Archive | December, 2008

Kid’s Project – Turn Cardboard Boxes Into Functional Furniture

Do you have cardboard boxes left over from Christmas or from a new appliance and a little person at home that likes to create and build?  Check out this awesome (and free!) website called Fold School that offers 3 design plans to create furniture from cardboard and it’s geared for the children to make with an adult!  The age recommended for building is 4-8 (although Lego says the same thing and stumps me every time), so this should be obtainable for an adult to accomplish and looks like an incredible project for a child.  They created the site to inspire creative fun for children by reusing a material into a functional furniture piece that later can be recycled.  How cool is this?  Try out a design during this last week of R&R before the kids are back to school and the crazy schedules start back up.  Check out these pictures, then read on.  Pictures courtesy of the Fold School site

Cardboard Chair

 

Cardboard stool

Very cool of Fold School offering these designs for free in the hopes of helping parents spark creativity with their children.  They state the products are able to bear the weight of an adult and they use cardboard as the product’s material so that when the shelf life of the stool, chair or rocker is over, you can discard with a clear conscience.  They recommend using 4 mm single layered cardboard and that these projects take approx. 5 hours to create.  How wonderful and what a great project for a preschool or early elementary class to work on and create as a group.  I can’t think of a more powerful message for reusing and recycling for kids.  And what child wouldn’t want to sit on something they created or take a ride on a rocker they hand crafted?

What child wouldn't love the rocker?

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Home Made Christmas Crackers & Nature Activities

I’ve recently noticed what the contents of Christmas crackers are…I had no idea they were filled with dollar store quality toys.  A very cute concept for kids, but really, another example of a small way you can re-vamp a Christmas tradition that can reduce some waste and plastic.  By tweaking the cracker and making it yourself – you keep the fun, but help make your Christmas become a little more sustainable.

My mom told me about a neighborhood tradition when I was younger that I thought was such a cute idea.  Take an empty toilet paper roll, fill with something yummy or sustainable to create home made Christmas crackers. There are sites or even Michaels that could tell you how to make a cracker with the ‘cracker piece’ that makes the pop noise, but I would never attempt in such detail with my clan.  But if you are feeling so inclined, there is a great site called Not Martha and they have detailed instructions for making your own party crackers (with the pop).

My boys have the attention span of 4 minutes to start and finish a craft, but that’s all you need to make your own cracker.  Take a toilet paper roll, fill with all natural nail polish, hair accessories, organic chocolate, etc., and wrap in either seed paper or tissue paper.  Tie off each end with hemp string and presto.  Get your children to write guests names on a label or directly on the cracker and it’s your place setting for Christmas dinner.

A few other nature based, holiday crafts that I found so inspiring come from my favorite outdoor site Green Hour and a blog that contributes to the Green Hour site occasionally called Nature For Kids. Check out the nature box that Shawna and her kids made – what an awesome rainy day (or snow day) activity for indoors.  Also, check out her latest post on making a pine-cone bird feeder. A really cute and easy activity for all ages..could also be a unique holiday present. My only advice would be to hang it really high in a tree so that bears or other wildlife don’t find it first. But, a really cute eco activity that I know my kids would all love and if we get snowed in for another day tomorrow, I’ll be looking for fun ways to keep them entertained.

Don’t forget to enter the Mommy Footprint give-away.  Enter to win wall art from Raspberry Kids.  Read details here or click the below link to complete contest form:

http://mommyfootprint.com/mommyfootprint-referral-form/

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Christmas Gift Items For That Grown-Up Gal On Your List

This year, I’ve been feeling like most men do every year… I have a major allergy to the mall and I’m ready to do all my shopping last minute.  This might be a stereotype, but I somehow doubt it.  <smile>  I have a little tip for local hubbies that haven’t gotten that perfect, well priced, eco-friendly, impossible sounding gift for their better half.  Lavish and Lime is an online store, located out of West Vancouver, and is here to rescue you!  They are ready to ship that perfect gift next week to arrive in-time for Christmas.  They have some very special items for moms.  I’m very practical and I love their line of bamboo accessories (nightshirts, hats), eco-chic jewelry, and bags.

Unless you’ve felt bamboo clothing or worn it, you might not know it’s the softest material you can source against your skin.  Any adult clothing made from bamboo is also very eco-chic because bamboo is a naturally fast growing, sustainable material and unlike cotton, isn’t grown with pesticides.  It’s always been one of my top picks to put against a baby’s skin, but why not a hat or nightshirt that sits against your skin for many hours each day or night?  Choosing a gift like this scores you bonus points because you haven’t just gone to La Senza and picked out something non-practical and uncomfortable.  This gift involves thinking about the environment, her comfort, and selecting a quality item.  How cute are these bamboo nightshirts?!!  I honestly can’t think of anything I’d rather sleep in than bamboo.  I have one of the bamboo hats from Lavish and Lime and it breathes and feels wonderful on my head because I can’t have wool or anything scratchy on my body.


