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Review of Purex Complete Crystals. Giveaway goodness!

Review of Purex Complete Crystals. Giveaway goodness!
If only they actually made doing laundry like a day at the spa this pic was apparently taken at

I love laundry.  Really, I would even consider myself a Laundry Geek.  I’ve always loved trying new laundry products and educating my fellow laundry-doers on best practices.   I once explained to an entire room full of women that the Downy Ball won’t work in your front-loader because it depends on the centrifugal force of the first spin cycle to pop open, I frequently give laundry baskets filled with detergent,stain removers and my favorite wash additives as baby shower gifts and I always wash my towels in a separate load, without liquid softener.

I actually hate liquid laundry softener.  It’s messy, it’s full of petrochemicals and (until the invention of the Downy Ball) I almost always forgot to add it anyway. You can’t wash towels with it because liquid softeners are oil and/or wax based and actually coat the fibers, rendering towels less absorbent.  children’s clothing manufacturers warn that using softener on kids pajamas will ruin the flame retardant nature of the fabric. I was reminded of yet another reason it sucks just this very morning when I pulled one of Kit’s shirts out of the laundry to see that in my absence someone had spilled softener directly onto it and marred the front of it with a big blue spot. 

Oh, but how I missed that fresh laundry smell.

While I was gone, the good folks at Purex sent over a sample of their new Purex Complete Crystals Softener.  They are so simple to use, you toss the crystals into the wash with your dirty clothes.  You don’t have to remember to stop the rinse cycle and (unlike the Downy Ball) you can use them in your front loader.

My favorite  part is that they are not oil based.  According to the PR folks at Purex:

Purex Complete Crystals Softeners are safe for all laundry and will not harm, wear down or discolor your fabrics like oil-based softeners.
Safe for all fabrics, including baby clothes, athletic wear, towels, and whites. Unlike other
softeners, Crystals WILL:
• Preserve the flame retardant benefits of your children’s clothes
• Retain your athletic wear’s wicking ability which draws sweat away from your body
• Maintain your towels’ built-in ability to absorb water
• Keep your white clothing from yellowing and graying vs. using traditional softeners

I hadn’t even thought about the athletic clothes thing, but that totally makes sense.

The product literature really promotes the fresh smell that infuses your clothes (they know what people want), but I wondered without the oils, was it actually going to soften the fabric?  Surprisingly (to me anyway), my clothes came out not just smelling fresh, but feeling soft and The crystals are marketed as being 92% natural and dissolving without residue in the machine, so how do they work?

According to Purex:

Purex Complete Crystals Softeners penetrate fabrics to reduce
fiber entanglement and smooth frayed fibers providing a naturally soft feel.

Even Nate, who learned how to do laundry while I was out of town, loves them.  No one had shown him how to use them, and he hadn’t tried using liquid softener, but he read the back of the sample bottle and  put some in with his clothes.  It was that easy!

Verdict? The clothes come out of the dryer smelling great and are soft, though maybe not quite as soft as those which were washed with liquid detergent.  It’s a very small trade off for a product that is easier to use and gentler on your laundry.

Want to try some?  Leave a comment and I will randomly select someone to receive a coupon for a free bottle! Follow @ParentingGeekly on Twitter for an additional chance (leave your Twitter name as a separate comment).

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample of Purex Complete Crystals for review purposes.  The opinions expressed are mine and were not influenced by the people at Purex.

Why I Let my Kid Play Assassin’s Creed

Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile knows that I am pretty liberal about what I let my kids play, watch and read.  That being said we are fairly discriminating about things that are rated for an age group older than our kids.  Video games that glorify violence for violence’s sake (like GTA and Saint’s Row) are big no-nos in our house.  Once in awhile, though, a rated M game comes out that we feel is okay for Nate to play as long as we talk about it and supervise his playing.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Being an Assassin isn’t all rainbows and ponies.

One such example is the Assassin’s Creed franchise from Ubisoft.  Yes, you are an assassin. There is a certain amount of implied violence that comes along with that.  You spend a lot of time in the game skulking around in the shadows and attacking people, and there is pleny of blood.  As a redeeming point, you are an assassin to fight the bad guys. Your motto being “we work in the dark to serve the light”.

