Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting the Dirty out of Laundry

If you asked me my single largest task these days (other than mommying the kids) my answer would hands down be laundry. At three, my youngest daughter is full tilt into the multiple wardrobe changes a day, either because the outfit got "messed up" (dirty) or because a new idea/mood has come over her.

So laundry was one of the first things I started investigating as an area to improve our green. Many people advocated washing in cold water to save energy. My concern with this was could cold water get out all the stains my kids got on their clothes? The answer---after many different trials---was not as well as warm water. So I continue to wash the kids' clothes in warm water with a cold rinse. My rationalization consolation is that I have a low water energy efficient washer.

However, cold water works fine for my clothes and most of my husbands. Some of his things have to go in with the kids. As an architect who is frequently at the construction site, he can get as dirty if not more so than the kids.

I did switch detergents. When I bought my washer and dryer, I got a year's worth of free laundry soap. Tide. I think Tide is fine, but I think Method is better.'s Housekeeping guide gave it four and a half out of five stars and explained
Method laundry detergent takes up less space in your home and accomplishes the same cleaning power. This laundry detergent contains active enzymes and allows stains and soil to be broken down. The laundry detergent from Method is fresh and leaves clothing smelling great. Method doesn't contain phosphates. It is biodegradable and is never tested on animals.

It's a safer product to use---earth, animal and human friendly---and it works better.

These are the ingredients:

blend of naturally derived and biodegradable surfactants
corn alcohol
potassium hydrate
non-toxic solvent
sodium borate
natural enzymes
biodegradable brightening agent
fragrance oil blend
preservative (under 0.1%)
purified water

Less water needed to dilute, less packaging required so less for landfills, safer ingredients, no animal testing and excellent cleaning ability is a perfect match for us. Now I just need to convince my daughter one outfit per day is okay, and hope she doesn't notice that I keep slipping the "barely worn" things back into her closet.

I also switched to Method dryer sheets. Many people tell me dryer sheets are unnecessary and maybe one day I'll take that step, but in the meantime, these dryer sheets don't emit toxins and are earth-planet-and human friendly too. They don't use animal tallow.

Take a look at your laundry and the detergent and dryer sheets you use and see what improvements you can make.

As a postscript to this, I caught a commercial on television about Tide and its campaign Loads of Hope. Tide sends an 18-wheeler filled with front-loader washing machines and dryers to disaster areas to wash laundry for displaced people. They washed thousands of loads for Katrina affected people, and are now in California washing for people displaced by the fire.

On the commercial, grateful recipients rave about how great Tide is and how much it means to them to have clean clothes. I can appreciate that sentiment.

The way you help is by purchasing a vintage Tide t-shirt. The Web site says all proceeds go to helping families affected by disaster.

It sounds good but I can't help but recall the breast cancer bracelets and how much of that money actually went to breast cancer.

I tried to do some research but didn't hit the right channels. Does anyone know how effective this campaign is? Does the money go to the washing program or to the people to use to rebuild? Or both? Many thanks for any information.

cross-posted at Moms Speak Up

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Using My Words
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Moms Speak Up: Talking about the environment, dangerous imports, health care, food safety, media and marketing, education, politics and many other hot topics of concern.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fat free brownies? That are easy and delicious? TRUE!

(This is not a paid review, nor have I received any free product, incentive, bribery, jewelry, trips, or compensation of any form from this company. But...I'm open to any of the above.)

So one night while visiting my mom she says to me, "Hey, want some brownies?"

My mind whirled through pros, cons, potential tricks to this question.

"It's a yes or no question," my mom said.

"Well, yes,, I don't want to go over my points today," I said, regretfully.

"No, no, this is No Pudge mix, it's's fat free. You mix it with nonfat vanilla yogurt then microwave it for one minute and it's delicious. Trust me."

I must have looked suspicious because she brought me the box. I read the side panel for nutrition information and then I did a quick, only 2 Weight Watcher points. Not bad!

You can make either a pan or a single serving; we opted for two single servings and made each in a little glass custard dish.

Honestly...this is delicious. I think it is very rich and decadent. If you ever have chocolate cravings but watch fat intake, seriously, stock up.

I've tried all of the flavors. I'm not a fan of coffee flavored (not my taste), but the plain, mint and raspberry are too good to be true.

I can't find it in my stores, but I know HEB carries it and I bet you can request they order it. All stores should carry this anyway; it's that good.

You can also check the No Pudge website for a guide to Where to Buy or buy direct on their website.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
Using My Words
Julie Pippert REVIEWS: Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE
Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS: A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products HOT scoop about H-Town!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Give a try!

I got the email about this service...I'm sure several of us did.

But instead of dismissing it it and deleting it, I decided to give this a try because I can use some help with the meal planning. I need meals that are fast, simple, cheap, stretch far, and low points for weight watchers---yet tasty enough for kids. let's see what did I honestly think?

I honestly thought this site was good.

And you know I'd say if I thought otherwise.

I found my favorite meal plan---currently called Careful and Carefree--which suited all of my categories. I typed in that I had chicken and fresh broccoli on hand (and not much else) and it gave me several easy recipe ideas.

You can save recipes into favorites, and of course, you can print everything out.

There is an incredible array of recipe types and different styles of meal plans in case you are not exactly like me.

The kitchen notes section contains everything you could never find in the Index of the Betty Crocker cookbook you got when you got married...oh wait, again, maybe you are not me. has a clean design and layout that is very easy to navigate through. You know this is big for me. I can't stand disorganized. ;)

It's a good and useful site. Give it a try if you are looking for something that will plan your meals for you according to your needs and then create a shopping list for you.

Sound good? Then go to

Even better, here's a discount: Enter RAVINM-38 as the Sponsoring Identifier when completing the registration form and receive $5 off the subscription price.

The company copy is:

Stress relief is at hand! Are you tired of that age-old cry, “What’s for dinner?” We have the answer. We will provide the inspiration; choose from hundreds of easy recipes and meal plans. We’ll scale the recipes based on the number you are cooking for. We’ll prepare and print the shopping list. You get to enjoy a great meal with your family.

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Sites, Services, Products...any thing I've run across that I like and think will help you will be posted here.