Archive | April, 2010

Thera Wise – Natural Healing

I’ve had my Thera Wise products waiting in the wings to review for months, but because I like to test products, I’ve been waiting for hemorrhoids, cuts, acne, or chest colds to strike and happily we’ve been clear and healthy for some time. The great buzz regarding the product line from Thera Wise is these ointments are made with all-natural plant extracts used to heal and restore the skin. Thera Wise products include these 4 healing ointments: HmR – Hemorrhoids, SHO – Bio Active Skin Healing Ointment, VpR – Bio Active Vaporizing Decongestant, and Ac+ – Bio Active Acne Ointment.  I have to admit it’s a great arsenal to have at home for cuts, colds, and accidentals that happen with no planning.  I have not tried the Hemorrhoid cream, but think it would be a great product to add to a hospital suitcase before having a baby. I checked out the cream on EWG skin deep database and it’s included in the top 10 creams out there for hemorrhoids. Anyone that’s had a baby knows that hemorrhoids are unavoidable and how great is it to have an all-natural, plant-based solution for your body?

My review of Thera Wise is concentrated on the SHO – Skin Healing Ointment cream. I recently had the opportunity to actually need a cream like this and have been recommending it to friends with children suffering from open cuts/inflammation from eczema outbreaks. It has literally been close to 2 years since my Isabella had bleeding or infection with an eczema outbreak – but very recently that happened. She had a patch of really dry skin that spread from her cheek to behind her ear and it cracked and caused a deep cut. I tried using my usual moisturizing cream, but I needed something with healing properties.  I applied the Thera Wise cream and the cut became better after a few treatments. I found the Skin Healing Ointment very effective and was relieved to have something that could help Isabella that was plant-based and natural! The Skin Healing Thera Wise cream would not be a replacement for me as a daily moisturizer, but was great with treating the open sore caused by skin irritation.

Another Thera Wise product that I think is a wonderful natural replacement to a traditional treatment applied to children (and adults) is the VpR Decongestant Rub.  Because it’s made with botanical extracts it’s a great replacement for vapour rubs to provide relief for a chest cold. This product has an amazing rating of 1 from EWG – this natural way to vaporize is a wonderful treatment for anyone that enjoys the relief of congestion that eucalyptus, white pine, peppermint and other plant based ingredients provide.

Also interesting, I just noticed on the Thera Wise site from a customer testimonial that the Skin Healing Ointment was used successfully on a wart.  I have a child with a wart on his toe so I’m testing this cream on him and will post if it works to remove his wart.  Because it is small and not bothering him, I would never go through applying acid or ‘burning’ it off his foot. The wonderful thing about a multi-functional cream like this is that it’s plant based and with no petroleum you can try it on many different skin inflammations and feel like you’re making a better choice than the cortisone creams or prescription medicines that your family doctor will readily prescribe.

Thera Wise provides a great suite of products for anyone looking for plant therapy ointments and I’m happy to add these ointments to my personal medicine kit for cuts, burns, or accidentals that you can’t plan for with kids. For a list of stores that sell Thera Wise ointments, click here.

Related Articles:

All-Natural Tips For Managing Childhood Eczema

Top Organic Sunscreens for 2010 & Tips For Purchasing



Supporting Local Is Vital To Our Future

I’m noticing an exciting movement brewing and it really became apparent watching the social media mediums talking about Earth Day this year. There’s been a big shift to simplify purchases and reduce our insatiable appetite as consumers. The movement to drastically reduce what we are spending combined with saving our money for quality and locally produced items will be a huge difference in the North America economy in 2010. When you are shopping – are you asking where things are made?  Is this influencing your decision?

Many parents are putting a big focus on re-using what they already have. If you resist the urge to go out and purchase items you think are needed – you’ll always be surprised what you can make do with at home. I found it so interesting reading moms posting on Twitter wondering why to celebrate Earth Day this year they needed to go out and purchase a gift for the planet? A great question and hopefully not the message parents were getting from the media this Earth Day. Even though I’m a proud owner of a green business, I’m hoping it was the message for families to re-connect with nature and eco-activities that made Earth Day celebrations truly special this year. When talking about North America’s problem with over-consumption – even greener options – would not have been the true message of Earth Day this year.

Back to the topic of supporting local.  For years we’ve now listened to the words ‘reducing your footprint’ ‘smaller footprint’ and this no longer only means recycling.  To me, these words truly mean better decisions, asking questions, and supporting local whenever possible; from the food we eat, to the everyday items we use.  I have stopped saying “but everything is made in China!” Why?  Because it’s simply not true.  We simply gravitate to all the choices from China because they are the cheapest.  When I am buying something that is made overseas – it’s not because I can’t find it….it’s because I want that low price. The only thing that will help this problem is supply and demand. The more people that join together to support our local businesses – the cost for these quality items will go down. You can ask Europeans what the cost is for their lovely wooden toys.  It’s not what we pay here because these items that are known for quality and safety, need to be transported which costs money. I find it impossible to believe we can’t find the same things here and support a local farmer or artisan that is gifted with quality craftsmanship, etc.