Another affordable idea is the recycled wood and silver jewelry line.  Again, nothing says thoughtful like being gentle on our environment and sourcing a beautiful, simple item that can be worn as an everyday piece.  The recycled seastar necklace is special.  It is handcrafted from recycled, re-melted and combined with sterling silver components…and made in Canada!  Sweet!  The wooden tree pendent is also a very eye grabbing, eco-chic item.

Shopping this year with help from Lavish and Lime’s wonderfully sourced products is a great way to buy amazing gifts, avoid the mall, not spend a bundle, and there is still time to finish your shopping with a beer in one hand, while watching the hockey game.  Sounds like the perfect shopping scenario to me!

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3 Cool Gift Ideas Kid’s Won’t Already Have!

There are just SO many awesome eco-fabulous products out there for Christmas!  Very unique, nature based, eco-friendly, wonderful things that come to my attention via Etsy surfing or from talented mompreneurs.  Looking for gifts for children that have everything or maybe have too many commercial based toys?  Here are three wonderful products ranging in very affordable prices that they don’t already have – but would LOVE to receive!

1) The wonderful Nature Bag.  This product was created by two New Westminster Moms who noticed a void with encouraging children back into nature, trying to reduce the ‘nature deficit disorder’ that author Richard Louv described in the book ‘Last Child In The Woods’ that is one of the inspirations behind what called these moms into action.    In an attempt to re-connect children with our beautiful environment, the co-founders Katharine and Sylvie produced a wonderful concept: The Nature Bag.  Filled with what you might expect..binoculars, magnifying glass, bug box, and notepad, the true magic of this bag are the booklets inside that inspire parents with new ideas with re-introducing kids back into appreciating and learning about nature.  I also loved the simple idea of ‘leaf viewers’ and cards where you can stick treasures found in nature to bring home.  The price point makes this a very special gift – the perfect gift recommendation for a grandparent or Santa present.  Really, at $34.99, if your child becomes re-stimulated with nature and spends less ‘screen time’ at home, that cost seems very low.

2)  Ring ring!  What child wouldn’t think they own customized bike bell isn’t the coolest?  Check out these adorable bicycle bells from the Etsy shop Dring Dring.  They use eco-friendly paints without solvents or toxic fumes.  They are weather resistant and the company is always creating new designs.  They also charge depending on where you live (US or Canada) because they are a Canadian based company…that is so nice!  Check out this picture from their Etsy site.  What child wouldn’t appreciate their very own uniquely made bell for their bike?!

3) Last (but not least) have you ever heard of Fabkins?  What a great little gem for gift exchanges with little friends, stocking stuffers, or ‘greening’ up your party ideas.  They are wonderful cloth napkins with different embroidered themes to please any child.  They help promote environmental awareness by reducing paper waste and are totally adorable.  I know my girls especially, love to dab the corners of their mouth at mealtime and think these are a very special addition to meal time.  Fabkins come in sets of 5 and the cute designs make this a very unique and wonderful gift AND kids are learning about reusing products rather than always opting for the easy solution of disposable napkins.

I hope these and other Mommy Footprint ideas help inspire some gift giving ideas that promote some old school, sustainable values.  There is no better gift than a product that stimulates and educates a child’s mind.

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Home-Made Baby Food & BPA Free Ice Cube Trays

I received a great question from Melissa regarding what to use when freezing home-made baby food. I know the ice cube trays I used many years back probably contained BPA (because they were old and didn’t have resin codes) and I’ve always felt badly my boys had to eat chemicals along with food that was supposed to be nutritional.

So back in August when I wrote Organic, Non-Toxic Gift Ideas For Baby, number 5 on the list was Baby Cubes by Petite Creations, which are ice-cube trays designed to store and freeze baby food. For only $6.49, I wanted to mention them again because I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer or shower gift add-on for an expecting mama or gift for baby. The wonderful estore Nayla Natural Care sells these trays which are actually very hard to find. Nayla is an on-line Canadian store and are dedicated to providing natural, non-toxic products for parents. Also available at this site are Food Trays by Fresh Baby, which are great to store expressed breast milk and baby food freezing. They have covers that completely seal the tray so there are no spills or mess. These trays are made from food safe plastic and are phalate-free, plasticizer-free and BPA free.

While you’re checking out Nayla, load up on stocking stuffers for older kids with their Trukid products. I discovered Trukid when trying to source non-toxic products to help with my daughter’s last eczema outbreak.  I’ve tried most of their product line and I’m a big fan. Give your children the gift of phalate and BPA-free products this Christmas – practical gift ideas they’ll love to receive.

Related articles:

Organic, Non-Toxic Gift Ideas For Baby

Protect Your Family From Phthalates In Your Home

Plastic Food Storage Alternatives – Glass, Stainless Steel, or Bamboo anyone?

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