Bears for Humanity

by Tiffany in Natural Toys

Bears for Humanity

As a greener and more natural parent I have always been on the lookout for sustainable, ethical, and safe toys. That quest continues as my children get older and has evolved now to be more about tech and gadgets.  Yet surprise, surprise my 10 year old son recently developed a love for stuffed animals he never previously had. I think it is in large part do to some Youtube channels that revolve around storytelling with stuffed animals. Most of the Christmas gifts I got this year for this child were stuffed animal toys and puppets.

I was really jazzed to find Bears for Humanity Animal Pals recently because they make stuffed animals that are also sustainable, ethical, and safe. They are made with GOTS certified organic cotton. Traditional cotton undergoes waves of pesticides, fertilizers and post-harvest treatments but the cotton used in theses animal pals is clean. They have the same classically soft and reliable cotton feel. They also use certified organic hemp. I like to buy stuffed animals second hand (and give them a good washing) but if I can buy organic stuffed animals I love that option too. If my kids were younger especially I would not want them exposed to stuffed animals, stuffed with pesticides.

In an effort to be even more socially responsible the pals are hand finished in the US through Welfare-to-Work programs and they have a Buy One, Give One program. When you purchase a #BearsForHumanity Teddy Bear, they donate another teddy bear just like it to a child in need. You can see a list of the reputable charitable organizations they work with on their website. I like that they make a quality product, with organic fibers, and they are take other steps to be an ethical business in the current marketplace. It makes them stand out among their peers in my mind.

Free shipping coupon code: FREESHIPPING4MOM is valid through the end of August for online purchases on the Bears for Humanity website. Enjoy!

As you can see below, we have made a home for three Bears for Humanity Animal Pals… a turtle, a monkey, and a dinosaur.

Animal Palls

This post was written in partnership with Bears for Humanity.

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

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How to Keep Rabbits Cool in Summer

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Keep Rabbits Cool SummerReally hot summer weather is not fun. We are lucky that we can go inside, crank the A/C, and relax even during the most severe heat waves. But what about homestead animals? The heat is tough on them too and they don’t have the options that we do.

When the summer heat kicks into gear there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep your homestead rabbits cooler and more comfortable. I know there are some homesteaders who don’t feel as though one should take any steps because they want to breed out any rabbits that cannot tolerate heat. My stance is that if I lose ANY rabbits to heat stroke then I am a guilty of animal cruelty. It is not an option in my book to sit back and do nothing when rabbits are struggling in the heat.

Ways to Keep Rabbits Cool

Keep water bottles full – Rabbits drink more when the weather is hot, just as we do. Whereas you may have only needed to fill them once a day before, now you may have to fill them 2-3 times daily.

Give them shade – Rabbits should be shaded in the summer months as much as possible.

Frozen bottles – Keep a chest freezer full of frozen bottles…16 ounce, 2 liter, and gallon jugs. At mid point in the day stick them inside the rabbit’s cages where they can lay up against them to cool off.

Frozen ice – Freeze water in ice cube trays or other small plastic containers (get them at thrift stores). They love to play with the cubes and it helps to cool them down.

Ceramic tiles or a terra cotta pot saucer – Put a flat ice pack under the tile or saucer. It will stay cool with the ice underneath it and the rabbit can lay on it to cool off.

Fans – A rotating fan will keep air circulating, especially if they are in an enclosure and cannot feel the natural breeze.

Brush Them – Rabbits usually manage to keep themselves well groomed but it can help to brush them and remove excess fur.

Get them wet/damp – Rabbits don’t like to be submerged in water and doing so can stress them and make the heat situation even worse. You can get their feet wet or lightly mist them using a spray mister system or a misting water bottle.

Bring Inside – A pregnant doe or another rabbit who is struggling may need to come indoors for awhile. Having a special place for this in your house (extra room, basement, etc is super handy).

Hope this helps  you keep your buns cool in the summer heat!


Can-It-Forward Day!

by Tiffany in The Homestead

can it forward

Today is Can It Forward Day when we celebrate the art of canning and preserving your own food!

In past years, canning and preserving food was a way of life and necessary to survival.  In today’s modern society it is easier to go to your local grocery store and purchase canned goods and preserved foods.  Americans in particular spend large amounts of money on ready-to-eat foods that can be prepared quickly and easily.  Very often, the need for two incomes within a family leaves little time for cooking at the end of a busy day.  Purchasing food can be one of the major expenses in any family, especially if you have several children.

Canning and preserving your own food is a great way to save money and ensure that your family consumes only healthy, preservative-free foods that contain no harmful additives or pesticides.  While it does take some time to can and preserve foods, the benefits far outweigh the time and effort required.  Foods that are preserved at home are by far the healthiest you can provide your family.  You can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year by canning and preserving your own food.  The process of canning food is not difficult and you can be an expert in very little time.  You will be assured that the food your family consumes is healthy and fresh, and contains no harmful ingredients.  You can control the amount of sodium in foods you prepare and preserve at home, which is a big concern for lots of families.

