Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We adopted...a cat!


I feel remiss, readers! I have not formally introduced all of you to our newest family member.

Please forgive me, and meet Pikachu!

Isn't she pretty?


My 6 year-old son, of course, is the one who came up with the name. He's obsessed with Pokemon right now, and Pikachu is a main character in the show. Here's the original Pikachu:


Do you see the resemblance ;) ?

She's been a great addition to the family. She was a rather lonesome barn cat for years, and when I told my riding instructor we were hoping to adopt a kitty, she suggested we take Tina (now re-named Pikachu) home. We couldn't have asked for a better pet. She's calm, affectionate, and playful. We LOVE her. [Side note: if you are thinking of getting a pet, consider adopting one! It's an awesome experience.]

The fact that my kids and I convinced my dog-loving husband to give a cat a try is also a pretty huge deal. He loves her now too and can often be found petting her on his lap in the evenings.


Besides, who could resist those chunky, fluffy paws, calico fur, and green eyes?
Ancient wisdom and folklore from many cultures have believed that Calicos are magical and bring good luck. I think I agree...

Pikachu is sitting/sleeping in her favorite spot-- my lap-- as I type this. You can find more Pikachu Pics on my Instagram page (of course): www.Instagram.com/FranticMama.

How about you guys? Who has pets? Are you a dog person, a cat person, or like me, an everything-with-fur person?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama



Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 Friday Faves: Au Natural Edition


I'll probably never be the Crunchy Granola type (I love me a little glamour!), but I am trying to eliminate just some of the more 'dangerous'* chemicals in our house and bodies [despite the fact my husband thinks I'm a little crazy].





Here are Five Friday Faves that fall into the 'Less Toxic, More Natural' Category:

1. Better Life Automatic Dishwashing Detergent.





I love this soap as much as one can love a dishwasher detergent (which isn't a ton, I suppose, because how much can one love dish soap?). It isn't very expensive, and it smells a million times better than the store-brand, chemical-laden, surely toxic gel we had been using for years. YEARS! And yes, it really works, better in fact, than our old one (but do note, I am a rinser).

2. Sunscreens:

Making the following switches has been no small feat for me. I expect a lot from a daily face lotion and a sunscreen. It needs to be light but moisturizing, it needs to be non-comedogenic, and ideally, it needs to contain SPF. Oh, and now it needs to be paraben-free.

My new favorite daily face lotion with SPF so far: MD Solar Sciences Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30: It's paraben-free, contains natural fragrance (lavender), contains no mineral oil, and most of their products are highly rated by EWG (Environmental Working Group). I am currently using this chemical-based face lotion/sunscreen and lurve it, but I'm eventually going to try their mineral-based ones too, as I know those are probably better for my skin (sigh...).





Mineral sunscreen:

One mineral-based sunscreen I love for the kids and me: Rodan and Fields Soothe Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. This lotion is fantastic. It contains physical blockers-- zinc and titanium dioxide-- and is paraben-free and fragrance-free. My son's skin is is ultra-sensitive and this is the ONLY sunscreen that doesn't ruin our lives when we are on vacation or during summer months when we are outside a lot with a high UV index.
(You do need to order this through a consultant.)

3. Here's a little natural treat to mix into your routine: Juice Beauty Green Apple Hand Cream.

This cream feels fresh and clean, and the list of ingredients doesn't look like one you would find in a chemistry lab. Enough said!





4. Norwex 

I was introduced to the Norwex brand last spring when a friend of mine hosted a party. I was surprisingly quickly on board with their products, even though I am not a cleaning fiend at all [it's hard for me to get excited about cleaning!].

Part of the reason I've always hated to clean is the strong chemical scent of so many cleaners, so my favorite Norwex product is their EnviroCloth. You use it with just water and it cleans your surfaces really well-- no chemicals needed to get rid of 99% of bacteria! They also reduce my paper towel usage. The wool "Fluff and Tumble" dryer balls are awesome too; they soften clothes in the dryer without the chemical-laden dryer sheets I had been using my whole life.

5. LifeFactory Glass Bottles

The plastic sports bottles we have been using (even though they are BPA-free) have made me wary. Just how much of the plastic coating is leeching into our water? Maybe none. Maybe some...




Either way, an easy switch has been to use these 9 oz. Life Factory Glass bottles.** These bottles are dishwasher safe, hard to break due to their silicone cases, and easy for little hands to open and close.


**Now please excuse me while I take out a second mortgage to pay for all these switches.

What are some of your natural faves these days?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

*When I say 'dangerous,' I basically mean products containing known carcinogens or toxic materials that can leech into our food or bodies. I'm sure none of these products are perfect, but they have definitely helped me feel just a bit better.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

What's Your Sign?


When I was growing up, I always skipped ahead to read my horoscope in the back of my glossy magazines. I don't do that anymore (mainly because I don't have the time), but I can't help but think there might be something to astrology, and more specifically, the zodiac signs.

My birthday is June 9th, and I have always felt like my sign-- Gemini-- couldn't fit me more. (Hilarious side note: AstroStyle.com sums up Gemini as "the most versatile and vibrant horoscope sign, Gemini energy helps us communicate, collaborate, and fly our freak flags at full mast." Ha! And to spot me, they advise you to simply look for those of us with "a mischievous twinkle in their eyes, reading, talking with their hands." Check.) 

One of the eeriest things I read all the time about Geminis is that being a writer is a very typical/ideal career for them...




Now, skeptics (even me) could easily argue that zodiac descriptions are so general that they can apply to anyone. (But come on, who else but Geminis let their freak flags hang at full mast?).

