soap nuts!

I first wrote about soap nuts when I saw them on treehugger.com about one year ago. recently when shopping at our local co-op I found 'Maggies Pure Land Soap Nuts' and tried them for myself with amazing results! we are currently using them for everything, and you won't believe it...on delicates, on difficult odors, on whites and colors...in cold and hot water...it all works! the nuts contain saponin, a natural cleaner used for thousands of years to clean clothes, just like the plants used by Native Americans. they work for literally anything; washing wool and cashmere sweaters come out really fluffy, soft and perfect! and I think if you have trouble with rashes and sensitive skin this is surely your answer! and these soap nuts are perfect for baby clothing and blankets!
I could go on and on but this is really something to try for yourself!

you can visit maggies website to find out the answers to all of your questions, but 2-4 soap nuts can last for 4-6 loads of laundry so it is certainly economical. and in a world of ever growning content lists, you will be happy to know that maggies soap nuts contain only: dried fruit of the chinese soapberry tree! that's it! when you are done with the nuts you just throw them into your compost pile...talk about cradle to cradle...no waste!

you will also find that the soap nuts have many ayurvedic healing properties, I am sure that you will be hearing more about these from me as I learn more but for now, doing laundry will never be more wonderful (and then hang them outside on your line...terrific!).

you can purchase maggies soap nuts on her website, so visit them here to shop.


just an idea...blowing in the wind

I love when things are just as simple as this...and in our house we try to keep it to these kind of simple ideas, that slow us down, and make us take time to be outside and smell the roses! it's just the perfect time of year for hanging your clothes on the line!

AND...I really think it's a great excuse, to just walk away from it all...(don't tell me you don't need that from time to time) it sounds a little like this... "I'm going outside to hang out the laundry" and ta-da...you have at least 20 minutes to yourself! but sssshhhh....it's our secret!


earth day!

yes, this weekend is earth day! and this is a great way to educate your kids on our troubled earth...it's easy to talk to them about the simple things like recycling, pollution, living green and how each of us can make a difference. I think it's good to bring it down to our day to day existence, but earth day is a great time to pitch in on one of the big clean-up projects going on in your community. I think that a great place to start is ask your local co-op; what they are doing? and JOIN IN! it's also as simple as cleaning up trash that shows up after a long winter along the side of roads in your neighborhood.

there is a wonderful music event going on in many cities and you can visit green apple music festival to find out more and if your area is included in the fun! or if you are feeling especially empowered to make a difference and look out for the new world ahead pick up 'Cradle to Cradle :: remaking the way we make things' by William McDonough
& Michael Braungart...it will surely give you a better outlook and inspire yourself (it's always nice to read something like this in the spring season, it makes it all the more empowering).

whatever you do this earth day make sure you teach your kids the good, green way and who knows....they might grow up to be the person who has the answer to it all! our generation of children are supposed to be especially gifted with with answers.


puff the magic dragon...

this is one of those goofy blogs but I thought you might like it! our son had a cabaret last weekend and his kindergarten class sang 'puff the magic dragon' so while practicing we made this HUGE dragon...and he is wonderful! we taped him to the ceiling and I'm not sure if we are ever going to take him down!

our friend who we like to call our 'manny' helped and it was a couple of hours of fun and creativity on a rainy day. we used the big rolls of paper from Ikea...rolled out about 10 feet and drew a dragon and then painted it in with markers, paint and crayons! he is scary but we love him!!


the medicated child

I just watched a very moving presentation on Frontline called: The Medicated Child, you can watch online here at the PBS website. this is a shocking presentation, did you know that over 6 million children are taking psychiatric drugs!? drugs that have not been tested on children, only on adults, some that cannot be offered to the elderly but can somehow open-handedly be given to children! I watched in silence, astonished that there was no mention of alternative solutions of any kind (although the story is clearly about medicating children and not about alternative solutions). I feel that this is truly an honest issue and while I want to blame the parents for their eating habits I know that there is more to it than I can understand,but I have to feel that there are ideas that have presented themselves other than pharmaceuticals and there was one letter to the editor what went like this (christina koontz's 6 year old son is a part of the frontline presentation):


Dear Christina Koontz,

My heart goes out to you. I have a wonderful 8 year old son who has Bipolar Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I started to read the other letters in this forum and just couldn't continue. It is too easy for people to blame this epidemic on poor parenting, different diagnostic requirements or poor diet. I believe people fall back on these tired explanations, because they cannot face that this is really happening. Please allow me to share my story with you. My son changed dramatically at the age of 3. He was an easy going, very bright and happy child and then within months that child was gone. He started to pace back and forth, talking rapidly about nothing. He was starting to read, but suddenly he didn't even know the alphabet. He too would have rages that could last up to an hour. During these rages, he would try to hurt himself, banging his head against the floor and occasionally wrapping his hands around his throat to choke himself.

At first I blamed... parenting. My husband and I were divorcing and I blamed the changes we were going through and the fact that I may have been preoccupied for a time. But once things settled down, my son did not improve. He continued to deteriorate. The first doctor we saw diagnosed ADHD and my son was put on Adderall. Within a week, he had a full blown psychotic episode at his preschool. It was horrible. So we took him off it and went to see a "Play Therapist". She suggested that we were not firm enough with him. She also suggested that we didn't pay enough attention to him. Now, he is an only child, the little light of my life and if there is one thing he gets, it's attention. But chastened, we listened to her suggestions and put plans into place. No change.

