Sweet Summer Days

by Tiffany in Children

Not much blogging going on lately. I guess I have been unable to resist taking the summer off with my kids. With so many festivals, fairs, and such good weather it makes it hard to come inside and blog! Here is what our day looked like yesterday…

My daughter singing for a street vendor…

Dinosaur rides…

Ferris Wheels….

Story time outside…

A downed tree makes the BEST play place…

And carnival rides can be re-created at home with a hammock that swings…

And a lovely summer afternoon in a hammock is the perfect time for a little snooze…

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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EIO Glass Kids Cup Review

A couple years ago I compiled big lists of BPA free kids cups. Most of us were used to giving our kids plastic sippy cups to avoid spills but when we found that BPA or Bishpenol A had the potential to harm our children we sought better options. Our demand for better products was so loud that MANY companies reformulated their products to offer safer cups and many new companies popped up to fill this need as well. Still for many moms, myself included, there was still something missing.

Yes we had safer cups but they were made of plastic.. which frankly can have other issue besides BPA. While I gave moms who wanted plastic options they needed I scoured the net for stainless steel cups and I bought up small mason jars at thrift stores for my own kids. With out mix of stainless steel tumblers and little glass jars we made do, but I DID miss the sippy cup option!

Now a company has stepped to the plate to provide an answer for us picky moms… a glass cup with plastic sippy attachment, and a sleeve to prevent breakage. It is quite simply the most awesome safe sippy cup I have yet seen. I am really loving it… the EIO Glass Cup for Kids.

The design is similar to what we now see in glass baby bottles. It has a silicone sleeve that prevents breakage of the body.. which is glass. The top portion is BPA, Phthalates and PVC free plastic with a small hole in the inclined area. There is no spout or valve that is impossible to clean or that allows for mold growth. It is dishwasher safe. The BEST part though is that the lid fits on to virtually any 8 ounce canning jar!!! Yes… if your cup breaks (which is unlikely IMO) you can replace with a canning jar, easy peasy! I just love the whole concept, especially the part where I do not have to buy another cup if the part most likely to break, does in fact break.. I can just use a caning jar I already have. The top plastic part is very sturdy and unlikely to break IMO. The sleeve is nice but not really a necessity.. if it were to rip somehow, the cup would function just fine without it.

Up until we got the EIO cup we were just using open cups (both metal and glass). We had lots of breakage, which was no biggie really but the spills were getting out of hand. Since we have started using the EIO that issue is gone, thank goodness. We have the green cup but there is also purple and orange and I am considering getting one for my 6 year old too because the cup does not have a babyish appearance and it would help with dinner time spills. This cup is great for older kids too.

I don’t like using plastic or buying new plastic but I will buy “smart” plastic. Something that will be reused over and over again, that will last, and that makes it easier to use less plastic overall. This cup definitely qualifies.

All in all, I am pretty excited about his new innovation. Some companies see a need and they do the bare minimum… like take the BPA out of their existing cups. Other companies see moms who are concerned with not only the chemicals but also the reliance on plastic and the move towards other materials and they come up with a solution. I love the EIO cup but I also love the fact that one company stood up and took notice of what I (and other moms like me) wanted in a kids cup and they delivered. It should be no surprise to anyone that is was in fact a mom who invented this cup… a mom that wanted to empower her kids to use REAL, earth friendly dinnerware at the table.

Much thanks to Kathy Haskell of EIO for the awesome product and for sending me a sample cup to review at my request.



by Tiffany in Tidbits

The Green Moms Carnival this month is all about sharing A Day In Your Life. Well, I warn you now that most of our days are just about living in the moment and there is nothing too terribly exciting. Since I work from home and because the kids are out of school… our weekends look much like our weekdays. We get up, whenever we want to, which for me is when the youngest kiddo (who sleeps with me) is up and about. My daughter sleeps in even later and my oldest boy is usually up and on my computer when I get up. Breakfast is usually eggs or cereal (hot or cold).

The kids play outside for most of the day usually with some infrequent runs indoors to play with Legos or video games for a bit. Most mornings we go walking at the local mall (exercise for mom) and sometimes we catch a movie there to. We saw Toy Story 3 on Friday. Some days a trip to the park is in order. On weekends we may also go to garage sales were I sneakily try to buy gifts for birthdays and Christmas without them seeing. I prefer giving second hand gifts. Lunch is usually leftovers or we just graze on whatever is fast and easy.

