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Great Sources for Natural Toys

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos
December 9, 2008
File under: Eco-Friendly Merchants, Toys

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Ask your parents, and they’ll no doubt tell you that your favorite toy during your first holidays at home were the boxes strewn across the room after the melee of Christmas morning had cleared. Your young children are no different. Bells, whistles and (gasp!) batteries, even, needn’t ruin your homespun holiday. Instead, think: Simple. Natural. Heirlooms. They’ll be around long after you’ve recycled the boxes.

I have two young boys, and I’ve been sourcing the best outlets for great natural toys, tools and gear for the past five years. Lately, I’m enamored with Etsy, the online home of artisans who sell their well-priced handmade wares directly to you (just search for what you seek).

Below, though, is my tried-and-true toy team, the group whose catalogs I send to the grandparents to spark their imaginations. They’re all independently or family-run businesses that believe deeply in simple living, parenting and play. Visit them often, and tell them I sent you.

Visit Three Sisters Toys for a good explanation of …read more of Great Sources for Natural Toys here

 
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Teach the Gift of Giving – Part 2

By Denise Spatafora
December 8, 2008
File under: Family Time, holidays

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How are more ideas to create your family ‘rituals’ and traditions…

MAKING GIFTS INSTEAD OF BUYING THEM
We have a great time making gifts for each member of the family; customizing it in our own special way—thinking about the person they are making it for, infusing love into it and then of course wrapping “their surprise”.  We have done it many ways—created homemade ornaments made out of foam balls with pieces of clove that smell so good or glueing all kinds of cool things on them.  Making collages of photos we have taken. We also …read more of Teach the Gift of Giving – Part 2 here

 
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Teach the Gift of Giving – Part 1

By Denise Spatafora
December 5, 2008
File under: Family Time, holidays

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The upcoming holiday season will be filled with many memories.  What are the memories and experiences you want to have and you want your children to have in the next few weeks?

We can begin creating and defining what the holidays mean to us and our children through rituals, celebrations and even ceremonies.  To begin designing “rituals” for your children at this special time can make all the difference in not only your family’s experience of the holidays but really becoming clear about what is most important to you.  When I refer to designing rituals, I truly mean inventing what is reflective of what is important to you.  Here are some ideas that we have begun in our family:

GOING ON AN ADVENTURE TO A TREE FARM

We take off for the day and head to a tree farm to cut down our Christmas Tree.  Part of this day includes …read more of Teach the Gift of Giving – Part 1 here

 
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Mommy Meal Plan – For Green Mommies On-the-Go

By Latham Thomas ecomii.com
December 2, 2008
File under: Food, Health, Pregnancy

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The health of a mother and baby is influenced not only by diet during pregnancy but also by diet before conception. Eating a healthy diet before pregnancy will give your body a good store of nutrients for the baby to draw upon during pregnancy. The fetus is most susceptible to nutritional imbalance during the first few months of pregnancy because this is the time of most rapid development.

So you want to eat well, stay healthy, and make decisions about food that are supportive of our planet; great news. Here are some meal plan guidelines to help you along the way.

General: Consume meals that include high quality fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Spend more time preparing your meals so you know exactly what you’re getting and you can cut down on disposable packaging.

Breakfasts: The most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for metabolic function. Start of the day with seasonal fruit and yogurt, maybe top it off with chopped organic nuts and seeds to slow down the burn of the sugars from the fruit. If you are experiencing nausea during the first and second trimesters, make sure that you …read more of Mommy Meal Plan – For Green Mommies On-the-Go here

 
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Bun in the Oven: 6 Healthy Eating Tips for Expectant Moms

By Latham Thomas ecomii.com
November 27, 2008
File under: Food, Health, Pregnancy

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We live in a society where there are many toxins and environmental hazards, and it difficult to assess exactly what we’re getting from our foods. The soil is not as rich and fertile as it once was, so some of the minerals that would come to us through our foods we must now get in the form of supplements. However, taking supplements is no excuse for skipping a meal or for choosing ice cream over kale salad because we already took our mega-greens supplement for the day.

Think about it: An orange that grew on a tree is not the same as an orange-flavored vitamin C tablet. The orange grows until it’s ready. It contains the right amount of fiber, water-soluble nutrients, sugar, and phytonutrients. It grows in an environment where it’s exposed to sunlight, moonlight, rain, and wind, and it keeps growing until it’s ripe and ready to fall from the tree. A vitamin C tablet was developed in a lab and, at best, it provides fragmented and synthetic nutrition. Our proper diet should provide us with most of the nutrients we need during pregnancy and our supplements are there as a backup. If we eat well we give our body the best building blocks to work with. If there’s a time in our lives where we need to eat and treat ourselves well, pregnancy should be it.

Let’s review some general guidelines for healthy eating.

1. Eat food that is locally grown.
The shorter the distance the food has traveled to get to your plate, the fresher and less contaminated it is, and the better it is for you. Less fossil fuel is used and fewer greenhouse gases are emitted when the food is not being shipped long distances. Plus, by eating locally grown food, you’re supporting farmers and, usually, farming practices that are more sustainable and in line with the local ecology. Where do you get locally grown food? Farmer’s markets. Learn more with ecomii’s Farmer’s Market Guide.

2. Support organic agriculture. Organic farmers use fewer or no synthetic chemicals to grow and process your food, which is not only good for the external environment, but …read more of Bun in the Oven: 6 Healthy Eating Tips for Expectant Moms here

 
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