Friday, December 28, 2007

If Your Baby Was a Fruit

For those of you who love to track growth progress (and really who doesn't) when you are pregnant, I finally found a good weekly list of your little one in terms of size of fruit: Tada!

(click for larger picture!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Australia's Baby Breath Tax

There has been more and more talk of downsizing the human population as the Earth's natural resources are recently straining to keep up with the growth- but Australia is the 1st that I know of to propose a tax for the carbon footprint the new family addition will add. The proposal basically says that the first two kids you don't have to pay for, but any kids after that will cost you a $4,400 tax at birth, plus $350 to $700 per year "for the life of the child."

What is the justification? From a letter to the Editor of The Medical Journal of Australia,

Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing, but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society.

Does that seem unfair? I'm not sure what I think yet. But on the opposite side of this proposal- people should get carbon credits for using contraceptives, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, condoms and sterilization procedures. Likewise, family planning clinics and hospitals that provide greenhouse-friendly services should also receive a tax benefit.

This will be an interesting topic and trend to follow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If a Tiffany's Box Could Be a Nursery

I love nursery designs- and a good bargain. Sometimes it is hard to get just exactly what you want without emptying your pockets. But today I stumbled across the sweetest room- in a light blue that could very easily work for a boy or a girl -with all the white curly details. It just took my breath away- and it was.... on the IKEA website! Yes! This whole room is fantastically coordinated and chic and not expensive at the same time.

(click to enlarge!)

What does this room entail?
1. HENSVIK crib $129
2. EKTORP JENNYLUND chair- in white, washable cover! $199
3. HENSVIK wardrobe $139
4. TASSA NATT wall light $5
5. HEMNES changing table $144

$616- not bad considering some people are asking $750 to $1790 for a crib!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anorexia Risk Determined In Utero?

Previous studies have shown that shared family environment has little effect on the development of anorexia, so researchers are now looking at shared intrauterine environment. A new study out this month from researchers in Sweden in The Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that female sex hormones exposure in the womb may have an affect on predisposition to anorexia.

The study looked at twins, same sex twins and opposite sex twins. Researchers observed 51 cases of anorexia among the female twins, 3 among the male twins and 36 among the opposite-sex pairs. What is interesting is that among the opposite-sex twins almost half the cases were in males- a greater number than we normally see as females in general have a 10 times higher risk than males for anorexia. So what does that mean?

"the male member of a male-female twin pair had a risk for anorexia statistically no different from the risk among females... Female sex hormones may influence neurodevelopment and later risk for anorexia, they suggest, and males in that uterine environment would be similarly affected."

For help on anorexia, try,, or Anorexia Treatment.

Monday, December 10, 2007

2007 Green Holiday Toy List

There are tons of places on the web telling you what it hot and what's not, what's "eco-hip" and what Earth friendly... most are not all that helpful, but here is a run down of some lists that were actually worth reading:

250+ Lead-Free Toys Made in the USA: From the Daily Green.

The Daily Green has reached out to Made-in-USA toy manufacturers all over America to find out what's available this holiday season for kids whose parents are willing to take that extra step to keep their kids (and homes) safe from this deadly environmental toxin.

Yahoo's Growing Up Green List
25 gift from the top environmental blogs including TreeHugger, ecoFabulous and Greenopia

The Green Parent Holiday Gift List

Gifts are divided into 5 categories; Toys You Can Trust, No Waste Gifts, Books for All Ages, Cool Eco-Friendly Stuff, and Gifts That Give Back.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Genius! Mabel's Labels

If you haven't checked out Mabel's Labels yet, you should. Put away the sharpies since you will no longer be penning your kids names on everything. They have labels for just about everything: cups, spoons, tupperware, shoes, clothes, backpacks, and yes- allergies. The best part is that unlike your 'permandent' marker- these won't fade or wash off.

