Tag Archives | Mommy Footprint fan page

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.

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DIY Personal Care Recipe Round Up

Why do I want to make as many of my personal care products as possible? It saves me time shopping, money, and I know exactly what I’m putting on my hair and skin. DIY personal care recipes help with avoiding fragrance, phthalates, and chemicals that cosmetic companies sneak into ingredients lists by hiding behind the word fragrance so there is never full disclosure. And if we think back 60 years to how our grandparents washed their hair, face, skin, and kept themselves from being stinky without stores to shop at – well, there must be a way to do this effectively with ingredients already in your kitchen.

I have great DIY tips and so do these talented green bloggers and Facebook fans. Below is a great list of personal care DIY recipes that will replace many store bought products in your bathroom. And chances are if you already own a great big bottle of unrefined coconut oil, you can start making them right away! My thanks to everyone that shared their favourite DIY recipes!

DIY Deodorant:

Alicia from The Soft Landing shared her DIY Antibacterial + Cooling deodorant for Men and Women.

  • Mix together equal parts arrowroot powder or cornstarch and baking soda (I usually begin with 1/4 cup of each)
  • Stir in enough coconut oil to moisten the mixture, but not so much that it’s wet (I usually start with 6-8 Tbsp)
  • Add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • Add 5-10 drops of patchouli
  • Add 5-10 drops of cedarwood essential oil

Click on the full article link to find out why each of these ingredients is beneficial to fight the bacteria that causes ordor. This article clearly educates how people can remove aluminum toxicity with cool, earthy pits ~ thanks Alicia!

Facial Scrub:

Beth from The EcoSpheric Blog shares her DIY Brown Sugar Facial Scrub Recipe. I can’t wait to try this recipe and will probably omit the essential oil because I love the smell of my raw brown sugar.

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • few drops of the essential oil of your choice (I used Tulsi holy basil from Organic India because it supports the body’s healthy response to inflammation and promotes a healthy, clear complexion.)

brown-sugar-facial-scrub-recipe

Now that we’ve all drooled over how amazing this scrub looks, head on over to the full article link and get the directions and how to use the scrub.

Rachel, from Mommy Greenest shared her 4 ingredient DIY Organic Face Mask. With the added ingredients and instructions, I’m definitely bookmarking this face mask for a weekend treat for my skin. And the ingredient I love the most is raw honey! Here is a teaser from the face mask:

You’ll need

  • Six tablespoons raw organic sugar
  • One free range organic egg white
  • One tablespoon organic honey
  • One packet plain instant organic oatmeal (uncooked)

Sounds amazing right? Click on over to read the full link and instructions here.

Karen from ecokaren shared an Avocado Face Mask recipe which I’m super happy about because making beauty products from food that turn soft quickly (bananas, avocados) is awesome to prevent food waste. You again need a bit of time to create this face mask recipe, but I love Karen’s tip to freeze the extra you’ll have from using an entire avocado which becomes a time saver. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Guacamole Face Mask ingredients

  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Egg White – room temperature
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Click over to the recipe’s full link for instructions and tips for freezing and testing. I would also recommend a test first on your arm with using lemon juice to ensure skin isn’t sensitive.

Other Facial Scrubs:

Donna, shared on the Mommy Footprint fan page that she mixes coconut oil with ground himalayan rock salt. She keeps a little pot in the shower, massage it, rinse in the shower, then wipe with a dry towel. Donna no longer needs face cream and her skin texture is improving. Thanks for sharing!

Personally, I’ve been mixing unrefined coconut oil with baking soda to exfoliate and love using this for my daily scrub. I also find my face is perfectly moisturized and I always have these two ingredients on hand so it’s an easy recipe to maintain. I put a glob of coconut oil into a cup then add enough baking soda that there is some grit but be careful to start if you have sensitive skin.

DIY Hair Care:

Sarah from Mindfully Frugal Mom sent us her article for creating a Coconut Oil Hair Mask. This is another DIY recipe that sounds amazing, especially because 2 of the 3 ingredients are coconut oil and a banana. We always have those on hand! Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (use even less if you have fine or short hair)
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana

It’s suggested this mask stays in for 30 minutes, so carve out some time when trying this recipe. Click on the full link to read the directions and advice on using Sarah’s coconut oil hair mask.