I work 2-4 hours per day as well so I am in and out of my office. The shelves with products and books make it look more like a store but they remind me of what I need to do. I am lucky in that much of the time my research involves my kids so everyday is bring your kids to work day.

In the mornings while it is cool and also in the early evenings we garden. The older two kids help and the youngest finds some mud, dirt, sticks, or all of the above…

We have been trying out different natural mosquito repellents and even though they may attempt to use natural ingredients I don’t like for them stay on their skin after we go inside and the kids have likely gotten dirty as well, so…. we wash off with the hose. That well water is COLD!!!

After we come in for the evening we watch a little TV or do some other activity. If any kids have gone many days without a bath I try to rectify that. ;)

Weekends may be special only in that we do seek out events that are happening locally. This weekend for instance we may have gone to a lavender festival for summer solstice but the two hour drive didn’t sound appealing to any of us this week. And my oldest wanted to go to the race track with his grandfather. By next weekend we may be ready for a small road trip. Ohio is is chock full of festivals and carnivals this time of year.

Carnival Host this month: Fake Plastic Fish a blog about My Plastic Free Life.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

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Does Sidewalk Chalk Have Lead?

by Tiffany in Children, Crafts

A reader recently emailed me and asked about a concern that came up among her local moms group. Some moms insisted that sidewalk chalk has lead in it and others insisted it doesn’t. So which is it?

Well the connection between sidewalk chalk and lead became headline news in 2003 when several stores recalled chalk for lead. The good news that there haven’t been major recalls since, indicating that reformulation has occurred. BUT the chalk that was recalled was not major brand chalk like Crayola it was off brand or generic chalk made in China and used by stores as their own “brand”. I believe Target was one of the offenders in the 2003 recall.

These days the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) certifies 3 brands of chalk as lead free and safe for children.. Crayola, Prang , and Rose Art. These are well respected brands and you can feel at ease using them. Personally I would avoid off-brands you may find at discount stores like Big Lots, or those found in cheap gift baskets (like Easter baskets) or cheap art sets. If it doesn’t have a recognizable and respected brand… I wouldn’t buy it. Chances are they won’t contain lead but I err on the side of safety just in case. I also prefer Prang to most of the other brands. They are more expensive but they also have more sustainable products (such as their soybean crayons) and their web site has tons of safety data  on each product they sell. You can also make your own sidewalk chalk and take charge of the ingredients yourself or buy homemade chalk made by artisans on Etsy, who I am sure would be happy to disclose their ingredients.

All in all I think parents can feel at ease letting their kids play with sidewalk chalk but as with ANY product we have to stay informed and be vigilant. In the meantime encourage your kids to get outside and “create”.


Reusable Swim Diapers for Green Tots and Babies

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

reusable swim diapersIn the summer time many moms might reach for those nifty disposable Swim Diapers so that our little ones can enjoy public pools, waterparks, and water play without worrying about accidents. Most public pools even require that kids who are not potty trained wear swim diapers. But did you know that you do not have to go the disposable route?

There are many swim diapers on the market that can be bought for about the same price or even less than a package of disposable swim diapers. Cloth swim diapers can be reused over and over again and even last for one or more subsequent years or be used for your other kids. They are a prime example of a product that allows us to avoid the wasteful and silly purchase of a product we will use for a few hours and then throw away.

Swim diapers are snug and they hold in solid waste effectively. They only difference between the two is comfort… since cloth swim diapers won’t sag or get waterlogged, AND they can be kept and reused. Both are big benefits in my estimation. Oh and they are way more adorable than paper disposable swim diapers! Just look at my cutie above in his pink swim diaper. ;)

Here are some cute swim diapers you may like:

The Swimmi! – I have used Bummis (diaper covers) and Swimmis for 5 years. They are a tried and true brand and they have several colors and styles.

Imse Vimse Swim Diapers – Another brand I have used and loved for years.

Sun Smarties Adjustable Reusable Swim Diaper – So cute!!! I love the tie!

For pool days I have the found the best bags to carry wet suits, swim  diapers, sandy flip flops, and pool toys are the Envirosax bags… so cute, the moisture doesn’t leak through and they are so easy to wash.