"They withstand the dishwasher, microwave, UV Rays and hard wearing children. Customers tell us tales of four-year-old labels still holding strong!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not Sure? Test Your Toys!

An AP report on MSNBC today says that after tests by a coalition of environmental health groups found that of the more than 1,200 children’s products tested, 35% contained lead. Of those items, items deemed with "excessive lead levels" included a Hannah Montana card game case, a Go Diego Go! backpack and Circo brand shoes.

The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys is available at

To buy lead tester kits try:

For information on how to properly check toys for lead try:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Better for the Kids and the Environment!

A new study out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Jianguo Liu, an ecologist at Michigan State University says that "Americans spend an extra $3.6 billion annually on water as a result of the extra households created when people divorce". Other examples they site: running twice as many applicances for the same number of people- two separate AC units, dishwashers, and refrigerators - where there used to be more communal use.

Now, there are plenty of good reasons for divorce- abuse being a very serious one, so I am not suggesting this lightly. Just an interesting factoid. Healthy marriages are always ideal and now here's another (albeit very small) motivation to work things through perhaps.

The MSNBC article can be found here.

Folic Acid in Flour

If you have heard it once, you have heard it 10 billion times: when pregnant and when trying to conceive take Folic Acid! Yet still the NYTimes reports, "an estimated 200,000 children around the world are born with crippling defects of the spinal column. Many are paralyzed or permanently impaired by spina bifida".

Experts are suggesting that governments should require that flour be fortified with folic acid, which has been shown to prevent these neural tube defects. For Americans, this bill has already been passed. The federal government has been requiring almost all flour to be fortified since 1998. However, the average amount that most women get from this addition to flour is a mere extra 100 micrograms of folic acid a day. 100 micrograms is not nearly enough to make a difference, as women in the first trimester should have 600 micrograms. For the last 10 years doctors have been asking the Food and Drug Administration to double the amount, but the FDA keeps resisting.

Keep an eye out for further news on this topic, as recently the buzz around it has picked up. The American Medical Association, the March of Dimes and several pediatric societies have stepped up and asked the FDA to amend this policy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Peanut Allergies at 14 months

A recent study published in Pediatrics has caused the American Academy of Pediatrics to now recommend that children with a family history of allergies avoid peanuts until age 3.

Analyzing data from 2000 to 2006 from the Duke University pediatric allergy and immunology clinic, doctors found that food allergies are showing up earlier. The study concluded,

"In the past decade, the ages of first peanut exposure and reaction have declined among peanut-allergic children seen in a referral clinic. Egg allergy is very common in peanut-allergic patients, and sesame seeds should perhaps be considered one of the major food allergens. The decline in the age of first peanut reaction seems to be attributable to earlier exposure."

Dr. Todd Green of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh was quoted by MSNBC, “There’s a valid reason to delay introduction to products containing peanuts. When kids are older, it can be easier to manage bad reactions. They can tell you right away if their mouths feel funny. For that reason alone, it’s worth delaying exposing your child to a peanut product, especially if a child is at high risk".

If you are worried about the possibilty of food allergies because of family history, go ahead and wait- it certainly doesn't appear to hurt.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fun with Harmless Air Blasts

Looking for something fun to give that both children and adults (but generally not the dog) will enjoy? Try the airzooka! We personally had a blast with it last year, although it did scare the dog a bit - it makes a fairly loud noise when you deploy. The noise didn't bother me much at all and lends to a fun conversation about science if you are up for it. You hear the noise before you feel the blast of air move your hair. Enter introduction to physics!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Keep Slinging Through the Snow!

Just because it is getting cold doesn't mean that you have to stop baby-wearing for the winter. Check out the Peekaru Original- it is a fleece vest that zips over your baby carrier to keep you both warm. It fits comfortably over most carriers. It is a green purchase as well, as the Peekaru is made from 85% recycled fleece.

Read more about it as well as reviews here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cupcake Lunchbox Solution!

