Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Babysitting

Baby Sitting

Baby Sitting

Of course every mom loves her children, but absence makes the heart grow fonder (as we all know).  Flowers and breakfast in bed might be classic Mother’s Day gifts, but if you want to give her a present she actually wants, nothing beats an hour or two of babysitting; especially if you let mom chose the day and time.

Whether she decides to spend the time getting her hair done, grabbing lunch with a friend or just taking a nap, it is a gift that is worth more than money itself.

Unconventional Gifts

For the Traveler

For the Traveler

Nothing says “I love you” like a gift that is specially tailored to the recipient.  If you’re mom isn’t the conventional type, she will surely see the thought behind an unusual gift.

We were lucky enough to be gifted a weekend of babysitting a few weeks ago, and I had the opportunity to try out The Pee Pocket, a single use product that helps you to go, On the Go.  We were driving through the mountains with no rest stop or gas station in sight, but there were plenty of trees to choose from.  Instead of popping a squat and hoping not to get too much splash-back, I decided to try out The Pee Pocket.  I’ve used other “female urinary devices”, and this one tops the list.  I was able to stay standing, avoid my feet and toss it into the recycling bin when we got home.

If your Mom loves to travel, I’m sure she would appreciate The Pee Pocket.

A Moment Alone

Even if you’re not in a position to offer babysitting, watching the kids while Mom gets something else done at home is still a golden ticket to her heart.  Whether you are making play-dough sculptures or reading books, a moment of respite to take a bath or fold laundry (without a toddler unfolding it in turn) is better than a bouquet of flowers.

Ecocentric “Mom Box” Subscription

Subscription Box

Subscription Box

I have always loved opening presents and if the mom in your life is the same, you might want to consider a gift that keeps on giving. While a house plant is one option, a subscription box is a great choice that doesn’t ask for anything in return.

Once you subscribe, your loved one will receive a new package periodically, based on the company. For the Green Mom, I recommend the Ecocentric Mom Box, which arrives every other month filled with healthy, non-toxic, eco-friendly, safe products.   They choose natural, organic and ethical items for each box, and each shipment includes a wide range of products, some full size and some sample size and all of them gentle on her body and the earth.

 Chores

Pulling weeds, making dinner, doing a load of laundry or dishes, or vacuuming the house are just a few chores that come to mind.  While a box of chocolate might taste like heaven going down, checking a few items off the to-do list are an even better Mother’s Day gesture.  Since the point is to recognize all the hard work and dedication it takes to be a good mom, doing a little grunt work will surely show her that her efforts are appreciated.

Perhaps better than doing an every-day chore is a tackling a project that has been on the to-do list for ages. So trim those hedges or clean out the garage and earn some serious brownie points without spending a dime.

Product Review and Giveaway: Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit

100% Pure Unrefined Raw & Wild Crafted Shea Butter

100% Pure Unrefined Raw & Wild Crafted Shea Butter

The Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit comes with a full-sized version of their body lotion, whipped body butter, body wash, bar soap and includes a bonus tin of Shea Butter.  You can choose between three scents: Verbena, Lavender or Vanilla. Besides being a great deal, all of the products use 100% natural ingredients. They contain no parabens or sulfates and are vegan and eco-friendly.  A portion of each sale is contributed to help provide medical care and education to the children in West Africa.

Shea Body Lotion

Shea Body Lotion

I chose the Verbena scent and it is exactly what I expected and hoped for, albeit a little strong. I’m not used to scented body products and my husband noticed every time I used it, especially the lotions.

The Verbena scent is the perfect wake-me up for your senses.  A quick shower with the body wash in the morning leaves me invigorated and ready to go.  A little Verbena hand lotion in the afternoon is like a cup of coffee that gives me one last push.  I did have to stop using the body butter at bed time, however, because the citrus-y scent was too stimulating at the end of the day.  I imagine the lavender would be the perfect scent for my night stand.

Whipped Body Butter

Whipped Body Butter

I live in a high desert climate, so the whipped body butter has gotten the most use so far.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so thick, since it comes in a tube and not a tub, but it is definitely a body butter and not a lotion.  A little goes a long way, which means you don’t have to use too much to get moisturized. The body lotion is a lighter version that is great after hand-washing.

