The Randomosity that Happens on Tuesday

It’s Random Thoughts Tuesday.

So how do you like our new digs? I think this whole move to our own url is a bigger excitement behind the scenes than it is for you, dear readers. Our old blog was hosted on the free WordPress site and it served us well, lo these many months, but the free part of the free WordPress site was limiting for what we want to do and the vision we have of the future. A vision that includes world domination, eradication of hunger, and flying cars for everyone. Everyone! But also a vision that includes a lot of fun stuff we want to do with the blog starting with our own swanky url. Do you like it? Set your bookmarks! Still, this switch has not been without some pain.
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I think the biggest thing that bums me out is that our Giveaway got lost in the flurry of activity this past week. I mean, take a look at these beautiful hair pins. These can be yours, and entry is simple. Go to the bottom of this post and leave some comments to enter. The contest is still ongoing and the field is wide open! Even if you don’t have long hair, I bet you have a friend or relative who does. Imagine the delight on her (or his–we don’t judge at Gen X Moms) face when you present a handcrafted gift that looks like you paid a lot of money for that in fact you got for free by leaving a comment on this blog you like to read. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! This is the post you want.

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Here’s another painful thing–I can’t preview this post. I either get an error that says the post cannot be found–which dude, I can tell you where to find the post: the draft file, or that I don’t have access to previewing posts and okay seriously? SERIOUSLY? I’m the ADMINISTRATOR!!! If I don’t have permission, who the hell does??? Growing pains…growing pains…digging into the technical files tomorrow…

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And more pain is this intractable heartburn I’ve been having that I finally got around to doing something about. I was diagnosed with reflux (GERD) like a gazillion years ago and have been taking a purple pill which worked fine until recently, when it stopped working. Why? I don’t know. My doctor suspects it might be an ulcer. Apparently ulcers are caused by a bacteria and the test for an ulcer no longer involves sticking a camera down your throat, thank god. It was a breathing test, so I had to breathe into a special plastic bag, then drink something that tasted suspiciously like the orange drink they give you for your glucose tolerance test while pregnant, and after waiting 15 minutes, breathe into another plastic bag. I kind of find this test a bit disconcerting because blowing into plastic bags for heartburn doesn’t quite seem right. But at least it didn’t involve blood or sedatives. Follow-up appointment is Thursday–I know you’ll be on the edges of your seat waiting for the results. You’ll have to become a friend on Facebook, which conveniently earns you an entry into the hair pin giveaway! Yes, that’s right–come for the ulcer test results, stay for the hair pins!

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On a better note, Mouse has spontaneously started using sign language. I attempted to teach him a few simple signs several months ago, but after repeating “More? More? Would you like More? More?” I felt like an idiot for talking to myself and dropped the whole project two months ago. Then last week after I thought he was done eating, I took off his highchair tray and reached for his bib when I realized he was totally signing “More.” After I collected my jaw from the floor, I gave him a couple of Kix, which he ate. He then signed More again and I gave him individual Kix just to see if he would continue to do it. He did, but then I started feeling like I was training a dog, so I gave him a handful and let him go to town. After most were gone, I asked him if he wanted more (“More? More? Would you like More? More?”) and he stopped doing the sign, so I took it all away and he was perfectly happy.

I’m kind of afraid to find out what else he’s been harboring in his brain for months.

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Oh, an addition after I posted! Burning question–WHAT DO I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY??? Yes, my birthday is coming up, and I have no idea what I want for it. Going out to dinner sounds nice but it’s falling a little flat in my brain for some reason. Jewelry is out because Mr. Grabby McGrabster won’t leave anything alone. What do I want? Leave your suggestions in the comments by clicking on the comment bubble up top.

The Scrivener

At-Home Businesses for Busy Moms–Aloha Finishing Pins + GIVEAWAY

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Today’s At-Home Businesses for Busy Moms features an exclusve Gen X Moms Blog giveaway!

Today’s Mom: Jessica with Aloha Finishing Pins

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m a stay at home military wife and mom to three children. Tristan is seven, Sofya is five and the baby, Winnie, is sixteen months. My oldest child has some demanding special needs and I was looking for a creative outlet and a way to “get away” from the demands of motherhood. I started trying out different things and now I’m an amateur photographer often busy running my website, which is about me, my photography and my hair and doing hair tutorials on YouTube.

Tell us about your business

I have an Etsy store that I currently run under my username, Tristanc2003 Aloha Finishing Pins. I make and sell decorative flower hair pins. I’ve had orders from as far away as France! I also, as a side item, sell photocards of photographs I have taken, since I have had interest in those as well. I hope to expand on that in the future, but in the meantime, I have been focusing on my hair pins.

