Archive | May, 2009

Greener Father’s Day

It doesn’t matter the age of the father you are celebrating this Father’s Day, most likely he’ll own a cell phone, ipod, camera, GPS, etc.  The coolest gift idea I’ve seen comes from The Ultimate Green Store with two products that harness the sun’s energy to power or charge handheld devices using a solar backpack and solar messenger bag.  Both styles have solar panels and 11 adaptors for easy connection to handheld products.  Also, the outside fabric of the bags is made from recycled soda bottles, making these products light weight and water proof.  The solar panels make these products so unique because they are functional to carry supplies, a laptop, etc. while dad is out for a hike, walk, bike ride, romp at the park, or simply walking to work! 

Both the backpack and messenger bag don’t output enough power to charge a laptop, but contain sleeves for laptop storage and are reinforced and padded for extra protection.   It’s cool to think only 4-6 hours of direct sunlight would fully charge a cell phone and when it’s not in the sun, the battery can be charged using the AC travel charger or DC car charger.  What a perfect gift for the dad that cycles to work or enjoys outdoor family time with kids.

Pictures from The Ultimate Green Store site:

Messenger Bag Style:

For those dads that need to be nudged gently into ‘green’ gifts- try a custom little eco package and show dad that the greener way is still fun.  Buy dad a cloth bag and fill with a Klean Kanteen bottle, organic wine or beer, biodegradable golf balls (go the extra mile and find corn starch tees), a bamboo tshirt and sock set.  Dad will be thrilled with the soft alternative of bamboo material and you can explain how it’s eco-friendly because it’s a highly renewable resource and produced without pesticides.  He’ll never go back to drinking out of plastic water bottle again after trying his 27 oz Klean Kanteen bottle while working out or hitting golf balls. It can be a whole new world opened up to Dad this Father’s Day and he can be proud to join the green movement.  Happy Father’s Day planning!

Related Articles: 

Father’s Day Green Gift Ideas (Father’s Day gift ideas from 2008)



Color Me House ~ Best Summer Toy Pick

Looking for a great open-ended project that will keeps kids busy and happy for days/weeks/months this summer?  My clan has been working on a playhouse from Color Me House and there is no end in sight to the enjoyment they are having.  You’ll always hear from experienced parents or grandparents that a child’s favorite toy is the box the toy arrived in.  I completely agree because if you give your kid a discarded cardboard appliance box, a set of pencil crayons or paint, and help them cut windows and doors with a knife ~ you’ll have very happy kids. 

The concept of playing with a left-over box is great for your own children, but you’d look silly giving this as a gift.  Also, large, sturdy boxes are not easy to find.  Well the folks at Color Me House have the perfect solution because they’ve produced 2 products (made in the USA) that are my pick as best summer toys.  Why are they so awesome?  The great designs are perfect for boys or girls with blasting out of your backyard in the rocket or spending hours in a spacious play house.  Both designs have wonderful details that kids notice and are designed for open-ended play because children can draw, color, and paint both the inside and outside.  They are also very easy to assemble, easy to store when kids are not using, and can be recycled at your curb when their shelf life is over.  Honestly, any parents thinking of purchasing huge plastic play houses for your backyard this summer should consider testing their kid with this product first.  Unless you purchase an outdoor playhouse 2nd hand, you’ll spend hundreds of dollars and you’ve just added to a huge problem with large plastic toys ~ most are not recyclable.  With how tentative I am to purchase plastic toys for the kids, with worrying about what they are made from, painted with, and how they’ll be disposed once my kids are finished with them, the Color Me House projecthas been wonderful.  It’s been the best toy for the different ages of my kids…everyone has something to color or play with. My 7 year old has been drawing planets and aliens on the roof, next to the pre-cut stars and moon the house came with (love the attention to detail).  My 5 year old and twin 3 year olds have equally had a blast with coloring and actually playing in the house.  There is lots of room inside the play house and the price point on this product is very reasonable ~ $39.95 US.  I’ve seen similar products for almost double the cost so it’s nice they’ve kept these affordable to parents.  Color Me House is located in the US, but they ship everywhere ordering via their website (incl. Canada) and sell both products in these retail stores.

