Tag Archives | Dandelion Kids

2 in 1 Summer Shoe – Salt Water Sandals

With the rain on the West Coast – we’ve had a delayed response in purchasing summer footwear for the kids. My reluctance to purchase another pair of plastic summer shoes last year resulted in my oldest son actually wearing his running shoes all summer – that’s a dedication to reducing plastic! But it’s tough to beat plastic shoes for kids because they can be worn in the ocean, beach combing, water park, etc. So when venting my frustration about this to Maria, Owner of dandelion KIDS, she introduced me to Salt Water Sandals. This was a new recommendation and with how cute the sandals are it was amazing to discover they are water shoes!  After raving about BOGS footwear for the same reason, 2-1 boot for snow and rain, I thought these could be my summer shoe solution for my girls. And after almost a month of testing – they are! First, check out how cute they are!!

Knowing that my girls would love the stylish design, I purchased a pair and received a pair for the review. My girls are tough on shoes because they are rough and tough little things.  These sandals have been incredible.  Not only can my 6 year olds manage the buckles themselves, they wear these as their ‘dress-up’ shoes with dresses for events we attend, they are worn bike riding, and as the summer warms up they can wear them into the ocean for beach walks. We tried a beach walk before having these shoes and my girls had cuts all over the bottom of their feet from sharp rocks, barnacles, etc., so thank you Maria! It’s important to note that Salt Water Sandals are also machine washable . . they have the ability to bounce back into shape.  Ours haven’t reached that point of scuffing yet, but it’s only a matter of time so I love this!

We know I love a good story and two great tidbits on these sandals is the company behind the shoe has been in business for over 60 years and were created as an alternative to traditional children’s leather sandals as a way to cope with leather shortages in World War II. The sandals were made primarily from scrap leather left over from making men’s shoes. Maria shared with me that both herself and Stephanie, co-owner of dandelion KIDS owned these sandals as children. I guess even back then they had an eye for sourcing great products!

Available online at dandelion KIDS. They fit on the bigger side so if you’re in-between sizes, go down in size.

Related Articles:

BOGS Boots

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Holiday Shopping & Making Magic Fund

It just doesn’t feel like the holidays if you can’t give back. This year, for me personally, the need to really enjoy the holiday spirit of helping others has been at the forefront of my holiday planning – but where do you start? Many recent news stories were very inspiring; one in particular was published in the The Vancouver Sun a few months ago by a inner city school teacher asking for help.  It doesn’t matter where you live, read the article she wrote – it will move you. Click here.  The teacher named Carrie inspired a fund to be started by the paper that published her story; The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund launched a special fundraising project called Adopt-a-School. This project identifies schools and their specific needs throughout Metro Vancouver. It’s special in the fact you can go to the site and look at individual needs within a school so even a single family can identify something to donate (shin guards, winter coats in particular sizes, mitten, socks, etc.). This site allows you to feel like you can make a difference at a grass root level. The most needed item identified by all the schools of course is money so they can assess and fix their most outstanding needs. The great thing about donating the money via Adopt-a-School is they will match all $$s that are contributed so the money is being doubled at the time it’s contributed – very cool!

Through Mommy Footprint and Green Planet Parties, I connect and work with many very dedicated and passionate small business owners. After MF reader Ti linked me to the Adopt-A-School site (thanks Ti!), I emailed a few of these businesses to see if they wanted to join efforts to help this fund. They are all BC business owners, but their sites are online and setup to ship anywhere in North America.  Please give them a click or little shout-out as they are donating a portion of their sales over the next week. We even have a name – Making Magic Fund. We are a total of 13 BC small businesses owners joining together to help children. Between December 5-11th if you shop at these stores – proceeds will be donated to help schools, which help children, and that helps families. Even if you’re not local, a quote I read from the amazing letter written by Carrie has stayed with me:

Think about what you vote for, speak for, and speak up against. Are you willing to put your time and/or your money towards affecting change? Will you advocate for a child that is not your own?

