Monthly Archives: April 2010
This week we are celebrating Earth Day. We thought it would be fitting to feature a “green mom” on our Mom Monday interview. Today we are lucky to have the earth-friendly, eco-minded, ever-so-green mama Maggie from Dexter’s Super Savvy Mommy.
You started your blog because of the economy and the lack of jobs open to educators while Dexter was still a little guy. What would you say you have learned through this unplanned twist of events?
Unplanned is right. I have learned that I can never take anything too seriously. Before becoming a parent, I thought I knew what I wanted. My plan was to travel around Europe after graduation and then settle down to look for a job. Well, I never travelled abroad but I did look for a job. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant I thought, I can’t be a teacher because someone else would have to watch my child. Putting Dexter in day care was never an option for me. I wanted to be there for every little moment and that, to me, is the greatest gift ever. Now that I am expecting baby number 2, I am still not hunting down a teaching job. My education is something that no one can ever take away from me, but the same cannot be said for the years when my children are babies and toddlers. I wouldn’t give up what I am doing for anything, not even a trip to Venice.
Your blog is defiantly earth-friendly and you are a “green-mom.” Can you tell us what that means for you and how you became so passionate about it?
Being green, to me, means that you are aware of the impact that you make on the environment. You are conscious about the decisions you make and the products that you use. To me, being a green-mom is more about doing what is right for my family rather than what is popular.
It wasn’t until after I became a Mom that I woke up and realized that the products that I was using on Dexter may have been “trusted by Moms for over 100 years” but that those Moms were unaware of the damage that they are causing their own children. I constantly have friends and family asking me about products, ingredients, etc. because they are trying to be more aware. For instance, in my household you will never see a product that contains parabens, phthalates, SLS (sodium laurenth sulfates) or petrochemicals. Why is this? Because these toxins/chemicals have been shown to not only cause cancer and cause premature puberty, but also because they can disrupt many your body’s natural functions. Did you know that when a baby is born, there are about 200 chemicals present in their blood? Of those 200 chemicals, 180 of them are known carcinogens! That is shocking but whats more….you can do something about it. By purchasing more all natural products you are protecting not only yourself but the lives of those around you (and inside of you).
ecoSTORE USA is an amazing Michigan-based company that loves Mommy bloggers. I worked with them eons ago on a couple of reviews and they are the people responsible for teaching me about chemicals that are found in virtually all household cleaning products and health and beauty products. I thank Lyne and ecoSTORE USA for their commitment to the health of the environment and for the health of my family.
Has Dexter picked up on your earth-friendly habits?
Funny that you ask. Even for a 2 year old Dexter is very aware. The other day he picked up an empty toilet paper roll and correctly put it into our recycling bin. That was one of my proudest moments.
Some people find it difficult to be green as a parent. How have you overcome the seeming “inconveniences” of finding and using green parenting products?
I don’t think it is hard at all. Being green doesn’t mean that you have to be a freak. It just means that when you are able to recycle, you do. When you aren’t in a room, you turn the light off. It means using products that help contribute to the health of the planet. These products are certainly not hard to find when you know what you are looking for. Education is the key.
Also know that when a company claims to be green, they don’t need to prove it. BUT, when they are claim to be organic they have to hold up to the US Government’s standards. Also, full disclosure of ingredients is key to knowing exactly what is in the products that you are going to use to clean or bathe yourself or your home. You wouldn’t want to eat something before you saw the ingredient list, right?
What tip would you pass along to someone who wants to be more “green” in their parenting, but doesn’t know where to start?
Knowing what certain ingredients are in the products that you buy is, in my opinion, a great place to start. This webpage is a wonderful resource to help you get started!
Familiarize yourself with your community and know where your local recycling center is. Having separate containers for plastics, glass and cardboard help to streamline your trip so you aren’t sorting it at the facility. Lucky for me, I live in a pretty green city. We have several recycling centers and the closest to me is only a couple of miles down the street! Dr. Greene’s books are also wonderful resources. He wrote Raising Baby Green and Feeding Baby Green.
Now for a quick glance into Maggie’s life.
