Archive | February, 2009

Bobs & Lolo and the 3rd Annual Family Fair

Parents are always looking for creative ways to keep kids happy in the car or when cabin fever strikes on a rainy day.   A great solution is to turn up the music and dance it out with Bobs & Lolo.  Your kids will love the fun songs and won’t realize how much they are learning from the wonderful messages within the lyrics.  Lucky local families can check out this talented duo live at the 3rd annual Family Fair this Sunday (more details below).  Parents from afar might not have heard of these talented gals from BC’s West Coast ~ they are the very special Bobs and Lolo.  They have recently become more accessible with their debut on Treehouse (a national TV network) back in January.  But you don’t need to live on the West Coast to purchase their CDs as their wonderful, inspirational music is widely available online.  Looking for fresh, wholesome, non-commercial, educational, and FUN songs for kids?  Bobs & Lolo sing lyrics with creatively crafted messages about recycling, health, caring about the earth, bugs, science…do I need to say more? Click here for a listing of online stores and retail shops that carry their amazing CDs or DVDs. Click here to listen to a sampling of their award-winning songs. A few titles in this listing include: Friends, Snappy Snacks, Muscles, I Love Bugs, Recycle With Me, and more…..simply adorable.

Lucky families in the Tri-City, Greater Vancouver area, because as parents we know our luck when we hear about a local Bobs and Lolo performance because it’s always a great time for our kids!!  This Sunday while your kids are happy and dancing to Bobs & Lolo, parents can check out the awesome companies showcasing their products and services geared with families in mind.  The event is called the ‘Family Fair’ and it’s happening this Sunday, March 1st, at the North Road Executive Plaza Hotel in Coquitlam. This is the 3rd year for this successful event and during the fair times of 9:30 – 4:00, Bobs & Lolo will be performing 3 times!  Along with the live entertainment, there will be family friendly activities, a Discovery Toy corner, a magician and many tables from exciting local businesses.  How do I have the inside scoop on this?  Green Planet Parties will proudly be displaying our eco-friendly party supplies and gifts ~ a great chance to check us out!  This fair will be a fabulous opportunity for parents to view the unique product lines of estore businesses that have tables at the fair. 

Thanks to Oodles Family Clubhouse we’ve all got a great way to spend this Sunday March 1st!  Children under 12 are free and adults are only $3!  Tables range from the RCMP offering free Child ID Kits to finding more eco-friendly diapers with the folks at G Diapers, to finding a peanut free cake to go along with those beautiful green party decorations & tableware <wink>.  There are also fantastic prizes. See you there ~ and please come by the Green Planet Parties table and say hi.

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Are All Stainless Steel Products Created Equal?

Ever wondered why you can purchase a stainless steel bottle or lunch container for very low cost at some stores ~ then you see others at double the price?  If you think certain web sites or stores are simply trying to gauge consumers, you’ll be interested to know that the stainless steel grade is affecting the cost.  It’s a topic I’m interested in because I’ve always wondered what the difference in stainless steel grades are. Is it quality?  Are all grades safe?  I got some answers to these question when I started communicating with mompreneur Carolyn,  owner of the estore The Tickle Trunk.  She’s been nice enough to write an explanation for Mommy Footprint readers and it helps shed some light to these questions. Her mission for starting this company was to offer parents a full-range of stainless steel products, but at different steel grades and therefore a full spectrum of price-points.  Not everyone can afford to replace plastic products with high-end stainless steel so her goal is to offer choices.  Thanks Carolyn for this helpful information.  The section of her article “so how to choose’ is awesome…a great read for confused consumers like myself.  Check out this fantastic option for lunch storage container with a sandwich and fruit compartment for only $7!  This is the place to shop for food storage options!

