Friday, February 26, 2010

Everything I Have Inventory

We found this awesome poster at Caligraffiti, a Blog developed by Brazilian designers.
It includes everything the author has. A "personal belongings inventory" is a perfect exercise to put kids (and some adults!) in perspective. What a great way to teach kids the value of resources!

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Toxins Linked to Brain Disorders in Kids

An article in a forthcoming issue of a peer-reviewed medical journal, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, just posted online a potential link between toxins exposure and brain didorders such as autism in kids. The author is Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and chairman of the school’s department of preventive medicine.

The article cites "historically important, proof-of-concept studies that specifically link autism to environmental exposures experienced prenatally." The "likelihood is high" that many chemicals "have potential to cause injury to the developing brain and to produce neurodevelopmental disorders."

Suspicions of toxins arise partly because studies have found that disproportionate shares of children develop autism after they are exposed in the womb to medications such as thalidomide (a sedative), misoprostol (ulcer medicine) and valproic acid (anticonvulsant). Of children born to women who took valproic acid early in pregnancy, 11 percent were autistic. In each case, fetuses seem most vulnerable to these drugs in the first trimester of pregnancy, sometimes just a few weeks after conception.

Sources: Current Opinion in Pediatrics and NYTimes

Honey Bread Covered with Dark Chocolate: a Tradition Overseas

Honey Bread with Dark Chocolate topping is a tradition in some countries in Latin America. Considered a comfort food, locals can find it in almost all bakeries, and serve it throughout the year. Very delicious, healthy and decadent! Here is the recipe:

Honey Bread with Dark Chocolate Topping
Servings: Makes a 9x12 inches pan

- 3 cups all-purpose flour (make it whole wheat to increase fiber value)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbs cocoa powder
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp baking powder

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Pour into a greased 9 x 12 inch (22 x 30 cm) baking pan and bake in a preheated 325F (160C) oven for about 20 minutes, or until done (test with a toothpick).
When cool, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares and glaze with a chocolate or sugar frosting.

2 Versions for Dark Chocolate Topping:

1. Easy way using the microwave:
- Dark chocolate bars or chips for baking.

Place coarsely chopped dark chocolate, or dark chocolate chips for baking, in a microwave-safe container and microwave at MEDIUM (50 percent power) for 1 1/2 to 4 minutes, until the chocolate turns shiny. Remove the container from the microwave and stir the chocolate until completely melted.
Cover the bread with the chocolate paste while still warm.

2. Another version using the cooktop:
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup of sugar or honey
- 3 full tablespoons of dark chocolate powder
- 3 tablespoons of milk

Mix all ingredients in a pan. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring it. Spread on top of the bread.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paintable Villa

These unique green, eco-friendly toy provides your child with hours of creative play after the painting is over. It comes with a set of eight, washable, non-toxic water colors.
The cottages are 100% recyclable. Made with sturdy double walled corrugated board, all non-toxic and extremely durable.
Kids can use unlimited imagination to create a whole city!

From Inventive Parent

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Wooden Bookends for Kids

These wooden bookends are beautifully handcrafted. Several options to choose from, matching almost all nursery themes. A great motivation to add up on books!
The Clowns are from Beyond the Rainbow. The biplane is from Chucks Wooden Toys.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baby Shower Plantable Ducks

What a great idea for a shower favor, or goodie bags! These plantable ducks bloom flowers including baby's breath, powder puff asters, and black eyes susan flowers. Each duck comes in a vellum package with the message: "Thank you for sharing this special day. Please plant this duck to create4 a garden of lasting memories."

Find it at

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Multilingual Cards

These products are perfect for multilingual kids! Gender neutral wall cards made from 100% recycled cardstock, with numbers or alphabet in foreign languages. Perfect for the nursery or playroom. Each set of cards come wrapped in a biodegradable cello package.
Card sets are available in sizes 5x7 or 8x10. They come in English, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Swedish.

From Children Inspire Design.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monkey Pants

Cute, cute, cute. This organic baby Monkey Pants set is really something. Very soft, and 100% organic cotton.
You can also buy extra pieces, including the bib, the burp cloth and the diaper bag.

All made by Sckoon, and sold through Amazon.

