Archive | April, 2008

Mega Brands Toy Recall

You’ll learn soon enough that I have a toy addiction…I’m in LOVE with Playmobil. It’s quality is amazing and although it’s not cheap, you just know it will never end up on a recall list.   Another recall has surfaced involving magnets, the company is MEGA Brands.   Never a huge surprise anymore when the toy has a magnet, but this recall is pretty widespread.   Most parents I know have a Magnetix building set and I was planning on purchasing the Magnetix Jr. set for the girls because it’s so fun.   Guess I need to get my girls aboard the Playmobil train, as it’s really the only brand I buy that I’m completely at ease.

Here is the link to the latest recall  involving the following building sets from Mega Brands: Magnetix, Magtastik, Magnimals, Magnetix Jr., and Magna-Mans.

http://www.megabrands.com/en/customerservice/recallinfo/index.php

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Why Gymnastics For Young Children?

My boys have been inside the walls of a gymnastics facility since they were toddlers.  I was the laugh of a local gym because I was on the trampoline jumping until the week I had the c-section with my twins. <That wasn’t a pretty sight BTW, but it was lots of fun!>  It was a place that my boys (who didn’t follow instruction well as toddlers) could go nuts, jumping into foam, running with wild abandon without anyone getting mad, swinging on ropes like Tarzan, and jumping away the day on trampolines.  A real gymnastics facility is the way to go because everything is padded and safe for children.  Even the trampolines were ground level…taking away the stress even for a little person to jump.  It really helped save my sanity on those long rainy days when the energy level for kids is so high!

The Kerrigans are a couple that have recently renovated and transformed a local gym into a magical place of fitness and fun for children. It is filled with enthusiastic, energetic, and knowledgeable coaches and you can see all of the children having a great time.  Three of my kids take lessons and Sara, the co-owner, was nice enough to outline the benefits of gymnastics for children.  Source: Sara Kerrigan of Kerrigan Gymnastics Academy.

Extended participation in gymnastics classes provides children with many physical, cognitive and psychological benefits. Skills children gain from participation in gymnastics will continue benefiting them throughout their lives.

Physical Benefits:

An increase in muscular strength, flexibility and endurance.
The ability to relax.
Correct body alignment while walking, standing, jumping etc.
The knowledge of how to fall and roll safely.
Increased agility and coordination.

Cognitive Benefits:

Awareness of the body.
Awareness of space and where the body is in it.
Awareness of relationships: body parts to each other and the apparatus.
Awareness of relationships with others.

Psychological Benefits:

The joy of movement mastery.
Discipline and self control.
The exercise habit as a pleasurable daily occurrence.
A confident self image and a positive attitude towards their bodies.
Trust in one’s own abilities: move from a world of “I can’t” to “I can”.

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Reusable Canvas Totes – The New Prada?

I’ll admit I’ve never been an ‘accessories’ girl.   I own one watch (a Roots sports watch that has a night light so I can clock what ungodly hour my kids get me up), no jewelry, purses, umbrella, and really only 1 pair of shoes.  I wait until I’ve worn out my current pair of crocs or boots, then buy another pair to wear.   It’s not because I don’t want to look cute, I just know I’ll lose anything that isn’t nailed down to me.  I might be the last person on this planet that doesn’t own a cell phone.  It’s all I can do to keep track of my wallet and camera.  Oh yes, the 4 kids, their stuffed animals, snacks, change of clothes, diapers…. yikes!   No wonder I don’t have accessories.

However, lately I’ve been carrying a green reusable canvas tote for my wallet, kids’ snacks, diapers, etc. and I’m using it very proudly.   It might not be the most attractive bag ever, but if I loose it (give me a week and that thing is gone); I’m only out a few dollars.  I think I’m onto something…girls, can the canvas totes be our new Prada?   My sister was recently here with her latest Betsy Johnson purse and I was temped to  ask how much, where can I find one, etc., but I think I’m ok with my new discovery.    

Especially when using the canvas tote is in the top 10 ways to green your home.  Read the below from www.livescience.com:

“Eschew plastic bags by bringing your own reusable canvas totes the next time you’re at the supermarket or store. Because petroleum-based plastic isn’t biodegradable, it’s certain to outlive you-by about a millennium or so. Each year, thousands of marine animals, including the endangered leatherback turtle, choke to death on plastic trash they mistake for snackable morsels. Our unholy love for plastic disposables has also bred a swirling vortex of plastic trash the size of Texas in the North Pacific Ocean-not surprising when you consider that Americans run through about 100 billion plastic bags annually, using up an estimated 12 million barrels of oil.

You’ll easily forget about horrible plastic bags when you see the amazing totes found on Etsy.  I love this site devoted to selling handmade items.  Just to demonstrate that the reusable canvas tote doesn’t have to be ugly like my green selection…check out this one with owls!

Loose Caboose Designs is the adorable shop on Etsy that created this bag.

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Happy Earth Day! Ready to Talk Paper?

Happy Earth Day!  Find an Earth Day event in your community, have fun, and learn! 