The premise is that you are Desmond Miles, a barteneder in the year 2012.  (Okay it gets a little ridiculous here, bear with me).  You are a descedant of Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, a medieval assassin during the Third Crusade and  Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young nobleman from 1476 in Florence. Using technology that involves DNA sequencing Desmond is able to relive his descendants’ lives.  The whole point of this ridiculousness is to get information that will lead you to an artifact that is lost in the game’s present and to find it before the bad guys- Templars, of course – do.

There are a couple of things that make this game appealing to me as a parent.  For one, you have to make good desicions.  Killing innocents will cost you life and make you restart the mission.  Yes, you’re killing people, but you’re killing only the bad guys and learning consequences.

Second, the developers at Ubisoft have gone above and beyond when it came to researching the game for historical accuracy. (There is a really long blog article here from Penn State that goes talks about some of the minute details in the first installment of the game that show just how much thought was put into it).  At every point of historical significance  in the game you are presented with an opportunity to read your “database”. The database is essentially an accurate history article about whatever your looking at, providing hundreds of teachable moments during game play. At one point, after finishing the mission part of Assassin’s Creed II Super-Dad decided to become an in-game art collector.  He would send Ezio on missions to make money and then buy art so that he could read the descriptions.  It was pretty cool to learn about famous renaissance paintings while playing a video game.

In Assasssin’s Creed II and in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Leonardo DiVinci is featured heavily playing Q to Desmod/Ezio’s James Bond.  Intrigued by all of the contraptions that DiVinci provides Ezio, Nate checked out a DiVinci bigoraphy from the library.  He’s spent the past three days telling me about DiVinci’s crazy inventions.  You may disagree with me about the appropriateness of these games, but MarioKart has never inspired my son to do further investigating at the library.

Oh, How I Hate those Uncomfortable Questions.

My mother blamed television. She was convinced that all of the mature subjects I broached were because I had seen or heard something on TV.  I believed her for awhile, because most of Nate’s questions came after hearing something on television.

About six months ago we cut our cable. We are not anti-TV, I love watching television shows when I have time, and I think that it can even be a valuable parenting tool.  If you are discriminating about what you let your kids watch they can learn, and you can get the dishes done at the same time.  We cut the cable because it was too expensive and with Hulu and Netflix we just weren’t watching live TV  that often.

But I digress…the point is that we got rid of live television and we were fairly picky about what we let the kids watch. Let me tell you, the questions didn’t stop.

My philosophy on these questions is to answer them in a truthful but basic and age-appropriate way.  For example, the first time Nate asked what sex was the answer was “How babies are made”, he said “Oh” and that was that.  He was four and didn’t need an in-depth discussion about the mechanics involved, the most simple answer was the best.

Yesterday Nate asked what a condom was.  I was totally taken aback and answered with words that could have been coming straight out of my own mother’s mouth “I’ll tell you when you’re older”.  (Mom, if you’re reading this I’m still waiting to learn what a prostitute is…) I immediately realized that this wasn’t the right way to respond and told him “It’s something that can be used to prevent disease”.  He then asked if it “Was a sex thing”, I answered yes and that was that.

Awkward…

Uncomfortable questions aren’t just on the subject of sex either.  Kit recently asked why I was fat, and Nate wanted to know about the recent shooting in Arizona and why they took the N-word out of a recent printing of Huckleberry Finn.   I try to apply the same “Simple but truthful answers” philosophy regardless of the question.  I told Kit I was fat because I needed to be more active.  Nate was told that the shooter in Arizona was an angry man who was probably dealing with mental illness, and that the N-word was taken out because it is offensive.  He had more questions about that and it lead to a discussion about historical context and whether it should be sanitized for modern readers.  We also talked about how, even though the N-word was included, Huckleberry Finn was one of the first works to have a black character that was shown to be a good, loving person and not just a commodity.

What are some of the uncomfortable questions you have dealt with lately?  How did you answer?  Do you find that television makes it worse or opens up the door for communication?  Let me know in the comments.