Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Follow me back Tuesday!!

Yay, it's Follow Me Back Tuesday again! That means: time to link up and discover all kinds of cool new blogs.

Follow Me Back Tuesday is another day of the week that you can gain more followers and find other great blogs to follow on a weekly basis. Follow Me Back Tuesday is hosted by Survey Junkie, Little Yaya's, Review Retreat and Boobies, Babies & A Blog.

Each week we will choose a random number every week from the blogs linked and add the random blog to the #5 spot to link to the following week

This weeks guest host for the #5 spot is This week's Guest Host is Thanks Mail Carrier.
How it Works

Follow the 5 hosts, #1 – 5, ( leave us a comment & we will follow you back- only leave a comment if you follow please ).

Create a blog post about FMBT (you may copy this post if you wish).

Follow as many blogs as you would like ( Leave a comment so they can follow you back).

When you receive a comment from a new follower return the favor &; follow them back.

***Please link directly to your Follow Me Back Tuesday Post. Links that lead directly to your personal blog hop will not be accepted and will be deleted.***

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Nurtia Frog Kingdom book review and giveaway!! DEADLINE EXTENDED!!

This giveaway's deadline is now October 18!

I was given the chance to review a really neat children's book and musical CD recently. This was right up our alley! One of the most important values I use when parenting and want to instill in my child(ren) is a love and respect of the earth. "The Nutria Frog Kingdom" by Bayou Bennett is an awesome green children's book. Bayou is a film maker and professor of fine arts and cinema at New York Institute of Technology. Her goal in writing this book was to target future generations, the people who will be taking care of the earth for years to come. I just love that!

The story takes place in the magical swamps of Louisiana where the local wildlife has become threatened by pollution. Two young children stumble upon the mess and are taught how to make it right. The main character,  King Leo, is actually based on legendary musician Washboard Leo Thomas who is also Bayou's father. How cool is that?!

Emma just loves this book. The story is a bit above her head (she's only 19 months old) but the illustrations are really neat and extremely colorful. We look at the book together and feel sad about the pollution in the swamp and are happy when it's cleaned up. Emma's really cute about it, she makes a fake crying sound when we get to the page with all the garbage laying around the swamp and says "Emma be-uh" (Emma clean up). This is exactly the message I want conveyed to my daughter.

The story has a positive message about getting involved in and cleaning up your community. It encourages practices such as: turning off lights when not in use, recycling, carpooling and buying organic. There are activity pages in the back of the book for older kids to write down their ideas for helping the environment. This would be a really great book to use in a classroom!
Oh, and what is a nurtia frog, you ask? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.

The music CD contains fun, upbeat bluegrass and banjo songs. I put it on during lunch time and Emma was dancing around in her highchair. She just loved it.

Buy it
You can buy your own copy of The Nutria-Frog Kingdom here. A copy of the book is only $12.99 and a book with CD is $17.99


Win it
Bayou has generously offered one lucky reader a copy of her unique, eco-friendly book, The Nutria Frog Kingdom.

How to enter

Each action counts as one entry unless otherwise stated. Leave a separate comment for each entry and please include your email address. You must complete the mandatory entry before you are eligible for any other entries.

**Mandatory Entry**

This is going to be super simple, just leave me a comment letting me know what your family does to be a little more "green".

Extra Entries

*Follow me publicly through google friend connect-counts as 3 entries! Leave 3 separate comments.

*Subscribe to my blog by email, through feedburner

*Grab my button and tell me where it is posted

*Blog about this giveaway, link back to my site and leave me the URL of your blog

****This giveaway will end Monday October, 18. Winner will be drawn by an online random number generator and will be notified by email. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is open to US residents.

Good luck!!

**I was sent a copy of the book "The Nutria Frog Kingdom" by Bayou Bennett and musical CD for review purposes. Everything written in this review is truth and completely my own opinion.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Calling all cloth diapering mamas and papas: check this out!!!

