Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

Homemade Yogurt – Easy as can be! July 14, 2011

Filed under: baby,baby food,children,health,staying healthy — Kirstin @ 2:05 pm
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A friend of mine shared this link for making homemade yogurt in a slow cooker. It couldn’t be easier and the yogurt is fantastic! Just keep in mind that the yogurt you’ll get from it won’t be like the store bought kind. It’ll actually be like a yogurt drink – just add your own fruit, a little honey, and you’re all set! I’ve just made my second batch. The first was with 2% milk and the second was with fat free. Both had the same consistency.

If you have a slow cooker, I urge you to give it a try!

 

Your Eco Friendly Gift Guide for Children December 9, 2010

Filed under: baby,children — Kirstin @ 3:16 pm

It’s that time of year again, when we all search high and low for gifts for our little ones, no matter what their age. With the economy as it is again this year, many people may be rethinking how much to spend for the holidays. It would be so simple to walk into “W Mart” and be done with your shopping but I’m going to ask you to reconsider if this is what you’re thinking of doing.

Instead of buying the popular large, plastic, musical toys this year, how about choosing gifts that will be just as fun, last for generations, and be safer for your children to play with? The key is going for quality, not quantity. Taking this route will also help teach your children to appreciate each individual toy, rather than an abundance.

Here are a few toy companies for you to consider this holiday season or try making your own!

Haba

Oompa Toys

Playstore Toys

Plan Toys

Green Toys

Under The Nile Toys

Etsy Organic

Want some specific “green toy” ideas? Check out lists from Safe Mama, Tree Hugger and Eco Child’s Play for some really great ones.

 

Graco Recalls 2 Million Strollers October 20, 2010

Filed under: baby — Kirstin @ 3:33 pm
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Inhabitots is reporting today that Graco has recalled 2 million of its strollers due to issues with the trays of some of their strollers and possible strangulation due to them. There have been four deaths because of the trays and an investigation is being done to see if the trays have caused other deaths.

Please see a list of the specific Graco Strollers being recalled at Inhabitots and what you should do if you have one.

Graco MetroLite Stroller

 

Homemade Lip Balm and Moisturizer October 8, 2010

Filed under: baby,children,personal care products — Kirstin @ 3:03 pm
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I started educating myself on safer personal care products when I became pregnant with my daughter. When ever I needs something new, I check in with Skin Deep to find better alternatives to cosmetics, lotions and deodorants to the ones I have.

When it comes to the products I use directly on my daughter, though, I really do my best to find the safest products. I know I can’t put her in a bubble and protect her from every toxin out there, but for things I have direct control over, I do my best to choose the healthiest option.

With fall weather and winter cold just around the corner, moisturizer and lip balm are a must in the coming few weeks. Many moisturizers on the “safer” side still often contain chemicals that I just doesn’t feel comfortable putting on delicate skin. I had heard about others making their own lip balm but I thought it would be time consuming and difficult. Well, it’s neither!

There’s no “icky” stuff like chemicals in these gems below. The most time-consuming part is purchasing all the ingredients. With your first batch, you may ask if it’s worth it with each of the individual purchases, but when you then think about how many batches you’ll get from it all, you’ll change your mind. These make perfect gifts, by the way, and they’re a great project to work on with children who you want to steer in the direction of “safer” personal care products. Visit your local health food store — they should have everything you’ll need.

The following recipes have been taken from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organic Living by Eliza Sarasohan and Sonia Weiss. The book is fantastic and has recipes for your face, body,hair and more.

Use recycled small jelly jars for the lip balm or other glass or plastic containers (#5 is best since they can take the heat) from used personal care products. Just be sure to wash them well before using them. If you need to buy containers, check out this site.

The “Balm” (lip or cuticle cream)

1 Tablespoon beeswax
3 Tablespoons sweet almond oil
1 teaspoon honey
8 – 10 drops of essential oil

1) In a small saucepan, melt beeswax with sweet almond oil over low heat. When the wax is melted, remove from heat. Add honey and stir well. When the mixture begins to cool, but before it gets too thick, add essential oils a few drops at a time and stir to mix. Pour into small jars and let cool.

2) The glossiness of the lip balm is determined by how much oil you use. This recipe has a slight gloss. If less is desired, reduce the amount of sweet almond oil by 1 teaspoon.