What is the one product you will never see in your house? HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
What is your favorite vacation spot? I love Door County, Wisconsin, New York City (BlogHer 10 here I come) and Mexico (anywhere warm really). I hope someday to add Italy to this list.
What is your greatest accomplishment? Hands down, without a doubt, becoming a Mom. I went into motherhood the hard way by choosing no drugs during labor/delivery and I breastfed. I did all the feedings for the first few months, but it was all worth it. I look at the child that calls me Mommy and I know that even as lucky as he feels to have me to kiss his boo boos and tuck him in at night that it is me who truly is the lucky one!
What’s the one thing that always motivates you? Besides my family, it would definitely be me. I want a lot of things out of life and I know I can’t depend on anyone but myself. Obviously I can depend on my husband for most things, but it is the inner dreamer in me that keeps me working as hard as I do to achieve all that I can!
Thanks Maggie for your insight!
What green-tips for parents do you have? Please share them with us in the comments.
Also check out Ecostore USA. This month they have a special 2 for 1 deal!
Here is what you need:
- Empty container with a secure lid. We suggest an oatmeal or grits container.
- Piece of white paper
- Broken crayons
- Non-toxic paint
What to do:
- Put the piece of paper inside the container.
- Take the broken crayons and dip them in paint. (They don’t need to be dripping in paint. A little will do.)
- Put the crayons with paint in the container and put the lid securely on the container.
- Let your toddler take the container and shake it up and down, roll it or even kick it to make the crayons move around inside.
- After a few minutes take off the lid and see your toddler’s masterpiece of modern paint splats!
If you try this activity with your toddler, feel free to post pictures of it in our Magical Moments so everyone can see your child’s masterpiece!
Crib mattresses come with all kinds of options – innerspring, foam, latex, and the list goes on. What is a parent to do? Over a few of our Kolcraft Thursdays, we are going to talk about the befits of different crib mattresses.
Kolcraft has become the largest crib mattress manufacturer in the United States manufacturing everything from the Sealy® Tender Vibes Soothing crib mattresses to Contours® and Sealy® two-stage crib mattresses.
The concept of a two-stage crib mattress originated with Kolcraft over 20 years ago! This innovative crib mattress has come a long way from its inception. Our extended life product provides a full and firm supportive sleep surface for infants. When baby becomes a toddler, parents can flip over the mattress for a more resilient side for active toddlers!
Our Sealy® Select Springform Eco-Plush two-stage Infant-Toddler Innerspring Mattress is a dual-firmness mattress with a firm innerspring coil system, organic cotton side for infants and hypoallergenic latex foam side for toddlers. The Oeko-Tex Certified organic cotton cover is water-resistant.
Some of the features we love:
- Oeko-Tex Certified organic cotton cover is enhanced with Crypton® Select for an eco-friendly liquid, stain and allergen barrier
- Natural fibers remain soft without the use of plastic coating
- USDA-certified organic cotton and hypoallergenic layer support infants
- Luxuriously thick hypoallergenic latex foam top layer offers comfort and support for toddlers
- Latex foam is tested for safety and is Oeko-Tex Certified
What do you look for in a crib mattress? Please share your thoughts with us!
This Mother’s Day weekend the movie Babies will debut. This movie chronicles the lives of 4 babies from around the world – from birth to first steps. The featured babies from varied backgrounds and countries are: Ponijao from Africa, Bayarjargal from Mongolia, Mari from japan, and Hattie from the USA. Throughout the film we see unique and universal characteristics of babies.
Focus Films has done a great job of engaging the audience around their film. Check out their movie page for contests, apps for capturing memories of your baby, group rates to see the film and much more.
We obviously love babies here at Kolcraft and have popcorn in hand ready to enjoy the adventure and journey of Babies.
Are you planning on seeing the Babies movie?
It’s amazing how babies seem to go from not being able to roll over to all of a sudden crawling and then walking. If your baby is learning to crawl you can encourage him by sitting on the floor in his line of vision. Cheer him on by calling your baby by name, clapping and smiling. You will find that your baby enjoys and responds to your encouragement and you will love his response to you!