Other DIY Hair Care Tips:

Corry responded on our Fan Page about a routine she uses for removing hair build up. She puts cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on freshly shampoed hair and wait a few minutes. Then rinse it out. I have also heard of just putting the cider vinegar in a container with water and rinsing the hair with it but that gets quite pricey. This method works well and removes hair product build up.

For years I’ve used coconut oil to smooth or slick my hair at the ends or instead of using gel for smooth ponytails. You just need a dime size amount that you warm up in your palms. Apply to the ends of your dry hair and it can be used for easy styling.

DIY Perfume:

Rachel from Mommy Greenest saves the day with this 1 minute and 3 ingredient DIY perfume recipe. With so many people in the population suffering from scent sensitivities (me, me, me!) it’s a gift to those that surround you to know ditch synthetic perfumes. They can be overpowering to many people and for those that wear them, you might be causing your own body hormone disruption.

Oh, and you can make a gigantic bottle for less than $30! You’ll need:

  1. One clean spray bottle—preferably a dark-colored glass to block UV rays so your perfume stays stable longer.
  2. One big bottle of pure cooking vanilla—organic is best, but either way just make sure there’s no sugar in the mix.
  3. One or more small bottles of essential oil—I love rose geranium, rose and lavender mixed with the vanilla; experiment to find out what you like best.

If you want to make this DIY perfume, click over to the full recipe link and get Rachel’s advice on the best essential oils to use and directions. Awesome stuff Rachel!

DIY in 1 step Recipes:

These are my tips. After reading the amazing guests posts, I’m feeling that my personal care regime needs to step it up a notch. I seem to gravitate to 1 ingredient DIY recipes for personal care. Here are my favourites:

Shaving your legs: Use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. It’s organic, fair trade, and you’re probably already using it for 30 other things in your home. It can easily replace shaving cream that actually contains teflon. It’s an easy switch and use coconut oil to moisure body after shaving.

Deodorant: this one always gets a few blinks of dis-belief from people but I love it and it works! Cut a lemon or lime in half and rub under your arm pits. I’ve even used it freshly after shaving and experiences no burning sensation. The juice dries quickly, doesn’t stain my clothing, and is SUPER effective against body odor.

Tooth Whitening: oil pulling. If you haven’t tried swishing with coconut oil, you are missing out! Especially if you are buying toxic, tooth whitening kits that are also really expensive. All you need is unrefined coconut oil and you are set. Full instructions found here.

Eye Makeup Remover: coconut oil again to the rescue. Put coconut oil on a washcloth, paper, or q-tip and rub across your closed eye. The oil will remove all makeup so you can wash your face easily before bed time.

I’ll do a followup post with more DIY recipes for personal care. If you would like your recipe to be included in the next roundup, post it in the comments or on the Mommy Footprint fan page.

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Tips For Avoiding GMO Food

Let me just say my journey to try and avoid GMO food, grow some of my own food, and talking to the experts that are growing clean food is very time consuming. And without a farming, engineering, or bio-tech background, it’s a difficult task for a busy mom of four. But I find so many aspects of our food supply fascinating so although it’s taking up a lot of time with research, I’m really enjoying this new journey. When I can post something new I’ve learned quickly, it’s all going on the Mommy Footprint fan page – so if your not already following there, click here and like the page.

So the husk of corn on the cob is really the poster child for genetically modified food. This is a good thing and bad. With the high, high percentage of soy, corn, and sugar beets grown modified, someone can become pretty paranoid of any of these foods. But if you think that just not eating corn on the cob this summer keeps you free and clear of genetically modified food, this would be a mistake. I spent a bit of time last week talking to a produce manager and their food distributor which was interesting to me since I do so much of my shopping at the opposite spectrum of a traditional grocery store. I was in a traditional, chain grocery store to buy 1 ingredient for a recipe and a stack of corn on the cob caught my eye in the produce section. So I asked the produce Manager if the corn was genetically modified since it was from the US. This question led to many phone calls and discussions about the grocery store’s sourcing of produce. Basically, a chain grocery store will receive certification from the farms that tells them if the seed used to grow corn is GMO. In this case the corn also turned out to be non-GMO corn. Well – blow me down with a feather. I was actually really surprised. And also was surprised to learn that most of the GMO corn that is produced in North America actually goes into corn ingredients in food, rather than the actual fresh corn. I tell you this long story for 2 reasons. Don’t think that all fresh corn is GMO – ask questions and demand store Managers get you answers since items like zucchini and corn don’t come with an ingredient stamp like packaged food. And although I see lots of organic zucchini, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen organic corn. The 2nd reason for the rant/story is don’t be rocked into a sense of security that GMO food only exists in the whole form: an ear of corn, a block of soy, a sugar beet, or whole Papaya. These genetically modified foods are high yield and are probably included in the 80% packaged, processed foods we buy in super markets.