How did you get started in this business?

I have really long hair. In fact, in Hawaii, long hair is pretty common and is ingrained into the culture. I’m always looking for pretty and interesting hair accessories. I’m a little limited because I really try to avoid using elastics and plastic. Unfortunately, a lot of hair accessories are rather elaborate or elvish looking. Simple flower blossoms, which are commonly found here, are stuck on plastic clips that stick up off your head and are often cartoonishly large. I just wanted something simple that I could tuck into my hair and would stay. I found Amish hair pins stay really well and started making my own Hawaiian style hair pins and found there was some interest, so I put them up on Etsy. As for the photocards, there were some inquiries about the photos on my website, so I figured, what the heck? If they don’t sell, I can always use them to send to friends.

Did you have any kind of special education or training?

I haven’t had any training other than the care of my own hair (which can be rather meticulous.) I think that helps me to understand other people’s concerns about the things they stick in their hair.

How do you juggle motherhood and the business?

My oldest son is special needs, so I seldom get time to devote to creating or the business aspect  until after he goes to sleep. Actually, I found that the creating and business aspect is really therapeutic because it’s something all my own and doesn’t have anything to do with mothering or care of the house.

What would you say to other moms interested in opening a similar business?

I’d say go for it! The amazing thing about the world today is that people don’t have to settle for what they are able to find. There’s someone out there making exactly what you’re looking for or is willing to do it custom for an affordable price. Maybe that person could be you!

Do you have any special offers for Gen X Mom readers?

Sure! Anything in the Etsy store 10% of for Gen X readers. Be sure to mention Gen X on your order form and get 10% off.

And now, Jessica gives a special demonstration of her hair pins!

Myspace Layouts

Jessica has generously donated this beautiful set of hibiscus hair pins to one of our lucky readers. To enter, post a comment for the following:

  1. Check out Aloha Finishing Pins and tell us which product is your favorite.
  2. Become a fan of Gen X Moms on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, tell us!
  3. Post about Gen X Moms on Facebook
  4. Tweet about Gen X Moms including a link back to this post
  5. Post about Gen X Moms on your own blog and include a link in the comments
  6. Talk about Gen X Moms on a forum and include a link in the comments
  7. Look at your hair in the mirror and picture how beautiful it would be with these hair pins. Leave a comment telling up.

These could be yours!

Sting-Free Disposable Baby Wipes

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A couple of months ago I had a cold and my poor nose was raw from sneezing. I was changing Mouse and I thought “wow, a nice, cool, moist baby wipe would feel great!” I grabbed one, used it, and holy moley, nearly hit the roof it stung so badly. I was surprised as heck because they were scent-free, sensitive skin wipes, but boy, not so sensitive on my sensitive skin. It really made me think of how it must feel on Mouse’s little bottom, especially during a diaper rash. Ouch!

So I set out to find a sting-free wipe experience. Now I already have a stack of cloth wipes and bottles of wipe solution made from “bits” (little cubes that you melt and mix with water), but sometimes the cloth wipes don’t clean all that well and sometimes you just want a wipe you know you’re going to throw away after a massive poo-splosion.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Kickboxing. Sport of the future.” Or, “Disposable wipes? That’s hardly Conveniently Green, Scriv.” Hey, remember what I said a while back about non-negotiables? Well this is one. I dispose and then use cloth.

Kickboxing. Sport of the future.

Following instructions all over the internet, I tried making my own wipes out of paper towels, but I hated them. They were difficult to get off the roll or to separate when I folded them individually. Plus, Train Guy hated them, and he’s such an active parent I need to take his preferences into account too.

I decided to take my disposable wipes (the ones I’d bought in the 10,000 pack at Costco) and turn them into sting-free wipes. This involved two parts: one, rinse out the chemicals from the existing wipes, and two, using an all-natural wipe solution that wouldn’t hurt sore bottoms (or noses).  So here’s my process:

  1. Open the container of wipes (or in the Costco situation, cut open the bag)
  2. Take a really close whiff of the wipes. You’ll smell a chemical smell or some scent to cover the chemical smell. This is your baseline.
  3. Break the stack in half. This is important and something I only figured out like the fourth time I did it.
  4. Without separating the wipes from its chunk, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse the wipes. If you saved clean water from your shower, this is the perfect opportunity to use it.
  5. Rinse until you don’t smell whatever it is you smelled in Step 2 anymore.
  6. Squeeze out the moisture. I do this by carefully rolling them in a towel. They don’t have to be completely dry, but if you’re anal, set them out to dry for a few days.
  7. Place them back into the container and cover with the wipe solution of your choice. I find that 1 cup of solution is usually the perfect amount, and I always use distilled water to keep the solution from going funky.

