Dr. Bronner’s Soap & Film

It may be a bit nerdy, but Hubby and I love a  good documentary. Over the weekend we rented Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox from Netflix. It was a really intriguing film about the legacy of a man, and now a family.


Since my parents were some of the hippies who flocked to his “magic soap,” I’ve grown up on Dr. Bronner’s. I’ve always loved the tingly feeling of the peppermint, and the fact that it’s biodegradable. I enjoy their lotions too, and have the lavender one at my bed side.


I remember sometime in childhood asking my Mom about the religious/spiritual messages on the soap labels…all-one seemed like a unifying belief, but I wasn’t so sure how the rest of it fit together…Dr Bronner’s philosophy blends lots of different truths to create his own unique truth. 


Dr. Bronner lived a fascinating life, and was steadfast in sharing his truth. CIA files labeled him as a “nutty,” although it’s to know if his shock therapy in the “nut house” only made his preaching more emphatic. Disturbingly, he sacrificed his children for his cause, and they grew up in orphanages while he traveled sharing his gospel. I don’t want to give away the whole film, but the trailer is below and you can start to get a feel for the zany scientist/soap-maker/spiritual speaker. 


I also learned some more reasons to love Dr. Bronner’s soap:

  • First to produce a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle.
  • Organic and proud of it – they’ve been working hard to keep the standards high
  • Fair Trade – and not just their supply chain – DB’s top execs make no more than 5 times the lowest paid employee, and all staff have health care and retirement plans
  • Advocates for industrial hemp – hemp’s high omegas make it great for soap!

Dr. Bronner’s granddaughter is a mom, and has a blog all about her ways of going green.


As suggested, I use it for both personal hygiene and household cleaning. I have yet to try all of the ways they suggest using it though, and I’m planning to get more adventurous in my usage. If you start using Dr. Bronner’s religiously, I promise you’ll save your family money and promote sustainable and people-friendly business practices.


Here’s the trailer to the film about the magic soap maker:







Does your family use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Family Questions for Estate Planning

Wills are the type of task that every parent wants to push off until tomorrow…or next year. We’ve been making progress (slowly, but surely) on our goal of updating our “last will & testaments.” This time we’ve hired a lawyer, and we’re finishing all the estate planning documents: power of attorney, advance medical directive, and a last will & testament.


Our original wills were done on the cheap. We used a will kit software purchased by friends’ parents who helped us wade through the questions and get everything prepared. The beauty of taking on the task with another couple is that we had each other to sign copies (you need two signatures of people not listed in your will). Having your will signed may seem morbid, but we actually signed on New Year’s Day (with Mt Hood in view!) We were just relieved to know that in the case of an awful accident on the way home that our kids would go to our chosen guardian, and we wouldn’t leave family in a lurch.


Speaking of guardians, choosing who might raise your family is often a tough choice. There are lots of different factors to consider, and this article on 10 things to think about when choosing a guardians is very helpful. The number one issue in my mind is family values: who  can come close to honoring your values in raising your kids? Here’s a good perspective on choosing a guardian from The Simple Dollar, you can see just how personal the decision really is. Our lawyer (and friend) advised us to consider whether we want our estate guardian to be the same person and our custody guardian.


In our case, my Twin Sis is a shoe-in for the role (minus the globe trekking job 😉 But life can change quickly, so it’s important to keep tabs on who you choose. We chose Hubby’s sister as “back-up” guardian, since she was the only sibling without a family (but wanted kids!), just four years later she’s married and has two beautiful girls. And who knows, my Twin Sis may go “Angelina” on us and suddenly adopt a tribe of kids from where ever she happens to be in Africa at the moment…stranger things have happened 😉 But seriously, in our case we also trust her manage our estate and raise our kids if need be.


There are some big questions to answer, which is why many parents continue to put it off…


Do you have a Last Will and Testament?
Is it up-to-date?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Sugar Mama Update

This is an update to my previous post on creating a Sugar Mama Scenario.


I’m relieved to report that Hubby has kept his job through another round of layoffs. Over a dozen co-workers were not so lucky. There is also a chance of “bumping,” which is really unpredictable. After being asked to “walk the plank” for the second year of budget cuts, he doesn’t feel much job security beyond the next budget year. In this economy, I don’t know if anyone truly feels secure about their job.


The exercise of penciling out a “sugar mama scenario” may also prove useful in the shorter term too. Hubby is still developing a business plan, and hopes to venture on his own as soon as possible. I’m at least relieved that he’s not being forced into the decision, and hope that his launch timing will coincide better with a decrease in child care costs, as they move toward Kindergarten and out of the high-end fees of the youngest years.


On a side note here’s an interesting article: 
If Mom earns more than Dad, who changes the diapers?


Do you have a contingency plan for a spouse loosing their job?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Get Around Beta Group

This is the week we were planning to sell our car, and attempt to go carless for at least a few months


In the American right of passage, Big Guy is excited about joining a t-ball league this spring. We had researched transportation, and since one field is on the bus line and the other is just around the corner in walking distance, we thought we were covered for this season. Alas, Hubby has volunteered to coach his new t-ball team and part of that responsibility is to schlep the team’s gear to games…although we are still crossing our fingers that the co-coach can take on this duty! Even as urban bus-riding parents, we knew that mandatory carpooling would come someday soon…we were just hoping to use Flexcar…it turns out there could be another alternative. 


I recently found out about an innovative new transportation service of sorts – person to person car lending called Get Around. When first thinking about how much our car was costing us while parked at the curb I actually thought of this idea – why not put your car up for temporary loan to a friend or neighbor? It could be a win-win and enable more people who don’t use their car (or second car) all the time, want to keep it handy, but could manage lending it out from time to time. The Beta pilot is about to be tested in Portland, but the website explains how every transaction is covered by insurance and you set your own price and time limits for your own car. Other renters just have to find one that works for them. 


I’ll let you know my experience once I have a chance to test it.


You may wonder how not owning a car, but still driving around town could help the environment. Here’s a great article about how peer-to-peer sharing is the consumer wave of the future that will help reducing our collective carbon footprint.


Have you tried Get Around? 
I’d love to hear your experience.


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.