Here is a list of businesses that are under the Making Magic Fund. Please shop and support this cause – it’s inspired from the heartfelt plea of a teacher and has inspired a movement for helping other schools in need.  Take a peek at these sites and feel good shopping with a small business that is giving back this holiday season. I also have and would shop at these stores and think it’s wonderful that their focus is supporting safe products for our children and home. Thank you to all the businesses involved and for their enthusiasm and energy to make this happen!

Apricot Culotte:  an e-boutique specialized in previously loved baby clothes that we bring in from France. We also carry end of season brand new designer baby clothes including some very nice French organic brands.

Bamboobino: an adorable line of children’s clothes and accessories made from soft, eco-friendly bamboo.

Bumblebee Toys: offers a unique collection of natural toys, crafts and playthings to inspire the imagination and nourish the senses.

dandelion KIDS: modern kids shop that stocks hip baby clothes, stylish duds for boys and girls plus cool, unique gifts for the next baby shower or kids birthday party.

Fill Your Own: offers an array of carbon-neutral, non-toxic and reusable products ideal for both kids and adults.

Giving Gifts: carries gifts that give – fair trade, eco friendly and fun gifts for babies, kids, adults and pets.

Green Planet Parties: where it’s possible to shop for eco-friendly party supplies in one place! Supporting locally manufactured decorations & goodies!

Kippo Kids: proud to offer you a quality mix of products that include a good selection of eco-friendly, handmade, organic, and Made in Canada items.

Maxwell Designs: leading Canadian designer of beautiful purses, the best diaper bags in Canada, and many accessories.

My Little Green Shop: is a hip e-boutique that provides a wide range of safe, non-toxic products for babies, children and mamas. We are careful that the products we carry meet our standards of what’s safe and eco-friendly.

Onyx Containers: food storage containers that are of the highest quality, manufactured in responsible conditions and available at affordable prices.

Puddlegear: toddler and baby raingear- children can play outside feeling warm, unrestricted and dry in their PVC and Phthalate free rainwear – certified by oko – tex.

Today I Ate A Rainbow: passionate about creating tools to help parents and caregivers raise healthy kids!

We are all like-minded small business owners championing for one cause – such a cool array of products!  This is our logo (designed for us by the talented Marina Duque)! If talking about this special project, you are welcome to use the logo. We hope it will be a logo that will become recognized and used annually to help those who need it.

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PVC is Shiny…But Not So Pretty or Happy

Looking to prevent your precious consumer dollars spent supporting PVC in clothing?  It’s tricky and if you’ve never thought of it before…it takes a some investigation & sorting to find where it lurks.  Think of shiny, sparkly decals that are stuck to your kid’s clothes or stinky items like rain gear and you’ve got a great place to start. All big box stores are famous for this so if you shop at the mall…save your breath and patience and don’t ask a salesperson if the shirt, shoe, PJs, etc. contains PVC.  They won’t know and the experience will be similar to plucking out your arm hairs. Slowly. Yes, I’ve run my usual list of questions at every retail shop in my local mall including stores like Gap, Old Navy, department stores, Please Mom, H&M, etc. and even District Managers go cross-eyed talking to me. Do I still shop there?  Very occasionally and less and less frequently as the options in eco-friendlier clothing open to consumers. What is the problem with glitter or a big decal on a kid’s shirt? You’ve got the cheapest and most toxic form of plastic sitting right under their noses. You’re also supporting over-seas production of clothing that is using toxic materials for the poor people making the clothes. You’ve got a piece of clothing that will never disappear from the earth…no matter how many times you hand it down because once it ends up in the landfill, PVC will continue to live on. And you’ve got a substance that you’ve brought into your home that will end up in the dryer (think heat on toxic plastic) and you’ve just spend your hard earned $$s on another toxic item in your home.

