Friday, August 30, 2013

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls [Review]

A few years ago, I stopped buying dryer sheets. Cold turkey! I do not know what came over me because this occurred long before I started down the all-natural path. Maybe I wanted to see if clothes would feel different without the dryer sheets. The only difference I found was that synthetic clothes had more static. Of course, this is because dryer sheets coat the fabric and make it feel slick, which we feel as softness. For years, I dried clothes without dryer sheets, until I discovered wool dryer balls. Wool dryer balls are a natural and eco-friendly way to reduce the drying time and reduce some static build-up.

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls        (6 balls, $34.95)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Eco-friendly and natural
Doesn't quite eliminate/reduce static
Replaces dryer sheets
Can deposit lint onto clothing
Reduces drying time

Woolzies wool dryer balls come in a pack of 6 large balls. You need at least 6 balls to noticeably reduce drying time. I loved that the balls are made of 100% pure wool. You can feel the high quality of the wool and the weight of the balls.

I was curious if the wool dryer balls would: 1) reduce drying time, and 2) reduce static. I have read mixed
review on reduction of static and finally realized the connection between drying time and static. If you overdry your clothes, they will have more static. The goal is to dry your clothes to the point where all of the moisture is gone, if not stopping right before that point. Of course, I do not have time to constantly check the dryer, nor do I have a way to measure how dry the clothes are. Therefore, we'll use time.

After the addition of the wool dryer balls, I started with the max time on the dryer and with each load, bumped the time down by 10 minutes to determine at which point the clothes were dry. The drying time will also depend on the amount and type of clothes that are in the dryer. I experimented for about 2-3 weeks with decreasing the time I set on the dryer. The addition of Woolzies wool dryer balls did reduce the drying time. I cannot stay exactly by how much since each load of laundry was different, but the fact that I saw a reduction in drying time means that wool dryer balls work!

Now, the question of static. The dreaded static. If I let clothes dry on the max drying time, static was definitely present. Wool dryer balls did not eliminate static for me. However, I did find that the static went away as I took the clothes out and folded them. Synthetic fabrics had more static than natural fabrics. Some ways to combat static is to not dry the synthetic clothes in the dryer (they will dry quickly if you hang them) or to take the synthetic clothes out sooner.

I love that wool dryer balls have replaced toxic dryer sheets and helped to reduce drying time. I will continue to adjust my drying routine to see how I can further reduce static on synthetic fabrics. Another thing to be aware of is that the wool dryer balls can take lint from one items (like a fluffy blanket) and deposit it onto another item (like a black shirt). I will need to look into this to understand why. I highly recommend Woolzies dryer balls for their high quality and their ability to make your drying routine more efficient. I have even purchased a box of them as a housewarming gift for a friend.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Finding Natural Laundry Detergent While Traveling

My family and friends know that I am not a light packer. I like to be prepared for most situations. Even if we are traveling to a warm destination, I will bring one outfit for cooler weather. You never know when there will be a cool or hot day. Add a baby into the mix and my husband and I joked that we should have purchased a bigger vehicle. As I was packing for our 5 night out of town trip, I wondered if I needed to bring my natural, baby friendly detergent. I decided against it since we agreed to use disposable diapers while out of town. What I failed to realize from being less than experienced with "baby on board" travel is that baby clothes/blankets/etc. will inevitably need to be washed for some reason.

On a quest for natural, baby friendly laundry detergent we go! I did not want to buy a full sized product, so my mom and I went looking for a sample size. The local Whole Foods was smaller than the Whole Foods that I usually shop one. The only detergents available were Whole Foods 365 brand and Method. I have my reasons for not using Method cleaning products, so that brand was out, and I did not have enough background on the Whole Foods 365 brand to feel comfortable purchasing a whole container. No luck at Whole Foods.

Mom and I continued our journey to Buy Buy Baby. I located two brands: BabyGanics and Rockin' Green. Rockin' Green detergent is on my list of natural, baby safe detergents, but I just could not allow myself to buy a whole bag for this one time. Yes, I could have brought it home, but I have so much laundry detergent at home already. (I made a deal with my husband last year that I would hold off buying laundry detergent until I went through most of what I had in the laundry room). The BabyGanics brand did have a small sample size for three washes. Unfortunately, the last ingredient in the list was fragrance. I avoid fragrances in body and cleaning products if I know they are in there. No luck at Buy Buy Baby either.

