Updating your baby’s nursery to a more timeless, neutral space for your little one, or looking for more classic pieces that could work for more than one child? We have compiled some tips on creating an eco-friendly, modern space that will grow with your child that won’t break the bank!

Choose materials carefully. For the walls, opt for a child safe, enviromentally-safe, no or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, such as Real Milk Paint. Paint is one of the top indoor air pollutants, and VOC’s are the toxins that off-gas into the air upon application. Most major paint manufacturers now make a no or low-VOC line of paint with a wide choice of colors, so when picking out paint, read labels carefully or ask a store associate for assistance.

We all know that the color in a space can greatly affect our mood… and our children’s mood! For young children, opt for a color scheme that promotes a healthy night’s sleep & a calm, nurturing atmosphere for play. A neutral color can help to stabilize and ground, while green is an ideal color for any space. Green is neither hot nor cool & symbolizes growth & new beginnings. Use yellow sparingly, or not at all, as yellow is the hardest color for your eye to break down.

In addition to paint, carpet is another major indoor air pollutant, so instead look for hardwood, bamboo, cork, rubber or tile options for bedroom flooring. Adding an area rug made from natural fibers adds the needed warmth you want in a bedroom, plus offers a sound deadening quality to help sound from bouncing off the floor & walls. Wool is strongly suggested as it is a self-extinguishing fiber, an added bonus. We love this ABC Classic Rug from Peurobaby, as it is ethically made from 100% raw materials and non-toxic dyes. It is also washable, which comes in handy with little ones! It is extremely lightweight and easy to pick up and move, with anti-slip underlay to ensure safety.

When adding furniture pieces to your child’s room, such as dressers or chairs, look for unfinished wood furniture, and then stain/paint with a NO VOC stain or paint. This will limit any off-gassing of toxins that a finished piece of new furniture would emit into the space. Another eco-friendly choice is to choose a recycled or upcycled item from a family member or friend. For a fun, timeless piece that blends in seamlessly with any space, the Wooden Toddler Slide from Peurobaby is perfect for indoor use, and encourages exercise, motor skills and independence! Available in a wide variety of colors, the slide is made from molded wood and finished with water-dilutable finish, free of methylpyrrolidone and free of phthalate plasticizers.

For additional play items that grow with your child, choose items that delight their imagination and encourage independent play, from a wooden kitchen to an adorable Chalkboard Ride-On Wagon! This little wagon is a favorite with my children… my now 6 year old likes to decorate it with her artwork, and my little guy likes to pull his wooden cars around in it! It wipes clean easily, too!

When choosing new linens and bedding for a neutral space, think cool colors such as blues, greens, and lavender to calm and soothe, rather than jarring, bright colors! Organic cotton blankets, sheets and pillows give your child a soft, safe place to snuggle into at night, and if possible, opt for Naturepedic, a company that makes GOTS certified organic cotton sheets, pillows, and more… all allergen-friendly, as well! We also adore Aden + Anais, who make the softest, breathable, 100% cotton muslin blankets, changing pad covers, and sleep sacks.

It can be fairly simple to makeover your child’s space to create a delightful, neutral space in which to sleep and play! When in doubt, opt for eco-friendly, natural, and classics that grow with your child.

*Peurobaby provided a sample & images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

It is the height of summer here in Florida, and the mosquitoes are out in full force! At dusk, they seem to hover near our patio door, patiently waiting for anyone who opens the door to step outside! My little guy seems to be their biggest target… his sweet, 2 year old skin seems to be their favorite and tiny mosquito bites appear like chicken pox the second he is outside for more than 2 minutes at that time of day!

To keep those pesky mosquitoes away naturally, I have compiled a list of 3 tips and tricks that we use around our home. I don’t like to spray my children or myself with DEET-based repellents, so have found other, less toxic ways to combat the problem. Here are a few of our favorites!

3 Tips on Keeping Mosquitoes Away Naturally

sand toys image

Eliminate Standing Water Sources

Mosquitoes breed in water, and with heavy rains in FL in the summer, this makes for a terrible combination! If at all possible, drain areas that fill up quickly. Any toys & other items, such as plastic buckets, small wading pools, wagons, etc. should be dumped out at the end of the day after playing so as not to create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Yes, those sand box & water play table toys are the ideal place for mosquitoes to breed, so remember to dump them out and cover the table or sand box at the end of the day!