I’ll post more pictures once my kids have finished their masterpiece. I’m hoping it takes all summer long.  <wink>


Related articles:

What You Don’t Know About Plastic Toys Made From PVC

A Truly Eco-Friendly Playhouse

Kid’s Project – Turn Cardboard Boxes Into Functional Furniture



Heirloom and Reusable Birthday Party Decorations

I had a moment of sheer joy today when the first reusable banner flag was revealed from the spring line of Green Planet Parties reusable decorations.  The finishing touch of the purple felt letters to highlight this new fabric looks amazing.  The cloth banners are special because the quality craftsmanship is such they can become heirloom gifts that promote new birthday traditions and memories for a birthday child. They are also becoming a unique baby shower gift when the guests know either the gender or name of the baby – cool hey?  These banners have also been bundled into a product called ‘party decorations in a bag‘ and it includes a Happy Birthday banner, matching table runner, and 10 goodie bags all for $89.95, saving the customer 15%  rather than if they ordered the pieces individually. Here is a glimpse of what caused my excitement: 

Also new to the Green Planet Parties decorations is the re-vamp of our popular cotton tablecloth.  We decided to keep the felt appliques detached so it’s more like felt confetti that can be sprinkled or arranged to highlight what is special to the host.  Each tablecloth comes with 12 appliques, more than enough to highlight that special centre piece or punch bowl.  This keeps the party tablecloth in much better condition because for heavy stains, it can be washed in warm water, without the customer worrying about damaging the applique designs.  Check out the two beautiful designs in either butterfly or green leaf theme; matching felt goodie bags coordinate with these tablecloths and are whimsical and fun for both boys and girls.

Inspired by families looking to invest in a reusable ‘Happy Birthday’ banner with children of both genders, Green Planet Parties launched their felt Happy Birthday garland a few months ago.  It has been a very popular item and is the perfect solution for families with boys and girls celebrating special birthdays (mom and dad too)!  They also tie into the butterfly and green leaf theme as the customer decides when ordering if the middle circle separating the words ‘Happy’ and ‘Birthday’ is going to have a butterfly or leaf.   A great coordinating, reusable birthday decoration that will last for many years.  We have learned from our customers that it’s never too late to start these new traditions because girls, boys, moms, dads, grandma, grandpa, anyone appreciates a heirloom party decoration that can be hung and admired on their special day.



PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

A few weeks ago I wrote my first article highlighting the scary health effects from PVC plastic. Scariest fact from the article is that PVC is a known human carcinogen and has recently been linked to the development of autism. PVC ‘the poison plastic’ is the worst (and unfortunately the most widely used) plastic because it’s not recyclable and it does nothing but produce harmful dioxins from the start of it’s production until it ends up in the incinerator or landfill.  Not only is it terrible for the environment, but it has adverse effects to human health and is still used to produce many products that children or babies use in North America.  For this reason, I’m trying to bring awareness to household items, toys, etc., made from PVC and hope this article becomes a point of reference for parents so they can identify household items made from PVC plastic.  It’s important to note that some companies and countries (Europe) have produced alternatives to PVC, so you need to investigate before pointing fingers or panicking. 

I’ve checked with a few ‘environmental experts’ that are within my network (hello Twitter!) and can confidently share that PVC continues to off-gas or ‘leach’ toxins throughout it’s entire existence.  When a product made from PVC is first opened from packaging or purchased you notice a strong odor ~ this is a strong clue that it contains PVC.  What I’ve learned is just because the odor goes away or lessens, the item is still continuing to leach harmful chemicals.  Two ways besides scent to identify items made from PVC is to look for a V or 3 inside or underneath the universal recycling symbols. Of course, toy manufacturers and too smart to stamp V (for vinyl) or 3 (plastic that is not recyclable) with chasing arrows at the bottom of their toys because trust me, I keep looking.  Why would they want to tip off consumers that the toy is toxic?  Very frustrating.  You need to ask questions and if the retailer looks at you confused and can’t answer the question if it’s made from PVC, don’t purchase it.

