Archive | November, 2009

Please Read Before Shopping Black Friday Sales 2009

I’m Canadian so it’s not my Thanksgiving weekend, but the media buzz about black Friday shopping had me intrigued so I researched this event more. After getting the scoop on this American sale bonanza week/day/weekend, I have some advice for shoppers.  Watch this video – it will keep you focused and help control binge purchasing.  What is wrong with incredible deals with this stressed economy?  Nothing, but the excess spending on ‘stuff’ is what the marketing heads have hyped surrounding this shopping day and the big stores are banking on you buying with the ‘gotta have this now’ mindset and having a very profitable day.  And don’t get me wrong – nobody loves a deal more than me.  Saving money feels good to everyone, but keep a clear vision of what you need and what are impulse buys.  Most ‘stuff’ is not recyclable and many plastics and electronics are not recycled in North America – we ship lots of it to India and Asia and further pollute and give cancer to the people there left to ‘deal’ with this problem of too much stuff. Or in North America we put these items that cannot be recycled into the incinerator to be burned where the most toxic material of man-made substances are released in the form of dioxins that pollute our bodies and the environment.

And believe me – stores are discounting their crappy ‘stuff’ on sale days with massive marketing to help us forgot for one day that we really don’t need their ‘stuff’ because we already have enough of our own. If you don’t have time to watch the 20 minute video about the Story Of Stuff, just remember one important fact.  From day 1 after purchasing anything to 6 months later, we are only still using 1% of our purchases. Is it possible that 99% of ‘stuff’ we purchase is trashed?  It’s scary but true. Just something to think about, but I don’t want to dampen any aspect of American Thanksgiving…. just encourage people to think about shopping habits in our society and ways they can improve. Happy Thanksgiving to the many US Mommy Footprint readers!

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Baby Tags – Hand Stamped Christmas Gift

When I was planning birthday gifts for my nieces last summer, I knew it was time to source something unique and ‘big girl’ themed. When I ran across the Baby-Tags site, I knew I found my big ticket item. I immediately emailed the founder Desiree and we worked together to handcraft some magical necklaces for my nieces. I’ve written in the past that I’m a huge fan of hand-stamped sterling silver necklaces for moms. Something about having your child’s names around you neck to show-case your love just thrills me. Well, why not give this special item to a girl that wants to be just like mom and show-off a special piece of her own personalized jewlery? Here is the picture of what Desiree created for my older niece who is old enough to handle a bit of weight around her necklace:

hand stamped child's necklace

Isn’t it sweet?  I wanted the ‘love’ heart in behind her personalization because I want her to know how much she means to my family. We just love her to bits!  It’s exactly like the design a mom would want with a large ‘love’ heart to anchor all of her kid’s tags with their names.  I fell in love and wanted to share.

Desiree is mainly concentrated on designs for parent’s that want to showcase their love. Think your hubby or grandma is impossible to buy for? Nope! There is a full line of perfect Christmas gifts for everyone that are well-priced, personalized, and gifts that will be appreciated.

And because Desiree is so creative and easy to work with, Green Planet Parties is delighted that she designed a special piece of jewlery just for us! The perfect birthday gift or box under the tree, this exclusive necklace is classic and we are proud to carry this star design, complete with personalized name, birthday, and birthstone.  Special, unique, and a gift all little girls will love.

gpp hand stamped necklace

Whew ~ Baby-Tags has been a tough secret to keep quiet over the Fall months.  I’m glad I get the chance to finally write about this talented mom and designer.

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Green Teapots and Pink Cupcakes

I’m pretty confident that if every little girl was given a tea set with play food on Christmas morning – the squeals would be heard around the world. It’s one of those things you simply don’t question. Girls never tire of having pretend tea parties and after using the world’s possibly greenest set for 2 years, my Christmas pick for the younger crowd is the Green Toys tea set. Because Green Toys make their products from recycled milk jugs and manufacture their products in the US,  the eco-friendly status of this toy is wonderful…not to mention you don’t have to worry about phthalates or BPA. My girls drink from the tea cups and tea pot in the bath tub every night – it’s their nightly routine. This set has been the best toy they’ve owned and I love that it’s safe for them to mouth and drink from.