It’s sad to think that our economic struggles in North America could be lessoned if we followed what all other countries do – support our own manufacturers. Network within your own group of friends or social media forums and ask who around you can sew, make quality items from wood, or where you can purchase food locally. Following a path of purchasing less and reusing what we have, then following a blueprint as a consumer of quality, sustainable, locally made items that can be recycled or are made from recycled materials will change the way we shop this year. I’m excited for Earth Day 2011 because  I think these concepts will truly be understood and followed by parents.

Please share your actions that help make everyday decisions more earth friendly. Here are a few fun ways to talk to children about reusing household items and reducing purchases that might not be required. Examples include:

Making home made play dough. Did you know that traditional play dough containers are not recyclable and the quality of the play dough cannot compare (or last as long) as the home made version?

Don’t throw away your broken crayons – save them for a rainy day project of melting them down and making new crayons to use.

Understanding that children simply don’t need buckets of new clothing that is made overseas, printed with traditional inks and materials. It honestly feels better to purchase less, spend more, and support a local “made in North America’ clothing store.

Similar Articles:

Earth Day 2010 ~ How Will You Celebrate

Mommy Eco-Tee

Valentina – A Very Special Valentine

Clementine Art – Naturally Artistic

A New Spin On A Classic Toy – Building Blocks

** Badger sunscreen contest note **  The winner Jen has been contacted and the contest is closed.  Thanks to everyone that completed the referral form or posted a comment to the Mommy Footprint fan page!



One-Of-A-Kind Mother’s Day

When I first saw the hand painted notebooks from local artist April Lacheur I instantly knew what my Mother’s Day pick would be.  These days, who can resist an affordable, one-of-a-kind, unique, hand painted, and locally supported artist and beautiful mother’s day gift?  Certainly I can’t, and when you check out her amazing portfolio (right down to her signature tree trunks) you’ll understand my excitement. And for those Mommy Footprint readers that aren’t local to my West Coast roots, April has done her sourcing of the notebooks locally so if you are ordering them from another Province or State, she’s already looked after keeping the footprint light.

First a small glimmer into the product that caught my eye and inspired me to write about these notebooks.  Most of you know I’m a very practical person and I think the price point for these usable and unique pieces of art is great!  The journals come lined or un-lined and can be found here on April’s site and were sourced at Those Great Little Books that have a very cool and eco story all on their own! Read the story about Sandy’s Book and you’ll quickly understand the very cool things this company can do with notebook design and creativity! Back to April – check out these amazing functional (and original) journal covers with her lovely hand painted designs.  Just a perfect gift for a busy mom who would love the first page to be filled with notes from her husband or children about why she is special.

While you are on April’s site you might also notice her hand painted totes – another great gift idea(PVC-free) for mom this year with another great price point under $30.

It’s also very cool to watch the evolution of April’s paintings. Her latest from her Facebook updates is just wonderful and fills me with happiness. This is what the West Coast has looked like over the past few weeks with the beautiful cherry blossoms…combined with the whimsical tree trunks that are truly April’s signature:

My thanks to April for the earthy inspiration and for helping us learn that words like local, hand crafted, hand painted, and unique don’t have to be translated into the word expensive.

Related Articles:

Earthy Mother’s Day Ideas



Earth Day 2010 ~ How Will You Celebrate

Earth Day is coming and I’ve been comparing this year’s Earth Day buzz to Christmas. It might even be busier in our household than any December I can remember – the emphasis on April 22nd is apparent in every corner of the community this year.

Also helping keep me on my toes, I was approached to guest write for an amazing online newsletter called Savvymom with a series of 2 articles on greener options for families. The article titles are Eco Fun: Storm Drain Marking and Tips to Improve Your Home’s Health. Both of these articles have some great ideas for both parents and children wanting to make a difference in their community and home. One thing I’ve learned with writing at Mommy Footprint is any steps you make to help the environment will reward you with improving your family’s health. If you are wanting to talk to your children about Earth Day and why it’s important, but don’t have time for any big projects, simply make a change in your home and explain that you are helping the Earth and helping improve the quality of your family’s environment. Big or small changes – they all matter and are important.

I have a small role in helping plan a Earth Day Fair this year and am feeling very inspired about community and family involvement. To find an Earth Day event in your neighbourhood, click on the link at Earth Day 2010 (US zip codes only). For people in Canada click on the Earth Day Canada site for events.

My advice for parents wanting to participate or encourage their children this April 22nd is pick something you all find inspiring. If you have wrapped your mind around trying to reduce the amount of toxic materials in your life, discussing with family this month is a great start. I found this puzzle today from the artists at Just Hatched in the US that really celebrate Earth Day everyday with their commitment to using more sustainable materials to create toys. I wanted to share an example of something so simple. and earthy. and inspiring. Surrounding our lives with better choices for the environment the other 374 days of the year is also a great pledge to make. Keeping your family footprint lighter with supporting local, sustainable choices, made with natural materials just feels so good!