My thanks to Suzanne C who wrote this article to assist the everyday consumer with purchasing paper goods that are the best environmental choice.  Not only is she an amazing mom of 2, but she works with her husband and his business, Wisent Environmental Inc. Based in Burnaby BC, Wisent Environmental works with businesses to deliver sustainable solutions for the way they purchase, manage, use and dispose of their supplies and materials.  Read on…

Increasingly, parents are looking for greener and more sustainable products and experiences when it comes to their children and families. People are making changes, and you see the evidence everywhere.  Folks are opting for thermoses for their daily coffee fix instead of throwing away paper or Styrofoam coffee cups, refilling water bottles instead of buying and disposing of them after each use, and bringing reusable bags for their trips to the grocery store. What about paper products?  It’s the simplest of items – things we buy for our households all the time.  Items like paper towels (if you’re not already using re-usable kitchen cloths such as microfiber instead) or bath tissue (there’s really no getting away from needing this) or even the seemingly endless supply of craft and drawing paper your children need for their daily drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting?

Here is a bit of a refresher on what exactly we should be looking for when we go to buy these paper products – made from our natural resource – trees.

“Recycled” Paper Products such as paper towels and bath tissue:

When purchasing paper products it is important to understand the “recycling logo” and its meaning. Paper that is designated as “recycled” can be a mixture of virgin wood fiber, pre-consumer waste and /or post-consumer waste.  It is important to consider that producing recycled paper produces 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, and creates 5 times the number of jobs than producing paper from virgin paper sources – trees. It saves old-growth trees, forest ecosystems, native habitat and biodiversity – providing an all around much better choice for increasingly green conscious customers.

The difference between Pre-consumer and Post-consumer content in recycled paper:

Pre-consumer (sometimes referred to as Post-industrial) content is paper made out of  paper scraps and trimmings left over from the paper manufacturing process. These paper scraps and trimmings are easiest to recycle, as they do not have to be collected, separated, de-inked etc.  Post consumer waste (PCW) is paper that has been used by the end consumer and then is collected for recycling from various recycling programs.  This is the best paper to buy, as it uses and creates demand for paper that would normally end up in the landfill and no trees are cut down for making the paper.

When looking at the labeling on paper products we look for 2 numbers – the first expresses the percentage of total recycled content and the second number shows the post-consumer waste recycled content. For example, on a label that reads 50% recycled 20% PCW, this means of the 50% recycled content, 30% is pre-consumer recycled and 20% is post-consumer recycled, leaving 50% of the content coming from virgin fiber.  100% post-consumer waste (PCW) is of course the best environmental choice.

Another note – if something says its “recyclable” that only means it can be recycled and pretty much any paper product can be recycled so it’s really an empty statement.  Worse, it probably means the product had no better redeeming environmental qualities to state so it’s likely made from 100% virgin fibers…and that’s our trees. Continue Reading →

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Z Report Listing BPA Free Companies

With the announcement of BPA being labeled ‘dangerous’ in Canada, many questions are being raised to the big names that produce baby/children’s products and their acknowledgment of BPA.  For parents that hadn’t heard anything about BPA until this announcement…now the big panic comes for replacing plastic products that store food, liquid or toys/products that can be mouthed.  A site that can help you wrap your brain around this issue is called Z Recommends.  This site and their product appraisal report is generated by the ZRecs who are obsessive product appraisers and tireless blog enthusiasts.  They have made it easy to choose who should receive your business when purchasing these items for your family.  If it scares you to know that Avent and Playskool were given a ‘poor’ rating meaning they’ve been unwilling to acknowledge consumer’s concerns regarding BPA in their products…check out this site.

One of my kids is still in love with a soother so I appreciated being able to look up safe ‘BPA free’ brands to replace the old soothers in our household. I LOVE how they’ve ranked companies, based on how they’ve handled the BPA controversy. They have a complete listing of BPA-free brands and note all the companies that are BPA-free in all products (bottle, sippy, utensil, soother, breastfeeding accessory, etc.).  Here is a listing of those companies  and I would gladly give these guys my business before the ‘big names’ for being front runners with tackling this ‘toxic’ issue:

Adiri ~ Baby Bjorn ~ Baby Cie ~ Babylife (Wee-go) ~ BFree ~ Born Free ~ Brita ~ Combi ~ DCI ~ Ezee Reach ~ Emily Green ~ Green to Grow ~ iPlay ~ Kidbasix ~ KidCo ~ Klean Kanteen ~ Medela ~ Mother’s Milkmate ~ Mud Pie Baby ~ Not Neutral ~ Nurture Pure ~ Obentec ~ ORE Originals ~ Prince Lionheart ~ Rivadossi Sandro (Trebimbi) ~ SIGG ~ Silikids ~ Skip*Hop ~ Steadyco ~ Thermos ~ thinkbaby

Also, if you can text message on your phone for low cost (depends on your plan), the Zrecs have a service that cross-checks their database of BPA analysis and sends the results to your cell phone.  So say you’re out shopping and want to know if a specific product is BPA free.  You text “zrecs”, then the company name, and the product description to the number 69866.  For example: “zrecs gerber bottles”.  You will receive a text back letting you know the BPA status of Gerber bottles.  The four categories you can check are bottles, sippies, soothers, and tableware. For more details visit their site, but W-O-W how helpful is that for parents?  Especially new parents that need to load up on safe supplies for their baby!

Thanks to the ZRecs for their tireless work in trying to clear up confusion for the consumer with purchasing BPA free products!

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