New Healthy Recipes Index : For Babies, Kids and Adults

Check out our new index with several healthy recipes, for babies, kids and adults. The index features delicious, healthy and easy-to-make recipes for breakfast, main courses, sides and desserts, ideal for for kids and adults.
The baby food section includes recipes for stages I, II and finger foods.

The recipes are definitely easier than you think...check them out!

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Is It Safe for Babies to Drink Water?

Can I give water to my baby? That is a common question among parents that should always be checked with each individual pediatrician. We found an answer in a publication from Dr. Greene, a renowned pediatrician. Here is the summary:

Water intoxication

"Too much water can cause water intoxication in babies. Each time a baby pees, he or she loses not only water but sodium and other electrolytes. But unlike with adults, who tend to get too much sodium in our diets, babies usually get just the electrolytes they need from breast milk or formula. Too much water and they lose too much sodium. The sodium levels in their blood can plummet and cause irritability, brain swelling, unresponsiveness and seizures. (Note: Water intoxication also involves other factors, but that’s more detail than I can go into here.)

The risk of water intoxication is especially high if the baby is losing both water and electrolytes from diarrhea. Fluid losses should be replaced with breast milk, formula or perhaps a rehydration solution. Don’t give plain water for rehydration.

The risk is also high if formula is diluted with too much water in a misguided effort to save a little money."

What about dehydration?

"If you are concerned that your baby is getting dehydrated, contact your health care provider. We expect babies to pee at least once in the first 24 hours of life, at least twice in the second 24 hours, and at least three times every day thereafter."

Should you boil water given to young babies?

"Boiling is the most certain way of killing all of these organisms. Even though the risk of any infection is probably far below 1 percent, I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics in recommending that sterile water be used for young babies, even when used to prepare infant formula. In practice, this usually means boiling the water for one minute, at least for the first couple of months."

For more details, please logon to, or

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Choking Hazards

Choking kills more than 100 U.S. children 14 years or younger each year. Food, including candy and gum, is among the leading culprits, along with items like coins and balloons. Of the 141 choking deaths in kids in 2006, 61 were food-related.

Doctors say high-risk foods, including hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes and apples — should be cut into pea-sized pieces for small children to reduce chances of choking. Some say other risky foods, including hard candies, popcorn, peanuts and marshmallows, shouldn't be given to young children at all.


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Homemade Play Dough Monster!

Parents know that Play Dough ranks very high in kids world. Unfortunately the dyes used by some manufacturers for coloring can be very toxic, not to mention messy! We learned a very easy recipe for a non-toxic homemade play dough, and kids love it.

Play Dough Recipe

- 1 cup organic flour*

- 1 cup warm water

- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

- 1 teaspoon oil

- 1/4 cup salt

- food coloring** (If you’re not into making your own dye, check out these natural, gluten-free, plant-based food colorings from Seelect

Mix everything up except for the food coloring. Add the coloring drop by drop, and get creative!

In a large soup pot, stir the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, trying to squash out any lumps. Remove it from pan and carefully knead it until blended smooth. For the kneading, you’ll want to make sure it’s cool to the touch all the way through before you let the kids play. The surface can feel perfectly fine but have a burny center, so be careful!

Store the play dough in an airtight container when it’s fully cooled. It will last ages if you don’t let it dry out!

*Flour options: If you or your child is gluten-sensitive, try substituting a gluten free flour, like Tom Sawyer All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. You may have to tinker with the recipe a bit, since gluten has some binding properties. Adding corn starch might help.

**Dyes: You may also want to use a natural fixative, like the one described in this post over at Pioneer Thinking to make sure your play dough doesn’t turn your kiddos’ hands (and clothes, and your table) bright colors!

Source: Crafting a Green World

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Pre-Bath Fun to Remember

Ok, wanna go wild with the kids? Just let them play with the finger paint (posted below) in the bathtub. After they are done finger and toe painting, just use the handheld shower nozzle to give everything a good rinse before their own bath. A top fun time to remember!

Click here for a non-toxic homemade finger paint recipe.

Source of this great idea: Julie Finn

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Homemade Finger Painting

Kids love painting, but many store bought paint can be a bit toxic! We found this recipe of homemade finger paint...easy to make and clean, and cheap.

