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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Backyard Robin

A robin's been hanging around our backyard as we work on the garden, waiting to catch the worms and grubs that we disturb, and take them home to his or her nest:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Toys Talk in Toronto

On Monday I gave a talk about non-toxic toys here in Toronto at Red Tent Sisters. For the talk I prepared a hand out that I though some of you would be interested in so here is a web version:

Manufacturers:

Exclusively make non-toxic toys

Automoblox - www.automoblox.com
Dwell Baby - www.dwellshop.com
Educo (HaPe) - www.hapetoys.com/Educo.asp
Rich Frog - www.richfrog.com
Selecta Spielzeug - http://www.selecta-spielzeug.de

Makes some non-toxic or eco friendly toys

Brio - http://brio.knex.com/
Djeco - http://www.djeco.com/
Goula
Heros - www.heros-toys.de
Haba - http://www.haba.de/Home.344.0.html
Melissa and Doug - www.melissaanddoug.com
Toys’r’us
Vulli - http://www.vulli-toys.com/

Exclusively make non-toxic eco friendly toys


Anamalz (HaPe) - www.hapetoys.com/Anamalz.asp
Bamboo (HaPe) - www.hapetoys.com/Bamboo.asp
Blabla - http://www.blablakids.com/
Didoodle - (Made in Canada) www.fidodle.com
Ecotronic - www.ecotronictoys.com/
Green Toys - http://www.greentoys.com/
Grimm’s Speil und Holz - http://www.grimms.eu/en/include.php?path=start.php
ImagiPLAY - www.imagiplay.com
Jalu Wood Creations - (Made in Canada) www.jalutoys.com
Keptin jr - http://www.keptin-jr.com/
Lana organics
miYim - http://www.miyim.com/index.html
Noonoo - http://www.noonoodesign.com/p73/playthings
North Star Toys - www.northstartoys.com
Peppa - www.babylonia
Plan Toys - www.plantoys.com
Sprig - www.sprigtoys.com
The Playful World -http://www.theplayfulworld.com/index.htm
Under the Nile - www.underthenile.com
Wonderworld - www.wonderworldtoy.com

Where to shop
The shops below consist of a list of my favorite stores in Toronto or on the web; there are many other store that carry non-toxic toys and eco toys; the list would be too long if I included them all. I do not work for any of these stores nor did I receive anything for mentioning them.

Internet Shopping

Ape 2 Zebra - www.ape2zebra.ca - great selection
Baby Guru - www.babyguru.ca - good selection
Bear Dance - http://www.beardancecrafts.com/creativeplay.htm - great selection of non-toxic toys
Cheeky Monkey - www.cheekymonkey.ca - good selection
Craftsbury Kids - www.craftsburykids.com - great selection
Etsy - http://www.etsy.com/index.php - great selection of hand made toys
Green Cricket - www.greencricket.ca - small selection but all are non-toxic and eco
Kai Kids - http://www.kaikids.com/ - small selection but all are eco friendly and non-toxic
Safety Super Store - http://www.babyproofingplus.com/ - good selection
Natural Pod - www.naturalpod.com - exclusively sells eco-friendly and non-toxic toys, great selection

In Person

Baby on the Hip, 969 Queen St. E., 416-465-4141 - small selection but al are non-toxic and eco-friendly - www.babyonthehip.ca
Craig’s List - great selection of second hand toys - www.craigslist.org
Grassroots, 372 Danforth Ave, 416-466-2841 - small selection but all are non-toxic and eco-friendly - http://www.grassrootsstore.com
Kids on the Hip, 1142 Queen St. E., 416-466-1117 - small selection but al are non-toxic and eco-friendly
Lapin Calin, 1918A Queen St. E., 416-690-1918 - small selection but al are non-toxic and/or eco-friendly - http://lapincalin.com/
Mastermind Beaches, 2134 Queen St. E, 416-699-3797 - good selection Toys “R” Us - limited selection - www.mastermindtoys.com
Planet Kid, 960 Queen St. W, 416-537-9233 - All toys are non-toxic and made in Canada - www.planetkid.ca
Scholars Choice, 1599 Bayview Ave., 416-485-8697 - good selection in store, great selection in catalogue - www.scholarschoice.ca
Ten Thousand Villages - www.tenthousandvillages.ca - small selection but all are eco friendly and fair trade
Treasure Island Toys, 581 Danforth Ave., 416-778-4913 - great selection & custom orders available
Value Village, 924 Queen Street E., 416-778-4818 & 2119 Danforth Ave., (416) 698-0621 - great selection of second hand toys
Paint Depot, 914 Queen St. E, 416-469-5633 - carries lead paint test kits - http://www.paintdepot.com/

