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A Green Nursery on a Budget

We all want a safe haven for our babies and giving them an eco-friendly space of their own is surely at the top of any green mom’s list BUT…we all know green can also cost a lot of green.

Fortunately, with a little creativity, perseverance and time, you can give your bundle of joy safe, eco-friendly accommodations without spending a fortune and I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to get started!

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GLOB Natural Non-Toxic Paints

What: All natural, non-toxic paint

Features: Water-soluble, botanically crafted paints made from fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices with natural food-grade ingredients and organic extracts.  Similar to watercolors, GLOB paints can be used for a variety of arts and crafts activities.

Green Factor: Inexplicably, in the US, synthetic pigments that have never been tested for toxicity can be labeled “non-toxic ” simply because there is no data to prove otherwise. GLOB paints are free of the petrochemicals, formaldehyde and heavy metals like lead and cadmium that are found in many so-called “non-toxic” art pigments.

Bonus: GLOB’s annual School Giveaway provides free paints to schools, making safe, green art supplies available for creative programs.

Find It Here: GLOB

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Way Basics Table & Chair Set

way-basics-table-setWhat: Children’s table and chairs (comes in white and multi-colors)

Features: Sustainably made from zBoard recycled paper, each piece is sturdy yet super lightweight—62% lighter than particleboard furniture. It’s also water resistant and sets up in minutes without tools (looking at you, IKEA!)

Green Factor: Unlike particleboard, which is what most commonly available non-plastic children’s table sets are made of, zBoard is toxin, VOC and formaldehyde-free and uses environmentally friendly and recyclable water-based glues so there is no chemical outgassing in your home.

Additionally, zBoards are made almost entirely (99%) from post-consumer recycled paper and do not consume additional trees and the enormous amounts of water needed to make virgin paper. Way’s zBoard furniture is 100% recyclable

Bonus: Way is a carbon neutral company and a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. In addition to table sets, they make really cool bookshelves and modular cube storage systems.

Find It Here: Buy directly from Way Basics or buy from Amazon and get free shipping when you spend over $25

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Good For You Girls

What: Natural skin care products for girls

Features: Skin care made especially for girls to help clean, balance pH, clear blemishes and protect their delicate skin from the elements without harsh, toxic, hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Green Factor: Good For You Girls products are free of synthetics, petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates,dyes, hormone-disruptors and GMO’s plus the packaging is made from recycled materials and water-based inks.

Bonus: Good For You Girls products have a 100% money back guarantee and they’re vegan and cruelty-free.

Find It Here: Good For You Girls

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Din Din Smart

What: Divided platter for kids

Features: Din Din Smart’s adorably fun divided platter is made of stainless steel and shaped like a super cute school bus. Equally awesome, the five compartments keep food from sliding and mixing. Confession: I dig these so much  that I kind of want one for myself.

Green Factor: These non-toxic platters are BPA, PVC, phthalate and lead-free. Made with high quality food grade 304 stainless steel, they’re durable and can be passed on when your kids outgrow them.

Bonus: Din Din Smart platters are dishwasher safe and stain-resistant.

Find It Here: Innobaby

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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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PVC-Free School Supplies

pvcfreebanner2.jpgWhat: The 2010 Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies by The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)

Features: Lists of the most common back-to-school supplies made out of toxic PVC and safer PVC-free product alternatives in over 20 product categories.

Green Factor: Many children’s school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, are made out of PVC—a toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment. The CHEJ guide, in PDF format, helps you avoid it.

Bonus: Comes in regular and wallet-sized versions.

Find It Here:  CHEJ

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Splendor in the Non-Toxic Grass!

pesticidefreezone_medium.JPGWhen we bought our first home, many moons ago, I was very keen on the idea of having a lush green lawn and I’m ashamed to admit I used pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers with impunity. You see, I’d grown up in the suburbs, where having good grass is paramount. Additionally, as a new homeowner, I was slightly intimidated by the nastygrams from our HOA (home owners association)—they were sent immediately should one’s grass fall to the wayside and practically insisted we use chemicals on our property lest we be in “violation” of the sacred HOA rules.

In my ignorance, I believed the home improvement superstore employees who insisted those products were fine—that once you watered it in and it dried, your grass was safe. In reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Favorite Things: Shea Moisture Organic Soaps

shea_moisture_coconut.jpgEveryone in my household has sensitive skin to some degree and thus, I’m very picky about what kinds of soap I buy. The conventional deodorant soaps make my husband all itchy and both my kids will get little patches of eczema all over from anything that’s too harsh.

Aside from that, conventional soaps and body washes are typically heavily scented via phthalate-laden “fragrances” and contain a laundry list unpronounceable chemicals that have been linked to various health issues from cancer to hormone disruption to organ damage. You just don’t need all that junk to get clean. Read the rest of this entry »

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NatureZap Weed Killer

naturezap.pngWhat: A device that kills weeds

Features: Uses thermogenic heat to disrupt the weed’s normal function, causing it to shrivel up and die.

Green Factor: Uses NO herbicides or chemicals of any kind so your yard, gardens etc. remain blissfully untainted by toxic nastiness. This is safer for you, your children, your pets, wildlife, the groundwater and the overall environment. Also noteworthy, it’s a corded electric device so there are no noxious fumes or emissions.

Bonus: The temperature of the ceramic stone plateaus at a pre-defined set point of 400˚F so that it can safely be used around mulch and pine straw without the threat of instantaneous ignition or scorching.

Find It Here: CompostMania

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Lice Logic

lice_logic.jpgWhat: LiceLogic

Features: If you’ve got kids, there’s a fair chance you will eventually have a run in with head lice (if you haven’t already) and the only thing worse than having a case of it in your household are the conventional treatments used to get rid of it. I mean, who wants to dump a bunch of nasty chemicals on their child’s head? Enter LiceLogic and their line of non-toxic products, designed to not only treat head lice, but prevent it as well.

Green Factor: LiceLogic products are enzyme and plant-based, non-toxic and pesticide-free. They’re biodegradable, safe for infants and meet all FDA guidelines

Bonus: Ingredients such as peppermint and lemon mean no nasty chemical smell! And? LiceLogic makes house calls! Check their web site for details

Find It Here: LiceLogic

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Old Fashioned Milk Paint

milk-paint.jpg

What: Old Fashioned Milk Paint

Features: Milk-based paint, the oldest form of paint known to man, is vibrant, vivid, durable and natural. The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company boasts twenty different colors in powder form, which can be mixed for maximum creativity and desired thickness

Green Factor: According to this company, green is more than just a color. This paint is biodegradable and non-toxic, and is 100% safe. It contains no lead, chemical preservatives or petroleum derivatives and is made using earth pigments, such as ochre, umber and iron oxide

Bonus: The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company stands by their product, offering a full money-back guarantee (including shipping and taxes) if you’re at all unsatisfied

Find It Here: The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company

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