In the end, I did not buy a natural laundry detergent and ended up washing in only hot water. I added laundry detergent to the family packing list to avoid finding myself in this situation again.

>> Have you found yourself in a similar situation? What did you do??

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Artisan Nut-Thins Crackers [Review]

One of my favorite snacks are crackers. Crackers can be used in such a variety of ways: straight out of the box, with cheese, with dips, or as toppings for casseroles. My favorite way to enjoy crackers is pairing them with cheese and wine. Artisan Nut-Thins crackers from Blue Diamond offer a great canvas for any topping and enough crunch and flavor to be enjoyed straight out of the box.

Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins      
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Crunchy, hold up well to any dip
Contains "natural flavors"
Natural ingredients
Not organic
Added benefits of seeds
Not certified non-GMO

Artisan Nut-Thins is the new line of crackers from Blue Diamond. These crackers are made from brown rice, almonds, and seeds. I love that these crackers are made from healthy almonds and seeds. I did find that the brown rice flavor and taste was more prominent than the almonds. These crackers reminded me a lot of rice cakes. The strength of Artisan Nut-Thins would stand up to any dip. They are also crunchy enough to satisfy your craving. I preferred eating them straight out of the box. My favorite cracker was the Multi-Seeds cracker.

Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins are made with all natural ingredients. There are a few things you should be aware of. The crackers do contain "natural flavors," which might indicate that soy was used in some fashion. If you have allergies or are trying to avoid soy, I recommend contacting the company to understand what "natural flavors" are included since this label is very broad. The ingredients are not certified non-GMO or organic. Rice and safflower oil could potentially be GMO. If you are a label reader like me, do some more research to fully understand the ingredients list.

If you are looking for a versatile cracker, Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins are a good choice to try. Although the ingredients are not certified organic and some might be GMO, the ingredients are the most natural that you would be able to find in a cracker on a grocery store shelf.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free from Naturally Savvy and Blue Diamond. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Naturade Pea Protein Vegan Formula [Review]

For most of last year, I ate a vegetarian or a vegan diet. Although I have reintroduced meat into my diet (during pregnancy and breastfeeding), I still believe that a meat/fish-free diet is better for my body. I felt much better when I ate a vegetarian diet. However, my biggest challenge while eating vegetarian was getting enough protein each day. Organic and natural protein powders were my answer. Protein powders are an easy way to add protein to a drink, a meal, or a baked good.

Naturade All Natural Pea Protein 100% Vegan Formula       
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Natural ingredients, non-GMO pea protein
Not organic
Contains "natural flavors"
Soy and dairy free
Contains carrageenan, which has raised health concerns
Easy to mix, no gritty taste

I am an avid reader of ingredient labels, so the first thing I looked at when I received the product is the
ingredients list. I like that the pea protein isolate is non-GMO and that this product is soy, dairy, and gluten free. However, the protein formula is not organic and the rest of the ingredients could be from GMO sources. For example, "natural flavors" might indicate that soy was used in some fashion, although the label does state the product is soy-free. If you have allergies or are trying to avoid soy, I recommend contacting the company to understand what "natural flavors" are included since this label is very broad.

I mixed the sample of Naturade All Natural Pea Protein Formula with water in a stainless steel water bottle by shaking. The powder was easy to mix, although there was a little bit of residue left in the water bottle. If you are using a bottle specifically for mixing powders (the ones with a ball), I could see less residue after mixing. The drink tasted delicious; no gritty taste. I enjoyed drinking the protein mixture and found the flavor to be very pleasant.

If you are looking for a good protein formula, I would recommend Naturade All Natural Pea Protein 100% Vegan Formula. The powder is easy to mix and the flavor is delicious. Do some further research about "natural flavors" or carrageenan to fully understand the ingredients list. I plan on experimenting with adding the protein powder to baked good as a way to boost protein intake.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Please check with your healthcare professional before changing your diet or starting a new diet.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chicco Cortina Travel System [Giveaway]

Welcome to the Chicco Cortina Travel System Giveaway! 

A great group of bloggers has come together to offer you this great giveaway for baby! The Chicco (pronounced Kee-ko) Cortina Stroller is a full-size stroller with simple features for convenience, comfort, and safety. A stroller gets so much use throughout the baby and toddler years that it is important to find out that works for you. Personally, I prefer strollers that adapt to the growing baby/child, have enough storage for the diaper bag and any shopping purchases, and of course, safety!
The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat fits infants from 4-30 lbs, rear facing. The Chicco Keyfit 30 is the number one ranked Infant Car Seat. It is also easy to install and moves very easily between the base in your car to the stroller.

