Before Ari was born I had the best of intentions to use cloth diapers. I really did. Then she came along and I saw how much work and extra laundry they would be and that idea got tossed (kudos to those of you who cloth diaper by the way). And so began our relationship with disposables. I don’t love them or the added waste that they represent, but something that really stands out to me is this: what are they made of? What makes them absorbant and is it really safe for that tender skin that they are up against all day every day (and night)? We put them on our babes but how much do we really know about them?
Seventh Generation diapers have no bleaching chemicals, dyes/ fragrances, or lotions all while promising safe and effective leak protection. And really, when you think about it, why should diapers have any of those to begin with? Especially when they touch the most sensitive skin there is.
When I got the chance recently to try their diapers and wipes with Liam and Ari I was really curious and excited since I had heard good things from one of my friends who already uses their products. Plus it was a good opportunity to compare how well this brand performs with different ages; Liam is a wiggle worm but is usually still lying on his back while Ari is always on the go, both posing their own unique challenges when it comes to leak protection and comfort.
For the past week I’ve been using only the Seventh Generation diapers and wipes to see how they compare to the others products we’ve used; this was a special focus of mine when it came to Ari’s sensitive skin and I didn’t want to use anything else so I knew how her skin reacted to the Seventh Generation diapers and wipes (it didn’t). I’ve been putting each kiddo in a Seventh Generation diaper for naps and over night to test how leak- proof & comfortable they are and have been impressed. I did notice that when wet you can be fooled into thinking your bumpkin has had an explosive poop since the dye- free material goes a darker shade of brown (similar to unbleached coffee filters when they get wet) and without the fragrance there’s no masking the scent of whatever is in the diaper, but neither of these things would deter me from buying them.
Liam sporting the size 1 diaper
Ari modelling the size 6 diaper
They’ve also stood up well to the constant movement that an active toddler puts them through and the occasional explosive poop by Liam (ah, the things you talk about when you’re a Mom! 😉 ). I’m a big fan of the bleach/ dye- free material they’re made out of, especially since Ari has sensitive skin. On that note the wipes have also been a success and I appreciate how thick and strong they are (again, with the ages my kids are at we have different, ahem, needs when it comes to wiping; one eating solids and the other exclusively nursing). I also give them a thumbs- up for being free of baddies like parabens and pthalates. The ready- to- go packaging is also great since all you have to do is toss them in the diaper bag and it makes for easy dispensing (I’m not such a fan of the uber refill packs from other brands that you have to separate into travel dispensers, I know this isn’t a major thing to do but it’s one less thing to think about).
If you’ve been looking for diapering options that are free from chemicals like bleach and fragrances I would definitely suggest giving Seventh Generation diapers and wipes a try. And if I haven’t quite got you convinced to try them, Seventh Generation is offering up $50 in products for one lucky reader! Go to the blog’s Contests page to enter.
For more information about Seventh Generation check out their website & find them on social media:
How do you find a few minutes for yourself? Since becoming a Mom, life is never boring, and now with two kids I know I’ll never be bored again. 😉 But it means that I have to consciously make time for myself, whether it’s enjoying a shower without the supervision of my toddler, going for a run with a friend, or enjoying some peace and quiet during nap time. Something as simple as enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea can be therapeutic for us busy Moms. Sometimes all it takes is a few precious moments to help us relax before we dive back into our busy lives. With all the different varieties of tea that exist today, you may want to have a look at a hemp tea review that could change your mind on what your go to beverage is for when you need to relax.
A few minutes of peace and quiet and a good cup of tea can do wonders in the midst of a busy day and it’s a simple pleasure I’ve come to really enjoy during nap time. (Tea fact: Did you know that different teas have health benefits? See this post for more info on that). Ladies (and gents too, we can’t forget about those busy Dads!) we have to remember to take care of ourselves and taking a few minutes each day can make a big difference to our health and overall well being. So this week instead of a recipe I’m sharing about one of my favourite bevvies (2nd only to wine! 😉 ) with one of my favourite local companies: tea.
