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5 YearsCrazy right?

This year marks five years of blogging for The Eco-Friendly Family and for my friend Kim, from Dirty Diaper Laundry. While our blogs have many differences, our stories parallel one another in many ways.

We both began blogging because we found a passion in cloth diapers and natural parenting. At the time there weren’t many websites or blogs on the topic, and if there were I didn’t know it. Like Kim, I started my blog to share what I was learning with others. I wanted to be able to help other parents looking for the information that I was seeking out and learning about.

Five years later, I’ve written nearly 500 posts – with nearly 100 of those on cloth diapers alone—and even the oldest of them still get shared to help parents today. It’s truly amazing. In that same time Kim’s blog and YouTube channel have grown into the most loved and trusted resource for information on cloth diapers. If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, I encourage you to do so. I love her style and am lucky to call her a friend.

During these last five years my blog has grown considerably, and two years ago I had the privileged of becoming part of the team at Green Child Magazine. I consider myself very fortunate to have work that I find so much purpose, joy, and love in. Every one of you that has read a post, left a comment, or clicked ‘like’ is a big part of that. That encouragement means more than you know. Thank you.

Top Posts From The Last 5 Years

5 Years Day 1To celebrate, Kim and I decided to hold a big blogiversary bash. We’ve rounded up some amazing sponsors who have generously offered some great prizes. There will be a new prize package each day, to celebrate our five years!

(You can find Day 2′s form right here!)

Today’s prize package is a Neapolitan Chelory AIO in Velcro ($32.95), Eco Nuts Liquid Detergent and their new Ammonia Bouncer ($23 value), $25 to spend at Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique, 10 bags of Mommee Meals chews for pregnant, nursing, and active moms ($62 value), and any AppeTEETHERs from Little Toader ($10 value.) Be sure to come back each day for your chance to win a new prize pack. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Toxic PitsDid you know that it only takes 26 seconds for a body care product to enter your bloodstream? That’s just one reason why it’s so important to choose these products with great care—besides, putting toxic chemicals under your arms really stinks! When MightyNest gave me the opportunity to put Primal Pit Paste to the test, I jumped at it.

MightyNest is an online retailer of truly safe, high quality products for your home and family. They want you to find out why you should choose a natural deodorant, so read on and take the the pledge below—your pits and body will thank you. You could even win a Happy Pit Pack from MightyNest (valued at over $100!)

Does Primal Pit Paste really work?

This is what you really want to know, right? I’m happy to report that the answer is a definitive yes! I have used several natural deodorants, and this is one of the very few that I have liked. I put this to the test grocery shopping, playing with the kids, cleaning up our garage, working out, and more.

tumblr_n3kxxx7tzP1qltgyfo1_400This deodorant was great at controlling body odor—even without reapplying through the day. It also left me surprisingly dry, which I really appreciate. I won’t say that I was 100% dry in the most strenuous conditions, but it was certainly effective enough to keep it from being bothersome or noticeable.

One of my favorite things about this deodorant is that it comes in a stick form and is solid enough to do so. Not all natural deodorants are available in an easy-to-apply stick, so this is definitely a strong plus! I really enjoyed the various scents available. I liked the Lavender scent best, and really loved that they even include a kid-friendly option. Primal Pit Paste goes on well and does not leave me with any visible residue – which is obviously very important. I would definitely recommend giving this deodorant a try, and if you are are using an antiperspirant, give your body a chance to adjust if needed.

An Earth Day Challenge + Your School

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention MightyNest’s wonderful school program. Rather than spending a ton on ads and media, MightyNest donates 15% of your purchases to the school of your choice. It’s easy to sign up (it took me about 10 seconds) and is simple to use.

With the Earth Day Challenge, MightyNest is encouraging parents and schools to make healthy changes that benefit families and the planet. Until April 28th, school supporters can earn impact points at by pledging to make simple changes. The school earning the most points will win a $1000 grand prize and other top schools will share $3000 in additional prizing.

Enter for your chance to win!

One of you will be lucky enough to win an amazing prize package that includes a sample pack of deodorants (These are perfect for tossing into a purse or gym bag and will come in several scents.), a Lifefactory glass water bottle, Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil, Go Toob reusables travel tubes (set of 3), Preserve razor and extra replacement cartridges, Planet Wise wet/dry cosmetics bag, and Dr. Bronner’s organic shave gel. This package rocks and is valued at over $100!

Primal Pit Paste works and is truly safe for your body. Pledge to green your pits and you could win a Happy Pit Kit from MightyNest. You’ll also have a chance to help your school celebrate Earth Day and win up to $1000 in the MightyNest for Schools Earth Day Challenge!

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Battle Seasonal AllergiesAs the weather begins to warm, seasonal allergies start to kick into high gear. Our lungs pump in approximately 3,400 gallons of air each and every day, which gives airborne allergens like pollen many opportunities to get in.

These are a few tips to help keep your allergies under control all year round, but especially in high-allergen months, starting with your home!

Check Your Filters

Filtrete, a company I have used for years, is all about indoor air quality – which is why I’ve partnered with them in this series of Healthy Home articles. (Be sure to check out the other articles in this series – 6 Steps to Cleaner Indoor Air, Naturally Deodorize Your Home, & 8 Tips for Running Your Heating & Cooling Systems Efficiently.)

The Filtrete Healthy Living Filter is ideal for high allergen months. It is 93% effective at capturing particles like dust mite debris, pollen and mold spores from the air passing through the filter and has nearly twice the small particle filtration of their Allergen Defense Filter. If seasonal allergies hit you hard, a quality and high rating filter can make a big difference in how you feel.

Your HVAC system has a lot of work to do each day. So be sure to check your filters regularly and replace them when they begin to look dirty (or per the recommendations on your filter.)