Types/Grades

Different countries use different names for the various grades of stainless steel. For example ’18/8′ the most commonly used grade of stainless steel is also known as ‘304’ in the North American AISI grade distinction system, or 1.4301 in the European BS EN 10088 standard. So products that have the exact same grade of stainless steel may be labeled differently depending on where they were manufactured. As mentioned the most popular type of stainless steel is the ‘300’ series which is austenitic, and so is not (or only very weakly) attracted by a magnet. The 300 series is made up of Iron, a maximum of 0.15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and a sufficient amount of nickel and/or manganese to retain an austenitic structure. For example, the most popular in this series, ‘304’ or ’18/8′ stainless steel means that there is 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 304 or 18/8 stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance.

The 200 series is also austenitic. More specifically, ‘201’ is made up of 16-18% chromium, 3.5-5.5 % nickel, 0.15% carbon, and 5.5-7.5% manganese. The 200 series is a high performance stainless steel, which is cheaper due to the substitution of manganese for a portion of the nickel that is found in the 300 series. The 200 series has a higher tensile strength than the 300 series, which allows it to be thinner. It has slightly less corrosion resistance than the 300 series.

The 400 series is ferritic, (or magnetic) and martensitic (very hard). Again, more specifically, type ‘430’ or ’18/0′ has 16-18% chromium, 0.75% nickel, 0.12% carbon and 1% manganese. It has a reduced corrosion resistance which is improved by having a highly polished or buffed finish. The 400 series is also easier to machine than the 300 series, lowering manufacturing costs.

So how to choose?

‘304’ or ’18/8′ is one of the best grades on the market. Only ’18/10′ claims to be of a better quality. If you are looking for something that will last a lifetime, this is it. However, the ‘200’ series is slowly catching up to the 300 series in popularity due to the high cost of nickel. It is only slightly less corrosion resistant, and the fact that it is stronger, therefore items can be thinner, also makes it much cheaper. ‘430’, or ’18/0′ stainless steel requires a bit more attention. It is the least corrosion resistant of the three, so it requires a bit more maintenance. For example, it should be dried after washing, not left to drip dry. This does not mean that ‘430’ will fall apart. It will last just as long as the other grades of stainless steel if looked after. This is a great option for lunch boxes that might not make it home. It will still be upsetting if it gets lost, but not as much as some of the other, higher priced grades.

We want everyone to have access to plastic alternatives. That is why we have chosen to carry many different types of stainless steel products. We like to give options. A parent should have the choice to pack a child’s food in a safe container, and not have to worry about breaking the bank.

All Tickle Trunk’s products are responsibly made, our suppliers are all verified, and our products are tested for contaminants and toxins. All of these grades of stainless steel are safe to store your food in. If properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.

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Eco-Me 100% Natural To Clean Your Home

I’ve loved reading about the Eco-Me company that has embraced the notion that you can clean your home without harmful chemicals.  The Eco-Me company has many cool concepts in their lineup: 100% All Natural Home Products, Body Products, Baby Products, and Pet Products.  Eco-Me provides the tools and key ingredients to make these chemical-free products and you have peace of mind knowing exactly what ingredients are being sprayed and used in your home. 

I receive a lot of questions about home-made eco friendly cleaners and if the baking soda mixed with vinegar solution simply isn’t cutting through the grime, the Eco-Me kit might be your ticket!  This kit is designed to heighten consumer awareness of what ingredients go into their cleaner.  They provide the key ingredient of Eco-Me essential oil, but items such as vinegar, baking soda, oil, and water comes from your kitchen.  You can trust by adding these every-day ingredients that the cleaners are safe for your family and pets and you’ll produce a natural all-purpose spray cleaner, wood polish, and scrub cleaner.  The essential oil that Eco-me provides is 100% natural and assists with removing dirt, mildew, mold, and is made from tea tree, lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary.  If you’ve suffered from headaches after cleaning with traditional products ~ you are suffering from chemical overload.  The Environmental Protection Agency quotes “the average home contains as much as 25 pounds of toxic cleaning products”. 