One of my bloggy friends, Leslie, has a really awesome giveaway going on right now! I really contemplated not writing this post because the more of you who know about this, the more entries there will be and then I have less of a chance of winning ;) get my drift? Anyway, I really want the extra entries, so I'm promoting this.
Leslie is giving away an organic luxury baby prize pack, and it REALLY is luxury! Any cd'ing parent would be so lucky to have this. She's teamed up with Green Loving Families to offer a prize package that includes: a diaper, wipes, pail liner, soap, baby legs and an Earth Mama Angel Baby starter pack. Can  you believe it???? This is so awesome, so go enter, or don't (more chance for me to win :)!

Go here to enter!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CSN Stores/Melissa and Doug wooden blocks review

A while back I ran a giveaway sponsored by CSN stores. I love, love, love CSN stores! It's like going to the mall without leaving the house, seriously, you can get anything from their site. Well, I had a $20 credit to spend and I really had a hard time figuring out what to get. There is just so much to choose from. I finally settled on this awesome block set from Melissa and Doug.
I made sure to take a picture of it right out of the box because I knew this would probably be the only time it would ever look like this:

This is more often what the cart looks like:

I love Melissa and Doug toys and I really love wooden toys, so much more natural than chemical-filled plastic. Emma loves that she now has her own little wagon to pull around. I was quite hoping that she would love building with the blocks, but so far she's just enjoyed knocking down whatever I build (I think she learned that from being around boys all the time).
I was super impressed with CSN. The checkout was easy and shipping was really fast. Our blocks arrived in just a couple of days via UPS. I would definitely recommend CSN to fellow Internet shoppers.
You can get the same wooden block set here.

The fine print
I was not paid for this review. I did, however, receive a $20 CSN gift code in order to facilitate my review.

Uggg, What is it about this time of year???

...that causes the fruit flies to come out in force and invade my kitchen????? I've been setting traps for weeks now and catching tons each time. I always have bananas out on the counter because we eat them every morning, but this fruit fly problem only plagues me at this time of year, EVERY year, at every house I've lived in.
I went to college in eastern Washington, where each fall the farmers burn their fields causing all the tiny bugs to migrate to people's homes. It was a huge annoyance! I live in western WA now, though and don't understand this? I can't even put my wine glass down to go to the bathroom without coming back to a glass full of flies, disgusting!
Does anyone else have this problem? Is it regional? What do you do to rid your home of these pests? Here are the couple traps I've found most effective:

As you can see, it's very effective! A bowl of apple cider vinegar with a drop of dish soap. The flies are attracted to the vinegar and then when they land on the surface, the soap makes it so they get stuck and can't fly away.

This one is also pretty effective, but it doesn't kill the flies, so you have to have some sort of plan for releasing them so that they don't just come back into the house. You put a piece of fruit in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Poke tiny holes in the top. If you do it right, the flies will get in but can't get out. I usually set this one out overnight and then put lid on it in the morning, then take it outside to release them.

Although these traps work, I have to keep using them over and over. It'd be nice if there was a solution that got rid of the flies for good. I refuse to store the bananas in the fridge. I actually tried that and the flies did disappear, but the bananas also turned brown overnight and were ruined! Does anyone have any other ideas for me?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My blog is carbon neutral

carbon neutral local offers and voucher with kaufDA.de 

Have you heard about this really neat program? All you have to do is write a blog post about it and the Make it Green program (started in Germany) will plant a tree to neutralize the CO2 emissions of your blog for the next 50 years! How cool is that? Then you grab a button and post it on your sidebar. I love it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Toddler Tuesday-the potty!

Oh goodness, my 19 month old is already interested in the potty! Lately, every time I go to the bathroom, Emma follows me in and repeats: "Emma, Emma!" She wants her turn to sit on the toilet. Cirt got her a little potty seat that sits on top of the toilet and a little princess stool for the bathroom  a while ago and she just loves them!

