What’s wrong with conventional cotton?

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Dressing your new baby can be one of the most enjoyable jobs as a parent. Those tiny onesies, sweet pajamas, and itty bitty socks are irresistible. First item on my agenda when I found out I was having a little girl was to purchase her welcome home outfit and every outfit for the next 6 weeks. I might have gone a little overboard in the beginning.

In the midst of all of the excitement of a new baby or when you are buying a gift for someone else, you may not consider what’s in the fabric you are purchasing. With my first child I didn’t think twice about the fabric initially. Not until my son starting showing signs of skin irritation. Since clothing is in constant contact with a baby’s delicate skin, I now choose items made of organic cotton and non-toxic dyes.

When shopping for baby’s clothing, you’ll find that most items are made out of cotton and/or synthetic fibers that are manufactured with petrochemicals, acrylic (polycrylonitriles), PVC, and esters. Cotton is often treated with harmful chemicals that can’t always be washed away. Which means the chemicals could be absorbed by your baby’s skin.

How is organic cotton better?

Organic cotton represents a return to safe and sustainable practices. It is grown with natural fertilizers and is free from toxic chemicals.

Organic farmers rely on crop rotation to replenish and maintain soil fertility. Mechanical cultivation and botanical or biological means are used to control pests and weeds.

A field must be pesticide-free for at least three years to be certified organic, and the cotton must be processed according to international organic standards.

The standards also set strict guidelines for transportation and storage to avoid cross-contamination. In the U.S., cotton labelled as organic has to be certified by an independent agency recognized by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

What should you keep in mind when shopping or buying gifts?

Choosing clothing made of sustainable fibers with non-toxic dyes are the safest and will keep harmful chemicals and toxins away from your baby’s skin.  Look for clothing that is made out of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, cashmere, or silk and check the label for no chemical finishes, non-toxic dyes and inks.

How do you find affordable and safe clothing for your kids?

Our favorite brand is Babinca which is handmade with organic cotton by a mom in Israel. We are proud to have partnered with Babinca to bring you not only safe but adorable organic cotton items for your baby. If you’re looking for products for older children check out Kate Quinn Organics.

Why Green Toys Are Important

GREEN TOYS

Parents want to keep their children at bay from diseases as much as possible. While giving them organic foods and vitamins and supplements are two proven ways to boost their health, giving them green toys is another way to make sure that they’re not at risk from the toxic chemicals, specifically lead, BPA, and phthalates, used in most toys these days. While plastic-made toys are cheap and very accessible, they are not always the best choice for our children. The plastic can contain chemical compounds that are found to trigger cancer, asthma, and other degenerative and respiratory ailments. To avoid your child from getting sick start replacing plastic toys with quality green toys by considering play sets manufactured with plant based materials.

 

When it comes to green toys, almost everybody knows about Green Toys, one of the leading manufacturers of toys made from eco-friendly materials and spearheaded by Robert von Goeben. If you think the name rings a bell, it should because he is also the founder of Propellerhead Studios, a top notch company that specializes in the creation electronic toys and games. All products from Green Toys are made of recycled materials specifically plastic milk jugs and sustainable pieces that help reduce wastes in landfills. They also use natural ingredients including its packaging and label, so anxious parents are guaranteed that Green Toys have no traces of toxic substances that may put their children’s health at risk. Aside from that, the toys are locally made in California, and are processed using environment-friendly techniques that require lower amount of energy only. Shop Green Toys here.

 

Green Sprouts promotes holistic early child development with functional feeding and toys. They are made from safe materials designed to protect the health and safety of children. Because babies explore by putting objects in their mouths, only quality materials are used in the manufacturing of Green Sprouts. Shop Green Sprouts here.