I’ve been hearing amazing buzz about these kits for months, so imagine my excitement to discover Nayla Natural Care sells Eco-Me kits for the home and pampering baby.  What awesome and original baby shower gifts these would be!  Personally, I love the idea of being able to mix this with my kids because it is all natural and they enjoy helping clean side-by-side with Mommy. (I know, it’s eerie…they didn’t inherit the clean gene from me.)

Picture source from Nayla Natural Care:

Kit includes:

1 natural fiber storage bag
2 spray bottles for mixing spray cleaner and polish
1 jar of mixing scrub cleanser
1 natural bristle scrub brush
1 handy mixer
1 microfiber cleaning cloth
1 bottle of Eco-Me Essential Oil
Easy to follow direction about how to mix with ingredients to clean with right from your own kitchen

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The Fairy Ring ~ Etsy Wooden Fairy Dolls

I came across the Etsy store The Fairy Ring  today and could not close my mouth.  You cannot visit this site without aching to purchase a few wooden fairies (with names like Lavender and Hydrangea), toadstools, and tea sets.  These wooden creations are magical.  Here is your answer for a heirloom gift to create hours of magical, free, imaginative play for the little fairy lover in your life.  When I came across The Fairies from Fairyland  showcased on Tiffany’s site, I just had to share, they simply made me happy.  Check out these pictures:

This Etsy store was created by a mom wanting to share her love of fairies. You can feel her love for this enchanted land with the wonderful descriptions she’s used with each product.  Read this description of Lavender ~  “A wonderful and magical thing just happened in Fairyland. Lavender found a magic mushroom and when she takes a small taste she grows to just the right size to play with her toddler friends. Now she is ready to join your little one for hours of fun.”  OMG I want them all…not only are the little play sets adorable, there is a wooden fairy doll tea party play set with storage box and the inside of box is showcased in the first picture above.  The detail is just incredible.  You can also request your fairy dolls be customized with certain hair color or dress color.  I love the concept, the product, and it’s guaranteed to dust off a memory of earlier times where trolls and goblins made mischief and danced with fairies.

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Felted Sting Ray ~ Magical For Children or Dogs

I’ve been brewing about something for weeks now.  I’ve been reading far too much about plastic toys and the ones that leech.  With a heavy heart I know by far the worst culprit in this area for me was when I visited my local Aquarium with all of my children.  The guilt of always buying a new plastic, PVC, toxic sea creature from the gift shop before we left became a tradition.  Why? Because I believed I was being a good parent by bribing them out the door with an inexpensive toy rather than with candy or ice cream.  I will be making a phone call to the Manager of the gift shop in the coming weeks to ask why an educational facility continues to sell PVC (chemical leeching) toys in their gift shop, in such an up-scale facility.  I’ve written about the fact I let my twins teeth on these toys to relieve their aching gums and my boys bathed with these Phthalate toys. 

Want to see what should be in that gift shop with a wonderful price-point?  If these had been at the gift shop rather than the plastic toys…I know I would have picked one up.  Thanks to the amazing estore Branch for these options.  Picture source from the Branch site:

 

 

Look at how cute the tummy of the sting ray is?  The funny thing about these adorable creatures is they were originally created as non-toxic chew toys for dogs.  So not only are they safe for poor Barkley to eat (god knows we’ve been giving our pets toxic plastic too), but they are all-natural and made ethically/fairly traded by providing employment for the woman of Nepal.   The material is 100% boiled wool that is totally renewable.  With the baby sting ray’s price point being $12, I can promise you I would have picked up one of these magical creatures, rather than going for the plastic $5 cheap toy.  Let’s get with it science centers, Aquarium gift shops, and upscale toy stores!  We, as parents, are looking for you to provide safety and research toys before you sell them.  I’m not talking about dollar stores; I’m talking about places that take a lot of money from families for memberships and donations.  Help us, by educating yourself about what should end up in a gift shop, which is a safe alternative for children.

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