Zerowaste Living With Kids | Is it Possible? 0
Minimalism is difficult- but doable. Until you have kids. Not only do they rapidly grow, constantly needing new clothes, toys, and accessories, they easily tire of the same old, same old. Your once pristine living room is now a mini playground and your porch has turned into parking for strollers and tricycles. Getting out the door, even for a grocery run, means packing for every eventuality and then there's the question of what you wouldn't do for just five minutes to yourself.
And on top of that, zerowaste often means a little extra work. But is it doable? Even with kids?
It's true that you'll have to pick your battles, but there are some cardinal habits that can make the lifestyle easier to implement, and maybe even achievable.
Buy in Bulk
Have you ever noticed how much waste is produced by baby and kids' snacks? Everything is wrapped in portions which, granted, are easy to grab, but also produce so much waste! Whenever possible, buy in big packs, or better yet, in bulk. From there, you can package them in the portions you want in the container you want, be that a snack pouch, beeswax wrap, squeezey, or a jar. Snacks like granola bars you can make yourself without resorting to wrapped ones, and Bulk Barn has plenty of other bulk options.
"No Gifts Please"
This is one that is especially difficult, because it requires you controlling other people. People love giving gifts to kids. The little things are so cute and adorable, it's nearly impossible to come empty handed to holiday or birthday celebrations! However, this is also a chance for you to educate those around you. To keep your home clear of useless items and things that come in excessive packaging, it's always easiest to say "no gift please." If the friend or family member insists, ask for it to knock off as many of the following as possible: consumable, homemade, recycled, package free, sustainable, biodegradable, and USEFUL! It might seem strange, but sometimes it's easier to just make a gift registry for items that you child needs. If you fear that this might be weird for some, just go NO GIFT!
Dress with Longevity in Mind
Being mindful with kids' clothing seems impossible because they are always growing and always getting dirty! However, that doesn't mean that your children need a million outfits. With laundry now a days, most of the time you won't even reach the bottom of the drawer before you pile on the outfits you just washed. The key is quality over quantity. Choose items that have been sustainable made with natural fabrics that will be able to take repeated washing and being worn by multiple children. There are North American companies like Cotton Vanille and Milkbarn producing "grow clothes" which fit kids for a longer period of time, making the extra money spent on quality and slow fashion worth it. Other options include shopping second hand, trading outgrown clothes with other families, or simply creating "capsule wardrobes" for each growth period.
Compostable/Recyclable/Reusing Activities and Toys
The toy industry is a large one, and it's not slowing down! However, every parent will be able to share in the feeling of being inundated with them. And it's not a good feeling! Instead of running to the toy store every time your kids seem to be bored with what they have, give them a chance to play creatively with items found in nature like flowers, sticks, pinecones, acorns etc. During other seasons, you'll be surprised with what you can make out of a empty water bottle, milk jug, or the fun you can have with simple wooden blocks. Sometimes it takes the parents' creativity to trigger the effect in their kids.
Do the Toy "Flip"
If you already have a lot of toys, consider doing a toy "flip" instead of getting rid of all of them just to buy them again later. Take half of the toys in your kids' room and put them into "hibernation" in your attic, basement, or even a closet. Your little ones will forget about them a play with what they have. Once they seem bored with the options they have, voila! You have new toys to offer them.
Of course there are plenty of other things you can do to minimize your waste generated by kids, but these five tips are a good starting place for your family's journey towards a #zerowastelifestyle.
Beyond the Onesie - Useful Baby Shower Gifts that Mama and Baby will Love 0Welcoming a baby into the world is an exciting event, both for the parents and for their family and friends. This special time is often marked by baby showers, intimate gatherings between friends, and family celebrations. Everyone wants to contribute to preparing for the baby's arrival, often with thoughtful gifts for the parents and the baby.
However, some gifts are more appreciated than others. You know what you mean if you have ever had kids: The endless pile of newborn onesies that no single child could ever possibly go through before outgrowing them, the same fleece baby blankets, and baby bottles that your baby never ended up liking. It's a difficult situation to navigate through for everyone, but can be avoided if the right strategy is employed.
If you want to be known as a great gift giver, it's time to step up your game and try one of these products from this list:
Earth Mama Angel Baby Set
Baby Skin Care
We love the OVer Company nursing cover. Not only is it very fashionable and stylish, but it has multiple functions, which means that mama will have more room in her diaper bags for other things! It can be used as a scarf, for nursing in public, as a bassinet or car seat cover, as well as a shopping cart cover.
It's difficult to buy a large ticket item on your own, and both parents and generous gift givers know this. When you give a gift card, you give the parents the opportunity to buy something bigger with combined cards as well as the freedom to buy missing items in their own style. It's difficult to know exactly what is needed, and a gift card is a more elegant way of presenting this freedom than cash.
Something off the Registry
Registries are the best solution out there for voicing needs and wants and matching them with generous and loving gifts. Parents can add all their essentials, from diapers, crib sheets, thermometers, towel, nail clippers and more, and you can just go online or to the store they registered at and directly purchase the item.