Ever want to send a leftover cupcake to school, but not sure what to put it in without icing getting everywhere? Well, the ingenious people at the Container Store have a solution.

It holds a standard-size cupcake and prevents it from moving while in transit. The airtight seal preserves the freshness. It's the perfect lunchtime companion for kids and grown-ups alike! $2.99 each.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Celeb Baby Shower for Charity

From US Magazine we learn that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden are planning a baby shower- but don't want gifts for themselves. Instead they are asking for cribs, strollers and stuffed animals to the new Richie Madden Children’s Foundation. The foundation will support mothers in need. Next month, the charity will donate 100 Mom-to-Be kits to the Los Angeles Free Clinic in addition to the gifts collected at the shower.

My question is this: If celebs aren't concerned with their fame and fortune and really do want to do something good for others- why do they always insist on making a new organization in their own name? Why not have people bring gifts to the shower for established and already running charities? I'll tell you why, because in the end it still is just a little bit about them. But well wishes to them for making a great effort. If you are looking for great children's foundations to donate to this holiday season, try one of these:

March of Dimes
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Toys For Tots
Save the Children

Showing In Style: Winter

Do you have a fancy Thanksgiving, Holiday or New Years gig around the corner? Fear not. There is plenty of formal maternity wear for winter available. Check out some cute options:

Emerald Silk Dress from Mimi Maternity $99

For elegance from Isabella Oliver, the Twist Dress $155

For a splurge from A Pea in the Pod
Beaded Chiffon Dress $425

And a bit more casual, but still festive option:
Red snowflake sweater from Motherhood $20

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Heart Finger Puppets!

I found some adorable finger puppets this summer forgot to blog about them until today, when I saw more adorable finger puppets from a totally different place.

Manhattan Toy: one of many many cute sets:

From Puppet Universe: Pirate Finger Puppets!

Dwell Baby's Finger Puppets

Friday, November 9, 2007

Breastfeeding and IQ Boosting

Recent research performed at Avshalom Caspi at King's College in London found that babies that carry a specific gene get extra benefit (specifically IQ) when they are breastfeed- than those who lack the gene. The benefits from breastfeeding any baby are still enormous; being protected against childhood cancer, obesity, allergies and infections- are not be belittled here.

The authors looked at a gene called FADS2. They decided to follow this gene because it produces an enzyme that helps convert fatty acids into the polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid). DHA accumulates in large amounts in the brain during the first two years of life and has been shown to help with brain development, although doctors are not yet sure why and how.

FADS2 has three variants, two of which have an allele called the "C allele". If your baby has the C allele breastfeeding will give them an average boost of 6.8 IQ points. If the this allele isn't present there is no noticeable benefit in IQ. Although it appears the odds your baby has this gene are in your favor- they say 90% of the population has the C allele.

Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychological and brain sciences in Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, and researcher in the study comments on the breakthrough, "The argument about intelligence has been about nature versus nurture for at least a century. We're finding that nature and nurture work together". That's what I like to hear- it's not nature versus nurture- it is a very very complex combination of them both.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Yes, Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is a mere fortnight away and things are getting cold out! So what's the cute way to bundle up your bundle of joy? Here are a few options:

BearHands for Baby $15

Adorable LLBean Fleece Toddler hat $12

Nordic Fleece Baby Bunting by Hanna Anderson $54

Infant/Toddler Puffer Jacket $18

Thursday, November 8, 2007

First Lead Posioning, Now Comas?!

What has gotten into the toy market this year? First there are all those recalls for lead paint and now the Aqua Dots recall for GHB. This type of leak into the market is totally, absolutely unacceptable. What seems to be the funny part is that Wal-Mart had even selected it to be one of the top toys for the holiday season, and now it is being pulled from the shelves.

