Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For the kiddos

I have been following a lovely blog for a bit now (Serenity in the Storm) and there has been much conversation about having, or not having, children.  While my husband and I, at this point, have decided not to add children to our lives (we do have the four-legged variety) I work with children on a regular basis and am very passionate about these little humans on our planet.

What I have begun to notice as I have progressed through my food journey is I am beginning to reach a place where I want to pass this information on to others, specifically little ones.  While I am still not ready to enter the realm of motherhood, I have some pretty amazing tools I am continually adding to my repertoire and would like to share those with you all.

I believe children are the greatest promise of our future so why not start when they are very young by introducing them to some amazing products, thoughts, ideas and beliefs?!?  Raising children is not only about feeding bodies, but also feeding minds and I hope this list offers some ideas to feed the little ones growing in your lives.

Food For Thought

Green Eggs & Ham

Omnivore's Dilemma

Stone Soup

Scrambled Eggs Super!

The Little Red Hen

The Lorax

That's Why We Don't Eat Animals

Tops & Bottoms

Tawny Scrawny Lion

A Bug's Life
The Ant Bully
Fern Gully
Chicken Run
Fly Away Home
Happy Feet
Finding Nemo
The Rescuers Down Under
Over the Hedge

Planet Earth
The Lorax
Frozen Planet

Human Planet

From Top to Bottom

Besides supporting local toy stores, gently used children's clothing stores and perusing garage sales and craigslist for baby furniture and all things 'kid'; I did some web hunting and found some really wonderful websites dedicated to a better planet and safer items for kids. Everything from toys, clothes, furniture and more.
I asked my girlfriend, Lindsay, to share some of her favorites she discovered for her son, Elias and a bit about why she chose these items...
  • I chose to go with Best Bottom Diapers. They are made in the USA, which was a consideration for me as I didn't really want to buy ones from overseas. Based on the research I did, I thought Best Bottom's had a good balance of ease-of-use, cost and a trim fit.
  • We bought swim shorts that have a built-in diaper, so you don't have to buy special disposables that can only be used once. We got them from My Swim Baby
  • Elias' bedroom furniture was purchased at a local children's furniture store here in London, Ontario. They carry quite a few Canadian-made furniture options, including furniture from the woodwork on Kingsway's campus. We selected the pieces we did because of the look and the price. We did not want to buy new furniture for Elias in a few years, so we bought something that should last him into adulthood. We did have a problem with the consistency of the stain on the bookcase we purchased, but we simply reported it to the store and a new one was sent. We're actually planning to purchase one or two more items from the set this month.
  • The crib was found using Kijiji, which is like Craigslist. I watched for a few weeks until I found one I liked. We found out from the owners that they had purchased it used when they moved to London, so I know we are at least the third owners. The crib is still very sturdy.
My finds:
  • Planet Happy Toys - toys, games, books and more! Their products fall into the categories of all natural, organic, fairly traded, green (environmental awareness), responsible (labor) and multi-use. If you are in the Seattle area they also have a store in the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood near the University Village where you can find not only their online products, but other amazing treasures as well. They also offer space for birthday parties and hold classes on ecosustainability. Planet Happy Toys is also a Trees for the Future partner. 
  • Oompa - a total web-store experience for safe, quality and unique baby toys from around the world. They create toys, games and other items which are highly crafted and may be passed down for generations. This company also seeks to maintain a sustainable model and give back for a healthier planet. 
  • Sustainable Babyish - mostly online with a few retail outlets throughout the United States this company offers products made mostly by hand in the U.S., by women who are paid fair wages and who care about what they make, most of the fabric used is organic or an organic blend, they use low impact dyes and recycle their fabric. They also offer some really useful and fun online tutorials for learning how to use cloth diapers. Sustainable Babyish is also a Trees for the Future partner.
  • Etsy Kids - this delightful website is somewhat of a one-stop-shopping-spot and there are some a-dor-a-ble finds!  Babies, boys, girls, toys, eco-friendly, furniture and more.  Plus buying on Etsy is a great way to support small business and individual crafters and find one-of-a-kind pieces.
Baby Food

I strongly believe in making your own baby food and think (not being a mom, I cannot fully attest to this!) it would be fairly easy and simple to make healthy, nutritious, wholesome food for your baby.  I believe you would be fine using a simple blender, some storage jars and a simple baby food cookbook at the most basic level and be just fine creating fabulous food for your baby.  However, I did find some really wonderful products to help aid in making baby food for your little one.
Lindsay shared what she found worked best regarding making baby food for Elias...

  • I had a Baby Bullet for making Elias' food. It worked quite well and came with little storage containers and a silicone freezing tray. The easiest food to make was probably Sweet Potatoes, which was good because I had an abundance coming in from the winter session of our CSA! Another food that was super easy to make was oatmeal. Most of the time I would make more food than I needed and freeze the remaining for another meal. I also made food with organic frozen peas.
My finds:
  • Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker - while this might be an over-the-top purchase and I have not tested it myself, I am a strong supporter of making your own baby food.  Personally, I believe you would do just fine with a simple Cuisinart or Ninja Blender, some storage containers and high quality whole fruits and veggies; however, sometimes having all the pieces makes it easier.  The reviews on this product do state the bottle warming feature is not useful, but most of the reviews are fairly positive.
  • Green Sprouts Storage - these are lovely little glass containers with BPA free lids and a handy little holder they all nest in.  Personally I think you would be able to use small size jars and lids you can put in the freezer and thaw as needed in a pan of warm water.  Remember when purchasing storage containers to use glass or find BPA free plastic-ware.
  • Sage Spoonfuls - this looks like a fantastic, fun, resourceful cookbook for making baby food.  Includes guides for introducing and feeding solids, family favorite recipes, information on food allergies, nutrition, foods to avoid, no-cook purees, organics, infant CPR and much more.
  • 201 Organic Baby Purees - while I am not an endorser of the 'organic' label due to its political nature (that's a post for a different time!), I do believe when feeding growing bodies and minds you should find the freshest, 'wholest', most pure foods as possible.  That being said, this book looks like an amazing resource for creating wholesome, healthy food for your baby/child.
I want to iterate I am not being paid for any advertising or to endorse any of these products.  Rather I am sharing things I love and would enjoy using for myself or share with friends who have children.  I think a lot of these products would be a ton of fun to use, can teach many of the beliefs and viewpoints I support and help create a healthier environment, planet, child and family.  Bottom line - you have to choose what works best for your baby/toddler/child/teen, you and your family.  Hopefully some of these items you find useful and fun to use.  Here's to teaching, training and growing future generations!

I want to thank my dear friend, Lindsay, for contributing to this post!!  I greatly appreciated your input and kindness in sharing your mommy tips and for being such a stellar mama to Mr. Elias!!  If you would like to check out her family blog click here.

If you do want to purchase any of these books, movies or anything else from Amazon, please use my Amazon Link. I’ll earn a few pennies to put towards the further creation of this blog!


  1. Rachel -- What a wonderful and useful post! I have a thing for children's books and am looking forward to reading quite a few on this list that I haven't read before. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the shout-out!

    1. Thanks so much Katie! I hope you enjoy the books; one of my top favorites is Tops & Bottoms. So precious!