Archive | Kids Health

EnviroKidz Back-to-School Snacks $100 Giveaway

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Sponsored by: Nature’s Path Hosted by: Mommy Footprint

If you are travelling down the road to limiting GMOs (Genetically Modified Food), artificial dye, highly processed sugars, and for lack of better word ‘JUNK’ in your kid’s diet, you’ve probably already tried and fallen in love with Natures Path Organic and their EnviroKidz brand. Having moved my oldest child away from his favorite GMO (corn based) cereal this summer, I couldn’t have done it without Nature’s Path alternatives on hand. He has now transitioned away from these junky cereals and they won’t ever be making another appearance in our home. We keep Gorilla Munch on hand for occasional dry snacking and anyone wanting a quick bowl of cereal in the morning loves Koala Crisp.

Nature’s Path has earned the trust and respect of parents looking for Non-GMO Verified options, along with many gluten-free and organic products. We have also enjoyed Nature’s Path granola and bars for occasional convenient snacking so I’m excited for the lucky winner of this contest!

About EnviroKidz

EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bars are made with simple, wholesome, certified gluten free ingredients, so you’ll be happy adding them to the lunchbox – and kids will be even happier come snack time. They’re gluten free, organic, and full of the great taste kids love.

Who would love a chance to try these yummy snack bars? Well, Nature’s Path is generously sponsoring one lucky reader a chance to receive a supply of EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bars – enough for the entire Back-to-School season! So, let’s get on to the giveaway!

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One lucky winner will win an

EnviroKidz Back-to-School Snacks Prize Pack ($100 value)!

Includes a variety of EnviroKidz and Nature’s Path bars plus free product vouchers!

Giveaway ends 8/13 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to US and Canada 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US and Canada 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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5 Tips To Reduce Chemicals In Clothing

Since learning about fast fashion, I’m determined to limit chemicals that exist in new clothing for my kids. The concept of stylish clothing or seasonal trends in children’s clothing exists in all larger brands resulting in cheaply and quickly produced fashion. Similar to fast food, fast fashion is produced without attention to detail or concern for ingredients or materials. It’s no wonder this Greenpeace report has raised awareness when twenty-seven products were sent to independent accredited laboratories and investigated for the presence of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), phthalates, per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). It’s freaky. We’ve been avoiding toys for our children that contain lead and other carcinogens, but we still think we’ve scored a bargin when buying that $2 t-shirt!

Here are 5 ways you can start minimizing the problem of toxic clothing in your home and it begins with shopping with a new set of rules.

1. Shift your mindset. Just like the clean, organic food we consume, there is a higher cost with buying new, quality made clothing. It’s not something to complain about because like food, you appreciate the quality and craftsmanship involved with a purchase. Once you adjust your mindset, it’s amazing how quickly you don’t mind the higher price tags. You gain a sense of peace and pride when bringing carefully selected clothing into your household to enjoy.

2. Buy less. We’ve taken off the blinders with so many aspects of healthier living. We understand that 1 box of organic cereal costs the same as 3 boxes of GMO, sugar filled cereals. We’ve accepted this with our food so why do we buy 5 t-shirts when they go on sale for $2 at a big box store? It’s scary to think that you can buy new cheaply made clothing for less than 2nd hand! We know that there is a cost to this low price. The people that have made the garments have been paid very little and the materials used to make a $2 t-shirt are cheap. So cheap that just maybe, that t-shirt contains harmful ink, pesticide treated fabric, and hormone disruptors or lead plastic decals and design. That cheap t-shirt suddenly isn’t so appealing and shouldn’t be seen as something exciting.

3. Shop local. It’s the question I get asked the most. Where can you find locally made clothes?  Well I’m happy to say it exists. More and more small and indie businesses are manufacturing locally made clothing and they are getting easier to find. If you are having trouble finding something, post a question on our Fan Page and we’ll find a designer for you. Rain gear, bathing suits and shoes are still pretty tough to find, but you can find certified Öko-Tex brands for rain protection.

