Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blossom Pads Giveaway!

Here's one for all of you who want to try mama cloth but have been too nervous to take that first step - a giveaway of my favorite ladies' hygiene product, Blossom Pads! To see my full review, go here (and note that the discount code is still valid!)

The winner will receive anything of her choice up to a $12 value from anywhere on the site...this includes the Intro to Cloth package, most 8 or 10 inch pads in any fabric (including organic cotton velour) and all clearance items!

How to Enter (open to residents of the United States):


You MUST be a fan/follower of Jem's Room either on Google Friend Connect, Facebook or Network Blogs...all three will get you three entries (any two will, of course, get you two entries)! Be sure to leave a comment below this blog post for each one or it won't count! Leave your username and email address (or other way of contacting you).


- Go to the Blossom Pads website, come back and leave a comment to let me know what you would pick! Remember that for most non-clearance options you can customize the color of the flannel or velour, so be sure to specify!
- Like Blossom Pads on Facebook, comment that you have done so.
- Post a link to this giveaway anywhere on Facebook and/or your blog (1 entry for each share). Comment here to tell me where I can find it.
- Pin this blog entry, or ANY blog entry on Jem's Room, to a board on Pinterest. Leave the link to that board in the comments.
- Grab my button and place it anywhere on your blog main page. (Good for three entries). Leave a link in the comments to where I can find it.
- For an extra 10 entries, place an order with Blossom Pads using the 10% discount code 8AO11, and mention on your order form (in the comments section) that you were referred by Alicia O. of Jem's Room. (You must both use the code and mention me in your order or your entries may not be valid, since I will need to confirm your order with Charlene at Blossom Pads). Come back here and leave ten comments with the name you used to place your order and your email address.

The winner will be chosen at noon on Valentine's Day (Feb. 14).

Good luck and have fun!

* This giveaway is courtesy of the Blossom Pads referral program and readers like you! I did not receive any payment from Blossom Pads for my review, and they are not directly sponsoring this giveaway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hi all, remember this post from awhile back where I said I'd searched for a toothpaste recipe that used xylitol and baking soda but I couldn't find one? So I made my own, using coconut oil as the liquid? That recipe was published both here and on the awesome community blog Keen for Green. Well, all these months later, I've suddenly started seeing all of these tutorials cropping up for homemade toothpaste, using those exact three ingredients! I'll admit at first I had a moment of "hey, that was MY idea!" but ultimately I'm actually quite pleased that the idea has caught on! And heck, who knows, maybe someone else came up with the idea before I did.

I have, however, actually been improving upon my original recipe.  Because my formula tended to alternate between runny and solid depending on the temperature, I added a natural stabilizer. I also toyed with the ratios a bit, and gave my formula a name:
Xycobax!™ (Pronounced zye-coh-bax, it stands for XYlitol, COconut oil, BAking soda and Xantham gum, the stabilizer). Xycobax is quite kid-friendly, since xylitol is recommended as part of a child's dental hygiene routine. I've also come up with an alternate formula that has a bit more oomph, called Xycobax HP™ (you'll see why in a minute)...this is more for adults and less for kids who suck their toothbrushes.

Please note that this recipe is protected under copyright law...while I've chosen to give it to you for free, all I ask is that if you share it on your own blog or website, even if you choose to change the ratios a little bit, that you link back to this post. That's it! You can also drop me a note to let me know you have done so, and I will be sure to mention you and link to you in my next post! I am always happy to reciprocate.

Without further ado:

Xycobax™ Toothpaste recipe (makes approximately 2 tubes of toothpaste)

1/2 lb xylitol, powdered (in food processor or blender)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 -3/4 teaspoon xantham gum (may use a tiny bit more if you need to, but don't overdo it!)
5-6 teaspoons melted coconut oil
5-7 teaspoons water
Flavoring oil (optional...peppermint or cinnamon works quite well)

Thoroughly mix the three dry ingredients together. Add coconut oil and water, alternating a teaspoon at a time, until you achieve a nice pasty consistency. Add a few drops of flavoring oil if you like, stir again and put it all in a food processor to finish to achieve a nice smooth consistency (you can use a blender instead, but do this in two batches for best results).

