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Gift Guide 2010


Non-Toxic Air Mattresses (Updated)

These days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress is apt to be found on most packing lists.

The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.

A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have a few options:

The Aerobed Pakmat: It’s PVC and phthalate-free and made of 100% eco-friendly materials. Uses a hand pump instead of batteries or electricity to inflate and only takes about 60 seconds plus it weighs only 5 lbs and stores right inside it’s pump case. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.

Kelty Sleep Eazy: Made of 70D nylon with a TPU laminate, and includes a standard coil for support. The PVC-free Sleep Eazy is also a breeze to inflate thanks to the 6-volt rechargeable pump, which includes both a car and wall charger for versatile use. And to ensure compact storage, the airbed comes with a Kelty Binto storage bin.

Lake Timber Top Rubberized Fabric Air Mattress: Back before PVC was so ubiquitous, air mattresses were made of rubberized fabric and were reputedly super durable, in addition to being far more eco-friendly than their PVC counterparts. This rubberized fabric air mattress is the equivalent of a twin or single air mattress at 30″ X 72″ and can also be used in the water. Comes with a repair kit and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com

I also found companies in Canada, the UK and Australia that carry rubberized cotton air mattresses. I will link to them for our non-American readers and anyone who might be interested in  placing an international order:

Home Hardware: The store I searched is in Toronto (but they have many locations in Canada) and they carry several rubberized cotton air mattresses that seem reasonably priced.

Amazon UK: They carry a couple different options in rubberized cotton air mattresses by a company called Highlander.

Discount Camping: This Australian store carries three different sizes of rubberized cotton air mattresses.

Happy PVC-free sleeping!

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Upcycled Vintage Silverware

What: Upcycled vintage silverware by Sycamore Hill

Features: Gorgeous vintage silver utensils are engraved with clever phrases and words. There are so many to choose from so make sure you look at everything—they would make great gifts (a hint to my husband)!

Green Factor: Sycamore Hill gives new life to old silver pieces by upcycling them into these fun, eclectic, one-of-a-kind conversation pieces!

Bonus: You can make custom requests!

Find It Here: KK Designs by Sycamore Hill

This Week’s Giveaway: Kill A Watt EZ

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Kill A Watt EZ

What: Kill A WattEZ

Features: Kill A WattEZ shows you what appliances really cost to operate and which ones cost you the most! Simply connect an appliance to the Kill A WattEZ and the large LCD display will count consumption by the kilowatt-hour just like your local utility.

Green Factor: Once you know precisely how much things cost to operate, you’re less inclined to waste electricity, which is good for your wallet AND the planet.

Bonus: Kill A WattEZ lets you calculates cost and forecasts by week, month and year.

Find It Here: Amazon

Win It: We’re giving away one Kill A WattEZ to one randomly selected winner! Just leave a comment telling us which of your home appliances you’re most interested in testing and why. Giveaway ends at midnight on 12/20/10; $60 value. Open to residents of the continental US only. Official Rules

Extra Entries: Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include @greenmomreview in your tweet) and note in a second comment that you tweeted the giveaway (include your Twitter name) to receive an extra entry.

This giveaway is sponsored by Geothermal Genius. Geothermal heat delivers a 400% efficiency rating and can lower your bill up to 70%.

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Giving Pillows

What: Pillow covers

Features: 18″ square pillow covers decorated with embroidered artwork and positive social/eco-conscious designs and messages. They come in 13 different designs.

Green Factor: Pillow covers are Oeko-Tex certified and made of 100% organic cotton.

Bonus: When you purchase a Giving Pillow cover, PB Teen will donate $5 to the charity associated with that pillow such as St. Judes Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, DoSomething.org and others. Some select pillows will have a tree planted by Trees for the Future.

Find It Here: Pottery Barn Teen

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Giiv = Easy and Awesome

What: Giiv

Features: Enables you to give someone a gift (like a gift card) via text message or email. It’s GENIUS!

Green Factor: Think of how many plastic gift cards are purchased each year—millions! That’s a LOT of plastic. Giiv cuts out the plastic and just leaves the gift with no waiting, shipping or mailing—it really couldn’t be easier or greener!

Bonus: You can use Giiv to donate to charities OR even regift a Giiv gift!

Find It Here: Giiv

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Kutti Avatar Tees

What: Kutti Avatar tees for babies, toddlers and kids

Features: Kutti Avatar means “little manifestations” in Tamil and their avatar design tees feature fun, kid-friendly representations of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Green Factor: Tees are made of certified organic ring-spun cotton and phthalate-free, low-impact water based pigments.

Bonus: Kutti Avatar tees are made in compliance with CPSIA standards and child labor/sweatshop-free.

Find It Here: Kutti Avatar

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Tavern Puzzles

tavern puzzlesWhat: Metal disentanglement puzzles

Features: Tavern Puzzles are repro- ductions of a type of puzzle traditionally forged by blacksmiths to amuse patrons at country taverns and inns. All the puzzles are handcrafted and mechanical in nature; removal of the object piece does not rely on force or trickery, just brain power.

Green Factor: Free of plastic and batteries, Tavern Puzzles are made of solid steel and not likely to break so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Bonus: Tavern Puzzles come in multiple levels of difficulty so players can continue to be challenged!