Just because it’s for kids it does not mean it’s safe in many toys available on the Canadian market you can find one or multiple of these:
Lead Bromine ( Fire retardant) Chlorine (PVC) & Phthalates Cadmium Arsenic Mercury Antimony Chromium Tin Bisphenol A


Internet Resources

www.healthytoys.org - Online database of toys tested for various chemicals
http://www.ewg.org - Environmental Working Group has been at the forefront of many actions to ban various chemicals in the US
http://www.greenenterprise.net/web/index.php - Online database of green enterprise in the Toronto area
http://www.greenmom.ca/index.shtml - Tones of resources for raising your child green, Green Mom also has a trade show once a year in Toronto.
http://healthychild.org/main/
http://www.healthycanadians.ca/index_e.html - Canadian recalls
http://www.cpsc.gov/index.html - USA recalls
http://europa.eu/rapid/searchAction.do - European recalls
http://www.recalls.gov.au/ - Australian recalls
http://www.toysafetyrecalls.ca/ - List of recalls from around the world

Monday, May 18, 2009

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz: "

Take the fun, Mom to Mom quiz and discover your parenting style.

"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BPA Toxic Yes

OK we all know BPA is bad and toxic but just to re-enforce the point I though I would quote an article I was reading in INFACT Canada Newsletter Spring 2009. The article is based on a study done here in Onatario at the University of Guelph.

"BPA is also present in many plastics and the lining of food containers..."

"Len Ritters,.... executive director of the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres, said "I would advise a pregnant woman to try to reduce or entirly eliminate her exposure to bisphenol A."

"The chemical has been linked to cancer, early onset of female sexual maturity, male fertility problems, and behavioural problems."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Carriers

This weekend some of our friends that have recently become parents came to visit so we could talk about carriers; this got me thinking that I should blog about the various carriers we have used over the last year and a bit.

Before starting I want to throw this questions out to you - have you used a carrier or are still using a carrier if so what is your carrier of choice?

I have been a baby wearing mother from the time Christophe was about 1 month old, we tried wearing him before then but he always seemed to have a hard time breathing every time we placed him in a sling. Needless to say that this freaked us out at the beginning and delayed our baby wearing until his weird behavior stopped.

We tried 6 different carriers with him and still have 5 of them today which 4 of them we use regularly.

Heart 2 Heart lightly padded sling:
This is still one of favorite carriers, Christophe lived in it until he was about 5 months old. We did the laundry together, grocery shopped, took long walks, cleaned the house and so on... Now the sling is stored in the bottom of the stroller as Chrstophe has grown I find it not as ideal for long carries; instead I use it to help deviate some of the weight when Christophe no longer wants to sit in his stroller of just needs some love. It is also great to help hold him up when he needs to be rocked to sleep on though nights.

Just recently my sling broke, I contacted the manufacturer and they were devastated and understood the severity in this. Due to there great immediate response to the fact that one of my rings on the sling gave I still trust the manufacturer and would use the heart 2 heart again with Christophe and our future kids.

Rolz & Sassy Ring Sling:

We bought this one before the heart 2 heart and I used it all the time for 2 weeks then I found a heart 2 heart that I liked the print ( I forgot to mention earlier that the patterns for the heart 2 heart are not always the most stylish ) The Rolz & Sassy became my back up sling, this was the one I took out when the other was dirty; I also kept one sling on each floor so the heart 2 heart was on our main floor and the Rolz & Sassy was on the top floor that way we always had a sling handy. The Rolz & Sassy have some amazing prints; with that said I have selected to wear our Rolz & Sassy on special occasions because it looks so much nicer then the heart 2 hearts. Would I buy another Rolz and Sassy probably not, am I going to use my Rolz & Sassy with our future children yes. Just because it's not my favorite sling it does not mean I hate, I just prefer the Heart 2 Heart.