Brittanies Thyme Bug Spray

Apply (and Reapply!) a DEET-Free Insect Repellent

Brittanie’s Thyme offers a safe, effective organic bug spray that is derived from essential oils, not toxic chemicals. The Organic Bug Spray provides floral & woodsy scents that create a pleasing aroma for people, yet the bugs hate it! Brittanie’s Thyme does not contain citronella, and will not stain your clothes. They recommend not spraying the bug spray directly on the skin of babies and toddlers under 2 years old. Instead, spray your child’s clothing, stroller, blankets or grass area around them.

white socks

Dress Appropriately

We know it’s hot, but wearing light colored, long-sleeved pants & tops will deter mosquitoes from those areas of your body! Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, so white or other lightly colored clothing are an optimal choice when planning to spend time outdoors hiking, playing and more! In addition, mosquitoes love feet, so opt for socks and shoes whenever possible!

*Brittanie’s Thyme provided samples for review for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

Red, irritated and just downright annoying patches of eczema and and dry skin are a constant struggle for my 5 year old! Of course, it doesn’t help that we live in FL… and like any child, she loves to run and play! After an hour outside, her little face is sweaty… and the red patches flare up in the creases of her elbows and behind her knees. Now that she is older, she tells me when she needs her eczema cream, so we keep many varieties on hand. It’s always amazing to me when we try a new brand that some that claim not to irritate skin, actually sting and bother her, and we have to wash it off quickly!

ClearLotion Spray 2016

We were recently sent Theraplex® skincare to try, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the line! Not only is the Theraplex Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Skin Protectant creamy and easy to apply, it does not contain parabens, fragrances, phthalates, gluten, or sodium laurel sulfate. Plus, the line is made in the USA without animal testing. Most importantly, it does not irritate my little girl’s skin any further!

If you have children who don’t stop moving (and who doesn’t!?), try Theraplex ClearLotion. It is a light, fast penetrating emollient oil spray, and when applied to damp skin, it uniquely wraps around water on the skin’s surface, sealing in moisture and replacing the natural oils that water and soap can strip away.

As the summer weather heats up, it is not unusual for people to experience a dramatic increase in perspiration, often causing sensitive skin to “flare up.” This is especially true for children who have eczema. To help keep your child’s skin “cool in the shade,” the experts who make Theraplex® skincare offer summer tips designed to keep sensitivities in check.

Eczema Therapy 2016

Summer Skincare Tips

· To help keep your child feeling cooler and drier, avoid the sun when it is at its’ strongest (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m).

· Apply a sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. Many pediatric dermatologists recommend physical sunscreens as they may be less irritating than chemical sunscreens.

· If your child has been in the ocean or pool, rinse chlorine or salt off with a gentle cleanser and immediately apply a moisturizer such as Theraplex ClearLotion. ClearLotion has earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. After towel drying, ClearLotion leaves skin moisturized for hours without greasiness. And, because ClearLotion is a spray, you will be able to apply it to even the wriggliest of children!

· Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids and stays hydrated.

· For added protection and comfort any time of day or night, try Theraplex Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Skin Protectant with natural colloidal oatmeal. It also has earned the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. This enriched moisturizing formula helps to relieve dry skin with superior moisturization that lasts for hours. It soothes your child’s dry, sensitive skin without parabens, fragrances, preservatives, or lanolin.

To learn more about Theraplex® skincare, or to learn additional skincare tips through their Eczema Resource Guide, visit Theraplex.com.

*Company generously provided samples, images, and expert tips for this article. All thoughts on the product line are my own.*

A couple weeks ago, a colleague asked me a personal question. Her friend had heard the worst words that a parent ever will hear…that her son had only weeks to live after his cancer returned, and would need to be placed on hospice. She asked if I had any advice since I had been in that same awful situation just three short years ago as we watched our beautiful 5 year old daughter pass away from neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, after relapsing. She wanted to know ways in which she could help but at the same time did not want to be a bother. What they are facing is insurmountable, unthinkable & a parent’s worst nightmare. Everyone reacts differently in these situations…some want to feel supported & have people around to help, and some just want to soak up every last ounce of time alone as a family. It’s such a raw time for everyone.

Here are 5 ways you can support a family facing this grim reality at the holidays.

Read the rest of the article here on Red Tricycle. >>>

This morning I woke up early, missing you… and I came downstairs, made a cup of coffee, turned on all the beautiful twinkling lights on our Christmas trees, and looked at the 5 stockings hung on our fireplace mantel. There’s a unicorn for your little sister, who is now the same age as you were when you left this Earth, a choo choo train for the little brother you never got to meet, and a gorgeous angel with white wings and a tutu (of course!) for you, sweet girl. Your stocking will be filled this year, just like it has been the last two years, with your favorite things… princesses and My Little Pony, glitter, a green mermaid, and other little odds and ends that we know you would love to find tucked inside. But you won’t be here to open it. Last year your little sister excitedly opened all the gifts for you, while your daddy hid back the tears, and I cried openly. I know this year will most likely be a repeat of the same.