What tips or insight do you have from when your baby began to crawl? Please share them with us!
Today’s Mom Monday features Dee from Two of a Kind Working on a Full House. We truly enjoy Dee’s insight, creativity, honesty and humor. We know you will love her too.
It seems that your “full house” is becoming a reality with the “addition” to your household this past year. How has being a mom of two little ones changed your life?
We are busting at the seams after having Isabella and are in search of a bigger house to fill. Surprisingly, life with two isn’t that much different than life with one. There are just more hugs to be had and kisses to be stolen. I had no idea my heart could love so much.
What did you learn from your first pregnancy that helped you out with your second?
I learned that I didn’t need to worry about every little hiccup.
How did you prepare your older child for the arrival of a sibling?
He turned 2 just two days before she was born, so he didn’t quite understand. We did have a baby doll that we kept around the house and showed him how to be gentle with it.
What has been your greatest joy of motherhood?
That’s a hard question. I love it all. I was totally made to be a mommy and love the tears just as much as the hugs. Waking up every morning to a little boy crawling in bed with me and giving me a kiss has to be the best feeling in the world.
How about your biggest challenge?
Time management. I want to be able to split my time between them equally and then we never seem to make it out the door when we’re supposed to. Our family and friends just know that we’re going to be late.
Have you had an “Ah-ha” mom moment that you can share with us?
I think I’ve had several which is why this question is so difficult for me. I would say my first was when Evan was just a few weeks old. He cried all the time…seriously…never stopped. I was always a wreck because I just knew that he was driving other people crazy. We were out to eat and I was frantically trying to get him to stop crying. My mom told me to look around. No one seemed to notice, everyone was enjoying themselves at their tables. There was even another baby crying a few tables down and I hadn’t noticed because I was freaking out over Evan. I calmed down and just hugged my baby. I thought he was bothering other people, but he wasn’t, he just needed his mommy to love him and he could tell that I was a wreck.
Now for a quick glance into Dee’s life.
What is always in your fridge? I’m probably supposed to say something like apples, right? I always have some sort of chocolate in there because I like cold chocolate.
What is your guilty pleasure? Just one? I like to eat brownies or cookies while watching the biggest loser.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? If I didn’t have my kids, I would take a bubble bath in peace and would watch a movie that I wanted to watch. But after about an hour or two, I would honestly miss my kids too much and have to get them and play with them. I took cake classes once, but didn’t even go to the last class because I missed my kids like crazy while I was gone for those 2 hours.
What is your favorite time of day? Nap time! I finally get to eat a little something without babies hanging off of me and I can watch them sleep on their monitors.
What’s one thing on your list of dreams that you still need to accomplish? Win the lottery! Just kidding-you’d actually have to play to win. One day, I’d love to own a place that does wedding receptions. How cool would it be to be a part of other people’s special day?
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
If you have any questions for Dee, feel free to leave them in the comment section!
Some of my best childhood memories are from our rock hunting days with mom. The older I get the more I appreciate how creative my mom was. She had two little ones at home and didn’t have a lot of money, but what she did have was creativity. When we were getting restless she would announce a rock hunt! We would walk to this abandoned lot full of rocks about 7 blocks from our house and start our hunt for our “treasures”. Once we had a bag full of rocks we would return home, dump them on the picnic table and sort through them. We would imagine what these shapes could become; ladybugs, bears, dogs, a sun – there were no limits! Once we decided what we were creating, we would paint the rocks, add wiggly eyes and mom would glue it on a piece of wood.
My favorite masterpiece was a panda. I remember finding a smooth rock that I thought would be perfect for his body. I picked out 4 little rocks for paws, another smooth rock for a head, painted them black and white, added wiggly eyes and gave it to mom to glue onto the wood. I was so proud of my panda that I gave it to my pre-school teacher the next day. Several years later I saw her while I was running wedding errands near my childhood home. She was about 75 years old. We were chatting and she said she still had my rock panda! I was stunned that she still had my “masterpiece.”
You can do this easy and inexpensive activity with your children.