Over the years we saw different professionals, he was put on Lithium at one point. It actually made him worse. Focalin was tried. That was a repeat of the Adderall experience. I went to workshops about "The Explosive Child" and while it helped me personally, my little boy was still miserable.
In December 2006, his doctor tried Abilify and it worked. But not completely. He was a little better, but not at all back to what he was like before all this started. I met other parents who were struggling like me. And we all noted that this increase in these disorders was REAL and that it was exploding. Our school systems in Maine are struggling to accommodate this influx of children with unique needs.

Then we had a breakthrough. I read Rita Elkins' book "Solving the Depression Puzzle". She noted that soil depletion may account for the deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals in our diet. I continued reading other books and articles on the dramatically changing food supply in our country. For instance: Omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in England as being important for brain function and managing bipolar. But we don't get as much here in our diets as we used to because our livestock no longer eats grass.
So I took my son to a naturopath doctor who participates in the DAN! program. (Defeat Autism Now). He gave us a regimen of supplements we could sneak into my son's diet, including zinc and magnesium which apparently are minerals missing from our soil. Within a month we noticed a difference. It has now been six months. My son's school is amazed at the difference. Where he used to have 1 or 2 rages a DAY lasting up to an hour, he now has them maybe once a week... and they last 5 minutes. He just seems to be coming back to us. He is still on 10mg of Abilify a day, because we really don't want to change anything until summer, but if he continues to improve we are going to try and go med free.

I don't know that this would work for every child with bipolar, but the fact is something has changed in our ENVIRONMENT. You can't explain away the increases in all of these diseases with talk of bad parenting or better diagnostics. And as for diet... our farming techniques here in the U.S. (monoculture farming, pesticide use and Genetically Modified Foods) pretty much make it impossible to eat a "well balanced meal".
We have also been trying to "go organic" and buy local as much as possible, even though it is expensive. I wish I could describe the difference in my son. He's so much happier, calmer, more present, less frustrated and you can tell that HE is relieved. I wish you strength and courage in your journey. I cried when I watched "The Medicated Child", knowing first hand how terrifying it is. How helpless you feel. I send hugs to DJ.

All the best,

Heather Payson

Portland, Maine

obviously this cannot be the 'answer' that everyone has waited for but this book certainly deserves a read (and rita elkins is a big proponent of what I also believe which is that sugar is acutally a drug), I have heard so much about the omega-3 depletion from the story above to the woman who cured her eczema with omega-3. I wanted to take the chance to talk about something and also offer an 'idea' not just present the terrifying subject of: The Medicated Child ...please share any of your ideas and we can hope that the story can continue to get better and many of these medicated children can be saved.


the fluoride question

I am not writing this because I know it all about fluoride, but if you look it up in the dictionary you will be surprised, first it will tell you:

1. a salt of hydrofluoric acid consisting of two elements, one of which is fluorine, as sodium fluoride.
2. a compound containing fluorine, as methyl fluoride.

...then look up 'fluorine' and you will find this:

1. the most reactive nonmetallic element, a pale-ellow, corrosive, toxic gas that occurs combined, esp. in fluorite, cryolite, phosphate rock, and other minerals.

then there is 'sodium fluorine':
sodium fluoride -
a colorless, crystalline, water-soluble, poisonous solid, NaF, used chiefly in the fluoridation of water, as an insecticide, and as a rodenticide.

ok, now put your eyeballs back in your head...fluoride is not as bad as it sounds...or is it? either way, I think it's a good idea to be pretty careful when sliding this onto your kids toothbrush (you really shouldn't use it until they are at least 6 years old). This shock and surprise also works if you look at a tube of commercial toothpaste, and read the small print: ‘keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.’

this is one of those parenting decisions you have to make, we have a little bit of trouble with our teeth in our family so we are having the fluoride dilemma...and we have chosen to only use it when the dentist puts it on their teeth twice a year. we also tested our well water and it has a tiny amount of naturally occurring fluoride as well, so we leave it at that. there are mountains of studies on this so I think it's one of those things were you go to people you trust so today I took a look at the website of Dr. Warren King. I think that Dr. King can help you to make some decisions for yourself as well on the subject, but whatever you decide you should really test your water before you use fluoride toothpaste as you may be getting enough from your water.

but I will tell you this...listen very closely...start brushing those teeth as soon as they show up! it's important! obviously you don't need toothpaste at first but then, what to do when you do need it...well once again, weleda to the rescue! they make a wonderful kids toothpaste, there are many others out there that I am sure are fine just read the fine print to be sure! and happy brushing...I hope I didn't scare you!

karen Karlström

I am so happy to announce that finally karen's website is now live and beautiful! I have had so many requests about karens pillows...and this was all well worth the wait, so come see for yourself here. Karen is really one of those talented friends that everyone needs, she keeps her inspiration going and changing, so I always have to try to keep up with her! but at the same time karen stays true to her own design guidelines...modern, chic and a definite sense of charm together with an artisan quality. karen has written quite a few blogs for you here at nonchalant mom and honestly our friendship, and egging each other on, is something that gave me the spark to start nonchalantmom!

karen is super talented, but you can see that for yourself when you visit her website! page through her completely unique pillow designs and warm up to the wonderful world of kKarlström
(she calls it kkarlstrom, instead of kdeco as I have on my website, so these two are one in the same!). karen and I met when we both lived in san francisco, then became friends when we lived in Italy, and she now lives in switzerland together with her italian/swedish husband and their sweet little daughter (yes, she is the perfect travel partner....speaking about five languages!) ...thank you karen and good luck to you with your website!