Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Our 3 Sons

Help Me Name Our Bunny Friend!

Remember this cute little thing from last week's Wordless Wednesday post?

Well, I have decided that he needs a name. I see him every day now, usually around 7pm-ish. He's either hanging out in the backyard eating some grass or over near the shed and driveway. He is just so cute and cuddly looking. And for some reason I think it is so cool that he is chillin with us regularly.

I should point out that I do not know if this bunny is a him or her, I just automatically default to him. Anyway, I need your help picking a good bunny name. List any you think of and I will pick my favorite and if I can't decide, I'll have a poll. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Our Furry Tenant

The beauty of living in the woods is the cute little furry friends that come to visit. We've seen this bunny every day for the past few weeks. I'm pretty sure he is living under the shed. Over the weekend I got some pictures of him hanging in the kids playhouse.

BellaBand Organic Review

If you have ever been pregnant you know the torment a mama-to-be can go through trying to find clothes that fit. One day you will reach the point where your pre-pregnancy pants no longer button but maternity pants are still way too big. What do you do then? This time around for me, that time came around 8 weeks. I blame it on this being my 3rd pregnancy and I've carried twins. At least that makes me feel a little better. So I resorted to just wearing my maternity pants from almost the get-go, but I was constantly pulling them up all day. In fact now at 14 weeks I still have that problem. This is where the BellaBand from Ingrid & Isabel comes to the rescue!

President Ingrid Carney came up with the idea for BellaBands when she was having a similar problem. So she took a tube top and wore it around the waist of her pants to work and voila, BellaBands were born! I was so excited when I found out that they now make a BellaBand Organic and I was lucky enough to receive one to test out.

After trying it, I honestly can't believe I did not have a BellaBand for my first two pregnancies. As soon as the package came I opened it up and put it on. Oh my goodness what a huge difference! I've been wearing some cotton maternity Capri's a lot lately, but as i mentioned, the waist is too big and they keep sliding down. So I put my BellaBand Organic on over the waist (I folded it) and suddenly my pants fit perfectly. So much more comfortable then having your pants slide down all day long! Now I know I normally provide personal pictures of my reviews, but I am sorry there was no way I was posting a picture of my scary belly for the world to see.

A little bit about BellaBand Organic from the company:

It's the BellaBand you trust and love, but now in organic cotton! Many moms today are conscious of the impact their shopping choices have on our environment. So is Ingrid & Isabel. That's why we now offer the eco-consciously produced BellaBand Organic. More wear out of the clothes you already have means less consumption. Organic cotton means earth-friendly. Sustainability and better fitting clothes? Now that's a beautiful idea.
The BellaBand Organic is 95% organic cotton and 5% spandex and is available in white, black and sand. I have black and I really like it. Another big plus for me was the packaging. I don't know what the regular BellaBands come in, but this organic version comes in a small box made of 100% recycled cardboard and of course is recyclable. I can't tell you how frustrating it is when a company claims to have an eco-friendly product but the packaging is the complete opposite. So it was refreshing to see that Ingrid & Isabelle take it seriously.

So to all you pregnant ladies out there, I definitely recommend the BellaBand Organic. Not only is it good for during your pregnancy but also post-partum when you are back in that in between stage.

BellaBands are available from many online retailers including Amazon.com, Babies R Us and Bare Necessities. To find a store near you or more online retailers, visit the Store Locator.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Have You Visited The Mamasphere Yet?

If you haven't checked it out already, you NEED to head on over to The Mamasphere! What is it you ask? The Mamasphere is a kick as online community of woman and is my home on the Internet. Founded in 2005 as Babytalkbio by owner Stephanie, this past past Spring it got a complete face lift and a new name to become The Mamasphere (TMS). I have been a member since it started back on 2005 and I don't think I could have survived parenthood without the help, support and knowledge of these ladies. They are also who inspired me to be more green in the first place.

A little bit about TMS from the site:

The Mamasphere has been created to assist mothers in quickly accessing the information they need to navigate through their lives as women, wives, partners, co-workers, friends, sisters, daughters, and, most importantly, mamas!

We are the community village, sharing the ups and downs of each member’s life and being a stable force of information, support, and sisterhood through the mothering years and beyond.

In maintaining our focus on our community, we offer our members a variety of features and tools in one place, under one roof. We provide and maintain our community through the use of:

* Community Forums
* Personal Blogs
* Shared Recipes
* Photo Galleries
* Member Clubs
* Chat & Personal Messages

Another reason to check it out? All this month (June) is The Great Launch Blog Carnival. There are lots of contest from participating bloggers and you can enter for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to The Mamasphere! So head on over to the TMS blog to check out the contest and then register over at the forums (its free) and say hi. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Captain William

"Captain William" having fun in his superhero cape.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

*CLOSED* Calafant USA Cardboard Toys Review

If you are like me, you love to find toys for your children that spark their imagination and creativity. I'm not going to lie, we have tons of plastic toys in our house. But I have started to steer away from ones with flashy lights and loud noises. When possible I try to look for toys that are more "green" like those made from wood or recycled materials. It is really not an easy task but that's where Calafant and CreativeToyShop.com come in.

