Tag Archives: no plastic

Greener Choices From Dandelion: Toddler Tableware Made From Corn!

If I had three wishes, one of them would be the eradication of plastic from my home.

(I have no idea what the other 2 would be. It kind of stresses me out to even think about it…)

But, of course, I do not have three wishes, and I have found over the past years that even though I make every effort to NOT buy or use plastic, it’s just plain HARD to get rid of it all!

I’ve gotten rid of plastic bottles, I’ve started using stainless steel straws, I’ve switched out all of our containers to glass. But so many things come wrapped in it, or clamshelled up in it, and some things aren’t available in any option other than plastic.

…and then there’s the kid stuff. Namely, toys.

I scour the web looking for the best deals on cute, educational, eco-friendly, non-toxic toys, and I find a lot. There’s a great selection out there, but it’s really, really hard to convince everyone else to do the same. People just want to go to Wal-Mart or Target and buy something. And 99% of the time, there’s nothing but plastic to buy.

My mom and dad have been doing a great job of finding toys at yard sales. My mom is pretty discerning, and has an eagle eye for great finds, so I trust her to pick things out. I’ve bent the rules on yard sale finds, because I like the thought of reusing toys and not buying new. I also like that these toys were made a long time ago, many of them NOT in China, and much of what might be toxic has already off-gassed (on some other kid, unfortunately. :( )

Here’s an example. Some non-PVC Little People made in Mexico in 1991. Perfect? No. But in my opinion, much better than China circa 2007 or 8.

So, yes. I’ve been flexible on the plastic. (Does that sound punny?) Some days, it’s just too hard to try to micromanage every little thing. But the one thing that is not up for debate is our collection of eating utensils and anything that touches our food (especially my son’s food, and especially when it’s warm or hot.) We work hard to eliminate toxic, unnatural substances from our diets, so it only makes sense to NOT put them back in by exposing our foods to plastic. (Confession: We do switch back and forth from a wooden high chair to a plastic one from a yard sale. Eco-friendly repurposing or hypocrisy? I’m not sure…)

The only problem with that is figuring out what to serve my son’s food in. Glass? Heavy and breakable. Ceramic? Ditto. Metal? Ok, but sometimes expensive, hard to find and not that cute. I will admit that I sometimes look longingly at the cute, colorful plasticware on the store shelves (and then I snap out of it real quick, but you get the idea…)

So, what’s the answer? Check this out: I found tableware made of CORN! :D

Dandelion ReUsables are made from cornstarch, which is renewable and sustainable, using far fewer greenhouse gasses in its production than conventional petroleum-based plastics. They are free of Bisphenol A, PVC and Phthalates, and the packaging is even made from 100% recycled paperboard.

So we decided to give Dandelion a try.

On top of being a bright, sunny yellow that is sure to catch a toddler’s attention, all the cornstarch-based Dandelion products we tried were very lightweight and easy to handle. The plates are deep enough to hold foods in nicely – even salsa, which my son is very into for dipping right now. The forks are not sharp at all, but he still had no trouble stabbing food and feeding himself.

We’ve also used these with pasta sauce, and nothing has stained yet…which is really nice. Because that’s gross.

Bonus: they’re really affordable at around $8 for two bowls, two plates OR 8 utensils.

Cons:

Well, it’s hard to find cons with a simple plate or spoon, but I guess I should point out that these are not microwave or dishwasher safe. But, I don’t have a dishwasher, so it’s not an issue here. And I am trying to limit microwave use anyway, so I kind of like how using these plates serves as a (sort of) reminder…

So, folks, I think we have a winner here. Can you tell?

Endocrine disruptor with your risotto? Not with Dandelion!

And another…just for fun… :lol:

______________

Interested in learning more about Dandelion ReUsables, or purchasing your own? Visit  the Toddler Feeding section of Dandelion’s website. The Dandelion Foundation will contribute a portion of the proceed from your purchase to support organizations providing food to Americans living with hunger.

While you’re there, make sure to check out their bamboo plush, supercute crocheted rattles, and more!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product samples of Dandelion ReUsables Toddler Tableware for review purposes. I was under no obligation to publish a review, nor was I compensated for my review. All opinions stated in this post are my own, honest thoughts based on my personal experience with the products mentioned.

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Filed under Green Living, Product & Service Reviews

EcoMom Review and Giveaway: Apple Pie, Anyone?