Shea Body Wash

Shea Body Wash

The body wash is non-drying but also non-lathering.  If you’re the kind of person who prefers sudsy soap, this isn’t for you.  If you prefer all natural, gentle body wash with a great scent, I recommend it. Likewise, the bar soap is gentle and enriched with 20% unrefined Shea Butter.

Bar Soap

Shea Butter Bar Soap

I have used Shea Butter in the past, but hadn’t looked into it’s properties.  It naturally contains Vitamins A, E and F, fatty acids and is non-comedogenic.  It contains a high level of cinnamic acid which makes Shea butter a natural sunscreen with SPF 6-10, depending on the source. The Shea Butter used in Out of Africa’s products is sourced in West Africa.

Shea Butter Tin

Shea Butter Tin

The bonus tin of Shea Butter is a nice addition to the body kit and is great to have on hand for rough elbows, cracked skin, or patches of eczema.  You can also purchase raw, unrefined Shea Butter from their website in bulk for making your own body products.

The body kit, individual products and more can be purchased on the Out of Africa website, or you can use the Green Baby Guide Affiliate Link and help support our blog!

Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit Giveaway!

Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit

Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit

Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re giving away one Out of Africa Shea Butter Body Kit in your choice of scent: Verbena, Lavender or Vanilla.

You can enter our giveaway up to five times, and the last day of entry is Tuesday, April 28th, 2015. Entries must be received by midnight, PDT. Contest is open to US residents only.

Each comment counts as a single entry:

  1. Simply post a comment about which scent you’ll choose if you win: Verbena, Lavender or Vanilla
  2. Share any greenbabyguide.com blog post on FB and let us know which one you shared
  3. Follow The Green Baby Guide on Twitter (and tell us about it in another comment)
  4. Like Out of Africa on Facebook and let us know in the comments
  5. Visit Out of Africa and leave a comment here about what other products interest you

And The Glob Colors Face Paint Winner Is…

Congratulations to Candace!  You have won a set of Glob Colors Face Paint!

Non-Nano Face Paint

Non-Nano Face Paint

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway.  Stay tuned for more opportunities in the next few weeks!

GLOB uses all natural pigments from a variety of different fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs such as beets, purple carrots, turmeric, cabbage, and chlorophyll. The cruelty-free, natural face paint does not contain titanium dioxide, synthetic dyes, petro-chemicals, or phthalates and is paraben and talc-free.

You can find other Glob Paints that aren’t just for faces, and more information on their website.

If you didn’t win and would still like your own set of Glob Colors Face Paint, click on the affiliate link and support The Green Baby Guide while you are at it!

Book Review: Broken Homes & Gardens

broken-homes-and-gardensWhen Rebecca and Joy started The Green Baby Guide blog in 2007, they were busy compiling all their best green and frugal tips into a handy book at the same time: The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet.

Eight years later, Rebecca is long past her daughter’s baby days (though her frugality and eco-consciousness remain) and is on the verge of publishing another book.  Her first novel, Broken Homes & Gardens, is already available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on April 28.

When I first read the blurb, “When Harry Met Sally for the Millennial generation…” I thought, “We’ll see about that!”  Well, it certainly is – and in the best possible way!  I was so absorbed in the will-they-won’t they plot I read it in one day.  Or course, when I’m exclusively breastfeeding I tend to read a lot of novels.

There are times when life calls for serious reads that challenge your intellect or encourage you to reevaluate your belief system.  And then there are times when all you want is to be entertained.  That’s not to say that the characters in Rebecca’s book don’t face their own troubles and serious choices.  Joanna, the main character, has her fair share of commitment issues, especially when it comes to Malcolm.

I would recommend Broken Homes & Gardens to anyone looking for a beach read or a distraction from work or life. And for anyone that is a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s books, Rom-Coms (books or movies) or that is looking for some entertainment after the TV season ends in May.

If you’re looking for a quirky, modern romance, give Broken Homes & Gardens a read!  For more reviews about Rebecca’s latest book as well as my official review, head on over to Good Reads.