Variations: If making lip balm, try combining a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil with orange, lemon or lime; if making cuticle cream, benzoin essential oil helps heal cracked cuticles and works well with one or more of the following: lavender, Roman chamomile, tea tree, neroli, palmarosa, sandalwood, jasmine.

Yields: 1/3 cup balm
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serving size: 1/4 teaspoon balm

Lube Ya (moisturizer for hands and body)

A very rich, very smooth lotion with a slight coconut scent (smells like chocolate!) that dry skin will eat right up. A good one for areas that take a beating and where skin can get especially dry, like knees and elbows.

1/2 cup grated coconut butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
4 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
2 Tablespoons grated beeswax

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and set in a pan filled with an inch or two of water (this is a bain-marie, or water bath). Melt over a medium heat, then pour into a glass jar. Stir and let cool.

Yields 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lotion.
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 Tablespoon lotion

 

Good question about BPA in glass baby food jars… September 12, 2010

Filed under: baby,baby food,BPA — Kirstin @ 4:36 pm
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Safe Alternatives for Baby and Child has just posted a question from a reader asking if BPA in jarred baby food leaches into the food. Click on over for the detailed answer from them.

Photo from Flickr by jencu

 

A handy list of “green” summer links July 9, 2010

Filed under: baby,BPA,children,eco-fun — Kirstin @ 8:00 am
Tags: ,

At the moment, the temperature is 101° F outside and it’ll be the same for tomorrow. I’m really not into these hot temperatures – what can I say, I’m more of an “Autumn kind of girl”.

Here’s a list of some handy sites to help get you through the summer months of heat, sun, and “mom, what else is there to do????” on those lazy days of summer:

Keep cool everyone!

Photo from Flickr by Tibchris

 

Klean Kanteen Sport Cap 2.0 Recalled May 6, 2010

Filed under: baby,children — Kirstin @ 2:23 pm

Klean Kanteen is recalling its 2.0 Sport Cap. There have been six reports relating to the Sport Cap 2.0 spout tip breaking or cracking after being dropped. This can pose a possible choking or ingestion hazard. Click here to get your replacement cap.

 

BabyPlanet’s PVC-free Stroller Rain Cover April 28, 2010

Last year, I started a search for PVC-free, phthalate-free stroller rain covers. I first learned the hazards of PVC plastic when I read an article about PVC plastic shower curtains. I was concerned about the “off gassing” from the plastic that has shown to be harmful to the nervous system and increases the chance of liver cancer. At the time, I only knew of Orbit Baby’s Rain Shield, which fit on many other strollers. However, it was recently updated fit their new Toddler Seat and it only fits well on a few strollers now.

A few weeks ago, I learned that BabyPlanet has a Rain Shield made of EVA plastic, making it PVC-free and phthalate-free. In fact, all of their strollers are completely PVC-free. The rain cover is included with their Timi & Leslie Strollers, but not the Endangered Species Strollers. In addition to recognizing the potential dangers of PVC and eliminating it from their products, BabyPlanet offers a recycling program – if you no longer need your BabyPlanet Stroller and have no one to donate to, you can send it to them for it to be donated to another family. If the stroller is no longer “road worthy”, they’ll send it to a recycling plant that reclaims the aluminum and then grinds up the remainder of the components for use in making tracks, playground mats and industrial mats.

Below you will find a list of strollers that I fitted with the BabyPlanet Rain Cover so you’ll know if it’s an option for your own stroller.

Maclaren Techno XLR Stroller – not a good fit
Maclaren Triumph Stroller – adequate fit (see photo below)
Maclaren Volo Stroller – not a good fit
Maclaren Quest Stroller – adequate fit
Maclaren Quest Sport Stroller – adequate fit (see photo below)

Stokke Xplory Stroller – not a good fit

Peg Perego Si Stroller – adequate fit (see photo below)
Peg Perego Vela Stroller – not a good fit
Peg Perego Vela Lightweight Stroller – not a good fit
Peg Perego Uno Stroller – not a good fit
Peg Perego Skate System Stroller – not a good fit

Cynthia Rowley Comfino Deluxe Stroller – adequate fit

Chicco Capri Stroller – adequate fit

Graco Ipo Deluxe Stroller – adequate fit
Graco Lite Rider Stroller – not a good fit
Graco Metro Lite Stroller – not a good fit