Why is PVC terrible for human health and the environment? I know I’ve explained PVC before, but if you are new to Mommy Footprint, it’s an important material to understand if you are trying to ‘green’ your life and make healthier lifestyle choices. Described as poison plastic from Greenpeace, this form of plastic is the most toxic of the classified plastics (coded 1 – 7) and it’s ‘recycling’ number is 3.  Please note that while called recycling or resin number (the number defining which type of plastic and item is made from with chasing arrows surrounding it) for PVC is a 3, it is NOT able to be recycled. PVC plastic is toxic from the moment it’s produced until you attempt to get rid of it (burning it or throwing it into the landfill). While it’s being produced, PVC releases harmful dioxins into the air and continues to off-gas throughout it’s life. When you first open a product that is made from PVC that is wrapped in packaging, you will notice an intense and disgusting smell – that is the scent of PVC. A terrible fact that supports the fact of what happens when PVC is burned is described on the Greenpeace website. Listen to this:

From July 9-12, 1997, at least 400 tonnes of PVC were consumed in a fire at Plastimet, Inc., Hamilton, Ontario. The facility was storing bales of “jet trimmings” from a manufacturer of automobile interiors. Analysis of soot and ash samples after the PVC fire at the plant revealed levels of dioxin 66 times higher than permitted even for industrial land. This one fire increased the annual dioxin emssions for the whole of Canada by 4 % in 1997.

What are the top places I’ve tried to eliminate PVC from the clothing I purchase?  Footwear (rubber boots in particular), umbrellas, t-shirts, and PJs. I have walked into stores and had an instant headache from the smell a few pairs of rubber boots can produce. It’s the number one product that is usually produced from PVC and it’s easy to tell because of the smell and price (PVC is a very cheap material and as a result the products produced from it are less money). The best new item for this winter season has been Bogs Footwear for my son and I.  Bogs uses natural rubber and neoprene in their boots and the breathability, comfort, and quality has been very impressive. I’m a huge fan of this company and will outfit my entire clan in their boots next winter.

Umbrellas are also impossible to find PVC-free in a mall or traditional retail store. I found two for my girls at Dandelion Kids and they do have an online store if you’re looking to purchase.  Another place I try to avoid PVC is sleep ware, but boy is that tough.  It’s very hard when trying to find cool boys’ sleep ware. Any sort of licensed PJs – you know, the kind 8 year old boys like – have a big shiny decal on the front. That and they’re made with polyester (I’ll save this rant for another day) but I’ve had luck at Lazy One a local store and I love the PJs for younger kids at Hatley (they also sell PVC- free umbrellas).

The last place to try and rid PVC in my clothing (and kid’s clothing) is simply making a decision to not purchase clothing that have any shiny or synthetic looking decals.  Once you fully understand what these ‘fun’ decals are made from…it’s actually quite easy to explain to children whey you’re not buying the licensed shirt.  We of course get loads of hand-me-downs that have these decals and embellishments,but I’m more talking about the power of consumer dollars. It seems a bit mad that we continue to spend our money on things that are toxic to our heath – doesn’t it?

Many smaller (usually online) stores that have better options with materials used to produce clothing are listed below.  I’d like to reward their efforts with my consumer dollars and a shoutout in this article.  There are so many more small stores that have made the decision to use quality materials in the production of their clothing – please feel free to post a comment to this post and let people know about your products.

Bogs Footwear – http://www.bogsfootwear.com/

Puddle Gear – http://www.puddlegear.com/products.asp

Hatley – http://www.hatleystore.com/

Barley & Birch: http://www.barleyandbirch.com/

Little Inkers: http://www.littleinkers.ca/collections.html

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Boys And Fun Alternatives To Electronics

I have to start this article on a personal note and I don’t very often so please indulge me.  I have two sons and my feelings for them are unique to anything in my life. I honestly believe I could stare at their faces all day.  I could sit in a chair and watch them play for hours and they bring me more joy in life then I ever thought imaginable. I’m sure this is true for most mother/son relationships because as moms we try so hard to understand these little wild things from the moment they enter our life and it’s not always easy and doesn’t come naturally like it does for dads.  We know they are different from us and it’s a beautiful feeling to just accept and embrace those differences.

