Wednesday, February 6, 2013


We've been on a baby food making journey for years! With little Tux things got a whole lot more convenient and even more affordable with the $20 purchase of these Squooshi pouches. The pouches are refill-able and make baby food feeding on-the-go a whole lot less messy.

Squooshi aren't without their flaws though. Don't zip the ziplock all the way and you have what we call a big fat mess. And let's not miss the Made in China printed on the bottom. Wonh-wonh. So, forgive the manufacturer and make sure the top and bottom closures are secure and you are good. to. go.

The picture above is like many I've taken while we enjoy snacks after mommy's workout. This day in particular, Tucker said "nums" for roasted acorn squash, organic peas, wild rice/lentil mix and organic apples. Fruit, fiber, protein and vegetable? And I made it myself? Win-win-win-win-winning.

Hey! Hey! Looky here! $5 off coupon expires March 15. Worth it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The eagle has landed

The eagle has landed! It's here! It's here! I'm so giddy I can't take it. The kids are thrilled, too. The mattress box has been a useful fort and they've already laid and jumped and crawled all over the new mattress (it's comfortable y'all).

Operation big girl room commences this weekend. Now, seriously, I have some curtains to make (I do have like four more days to procrastinate, let's see how long I last).

Sleep well, little lamb, on your beautiful organic cotton bed. I'll be sleeping better knowing Sophie is having a true, healthy, good night's sleep very soon. Ack! So excited. And proud, and worth every penny and every minute of research.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mattress rodeo

Sophie is going to have a pretty sweet suite in a few days: mostly hand made, thrifted, low-VOC, and organic. I socked away the bedding a few weeks back, material for the curtains (still to-be-sewn) and just now purchased the long-awaited mattress. We have a really easy homemade headboard waiting to be attached to the wall (courtesy Aunt Nancy), and she'll be getting the thrifted dresser that I purchased and painted for Tucker's nursery. While she doesn't have 100% organic bedding and we won't be springing for the untreated natural wood box spring, we are still making big strides in lowering the chemical load of this house one purchase at a time.

Here is the mattress round up. It's a rodeo out there of information, mis-information, "green-ing" of things are not even close to "green," and extreme over-use of the word "eco." Don't get me wrong, there is a plethora of options - and good ones, too. Simply depends on your budget. Here was the list of budget friendly options that I pulled from.

I turned to the master of all things inexpensive, European and "home," and wound up with my first option, the Ikea Sultan Edsele. The comfort is firm and it's the most natural of the mattress they offer. The inside is composed of seven inches of 85% natural latex and 15% synthetic latex. Just like every other mattress in the US, they must meet flame retardant safety standard, yet there is no information on non-toxic flame retardants... so it is safe to assume they are of the toxic variety. However, a mommy group friend told me that she actually cut open the mattress exposing the inside and was able to simply remove the layer that Ikea inserts for US customers that is treated with the flame retardant chemicals. And she told me that natural latex is so comfortable. So, this one stayed on my list. Ultimately I decided I would rather not spend this amount of money to dismantle a brand new product. I'll wait until I see a how-to on Ikea Hackers. $929

Another mattress I took great interest in for it's cool design and awesome marketing: the Nook Sleep System Full size Pebble. The middle of this mattress is made with a non-toxic foam core (read: certipur, a certified manufactured foam, not a natural product) and then topped with one inch of natural latex foam. What's on the outside of this mattress is what makes it different than the rest. The cover is removable and washable! Pretty cool for potty training and every-day kid accidents. Here is a link to their education section. Nook mattresses are made in North America. The rise is six inches and it's compression rolled to ship, no coils in this bad boy. Alas, it's not organic and for that price, I can still get organic. $995

Last but not least, and the winner of the Mattress rodeo: The Naturepedic No-Compromises Organic 2 in 1 Ultra kids mattress. Packed with 528 coils and 100% organic cotton, the comfort is medium-firm. Three sides are water and dust mite proof (great for potty training/food/spills) and the other is a quilted, more plush side you can flip to later when kids are heavier/bigger. The 100% cotton makes it hypo-allergenic with no wool or latex. It is also naturally dust-mite proof with it's polyethylene barrier (no PVC or vinyl here!). It's non-toxic flame retardant is composed of hydrated silica, baking soda and cellulose. NO phthalates (chemicals that act like hormones/endocrine disruptors). Here is a link to their education section. $999 directly from the manufacturer, but I purchased it from one of their preferred vendors (call to make sure) through Amazon for $899 and free shipping.

While you can easily spend $1300 to well over $2000 for an organic, natural latex full-size mattress for your kiddo, that just wasn't in our budget. There are other really great options if you pocket is a little deeper. If these price points are still out of reach, there is another way, too. My fellow green-mom Meagan told me how to take a conventional mattress and make it better:

Purchase the No-chem mattress wrap made of Polyethylene for $28.00 (non-toxic plastic wrap that doesn't allow off-gasses to escape into breathing space) and wrap those chemicals up tight! Now that you've created a noisy, plastic-y sleeping foundation, purchase an organic cotton or wool mattress topper, wrap it with a protective cover and slap on your fitted sheet. Then pray to God that you don't go flying across the room when all of the elastic gives way and the covers lose their grip :) (Organic cotton or wool mattress toppers go for $200-$400.)