I first realized the difference in PVC-free rain gear (rain boots, hats, gloves, jackets, pants, etc) last weekend when I stuck my nose into a rack of Puddle Gear products and couldn’t smell any odor and didn’t get my usual headache.  The Puddle Gear line is made PVC free and is a sweet new find!   When I stand next to traditional rubber boots or rain gear and it contains PVC, I can tell because I get a terrible headache instantly.  

On a daily basis I’m finding or thinking about more things in my home that surround my children made from PVC and want to create a master list.  I thank the following sites for supplying me with awesome information about PVC, worth a read if you want more information:,,, and a pioneer watch-dog site site that holds companies accountable for producing harmful products

If you have any items that are not listed below, please add a comment to the bottom of this article and I will edit the post and add the item to this master list.  Yikes!  With summer quickly approaching – check out the category for outdoor items that are made with PVC – do you want your child sitting in an outdoor pool for hours that is leaching chemicals?


Cling Wrap
Shower Curtains
Bath Mats
Place Mat
Credit Cards
Pond Liners
Wall Coverings including wall paper, wall decals for nursery or kid’s rooms
Fake Christmas Trees
Strollers and Car Seats
Water beds
Labels and Stickers
Photo Album Sheets
Mattress Covers
Imitation Leather Furniture
Checkbook Covers
Cleaning product containers
Pet care product containers
Modeling Clay (Child Toy)

Apparel: Continue Reading →



Lalabee Bathworks Is Buzzing With Organic Fun

Anyone can guess from my every day appearance that I don’t partake in a daily beauty regime, but as I discover products made with natural beeswax and organic oils, I’m feeling enticed to change.  I’ve become a huge fan of products made from beeswax because it’s so incredibly organic and the fragrance is lovely for my sensitive nose.  So I was delighted to discover the organic delights from BC’s own Lalabee Bathworks. A sampling of the ingredients listed on their mommy and baby product line include natural beeswax, organic sunflower oil, organic olive oil, vitamin E oil to name only a few of these organic goodies!

I’ve been surprising my clan before bedtime with back rubs with Lalabee Bathworks Body Balm. My kids love it and I enjoy the soft, non-greasy texture of the balm.  Even with its title Double Lavender Body Balm the lavender fragrance is very mild, lovely in fact, and the balm absorbs into their skin leaving it feeling gorgeous.  I’ve always steered clear of greasy, body lotions, but this is a wonderful, new ritual we are all enjoying.  Designed for infant massage, I even tried it on my Isabella & her sensitive skin was not bothered with this product.  The balm is a lovely texture and you can really feel the olive and sunflower oil ingredients. 

Savvy Mom wrote in their dream baby shower gift guide that Lalabee Bathworks for babies is a must have for babies’ perfect skin. Wow! The next baby gift or shower you attend, swap out traditional skin care products (Johnson and Johnson for example) because the mom-to-be will love Lalabee’s line of gifts. Their Baby Gift combination of Bottom Balm (must have), Baby Butter, Body Balm, Milk Bath is so affordable at $25!  Another fun product they’ve created are organic bath bombs made with baking soda, organic sunflower and tangerine essential oil to name a few…lovely, fun and safe from hidden chemicals of traditional bath products.  Just what bath time should be.

Lalabee Bathworks is getting some really big buzz for their fantastic products and their concern for the environment with earth friendlier packaging of fully recyclable tins for their balms and biodegradable cellulose bags for gifts. Lalabee supports local economy by making their product line in Canada using certified organic and natural ingredients ~ without any nasty preservatives that traditional skin care lines use to keep products on store shelves for so long. Great job to their founder Sara ~ I’ll be watching closely to see what you come up with next!



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