Product Review and Giveaway: Glob Colors Face Paint

Non-Nano Face Paint

Non-Nano Face Paint

Glob Natural Non-Nano Face Paint

My kids were thrilled when the box containing face paint from Glob Colors arrived in the mail. They knew it meant I would be forced to paint their faces, which they had been inexplicably begging me to do for some time. I was pleased to discover that Glob Colors seemed to be truly “all natural”. Their website lists such delightful ingredients as purple carrots, red cabbage, chlorophyll and gardenia fruit among others. This plus the fact that they are free of many of the toxic chemicals found in conventional face paints such as titanium dioxide and are cruelty free sealed the deal for me. I was excited to paint some squirmy, sticky faces.

facepaintI chose my youngest daughter’s 5th birthday party guests as my test subjects. There were only 3 guests, so it wasn’t going to be too hard, or so I thought. One of the girls wanted a lot of blue on her face, so that was easy as one of the colors in the paint kit was a beautiful blue. Two of the kids then asked for rainbows on their cheeks. The colors in the Glob kit were not exactly “rainbow” material, they seemed more like “earth colors”, aside from the blue. I attempted to mix the colors in an effort to get green and orange only to end up with a sort of “terra cotta” rainbow springing from a white cloud. The kids were just excited to have their faces painted so I let it go, only to discover an hour later when the paint dried it turned into a vibrant, traditionally colored rainbow! The paints were no easier or harder to mix than regular face paints.

Natural Easter Egg Dye

Natural Easter Egg Dye

Because of the excellent ingredients and the fact that, when dry, the paint looks great I would definitely purchase products from  Glob Colors in the future.

And if you still haven’t purchased Easter Egg Dye and are looking for something natural, try out Glob’s Natural Easter Egg Coloring Kit. Like the face paints, the egg dyes are made from herbs and plants (annatto, radish and cabbage), are non-toxic and CPSIA compliant. They are packaged in Post Consumer Waste Paper printed with vegetable inks.

 Glob Colors Face Paint Giveaway

We are giving away a set of Glob Colors Face Paint. You can enter our giveaway up to five times, and the last day of entry is Tuesday, April 7th, 2015. Entries must be received by 12:00 AM, PDT and is open to US residents only.

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.

If you don’t have the time to create your own Easter Egg Dye, try out Glob’s Natural Easter Egg Coloring Kit. Their egg dyes are made from herbs and plants (annatto, radish and cabbage), are non-toxic and CPSIA compliant. They are packaged in Post Consumer Waste Paper printed with vegetable inks.

 

18-rabbits-bars

Chocolate Bunny Bars

18 Rabbits Bars

Instead of filling your kids baskets with chocolate bunnies, how about a healthier bunny-themed snack? We have been enjoying 18 Rabbit Bars lately, especially the Cherry, Dark Chocolate & Almond Bar.  They are made with organic ingredients and are delicious to boot!

18 Rabbits also donates 1% of their products to kids without access to affordable, nutritious food, which is a great message to share with your children.

Play Love Laugh Nail Polish

Kid-Friendly Nail Polish

Kid-Friendly Nail Polish

If you’re looking for something colorful for the Easter Bunny to leave in your kids’ basket, Play Love Laugh Nail Polish is a great eco-friendly choice.  You’d never guess it derives its bright colors from fruit and vegetables. Unlike conventional nail polish, it doesn’t contain acetone, acetates or alcohol.  Not only is it non-toxic, gluten-free and vegan, it peels right off nails – no nail polish remover necessary!

 

Natural Jelly Beans

Jelly Beans

Natural Jelly Beans

Easter wouldn’t be the same without jelly beans, but we aren’t fans of the artificial colors found in most brands.  We especially like Trader Joe’s Gourmet Jelly Beans.  They contain natural flavors, and are colored with fruit and vegetable based dyes. If you want organic jelly beans, Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans are a good, albeit less colorful, choice.

Snipe Game

Go on a Snipe Hunt!

Go on a Snipe Hunt!

Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of raising Eco-conscious kids, and spring is a great time to get out of the house and have some fun.

If your kids can’t get enough of Easter Egg hunting, or if eggs aren’t part of their diet, then send them on a Snipe Hunt instead. This Snipe Game sends your kids out as a team or opponents to find the hidden Snipes and return them to their nest. After a bit, the Snipes begin to chirp and light up to help the hunters find them.

 

Live Grass!

Live Grass!

Living Easter Basket

Back in 2009, Joy wrote a great post about making a living Easter Basket.  Although it might be too late to plant grass seeds, you could buy some to use instead of the plastic kind that just ends up in the trash. If you have pets, you could use Pet Grass and let them in on the Easter fun!

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!