4. Buy 2nd hand. I get it – I have four kids that go through stages of loving a t-shirt with Spiderman or a beloved character on the front. This doesn’t mean that you need to purchase new clothing.  Chemicals in clothing are lessoned with wear and washing, not to mention used clothing feels better for the same reasons. It would be impossible to afford all locally made or organic clothing so get in the habit of frequenting thrift stores, buy/sell sites, and clothing swap meets. Shopping used also removes the temptation to buy latest trends in fashion which has a shelf life. Rather, 2nd hand shopping promotes classic purchases that have longevity.

5. Read clothing labels. Checking a clothing label will tell you two things quickly – if the company is proud of where it’s manufactured (Made In Canada or USA is something clothing lines like to promote) and what the article of clothing is made from. Just like the habit of reading food labels, clothing labels deserve the same few minutes. Learn what it means to wear synthetic fabrics. The most cheaply made clothing I’ve seen contains polyester and this means flame retardants exists next to your child’s skin. This can easily be avoided by sticking with 2nd hand cotton clothing or new organic clothing lines.

I don’t think either of my daughters have ever worn a new pair of jeans – 2nd hand feels better. Pictured below is my 7 year old clothing label reading ninja. The first thing she wants to know when buying clothing is does it contain polyester. She has skin sensitivities so we’ve done our best to keep her in more natural fabrics since she was a baby. She also has sensory needs with clothing and prefers how 2nd hand clothing or locally made brands feel on her skin.

I hope the awareness expands for sustainable fashion in North America. The divide in price between big box and locally manufactured clothing is huge and the reason is demand. We have not yet wrapped our minds around the environmental toll fast fashion or big box fashion brands place on our planet. Maybe as parents, if we imagine that toll with our health, the shift will come. By reducing and shopping with a new set of rules for fashion, the planet and human health will benefit, while a new sector of locally made fashion will finally be able to flourish.

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West Coast Natural Toy Magic

My love of Waldorf, naturally handcrafted toys is more than just admiration of a person’s craft. When you see a toy that has tenderness infused into the stitches and wooden seams, you absorb the love that was given to make this special toy. Being a West Coaster that is connected to two of the leaders in the Waldorf play and education fields, I’m super honored to be hosting a contest with Bamboletta Dolls and Natural Pod.

I’ll start with Bamboletta. If you haven’t read their story, please click over and be ready to fall in love. The heart of Bamboletta is the founder Christina who has developed a business model that creates a better world. She has perfected a craft, taught others, and along the many years of hard work, never sold out with how the dolls are manufactured and what materials are used to make them.  Christina and her busy helpers have stayed where the dolls were created – right here on the West Coast making her magic bloom. What is new with Bamboletta since we last checked in? Over to Christina.

We’ve introduced 2 new styles last year that have been extremely popular. They are different then the traditional type of Waldorf doll as they are sewn to have more flexible limbs. Great for having a snuggle or a tea party! We will continue to do what we do, which is to create high quality dolls made with the best ‘ingredients’ we can find. I’m working hard to find more and more local sources my materials and have started working with a mill in Nova Scotia to get our yarn hair from. All our dolls are made right here in the Cowichan Valley by local moms creating a strong community of women working together with a lot of love hand crafting these dolls. They are infused with love in the stitches and will be an item that your child will eventually pass on to their child when they get older.

We are so excited to have our own Little Buddy doll from Bamboletta for this contest (her picture is in the contest box at the bottom of this article). She is so sweet and the beautiful touch at the front of her hair is a handspun yarn made by a local weaver from Cowichan Valley. Details are never left out with the Bamboletta ladies. Here is a picture of the Bamboletta shop. Doesn’t it look like Santa’s Workshop with magic and creativity bursting out the doors?

bamboletta doll shop

Over we go to Natural Pod who I’ve known for many years. They were one of the leaders in the naturally made toy movement 9 years ago and they haven’t slowed down with earth stewardship. With more of a global focus now, Natural Pod has shifted their expertise to help design and build beautiful, sustainable natural play spaces, furniture and open-ended play items that foster different learning environments for children. Their mission to foster how children can develop and learn from their environment when the focus is play is so important. They continue to inspire and ignite passion for teaching with the beautiful environments they create. I invite you to check out their Fan Page and look at the pictures of open-ended play spaces they’ve dreamed and delivered over the years. Very inspiring! More words from owner Bridgitte.