I'm actually in no rush for her to start using the potty, I LOVE cloth diapers too much :) but she's showing interest, so we're just going with it. We don't plan to push or anything like that, so we'll see what happens. She is only 19 months old after all.

The funniest part was seeing how much fun she had flushing to toilet and saying bye-bye to the "yuck". She kept flushing over and over and waving goodbye. She also really likes pulling toilet paper off the roll and putting it in the toilet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Follow Friday!

Let's Just Give It Away

I love blog hops, they are such a fun way to find new friends and reading material :)
Join the fun and follow along with me, I'd love to meet you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Giving up the Johnson's

When I found out I was pregnant I began doing research and looking into the most natural/organic methods of all things parenting. I chose cloth diapers over disposables, I made all of my own baby food from organic fruits and vegetables and I breastfed as much as I could (I had low supply issues :(). I didn't, however, give much thought to soap and lotion. I'm not sure why, and looking back now, I'm kicking myself. I mean, my parents used Johnson's on me and I turned out OK, didn't I?

What I didn't know then, but do know now is that toxins found in everyday household products can build up in skin and organs. I have to wonder....is it just coincidence that there is a much higher rate of cancer, neurological and other health problems today than in years past (before massive amounts of synthetic chemicals and preservatives were routinely added to health and beauty products)? Probably not!

I was so excited to discover the Environmental Working Group's cosmetics database. It's so cool! You can look up a particular product or an ingredient and find out if there are health risks associated with them. I'm a pretty cynical consumer and I question almost everything. That's why I love that the database is completely unbiased and research based. I was shocked to find out some of the main ingredients in Johnson's bedtime wash and lotion, which is what I used on Emma for a few months (I LOVE the way it smells!), are toxic and linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity and neurotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Miscellaneous, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Enhanced skin absorption, Contamination concerns, Occupational hazards, Biochemical or cellular level changes . Wow! That's a lot of concerns!

Not to mention the ingredient list. In the past few years, I've changed my diet to include more whole foods, organic produce and simple ingredient meals. When buying packaged foods, a good rule to follow is: the simpler, the better. It never really occurred to me to read the ingredient list on the soap and lotion I was using on my baby, but of course I should have been doing it! Baby's skin is so much more sensitive and porous, absorbing almost everything put on it, than adults. That's why it is so important to read labels and choose products wisely. I'm happy to report that I'm now an avid label reader for EVERYTHING concerning my child and I've switched to all natural, organic bath and body products. Not only do I feel better about this change, but my daughter doesn't have skin issues, like yeast infections, anymore.

Just compare the ingredient lists of Johnson's bedtime wash to that of another popular organic children's hair and body wash:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Glycol Distearate, Glycerin, Laureth-4, Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10, Hydroxypropyldimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice.

Saponified Cocos nucifera (organic coconut) oil, Saponified Olea europaea (organic olive) oil, Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe) leaf juice, Vanilla planifolia (organic vanilla) bean extract, Citrus sinensis (organic orange) oil, Kosher vegetable glycerin, Potassium citrate, Butyrospermun parkii (organic shea) butter, Calendula officinalis (organic calendula) extract
I would much rather use the product whose ingredients I can actually pronounce and know what they are. There is even a warning on the Johnson's bottle: "Keep out of reach of children. Do not use without consulting a doctor if child has asthma or allergies or if there is a family history of either. Serious breathing problems could occur." Yikes!
While I actually switched to all natural products a while ago, I've had a stash of Johnson's in the closet. Today is the day I'm setting it all free.

I didn't want to give it up because I just LOVED the way it smelled and I hate wasting, but I didn't want to use it because of all the health risks/concerns. So, it's just been sitting in the closet. I gave it all away to my neighbor (who also loves the way it smells). I don't judge and I realize that millions (I'd guess) of people use Johnson's products and most are probably just fine. But, It's just not the right choice for my family.

I'd encourage all parents to read labels and use the EWG's cosmetic database for products relating to your children. What do you have to loose?