CreativeToyShop.com is owned by Martina, mother of two and carries unique Calafant cardboard toys. A little about Calafant toys:

"All CALAFANT toys are designed by Boris Schimanski, a well-know cartoonist in Germany , who first built a cardboard castle to entertain his own children. The company has a great philosophy and attitude: All items are made from recycled cardboard (plus a layer of non-recycled white paper that makes decorating the items easier and more fun), and, of course, all items are 100% bio-degradable. The design of each Calafant toy is beautiful and functional, and it encourages creativity in children. It’s an open-ended activity to build and decorate your own toy. The toys are very sturdy and last through months and months of playtime."
Calafant cardboard toys come in 3 sizes: small, medium and large. So there is something in every price range. And don't forget the very cool looking Calacastle (shown on left)! This thing is life size and your kids can climb through it and have a blast decorating it! It reminds me of my younger days when my mom had bought me a cardboard playhouse with the same principal. Man I loved that thing!

I was lucky enough to receive the Spaceship small toy to review. I knew this would be a hit because my 4 year old loves Star Wars. He was very excited to open it up. Not only do you get the cardboard toy to decorate and assemble, it also comes with a set of markers.

So William had a lot of fun coloring in his cool new spaceship. He also insisted that I help color. So the sections that are neatly colored in were done by me. :)

Once he decided he was done coloring, I assembled it for him. This literally took 30 seconds thanks to the easy to follow instructions. So within minutes my house was filled with countdowns and blastoffs and all kinds of spaceship noises. William loved it. And let me tell you, this thing has taken quite a beating already and you wouldn't even notice. It is very sturdy!

In addition to being eco-friendly these toys are also price-friendly. The small toys like this Spaceship are only $6.99. These would be great as party favors for your child's next birthday party! Think about how much money you spend on those typical junky favors. It is probably about the same. So why not go for something that is more fun and more useful?

You can buy Calafant toys at CreativeToyShop.com.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Some belated Memorial Day pictures. We went to our town's parade.

Still no Mr. Linky for me so please leave your WW link in a comment so I can visit.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Going Green: What is Organic?

OK, so I am recycling an old post today. I originally wrote this post for Sarah at The Ohana Mama back in January. I haven't touched too much on organic foods here so I thought I would share it with Green Mama's Pad readers as well.

Have you ever found yourself wondering exactly what the term "organic" means when it comes to food? Do you stand next to the fruits at the supermarket debating whether or not the organic apples are worth the extra cost? Should you buy only organic or can you pick and choose? Well let's explore this.

Basically, organic means that the produce (or other ingredients) were grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. It also means that meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no growth hormones or antibiotics.

Now let’s stop for a moment – does that really say sewage sludge? Are you completely grossed out by the fact that sewage sludge is allowed to grow food? I’m sure most people do not even know that since the 90s, sewage sludge has been sold to farmers to use as fertilizer on farms. Now think about what you rinse down your sink and flush down your toilet. Gross does not even begin to describe it!

For me, my switch to organic foods was a slow process; mainly because of the price. I started with things my kids consume the most like milk, yogurt, bread, peanut butter, etc. and then I moved on from there. I’d say that right now that 50% of the food and produce I buy is either organic or natural – we unfortunately just can’t afford to buy everything that way.

So what things should you buy organic and what things are OK to buy regular? I would suggest starting with fruits and vegetables, which each retain different amounts of pesticides. They are rated on a scale of 1 (the lowest pesticides) to 100 (the highest pesticides. Peaches have the highest (meaning worst) score at 100 while onions have the lowest (best) score at 1. You can download a shopper’s guide with the score for 45 different produce items by visiting the Environmental Working Group’s Food News website.

What next? How about snacks? I’ve read articles that say buying natural or organic snack foods is a waste, but I highly disagree. Yes processed snack foods aren’t going to have great nutritional value whether they are regular or organic, but at least they will be free of everything mentioned above as well as hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. And I don’t think we could survive without our animal crackers!

As I mentioned before, switching to organic can be pricey but luckily some of the bigger supermarket chains are now carrying their own lines of organics. We shop at Stop-n-Shop here in New England which now has a great line called Nature’s Promise. Since it’s a store brand it is very affordable. And don’t forget about wholesale places like Costco. Their Kirkland line of organic products is great; we love their peanut butter!

I hope this little introduction to organic foods has been helpful. It can be very overwhelming so take it slowly and do your research. When you decide to make the switch, I would take a day first to scout your local stores to read labels and find out who has the best prices. Be sure to check to see if you have a local farmer’s market too because buying locally grown organic produce is even better (you are supporting your community and the food is not shipped thousands of miles). But ask the farmers about their practices – locally grown does not necessarily mean organic. Happy shopping!

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