I’d like to point to an Etsy store for my ‘cupcake’ pick because I think everyone should have some handmade, uniquely handcrafted toys and gifts under their tree this year. I would love to see a decline in the profits of huge toy companies and see a boom in the sales of small companies that have gone back to the ‘safe’ way of creating toys for our children to play with. Felt is a material I’m very fond of and plan to incorporate felt food into one of the larger gifts for my girls this year. These felt play cookies and cupcakes from the Etsy store Sugar Chic Baby are next on my list to order for Christmas shopping.  They look so real!

vanilla felt cupcakes

felt chocolate sugar cookies

chocolate chunk cookie

If you have a special theme in mind for your gift ideas this year, why not try Etsy first before heading to Toys R Us or to Walmart? Think your kids that love to dress-up would appreciate a new item for their trunk?  Try going to Etsy.com and use the search field to source gifts this year. What a difference for our children’s health and the planet’s health.  Much of the plastic from packaging and products themselves would be eliminated. Not to mention we’d be supporting many moms that appreciate the extra income to handcraft these truly special items. Try it – you get a really good feeling from shopping this way.

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Clementine Art – Naturally Artistic

A few months ago I received Clementine Art soy crayons to review which is great because I’ve always wondered how a soy crayon stands up against Crayola and no-name brand crayons.  Not to be a crayon snob…but there is such a big difference in quality with the amount you pay for art supplies and crayons are no different!  When I opened the box of these soy crayons, I sensed immediately I was going to be a fan.  The shape of them are just perfect for kid’s hands as you will see from the image below.  The quality of the crayon is also amazing and it’s tough to use regular old crayons after using the Clementine Art crayons. Interesting when you read the desciption on the Clementine site, you see the word ‘creamy’.  I thought it was such a funny word to describe a crayon, but it’s actually a perfect description because the crayons simply glide over the paper. With my 4 kids that craft, color, or draw every day, even I’m searching for one of these unique soy crayons to color with because they are so easy to use. I remember when my twins were at the age where the fun world of coloring and drawing started I purchased the plastic round ink ‘dabbers’ that were marketed for a very young child.  I thought “great idea” thinking the round shape of them would work well and be easy for them to navigate. This was simply not true and they turned out to be a waste of money. The shape of the Clementine Art crayons are perfect for all hand sizes and would be my pick for children of any age to begin exploring or that love art. Check out the below picture to view the unique crayon shape:

natural_soy_crayons_image

So why all-natural art supplies?  These 6 products under the Clementine Art umbrella are not only a step-up in quality (you get what you pay for), but a better choice for our children and the planet. Traditional crayons are produced with petroleum and synthetic additives (yuk!) and the packaging is not always eco-friendly.  Clementine Art is one of the very few companies to list their ingredients and you will enjoy reading this list including; kosher soy wax, mineral pigments, beeswax, carnauba wax, vegetable stearic acid, calcium carbonate (chalk), natural brazilian rosin, and titanium dioxide. No chemical dye or additives.  Whew!  – our parents never would have believed the crayon world could be so complicated.

The story of how Diane, the founder of Clementine Studio and her wonderful art products is lovely because she is actually a dedicated art teacher from Boulder Colorado.  Her studio was a place where children were encouraged to get messy and creative with glue, glitter, paint, and more! Wondering what actually was included in the description of ‘non-toxic’ with all of these products, Diane started making her own play dough and paint and Clementine Art was born.

I would recommend any of the Clementine Art products as wonderful stocking stuffers this Christmas. The soy crayons and natural paint are way high up on my list with Santa this year. I’ll need to request another pack of the crayons into my own stocking because my kids keep calling dibs on the soy crayons so I’m stuck with the cheap, broken crayons at the art table. And when your kids notice a difference in art supplies…you take notice.  I can’t wait to try the paint and will be on the look-out at my local Whole Foods until the Clementine Art site lists more online retailers.  The other 5 products Clementine Art offers via Whole Foods (and smaller stores over the next few months) are: soy crayon rocks, natural glue, modeling dough, natural paint, and natural markers.

