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Baby-Safe Germ Fighters

I’m not exactly a germaphobe (okay, maybe I am), but keeping my daughter safe and healthy is my #1 priority. These days, with H1N1 and seasonal flu germs spreading like wild-fire, I always carry hand sanitizer in the diaper bag, and more recently, sanitizing wipes as well. Beware, though, that not all antibacterial products are baby friendly. Wet Ones, for example, say they are specifically for children 2 years and over, unless you use their Sensitive Skin / Extra Gentle wipes. Here are three baby-safe versions we’ve tried.

CleanWell Spray Hand Sanitizer
This is the first sanitizer I added to the diaper bag, since I don’t like the feel of Purell. It is a natural, plant-based option with no toxic chemicals, and it comes in a sleek, palm-sized bottle. For some reason, I didn’t use it all that often. I do remember that it took multiple pumps for me to get that clean feeling, and by then there was a strong mist of scent in the air. This is the least messy option since it dries quickly, and would fit even in a small purse. Kills 99.99% of germs and is 100% biodegradable.

Wet Ones Sensitive Skin / Extra Gentle

I learned about these from my sister, and zeroed in on the “Clinically Proven Safe for Baby” labeling. Since then, I usually carry a travel pack that I purchase from Target for 99¢. According to the package, these wipes are fragrance free, alcohol free, hypoallergenic and contain aloe, Vitamin E and chamomile and cucumber extract. Right now you can get $1 off coupon here.

BabyGanics Foaming Hand Sanitizer
My current favorite! I keep the large size in the kitchen, which I use to clean Chloe’s hands before meals. I rub a little on both her hands and then wipe them with a damp cloth. I also have the refillable travel size in the the diaper bag. The foam helps it feel like more of a wash than just a disenfectant. It kills 99% of germs and it is alcohol free, fragrance free and people and earth friendly.

Short of wearing white gloves everywhere (which we all may end up doing someday if things get much worse), these products offer a strong defense against unwanted germs that threaten our health and families!

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Free from Starbucks – Coffee Grounds

I asked David to do the unthinkable today and stop at Starbucks. All this grey cold and rain has made me a little blue and I sorely needed a perk-me-up. Thus the power of a (decaf) caramel macchiato.

Near our house is a really cool old building that used to be a drive-thru Coffee People until Starbucks bought them out and shut them down. I’ll admit, however, they did a really nice remodel, and managed to keep the building’s original shape. Plus, the new cafe has a cozy indoor seating area that the old one didn’t. Anyway, on our way out David noticed a bin underneath the counter that had bags marked “free.” I asked David how in the world he noticed them down there and he said something to the effect that he has a sixth sense when it comes to free stuff. I think that is true. The bags contained used coffee grounds, something that I’ve heard a lot about since learning to gardening a few years ago.

Although we save our grounds to compost, we would never be able to acquire the scale of grounds that Starbucks’ must produce in a single day. We took two bags. Here’s what the label says (although their’s is written in all caps. Someone needs to tell them that they don’t need to yell):

Used Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds are a nutritional additive for your soli. During the brewing prodess most of the acidity is removed, leaving used grounds with an average PH of 6.9 and a carbon-nitrogen ratio of 20-1.

Add grounds directly to your garden…
Apply this “green” material as a side dressing to nitrogen-loving plants, including most perennials and allium plants. Balance the nutrition of your soil with “brown” materials such as leaves or dried grass.
Or to your compost
Combine with “brown” materials in your compost pile. Use grounds within 2-3 weeks of brewing to capture the most nutritional value.

For more information on usage and benefits you can also read Sunset’s Starbucks Coffee Compost Test or visit Starbucks’ Composting page.

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