**GIVEAWAY CLOSED** My winner was Anne, with comment #113! Congrats Anne!

It’s pretty safe to say that I heart EcoMom. Lots of EcoMom products have found their way into our daily routine–from stainless steel straws and tiffins to our bamboo compost container, and even the eco-friendly decorations that brighten up my bland beige cubicle at work. And now, my son is an EcoMom devotee, too! Check out his new Melissa & Doug Wooden Make and Serve Apple Pie Set!

This fun toy is especially appropriate for my little man, because I spent the day before my induction baking apple pies. I had gestational diabetes, so apples were my go-to sweet snack during pregnancy, and I wanted to use the rest of my bag up before I went into the hospital. So, I baked and baked and baked to help ease my nerves on that long day (I found out later that my mom was doing the very same thing!)…and fresh apple pie will forever remind me of that day I spent peeling and slicing, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my precious baby boy. :)

The Apple Pie Set includes a pie crust, a segmented apple, a pie plate, pie server, wooden knife and oven mitt. All the ingredients to make a perfectly lovely little pie! I immediately fell in love with it because 1.) It’s just super cute! and 2.) It’s not a traditional “boy” toy. (I get really, really annoyed when kitchen toys are seen as “girls only.” :mad: )

All the pieces fasten together with a very sturdy velcro, so each piece stays put. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the quality of the pieces…I’m sure this set will stand up to lots of hours of playtime.

Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

I wasn’t the only one who thought so! (Little Man is very into pretend eating and sharing lately…)

Nom nom nom…

So, needless to say, the Apple Pie set is a big hit. But the more we play with it, the more I realize how much potential it has for different types of play:

  • It can teach real vs. pretend.
  • It allows my son to model what he sees Mommy do in the kitchen.
  • It helps refine motor skills with cutting action and assembly of pieces.
  • We can make a game out of putting a piece of apple in one slice, and having him guess which one it’s hiding in.
  • The pie can even serve as a lesson in fractions, addition or subtraction for older children.

I have to be honest: When I first considered reviewing a toy from Melissa & Doug, I wasn’t sure it was the right fit for us. I strive to provide the safest toys for my son, and I’ve heard a lot of talk about Melissa & Doug not being quite as “eco-friendly” as they claim to be. Most of what I’ve heard seems to center around the fact that some of their toys are made in China, which strikes a chord of fear in many parents (me included) due to the lack of testing and regulations on materials and manufacturing procedures there. But I do trust EcoMom to choose their products carefully, and I like the fact that this toy does not contain any plastic, so I wanted to keep an open mind. So, I raised the question with EcoMom and asked them if they could provide any information.

Here are two excerpts from the responses I received from M&D’s Chief Products Officer:

Melissa and Doug started as a mom and dad team wanting to make different toys for their kids. They grew into a large company and are still very invested in their company. Not everything is made in China, either. Unfortunately China has gotten a really bad name for manufacturing, but Melissa and Doug’s facilities are managed by a hands on team, and all of their products have received certification based on rigorous testing. They believe in transparency, so if there’s ever a concern, they welcome questions and the opportunity to respond!

No matter how carefully we design our products, we believe there’s no substitute for TESTING, TESTING, and MORE TESTING. The key to assuring the safety of our products is not simply insisting our factories follow our instructions, but to go one step further and AUDIT, INSPECT, AND TEST, not only once, but at various phases of the production process. This is something we’ve always done.
Additionally, we specifically test our paints and coatings very frequently, to be sure our toys meet or exceed government recommendations limiting heavy metals and lead in children’s items. We have cabinets full of thousands of passing test reports, and these passing results have been verified by 3rd party independently accredited testing laboratories, considered by many to be the best scientific laboratories in the world.

 

My conclusion: The reps from Melissa & Doug were very forthcoming in addressing the China and safety issues. I’m sure they’ve heard my questions before. My concerns have to do with adequate testing and safety standards – M&D seems to fully understand the concern, and they stand firm in their commitment to upholding high safety standards. Ever the skeptic, I might limit use of these toys if my son were still chewing on anything and everything, but at this age, I feel comfortable with this toy in his toybox.

So, it’s TOO cute, right? BUY IT!

You can buy the Melissa & Doug Apple Pie Set at EcoMom for $19.98.