Baby Trend Gabriella Stroller – not a good fit
Baby Trend Stride Sport Stroller – not a good fit

Pliko P3 Stroller – not a good fit

Quinny Buzz – not a good fit
Quinny Zapp – not a good fit

Maxi Cosi Foray Stroller – adequate fit but doesn’t completely cover feet (see photo below)

Bugaboo Cameleon – adequate fit (does not go over handles and you would need to tighten up the cover in the back with your own velcro)
Bugaboo Frog – adequate fit (does not go over handles and you would need to tighten up the cover in the back with your own velcro)

Phil and Ted’s Strollers – not a good fit

BabyPlanet’s PVC-Free Rain Cover is $24.99 and can be purchased through their web site here.

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1 Million Baby Slings Recalled by Infantino LLC March 24, 2010

CNN is reporting today that Infantino LLC is recalling 1 million of its SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo baby slings. This is due to 3 deaths caused by suffocation. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that you should stop using the slings with children younger than 4 months old due to suffocation risks.

The slings were sold in the United States and Canada from January 2003 through March 2010 at these stores:

  • Babies R Us
  • Target
  • Wal-Mart
  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Amazon.com

Infantion LLC is offering free replacement products for their SlingRider and Wendy Bellissimo baby slings. They can be contacted toll-free at (866) 860-1361. You can also visit the company’s web site for a free replacement product.

 

Update: PVC-free Stroller Rain Cover February 19, 2010

UPDATE November 18, 2010: I’m sorry I don’t have a photo to include but I recently tried the Orbit Baby Rain Shield in this review on an UPPAbaby Vista stroller (the seat that reclines) and it had an “adequate fit”.

Just over a year ago, I wrote one of my most visited posts describing my difficult search in finding a PVC-free stroller rain cover. I first learned the hazards of PVC plastic when I read an article about PVC plastic shower curtains. I was concerned about the “off gassing” from the plastic that has shown to be harmful to the nervous system and increases the chance of liver cancer. The only rain cover I could find was made by Orbit Baby.

Orbit Baby has updated their strollers and is calling them the G2 – as in “Next Generation”. The fabric for their strollers uses Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 material, an international certification that sets limits for over 100 harmful chemicals, substances, and emissions in textiles. They have also added to their Infant and Toddler Seat accessory line the Green Edition Foot Muff, which is made of organic cotton/wool that meets car seat flame retardancy safety standards without any harsh chemicals.

The updated strollers have led to a redesigned of the Rain Shield that I originally wrote about. Orbit Baby sent me both their Toddler Seat Rain Shield and Infant Car Seat Rain Shield which I tested again on the many strollers at Babies R Us. Unfortunately, the new Orbit Baby Toddler Rain Shield doesn’t adequately fit on as many strollers as it’s predecessor did due to the redesigned shape of the toddler seat. There are, however, a few that passed the test. Here is a list of strollers that the Toddler Seat Rain Shield will fit on with photos of each:

  • Bugaboo Cameleon and Frog
  • Quinny Buzz – cover only fits when foot rest is set to shortest position
  • Maxi Cosi Forary Stroller – cover only fits when foot rest is set to shortest position
  • Maclaren Quest Sport Stroller – needs some homemade “craftiness”  to attach to the stroller handles as seen in photos from original post and cover does not reach to foot rest of stroller
  • Maclaren Grand Tour LX – doesn’t leave a lot of room in the foot area, though, and doesn’t reach to foot rest
  • UPPAbaby Vista Stroller – sorry, no photo

The updated design of the Orbit Infant Car Seat Rain Shield fit well on all the car seats at Babies R Us. They were the:

  • Graco SnugRide Infant Car Seat, 32, and 35
  • Baby Trend Gabriella Infant Car Seat
  • Evenflo Serenade Infant Car Seat
  • Combi Shuttle 33 Infant Car Seat
  • Primo Viaggio SIP Infant Car Seat
  • Primo Viaggio Gala Infant Car Seat
  • Maxi Cosi Mico Infant Car Seat

You can continue to purchase both the Toddler Seat Rain Shield and the Infant Car Seat Rain Shield online through Orbit Baby and now wherever Orbit Baby Strollers are sold.

Both the Orbit Baby Toddler Rain Shield and the Infant Car Seat Rain Shield were given to me for testing by Orbit Baby. I am not an employee of Orbit Baby.

 

 
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