So vowing to not eat or feed your children GMO food is really wishful thinking. Sorry, but it’s true…especially if your family eats packaged food, meat, your kids are schooled outside of your home, they attend birthday parties/play dates, or eat at a restaurant. That is why once people start to understand the wide spread impact of GMOs they join marches, post information on Facebook to friends, and try to bring understanding to people new on the journey. Because it’s too scary a journey to take alone.

What other food items could possibly contain GMO corn besides the corn husks we see popping onto produce shelves in the summer? On this list of invisible GM ingredients I would assume the easiest way to detect GMO corn ingredients is to look for: corn flour, corn masa, corn meal, corn oil, corn sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch but then I learn that an ingredient for GM corn on a label is lactic acid most commonly found from dairy products. I’ll suppose this is because cow’s eat corn? Oh yeah…not confusing at all.

Another easy way to isolate GMO ingredients with packaged food is Soy (over 95% of soy is now manufactured from GM seed) and listed again in the invisible GM ingredients as: soy flour, soy isolates, soy lecithin, soy milk, soy oil, soy protein, soy protein isolate, soy sauce. But did you also know that soy can be detected in food as hydrolyzed vegetable protein which is a “flavour enhancer” used in processed foods like soups, chili, sauces, gravies, stews and some meat products like hot dogs. Look at the back of any packaged foods in your home right now – chances are you will see one of 3 ingredients that contains the words corn x, soy x, or canola oil. These are three of the largest ingredient triggers that you are eating GMO food.

The last biggie which is very difficult to wrap you mind around and is now pretty much 100% GMO manufactured are sugar beets. This means all refined sugar or mostly anything sweet in your cupboard, unless organic or labeled as using cane sugar, contains GM sugar beets. It’s easy to see why avoiding GMOs is very difficult, even if you purchase a lot of food organic. Other ways I find that help are to shop local and find trusted food sources. You might need to ask a lot of questions in the beginning but once the detective work is done…it’s done. You will know where to pickup local produce which is a better alternative than organic. A hidden food source that can be highly contaminated for several different reasons is meat. It’s probably the toughest food to find a cleaner source because you actually need to contact the farmer in charge of feeding the animals. Good luck if you are shopping at a conventional store. But this is much easier if you shop at a local butcher that can tell you where the meat comes from. You need to ask if the meat is ‘finished’ and what the grain is used to finish the meat. Keep in mind that alfalfa used to feed cattle in the US is now GMO. Canadians are hoping that our alfalfa stays non-GMO but that is currently at risk. Do the animals you eat consume corn in their feed? Are preservatives used to help with your meat’s shelf life? It’s these preservatives that are casting such a black cloud over processed meats like deli and hotdogs.

Another surprise for me is even though we don’t buy papaya, that doesn’t stop GM papaya appearing in our chewing gum, fruit snacks, fruit juices, etc.  It’s another example of us hearing that paypayas have been grown genetically modified, but not stopped to think about the trickle effect into processed food. Can you completely stop GMO food from coming through your door, into your child’s body, into your own? It would be difficult and most everything you eat would need to be home-made. . . tough to do if your kids are in school. But you can become an ingredient reading, savvy consumer, that asks questions and is informed. And when you learn a product or brand only pumps out genetically modified food you can ban it from your home and find alternatives. It might take a year, but at the end of that 12 months, you’ll be healthier and more connected to the food you eat. You’ll probably be inspired to try growing some food yourself from heirloom, hybrid, or organic seed. And the further away you drift from the land of processed and back into the land of prepared or locally sourced, you will feed proud. And hopefully that you’ll be able to teach your family to eat healthier food until our government does something to protect it’s US and Canadian consumers. That is what other countries do. Do you know that Japan and Europe won’t accept Canadian Flax exports? They refuse to eat our modified crops.  Here are some more facts I learned at a meeting in my neighboring community that is trying to ban GE food from being grown:

