preparing, and giving up other things to have the ability to teach your own children at home.  You are learning all over again as you teach your children.  You spend time researching curriculum, finding bargain deals on them, and preparing to teach multiple grade levels in the “One Room School House.”  You are wearing many hats–wife, mother, and teacher!

Now….let the school year begin!

2013 – 2014 Curriculum

If you follow all the wonderful Homeschool Blogs, you will know that this week is Curriculum week.  All the bloggers are posting what curriculum they are using for this school year.  The joy of homeschooling is that it can change each year and even in the middle of the year.  If something is not working, we stop, re-evaluate, and start again.  I Over the past six months, I have purchased a lot of curriculum and supplies.  However, I purchased them on sale, used, or a great prices!  Some things will be used this year and next year.  I cannot see Lenna-Grace getting through it all now. We are primarily doing Kindergarten work.  Therefore, I’m expecting us to take a year and half.  She may do well and we finish it in one school year.  Again…the joy of homeschool, if she is ready, we will do 1st grade next year!  If not, we will continue with the Kindergarten curriculum.

2013 – 2014 Curriculum
Lenna-Grace (4K/5K)
Phonics/Reading – All About Reading Level 1
Mathematics – Singapore 1A US Edition
Handwriting – A Reason for Handwriting K
Bible – Grapevine Traceable (Old Testament) and ABC Bible Verses book
Catechism Memory – Truth and Grace book
Memory Work – Classical Conversations (will post later about this)
Art – Draw Write Now
History, Science, and Geography – Sonlight P4/5 Readers (We purchased Sonlight Readers before deciding to do CC and when I thought I would be expecting another baby because of the amazing amount of literature and the ease of the Instructor’s Guide.  Instead of returning it, which I could, I opted to keep it for the reach literature and to supplement with it)

Zachary (Preschool)
Letter of the Week – Pre-Reading
Handwriting (he is my leftie) – Handwriting Without Tears My First School book

Zachary will do Bible and Art with Lenna-Grace as well.  He will also get to enjoy the Sonlight books.

I have planned our first six weeks fully.  I have also planned the Letter of the Week, Handwriting, Catechism, and Bible time for the year.  Why?  I tried to correlate them all.  I putting the Grapevine Studies with the Timeline we will be doing with CC.  Our memory verse will come from the ABC Bible Verses book and correlate with our Handwriting letter of the week and Zachary’s Letter of the Week Pre-Reading program.  Basically–we will be doing a Letter each week and the kids will be doing handwriting for that letter, a memory verse to go with it, and phonics (Zachary) for it.)

Kicking Off Our First Year!

I am super excited because August is here!  I guess technically we could have started our school year whenever we wanted; however, since Jamie goes to public school, it seemed best to tie our schedule with his.

Tomorrow is our Meet the Tutor event for Classical Conversations.  This is our first year homeschooling and we decided to join a CC community.  I was not really sure about it.  I thought it may be too early, but Lenna-Grace really wants to learn and go to school.  Going to CC once a week will be something she really enjoys.  Plus, you can never start to early with memory work I am sure!  I am also the tutor for her class.  I am very excited to be learning with her and working with the families in our class.  This will be an adventure for us both!

We are beginning our official “First Day” of school on August 19.  I plan on doing school work with Lenna-Grace at least three times a week (Monday, Thursday, and Friday).  Wednesday will be our CC days and Tuesdays I have Women’s Bible study at the church in the morning, so they will do childcare there.  The goal is to really work at her pace, but also teach her some discipline when it comes to education and learning already.  We may work for two hours straight through or we may do a couple of 30 minute intervals.

Why Start Now?

I know many homeschool families do not begin formal education at 4-years old.  I definitely do not think it is necessary.  However, Lenna-Grace is eager to learn.  Tonight while we were just sitting on the couch she brought me a book and wanted to work on “learning to read.”  Before I knew it, she was reading a sentence with little help.  She is ready to learn, wants to learn, and definitely able to learn.

What Are We Doing?

Lenna-Grace will be doing Classical Conversations (another post later) for memory work, phonics, handwriting, Catechism, Bible time, math, and then for any science and history we will be reading literature-based books together.

Zachary will be doing Letter of the Week for Pre-Reading skills, introductory handwriting concepts, and will do Bible and Catechism with us as well.

Dalton will be just enjoying whatever he can get into in the school room while we learn!  Probably throwing toys–his new favorite thing!

Why Is Jamie In Public School?

This is a great question everyone asks!  Jamie has been in public for years now!  Our goal is to homeschool him as well.  When we moved to Florida last March, he was homeschooled for about four months.  Jamie struggles with having all the little ones around while trying to work.  The noise and distractions really get to him.  And John is correct that it puts more of a strain on our relationship (mine and Jamie’s) than it did help him educationally.  However, we have been discussing homeschooling him next year when he begins high school.  I have been looking into various curriculums and options that would allow him to learn independently through reading (He is an AMAZING reader).  However, his teacher (who works with those with physical impairments) has spoken to me a lot about the local high school’s program for students similar to Jamie–where they work on more life skills and community involvement.  In fact, in 11th grade, they place in them (and take them and watch them) at a local business to learn job skills (like TJ Maxx, Public, etc).  Therefore, this is something we really have to discuss to see what is best for Jamie.