An advertisement for Aqua Dots (for those of you who haven't seem them) read:
Aqua Dots Super Studio is the super cool way to have fun! Wow your friends with unique designs using Aqua Dots beads. You be the artist! Arrange Aqua Dots in any pattern or design you want, spray with water and play! The secret is water magically makes the colorful dots stick together to create an awesome design! Simply make, spray and stay for hours of fun every day! They´re magic! No Heat, No glue, No Mess!

It does actually sound neat and fun, similar to those plastic beads that kids used to iron and melt together into different shapes and designs. But how on Earth did the manufactures manage to contaminate them with a compound that metabolizes into GHB?!

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid is used illegally under street names like Juice, Liquid Ecstasy, and as a date rape drug. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN was quoted in their article, "In higher doses, it can cause people to go into a coma. It can cause seizures. It can cause something known as hypotonia, where all your muscles just become very flaccid. And it can cause people to become amnestic, ... which is why it became a date-rape drug". If you have Aqua Dots throw them out immediately. I think it is fair to say that we all hope that sometime soon we can regain trust in our toy manufactures, until then go ahead and be skeptical and keep your eyes and ears open for anything that may seem suspect.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

An Inspiration or Just Plain Crazy?

It seems to be everywhere I look lately, NYTimes, Women's Health Magazine, People and the tabloids... they all feature "Body After Baby!" spreads. Pictures and stories of women who exercised their hearts out during their pregnancies and jumped right back on it afterwards. The Times featured Paula Radcliffe who was out running the day before she gave birth to her daughter, and then returned to running 12 days after delivery. Women's Health featured Dara Torres who was back at the gym to prepare for a swim meet just a week and a half after delivery of her first child.

Even doctors are publishing on the topic lately. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada just updated its latest guidelines to say that failure to exercise during pregnancy may be associated with some risks. Dr. Gregory A. L. Davies, one of the principal authors says, "We're stressing the message that if you're not exercising, you need to start, and that message has never been said before. We point out in our guidelines that we're concerned that there is a small but growing amount of evidence that if you don't exercise in pregnancy, you're not helping yourself".

Sure serious athletes bounce back, and so do celebrities with personal trainers and chefs, but what about the rest of us? What should the average American woman aim for?

Renee Jeffreys, MSc, co-author of Fit to Deliver: An Innovative Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Program says,“With their physician’s clearance, all pregnant women should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on all or most of the days of the week, even if you are fairly new to exercise,”. This advice is echoed all over the internet. 30 minutes, most days. The most recommended exercises are walking, swimming and prenatal yoga. For resources on what is ok and what to avoid, check out, the SOCG's guidelines, and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

To Laugh, Perchance to Giggle

Having one of those days where you need a little pick me up? Perhaps the looming frenzy of the upcoming holidays is getting to you? (Christmas music on the radio already? Really?)

Here are two great, hilarious clips of babies laughing-- guaranteed to get you laughing and smiling as well.

Laughing Baby 1

Laughing Baby 2

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kids Making a Difference

If you are on the PTA and looking for some inspiration, check out's Elementary School of the Week posts.

This week they are highlighting Barbara Bush Elementary. This school has received awards from Keep America Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful, and the American Forest and Paper Association. The school has an average recycling rate of 237 lbs. of paper per student (are they bringing in their parent's papers from home?). However they are doing it, with that rate they are recycling rate is seven times the national average.

In just 18 months the students and teachers have:

• Avoided 48 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
• Avoided the use of 625 million BTU’s of energy use
• Saved 205 cubic yards of landfill waste
• Avoided the use of 434,000 gallons of water
• Allowed 4,836 tree seedlings to grow

Check out the school's website to learn about their corresponding curriculum and the on-site Nature Center which was designed to,

"have a natural area on school grounds where students may study physical features, native flora and fauna, and their inter- and interrelationships. To provide a natural outdoor laboratory for the stimulation of students’ inquisitive scientific curiosity. To help promote hands-on, minds-on learning into the numerous components of Gulf Coast ecosystems. To create an outdoor laboratory easily accessible for all students of Bush Elementary. "