Check out this in depth Chicco Cortina Travel System Review for more information.
Chicco is offering our fans the chance to win a Chicco Cortina Travel System, valued at $349!!! US Residents, 18 and up only. All winning entries will be verified. Winner will be randomly chosen and emailed, they will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is chosen. Giveaway begins 8/15/2013 at 12am EST and ends 9/5/2013 at 11:59pm EST.

Disclosure: This blog, Fun With Four, and Everything Mommyhood are not responsible for prize shipment, as this is a sponsored prize from Chicco. We were not compensated in any way for promotion of this giveaway. Everything Mommyhood/Fun With Four received the above mentioned item, in exchange for an honest review. Our opinions are not influenced in any way. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other social media are not affiliated with this giveaway. If you have any questions please contact the host of this giveaway at

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nesco Digital Food Dehydrator [Giveaway]

A Lucky Ladybug
Nesco Gardenmaster Digital Pro Food Dehydrator
ARV $170

Hosted by:

"New Digitally Controlled" unit! Top mounted fan eliminates liquids dripping into the heater chamber. Expands to a giant 20 trays so you can dry large quantities all at once! 1000 watts of drying power means you can dry more, faster. Patented Converga-Flow® forces heated air down the exterior pressurized chamber, then horizontally across each individual tray, converging in the center, for fast, even and nutritious drying. If you are an aspiring gardener or love to visit your local farmers market, then you need a dehydrator.  There is no better and easier way to preserve in-season produce than to dehydrate it.

Fast, Powerful Fan! A quiet, 2,400-RPM motor and specially designed 4-1/2 inch fan mean faster, more nutritious drying.  Adjustable Thermostat!  The adjustable 90-160 degree F digital control gives you the flexibility to get the best results.

 As needs grow, this four-tray unit can be expanded with accessory Add-A-Trays®, up to 20 trays (20 sq. ft.) Drying pressure adjusts automatically to the number of trays.  Included  accessories: No-Spill Fruit Roll Sheet, Clean-A-Screen®, Jerky Spice Packet and Cure.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
"Make Our Own Network" solely organized this event and I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are 100% my own and may differ from your own or even those stated in this post. All Natural Katie is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. This giveaway is open to the Continental US only (because of shipping costs) and will end on August 29th, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Green Choice Carpet Cleaning

 photo All Natural Katie

Most of my life, up until the last few years, I have lived in houses/apartments that were carpeted. Although vacuuming is a great way to keep your carpets clean, it alone does not remove all of the dust, dirt, allergens, etc. that collect in the fabric. I never pulled the trigger on getting professional carpet cleaning service, and hesitated even more once I started down my green and all natural path. I did not want all of those toxic carpet cleaning chemicals on something that I was on barefoot. Throw a baby crawling and licking the carpet into the mix and it becomes even worse! If you do choose to have your carpets cleaned, choose a company that believes in the benefits of green cleaning and uses naturally derived cleansers.

Green Choice Carpet

Green Choice Carpet Cleaning is a company that believes in the sustainability of green cleaners. They want to keep your family safe from harmful substances found in your common carpet cleaning products. Customers tout the high-quality organic cleaning service offered at low prices. Green Choice Carpet Cleaning has a variety of locations throughout the United States and offers same day service and free estimates. The company wholeheartedly believes in using cleaning products that are safe for families, kids, and pets.

Choosing Smoke-Free Restaurants

 photo All Natural Katie

Over the past 10 years, I have been fortunate to live in cities that have indoor smoking bans. I have also visited a number of restaurants and establishments in cities without indoor smoking bans. Talk about an adjustment! Second hand smoke is proposed to be more toxic and harmful than first hand smoke. Therefore, I try very hard to avoid smoke whenever I can. Would I choose one restaurant over another because the first one was smoke-free? Yes!  