There are numerous benefits to canning and preserving your own food.  You can involve the entire family in the process.  Your children will love to open and eat foods they have helped can themselves.  By growing your own food in a garden, you can have a good supply of canned food that will last through the winter months.  The money you save will be an added benefit to the health advantages you receive by canning and preserving your own food.

Things to do on Can It Forward Day:

  • pledge to can-it-forward by signing up via the pledge page.
  • Tune in on July 22nd to watch canning demonstrations via Facebook Live from 10:00AM – 3:30PM ET. Each hour, viewers will have the chance to win a giveaway prize!
  • Ask Jarden Home Brands canning experts any preserving or home canning questions via Twitter with the hashtag #canitforward from 10AM – 5PM ET on July 22nd. Consumers can also share their own #canitforward creations with the brand on Pinterest and Instagram.

Happy canning!

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

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Build A Blackout Survival Kit

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Build Blackout Survival KitEven if you are not into prepping or survivalism having a blackout kit is one of those things that just makes sense for any and every household. Just about everyone experiences blackouts or power outages. With climate change and all the crazy weather that has hit our country in the past few years I think a blackout kit is smart. Anyone can be adversely affected by an outage due to severe rain and flooding, a snow storm, or an ice storm. It is best to be prepared and to do that you need to think about what you need now so you have in later.

So what items do you need to assemble to be prepared for short or long term power outages? Here is a list:

What Goes in a Blackout Kit

  • A waterproof bag or box to hold everything
  • Emergency radio
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries for all gadgets in the kit
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Small lantern
  • Glow sticks
  • First aid kit
  • Battery powerstation for mobile phone charging

Assemble all these items in a strategic location that the whole family knows about. You don’t want to tuck it away in the basement where it would be hard to get to in total darkness. Instead aim for an area more centrally located such as a hall closet or a kitchen cabinet.

In addition to having a kit ready and waiting, you should also be prepared in a few other ways. Make sure freezers are full or add 2 liter bottles of water in the empty spaces to preserve frozen goods as long as possible. Have 4-5 gallons of fresh drinking water stored for emergencies. Have a backup plan for heat if you live where there are harsh winters…ie a generator, a wood burning stove, etc. Build a firepit in the backyard for cooking. Have a 10 gallons (or more) of gasoline stored in case it is a large blackout and gas stations are closed.

Hopefully you will never have to worry about a long term blackout but you just never know. I have never experienced a blackout that lasted more than a few hours but just 10 minutes away from me a suburb in my city went without power for about a week. It is always best to be prepared…just in case.


4 Easy Ways to Use Baby Oil

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Ways to Use Baby OilAfter a child is born, people tend to give gift after gift after gift, maybe without realizing quite what it is the gifts do. Baby oil is an often bought gift for the expectant mom. It’s a product that’s little understood and seems to just exist inside of baby gift baskets. If baby lotion is around to provide moisture, what uses are there for baby oil? Due to the nature of oil, it clings to skin longer, providing more hydration.

Aside from contributing to the overall hydration of your child, baby oil has many other uses you might not have known about. This article is going to go over those other applications!

Removing Latex Paint from Skin

Paints and primers are tricky, sometimes they can just rub off dry like rubber cement, sometimes they’ll be stuck to your hands for a few days. A secret trick to removing these stains is to take a cotton ball, wash cloth or other porous fabric and dab the cotton ball on the baby oil, once applied, rub in concentric circles around the painted portions of your skin. Baby oil is not a scrub, it’s softer and more localized massage oil.

After you feel like you’ve made some progress, feel free to scrub with soap and water until all of the paint gone.

Remove Eye Make Up

Everyone loves a clean face, but modern makeup supplies have been designed to stick to faces stronger than they ever have before – which can make it quite a chore to take off. If you don’t have the right tools you may not be able to remove it, which can lead to build up in your pores that can cause acne outbreaks. If you simply apply some baby oil to a cotton ball and gently rub over any eye makeup that you want removed. Use another cotton ball to wipe off excess oil, and voila!

Shine Your Wooden Furniture

If your dinner party guests are on their way and you’ve just noticed that there are unsightly water stains on your tabletops, have no fear – baby oil can help by providing a quick polish. This is a great alternative if you have nothing else and no time to get to a store to buy a tablecloth.

The mineral oil will make the wood shine and help create a water-proof barrier that should impress all guests.

Removes Wax, Gum or Bandages

If you’ve got some bubblegum or wax on your body or in your hair, baby oil will get it out. Apply a small amount to the affected area, let it sit, then work at the mess with your fingertips. It will make the gum easier to get out, it will soften the wax, and it will help the bandage come off without tearing out any hair. This is a great method to remove the residual wax after an eyebrow waxing appointment.

Baby oil has many practical health and beauty uses, as well as household applications – so be sure to keep some around your house handy at all times!