Find It Here: ThinkGeek

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Green Gifts for Tweens and Teens

green gifts for teens and tweensTweens, they’re not little kids anymore but they’re not teens yet either, which is exactly what makes it so hard to find eco-friendly, non-toxic holiday gifts for this age—and actual teens are not much easier! I know I can’t be the only parent in this position so we’ve put together a mini tween/teen gift guide. Hope you find it helpful!

Digital Gifts: Digital media is here to stay and tweens/teens are all about it. Consider iTunes gift cards for a variety of digital media and Amazon.com gift cards for e-books that can be read on an iPad or digital book reader. For teens, check out a Netflix subscription so they can download movies right to their computers, phones, etc.

Lessons or Classes: Does your tween/teen have an interest in something specific like cooking, sports, photography, crafts, writing, art or dance? Give the gift of learning with pre-paid classes in their area of interest! My daughter is in interested in improving her tumbling skills for cheerleading so I’m considering a couple months of prepaid back handspring classes at a local gymnastics school.

Movie Gift Cards: Have you been to a movie recently? It’s no longer the el cheapo grande form of entertainment that it once was so a gift card to a movie theater chain in your area will be much appreciated by teens!

Non-Toxic Nail Polish Sets: Most girls love nail polish but conventional polishes and removers are full of toxic chemicals that can and do find their way into their developing bodies. Instead, consider a set of nail polish from ZOYA. It’s vegan friendly and free of chemical bad actors like toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor. ZOYA offers a mindblowing 300 colors to choose from and has been awarded as the longest wearing natural nail polish by an independent panel in Women’s Health Magazine.

Arbor Skateboards and Snowboards: The Arbor Collective uses environmentally friendly, natural materials to produce snowboards, skateboards, and bamboo apparel. Even the basics are incredibly important to Arbor—they print on recycled paper only, use soy-based inks; recycle all office waste; and build out retail/office space and point of purchase displays with recycled and/or sustainable materials. Locate a retailer here.

Solar Lamp from IKEA: This funky Sunnan work lamp comes in a range of colors and best of all, it runs on solar power—a steal at $19.99!

Teens Turning Green Personal Care: Typically once the teen years hit, kids suddenly become a lot more interested in personal hygiene. Make sure they’re doing all that cleaning and scrubbing and deodorizing and moisturizing with safe, sustainable teen-approved products from Teens Turning Green

Upcycled Sweater: The cool thing about upcycled gifts like this sweater is that they are unique—every third girl at school isn’t going to be wearing the same thing! If that doesn’t suit her, do a search of “upcycle” at Etsy.com and see all the neat things that come up. Just make sure they’re non-toxic and eco-friendly!

Blank Nesting Dolls Kit: If you have an artistic, crafty tween/teen, these are super cool—blank nesting dolls created by Russian artisans that you can paint/design however you like. Imagine the possibilities! (Be sure to pick up some non-toxic waterbased paints and varnish if recipient doesn’t already have some).

Eco T-Shirts with Attitude: These cheeky certified-organic cotton tees are cool but probably better suited to the OLDER teen or young adult on your shopping list.

Dreambank: Does your tween or teen have a dream? Something special they want to do or achieve? Instead of giving them stuff, friends and family can contribute to their dream fund and do good at the same time because Dreambank contributes 10% of all net transaction revenue to six worthy charities.

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The Urban Picnic Box

What: The Urban Picnic Box

Features: This picnic “box” is made from cardboard and sports a retro boombox graphic. Inside is everything you need for a picnic except the food!

Green Factor: The Urban Picnic Box includes 4 compostable trays, 4 compostable large bowls, 4 compostable small bowls, 4 compostable utensil sets, 8 recycled napkins and one compostable trash bag.

Bonus: The Picnic Box comes in two other nifty designs and a replacement set for the inside components is available for just $10

Find It Here: Boxsal

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Finger Strings

What: Finger Strings book

Features: Spiral bound book that stays open so you can see the steps and learn super cool (and super retro) finger string games like Cat’s Cradle, Jacob’s Ladder and more.

Green Factor: Finger string games run on kid power, not batteries, so a book encouraging this kind of old-fashioned fun is definitely better for the planet. Also: It’s NOT a big hunk of plastic.

Bonus: The book comes with two strings!

Find It Here: Palumba or Amazon

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Lego Men Crayons

What: Lego Man Crayons

Features: Crayons molded into robot men and Lego pieces. A set comes with four of each. You can make color requests and they can also be personalized for party favors, gifts, stocking stuffers etc.

Green Factor: Made from recycled crayons.

Bonus: Check out all the other mega-cool recycled crayon shapes here!

Find It Here: Zeebree

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This Little Piggy’s House

What: Cool cardboard playhouses

Features: The sturdy playhouses are made from 275 lb corrugated cardboard and boast fun, realistic architectural details. Made in the USA.

Green Factor: Made from 100% recycled cardboard and 100% recyclable.

Bonus: 5% of profits are donated to organizations that feed hungry children in the US and around the world.

Find It Here: This Little Piggy’s House

Giveaway Ending Today: Truly Organic Baking

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