Local Traveling With Kids; Our Stay at The Parker Palm Springs

Majority of our customer inquiries tend to be in the range of product details, car seat suggestions, mom-to-mom questions; like how long did you nurse and lastly where and how do you travel with kids, specifically toddlers. Having two little ones so close in age traveling out of the state has yet to happen. Currently we prefer local travel which saves money, helps to keep sane by avoiding airplanes and overall supports local business. One of my absolute favorite places to visit is Palm Springs. From the hot weather to the short 1 1/2-hour drive, Palm Springs has been our go-to when needing a quick getaway with the kids.

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This time around we chose to stay at The Parker Palm Springs. If you haven’t had to pleasure to stay at their fabulous, lush and kid-friendly hotel you definitely must add it to your bucket list. From their gorgeous landscaped property to their amazing customer service The Parker Palm Springs definitely does NOT disappoint. To be honest, upon arrival I was a little intimidated. The crowd is extremely upscale and the hotel is beyond posh. Imagine Hollywood Hills mixed with Ralph Lauren. The hotel architecture and design is beyond breath taking.

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Having two wild children both under 3 at first caused a little anxiety. I began to think, “is this hotel kid-friendly enough? Are my kids going to rip and run and tear everything up? Are we a little to hippie for this spot?” But to my surprise there were more kids than I could count. Kids running wild, playing through the gardens, laughing, screaming and having a ball. After settling into our room we explored the property. Beautiful is an understatement! Gardens, Fountains, Croquet, Petanque and even fire-pits. One of the best amenities was the kid pool. I truly believe all hotels should have kid pools. It allows your kids the opportunity to jump, splash, canon ball and just enjoy without you having to worry whether your kids are disrupting the lady reading her book.

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After all the fun of visiting the pool, eating locally for dinner and watching movies in our bed we all called it a night. First thing in the morning and before checkout we decided to visit the “highly reviewed and rated” Norma’s for breakfast. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! I truly could stay at The Parker Palm Springs solely for Norma’s it was so amazing. As soon as you get seated you are greeted with a freshly juiced smoothy. This pregnant mama has been dreaming about that smoothy since we left. AMAZING!!! The food was superb to any breakfast we’ve ever had, and trust me we take our breakfast pretty seriously. Again, amazing customer service. Our waiter was amazing and the prices weren’t too bad. We truly had an unbelievable getaway. The Parker Palm Springs was more than good to us and definitely will be one of our go-to hotels to stay when visiting Palm Springs.

For our moms wondering what my must have travel accessories are, here are my must haves on any vacation: Babytime by Episencial Sunny Sunscreen, Lunchskins Reusable Sandwich Bags,  Nena and Company Day Bag, In2Green Eco Throw and of course my Boba Carrier.

Color Easter Eggs Naturally and Avoid Unhealthy Food Dyes

natural Easter egg dyes tutorialI don’t know about you, but I cringe at the sight of bright food dyes. They not only make food look unnaturally and unnecessarily colorful, they are plain unhealthy.

Did you know that food dyes have been linked to cancer, hyperactivity, and allergies?

I avoid them whenever I can, and I’m that mom who scrapes off that blue frosting from the birthday cake at my son’s friend’s party.

There’s simply no need for food dyes, they don’t enhance the flavor of food, and they are chemicals I don’t want in my son’s body. So this year I wanted to try out something new: dying Easter eggs with natural dyes. It was really easy and I love the results.

What You’ll Need to Dye Eggs Naturally

  • White eggs
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Glass jars or similar glass container
  • For blue eggs: purple cabbage or blueberries (can be frozen)
  • For yellow eggs: a few teaspoons of turmeric or curry
  • For pink eggs: chopped beets
  • For green eggs: chopped spinach
  • For orange eggs: paprika spice

Tutorial for Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Boil a dozen or so eggs for 10+ minutes to make hard-boiled eggs. Make a few extra just in case some crack. (If they do, you can make alien eggs, which are described below!)

I made two colors — yellow and blue – and I used red cabbage out of a jar and curry powder.