Way to go to our all of our elementary schools that are making a difference!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Extreme Eco-Beds

I look forward to Thursday because of the Home and Garden section in the NYTimes. In their Currents slideshow, I cam across this:

This bed is named "Float" and sells with the mattress for $25,000. The company that sells it, Okooko, takes its name from the Maori word for “to cradle in arms”. Some cradle! While Okooko sells mattresses made of natural latex, bamboo and wool, and beds made of wood from sustainable forests managed by the New Zealand government. It also costs an arm and a leg. Technically, it is not actually a children's bed as I had originally thought, but if you are looking for an uber-environmentally bed that will grow with your children, here you go.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Carving Time

Halloween is so close you can taste it! If you didn't carve your pumpkins yet, tonight or tomorrow night is a good time to do them. They will still be fresh on Wednesday and it won't leave much time for the squirrels to get to them.

When picking out your pumpkins:

Examine the rind.
It should be firm, uniform in color, and free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes.

Make sure that the stem doesn’t look brown and dry. And don’t use the stem as a handle, since even a healthy one can break off. Pick up a pumpkin by its base instead.

Give the pumpkin a knock. A thumping sound means the pumpkin is solid, with no internal defects, rot, or soft spots.

For ideas on what to carve, check out these sites -has free patterns

Some of my favorites:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Book: Raising Baby Green

A new organic parenting book hit the shelves last month and it has been getting some rave reviews. Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care is a self proclaimed "comprehensive guide to help environmentally conscious parents make healthy product and lifestyle choices".

So who is the author Dr. Greene? Intel named him Child's Health Hero of the Internet, and he has already published one book prior to this one, From First Kicks to First Steps. That's great and all, but doesn't really impress me much. What is more impressive to me is that he is a father of four and a practicing pediatrician. I hate when doctors stop practicing to just write books and sell stuff, being in the office and seeing patients keeps things in perspective and fresh.

While writing his book Dr. Greene kept in mind that we don't want to break the bank in the movement towards organic. Here is Greene has identified 5 foods that will make an impact and are easy to switch. Courtesy of NYTimes:

1. Milk: “When you choose a glass of conventional milk, you are buying into a whole chemical system of agriculture,'’ says Dr. Greene. One recent United States Department of Agriculture survey found certain pesticides in about 30 percent of conventional milk samples and low levels in only one organic sample. The level is relatively low compared to some other foods, but many kids consume milk in large quantities.

2. Potatoes: Potatoes are a staple of the American diet — one survey found they account for 30 percent of our overall vegetable consumption. A simple switch to organic potatoes has the potential to have a big impact because commercially-farmed potatoes are some of the most pesticide-contaminated vegetables.

3. Peanut butter: More acres are devoted to growing peanuts than any other fruits, vegetable or nut, according to the U.S.D.A. More than 99 percent of peanut farms use conventional farming practices, including the use of fungicide to treat mold, a common problem in peanut crops.

4. Ketchup: For some families, ketchup accounts for a large part of the household vegetable intake. About 75 percent of tomato consumption is in the form of processed tomatoes, including juice, tomato paste and ketchup. Notably, recent research has shown organic ketchup has about double the antioxidants of conventional ketchup.

5. Apples: Apples are the second most commonly eaten fresh fruit, after bananas, and they are also used in the second most popular juice, after oranges, according to Dr. Greene. But apples are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. The good news is that organic apples are easy to find in regular grocery stores.

Dr. Greene's website is full of even more useful information.

Nursery Decor + Trend: Birds

If you browse the style blogs like I do, you have probably notice a lot of retro bird prints and textiles. They certainly are cute and apparently hip too. Here are some great items that you can decorate a unisex nursery in.

Start with a Flights of Fancy mobile from Orange Button

Bird Crib Bedding in pink/orange

Get a personalized name banner. These birds come in all kinds of colors and patterned fabrics.