All you need is:
- A park, field or abandoned lot where rocks can be found
- A container to collect rocks
- Non-toxic paint
- Wiggly eyes (not recommended for children under 3 yrs old)
- Wood for mounting
- Gorilla glue (to be used by adult supervising the activity)
- A sense of adventure
What “cheap and easy” activities do you do with your children?
There are a lot of decisions to make when you are preparing for your baby. One of those decisions includes baby’s sleeping space and whether or not to buy a bassinet. Some people feel that since a bassinet can only be used for approximately the first 3 months of baby’s life, it’s not a good investment. Remember last week we talked about Kolcraft wanting you to get “more mileage for your money” and we featured the “extended life” baby walker? Today on Kolcraft Thursday we are featuring our “extended life” Contours Classique bassinet.
Bassinets provide your newborn her own sleeping environment where she can sleep flat on her back with plenty of airflow. It also provides closeness by allowing you to place the bassinet next to your bed for convenient feeding and comforting of your newborn throughout the night.
The Contours Classique™ bassinet offers classic style, convenient features & elegant fashions . This bassinet includes a full-size bassinet, Moses basket and changing table!
Some features we love:
- Changing table securely attaches on top of bassinet. Conveniently clips underneath bassinet when not in use
- Handles on removable Moses basket for easy carry
- Two removable wicker storage baskets with fashionable fabric liners
- Hanging deluxe storage organizer & diaper stacker keeps baby’s items handy
- Mesh side windows provide increased air flow
- Easy-roll casters with locks
We think this bassinet is pretty awesome, but don’t just take our word for it. Check out this mom’s review at Super Hero Boy!
What are your must-have features for a bassinet?
Did you know that your backyard can become a wildlife habitat bringing education and entertainment for your child? We aren’t talking lions and tigers and bears (well some of you may live somewhere close to those creatures ). We are talking about creating a space where all kinds of wonderful birds, rabbits, flowers, butterflies, etc. can make their home and beautify your yard. A wildlife habitat can be cultivated in the smallest to the biggest space as well as in an urban or rural setting.
Making a wildlife habitat is easy and economical. You just need a few “wildlife friendly” elements:
- Cover for wildlife
- Place for wildlife to raise their young
- “Green” gardening
Our friends at the National Wildlife Federation give easy-to-follow steps on how to create this habitat. You can even have your habitat certified with the National Wildlife Federation! This is a fun and easy activity for you and your child which will bring you enjoyment all summer as you are able to watch nature living and growing in your own backyard!
How do you teach your child about nature?
Please share your ideas and tips in our comment section!
You want your baby’s room to be peaceful, beautiful and above all safe. Our friends from Horizon Window Treatments have written a few tips to keep in mind when you decorate baby’s room.
- The window treatments in your baby’s room are going to control how much natural light is let in through the window. Obviously, trying to get a baby to sleep during the bright light of day is very difficult if you don’t have something covering the window. Your options here are going to depend on where in the house your baby’s room is located. White sheer curtains should be sufficient if the baby’s window does not receive direct sunlight at any point during the day. However, if it does, it is probably best to go with a heavier, dark-colored curtain instead.
- Another thing to take into consideration is noise. This may not be a problem if you live in a more rural area, but if you live in a big city and your baby’s window faces the street, noise reduction is definitely needed. There is no such thing as a soundproof curtain, but curtains made from felt or velvet have been found to reduce noise. The only downside to noise reduction curtains is that they aren’t that elegant looking and tend to be rather expensive.
- The most important factor to take into consideration when deciding on window treatments for your baby’s bedroom is safety. You want to avoid floor length, trailing curtains pooling or lying in a puddle on the floor as the baby might try to pull up on them. Also, stay away from anything that comes with a long cord as there have been a number of cases of children accidentally strangling themselves on the cords that are used to control blinds and shades.
- Finally, always make sure there are no loose hardware pieces, holdbacks or curtain rods that could fall on your child.
Do you have any window treatment tips that have worked for you?
Share them with us in the comment section!
Special thanks to Horizon Window Treatments for their expertise on window treatments for baby’s room!