Voila! Xycobax.

So what is the formula for Xycobax HP? It is exactly the same as the recipe above, only instead of water, substitute Hydrogen Peroxide! (You see now why you probably don't want your kids sucking Xycobax HP off their toothbrushes).

Xycobax on my Preserve toothbrush (recyclable and made from recycled yogurt containers!)

Tip: To keep your coconut oil from potentially turning rancid, consider adding a few drops of rosemary oil extract or vitamin E oil to it before mixing it in. For the regular Xyobax formula you might also consider a few drops of grapefruit seed extract. These ingredients are not necessary if you don't have them but should help your final product keep longer!

I have recently discovered Coghlan's Squeeze Tubes...they come in packages of two which is perfect for this recipe, and they are washable and reusable. They work great! I don't, however, know what kind of plastic they are made of...I'm looking into it.

That's it! Now go share the love! Responsibly. :-)

* Special thanks to Sheila at Hiney Lineys for educating me about Trademark law.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas Card Madness!

Hello friends! Hope you are all enjoying the New Year and relaxing after the rush of the holidays. I imagine most of you have already taken down the decorations, or are in the process of doing so. Me? I'm waiting till the end of January. It only just started snowing here, and I want to make that wintery cheer last as long as possible!

I've been thinking about what to do with all those Christmas cards decorating our kitchen entryway after I take them usual, most of the photo cards will get put on the fridge. But what about the rest of them? I think I've come up with some ideas you might enjoy!

1) Thank You postcards. I've personally always been of the mind that Thank You cards, while a great way to express gratitude, are a bit many of us actually hang on to thank you cards? I'll be honest, usually I read them, say "oh how sweet," and chuck them right in the recycling bin. Much like Christmas cards after the season is over. But wait! If you simply open a Christmas card and cut it in half, taking the message portion off, what do you have? A perfectly reusable picture postcard. Perfect for sending those Thank You notes, without the guilt of wasting extra paper from buying new cards and envelopes! And it'll save you a little on postage too, since postcard stamps are so much cheaper! If you yourself have gotten Thank You cards from friends and family, you can turn those into postcards too!

2) Christmas postcards for next year. We usually send out photo cards for Christmas, since those are more likely to be kept all year and less likely to be thrown in the bin. However, if you go the generic storebought route instead, why not just save the cards you received this year and turn them into postcards to send next year?

3) Gift tags. I cut up one exceptionally unique card we received and turned it into exceptionally unique tags for my hubby's presents. I now plan to do this every year!

4) Ornament crafting. Great craft project with the kiddos. Cut out pictures you like from the card, punch a hole at the top and use some of that Christmas ribbon you salvaged from the wrapping paper heap at Grandma's house to tie a loop. Or, you can use them for something more like these ball ornaments. Creative, right? This idea would work so well with colorful Christmas cards!

5) Scrapbooking! I have never scrapbooked in my life, but I imagine those of you who do could find numerous uses for pretty, colorful Christmas cards, no?

6) Collage projects: picture frames, wall hangings, book covers, even new Christmas cards using cutouts from the old ones. Let your creative side hang out!

7) Bookmarks...cut those cards into strips and stick 'em between the pages of Like Water for Chocolate. Or, you know, whatever you happen to be reading...

8) Photo books: This one is for those photo cards. It's usually the same families every year who send photo cards instead of storebought cards. Why not hang onto those cards every year, and once they reach an important milestone - say, the youngest child graduates from high school, or the couple celebrates their 25th wedding anniversary - give all those cards back to them in a pretty scrapbook or photo album? I guarantee you it will mean a lot to them that you saved them and took the time to keepsake their Christmas memories.

Do you have any great ideas for reusing Christmas cards? If so, please share!