I glanced at the reviews for this book, and some parents thought it caused behavioral issues with their children. I was surprised (and maybe a little not surprised) at this. Some kids emulated the llama in order to manipulate their parents. Others were scared for the llama and had anxiety as a result.

These negative reviews were a pittance compared to the hundreds of five-star reviews. The illustrations that accompany the thoughts of this llama with the overactive imagination are priceless. The rhymes are clever and catchy and it’s the kind of book that you can read over and over and still enjoy it.

If you and your kids have a good handle on the difference between reality and fiction, I highly recommend this bedtime story!

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.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Baby Bear is the littlest bear in his family, and sometimes that’s not so easy. Mama and Papa Bear get to stay up late in their great big chairs. Big brother gets to play fun games in his middle-sized chair. And Baby Bear only seems to cause trouble in his own tiny chair. But at the end of the day, he finds the one perfect chair that’s comfier and cozier than all the rest.

Spoiler alert: Papa’s lap is the baby bear’s favorite place to sit in the whole house. It’s such a sweet story that I think it took about 50 readings before I could get through it without tearing up.

If you don’t already own a copy, I highly suggest you check it out!

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas and Waxelene Giveaway!

Forget the candy hearts, those are so yesterday! There are plenty of other gift ideas that are bound to bring a smile to your loved one’s face.

Plantable Valentine’s Day Cards

For your Valentine

For your Valentine

These Valentine’s Day cards aren’t just for show. If you plant them in soil, they will turn into flowers! You can get a whole pack to hand out, or a couple just for your sweetheart. Either way, it’s a delightful change from the usual.

 

 

 

Fair Trade Chocolate

Try not to eat it the whole bag at once!

Try not to eat the whole bag at once!

If you’re going to give chocolate, why not make it Fair Trade and Non-GMO? barkTHINS are delicious and come in several different flavors.  I’ve seen the Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt at Costco, or if you’re really in love buy the pack of 6 different varieties (Dark Chocolate Almond; Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed; Dark Chocolate Mint; Dark Chocolate Pretzel; Blueberry Quinoa with Agave; Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds)  You can also buy them .

 

 

Flowering Plant

african-violet

Blooms year round!

Flowers are always a safe bet, but why not try something that will outlast the week? A live flowering plant will bloom over and over, reminding your Valentine of your love year round. Trader Joe’s always has a huge selection this time of year, as will any super market.

 

 

 

Waxelene Giveaway!

Win This!

Win This!

To keep your lips kissably soft this Valentine’s Day, we are giving away a tube of Waxelene, a petroleum jelly alternative.

Waxelene is made of Organic Soy Oil, Beeswax, Organic Rosemary Oil, and Natural Vitamin E (from soybeans). Not only do they use natural and organic ingredients, but their jars are recyclable glass, the boxes are 100% recycled, and their facility is 100% wind-powered!

You can enter our giveaway up to four times, and the last day of entry is Friday, February 13th, 2015. Entries must be received by midnight, PDT.
Each comment counts as a single entry:

  1. Simply post a comment about the best Valentine’s Day gift you ever received and you’re entered in our contest
  2. Share any greenbabyguide.com blog post on FB and let us know which one you shared here in the comments
  3. Follow The Green Baby Guide on Twitter (and tell us about it in another comment)
  4. Visit the Waxelene website, come back and post a comment here on The Green Baby Guide saying what you like best about Waxelene

Remember, each comment you leave (up to four comments) is another entry! The winner will receive a tube of Waxelene. Open to US residents only.

DIY: LED Button Box

Enjoying the LED Button Box

I’m not the only member of our household that enjoys DIY projects, althought I tend to stick to the fabric-and-yarn varieties.

While most of us lounged around on Thanksgiving while the turkey cooked, Franci’s dad was busy making her an LED Button Box. All it took was an interest in electronics, a few basic components and very basic soldering skills.

With the press of a colored button, the corresponding LED lights up and you can press more than one at a time. Not only can your toddler work on identifying colors, you can practice numbers with it as well (“press two buttons”). When she is a little older, we’ll try out sequences and see if she can repeat them.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the button box, besides how much she loves to show it to everyone, is watching her discover new ways to use it. The other day I saw her flip it over and press the back into the carpet so that all the buttons were pressed at the same time.

If you are interested in making your own button box, check out the blog post for instructions!