Close The Window

I hate to say it, because fresh air can be a big help to indoor air quality, but closing your windows can be a big help when it comes to seasonal allergies. To allow for fresh air, try limiting the time that windows are open – for example, don’t sleep with a window open.

My tonsils are always my first indicator that something is up with my body. Every spring and summer my tonsils flair up to let me know that the pollen is here. One year it was particularly bad, and after a month of swollen and sore tonsils I went to see my doctor. After talking a bit, he suggested that I try shutting the bedroom windows at night (why had I not thought of that?!) Sure enough, that did the trick. The open windows were providing allergens a clear path to me for 8+ hours every night, and removing that exposure was enough to calm my allergies.

Clean It Up

This is a bit obvious, but it’s important. Wipe down surfaces and vacuum regularly to help keep allergens contained – and while you’re at it, be sure that you’re vacuum and the filters are also clean.

Use Essential Oils

Oils like Young Living’s RC & Raven, contain strong antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. These oils can be used by diffusing or applied topically to the throat, chest or feet with a carrier oil (like organic coconut oil or organic extra virgin olive oil.)

If you don’t have these oils on hand, they are a blend of oils, some of which are Birch, Cypress, various types of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Marjoram, Peppermint & Pine. Any of these oils, or a combination of them, can be used to help with seasonal allergy symptoms.

Learn all about using these blends for seasonal allergies in this post from Old South Essential Oils. (Be sure to bookmark this site, it is truly a wealth of information on all things essential oils and holistic medicine!)

If you’re interested in purchasing oils, check out this article on what type of Young Living membership is right for you (both are free.)

Give Local Honey a Try

The idea here is that consuming a daily dose of local, raw honey will give you a micro-dose of local pollens and spores, thus desensitizing you to them and helping to provide protection against allergic reactions – sort of like a natural “vaccine.” While the jury is still out in the medical community (not surprising), many people have found relief and believe fully in the anti-allergen benefits of local honey.

Organic Nettle Leaf Tea

Inexpensive and effective, nettle leaf tea can help alleviate the symptoms of allergies and is also beneficial for immune health. If you’d like to harvest your own nettles and learn more about how to use them, this post is great.

Rinse Your Nose

Salt water in neti pot or irrigation bottle can help flush allergens and mucus from your nasal passages. Be sure to use sterile water when mixing up your salt water – or simply buy a solution. Also, be careful to let the water flow naturally. Do not force it or blow while rinsing. I’ve made this mistake in the past – it led to a week of funny hearing and being unable to taste.

ACV Shot

Eat Healthy

This goes without saying, but staying hydrated and eating eating nutritious, healthy foods is good for your body and immune system. If you’re systems aren’t running properly, you have less good stuff to fight off the yuck.

Oh and for good measure, do a daily shot of raw apple cider vinegar. I haven’t done any research on this, but I’m pretty much convinced that it works miracles for basically everything.

This post has been sponsored by Filtrete. The content of this post is all my own thoughts, opinions and tips. I use Filtrete filters in my own home and was given the opportunity to work with them on a series of healthy home articles and am excited to be doing so! For more information about Filtrete filters, please visit their website and join them on Facebook & Twitter for tips, special savings and discounts.

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GreenBeanThere comes a point in life for most of us where we’re grown up enough to realize that we like vegetables and for the most part will eat and can enjoy any of them.  The problem, we rarely go out of our comfort zones.  We get in a sort of veggie eating rut.  We head down the produce isle at the store with a list in hand and generally buy the same things week after week. 

The reason?  We know exactly what we’re going to cook with them, which recipes call for them and it’s easy.

Then I met the lovely folks at Green Bean Delivery, they deliver organic produce direct to your door , and guess what?  It’s easy too, in fact it’s actually easier than going to the store.

At first you may get your delivery and think-”man, what am I going to do with all these vegetables I don’t normally buy?”  Then you realize you’re kind of excited to be forced to step out of that monotonous meal planning rut you were in.

Since my Green Bean deliveries have started I have really been experimenting with fun new recipes and they’ve all been delicious.  The best part, I may not have ever tried them if I hadn’t received the variety of produce found in my Green Bean bin.

VeggiesTwo of my favorite new recipes using my Green Bean produce I have already shared on my blog.  Easy Pan Roasted Veggies makes the perfect side to any dish.  Think about it like veggie kabobs but without the sticks!  Simply slice up all those miscellaneous veggies you aren’t quite sure what to do with, toss them with olive oil and seasoning and then bake!  Easy-peasy, you’ll definitely end up making this dish a staple in your household.

MushroomTwice Baked Portobello Mushrooms became another filling favorite.  Sliced and diced kale, tomatoes, spinach, feta and other yummies topped a portobello mushroom cap and baked.  This recipe is satisfying, perfect for a family dinner and fancy enough for a special party.

So what else can you expect from Green Bean?  Well they’re dependable.  They maintain a great selection of fresh, often local, and always organic fruits and veggies.  The service is really affordable.  Often you hear “delivery” and immediately your mind sees extra dollar signs.  This really isn’t the case with Green Bean Delivery.  Because they deliver to several places in your area they’re able to keep costs down so you’re getting a great value and better selection than you’d find in your local grocer.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised at just how much I like getting my bin delivered each week and I look forward to creating fun new meals and treats for my family with the green goodness they provide. I’m thankful to have such a great service in my area. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about Green Bean Delivery and the areas they service, please visit their website and check out their various locations.

Now through February 14th, get $15 off your first Green BEAN Delivery order!
Use code: 15EFFml

This coupon expires 2/14/14, so you’ll want to act fast!

Don’t see one local to you?  Don’t give up!  Other produce delivery services do exist so make sure you do a Google search for your area and see what else you can turn up!

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