Nana Star Books and Dolls – A Review

by Tiffany in Book Reviews, Children

Nana Star Books

My 4 year old daughter Paige is thrilled with a new addition to her library…the Nana Star books. Even better, these books come with dolls. What more could a little girl ask for?

I think these books are bound to be classics. They are so much fun and so enjoyable to read, especially when you have the accompanying dolls that make am appearance quite often throughout the books. They get a BIG thumbs up from mom too. The books are beautifully illustrated, very high quality, the story is wonderful, and the dolls are made of cloth.

The first story follows the adventures of a little girl who loves to frolic outdoors, listening to nature, and sleep in a meadow of flowers. It is after one such nap when she awakes to hear a soft call for help. After searching the little girl finds a lost baby star who has fallen from the heavens. The baby star calls the little girl Nana Star and she vows to help take him home where he belongs.

Reading Nana Star

In the second book Nana Star and the baby star are journeying to figure out how to return baby star to his home. Nana Star starts to feel scared and alone when, with help from a new friend, she learns that she is never alone. The Moonman is always watching over and guiding her, even when she can’t see him.

The stories are really about building character and helping others and valuable for all children I think. Each book also comes with a storytime and sing-along CD. My daughter is absolutely enthralled with the story and though he won’t admit it…my 7 year old son rather likes it to. ;)

Along with the book you can get a posable Nana Star doll and she comes with a baby star to take care of. The Moonman lovey glows when kids cuddle him and plays a sleepy “luvaby” when they hug his tummy! He’s a comforting presence as they drift off to dreamland.

The whole set has one several awards and we can’t wait for more books to be released. If you have a little girl this set would make a great gift!

The Moonman Doll


Eco Wrap – Raw Foods and Bags

by Tiffany in A Green Home

friday wrap upTGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone!

My blogging efforts have slowed just a bit in case you haven’t noticed. I think I am enjoying summer too much. I have been taking my kids and walking an air conditioned mall everyday for exercise. I have been hitting garage sales every weekend without fail looking for second hand deals, and I have caught all the summer movies I have wanted to see…including one just a few hours ago. It has been nice to spend more time unplugged. Well…kinda…I did just get a new sewing machine too. ;)

But I have a few links you may want to check out….

I have a NEW blog! Check out Goddess of the Garden if you want to know more about raw foods.

Also my friend LaTara has a free Frugal Vegan Report that is really good. If you are vegan or trying to reduce meat consumption this is for you.

I really wish I knew how to knit because if I did…I would make this bag. It’s awesome! It has complete instructions as well.

I also found another reusable bag that had me in tears laughing. With all this talk about green guilt lately I just found this too funny.

Oh and I found a cool new use for a reusable bag that gets torn. Turn it into a bed pocket to store, books, reading light, the remote, etc.

And one last link….Frozen Grape Pops for the kids.

Have a good weekend all! I know I will.


School in the Summer?!?! – WW

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Paige at Old Schoolhouse


The Dangers of Synthetic Vitamins

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

dangers of synthetic vitamins for kids

Nutritional supplement companies have done a brisk business over the years because of the general concern that modern food processing and lifestyle preferences may be having a detrimental impact on our nutritional intake. We may readily consume foods that have almost no nutritional value (think Pop Tarts and soda). Our soil is also depleted continuously by bad farming practices and thus the “healthy” food grown on many farms is lacking.

The message consumers are receiving from supplement companies is that there’s no need to worry if you or your children not eating enough fruit, fiber and protein as supplements can help to make up for vitamin deficiencies. But not all supplements are created equal. For some reason it never “clicked” in my mind that MOST of these vitamins and supplements, even the ones for children, are synthetic. The vitamin C is not real Vitamin C from a source like oranges. Instead it is created in a lab from heaven knows what. Researchers are now finding that most vitamins do zip or worse because they’re synthetic.

Synthetic vitamins offer you much less than you think are receiving. Some studies have shown that certain synthetic vitamins give only 50% or less of the biological activity as compared to whole vitamins (vitamins that come directly from vegetables). Why do companies choose to use synthetic vitamins if they are not as effective as whole vitamins? Because synthetic vitamins cost far less to manufacture. The vitamin business is a racket and not one designed to bring you any measure of health.

One synthetic vitamin causing much controversy is synthetic vitamin C. Some argue that this form of vitamin C can contribute to the thickening of the arterial walls of the heart by as much as 2.5 times. This is potentially very harmful. In another study, 22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased 400% according to the New England Journal of Medicine, 1995.

In stores, ascorbic acid is often sold as vitamin C but it is actually only a chemically derived fraction of the whole food vitamin. In food, vitamin C is a complete complex made up of ascorbic acid plus rutin, bioflavonoids, K factor and J factors along with other substances.

