Safe Sunscreen


We are deep into summer now, which typically correlates to ample pool and/or beach time with the kiddos and LOTS of sunscreen. We love summer and have been spending as much time as possible outside – in the garden, going to the pool, hiking, frolicking at the beach, or just playing outdoors.

We generously slather sunscreen onto our kids’ sensitive skin with the intent of protecting it from the sun. One would think that it would be as easy as walking into a store and buying a sunscreen marketed specifically for kids and that these products are seemingly safe. Alas, we live in a day and age where food products marketed to kids are filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring, and sunscreens marketed for kids are laden with carcinogenic chemicals. The onus falls on us, as parents, to do the CIA-like detective work and make our own educated choices about what we are feeding our kids and what products we are using on their bodies during a critical time of development for their brain and organs.

Given that skin is our largest organ and that it acts as a giant sponge to any products we apply to it, it is a good practice to avoid putting chemicals on our body that will subsequently be absorbed into our bloodstream. In your quest to protect skin from the sun, arm yourself with the knowledge of how to spot lurking toxic chemicals, which unfortunately are found in most conventional sunscreens; many of which are household names such as the ubiquitous Water Babies or Coppertone Kids Spray, both of which fall into the Hall of Shame for safe sunscreens. (more…)

Less Chlorine Absorption


We love taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day, but we don’t love the all of the chlorine and chemicals in public pools. Chlorine has been associated with a number of adverse health effects, including asthma. 1A 2006 Belgian study showed that use of indoor chlorine pools especially by children younger than 7 promotes the development of childhood asthma. More disturbing still, the researchers found that the kids who swam most frequently had proteins associated with increased risk of asthma at levels similar to those found in regular smokers.” 2

Here are two EASY ways to mitigate chlorine absorption for kids, because we certainly are not going to skip the pool!

1.  Coconut oil protection: Apply a thin layer of organic coconut oil to your child’s skin (and hair) before swimming. This layer will provide a barrier between the chlorine and skin, decreasing exposure and the amount of chlorine that will be absorbed. It also acts as a natural sunscreen (SPF 4), although you should still use a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen as well. Badger makes a great non-toxic sunscreen for kids that does not contain any hormone disruptors (often found in conventional sunscreens). Coconut oil also acts as a moisturizer for your skin. We keep a big tub of it in the kitchen for both cooking and for a pre-pool slather.
2.  Rinse before and after: Dry skin and hair are more absorbent than when wet. Rinse with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming to lessen the amount of the element that can be absorbed. Rinse off when you are done to remove the chlorinated water left on your skin.

If you have the choice, opt for an outdoor pool versus indoor swimming.

We hope you are enjoying summer!


Image source: BlueOrange Studio (123RF)



Sustainable Holiday Cards

I love creating an annual family holiday card and we do it every year; and I love receiving them. They make me happy. However, every year I say I’m going to do it differently, and that I’m going to have less of an environmental impact. Perhaps, an e-card? Alas, I missed my “little green moment” this year and went with my usual Tiny Prints order (and experienced my usual guilt of wasting so much paper), but they are as lovely as always. I was on auto-pilot; it’s hard to break old habits. As I always say, change can be slow to occur, but every step forward counts. My sister did it a bit differently this year, and we will be sure to follow suit next year! (more…)

Backyard Chickens


With everything going on in the Food Industry (pesticides, herbicides, hormones, GMOs, antibiotics and more), we constantly resist the urge to pick up and move our family to a remote part of Montana where we can live 100% off the land and insulate ourselves from the crazy and scary things that are happening in today’s world. But, since that is not a reality for us (or most people), and since we live in the heart of Silicon Valley, we have decided to take (some) matters into our own hands: we brought home chickens!

We brought home four lovely 2-week old chicks (mind you, we also had a 2-week old child at the time…) and started the wonderful adventure of raising backyard chickens. We studied up, learned as much as possible about raising these little fluffy gals and started them in our garage in a brooder with a heat lamp. We cuddled them daily and watched as they sprouted their feathers and gained individual personalities. We also learned about “pasty butt,” but as a mom changing multiple diapers a day anyway, a little pasty butt didn’t scare me away (and my husband ended up tending to it promptly and saving “Lady Gaga’s” life). (more…)