Today, many restaurant owners face the dilemma of serving their smoking customers alongside their non-smoking customers. An owner may have a non-smoking section in the restaurant, but the odor of cigarette smoke may make its way over to that section. This can result in non-smokers avoiding the restaurant when they want a meal. Fortunately, many restaurant owners are taking action to solve their dilemma. Take a look at some of the reasons why they are investing in a smoke odor solution.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction

When cigarette smoke odors are completely removed from the air, every patron in a restaurant is able to enjoy his or her meal. A restaurant without any smoke odors appeals to more customers including seniors, families with children and single individuals. A restaurant owner can establish a reputation for being friendly to smokers and non-smokers alike.

Making the Environment Pleasant for Employees

When smoke odor is removed from a restaurant's atmosphere, a server who helps customers in the smoking section doesn't have to work in an unpleasant environment. Without smoke odor removal, a server would have the odor in his or her clothes and hair every day. Plus, he or she would be breathing in an unhealthy environment. If the server has an allergy or another breathing problem, this could be a dangerous situation for him or her. Smoke odor removal makes it more comfortable for servers to work. Furthermore, restaurant owners may be better able to retain the talented servers on their staff!

>> Would you choose one restaurant over another to enjoy a smoke-free environment??

Friday, August 9, 2013

Garden: Katie vs. Squirrel

Good potting soil
+ organic fertilizer
+ tomato plants from local nursery
+ ripening fruit
= Big Boy tomato munched by squirrel!

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to cut off the 1/4 eaten by the squirrel and eat the rest myself! The Big Boy tomato was delicious!

I do have bird netting around the front of the pots to keep deer out, but over the past few months, it has gotten a little loose as I go over and under it to pick fruit. My weekend task is to reestablish the bird netting to protect the rest of the fruit.

>> How do you protect your garden and plants from small and big critters??

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator [Review]

I had read about nasal aspirators long before getting pregnant. I knew that hospital issued blue bulb aspirators were bad because they are hard to clean and bacteria/mold can grow inside. They are disposable and only intended for single or very short term use. Somehow, we came home with not one, but TWO, of the blue bulb aspirators. Ugh! My husband became the "snotsucker" and I quickly got him to switch to the Nosefrida product we purchased right before the baby came. Although Nosefrida is a highly rated product, buying replacement filters can get costly, especially if you plan to suck your baby's nose at least once a day. When I discovered Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator, I was intrigued by the idea of using a tissue as the filter. Baby Comfy Nose uses your own suction to hygienically and quickly remove nasal mucus with a household tissue as the filter.

Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator      
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Uses household tissue or toilet paper (no filter replacements to purchase)
Plastic parts, mouth piece tastes like plastic
Hygienic, easy to clean
Tissue blocks some of the suction power
Human suction is the most effective

Gentle on baby's nose

Since I have used both products, I would like to compare the Nosefrida product to the Baby Comfy Nose product. Both products use human suction, which is believed to be the best suction you can get at home. Nosefrida uses foam rubber filters (single-use and require you to buy replacements), while Baby Comfy Nose uses a tissue, which you already have at home. I tried Baby Comfy Nose with Whole Foods 365 brand recycled tissues and found that it was to much blockage. It was a little difficult to suck and I had to use more sucking power than I do with the Nosefrida nasal aspirator. If you are using a thicker tissue, you will have to suck even harder to get the snot out. Next time, I tried one square of Angelsoft toilet paper in the Baby Comfy Nose nasal aspirator and found it to be better.

I was trying to suction out a booger out of the left nostril. My hope was that Baby Comfy Nose would pull it out and deposit it inside the egg-shaped container, so I could throw away the paper with the booger, but this did not happen. The booger did come out after a couple sucking attempts, but only to the end of the nose where I had to pick it out with my finger. The opening of both the Nosefrida and Baby Comfy Nose nasal aspirators is a little small so I could see that the booger would not quite make it inside.

I do like that I can use a tissue or toilet paper square in Baby Comfy Nose, instead of having to buy replacement filters for Nosefrida. Overall, I have to weigh the economy of using your own tissues versus the suction power/ability. Baby Comfy Nose lacks a little in the efficiency and effectiveness, but makes up for it by removing the need to buy replacement filters. I recommend you try both products and see which one works for you. I can see myself using both products going forward.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Blogger Opp: Dehydrate It Right [Giveaway]

A Lucky Ladybug

Nesco Gardenmaster Digital Pro Food DehydratorARV $170

I love my Nesco Food Dehydrator (non-digital) and I know you will love the ease and convenience of dehydrating produce and meats. What a great way to preserve summer produce!

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