Just before Mother’s Day I received a tea box from Tea Sparrow featuring their May tea selections and have been enjoying them as a belated Mother’s Day treat. If you’re not familiar with this Vancouver company, Tea Sparrow offers monthly tea box subscriptions with each box containing four loose leaf teas: a black, green, roobios, and a herbal tea (2 caffeinated, 2 non- caffeinated). I had the pleasure of working with them last year and this little treat from them has been very much appreciated by this mama.
The May box contained an organic fruity herbal tea, a chocolate blueberry black tea, a blood orange roobios tea, and an organic citrusy green tea. I love herbal teas and both the Organic Cheery Fruit and the Blood Orange Smoothie Roobios teas were delicious. I enjoyed sharing some with my Mum and we couldn’t decide which one we liked more. For some ideas to try with herbal teas, see below.
The green tea- called Clouds and Mist, how pretty is that?- included in the May tea box had a nice, sweet flavour. I find some green teas can be a little bitter, but this one wasn’t. We’ve got a pitcher of it in the fridge waiting to be enjoyed on ice one of these beautiful sunny days. (Health fact: Did you know that green tea is associated with helping to fight cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, and prevent other common ailments? Another excuse to enjoy a cup 😉 ).
Even though I love a nice caffeine- free tea- especially to enjoy in the evenings- my absolute favourite in this tea box was the Chocolate Blueberry Organic black tea. This tea tasted even better than it sounds. As per Tea Sparrow’s instructions on the packet I added some honey to mine and it really is like dessert in a cup! Lovely, lovely, lovely.
I love that you get to try four different high- quality teas (many of them are organic and/ or contain organic ingredients) sourced from quality tea makers from around the world. If you like one (or more) of the teas included in that month’s tea box you can contact the vendor directly to order more. Each tea comes in it’s own pouch complete with brewing instructions for optimal flavour. For anyone who considers themselves a tea connoisseur- or who simply enjoys a good cup of tea- you really have to check out Tea Sparrow for yourself (you can try a single tea box, or enjoy 3 or 6 month subscriptions, plus ongoing subscriptions that you can start/ pause/ stop at any time). To view Tea Sparrow’s May tea box click here.
Fun ideas to try with tea this Summer
– Try giving your kiddos iced herbal/ caffeine- free tea instead of juice for a hydrating boost.
– Use cooled tea to make freezies or popsicles; add fresh fruit wedges for an added nutritional punch See here and here for more info on the herbal teas mentioned in this post and to order some for yourself).
– Enjoy a sparkling water infused with tea (great for herbal, fruity teas). Brew a pot & allow to cool, then freeze in ice cube trays and pop into your favourite sparking drink for a refreshing sipper.
-Chill some coconut, almond, or cashew milk & make ice cubes with a roobios or black tea. When the tea cubes melt you’ll enjoy a cool drink with a subtle flavour.
To learn more about Tea Sparrow, check out their website & find them on Facebook & Twitter.
“My own desire to give up the Internet for a time originated from the growing restlessness and distractedness I recognized in my own life.”
– Christina Crook, Author of The Joy of Missing Out
Screens: They get used as ‘babysitters’, for entertainment, staying connected, to look up information, and countless other reasons. And I’ll admit it, I’m way more plugged in than I’d like to be. My work has me staring at my laptop screen and phone and I’m sheepishly guilty of looking at my phone more times throughout the day than I care to count. Sometimes I’ll pick it up, catch myself and put it down again just to prove that whatever that screen holds isn’t as important as whatever else I’m focusing on at that time. All this staring at a screen can’t possibly be good for my eyes. My friend who suffers from Digital Eye Strain (yes, it’s a real thing!) has got prescription glasses with blue light filtering lenses to help protect her eyes.
