Eco-Friendly Easter Ideas

Spring is in the air and Easter is right around the corner.  Here are some wholesome alternatives to conventional Easter products that are a little better for you (and the environment), and just as colorful.  The snow has melted and it’s time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air!

Natural Easter Egg Dye

Natural Easter Egg Dye

Natural Easter Egg Dye

Especially if your kids like to help out in the kitchen, start by making your own Easter Egg Dye using easy to find fruits and vegetables like beets, blueberries and onions.  It doesn’t take too much time or effort, and makes the egg-dying experiment a multi-step activity.
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Book Review: Llama Llama Red Pajama

Where's Mama??

Where’s Mama??

We were gifted a copy of Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney and it quickly became a favorite.

After being tucked into bed for the night, the baby llama decides he needs his mama one last time. Baby llama calls for his mama, who is busy doing dishes downstairs and says she will be up in a minute to check on him. In the moments it takes her to finish up, the llama has scared himself silly over why she hasn’t rushed to his side. He basically has a conniption fit when she doesn’t come right away. Most of us parents can relate to this scenario, and so can our kids!
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Fun With St. Patrick’s Day

Fun With St. Patrick's Day

Organic and Chemical Free Mattresses

Organic Chemical-Free AND Affordable!

Organic Chemical-Free AND Affordable!

I am in the market for a new mattress and want this time to get an organic/natural mattress. By law, mattresses have to be flame retardant. Most mattresses are soaked with highly toxic flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether, better known as PBDE. These chemicals have been linked to various serious health issues.

I’ve known this for a long time but I was always under the impression that “natural” mattresses were way out of my price range. Today. I went to a local store that sells only organic and chemical free mattresses and was pleased to find that there are some affordable options. The one we settled on was by a Spanish company called Spaldin.  The mattress is made with a plant-based foam core. Surface layer is made out of Hypersoft plant-based foam wrapped in organic cotton. And it was under $1500. (more…)

Product Review: The Portable High Chair

The Portable High Chair

The Portable High Chair

While part of the US has been seeing record breaking snow fall and cold weather, some of us have yet to see “real” winter this year. Since we’ve been enjoying spring-like weather for weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. Franci has even been taking her meals outside, and always asks to sit in her ciao! baby Portable High Chair.

There are some definite pros to the high chair. Franci has no chance of standing up in it or jumping up to run around in the middle of a meal. She is so securely held in place by the tray, it takes two people to take her out of the chair.
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Book Review: Baby Bear’s Chairs

Love This Book!

Love This Book!

For a few months now, Franci’s Nana takes her to the library once a week and sends her home with a batch of books for us to read until the next library day. Out of the dozens of children’s books we have read, we’ve only ever purchased our own copy of one title: Baby Bear’s Chairs by Jane Yolen.

The rhymes are unique and fun to read and the pictures are detailed and colorful. The story is relatable, especially if your kids call their father “Papa”.  It’s a great bedtime book, and Franci has requested it every night since we got it.  So far, I haven’t gotten sick of it which, gives it five stars in my book.
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How to Hang Dry Clothes in the Winter

Hanging Clothes to Dry Inside

Hanging Clothes to Dry Inside

With winter in full swing, our outdoor clothes line is not getting any use.  I still have plenty of clothes to hang dry, so I have a clothes drying station in my laundry room.

I have never liked free standing clothes drying racks. I don’t like having a big contraption cluttering up my living space, so I’ve always searched out an alternative to hanging our clothes to dry.

Free Standing Clothes Dryer

Free Standing Clothes Dryer

One of my first clothes drying racks was wall mounted and  folded up against the wall until it was nearly flush.  I liked the way it was easily accessible and adjustable.  It was so convenient!  I’m pretty sure it was a store-brand model from someplace like Kmart, because I have never been able to find the same style since.
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Fun With Paleo

gbg2015paleo

Endless Summer Package Review and Giveaway!

Chicago in February might be the last thing that would make a person think of summer, but a little bit of warm weather fun came to our northern Illinois home recently in the form of “The Endless Summer Package” by Idea Village. The package consists of three fun products that definitely bring summer to mind: Hover Ball, Snackeez and Squishy Sand.

Endless Summer Package

Hover Ball

Hover Ball

Hover Ball is by far my favorite of the Endless Summer Package items. It is basically one half of a soccer ball with a smooth, flat bottom. It glides effortlessly across carpeted floors (can be used on hard floors, though doesn’t work quite as well). I have two ball-loving kids and we’ve had a lot of fun playing with this hover ball in our basement.
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Teaching tools for social justice

Friendship

Friendship

Lately, I have been thinking about how to best teach young children about tolerance and social justice. Their brains are hard-wired to take notice of difference and to generalize and categorize. From what I have seen, kids start to start to pay more attention to gender around age 2 and start noticing differences in race and ethnicity around 3 or 4. It is important that we provide context for those observations. I’m on a quest to find good books that teach children about acceptance of those who are different than they are and taking care of the earth and each other.
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