Thursday, March 08, 2007

Killing Germs Naturally

Want to know a secret? At work, I have to shake a lot of hands, and I'm a little bit of a germ-a-phobe. But washing my hands several times a day doesn't work for me. Actually, I have extremely sensitive skin, and many of the cheap industrial soaps purchased in bulk for public bathrooms irritate my skin. We won't even discuss the gross things Cordy touches within a day - and she has inherited my sensitive skin, too.

My purse generally contains a trial size bottle of a soap I can trust, and/or a bottle of hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizers are very useful, the alcohol in them is very drying. I also worry when using it with Cordy - what if she puts her hands in her mouth and ingests that gel before it dries?

Enter CleanWell hand sanitizer. It's an all-natural, alcohol-free antimicrobial. Instead of alcohol and unpronounceable chemicals, it contains Ingenium, which is made up of non-toxic plant oils that meet the FDA guidelines and kill 99.99% of germs.

Compared with the other hand sanitizers out there, this one is a winner. First, I feel safe using it on my daughter, knowing that there are no toxic ingredients in it. Second, instead of a goopy gel, it comes as a spray or a wet wipe, both of which are easier to use on a toddler than a gel. Neither leave any residue or sticky sensation on your skin after they dry. The spray is also useful for spraying on surfaces as well as hands.

Third, the smell is far better than any alcohol-based sanitizer. CleanWell has an herbal, earthy smell to it. The primary oil is thyme - it kind of smells like you've been working in a pizzeria, but the smell is pleasant compared to the chemical smell of other sanitizers. It also isn't a long-lingering scent, either.

If you need a good hand sanitizer, I highly recommend CleanWell. I appreciate the fact that the ingredients are all-natural, non-toxic, and will not harm the environment. I also really love the spray - it's the perfect size to keep in my purse, and won't leak like the alcohol gels.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bringing Order to Chaos

My family's schedule can best be compared to an evacuation. A lot is going on all at the same time, no one seems to know exactly what they're supposed to be doing, but everyone has a feeling that something has been left behind. In other words, we're pretty busy, and often find ourselves with conflicting schedules.

Of course, we're only a family of three at the moment. Imagine how much harder it will be when there are four of us, and these two little ones start needing rides to piano lessons and soccer practice.

So when I was asked to try out the newest product from BusyBodyBook, I was excited. I've tried keeping my life organized with a purse-sized calendar, but without my husband's input, I was only showing half of the story. Besides, my purse is a black hole, sucking objects to the bottom to never see the light of day again.

Joan sent me a Fridge Grid Pad to try out. It's very similar to the popular BusyBodyBook, with several columns for each day of the week, so each family member can have their own column to keep track of their activities, or an individual activity can have its own column. Unlike the day planner version, however, the Fridge Grid Pad is a large undated calendar with a magnetic strip on the back, perfect for sticking to the fridge or some other heavily visited part of the house.

Each page is one week long, and there is plenty of room for writing in all appointments, meetings, or events that need to be remembered. Having the columns for each family member is very useful, too. It's easy for me to see when my husband will be busy, so I can make sure not to plan anything for myself that day without a babysitter on hand or at least the knowledge that I'm going it alone. I also use a column to keep track of blogging activities, reminding myself of what I wanted to write about that week, like this post, for example.

Like any calendar, it's only as good as the people who update it. You still must remember to write in each appointment or change to the daily routine, but once that is done, it's so much easier to review each day's activities while preparing breakfast. It's also undated, which is useful when you have a slow week, or forgot to write anything for a week (guilty!), and don't want to waste paper. Just add the dates for the next week and keep going.

If you like having one centralized calendar for the entire family, with plenty of room for everyone's activities, give the Fridge Grid Pad a look. It sure beats the alternative of calling your babysitter from work at the last minute, begging her to watch your child longer because your husband had a meeting in the evening that he didn't tell you about.