Have fun planning your special mark with your family this Earth Day.



Top Organic Sunscreens for 2010 & Tips For Purchasing

Please note: In May 2010 the EWG strengthened their safe sunscreen requirements so the top list has now changed in the EWG sunscreen database. To read more on these new recommendations, please read the latest Mommy Footprint article called EWG Sunscreen Guide & Surprising Truths Parents Need To Read.

Drum roll please.  Every year we excitedly wait to see the results for top organic sunscreens recommended by EWG (Environmental Working Group).  I’ve listed the top 5 results below and asked Gwen, owner of Nayla Natural Care to put together some sunscreen tips for Mommy Footprint readers. Her online store is carrying 3 of the top 5 brands recommended by EWG which shows Gwen’s depth for sourcing great products.  Check out the Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30 and the new Thinkbaby and Thinksport SPF 30+.  Nayla Natural Care has kindly offered a prize pack of Badger products to kickoff our series of safer sunscreen (more information on the contest at end of this article).

Top 5 Beach & Sport Sunscreens EWG – Skin Deep

1. Loving Naturals Sunscreen 30+ SPF

2. Heiko Kids 40 SPF

3. Thinkbaby and Thinksport Thinkbaby Sunscreen SPF 30+

4. Badger Sunscreen SPF 30

5. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+

I link to the online store Nayla frequently because I trust Gwen’s excellent product knowledge and customer service. I’d like to thank Gwen for taking the time to write these awesome sunscreen tips – I learned a lot from her article.  I especially love the handy SPF calculator!

Tips for Purchasing Sunscreen, by Gwen Leron

It is that time of year again, when we all start to look at purchasing sun block/screen for the upcoming sunny days of summer. With all of the products on the market and the abundance of information out there, Suzanne and I thought it would be a great idea to lay out all of the things you need to know before purchasing a sun block/screen for your family.

This is Part 1 of what we have put together and here, we will present the basics on sun block/screen, and the terms you should know.

What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The most common SPF factors are 15, 30 and 45. The SPF tells you approximately how long your sun block/screen will protect you from the sun. For example, if you normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, multiply 10 minutes by the SPF. Therefore, an SPF15 will protect you for 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) before you have to re-apply. It is important not to go exactly by the SPF calculation though. Sweating, clothing rubbing against the skin and water can all reduce the “safe time” so it is always a good idea to re-apply well before the calculated SPF time. A good rule is to apply once every hour.

What is the difference between sunscreen and sun block?

A chemical based sunscreen is known as a chemical block. These types of sunscreens do not leave a white film on the skin and rub in as a regular lotion would. The chemicals in these sunscreens filter sunlight and reduce the ultraviolet penetration to the skin. Chemical sunscreens usually contain chemical preservatives such as parabens to lengthen shelf life. It is a good idea to stay away from chemical ingredients and preservatives because they easily absorb into the skin and can cause a multitude of problems.

A sun block that is not chemical based is known as a physical block. These types of blocks contain an active natural mineral ingredient, either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. After applying, the sun block physically blocks the ultraviolet penetration to the skin and do not use any chemicals to do so. Physical blocks usually leave a whitish tinge to the skin after application and contain natural preservatives that in turn give them a shorter shelf life than their chemical based equivalents. To combat the unappealing look of the “white sunscreen” sitting on the skin, some companies turn to nano-particles in sunscreen, which we will discuss in Part 2.

What is broad spectrum? A sun block/screen is broad spectrum if it protects against Ultraviolet-A (UVA) and Ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. UVA and UVB rays together cause skin cancer, premature aging, sunburn and more, so always be sure that the sun block/screen you choose is labeled broad spectrum.

Note: The sun also emits Ultraviolet-C (UVC) rays but they are of little concern because the majority of UVC rays are filtered by the earth’s ozone layer before it reaches us (a little bit more incentive to protect the environment).

What is the difference between water resistant and waterproof?

Water resistant means that that the sun block/screen will retain its SPF after 40 minutes of any type of moisture exposure. Keep in mind that water exposure also includes sweating.

Waterproof means that the product will retain its SPF after 80 minutes of water exposure.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series. We will dive a bit deeper into the more technical terms that you may come across when trying to decipher sun block/screen ingredients.

If you would like to enter the Badger sunscreen contest, click onto the Nayla Natural Care site, pick your favorite product, then post that product to the Mommy Footprint fan page. The lucky winner will receive a bottle of 2.9oz of Badger SPF 30 sunscreen. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can use our traditional method of entering a contest by using our referral form. This contest is open to all residents in North America and will close on April 17th. This prize package includes 1 Badger SPF 30 sunscreen, Badger SPF 15 lip balm, and Badger Bali Balm after sun care.

badger sunscreen SPF 30+



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