Read more of our story here on Red Tricycle >>>

Fun with Kids: Make Your Own Recycled Rainbow Crayons

If you’re like us, you probably have a ton of old & new crayons laying around! Since our little ones only seem to gravitate towards the new, fresh and sharp crayons, we have a large bucket filled with the ones that are not deemed ‘usable’ anymore! This is also a great way to use up all of the crayons you receive from restaurants. So, we took a rainy day afternoon to make our own recycled rainbow crayons!

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To Do This Activity, You Will Need the Following:

Crayons (and more crayons!) – wrappers removed

Muffin Tin(s)

Cupcake Liners

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature setting. This varies by oven, ours is at 220 degrees F.
  2. Put cupcake liners into the muffin tin(s).
  3. Remove the wrappers from the crayons. ***You may need to help your child do this part, as my 5 year old had trouble getting her fingernail under the wrapper to pull it off.
  4. Break the crayons into small pieces and fill the cupcake liners with the broken crayon pieces. The more colors you use, the more you will have a rainbow effect when done!
  5. Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake the crayons for 20-30 minutes, or until the wax has melted. Our crayons took longer than 30 minutes, so it will vary by oven.
  6. Remove the muffin tin; let cool.
  7. Once cool, remove the cupcake liners from the crayons.
  8. Use the crayons to color and create!

*This article was written by Tiny Green Mom. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

 

 

 

Traveling with baby in tow means lots of gear to lug around for the tiniest member of the household! This summer, make sure to take along these new products that “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom has recently been introduced to if you have a baby on board!


SHOLDIT Pocketed Nursing Scarf Safari print

Pocketed Nursing Scarf by SHOLDIT

Breastfeeding mommas know that nursing an infant when traveling and away from the comforts of home can be difficult! With “Mom’s” youngest being only 5 months old, the new Pocketed Nursing Scarf by SHOLDIT has been a necessity! “Mom” can comfortably nurse her son and keep necessities and other small items within reach, including a burp cloth, tissues, pacifier, lip balm, and cell phone. The Pocketed Nursing Scarf is lightweight, breathable, and incredibly soft against her baby’s skin, and “Mom” can wear it as a stylish neck wrap or shrug, as well as fold it into a convenient little clutch purse. When it comes time to nurse baby, it can simply unwrap and be draped for necessary coverage. For the inevitable spit-up and burps after feeding, it is good to know that the Pocketed Nursing Scarf is machine washable, too!

Dapple Baby Pure N Clean

Pure ‘N Clean Everything Wipes

With the busy travel season in full swing, dapple’s travel size Pure ‘N Clean Everything Wipes will make road trips, flights, and train rides with babies and toddlers a clean breeze. The travel-size packets fit in any diaper bag, carry-on, or purse and will easily wipe away sticky fingers and messy spills. These baby-friendly wipes are made from plant-based, biodegradable ingredients and are fragrance-free. Pure ‘N Clean Everything wipes are available at BuyBuyBaby.com, Diapers.com, and Babies “R” Us. $4.99.

Kangavou 1

Kangavou Dishware

Say bye bye to cheap plastic containers! Here’s a healthier option to hold your little one’s snacks and drinks for road trips this summer! Kangovou offers high quality food-grade stainless steel kid’s dishware products that are BPA, PVC, phthalate, lead, and melamine free. From cereal bowls, compartment plates, snack bowls and sippy cups, Kangovou dishware products are made from quality food-grade, Type 304, 18/8 stainless steel that is naturally anti-bacterial and will not leach chemicals. The plates and bowls come with a protective outer cover, making it easy to keep snacks packed and ready to eat when on-the-go! Kangovou dishware is lightweight, durable, does not rust, cleans easily with soap and water, and is top shelf dishwasher safe. We love the cool, retro-inspired colors and design, too!