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H1N1 – What Will You Do?

I’ve been asked my opinion from Mommy Footprint readers if I’m vaccinating my kids against H1N1. This post will not contain that answer because I haven’t made up my mind yet. I don’t like to make decisions based on fear. You can smell the fear that is running through parents and it’s the same fear I feel. Parents that have chosen to vaccinate themselves and their children have such a strong opinion on the whole issue for the same reason those against the vaccine are so passionate – everyone is really hoping for the best for their children. Each decision needs to be respected and of course nobody wants to make the wrong decision by vaccinating then finding out down the road there are potential problems. Likewise, how would you live with yourself if your child contracted H1N1 and became a statistic.

You only need to post a question on Twitter or Facebook to find out how people feel about H1N1 and the vaccine. Many discussions even become heated among ‘friends’ – I find it all very interesting and have frankly learned more through these comments than googling information. An example of this is a friend of mine threw out the question if parents should be held liable if they are sending sick kids to school and infect other children. Through this Facebook conversation I learned that Australia opted out using the H1N1 vaccine because they weren’t convinced that it was safe for young children. They went through their entire flu season without the vaccine relying on Tamiflu and quarantining people that were sick with flu like symptoms. It’s very interesting to learn what other countries are doing. I have found  Europe is much better with protecting it’s citizens with banning toxic chemicals earlier than North America and from what I could find on the Internet, they seem supportive of the vaccine.  This to me is a plus. For my non-Canadian readers, every media outlet in Canada from TV, to papers, to social media is ablaze with H1N1 reports and information….it’s way too much.  Everywhere you go people are talking about it – I’ve never experienced anything like it.  Even for me, it’s probably the 2nd question out of my mouth when talking with parents that I know and trust…I just can’t help but ask.

I’m aware that every Dr. you talk with is recommending the vaccine.  So why are parents resistant to something that will help protect children from this terrible flu?  Because in the last 3 years, parents have learned that they can’t trust anyone with parenting decisions because at every turn, we are being told that something is toxic..and those products are usually ones that have affected our fetus, new baby or child.  I’ve learned as a parent to 2nd, 3rd, guess everyone…even doctors and I know I’m not alone. Who do you believe and what is truly the right decision?   And who are the first people being recommended to receive this vaccine?  Pregnant woman and young children -this is simply not an ideal situation. Then you have ‘the face’ of heathcare, Dr. Oz,  (Oprah’s health advisor) state in an interview “everyone is encouraged to get the vaccine to stop the spread of H1N1″ then 2 minutes later says that his wife will not allow their 4 children to be vaccinated.  A little scary if he can’t make a compelling enough case to convince his wife to vaccinate!  I wonder if he realizes just how significant this remark actually was.

Think you are well informed about H1N1 and the vaccine?  If so, awesome and please post any helpful comments you might have. I’ve personally had a hard time wrapping my head around the facts and figures of the H1N1 info.  A few questions I have that I need answered before I make a decision are:

~ Does the H1N1 vaccine that is available in my community contain thimerosal, which is a mercury laden preservative? Aren’t pregnant woman supposed to avoid mercury with pregnancy?  They are the first people to be receiving the vaccine so although I’m not pregnant, I would like the answer to this question. Apparently thimerosal is added to the vaccine so it can be mass produced in larger batches?

~ Once you get H1N1, can you get it again?  If I don’t vaccinate this year, will I face this problem again next year at flu season?  If I do vaccinate this year, will this help me with future strains of the flu next year or am I back to square 1?

~ If I see the symptoms of H1N1 presenting with my family and I take Tamiflu, will this prevent me from getting H1N1 again this year?

You are welcome to post comments, questions, or concerns you might have to this article.

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