1) There are three GMOs projects actively in the works in Canada: GE Salmon, Arctic Apple (non browning) & GE Alfalfa
2) GE alfalfa is the most critical problem b/c meat crops (beef, etc.) consume it. GE alfalfa is already happening in the US! They are trying to get it into Canada and many feel it’s an attack on the organics industry.
3) Alfalfa doesn’t need heavy pesticides or genetically altered seeds b/c weeds aren’t an issue since these crops are used for cattle feed.
4) Canadian Flax crops are GE (genetically engineered). Japan and Europe will not longer accept Canadian Flax because of this.
5) 80% of GE crops are herbicide tolerant. BT crops produce a protein that is toxic to insects, butterflies, caterpillars.
6) Antibiotic resistance is essential to gene gun technology which is one of the two methods to cross DNA (therefore making a plant GMO). The concern is this will make humans resistant to antibiotics!
7) 40 weeds in Canada are now resistant to Roundup. Monsanto expected this to happen and has 2,4-D waiting in the wings for farmers to use. This is Agent Orange!!!!! 90% of corn in North America is GE. All sugar in stores is basically GE (unless it’s cane sugar) and over 90% of soy.
9) The Oregon GE wheat crop that popped up a few weeks ago is probably a Monsanto trial field; however that has now backfired as countries are now banning wheat exports from the US.
10) There have been no reduction in pesticide use as Monsanto promised – the opposite has happened. We are now becoming resistant to antibiotics b/c of eating the food, allergies are 400x greater because transgenes spread bacteria through our guts/intestines, and we are loosing our pollinators because of heavy herbicide use. And this fact is probably the scariest. If plants become sterile from all this messing around with mother nature, we are in big trouble.

Honestly, if genetically modified food isn’t freaking you out a little, it’s time to plug back into our food system and realize things are not okay. If you can’t look around and see a huge number of bee populations decreased in your community, there are big time stats that bees are suffering from colony collapses because of the amount of pesticides and insecticides that are released in communities with farming. The words from that now famous farmer from the Food Inc documentary ring true in my head. What ever the consumers demand – farmers will grow. If the government won’t protect us, let’s give our trust to the farmer’s themselves. Get to know them and trust them. Tell them that clean food is a priority and the ones growing it should be treated like well paid celebrities in our cities and towns. And yes, it’s just an endless journey but it’s something that small communities and consumers will need to win in North America. And no I don’t have all the answers – I honestly find something new in my pantry every week that contains GMO ingredients. Last week it was my baking powder – the word corn starch caught my eye. See what I mean about the corn husk being the poster child for GMO? It makes us not think powdered forms of food will contain it but wherever there are ingredients – you need to scan through at least for canola oil, vegetable oil, anything soy, corn, and sugar.

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Close Your Eyes – What Do You See?

Welcome to 2013! It’s been a year of evolution for me personally and I know you are taking a journey with me. The Maya Angelou quote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” is the quote that sums up this year perfectly for me. 5 years ago I would have scoffed about food being the answer to my journey with parenting. You see, I grew up with a really healthy lifestyle – my mom ensured we ate everything needed, plus more! I don’t ever remember take-out and we ate what we were given without complaint. When I first wrapped my mind around the chemical exposure my children were surrounded with, I only thought plastics, pesticides, cleaning supplies, toys, etc. But after learning more (and perhaps the industry is cleaning up their act too) my focus is in the kitchen. Not a place I feel comfortable or look like I belong, but when I close my eyes, I see a mom that knows how to make apple pie, has a crock pot or soup ready throughout the day, and always has muffins or home cooked baked goods on hand. That is not happening in my house. And I’ve spent 2012 re-developing my relationship with food – kinda like setting the stage for 2013 as I now understand the importance of organics and supporting a local food system.