Like I said before, when we considered what was in a conventional mattress, there was no looking back. We had to jump in with both feet and do a lot of reading and asking questions. Hope this was helpful... to at least one of the two people reading it. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sleep on it

We've had a successful run at the BGB experiment (Big Girl Bed) with the crib/toddler conversion and Sophie is ready for a real bed. The honest truth is that Tucker is officially ready for Sophie's sturdy crib that won't fall down as he rocks and rolls and bounces off the sides.

First day in big girl bed. I was nervous. She did great, per the usual.

But I had no idea that shopping for a mattress was going to be, um, horrifying. {Shakes fist at Google.} Before I continue, in full disclosure, all of the mattresses that currently reside in our home are of the regular store-bought variety (i.e. the carcinogenic, toxic kind), and it makes me ill.

There are no labeling requirements for mattress manufacturers. So unless you do some due-diligence research, you have no idea what you're spending a third of your life lying on - and breathing in. My kids have spent more than half their lives in bed (hands in the air for good sleepers!) and sleeping on these toxic little packages. Traditional mattresses are made with synthetic materials, Arsenic, Boric Acid, Formaldehyde, PVC, vinyl, Polyurethane, PBDE... known carcinogens that are banned in many parts of the world. These chemicals have been linked to skin irritation, respiratory problems, hormone disruption, fertility problems, learning disabilities, thyroid problems and even cancer. They can be traced in our breastmilk and in cord blood from newborns. Poison!

Mattresses made or sold in the USA are pumped full of poisons in order to meet fire "safety" requirements - they must resist open flames. Why? Because people died from fires that started as a result of smoking in bed.

As a mattress ages, it gets worse. The chemicals and compounds off-gas (that's the "new" smell) and create a cloud of hazardous fog in our breathing space adding to our already full chemical load.

Here is a really good FAQ on why you should buy an organic mattress.

Organic mattresses are made with organic cotton, wool, sustainably sourced natural latex, or a combination of these materials. With springs and untreated wood frame, or not. And the natural flame retardants (again - thanks for the frivolous requirements) are commonly made of natural wool or hydrated silica - or sand - that will melt instead of ignite.

So, to go organic or not? We vote yes. While I'm on the quest to lower the amount of toxic products in our home, we can only afford to do so one thing at a time. Now that it's time for this purchase, we're going organic for Sophie's new bed. Only the best for my best girl. But honestly, it's not even a question when we considered what is in a conventional mattress. 

There has been a significant amount of hand-wringing and hair-twisting when it comes to which mattress we would spring for. Organic mattresses can quickly jump to more than three times to cost of a traditional mattress and there are lots of options. Next up, the final selection!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hey February! I'm looking at you.

Dear January,

I stumbled into the month of January (3, 2, 1, hap-py New Year!) with one small resolution. But you know, not really a resolution because those don't last past March. I wanted to start this year as a more responsible adult. Getting a speeding ticket, scalding and scratching one of my brand new pots, breaking a dish and putting a bright red wool jacket in the washing machine with Tucker's clothes were not on the "more responsible adult" to-do list.

January, I was thinking a responsible adult would not walk past a mess of toys, would not leave clothes in the dryer for two days, would not waste produce, and, you know, recycle more often. And January, I was thinking a responsible adult would run a home that was free of croup, strep and RSV.

So. January. Time's up. I'm going to do a countdown to February and hope to start fresh!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Been a long time

I've missed you! Yes. I clicked on the "New Post" button. I've been thinking about this moment (and maybe even dreaming about it) for months. I have a lot of catching up to do. Since I am terrible at keeping baby books for my kids, this will have to suffice. And although I may not write often, I'm going to make a point to check in from time to time.

So, this isn't a promise-I'm-going-to-write-more and tell-you-wonderful-organic-products post,  it's more of a warning-I-might-be-writing-and-post-dating-some-things and who-knows-when-I'll-get-around-to-it.

Why today was so notable:

Sophie's use of the word "Scrubbly." I don't know what it means, but when I tried to use it in the context of "get your scrubbly little toes in these here socks," she was really offended.

Had a delicious hot meal for lunch that someone else made for me (hands in the air!). That's right, a delicious pear and goat cheese sandwich and homemade soup with my MIL.

I tried to take a nap today. Sophie dodged a nap today. Hubs worked from home and then wanted to chat/paint the new office. Dogs jumped up in the bed. All of these things equals no nap - a sign of the times to come.

Today I learned that paraffin candles are toxic. And that I can hand-make wool dryer balls with essential oils (coach me, Margaret!) that are safe and effective and they're going to kick the box of dryer sheets straight to the curb!

The last time Tucker was given a bottle was on Sunday. Today (Wednesday - four days later) he chugged his almond and rice milk combo from a sippy cup three times. THREE times in one day. Small victories.

And speaking of victories, dinner was a champion. Sophie was coaxed into eating, and Tucker had two helpings of: organic chicken, organic spinach, organic quinoa, garlic and crushed tomatoes - and each had a giant helping of organic kiwi. Hubby and I had the same, plus sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts (yes, you can buy them shredded, who knew) with balsamic vinegar.

So, in the mean time, between these insightful posts (which, you're on the edge of your seat for the next one, right?) if you don't already, you can keep up to date with me on Instagram: amybb80 Thanks for hanging in, checking in, leaving comments, and drinking wine. Mmm.