This adorable poster counts from 1-20 in colorful birds.

You can add some plush toys around the room

For a more sosphisticated look, you can use Birds in Flight wall graphic
Pick from 32 colors. 25 decals ranging in size from 5" by 4.5" to 22.5" by 7.5"

Monday, October 22, 2007

How Quickly They Pick Stuff Up

Infants and toddlers are amazing in their ability to learn vast amounts in a small amount of time. Their vocab starts with just repeated monosyllabic sounds (da-da is often first) and then grows so fast that you can't keep up and next thing you know they are putting together sentences.

But vocabulary isn't the only thing they are picking up in 18 months. Check out this article from CNN. A mother of two young children had her kids tested for industrial chemicals in their blood and the results were rather unsettling. She speaks on her younger son's results; "He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that's been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats."

How is that possible? Dr. Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City , speaks on the issue.
"Pound for pound, they eat more food, they drink more water, they breathe in more air... And so [children] carry a higher body burden than we do.

Rates of asthma, childhood
cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can't be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we're being exposed to."

What can parents do? Do their best to reduce unnecessary plastics, food preservatives and chemical cleaners and try not to worry. Our children will still likely live long happy lives as the life expectancy rate has only been increasing over the last 150 years.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baby Sling... and Hammock

I was looking at this sling company today, didymos, and in their photo gallery I found several examples of sling-use that I had never seen or thought of before.... using it as a baby hammock!

Fussy baby not wanting to sleep in the pack 'n play? Rig it up so the baby can sleep in a hammock.

Out camping, hiking, or enjoying an afternoon in the park? Let the baby take a nap in a tree- just tie up the sling into a hammock. Genius.

The President and Birth Control

For the second time, President Bush has appointed a chief of family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who is against birth control. Susan Orr was appointed Monday and will soon have control of $283 million in annual grants. But what does a conservative who is against contraception do with $283 million that normally go to helping low-income families with contraceptive services and counseling. Will it all go to counseling now?

Orr is replacing Eric Keroack, a physician who resigned in March, who was heavily criticized for working at a Christian pregnancy-counseling organization that opposed the use of birth control.

I leave the comments to the best commentator on the web, William Saletan of Slate, who writes:

The new appointee has argued that federal employees' health insurance should not have to cover contraception, "because fertility is not a disease. It's not a medical necessity that you have [contraception]."

Pro-choice reactions: 1) You've got to be kidding us … again. 2) Pssst, right-wingers! 98% of women use contraception! 3) Way to go, geniuses—expect more abortions.

Conservative rebuttals: 1) The new appointee didn't oppose contraception per se; she just wanted "to allow federal employees the option to choose a health benefits plan that did not include family planning coverage." 2) It's not just a moral issue; some employees don't want such coverage "due to their age." 3) We're for "consumer choice of coverage" and "keeping family planning truly voluntary."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halle Berry's Green Baby Plans

Halle Berry is planning on being an environmentally conscious mom. She told People magazine that, "I'm working on the nursery, but it's all going to be organic and eco-friendly... There are so many things out now that you can use. I'm going to really try hard to make it all organic!". She added that, "They even have organic disposable diapers now that you can use".

What diapers is she talking about? Well, there are a couple options in the "organic disposables" area.

Seventh Generation Disposable Diapers: They are made in the US- which is good for both the US economy and for reducing use of gas and oil for the product to get to store shelves. They are free of latex, prefumes, dyes, and TBT (tributyl tin). They are made of chlorine-free materials and hypo-allergenic.

Tushies: "The Gel-Free Alternative Diaper" claims to be free of gel, latex, prefumes, dyes, TBT, and GMO. The diapers use chlorine-free woodpulp instead. But I'm not convinced. They say right on the website, "Because Tushies Diapers do not contain a superabsorbent, parents will change diapers more frequently". So you are creating more waste then? If you are throwing out more diapers than regular disposables, I don't really see the environmental advantage here.