You will do the same thing for every colors:

  • Chop up two cups of the ingredients or add several teaspoons of the spice
  • Add two cups of water and a tablespoon of salt, and let the mixture boil for ten minutes
  • Strain the dye, put it into a glass container, add a tablespoon of vinegar, and then add the egg

Let the egg sit in the dye for a while – the longer you wait, the more vibrant the color will be. To make the dark blue egg took about three hours, for example.

I’d dyes one egg at a time so they will be evenly colored. And you can have fun with the design of the eggs: if you mark them with wax, that part won’t be colored. I love how my blue egg with wax turned out, and I made one more with my son’s initial.

You can also put a rubber band around the egg before lowering it into the dye, which will leave lines. I did that with my yellow egg, but it’s hard to see.

Bonus Idea: Make an Alien Egg

alien egg made with natural food dye

I remembered seeing an “alien” egg on Pinterest and tried making one. Since the colors are more subtle compared to conventional food dyes, the results are not as stunning, but my son loved how the alien egg turned out.

Crack the shell of the hard-boiled egg by hitting it on the table, and then dye it. A small amount of dye will make its way through the shell and get deposited on the white of the egg. Since the dyes are natural, they are edible.

Have fun coloring your Easter eggs the natural way this year! It’s healthier, plus you’ll avoid dumping all that fake dye down the drain.

You could get your kids involved and make this a family affair and learning experience for the kids about creating natural colors with vegetables.

If you are inspired to dye Easter eggs naturally this year, let me know how they turn out in a comment.

~ Dagmar Bleasdale of Dagmar’s Home

Eco-Friendly Products You Should Know About

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Many believe that in order to live a “Green” lifestyle you must jump through hoops and make drastic changes, but there are actually numerous quick and easy ways to live a more eco-friendly and non-toxic lifestyle. The first thing I learned when becoming a more eco-conscious parent was that nothing can change overnight. Little by little you begin to learn and with knowledge comes change. If you rush into trying to change everything too quickly it becomes overwhelming and stressful. The best advice I received was to start switching out the things you use on a daily basis. In turn when you switch your daily essentials to eco-alternative options you are making a huge step in ridding yourself, your family and our earth of toxic chemicals.

The most common daily essentials are plastic bags from grocery shopping, water bottles, dryer sheets for laundry care, and pots and pans for cooking.

- Next time you go grocery shopping try using a reusable tote bag to avoid using the plastic bags.”If used once per week, four or five reusable bags will replace 520 plastic bags a year” according to Nick Sterling, research director at Natural Capitalism Solutions.

- Instead of grabbing a disposable plastic water bottle, try a reusable Mason Jar Tumblr. Durable, Stylish, Eco-alternative to disposable plastic bottles. Also try adding fruits to your water in your mason jar tumblr, it’s a great way to add antioxidants to your daily water, making it fruit infused water. Did you know, “Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but laced into plastic bottles are other chemicals that can seep out if bottles are exposed to heat or sit around for a long time. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disruptors. No one knows for sure what the health outcomes are.

- Laundry…everyone’s favorite daily activity (said no-one ever)! But if you are forced to do laundry like majority of us Americans try switching from using common dryer sheets to wool dryer balls. Did you know the common dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals such as: Pentane, Ethyl Acetate, Camphor Alpha-Terpineol, Chloroform and many other chemicals. Instead use wool dryer balls, they are non-toxic, help to separate laundry, reduce dry time, sustainable alternative to dryer sheets, ideal for all laundry including cloth diapers, naturally soften fabrics and 100% wool.

- Last but least, mealtime. Switching out your cookware is a must! Common non-stick cookware is loaded with PFC’s. “Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a family of fluoride-containing chemicals with unique properties to make materials stain-and stick resistant. There are many forms of PFC’s, but the most commonly found contaminant is: *PFOA or Perfluorooctanoic acid, used to make Teflon products. Our favorite eco-alternative cookware is made from our friends over at The Original Green Pan.

Balance is everything, knowledge allows growth and growth allows change. Remember take your time, research and try not to stress when “greening” your lifestyle. You’d be surprised how many little changes make a huge difference.