Friday, July 31, 2009

The Safe Sippy 2 Review and Giveaway

Way back in April I reviewed The Safe Sippy stainless steel sippy cup and I loved it. Kid Basix, the company behind The Safe Sippy, has now come out with The Safe Sippy 2 and they were kind enough to send me a sample to review. Let me first refresh your memory about why they use stainless steel:

"The entire family of Kid Basix stainless steel drink ware was created in response to the growing body of emerging scientific evidence about the dangers of toxic chemicals used to make many plastics. It has been well documented that Bisphenol A (BPA) is the most worrisome of these chemicals, but other chemicals now being studied are now also cause for concern.
We chose stainless steel because it is clean, stable and durable. Because stainless steel is stable and inert, it does not interact with the foods and fluids it comes into contact with. So what you put in is what you get out. Stainless steel is also one of the most easily recycled materials on earth, making The “Safe” brand of drink ware a smart and green choice in a world trying to reduce plastic waste."
Before I get into my review, I have to show you the cup I was given. I got a really good chuckle out of it. For those of you not familiar with my family, I have 3 little boys and am currently pregnant with baby #4 (sex tbd Aug 7).


Maybe Kid Basix knows something about the new baby that I don't! :) But seriously, it is just a color and I honestly don't mind if my boys drink from a pink cup. I just had to share though because it made me laugh.

Anyway, The Safe Sippy 2 has all the great features of the original Safe Sippy: stainless steel body, plastics are certified BPA, DEHA and phthalates free, protective sleeve and a straw-shaped spot. So what makes it different? Well they have added a few extras! The biggest, I think, is the straw adapter. So now your cup can be used as either a regular sippy or as a straw sippy - very cool! I've recently transitioned my 2 year old twins to straw cups so I was happy to see this option. They haven't quite mastered it yet, they still turn the cups up, but they are getting there.

In addition to the straw adapter, it also comes with a cap and a travel plug. The travel plug is really neat. Say you are heading out and want to toss the cup in your diaper bag - simply replace the valve or straw with the plug for leak free travel. Sure you have to bring your valve with you if your child wants a drink, but it is better then a wet, messy bag. And just to double-check myself that it works, I stood in my kitchen vigorously shaking the cup with plug in it upside down and not a drop came out. So once again, I am extremely happy with another Safe Sippy Cup!



***Giveaway Closed!

Win
Kid Basix is generously giving one reader their own Safe Sippy 2!

Mandatory Entry
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This giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ only and will end on Friday, August 14th at 11:59pm EST. One winner will be chosen at random using Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to claim his/her prize otherwise a new winner will be picked. You must leave your e-mail address in all of your comment(s) so I can contact you. I will not share your e-mail address with anyone, it will strictly be used to notify you if you win. Good luck!

This review is based solely on my opinion and experience with this product. You may have a different experience than myself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: More Vacation Pics

I miss the beach soooooo much!












(This was William showing me his Sand Crab)


Monday, July 27, 2009

What I learned on vacation

Last week was our annual family trip to the Jersey Shore. I look forward to it every year, it is a long standing family tradition that is now on its 5th generation. I've already posted some pictures and I'm sure there will be more to come. :) The boys had a great time (we all did), they loved the beach. Now that we're back home and (almost) unpacked, I've been thinking about it all and thought I would jot down my random thoughts. So here are a few things that I learned on vacation. ~ My mom always cooks way too much food. Is this something that Italian mothers/grandmothers are trained to do? No complaints from me though, I enjoyed it all! ~ Central air conditioning is awesome and I was spoiled by it for a week. Now that I am back home to 85 degree weather with 75% humidity and no a/c - well it sucks. ~ Josh (2 years old) has no fear when it comes to the ocean. He would have walked right in if I let him. He really loved the water, even after being wiped out pretty good. ~ My family was pretty tolerant of my "green" stuff and I am so thankful for that. My mom agreed not to plug in all of her Glade air fresheners around the house and everyone drank organic milk. She even bought some organic veggies which I was impressed by. ~ I was a little disappointed in myself on how easily I abandoned some of my practices. I wasted way too many paper plates and plastics cups. So I vow to do better next year. ~ And chasing 3 boys around the beach while 18 weeks pregnant is exhausting! Chasing them down the boardwalk while wearing womens sandals is not much fun either.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Fun

We're halfway through our annual vacation at the beach so I thought I would share a few pictures. Here are my boys having some fun.








Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Green: Caring for Cloth Diapers

So I have 5 months till baby #4 arrives and I am trying to educate myself about cloth diapering so I can give it a try. To be honest, it intimidates the hell out of me! Back in April I had an Intro To Cloth Diapers post written for me by a contributing blogger. I learned a lot from it (I hope others did as well). But I thought, "OK so now I have my cloth diapers, how do I care for them and wash them?" So I reached out to Hyla of Green Earth Journey to share what she does with us. Thanks Hyla!

Today I'm going to talk about caring for cloth diapers. We have been using cloth diapers for about 4 months now. We started 2 months with our oldest daughter, Guinevere, before our youngest daughter, Willow, was born.

We tried many different methods and found one that works the best for us.

We have two different kinds of diapers:

All In Ones (AIO) - All the layers in these diapers are sewn together, PUL (waterproof) and absorbent layers.

Pocket Diapers - The PUL with a pocket sewn on the inside is the main part of the diaper and you put your absorbent layers inside the pocket.

With the AIO diapers we toss them in the washer or in a dry bucket if there is only urine on them. If there is poop we rinse them off in the bathroom sink, our sink does not have a straining cap on the drain, just a big hole. Squeeze the excess water out and toss in the washer/bucket. It's kinda creepy the way the poop just rolls off the diapers into the drain ( :cough: eh hmmm....).

Moving along...

With Pocket Diapers we rinse the diaper if there is poop and always remove the absorbent liners from inside the pockets. We have found that if you leave them inside the diapers they do not get cleaned thoroughly, because they get bunched up inside the diapers, and retain a smell. You will end up having to throw them through the wash again if you forget this step.

Do not use fabric softener or detergents with fabric softener with your cloth diapers. Fabric softeners inhibit the diapers from absorbing as much as they should. The same goes with bottom rash creams. If you need to use a cream on your babies bottom switch to disposables for the duration of use or put a protective layer between the cream and the diaper, such as a small soft piece of fabric or a soft washcloth.

Do not let your diapers sit too long before washing, the most we let our diapers sit is for 24 hours. Trust me when I say, with a newborn, you will have more than enough diapers for a load of laundry by then! If you will not have a chance to do a load of diapers every 24 hours, I have seen recipes online for liquids that you can store your diapers in. Such as vinegar and water or baking soda and water. Luckily we have a small washer in our apartment so we have not had to use this method, but you will most likely have to experiment to find a liquid recipe that works well for you.

Through lots of trial and error we have found the best washing method is;

* Use half as much detergent as you think you should use.
* Start the water on hot and fill the washer.
* After the washer has filled once, switch the water to cold.

We air dry our diapers on foldable drying racks. I have read the use of a commercial dryer with cloth diapers shortens their life and tends to ruin the elastic. To whiten diapers and help remove stains let them dry in the sunshine. The sun will bleach the diapers and help them dry faster.

AIO diapers take the longest to dry and that is why we have switched to mostly pocket diapers. Because the outsides and insides of the diapers are separate, they dry much faster.

The way cloth diapers are made today, you should have no qualms using them, they are just as easy as disposables.

Photobucket

Written by Hyla from GreenEarthJourney.com

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Green Glossary: Wet Bag

Wet Bag: A waterproof bag used for storing soiled cloth diapers when you are out and about. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to keep smells to a minimum until you get home to your washer.

Where do you get one? Here are some online shops that I found:

Happy Tushies
The Stork Warehouse
Wet Happened?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NOVICA - Fair Trade, Hand Crafted Gifts

Novica is one of the leading fair trade artisan websites and works with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. There are literally thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts and home decor items on the website. When I was first introduced to Novica earlier this month, I literally spent hours browsing all of the unique gifts that fill the site.