In the end, while I am glad that people are using more Earth-friendly materials, it still seems like the Prius answer to things. It sounds great and perhaps feels like you are helping the cause, but there isn't much there. The Prius isn't all that environmentally friendly- the batteries and lifespan of the car make it not as friendly as say a TDI Jetta which gets 40 to 50 mpg. In the same way, while organic diapers sound great, they aren't really helping- after all they still are disposable. Energy is going into something that is shipped, bought and worn for a very short period of time and then thrown out. It's like someone saying they use Earth-friendly paper cups. It doesn't make sense. Use something that you can wash and reuse!

This is why I am a huge advocate for cloth diapering. A few quick points from

"disposable diapers continue to fill landfills around the world... by contrast, washing organic cotton diapers at home uses surprisingly little water: 6% of a household's total water usage for top-loading washers and 3% for front-loading washers... In the summer, we use more water to keep our lawn green than we do to wash our diapers"

Not only that, but they are cheaper!

Diaper Type Total CostBased on 6,750 diaper changes Price Per Change
Cloth diapers (washed at home)$778.0512¢
Cloth diapers (diaper service)$2,133.0031¢
Disposable diapers$2,530.0037¢

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today: Blog Action Day

Today, October 15th, is Blog Action Day. Blog Action Day was created for bloggers to unite on a single important issue and get information out there on it. For 2007, the topic is the environment. There are so many ways and so many resources out there that it is hard to decide what to write on, but I think the easiest, simplest thing for everyone to do is remember the three Rs and for parents, the N.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Narrate.

I bet you are doing more for the environment that you realize. You have just gotten used to the small changes you have been making over the years- but your little ones may not know why you do the things you do or even notice that you are doing them. So take the two seconds to tell your children what it is your are doing and why it is best for the environment. Just a few examples, I'm sure you'll get the picture...

"We are carpooling with the Smiths to soccer because it saves gas and reduces CO2"

"We turn off the water while we brush our teeth to keep from wasting it"

"We use dish towels instead of paper towels to reduce waste and save trees"

Happy Blog Action Day folks!

Nursery Idea: WonderWalls Wallpaper

This great company out of London has two great things going on. 1) They have an adorable line of children's wallpaper and borders and 2) They will print custom wallpaper for you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kate Winslet: Smart Mama

I read a quote from Kate Winselt today, not sure how old/new it is but I found in refreshing either way. In reference to teaching her daughter positive body image:

"I’ve just started subtly telling Mia, ‘I love my belly. You and Joe came out of there. I’m proud of my belly and I’m proud of my hips. I love my body.’ “I want to give something to her that is empowering so when she comes into her teenage years she feels confident in herself."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stroller, Stroller Made of Gold

When you think of a limited production of a classy mode of transportation- you probably think of luxury sport cars. But now there are also luxery strollers in limited production as well.

The Mamas & Papas of the U.K. made a limited edition Ziko Gold stroller- there were only ten ever made. Want to see one? Gwen Stephani has one of those 10.

Another British company, Maclaren had to come out with one too. There were only 20 Maclaren GB Type Au: The Luxury of Leather with the Bling of Gold strollers made. The black leather, the gold tinted carbon fiber stroller even has a detachable solid 9k gold Maclaren diamond logo on the cellphone pocket.

Meet Panwapa, The New Muppets

Sesame Workshop launched a world-wide video initiative yesterday called Panwapa. The aim of the new Muppet crew is to celebrate cultural diversity and "foster a foundation for global citizenship and community in children around the world".

Panwapa means "here on this earth" in Tshiluba - the national language in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Panwapa website has a Word of the Day and Place of the Day feature to highlight countries and cultures from around the world. It also has an interactive globe where kids can 'visit' kids from around the world.