Et voilà! You’ve got all-natural, sting-free wipes! Now I don’t know if it’s possible to completely rid the wipes of the original chemicals, but I get as close as I can and then do a test-run on my nose.

Now what about wipe solution? Well, the meltable bits got irritating and too high-maintenance, so I tried different recipes I found online and none of them made me happy. Wipe solution needs oil, and the main natural oil we have hanging around is olive oil, and that felt gross on my hands afterwards. I started looking up different oils I could buy (sweet almond oil, etc.) and then it got really complicated and I thought “Why don’t I just buy some solution concentrate from a work-at-home Mom!” My extensive searching then led me to Buddha Bunz Soy Wipe Wash Concentrate.

I can’t even tell you how much I love Buddha Bunz, but I’m going to try. It’s awesome. It’s soy-based for all the vegans in the audience and I can actually pronounce all of the ingredients. It’s heavy-duty but gentle, and doesn’t leave a residue on my hands or my cloth diapers. At one teaspoon per one cup of water, a single bottle has lasted me nearly two months and it looks like I barely made a dent. And on top of all that, you even get to choose your luscious scent.

The great part about Buddha Bunz wipe concentrate is that it’s not just for baby wipes! Whip up some solution for your, ahem, personal feminine needs. Or pour some solution over a couple of baby washcloths and take them along in your purse for gentle, non-drying hand wipes.  I don’t know about you, but I hate instant hand sanitizer because it just smears the dirt around and is gross (and I believe it’s bad for our immune systems). So when you just need to wipe off your hands, Buddah Bunz and washcloths are perfect, or you can use them before or after instant sanitizer to leave your hands soft and nice-smelling.

Melinda at Buddha Bunz offered a free bottle of wipe solution to one of our Gen X Moms readers! Thanks Melinda!

The Scrivener

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Works-For-Me Wednesday

Looking for more fun giveaways? Check out 5 Minutes for Mom.com!

I have to brag about how clever I am using store-bought wipes in a natural way at

Photobucket

Conveniently Green–Reusable Swiffer Duster

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Do you love your Swiffer Duster? I do! I’ve got the duster with the extendable, telescoping handle, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a long, plastic stick. The Swiffer Duster requires, of course, the Swiffer Refill, which is a disposable fluffy doo-dad that sucks up all of the dust and pet hair (in our house, emphasis on pet hair) and then you toss it in the trash.

And you know how much I love tossing things in the trash, right?

But I like the idea of a disposable duster, because the thought of using a feather duster and then having all that crap sitting around, or taking it outside and beating it on the porch and setting off my allergies and whatnot really grosses me out. Still, disposable? Are you serious? Surely there’s a better way.

I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.

I suppose I could easily sew my own reusable duster, but I have no idea where my sewing machine is (somewhere in the garage, I think, or maybe we accidentally left it in the storage unit in San Jose). Thank God for Etsy.com. If you haven’t been there already, Etsy is a wonderful site of different sellers offering thousands of handmade items–everything from art to, well, dusters. Many Etsy sellers are moms, and if there’s one thing I love more than replacing a disposable item, it’s helping out another mom. I fell in love with the adorable fleece dusters at Mom and My Crafts. Sarah and her mom make all kinds of eco-friendly products, and I happen to know from personal experience that fleece is excellent at picking up all kinds of dust and hair. Excellent. Especially when you’re wearing it.

Well believe it or not, I really love dusting with my Swiffer Duster now. And trust me, I’m a person who hates to clean. The reusable duster performs like nobody’s business. In fact, I think it attracts and traps dust and hair even better than the disposables. And the fleece eliminates one of my biggest pet peeves with the disposables–getting snagged on corners or rough surfaces. It’s fun and cute, and I don’t have to wonder what kind of vegetation died to create it. I love it.

Yesterday I went on a dusting spree just to give you photographic evidence of how much I love these dusters. I tackled my problem areas: underneath the living room furniture, on top of the fan blades, along the baseboards, and of course, on the furniture itself. Not in that order. Check it out.

Before:

It's green! And pink! And adorable!

After:

Wow, that's gross!

The best part is that I just drop that bad boy in the laundry and I’m good to go for my next dusting spree.

The Scrivener

For more Works for Me Wednesday, click here:

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