Preparing For Cold and Flu Season

We started this post last November, but then we spent most of winter fighting off the colds and flues we should have been preparing for!  The winter storm we got last week reminded us that the season isn’t over yet!  If anything, it can be even harder on the immune system to go from snow pants to shorts in the span of a few days.

Here’s what we’ve been keeping on hand to help us through cold and flu season!

Chyawanprash

chyawanprashThe best way to make it through cold and flu season is to not get sick in the first place!  That’s why we love products like this Chyawanprash from Organic India that provide a daily immunity boost.
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Holiday Gifts for Kids and Giveaway!

Strider Bike

strider-bikeWhat’s more classic than finding a bicycle under the tree Christmas morning?  If your kid is old enough to walk but not ready for a bike with pedals, there’s no better introduction to bicycling than a Strider Balance Bike.

Since both feet are on the ground, the rider gets to move at the pace that makes them feel comfortable, whether that be at walking pace or faster.  The best part of the balance bike is that the rider masters the fundamentals of balancing, leaning, and steering without the distractions and complications of pedals or training wheels.bell-helmet

If you’re going to give a bike, don’t forget to include a helmet!  We like the Bell Toddler Helmet because you can adjust it for the perfect fit and it has extended rear coverage for extra protection.
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Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers With Giveaway!

dsenyo-greeting-cards

Dsenyo Greeting Cards

I come from a family full of teachers and have seen the best and the worst gifts possible.  Generally speaking, they really do feel like it is the thought that counts, which speaks to the altruistic nature of teachers. Unlike your postal carrier, hair dresser or garbage man, society doesn’t expect you to gift teachers and the holidays.

It’s certainly most common for elementary teachers to receive holiday gifts, so keep in mind that your thoughtfulness will even more appreciated by secondary education teachers, teacher aids, and any of the support staff.

If you’re compelled to show your appreciation for their dedication and hard work, there are a few do’s and don’ts.  Just remember that nothing is expected, and sometimes the best gift is just a heart-felt handshake and verbal thank you. Oh, and don’t be offended if they decide to re-gift it to their hair dresser.
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Recipe: Peanut Butter Almond Date Balls

Snacky Goodness

Snacky Goodness

Now that Allison has started solid foods, Franci has become more open to trying new things and has even become a huge fan of foods she refused to eat for the last year and a half, such as avocado and sweet potato.

Although I don’t want to complain about the fact that she is eating a wider variety of vegetables, and even meat, than her baby days, there is still one challenge we have yet to overcome: daycare lunch. It seems that no matter what I pack as the main course, it comes back untouched. Even if it is something she will eat at home, such as grilled cheese or the aforementioned sweet potato.
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The Environmental Impact of School Bus Seatbelts

Safer and More Environmentally Friendly?

Safer and More Environmentally Friendly?

I have always wondered why school buses don’t have seatbelts. Not that I minded when I was riding them, since it was easier to wiggle around unrestrained. It was especially nice on field trips when you could lounge around, lie down, or face backwards, not like riding in a car at all!

Good Morning America did a piece on putting seatbelts on school buses, and it sounds like a logistical nightmare. Not that there should be a compromise for our children’s safety, but what exactly would the trip to school look like if they put seatbelts on every bus?
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Green Back-to-School Supplies

A Greener Crayon

A Greener Crayon

There are a few obvious ways to green your back-to-school shopping, like reusing backpacks, binders and folders from last year. How about hitting up the local thrift store for office supplies? While you’re there, check out the shoes and clothing too.

Speaking of shoes and clothes, why not organize a swap with your friends and neighbors? Have everyone bring clean and un-stained clothes and shoes their kids have grown out of (or are tired or wearing) and exchange them for new-to-you items. Preferably over a glass of wine.

If you are required to buy new items, Green Schools Initiative has a buying guide to help you find the greenest supplies available. Trade in the trusty Crayolas for a box of biodegradable, petroleum-free Prang Crayons or try Biodegradable Binder Pockets
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Giving Childhood Back to Children

More than just for fun!

More than just for fun!

Peter Gray wrote an article, “Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less“, that is making the rounds and I think it’s one that everyone should read, not just parents. I thought it was going to be about allowing kids more freedom – to run to the corner store to buy milk or to walk home from school unsupervised – but it was specifically about the importance of play.

Playtime is more than just a way to pass a few hours. Gray’s research asserts that play is essential in all mammals’ development, and the those that have the most to learn play the most. He makes great points about creativity and the fact that we have robots and computers to do many of the tasks that we used to do, so our focus now should be on solving problems and thinking towards the future.
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How do you recycle worn-out art supplies?

When I was pregnant, I became obsessed with acquiring as little baby gear as possible. Looking back, I have to admit I went a little overboard. Like, maybe I could have bought two bottles instead of one bottle. The funny thing is, I had no idea how much worse the clutter would get once the baby started growing. At age seven, my daughter has so many clothes and toys, it’s ridiculous. So much for minimalism.

Ballerina

The worst of it is the art supplies. I recently culled Audrey’s crayons and markers and filled a big box with duplicates and castoffs. I also had to throw away quite a few markers that dried out. I’m not sure what to do about all this waste. After all, we’ve long maintained that art supplies make great green gifts for children. (In fact, I’d say 100% of my daughter’s art supplies were gifts from friends and relatives.) They promote creativity and occupy their little hands for hours at a time.
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Back to School: My Year of Waste-Free Lunches

We survived our daughter’s first year of school! Last year about this time we were trying to find a good system for Audrey’s packed lunches. We settled on the Crocodile Creek lunch box and Crocodile Creek canteen right away.

Robots!

With the matching Crocodile Creek backpack, she was almost set. We still needed to find something to pack her lunches in. I preferred something BPA-free and never found a metal or glass dish that looked like it would work. I also didn’t want to pay more for something like that just in case it didn’t end up working out.

I ended up buying these BPA-free Ziploc divided containers. Each one is divided into three sections and has one lid that seals everything separately.
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