We serve educators and children in childcare, home-day, preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle schools along with hospice and special needs students around the world. Raw materials for our products are sourced as close as the forests near our office on Vancouver Island and the wood we use is Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC), supporting responsible forestry practices. Our other products are made of natural wood, wool or silk and finished in plant-based dyes, harmonic beeswax or in some cases are left naturally unfinished. The bulk of our product line is not only recyclable, but even 100% naturally compostable. Since our beginning, we have worked with over 500+ different learning organizations and have successfully delivered more than 27,000 products to our customers.

Check out how lovely this newly created classroom space is from Natural Pod.

newnaturalpod

Now over to the fun part of this feature – a contest!  Can you imagine winning a Bamboletta Little Buddy and Natural Pod Wooden Rocker? You could pretty much call Christmas shopping a wrap if you are the lucky winner! My thanks to Bamboletta and Natural Pod who are waiting to ship the lucky contest winner these two items. The contest runs from November 13, 2013 – November 20, 2013 – closing at midnight. This contest is open to North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Color Run – Happiest 5K On The Planet

Have you heard of The Color Run? It’s known as the Happiest 5K on the Planet and I’ll be participating September 14th because it’s coming to Vancouver for the first time! Vancouverites can sign up for the run here. This is the 2nd year The Color Run has brightened North America since launching in 2012 across numerous cities in the US and five stops in Canada. This run promotes health, fitness, while celebrating individuality as participants are doused in different colours at each kilometre of the race. Watch this video and then scroll down to read some neat facts about how The Color Run is special.

How is this The Color Run different?

– there are no winners or official times. Everyone is a winner!

– over 60% of participants are first time 5K runners. Proven results for getting newbies participating in health & activity with the emphasis on fun!

– runners range from toddlers to grandparents. You can run, walk, or stroll.

– I was initially concerned about the air-born particles of the colour that could be ingested by participants. The material used to brighten the run is corn starch so they’ve thought of that too!

– The Vancouver Color Run  is proud to be partnering with local charitable organization KidsSport Vancouver. The donation that the Color Run will make will ensure that at least 20 more kids in Vancouver will get a chance to play organized sports this year.

I can’t wait to soak in the experience of The Color Run. What are you waiting for? Grab a team of four people, register, make a funky team name and have fun! I’ll post pictures post run to the Mommy Footprint fan page. For anyone that has participated in the run before, please post advice on how to photograph the colourful fun without getting colour on cameras or phones.

color run

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Technology & Kids Going Back To School

What do I think is the most important conversation you can have with a child returning to school? Two issues I’m talking about daily with my older children are clean food/nutrition habits and how to manage technology responsibly.

Outside influences are constant and demanding when it comes to our children and technology so I reached out to Jesse Miller of Mediated Reality to ask him for advice and best practices to share with parents with children that live in the age of technology. He speaks in schools across North America educating on the use of technology, social media, cyber bullying, with blunt delivery for pre-teens and teenagers.  Here is Jesse’s advice for what you should know with technology and kids heading back to school.

Over to you Jesse…

The new school year is upon us and new learning and engagement activities are being developed by teachers who are eager to use the technology available inside schools and the tech your kids will most likely be bringing with them in the form of a mobile device or tablet. The excitement and novelty of a new school year is usually overwhelming, but the children with smart phones, tablets and computers are juggling with a number of education concerns especially as it applies to focus, constant communication with friends, and the chronic dialogues about cyber bullying. It’s a lot to maintain while trying to focus on learning.

As a parent, you can use this opportunity at the start of a school year to keep your kids safe and online aware while allowing them the freedom to enjoy technology by introducing the topics of social media use, Internet gaming, texting, and online behavioural expectations by setting the tone in September.