Think I'm crazy or want to learn more? 

Here's a little history on the subject.

According to the American Federation of Astrology (it's a thing), the Babylonians are credited with the birth of astrology. Their astrological charts enabled them to predict the recurrence of seasons and certain celestial events. 

Through the studies of famous wiseman like Plato and Aristotle, astrology came to be regarded as a science and was embraced by the Romans (the Roman names for the zodiacal signs are still used today). While earliest astrology was used to bring a sense of order out of apparent chaos, it was soon utilized to predict weather patterns. 

The Zodiac is believed to have developed in ancient Egypt and later adopted by the Babylonians. Early astrologers knew it took 12 lunar cycles (months) for the sun to return to its original position. They identified 12 constellations they observed were linked to the progression of the seasons and assigned them names.

The signs of the zodiac are subdivided into four groups:

  • Fire Signs: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo
  • Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
  • Air Signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
  • Earth Signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo

The division of the 12 signs of the zodiac is based on the earth's year-long rotation around the sun and relates to character traits and areas of life.




Aquarius
January 20 - February 18
Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Aries
March 21 - April 19
Taurus
April 20 - May 20
Gemini
May 21 - June 20
Cancer
June 21 - July 22
leo
July 23 - August 22
Virgo
August 23 - September 22
Libra
September 23 - October 22
Scorpio
October 23 - November 21
Sagittarius
November 22 - December 21














It's tempting to focus on solely the positive aspects of my sign-- Geminis are open-minded, can talk to anyone and love to create and experience everything-- I have to admit it, the negatives that go with mine ring true too-- the emotional highs and lows, the restlessness and nervous energy, and the tendency to take on too much and become overwhelmed and distracted. My son is a Gemini too-- it'll be fun to see if it fits him as he grows.

Check out AstroStyle to read their in-depth descriptions. I want to know what you think!

Does your sign fit you or is it all just a bunch of hogwash? 

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Monday, April 3, 2017

How to Make Mom Friends

Are you a new mom? Or have you recently made a change-- decided to go back to work or to stay home with your kids? Or maybe you have older children but want to branch out and meet other ladies in the same stage of life? I get it. I soooo get it.

As much as I love being alone (allll alone), being alone with kids is a totally different story.

Part of my mission as a blogger has always been to support other moms. My recent post up on Parent.co hopefully does just that.






If you like it, please consider sharing it with a new parent who looks a little lost, or maybe with a co-worker who just decided to stay home, or perhaps you need a little encouragement to get out there. I think it's especially valuable for moms (like me) who don't have family nearby.

In the article, I share my realistic, real-life ways to meet potential friends during your current Mom Stage of Life. My ideas aren't made up. I have done them. All of them. I have no shame!

Click here for the article :).

Also, thank you readers for all of your support over the years. As important as in-person friendship is, I can definitely say that I have met some amazing friends online too, and your support is never forgotten!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Natural Deodorants Put to the Test

Welcome to Frantic Mama!

If you read my previous post, you know I've been on a quest to find healthier body products for my kids and me (my husband could put vegetable oil on his face and his skin wouldn't react. Plus, I doubt he'll wear anything smelling of lavender anytime soon).

Natural deodorant is one of the trickiest things to change over to. I've been a Secret Soft Solid Powder Fresh Antiperspirant/Deodorant girl for as long as I can remember. It does the job, and I am a serious sweat-er, no matter how in (or out of) shape I am.

My priorities for a new brand were twofold: it can't have aluminum (which eliminates any type of antiperspirant) or Parabens (known endocrine-disrupters and possible carcinogens).

All four of the following meet those two criteria, and they all had their plus sides, but I do have one favorite.



First, I tried Schmidts:

Pros: It smells really good and has a soft solid feel which I prefer to a wet gel. It's a decent price, available at Target.

Cons: I definitely had to reapply throughout the day in order to smell fresh. Still, if you aren't a super-sweaty person, this might be a good bet for you.

Next up was Desert Essence:
Pros: Again, it smells nice and light and was available and inexpensive at the local natural foods store.
Cons: It's more of a gel, which isn't my favorite. I had to reapply often (yikes!) in order to avoid smelling like a teenage boy! Not a good one for me overall.

3rd try: Arbonne 
Pros: Refreshing unisex mint scent. Clean ingredients and packaging. Works pretty well, though you might need to reapply if you sweat a lot or workout.
Cons: It's the most expensive of the bunch by far and you have to order through a consultant. It's also a gel, which I don't love.

4th try is a charm: Native 
Pros: My friend who had recently converted to aluminum-free products said this was her favorite after trying about 5 brands. I was 0 for 3, so I quickly ordered some. It smells really nice like the Schmidt's, and it is that same powdery feel that I like. *(Shout-out to Amanda for her recommendation!).


Most importantly, Native works the best!

Cons: You have to order it online as far as I know, and it costs more than, say, Schmidt's, Tom's of Maine (which still often has aluminum in it!), or Secret, of course, but with free shipping it came out to about $10-- worth it for being un-smelly and mostly chemical-free! It is like a magic potion. You simply can't believe it works but it does.


What have you tried and liked?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations when it comes to going more natural. What works? What doesn't? What are you avoiding, and what are you embracing?

My next mission: To round up my favorite mineral-based sunscreens!

P.S. This is a completely unsponsored post. I purchased all of the products myself, and I am not participating in any kind of advertising campaign for any of the brands I note. Though if you want to try Native and earn us free travel sizes, feel free to use my referral link :).

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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