Kids can make their own Panwapa profile of sort by making up their own 'flag'. They pick their favorite food, animal, sport, musical instrument, activity and craft. These icons are then displayed on their flag to hang outside their virtual house. They can collect a variety of cards- a card from each country they visit, a card for each interesting animal they encounter on their visit or by completing a treasure hunt. As you can see- there is lots to do on this in depth website. The site is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese.

The full Panwapa video program is being released through iTunes for free (gotta love the free educational stuff) and in January 2008 Panwapa vidoes will be available for free via PBS KIDS Sprout’s video-on-demand service.

Below is Whoopie Goldberg with Elmo and Azibo at a news conference to announce Panwapa in New York yesterday.

Kids Cough Meds are Going, Going, Gone

Drugmakers are voluntarily pulling children's cold medicines off the market today. Consumer Healthcare Products Association said withdrawal was prompted "out of an abundance of caution" and insisted that the products are still safe if used as directed. This move comes after medical experts asked the FDA to consider a full ban on all over-the-counter children's cold medicines as they believe that there is more risk of harm then there is benefit.

Items being pulled off CVS shelves today and soon other pharmacies:

Johnson & Johnson Pediacare Infant Drops
Tylenol Concentrated Infants Drops
Wyeth’s Dimetapp Decongestant Infant Drops
Novartis’ Triaminic Infant & Toddler Thin Strips
Prestige Brands Holdings’ Little Colds Decongestant Plus Cough

Dr. Ari Brown, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, she told MSNBC, "Usually what we recommend are saline nose drops, humidifiers and time... Truly, these cold viruses, [and the] flu will go away on their own. If you just give it some time, a little TLC and lots of saline nose drops, your child will do just fine." Other doctors have also recommended throwing any infant cold medicines you have at home out. For more alternatives to cold medicine see NPR's article.

Best Halloween Goody Bag

illumiNITE is a patented "retro-reflective technology" that is applied to sports gear, dog collars and leashes and other products that need to be seen in the dark. As the illumiNITE explains,

"Millions of microparticles called sataLITE DISHES® reflect light back to the originating source. Unlike conventional reflective strips or trims, illumiNITE® can be applied over the surface area of a product to reflect back a silhouette profile that is easily recognizable as a distinctive human shape. illumiNITE® can be combined with a broad range of other fabrics and fabric coatings to offer outstanding body comfort and climate protection."

What does that have to do with Halloween? Well they have applied this reflective material to a Halloween candy bag. When headlights or flashlights come across this bag the whole bag will reflect letting people know loud and clear the whereabouts of the bag carrier. It's pretty cute, holds up to 5lbs and is only $9.99.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Halloween Seal of Approval

There are tons of Halloween costumes out there- generally I am a fan of home made ones, but I did find some that were both adorable and affordable. So I present the top 3:

Peanut Infant costume:

Lil Dino Triceratops

Baby Clown Fish

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nursery Idea: Chalk It Up!

Chalk boards are great items for functionality and decoration. Kids can doodle all day with easy clean and no wasting of paper. Parents can find many uses for them too: label things, do a mural, write down reminders, teach kids to write their own name... the list goes on. While it may seem during pregnancy and the first few months that it will be an eternity until your baby starts crawling, walking, let alone drawing- let me assure you that it will go by very fast. Before you know it, that nursery of yours will need to also serve as a playroom. Check out these cute options for putting some chalkboard space in.

Found on Delight
Peel and Stick Chalkboard Tree. 30" Chalkboard tree decal and 13 birds you can move around.

From Target. They have all kinds of cute chalkboard bins and buckets in several colors.

From Genius Jones. A chalkboard table, complete with center storage for chalk.

And of course there is the more permanent option of painting a wall or furniture with chalkboard paint. The thing to know here is that you aren't limited in colors. It doesn't have to be black or green! It can go with whatever colors you are already using. Martha Stewart's recipe for colored chalkboard paint.

Custom Colors How-To
Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.

1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.

2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.

3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.

4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.