Start by considering how you would control use of the Internet at home.

You’re saying you can’t control the Internet?

Well you are right, and you can’t. The Internet is omnipresent and seems overwhelming to many parents when it comes to the expertise of the kids but you can take steps to monitor how the Internet is accessed in your house.

I never recommend filters or monitoring software unless your child has given you previous reasons to not trust their online activities but by requiring laptops, tablets, and computers to be in open areas of the home, you are preventing your child from isolating themselves when they are online. Explore control of the Internet in a number of ways with the following ideas around communication and expectations of use.

  1. Consider limiting the amount of time to use the Internet for your kids and the parents in the home. Reduce “double screen” time where they watch television and look at their iPod or phone. Consider setting the standard for the family by establishing the tone for when the phones go down, not just for the kids, but for all family members.
  2. How about disabling the WiFi or locking out the router at certain times of the day to restrict Internet access? You don’t know how to? The kid knows more than you? Why not learn how the Internet is coming into your home? Especially after bedtime – many kids find that their mobile device is a chronic distraction at night while sleeping, if you control the Internet as it comes into your home, you have a better sense of when it is usually accessed. Google is your friend on this – there are plenty of YouTube videos available. If your child has a mobile device with Internet access provided by a cellular carrier, set up a home charging area so that all phones sit overnight – this area might need to be in your bedroom if you believe your child will want to bypass the rule and sneak a peek.
  3. Do not hesitate to set rules for mobile devices. Reflect on when you were a child and the fear you had when a friend called past 8PM – your parents were guardians of communications in your childhood home and it was rude to call past a certain hour – let’s not move too far from that value of respect just because your child has their own communication tool. Set the rules as you expect the devices to be used – they will mimic your use.
  4. Is your child texting on their phone or mobile device? Have they downloaded multiple applications to text for free (parents love free) but you don’t know which? Look at the download history and don’t hesitate to ask your child about every application they use. Google that application and look at reviews, news stories and other parents reviews. Encourage your kids to read their most recent text messages out loud to encourage communication based on your expectation of appropriate use. I would highly suggest against snooping through the messages (unless you can defend the reasons to your child) as it is similar to your parents reading your diary or journal as a child – privacy trust is key when it comes to online communication but don’t hesitate to parent that communication based on the values of your home.
  5. Learn about the trends. Kids love photographs these days and send them with the eagerness of a flyer campaign. Set a value to the photos your children are placing online, ask them what the world needs to see before they post and try to encourage a sense of self as it applies to giving pictures away to the Internet – would they post the same photo if it cost $1? If the answer is no, remind them that a photo of your child is priceless to you, no stranger online needs it for likes. The current trend of Instagram or Snapchat encourages kids to post pictures online to share for fun, likes, followers, or the perception that it deletes. Users, including unknown adults, rate, and solicit these pictures and flirtatiously or without mercy comment. This can lead to a number of social media issues including bullying and digital footprint/reputation concerns as your child moves through school.
  6. Pay attention to warning signs! If phones are placed screen side down on a chronic basis and held close to the chest like a poker player with a good hand, you might have an issue around how your child is shielding communications with peers. Maybe your kid is afraid of your response to language or topic but never chastise based on emotion for what you discover. Open dialogues and set expectations of access and use -discipline as needed and always encourage appropriate use.

Going back to school is a busy and exciting time of the year. Parents, teachers and those connected kids are busy Texting, taking “selfies” on Snapchat, filtering on Instagram, posting to Facebook, Tweeting class events on Twitter, and sharing a lot of information. Keep this time safer, secure, and aware by encouraging your kids and yourself to share the minimum amount of personalized information with the online world and communicate as if the world is listening – because with social media in hand, everyone is eager for a good story to post about someone else.

Jesse Miller @mediatedreality
Jesse Miller is a social media safety educator based in Vancouver, BC – information about his work and programs available for schools & parents is available at www.mediatedreality.com

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