In 2013 I have a focus board in my mind when I close my eyes and it includes a mom that gets up before the kids to make breakfast, that doesn’t scream at the little things in life, has taken the time to expand dinner options, has already removed GMO convenience options, but needs to replace those foods with home-made versions. What do you see when you close your eyes? Sometimes you need to sit in peace, close your eyes, and envision how you need life to be. If you see trees, chickens, cows grass feeding, trying out juicing/dehydration, leaning towards living low-plastic, finding time to appreciate and love our wildlife – we are going to ROCK 2013 together. Get ready, get set, GO – it’s a monster year of opening our eyes and seeing the world we’ve envisioned come to life. Come and join the conversation for more organic parenting options at the Mommy Footprint fan page. Peace and kindness for 2013. xo ~Suzanne

 

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The Easter Bunny & Random Kindness

There is one part to setting up Easter egg hunts on Easter morning that I always miss – the fact my kids can’t help me set up. When planning fairy walks or party activities my kids are always right by my side planning and then executing – they love it!  So today while my kids where all home we came up with the idea to leave Easter eggs filled with sustainable goodie along the Inlet trail and park in our community. We used 8 plastic eggs we’ve been reusing for years and filled them with a felt pirate eye patch, finger puppets, basil seeds, felted jewelry, and a fairy leaf bed/pilllow set. We used plastic for the outside to hold the treasures because we hoped the eggs would be safe for a few days out in our rainy West Coast climate. I highly recommend this activity for kids with the excitement building up to Easter hunts, activities, etc.  but strongly petition you to please not fill them with junk!  Even a couple of pennies or treasures from the forest would be fun: acorns, gem stones, etc.  Just the magic of finding an egg in a playground with a note and goodie inside would be amazing for kids. Funny enough we talked with two adults that found one of our eggs under a park bench and they were beaming. Not just little smiles, you could tell their day had been made!  They turned out to be kindred spirits of the Peter Pan syndrome I have “never wanting to grow up and believing in fairies”.

Here is how we planned our random act of kindness egg hunt!

Egg setup. We selected plastic eggs to reduce moisture for the goodies inside. I let the kids select Eco-friendly presents to put inside based on their personalities. I didn’t want them to put candy inside because most parents would want their kids eating candy left by strangers…so we selected handcrafted, mostly felt or plantable treasures. I used new items from Green Planet Parties and included the logo in the note we left, not for marketing purposes, but so that parents would know that these items are new and safe to play with. The note simply read: “You are receiving a random gift of kindness. Enjoy your Easter treat and consider leaving one for someone else to find!”

Egg planting. We decided to walk through the forest in our local inlet that leads to a park and pier. The kids were very exited to leave the eggs in tricky spots for other children to find in the perimeter of the park. The boys watched a pair of kids find one of their eggs and loved listening to the shriek of finding a treasure and having them rush off to show their mom.

Here is a picture of the first egg we planted in the forest. The rest of the eggs that were planted along the trail looked beautiful too!

 

We don’t know who found those eggs we left in the forest (walking back along the trail we noticed most of the eggs had been picked up already).  But the best reaction of the day was from hiding this egg under a bench along the pier:

We had tied the egg under bench and then ambled down the pier. We took our time looking in the water, checking out a boat anchored and when we got to the end of the pier there were two lovely ladies and they looked tickled…but I didn’t assume they found the egg because we had just left it under the bench. They watched my kids play and showed them the felt eye patch they had found in the egg..my kids smiled and said they were the ones that put it there!  These two adults just loved the experience and they had already paid it forward and left some change in the egg and re-hidden it. So much fun!  I think it’s adults that need a bit of magic in their lives. We are always knocking ourselves out to insert magic whenever we can for our kids…but adults need to see magic too. The adults seemed to have the best reaction to this idea and it’s something that is really fun. This time of year is a great time to leave random acts of kindness and the best part is you can use eggs!

An important point here is that egg fillers do not have to be a plastic, crappy, toxic affair. Here are some earth friendly ideas that actually fit inside standard eggs!

Felt Finger Puppets

Pirate Eye Patches

Felted Rings

Felted Ponytail Holders

Seeds – we left basil seeds

Wooden eggs

Felt Moustache

Pocket Doll

Fairy Leaf Bed and Pillow

Fair Trade Worry Dolls

Wooden Decoder

Felted Toadstool

Bird Call

Felt Dressup Watch

Remember to have fun and tailor the act of kindness to something close to your family’s heart! Let us know about the stories you discover with leaving random acts of kindness on the Mommy Footprin fan page!

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