Times have changed, yet one thing remains true: we love babies and showering them with gifts and love. Now it's up to us that they have the best welcome to this world, including thoughtful and useful gifts that will be appreciated by all!
The REAL Basics of What You Need in Your Hospital Bag 0
Everyone has their own take on what an expecting mom should have in her hospital bag. Sometimes you wonder if there should be that much extra space in your weekend duffel while at other times, it's almost as if you needed one of those XL suitcases or a magical Mary Poppins bag to fit it all in.
We know, the struggle is real.
That's why we decided to dedicate this post to the REAL basics of what belongs in that hospital bag, devoid of all those extra gadgets and inclusive of all those items you wish you had as you are detained to that hospital room.
As you are the one that is going to be giving birth to this baby, your body is going to be experiencing a lot - it is hard work. It's important that you stay as comfortable as possible during your hospital stay, whether than means listening to your top playlists on your ipod or having a fluffy robe to stay cozy in. Those little details are up to you, however these are the "momma" essentials that need to make it into your bag:
- Comfy PJ's
- Slip on shoes/slippers/flip flops
If you're in the last few weeks of pregnancy, we expect that you understand why slip on shoes are essential. You likely won't want to be bending over in half trying to do up your laces. Something quick for bathroom trips and getting up to see visitors is ideal.
- Nipple Cream
Breastfeeding can be hard on the nipples. However, keeping them moisturized and supple will go a long way in mitigating pain and cracked skin. Most will suggest you use lanolin, a heavy-duty industrial product used on cows, however, we love the natural ones you can get from Substance and Bamboobies. Both lanolin-free but effective, you don't have to worry about your baby getting traces of it in his or her mouth.
- Nursing Pads
Though it might take a little while for your milk to come in completely, it's best to be prepared with nursing pads which will keep your bra and clothes dry and clean. Some women go disposable, however we like the idea of reusable ones that you just throw in the wash. We have both kinds in store for moms to choose from.
- Travel-size skin regimen
You most likely will be staying at the hospital for a night or two, so it's a good idea to have your essentials with you. Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mini sizes of your favourite cleansers, creams, shampoo and conditioner. Leave anything overly scented at home out of courtesy to others you might be sharing your room with- they could be scent-sensitive.
- Sanitary Pads
Yes, you were lucky to not have your period for a few months, however you will be needing some sanitary pads for those first few weeks after birth. Tampons are not a good option at this time, and once again, you can choose between going reusable or disposable. You've probably thought about it already, but in case you haven't - full bottomed, cotton underwear will probably be the most comfortable paired with your pads.
There's a lot of waiting during the birthing process, so pack some things to entertain you during those hours between feedings or visitors. Pack a book, download some podcasts on your phone, or download some Netflix videos to your iPad. Having your phone with you will allow you to more easily spread the good news and talk to those who can't physically visit you at the hospital.
Along with your mini entertainment suite, remember to bring the appropriate chargers. It's something we often miss while packing and then find ourselves mentally kicking ourselves about later.
- Health Card + Other documents
Your OB or midwife have probably already gotten you to register in advance with the hospital you intend to give birth at. However, it's best practice to have all of your health-related documents with you, including your health card, insurance information, and a drug list. Bring any medications you take on a regular basis with you along with their original packaging and information.
- Going Home Clothes
You probably won't want to be leaving the hospital in the pjs you just spent the last few days in. Pack yourself your favourite maternity jeans or leggings along with a nursing top and sweater for ultimate comfort and style.
Baby won't be packing it's own bag, so you'll have to bring some essentials for it as well. You'll be surprised at how much the hospital will provide at first for the little one, but remember that this is also your time to learn the basics of baby-care, so having your own tools is useful. Besides, you'll need to bring your baby home somehow!
There's no way you could be having a baby and not heard of swaddles. They are also known as "receiving blankets" and can be used in a variety of ways, from performing as a comforting "straight jacket" for baby, a light weight blanket, a large burp cloth, or even a makeshift wipe for spills. Most hospitals encourage that you bring your own in which you can take baby home in.
You'll need to have a small pack of newborn diapers with you. Even if you plan on cloth diapering later on, we suggest that for the first few weeks, at least when the baby is in the hospital, you make do with disposable ones.
You're going to need baby wipes for those first few diaper changes, so even if you decide to have a dedicated box at home, you might want something a bit more portable to bring with you to the hospital. Whether you decide to buy ready to use ones or make your own, remember to keep the scents to a minimum.
The last thing you want for your fresh newborn to experience is a diaper rash, so come prepared with a bum cream or spray. We find that a lot of moms like the Substance line we carry- as with everything else in store, it's all natural and safe for your little ones.