So with so much to look at, where does one start? If you are looking for green gifts you will find cool statues made from recycled auto parts. Or even this pretty recycled glass chandelier.


There is also a large section for those in need of a corporate gift. I actually spent a lot of time in this section because there were so many lovely items. I really like the look of this journal and pencil set.


From Novica:

"Our Corporate Gift Program allows business both large and small access to unique treasures for all occasions. We view every project as an opportunity for you to set yourself apart from your competitors as we tailor our program to meet your specific company needs.

Our entire collection is at your fingertips! You have worked hard to build your brand, it is important that your corporate gifts reinforce that effort. Novica presents artisans from across the globe, giving you an unmatched selection of fair trade corporate gifts to suit every style. Whether on your own, or with some guidance from our knowledgeable corporate gift experts, you will surely find just the right item to make a lasting impression."
Novica was generous enough to let me pick out a few items to review. I am not exaggerating when I tell you it took me 3 days to make up my mind, that is how much great stuff is there. Now because these items are coming from all over the world, shipping can take some time. So I am still awaiting 2 items. I did however receive the Purple Parallels Cotton Handbag that I picked for myself.


The picture does not do it justice, it is just so pretty. And it makes me happy to know that this was hand crafted by an artist who was paid fairly for her work. I also have to mention the FREE gift wrap that came on this item (note: not all items receive free gift wrap). It was the first thing I saw when I opened the package. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the paper is also handmade and has some leaves in it. So simple yet beautiful. I'm saving it to reuse. :)


Now I have a few more items that should be coming in a week or so - some hand blown glassware. Once they get here I will be posting about them as well. I can't wait to see them!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

One of these things just doesn't belong! This is my 4 year old's collection of Star Wars Galactic Heroes figures. Yes, he's a bit obsessed. But can you spot the one figure who shouldn't be here?






Thursday, July 9, 2009

How Does My Garden Grow?

Organically, that's how!!! It has been way too long since I updated on my organic gardening experience! So back on Mother's Day I planted 2 grape tomato plants in a pot on my front steps and some strawberry plants in a pot on the back deck. (link) To refresh your memory, here is what they looked like back in May:




Now June was a rough month. Lots and lots and LOTS of rain with very little sunshine. I wasn't sure how my little plants were gonna handle it all. Well, despite the 20+ days of rain in June, they are actually doing really well and I actually have fruit!!! Here they are the other day:

Tomato plants



Strawberries



First off these things are growing like crazy! Look how tall those tomato plants are!! When I first got the stakes I thought it was ridiculous how tall they were. But now the plants are nearly just as tall. And I have tons of little green tomatoes on there. I can't wait for them to ripen. Lots of yummy salads! Even the strawberries plants are getting huge. My oldest can't wait for them to be red so he can pick them off.

I have to say this is very exciting for me as I have NEVER grown any type of fruit or veggie before. I feel so accomplished, lol. And I have done it all with zero pesticides! I used organic potting soil and organic plant food and that was it. YAY! Hopefully they will taste as good as they look!

Now can anyone tell me how long till these things ripen and I can pick them? I'm anxious. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Help End Insurance Discrimination against Autism

Wouldn't you like to help put an end to Insurance Discrimination against Autism? What is that exactly? Basically "we want insurance companies to cover autism treatments so all children can get the medical treatments they need to recover from Autism." Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover these treatments. So Maryann over at Matthew's Puzzle has put out a call to action. And if you help out with this, she will give you 10 extra entries into one of her giveaways! So head on over to read the details and get involved!



Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

Wishing everyone a very happy, safe and green 4th of July!! We're laying pretty low today, but we took the kids to a local carnival last night and they had a blast.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Green Glossary: Bisphenol-A (BPA)

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic estrogen used to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin. BPA has been used for nearly 50 years and has been suspected of being hazardous since the 1930s. According to numerous studies from the Environmental Working Group “trace BPA exposure been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, early puberty, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy.” Put a little more simply, risks include prostate and breast cancer, higher rates of miscarriage, immune system dysfunction, testicular abnormalities in boys and puberty in girls younger than eight years old. Plastics labeled with the number 7 and a “PC” are made of polycarbonate and contain BPA.

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