Palmer's Baby Sunscreen

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Baby SPF 50+ Sunscreen for Body & Face

New from Palmer’s, this gentle SPF 50+ sunscreen with natural moisturizers is perfect for protecting delicate baby skin from harmful UV rays! This creamy sunscreen glides on easily, and is free of phthalates, PABA and paraben. Tuck a tube into a diaper bag, backpack or purse to make sure you can reapply as needed when enjoying the fun & sun! For a mess-free, no spill option for older children and parents, take along their Eventone Suncare Sunscreen Stick SPF 50! $7.47

babyganics swim diapers

Babyganics Disposable Swim Diapers

In addition to making sure your diaper bag is stocked with diapers for baby, you will want to have a swim diaper or two thrown in, as well! Be prepared in advance for impromptu stops at the splash park with Babyganics Color Changing Disposable Swim Diapers! Featuring an easy pull-on design, the diapers won’t swell when in the water. Found exclusively at Target, these swim diapers not only keep baby covered and protected in water, but feature unique color-changing technology that reacts when exposed to sunlight. As the newest extension to their line of baby-safe diapers, the Swim Diapers are made with a core using sustainable materials and a water-resistant soft cover. $9.99 at Target.com.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

As we are in the midst of cold and flu season, caring for little ones is a parent’s top priority! Be prepared and stock your medicine cabinet with these natural remedies & items to soothe, comfort and care for the youngest members of your family!

Exergen-Temporal-thermometer

Exergen Smart Glow TemporalScanner™

Fevers always seem to happen in the middle of the night! Take the stress out of caring for your little ones with the Exergen Smart Glow TemporalScanner™, ideal for parents who are caring for a sick child. Made in the United States, the Exergen Smart Glow TemporalScanner™ is the number one preferred thermometer by both nurses and pediatricians, and is backed by more than 50 clinical studies proving its accuracy. “Mom” loves how non-invasive this thermometer is when taking a little one’s temperature!

The TemporalScanner™ comes with four ways to make it even easier to take a temperature:

· A softly illuminated display for easy reading in any light – perfect for checking the temperature of a sleeping infant in a darkened room

· Beeping sound indicating scanning can be turned off or on to avoid waking a sleeping child

· Automatically retains the last eight temperature readings for instant recall to check on fever progression

· Ability to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius modes

Made in the United States, the Exergen Smart Glow TemporalScanner™ is the number one preferred thermometer by both nurses and pediatricians, and is backed by more than 50 clinical studies proving its accuracy. Visit www.exergensmartglowthermometer.com.

Boogie Wipes

Boogie Wipes

As the temperature drops, so does the moisture our skin so desperately needs. Cold temperatures, low humidity and hot showers are all a recipe for dry, itchy skin, and the harsh conditions also take a toll on the face, which is sometimes the hardest to treat. Red, dry, chapped noses are caused by the lack of moisture and constant friction with dry tissues. nstead of tissues, help keep little noses healthy and intact during the season with Boogie Wipes! Boogie Wipes are saline infused moist wipes made with aloe, chamomile and vitamin E to add moisture while keeping noses smooth and clean after every wipe. Keep individual packs handy by your child’s bedside or tucked in your purse or diaper bag during cold & flu season to help soothe chapped and irritated little noses! “Mom” loves the unscented variety for use in her home. Visit http://www.boogiewipes.com/.

Rainbow Light Fiber Garden Gummies

Rainbow Light’s Fiber Garden Gummies™

If your little ones are having trouble going to the bathroom, don’t worry, they’re not alone – reports show that at least 30% of children suffer from acute constipation. Childhood Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors including a change in diet, not drinking enough fluids, not taking the time to make bowel movements, and changes in daily routine. With the holidays behind us and cold/flu season upon us, it’s especially important for parents to recognize normal patterns in bowel movements, as well as to take preventative measures in keeping children as balanced as possible.

Rainbow Light’s Fiber Garden Gummies™ are the perfect option during the winter, when the freshest seasonal fruits and veggies aren’t always available and outdoor activity isn’t possible at times due to inclement weather.

Benefits of Rainbow Light’s Fiber Garden Gummies™ include:

· Provide 4 g of fiber plus the ORAC (antioxidant) equivalent to 2 servings of fruits and vegetables
· Digestion enhanced with NutraFlora (FOS), a prebiotic fiber that supports immunity and digestion
· Xylitol is also included to support oral health
· Single-serve packets preserve freshness and purity and are perfect for nutrition on-the-go
· 100% natural and free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or additives
· Free of the most common allergens such as gluten, lactose, nuts and yeast, and thus perfect for sensitive tummies

Rainbow Light’s Fiber Garden Gummies™ retail for 19.99/30-ct box. Learn more at http://www.rainbowlight.com/.

