Archive | March, 2009

A Truly Eco-Friendly Playhouse

This is what my dream backyard looks like. Nothing but tall grass to run through with this willow playhouse nestled in nature ~ be ready to pause and catch your breath.  This amazing creation is by Judith Needham and is a truly eco-friendly playhouse that inspires a place of magical enchantment.  Can you imagine how beautiful this would look in any child’s space?

The Dreaming Spires Willow Playhouse image from Judith Needham’s site:


Great find Leah!  Thanks for sharing it with us.



Toxic Lipsticks & EWG Kid-Safe Video

Back in February, the Environmental Working Group wrote about lead showing up in popular lipstick brands.  The article ‘The Kiss Of Lead’ stated that 61% of the lipsticks tested, contained lead.   And don’t try looking on the lipstick packaging for lead listed as an ingredient because it wasn’t there.  To put the amount of lead found in perspective, the FDA allows 0.1 ppm (parts per million) limit for lead in candy.  The lipstick with the highest level of lead “L’Oreal Colour Riche – True Red” tested 0.65 ppm of lead.  

Then Canada helped put another toxic spin on lipstick last month by banning 2 chemicals used in lipstick and other personal care products: D4 and D5 siloxanes.  They are found in household items such as lotions, hair care, soaps, baby bottle nipples, cookware and cleaning products.  Their effects on animals include the usual damage to the female reproduction system and uterine tumors.  Solution for lipstick lovers?  Checking the Skin Deep database on the EWG site to research earth-friendly, non-toxic lipstick alternatives.  I did note with interest that many of the MAC products rated 3 for hazard score – that’s not a bad score considering I wouldn’t know where to find most of the products rating a 0 or 1.

Canada’s actions with this current ban of D4 & D5 and taking a stand on banning BPA in baby products last year, shows the Government has real concerns about chemicals and where they are being used. As quoted by the EWGThis action paves the way for possible mandates requiring that companies phase these chemicals out of use, is the first environmental or health-based determination concerning the chemicals issued by any nation”.  I feel reassured by Canada emerging as one of the world’s leaders for protecting it’s consumers from synthetic chemicals.  One of the most chilling messages that has stuck in my head after watching the documentary The Disappearing Male is that we’ve spent the last 100 years creating man-made (untested for effects on human health) synthetic chemicals and we’ll spend the next 100 years finding ways to combat the damage they’ve done to human health and the environment.   We have built our material world using synthetic chemicals with 80,000 of them in use.  85% of these chemicals have not been tested for their effect on human beings ~ very scary statistic.  We need to continue to encourage our governments to lobby for change with targeting and testing synthetic chemicals and their side-effects with human health. 

For my many US readers, I understand you’re not able to view the Disappearing Male documentary (restrictions from the Canadian site).  But, here is another eye-opeing video from the EWG site called Kid-Safe Chemicals Act: 10 Americans Video.  The speaker in the video is Ken Cook (co-founder and president of EWG) in July 2008 speaking about a research project the Environmental Working Group funded that involved checking the blood of 10 random Americans.  They checked each blood sample for 413 toxic chemicals.  Each subject tested positive for an average of 200 chemicals and some pesticides found in their blood were banned more than 30+ years ago.  It is fascinating when Ken reveals who the 10 Americans actually are and how they were selected.  This video is very entertaining and packed with awesome information!

Related articles:

Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Part II ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Quick Reference Guide When Shopping For Personal Care Products

Are Cosmetics Killing Us?



I Do Believe In Mermaids

It’s true that parents become completely engaged in the imaginative world their children create. My favorite memory with my twin girls is an afternoon spent on the beach making sand castles telling them stories of the mermaids.  I told them when the tide came up and lifted the sand castles away, it would be a wonderful gift for the mermaids to enjoy.  My girls sat totally engrossed in the story and begin to feverishly decorate the castles with any shells, sea weed, or grass they could find with such wonderfully pure and beautiful expressions in their eyes and smiles.  And at 2 years old, I knew they were not imagining commercially produced Ariel mermaids. 

When Christmas approached I knew a mermaid gift needed to be on the list for my girls, but I could only source the mermaid Groovy Girls and mermaid Barbies.  My quest lead me to the place where I am never disappointed, as the creativity of Etsy owners is abundant ~ Etsy!  Want to see what I turned up that is practical, functional, beautiful, imaginative, and guaranteed to make girls of all ages gasp?

Ummm yes.  It’s a pink and red mermaid tail beach towel. It simply ties around your ‘mermaid’s’ waist to start hours of imaginative play or you can lay it next to the pool or beach for use.  And just in case you didn’t notice it from the picture, the little girl’s doll also is sporting a mermaid tail.  The talented Etsy artist of Tiny Green Apples, decided to make mermaid tails for American Girl dolls.  You can’t leave out her best friend right?  I love these mermaid tails because of where they’ll lead a little girl’s imagination.  

Here is a close-up of the doll mermaid tail.  Thank goodness it’s March and I can talk about beach towels and sand castles without sounding crazy ~ I’ve been sitting on this little gem for simply too long.



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