The body is able to absorb and use this vitamin only when all parts of the complex is present. So when the chemically derived “fraction” of vitamin C is taken the body must first supply the other parts of the whole food complex. If the pill is taken on its own it will then be necessary for the body to complete the complex by taking the missing elements from its own tissues. It stresses our bodies to have to do all this extra work. Vitamins should come with all they need for absorption or we are stressing our bodies out just by taking them. It is no wonder we age so fast. This whole process of robbing stores within the body to complete the complex can cause even greater deficiencies in the body.

danger of synthetic vitaminsWhole food vitamins do not cause deficiencies in areas of the body but instead supply the individual cells with the nutrients they need for vitality.

How can you tell a synthetic vitamin from a whole food vitamin? Look at the label. Instead of seeing a long list of chemicals you should find the names of foods listed as the vitamin source. A vitamin or mineral is synthetic if only its chemical and/or popular name appears, with no plant source. For instance if a label reads like this: Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide… then you know it is synthetic. These vitamins and supplements also commonly have added sugars, preservatives, and dyes. If it is a natural, whole food vitamin it will list the foods, herbs, or spices used like strawberries, carrot, alfalfa, etc.

So if you are ready to stop wasting money on synthetic vitamins that will provide minimal nutrition and maybe even a harmful side effect or two there are a couple whole foods supplements I like for children.

They are easy to digest, gluten free, vegetarian, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. Some of the food “sources” include strawberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries…all organic of course. My kids give them a big thumbs up.

Nutri Stars Multivitamin and Multimineral Children’s Chewable from Rainbow Light. Besides all the regular vitamins and minerals you would expect to find in a chewable vitamin it has some bonuses like veggie concentrates from carrots, spinach, green beans, broccoli, and beets. It also has organic spirulina and wheat sprouts. It is 100% natural with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or other additives that are often found in other vitamin products. And here is the most important thing….kids like them.

Garden of Life Vitamin C –  This is real Vitamin C!! I have been up and down the isles of health food stores looking for real vitamin C and not one that says it is derived from ascorbic acid. This one is my favorite and usually the only one they have among dozens of fake ones.

Nature’s Plus – Animal Parade – Ingredients such as broccoli, spinach, mango fruit, carrot, West Indian cherry, glabra fruit, papaya fruit, and spirulina. No artificial colors and preservatives, yeast, wheat, corn, soy and milk. These are also chewable tablets, not gummies.

Kid’s One Daily Multi – 100% whole food multi-vitamin made with a variety of fresh raw foods including organic brown rice, cabbage, broccoli, cranberries, carrots, whole oranges and nutritional yeast. Provides a balanced spectrum of 24 essential nutrients and immune-boosting antioxidants.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids – All the nutrients come from food, as they should. It’s a yummy, cherry-berry chewable multivitamin specifically designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of kids, providing the essential vitamins and minerals kids need for extraordinary health and vitality. The same company also makes a DHA kids chewable with pure cod liver oil that kids will actually eat and they have raw prenatal vitamins.

Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears – This is a good whole food vitamin inside tasty gummy bears, so of course it won’t be hard to get kids to eat these. My kids always ask for these when we go to Whole Foods. Does not contain yeast, wheat, milk, egg, soy, gluten, salt, artificial colors, artificial flavors, salicylates or preservatives. Kids can have up to three bears per day.

Another option is a powdered supplement made with fruits and veggies like this chocolate one from Amazing Grass. My family adores this brand and all their products and have used them for many years.

To your health!

The Dangers of Synthetic Vitamins


Preserve – The Eco Toothbrush

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Preserve ToothbrushA few years back I started buying wood toothbrushes with natural bristles. I like them fairly well but I didn’t feel quite right about using wood for such a disposable item. Then I happened upon Preserve Toothbrushes at Whole Foods and my whole family has been using them ever since.

The Preserve Toothbrush is made from recycled yogurt cups which is actually a BIG eco boost because most recycling centers will not recycle open mouth containers like yogurt cups…so they go in the landfill. Preserve has opted to use them to make their wonderful toothbrush and their popular razor. I was only too happy to support a company like that.

Also, when you are finished with your toothbrush..don’t throw it away. Go the Preserve web site and print a postage paid label and ship it back to them so it can be recycled again!

The BEST part of all this though is that they are affordable. You can buy them at any Target store for only $2.04. That is comparable to the mainstream and not-so eco friendly toothbrushes and better than any other price for Preserve I have yet seen. They come in lots of groovy colors and my family loves them. And if your kids NEED to have a more cutesy version they have a Preserve Jr. Toothbrush too.

Mom Central also has some printable coupons for a $1 off a purchase of two toothbrushes. Happy brushing!