GroVia Black Friday Sale

Looking for cloth love for the holidays? GroVia has announced their sale! 20% off everything except ONE, Cherry, Julep, and Trainers!

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Plus, new referrals will still receive 10% off any items not a part of the sale AND get a free gift with order!

SHOP LOCAL and message me for details about how you can save the most on GroVia this holiday season!  Find me on Facebook or email szostekrachel@gmail.com to learn more. I am using my referral points for our family’s Christmas, so your business (and sharing with your friends) is much appreciated!

Birth “Plans”

As part of my Lamaze childbirth classes, we talk about birth “plans.” Over and over again, I see women writing out plans for their births, and while I think these can be great tools, sometimes I think they can trip women up when it comes to managing expectations and having the most empowered birth possible. So I wanted to share a little bit about how you can use a birth “plan” to help you have the best birth possible.

Tip #1: Call them birth “Preferences,” not “Plans”

One of the most important things I teach in Lamaze classes is that every birth is different, and almost no birth goes exactly as you plan, though every birth is beautiful. Part of managing your birth experience is understanding that you have an ideal birth in mind, but that even if none of your preferences pan out, the end goal is a healthy mama and a healthy baby, period. Calling your wishes “preferences” rather than a “plan” helps to get you in an accepting and flexible mindset, which I have found goes a long way for the birth experience.

Tip #2: Use it as a communication tool

Sure, it’s nice to show up at the hospital with a neatly typed list of things you want for your birth, but it’s really more important to have these conversations with your care provider long before you enter the labor & delivery wing. You can give your provider a heads up about what you hope for your birth and find out what things are possible to include in your list, as well as what things aren’t.  It’s important to know what you CAN and CAN’T ask for so that you can mentally prepare well ahead of time and avoid a conflict at your birth location. After all, nobody wants to deal with a major change in expectations while going through contractions.

Tip #3: Demonstrate flexibility

While no one wants to think about the possibility of interventions, it is important for you to recognize that they may happen, and you should know what your preferences are if they DO happen. I encourage my students to include a few lines for what they wish for a cesarean birth, even if they don’t plan for one. This does two things: first, it helps you think about how you can still keep your birth empowering even if unexpected events occur, AND it demonstrates to your care provider that you understand the need for flexibility in the birth process.

Tip #4: Make it your own

Yes, there are a million pre-written birth plans on the internet, where all you have to do is check boxes for what you want. Here’s the thing–in a string of options, it will be hard for the nurses and care providers on call to pick out what is MOST important for you. So write, in your own words, what you want for your birth. Also, see #2. If you have been talking with your care provider, you may find that you don’t NEED a whole lot of those extra lines on your birth preferences list. For example, if your care provider doesn’t use forceps or perform routine episiotomies, it doesn’t make much sense to waste space talking about these things.

Tip #5: KEEP IT SHORT

This should probably be tip #1. The best birth preferences lists are ONE PAGE, in BULLET POINTS. Anything longer screams “high maintenance” to everyone on your birth team (yes, even doulas don’t like to see long birth plans). Bullet points are easy to read and follow–with busy nurse rotations and the hustle and bustle of the birthing floor, you need to get the key details across in as few words as possible. I will repeat this: KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET. Simple plans are easier to follow and demonstrate that you have put careful thought into only the most important aspects of your birth wishes. Plus, it is a lot easier for a care provider to remember a few bullet points than paragraphs of content.

So that’s it–go ahead and get started! With a succinct and thorough birth preferences list, you can communicate with your care provider and manage expectations for a beautiful and empowering birth experience!10533725_10102019404214768_2208875085838438035_n

Norwex Cleaning Products Review

So part of parenthood means that you will be cleaning up a lot of messes. Diapers, tossed food, random things that your toddler stuck in his mouth and then spat out…..you get my drift. On top of that, a lot of things don’t get as clean as they used to thanks to busy schedules and, well, toddlers.

recently had the opportunity to try two Norwex cleaning cloths—the Window Cloth and the Enviro Cloth for free. My opinions are totally my own. Overall, I give the cloths an above average score for their ability to get a good clean, but I give the marketing a failing grade.

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The Pitch:

Norwex is a cleaning supplies company based on a multi-level marketing design. (Think: home parties.) The core of Norwex’s pitch is their microfiber cleaning cloths, which claim to clean without chemicals and have the ability to remove up to 99% of bacteria from a surface.

The science:

“Without chemicals” is a buzzword. To get a good clean, you have to wet your cloth (which is made of chemicals) with water, which is a chemical. Seriously, everything is made up of chemicals; it’s the dose that makes the poison, not the fact that a chemical exists.

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I also read the research that Norwex bases these claims on, and the studies show that the silver in the microfiber cloths does have a small antibacterial effect if a spill is wiped up immediately, but is not going to work on biofilms that have been sitting a while. I also confirmed this with two biologist family members who said that there is no way these cloths could guarantee bacteria-free surfaces for most typical cleaning uses.

My tests:

I used these microfiber cloths for about two weeks on every dirty surface in my house. I also washed them a few times to see how they held up after laundering. The cloths stayed in good condition, and took a couple days of light cleaning before they exhibited odors. They managed most basic clean-up with only water, saving me money on cleaning sprays. For heavy cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom, I immediately washed the cloths and followed up with a sanitizing solution on surfaces.

Window Cloth:

This is a FANTASTIC streak-free solution for your mirrors and windows. I also used this cloth to attempt to clean some faucets and shiny stove surfaces, without as much luck. This is more of a finishing cloth, and not a cleaner. But as a finishing cloth, it did get my mirrors and faucets very shiny.Unknown-1

Enviro Cloth:

The microfiber on this cloth is good quality, providing excellent scrubbing without a lot of elbow grease. With just water, I was able to wipe clean my kitchen table and counters, as well as my bathroom counters and toilet surfaces. The cloth had some trouble with grease, dried material, and soap residue. Norwex does make a scrubby cloth, which may be the solution to this issue.

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Other Norwex Products:

While Norwex touts their cleaning cloths as the base of the brand, I found many of the other products in their catalog more appealing. They have an entire line of eco-friendly food storage and kitchen options, like silicone bowl or pan covers and re-usable snack and sandwich bags.

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In addition, they make re-usable drinking straws, which are now on my Christmas wish list because our boys go through straws like crazy around here.

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Plus, Norwex makes the CUTEST little hand-drying “pets” for kids!

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Overall, I think Norwex is worth a look. The cloths are durable and fairly good at getting things clean, and the company does make a line of unique products for house and home. If they could only stop exaggerating the usefulness of these cloths and get rid of the words “chemical free,” they would have my complete endorsement.

If you are interested in learning more about Norwex, you can contact the Jess Sienkowski, an independent consultant at cleanbyjess@gmail.com or her website http://www.norwex.biz/pws/jessicasienkowski/tabs/home.aspx.