DEAL ALERT! Place an order before February 28, 2011 and save 15% on your total purchase using this exclusive promo code available only to ABCGP readers: SBBL663

EVEN BIGGER DEAL ALERT! If you place an order of $50+, shipping is FREE!

While you’re there, be sure to sign up for EcoMom’s Daily Deal (a daily promotion that features one great eco-item at an irresistible price!) and sign up for their newsletter!

WIN!

One lucky winner will win a $15 gift certificate to EcoMom’s online store!

Mandatory Entry: Visit EcoMom’s online store and tell me what you would buy if you were to win.

Extra Entries (One entry each. Please leave your email address in each comment.):

  • Follow @EcoMom on Twitter (Leave your Twitter handle)
  • Like EcoMom on Facebook (Leave your FB name)
  • Like ABCs and Garden Peas on Facebook (Leave your FB name)
  • Subscribe to my blog
  • Sign up for EcoMom’s newsletter
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Please use the tweet button below so your tweet includes a link back to this post. (Please include the URL to each unique tweet in your comment. Limit two per day, please, at least 2 hours apart.)

Good luck! :D

The Fine Print:
Entries will be open until March 8, 2011 at 8pm. I will choose a winner via Random.org on or about that time. Winner will be alerted via email and will have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize, or another winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is open to residents of US or Canada.
Giveaway recipients may only win 1 Ecomom prize every 45 days. If you have won a prize from Ecomom within the past 45 days, you are ineligible for this particular giveaway.
I received a sample product free of charge for review purposes, but I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my own personal experience with the product.

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Filed under giveaways, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday

A Giveaway: Win Anything You Want!

Lately, the blog world has been abuzz with fun product reviews and giveaways from CSN.

What is CSN, you ask?  CSN is online shopping at its best, with over 200 online stores where you can find everything from dinnerware and dog beds to strollers and saute pans! You can view all 200+ stores here. If you need it, I’d bet money that CSN has it. It’s like the biggest mall in the world, but you can take your time, and you don’t have to put up with all those people:)

I really admire CSN as a company. Their core values statement stresses not only dedication to customer service, which is so important, but to community involvement and adventure! How many company’s include adventure among their core values? Forward-thinking companies that strive to explore new markets are likely to get my dollar!

And I love, love, love that there is a “Go Green” filter option. Just click on the green leaf, and all of CSN’s eco-friendly choices are sorted out for you…and there are LOTS of them! 

I’ve entered several of these giveways, and if I would happen to win one, I might choose this eco-friendly Plan Toys Woodpecker Walker. A little splurge for my little man…

I just adore this! It’s really cute, and the timing would be perfect since my 8-month-old is cruising all over the place, and getting ready to take his first steps. And…it’s not plastic! I’m scouring the Earth for non-plastic toys, and it’s a frustrating challenge, to say the least. Eco-Friendly toys are not easy to come by.

I’m also really eyeing up the Cuisinart Flavor Duo Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker.

I try to eat as healthy as possible, but I do not deny for one minute that I am a crazy ice cream fanatic. Every time I think I’m done with dairy, it’s the ice cream siren song that pulls me right back in. I’d love to be able to make my own and control the ingredients, especially for my boy! Can you just imagine the toothy little smiles!?! :D

Not one to be left out of the action, I’m hosting my own CSN giveaway! Yup, I’m passing a little bit of the fun along to you. If you win, you’ll receive a $50 e-gift certificate good toward your purchase at any of CSN’s 200+ stores! What could be better than that? You can get just about anything! Spice up your kitchen, cozy up that baby’s room, get something you really need, or splurge on something just for fun….it’s up to you!

(Oh, and if you’re interested in an ice cream maker as much as I am, enter my giveaway, then head over to Leslie Loves Veggies  and enter hers! )

You may submit up to 3 separate entries (please make sure to include your email address if not available through your Blogger Account):

  • First Mandatory Entry: Visit CSN and tell me what you would buy with your gift certificate. You must submit the mandatory entry first, or all other entries will be deleted.
  • Second Optional Entry: Blog about my giveaway, and provide a link in your comment.
  • Third Optional Entry: Tweet about my giveaway, including a link to this page, and include a link to the tweet in your comment. 

I will choose one lucky winner at random on Thursday, August 12th. I will notify winner by email, and post the winner in a blog post. Winner must respond with 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Contest open to US and Canada residents only.

Good Luck, and happy shopping! :)

Congrats to my winner, Channyn! (comment #31!)

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, The Everyday