If you are going to be introducing a pacifier or soother to your baby, it's probably a good idea to bring it along with you to the hospital. There are a range of different types and brands on the market, so take your time to research what you are looking for. Keep in mind that your baby might like a round nipple more than an orthodontic one or vice versa, so don't go buying dozens of the same type before you are sure it's what he or she likes. We like the HEVEA natural rubber ones, but you might have a different kind in mind.
Going Home Outfit
Depending on the weather and the season during which your baby is born, you'll be needing different items to dress your baby in for the trip home. Though a onesie is a safe bet, you'll also want to consider a hat, socks, mittens, sweater, or a winter-grade snow suit. Of course, a swaddle or blanket are also part of this equation.
They will not let you and baby out of the hospital without a proper car seat. Remember to check the expiry date on your model and ensure that it is installed properly.
If you have any questions or concerns about your hospital bag, feel free to drop by one of our store locations. All the staff that work there are moms and can give you great advice on preparing for delivery day.
Otherwise, reach out to us on social media or email to ask about how to make your hospital bag as complete as can be.
10 Steps to Planning an Eco Baby Shower 0
Becoming a mom, especially for the first time, is a huge life change, and one that can spur women to change their outlook on life. The maternal instinct of loving, nurturing, and protecting kicks in, and the results can be both surprising and incredibly positive. One such urge is to spare the newest member of the family from contact with harmful substances, chemicals, and irritants. It also inspires the mom to work on creating a world in which her bundle of joy will thrive: one that is natural, sustainable, beautiful, and healthy.
There's no better way to support the mama-to-be's dreams than by planning and executing an Eco Baby Shower! Keeping everything "green" and eco-friendly will help the new Mom prepare for her new and exciting stage of life, while having fun and passively educating all the guests on sustainable habits and practices.
Let's get started!
1. Paperless Invitation
An easy way to save paper and ink (not to mention a little cash) is to send out paper-less invitations. If you are having an informal affair, feel free to make it a Facebook event and prepare an email with all the details for those who might not have Facebook (cough…great-grandma….cough). However, if you want to make it fancier, there are tons of paperless invitation options online which are easy to customize and send via email. Just be sure to mention that this will be a "green event" and what that implies.
2. Green Baby Registry
Baby Showers are all about showering the Mom-to-Be and her baby with gifts! Help her stock her nursery with all-natural, organic and sustainable items, from wash cloths, swaddling, diaper bags, bottles, and more by asking her to register with an Eco- Baby Registry. Don't know where to start? The Top Eco-Baby Registry Essentials, of course!
3. Healthy and Natural Snacks
When planning the menu for the baby shower, remember to keep to the theme and serve up healthy, fresh foods, incorporating organic products when possible. If you have the resources, hire a caterer specializing in cooking with local, organic produce, or have some fun doing it yourself. No need for super complicated dishes, just stick to the crowd pleasers like tortilla chips with homemade guacamole, a veggie platter with beet hummus, a greek quinoa salad, and whole wheat finger sandwiches. Keep it light, fresh, and tasty!
4. Fresh Mocktails
Want to take the party to the next level?! Give this soiree an elegant feel by serving up freshly squeezed juice-based mocktails. Safe for all the Mom-to-be to drink and a refreshing alternative to mimosas or other day drinks served at female-dominated gatherings.
5. Ban Wrapping Paper (unless it's reused)
In the invitations, remember to lay out the rules of the party- one of which is no wrapping paper. This will challenge guests to find alternate ways to wrap their gifts or find ways to present them without wrapping them at all!
6. Make a "Green" craft together.
Whether it's making bunting out of burlap or natural baby cream, give the guests something fun to do. Consider décor elements for the new nursery, putting a quilt together or even going outside and planting some trees in the baby's name. Your creativity will be rewarded with lots of laughter, great memories, and the result of the handiwork of the guests.
7. Cook together
If you have time and the space to do it, turn this into a cooking party. Together with all the guests, cook some healthy, wholesome meals that the new mom will be able to freeze now and quickly defrost when she will be too tired, weak, or busy to cook. Finding food in your fridge when you are ready to pass out from hunger and exhaustion is the best feeling ever.
8. Ditch the Greeting Cards
Instead of bringing a card, ask guests to bring a used children's book from either their personal library or a second hand store, and write an inscription in the front. Let's face it, greeting cards will just be recycled after a few months, and the books will be treasured for years.
9. Use either biodegradable or regular plates + cutlery
During your Eco Baby Shower remember to serve all your delicious dishes on sustainable plates and bowls and your drinks in reusable cups. If you don't have enough of everything for the number of guests coming, raids your friends' kitchens (with their permission of course). However, if it's going to be a huge hassle, use biodegradable plastic plates or wooden disposable ones that can be burned or buried rather than just thrown in the trash.
There are so many exciting options for small, sustainable gifts for the baby shower guests! From goat milk soap, to a packet of organic seeds, or a small plant, there are plenty of ways to show your appreciation to the guests who came and to inspire them to be more eco-conscious in their every day habits. Our favourite? All-natural hand sanitizer! Perfect for when they visit the new baby!