1 cup cornstarch
3 cups water
food coloring

In a saucepan, boil the 3 cups of water. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl dissolve your cornstarch in just a bit of water. Remove your saucepan from the heat, and dissolve the cornstarch mixture in the hot water. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook it until it’s thick and clear. Divide your fingerpaint into separate small containers and let it cool before mixing in your food coloring.

You can buy regular food dyes, or use eco-friendly options to color your finger paint. Check out these natural, gluten-free, plant-based food colorings from Seelect!


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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Organic Clogs or Socks?

How cute is that? Organic socks that look like clogs... and with anti-slid soles. It is a shame they only make them 0-12 month sizes! Adults may want them too...

Made by Baberoo, also sold through

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Being Green with Elmo

We are not fans of DVDs for children under 2-3 years of age. However, for the older ones, here is a great version from Sesame Street about "Being Green".
Elmo and other guests provide simple and helpful ways to healp save the environment. Definitely a fun and informative DVD.

Find it at

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Healthy Fried Veggies?

Fried foods have always been a big concern for healthy eaters. We hear about the liabilities of saturated fatty acids almost every day! Well, depending on how you prepare, it can actually be a healthy meal, although still higher in calories. Good fats like those found in olive oil, may help prevent heart disease, and research shows that certain polyunsaturated fats may be beneficial as well. Also, it may be a good way to vary the flavor of your veggies intake. Here is a great recipe by Martha Shulman and John Ash.

Chick Pea Batter Fried Vegetables
Servings: 6 people
For the batter:

- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1 cup warm water

For the vegetables:

- 1 bunch or part of 1 bunch broccoli, tops broken into florets, stems peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3-inch sticks (cut into eights if very thick)
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut in 3-inch long carrot sticks
- 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and cut in rings or strips
- 1 medium onion, cut in rings
- Canola oil for frying

Sift together the chickpea flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Whisk in the water. If the batter is stiff, add more water. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
Steam the broccoli florets and stems for four minutes until just tender. Refresh with cold water, and pat dry.
Heat 3 or 4 inches of canola oil in a wok, frying pan or deep fryer to between 360 degrees and 375 degrees. It’s important that the oil be hot enough that the vegetables will cook quickly without absorbing much oil. Use a deep-fry thermometer, and make sure to bring the oil back up to temperature between batches. Whisk the batter, which will have separated. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan, dip the vegetables in the batter to coat thoroughly, and carefully place in the hot oil. It should take less than two minutes to achieve a golden brown crust. Carefully remove from the oil using a deep-fry skimmer, tongs or a spider, and drain on paper towels, then transfer to a baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you continue to cook the remaining vegetables. Serve once all the vegetables have been cooked.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Decorated Storage Box, What a Great Idea!

Multibox is a 3 in 1 combination of storage box, a child's seat, and a learning tool, made entirely of corrugated cardboard. The box-seat can carry as much as 50Kg, and is completely recyclable, and protected by a green non-toxic fire retardant.
Kids love playing with boxes, and these will motivate them to get organized! Definitely a Win-Win...

Made by Green Lullaby

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Weebit for Kids

Have you seen the Weebit shoes for babies and toddlers yet? Incredibly cute.....They are made of hemp uppers with certified organic cotton knit lining, recycled PET and latex elastic. It is one of the finest sustainable shoes, perfect for little ones.

Made by Simple Shoes, sold through Buy Green

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Classy Bamboo Toys

Wow!! Very classy, a classic! Beautiful airplane made of 100% eco-friendly bamboo. And the E-Racer's streamlined design features bamboo as its raw material and has a sporty look detailed with water-based paint.

Both made by Hape

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Access to Your Local Farmer's Markets Now!

Find out how to get organic (and non-organic) local produce delivered to your home. Enter your zip code on the home page, and a list of local farmer's market will come up so you can choose the best fit for your family.

Click here to access

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No More Junk Food at School

The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years.

In legislation, soon to be introduced, candy and sugary beverages would be banned and many schools would be required to offer more nutritious fare.
Junk food has long been banned from official school breakfast and lunch programs, but many schools offer fatty foods and sweets outside of these programs or have vending machines with sodas and candy. The legislation would require that all school offerings comply with strict new nutritional guidelines.

According to The Times, many schools have already changed their offerings. Five years ago, fewer than a third of the nation’s school districts put limits on students’ access to candy and sugary drinks. That share jumped to two-thirds by 2008, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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