Mommy's Bliss Probiotic Drops

Mommy’s Bliss Baby Probiotic Drops

Mommy’s Bliss has just launched an amazing new product for little ones – Mommy’s Bliss Baby Probiotic Drops! This product is pediatrician-recommended, 100% vegan and vegetarian, and quickly becoming a favorite amongst health-conscious parents. Mommy’s Bliss© Probiotic Drops promote digestive health & support immune function. “Mom” loves that these drops are formulated for the youngest members of her household.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that scientific research has shown to benefit human health. In some cases they are similar to, or the same as, the microbes already found in a healthy digestive tract. It may also help with occasional gas, diarrhea & constipation. Formulated with non-GMO Corn Oil and the live culture Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, this new product may safely and effectively ease baby’s digestion.

Mommy’s Bliss® Probiotic Drops does NOT contain any of the following: gluten, starch, dairy, wheat, yeast, dill, chamomile, alcohol, parabens, artificial colors, artificial flavors, sucrose (table sugar), or petroleum-based by-products. 100% vegetarian & vegan. Learn more at http://mommysbliss.com/.

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article.*

News headlines let parents know that Mother Earth has some concerning problems. There’s depletion of the ozone layer, toxins such as metals or phthalates polluting our water, drought, overstuffed landfills and acid rain, to name a few.

Want to make a difference in 2016, but not sure how? It’s true that small actions when combined together can make a big difference towards protecting our planet. Join together with your kids and you’re on your way!

andrea at work 4

We turned to Southern California’s Dr. Andrea Neal, a mom of two who has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and lipid biochemistry. She also has a Ph.D. Swedish Agricultural University where she studied the effects of toxins on our soil. After going on an expedition for oceanographic explorer and environmentalist, Jean-Michel Cousteau, in which she explored 8,000 miles of pristine ocean; studying the devastating marine pollution, including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch off the coast of California and the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power meltdown, she founded Hope2o, a company that enables consumers to test their tap and filter water for harmful toxins.

Here are 5 simple solutions for protecting Planet Earth together with your kids:

1. Do your best with the resources you have. Neal suggests simple, healthy approaches to “going green” that work for you and your family. Her family does not drink from plastic (plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, a whopping 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. They eat local and organic when they can. And, she confesses, they have more reusable bags than anyone on the planet.

2. Support an environmental cause. Neal’s cause is anything that has to do with water. “I have been to the middle of the ocean and have seen our trash floating there,” she says. “This makes me a huge advocate for environmental solutions.” She supports many eco-conscious organizations, including Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for which she is an advisor; Mission Blue, led by famed National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle; Blue Frontier Campaign, which inspired Neal’s Operation Water Legacy program (OWL), an initiative to chemically map the New Jersey water system; and Blue Marble Project, a program that links mental and physical health with a connection to water. She suggests finding a project that speaks to your heart.

3. Play outdoors! Nature is healthy for us both physically and mentally. Neal’s family enjoys hiking, camping as a family and they all play soccer. She and her husband surf, dive, and snorkel. “We don’t get in the water as much right now with a small baby, but I am very much looking forward to some board time with him,” she says. “As Jacque Yves Cousteau used to say, ‘you protect what you love.”

4. Develop critical thinking skills. Find accurate information and put your energy and time into real solutions to the specific problem that bothers you and real causes. “You can’t protect what you don’t understand,” says Neal, again paraphrasing Cousteau. “With so much information on the Web, it is hard to sort out what is real and what isn’t.” Share what you learn with your children and involve them with all of your decisions and efforts. Help them learn to easily articulate why your family makes eco-friendly choices.

5. Commit to your kids’ future. Neal says it is going to take a global effort to try to change the current path we are on. “I hope that my efforts help secure clean water and a clean environment for my children,” says Neal. “With the rate of population growth, our ability to support everyone with the resources we have is diminishing quickly.”

*Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak on FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Credit card bills, short days, plummeting temperatures and maybe even a few extra pounds from all those holiday celebrations and libations. According to a recent article on psychcentral.com, “studies show as many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from low-grade to full-blown depression after the holidays.”[1]. And then there is Blue Monday – the third Monday in January, believed to be the most depressing day of the year.

Oy!

The fact is: the sun is out a bit longer each day and people are starting to think about spring, warm weather and bathing suit season. January is the month to actually take advantage and get ready for a new year.

Crispy Green Apple

It’s also “National Staying Healthy Month,” so here are five simple things everyone can do to feel healthier and spring into 2016:

1. Walk, don’t run.

2. Baby steps – take the stairs.

3. Eat fruit – consider freeze-dried fruit snacks when fresh fruit is not available.

4. Stay hydrated – water is best, but try some of the new natural beverages.

5. Sit less – pace, stand, get a walking desk. Just don’t sit.

*Article and image courtesy of Crispy Green. Exercising image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net  and nenetus.*