Ellaroo Mei Tai:
This is the only carrier we have parted with. Before we parted with it I have to say I loved it and used it on the go often it truly aloud me to be hands free. The slings let you be hands free but I find you have limited rang of motion with the arm that your sling is resting on. So you ask me why did we part whit it? For a few reasons, Christophe was outgrowing the height of the carrier and was starting to arch his way out of it (this can be dangerous); the color was white and with the long tails that Mei Tai's have it was always dragging on the floor and was extra hard to keep clean; the last reason we invested in a new carrier that replaced the Mei Tai, so we wanted to sell our Mei Tai to get a bit of money to put towards the new carrier. Would I recommend a Mei Tai to someone, yes but make sure to stay away from white.

Olives and Applesauce:
This is our number one carrier these days. When Christophe started being to heavy for me to comfortably carry him in my sling I wanted a soft structured carrier; these are similiar to a Mei Tai but has bucckles so they go one and off a lot faster. I knew I liked Mei Tai's so I figured I would also liek this style of carrier. After doing some research I found Olives and Applesauce, they offer a todler carrier with a larger body that your typical structured carrier, I was sold and wanted one. We have had our for about 4 or 5 months now and I love it; I can do a front acrry for about 3 hours before I need a breack and a back carry - well Christophe needs a break befor I do. The only draw back for me is I have yet to master being able to put Christophe on my back on my own. Many days when we go out we bring our Olives and Aplesauce instead of the stroller. Also they have some of the nicer prints I have seen, we get comments all the time on how beautifull our carrier is.

Lascal M1 Carrier:
I can't say much about this one other then I never liked it; it always felt like my baby was velcrowed to my chest. To me babywearing should feel more intamint then that. This was the carrier Geoff like a lot at the begining.

Moby Wrap:
I always found that Christophe felt so nice and snug in the wrap. This is a good one to get at the begingin for skin to skin; wraps can really cover you up. The draw back of the Moby is that it is a streachy wrap that means when your baby hits about 20 lbs it gets harder and harder to use; many people prefer rigid wraps for this reason. Geoff was a big fan of the wrap and used it frequently; I used it here and there but because I have 2 other styles of carriers that I was alreay used to I never gave it a fare shot. Would I recomend it to others, based on Geoff experiance - yes.

In case any of you are wondering Christophe is now 14 months and weighs about 26 lbs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Toddler music classes

Next month we will be starting music classes. I am really looking forward as the classes are though by a good friend Eva that lives close by to us. Since Christophe is already used to her I think he will have loads of fun.

Eva has recently started a new home business called "Music for life". I think the classes are going to be great, if you live in the east end of Toronto - Riverdale, Little India, Upper Beach Area you should check out her website. Eva is one of those people that when you meet for the first time you are like this is someone you want to get to know, she is very relaxed and well balance and has this amazing never ending love for her daughter.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Busy busy busy

So lots have happened more then I can possibly blog about.

First life with a toddler is hectic so I am going to keep my blogging to Sunday nights; however on good weeks I will set up a few post to deploy threw out the week... I wanted to say a big thank you to my readers and I hope with fewer post the content will only get better.

I have recently decided to start the process of getting accredited as a La Lech League Leader; which is also eating up my time. For those of you who are not familiar with La Lech; it's an organization run mostly by volunteer nursing mothers that support other nursing mothers with there trials and tribulation and success and joys of breastfeeding. We have been attending the Greenwood group regularly now for almost a year; through them I have met many wonderful mothers that I now consider great friends.

CHRISTOPHE REPORT:
Christophe is keeping me busy and has learned so many new things, his abilities are always changing and growing - here is a list of things Christophe has recently been doing:
  • walking - fully mastered
  • starting to run - sometimes trips
  • can climb our step ladder
  • can climb his high chair (gets in and out himself)
  • goes up and down the stairs on his own (with me spotting him)
  • draws
  • can complete his shape puzzle with a little help
  • can complete his staking toy
  • climbs on everything
  • rolls a ball
  • claps
  • getting much better drinking from a cup - however still has not mastered the sippy cup
  • loves to make music
  • loves to "help" with baking
  • starting to help me arround the house
  • imitates his parents
  • shakes his head no when he does not want to do something
  • actually takes his vitamins when he is told to
  • retrives and items for me when I ask and points to it
  • "points" to things when he wants them
I think I could go on forever.