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Green Toy Safety Backfire?

By Linda Brown-Kuhn
November 24, 2009
File under: Health, holidays, Product Safety, Toys


The mad rush for holiday toy shopping is on. This can be tricky territory for the health and eco-conscious parent. And now a new law designed to improve toy safety may end up reducing eco-friendly toy choices.

The Scoop

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) sets mandatory safety standards for toys, clothes, and other items used by kids 12 years and younger. Toy manufacturers will have to test their toys to prove they are safe.

There clearly are issues with toy safety …read more of Green Toy Safety Backfire? here

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Enjoying the Summer Toddler Moon

By Angelique LeDoux
July 13, 2009
File under: Family Time, Green Activities, holidays


I’m staring at the full moon from the 42nd floor of a green building in downtown Austin, Texas, my new home away from home. But this view of the moon- and the fact that I’m here in Austin with my 3-year-old daughter, reminds me of my baby moon.

I remember reading that trendy term when I was about 6 months preggers: “Baby moon,” as if it was an age-old, mandatory rite of passage…I wonder if Hallmark was involved in this one.

My husband, my sex-unknown baby-to-be, and I took what would be our last trip where we could stay up late, use bad words and at least one of us could drink as much as we chose. We went to Quebec and it really was a great trip. In hindsight, it was the last trip of our couple-hood, but the “baby moon” was a well-conceived idea…no pun intended.

So flash forward almost four years and I recently came across an old journal entry, I’m guessing it was from high school. Apparently I was thinking of the days ahead and my future success and I wrote something to the effect of “may I never be one of those moms…with a full-time nanny, who doesn’t have time for her own kid,” blah, blah, blah… …read more of Enjoying the Summer Toddler Moon here

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Teach your Children Well…

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos
April 9, 2009
File under: Family Time, Food, holidays


Earth Day reminds me of Valentine’s Day, which is as good a reason as any to promote the consumption of chocolate. It’s just that you want the people you love to know you cherish them—through words and heartfelt actions—every day. Otherwise, the holiday starts to feel hollow, fast. Well, Mother Earth deserves nothing less.

True stewardship requires good habits. Lucky for me, good habits can be learned—and bad ones broken.

In my own adventures in parenting, imitation trumps all. That has its drawbacks: I no longer swear, which I used to enjoy. And my boys notice my every foible. But it also forces me to be a better person, someone worthy of imitation.

Come Earth Day, we can show our kids what it means to cherish healthy soil, fresh water, clear breezes …read more of Teach your Children Well… here

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Earth Day 101

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos
April 2, 2009
File under: Family Time, holidays


We’ve been enjoying life on earth for a while now. Given our growing impact, it’s been but a blink since we devoted one day to reminding us to cherish and protect it every day. Earth Day was born in 1970. Now, imagine the world we can leave our little ones if we teach them what it means.

There are countless simple ways to dive in. For all children, “doing” will stay with them far longer than “learning.” That’s especially true for young ones, for whom the idea of a threatened planet and dwindling life-giving resources may be overwhelming, at best, and frightening, at its worst. Instead, focus on what good they can do.

Then, just DO something green: Drop off donations at a community center or food pantry, plant trees or garden in your town, even clean up your local beach. …read more of Earth Day 101 here

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Make it: Valentines

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos
February 10, 2009
File under: Eco-Friendly Merchants, Family Time, Food, holidays, Toys


Valentine’s Day has felt, for a long time, like a holiday made for merchandising. The pressure to buy a bit of happiness can be overwhelming. How do you convey your feelings for your family in a thing? Or a card? Or a Whitman’s Sampler?

Take heart. Natural gifts and simple, handmade Valentines will delight your little ones and remind them that love is worth celebrating—for far more than a day.

For the time-pressed, buying a well-made toy or useful gift beats disposable card store decorations every time. French toymaker Vilac makes a hemp jump rope with sweet painted heart handles that will stand up to years of active play. …read more of Make it: Valentines here

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