From the time my boys were young, being active outside, running off massive amounts of energy was my connection and way to engage my guys.  Now, more and more I find them craving anything electronic.  They could bounce from the TV, to computer, to handheld devices all day and go to bed happy. Why the pull to electronics for boys?  Starting at the age of 5 and 6 I’ve really noticed this behaviour and it worries me. I find as a parent I need to stand on my head to entertain them enough to leave these games.  Part of me knows that boys need to be stimulated constantly to stay engaged with activities. What activities are effective with keeping them entertained and away from the screen? Here are a few ideas I can share that effectively keep their brains and hands busy:

Wood-nails-hammer.  It’s really that simple. Put a pile of wood outside, different size nails and a kid friendly hammer and trust them to not break a finger. My 7 year old even made a Halloween decoration out back this year with wood and was so proud of himself. To encourage this healthy activity, Santa will be bringing my boys their very own toolboxes. This gift idea is a great price point and something practical that will get used. A hammer, variety of nails, tape measure, screws, and scrap wood can all go inside.

If your child is pre-school age and too young to handle real nails, my sons’ preschool had an incredible idea that introduced 3 year olds to the idea of hammering.  They collected the packing foam that comes with a new appliance and put out golf tees and little hammers for the kids. The golf tees slide into the packing material like butter and they can’t hurt themselves.  Pretty smart and the kids love it!

Drawing and crafting. Nothing keeps hands busy like paint, glue, and markers. My boys love to draw and craft.  It can sometimes be daunting to come up with great ideas on the spot, so here it’s always nice to receive a great craft kit to bring out when boredom strikes. My little guinea pigs loved building the wooden rocket Green Planet Parties just got in. It includes paint, stickers, glue, 15 wooden parts, and boys had a blast putting it all together!

Playdough – so easy to make at home!  Best ever play dough recipe found here and read the comments at the bottom of the article – there are some great ideas.

Ink pads and stamping. Great for boys that get easily frustrated drawing. I picked up a fantastic knights stencil and stamp set from Dandelion Kids and the brand is called Dejeco. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to try the stamp kit that consists of all robot parts. So you stamp robot parts together to make full robots which all boys love. Aliens, robots, wild animals are great bets that boys will want to draw and a stencil set can really benefit a child just learning how to draw.

Writing and story and illustrating. A great way to help with writing and drawing, my boys love to sit and create little books. When they are young, we write the story for them and they draw pictures. Now that they are older, they get to write and illustrate.  These little books also make a great keepsake!

Dress up. Yes, boys love to dress up and a good cape is a magical gift for any young boy. Pirate gear or masking a caped crusader is wonderful to watch a boy transform. Try to purchase the cape without any shiny decals because it screams PVC.  And if a treasure gold hunt accompanies these costumes, why that’s even better!

Kids and bird watching.  Borrow a pair of grown-up binoculars, purchase a bird book of bird species local to your area, grab a pencil and notepad and you’re ready to bird watch. The small winter birds are out and hungry so it’s easy to put out a bird feeder and watch and record their activity for hours. A fun craft that we did today is making bird feeders out of pinecones, peanut butter, rolled in seeds. For full instructions click here.

Empty box. I hate to say it because you hear it so often, but my boys have the best time with oversize appliance type empty boxes.  Cutting out their own windows, decorating with stickers or words is just the best feeling in the world. My 5 year old made his own Christmas house out of a box last year and I still have it in my garage. He worked so hard on it and it sat in my living room for months before we finally put it away. The best thing is these boxes are free and can be recycled at your curb when the boys are done decorating and playing in it.  Here was the result with led lights and a christmas welcome sign attached by a craft tube that he thought of himself.

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Do you have more ideas for keeping boys (and girls) entertained and unplugged?  Please post a comment and share your ideas.

Related articles:

Eagle Cam Eco-Activity

Join The Great Backyard Bird Count ~ Eco Fun!

Resources to Get Parents and Children Outside Enjoying Nature

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