“In our accelerated culture, we complain about having no time, all of the time, and yet we impulsively spend what free moments we have submerged in the never- ending drama of email inboxes (and) social media…”
I find I’m even more conscious about my screen time now that I’m a Mom; when I spend time with Ari, I like to be fully absorbed in whatever it is we’re doing (but I do forgive myself for grabbing my phone to take photos and capture memories), and I’m also painfully aware that my actions set an example for her. I just don’t want her to think a screen- whether it be a TV, a phone, or eventually a tablet/ computer- is the best way to enjoy life. I know, ironic coming from a blogger who hopes for others to read her work on a screen. But I know I’m not the only Mom reflecting on the role screens play in my family’s lives.
“Our energies, creativity and time- perhaps the best of us- are being committed to screens”.
Having said that, I think there is a time & place for technology & screens, but we’ve become way more plugged in at the expense of really experiencing life. And I’ll admit one more thing: on the days that I unplug and/ or limit my screen time, I’m much calmer, happier, and content; living in the moment is a simple reminder of how much time we’ve come to spend staring at a screen instead of absorbing what’s going on in the world around us.
“By speeding through life with technology, you reduce what any given moment can hold. By slowing down, you expand it.”
– Eric Brende, Author of Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology
When I got the opportunity to review Christina Crook’s recent book, The Joy of Missing Out, I was intrigued to read her account about what it was like unplugging for 31 days. The book is based on her project Letters from a Luddite in which Crook chronicled her 31- day internet ‘fast’ and examined “the intersection between technology, relationships, and joy”.
“Human relationships are rich, and they’re messy and they’re demanding. And we clean them up with technology.”
Given the choice, I opted for a physical copy of the book over the e- version (I still prefer reading this way) and snuggled in ready for a good read. Says Crook: “I stepped offline for 31 days and chronicled the journey by typewriting and mailing letters to a friend every day. No Google mapping, no email, no Facebook or online news.” In the book she examines how technology has come to play such a significant, if not overwhelming, role in our lives. It is informative, discussing the progression of communication and technology, and our increasing dependance on devices. She also refers to a variety of authors and experts who offer intriguing tidbits to consider and I found myself reflecting on what they had to say and how it applies to my life (note all of the quotes I’ve included in this post from Crook & other sources within the book).
While I found the book informative, it read more like a textbook I would have read in my Communications course at business school and I found that it wasn’t what I had thought it would be. As someone who is trying to unplug more herself I was interested to hear more about Crook’s own experiences about her internet fast, how she found she was spending her time in the absence of the world wide web, and her observations throughout the experience. I had looked forward to hearing daily recounts and insights as she progressed through the 31 days. This quote from the book demonstrates what I was hoping to find more of:
“We are always on, never off. Constant access isn’t a blessing anymore. Like most 21st century humans, I am burning the candle at both ends.”
Don’t you feel you can relate to that? I would have loved to see this internal commentary take a more central role in the book, instead, her experience seems to supplement a book about technology and communications rather than the other way around. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, or a reflection of the quality of the book itself, I can’t help but feel that it was quite impersonal. At times I found myself thumbing forward, wondering when she would begin sharing more candidly about her experience only to find more of the same: information about the past, present, and future of communications and technology and how it impacts our world.
Regardless, learning about how others are tackling our constant connectivity and their own experiences with unplugging caused me to reflect and reinforced my own desire to spend less time in front of a screen. If this is something you are reflecting on in your own life, this book certainly makes an interesting read if you’d like to examine the progression of technology and how society has ended up where it is. I think if you go into reading this book with that outlook, you’ll find it enjoyable and informative, but a personal journey book it is not. Either way, if you have been struggling with finding a balance with technology and enjoying life’s simple pleasures, trying to slow down and disconnect from the constant distraction and time suck that is the internet, email, social media, etc, I hope you will challenge yourself with the task of unplugging more often.
If I took nothing else away from this book, it is the reminder that we have to live life to experience it. While I’m not sure I can disconnect for a full month (this blog is a passion of mine!) I am going to definitely be taking more time throughout the week- entire days even- to unplug and forget about what exists outside of my bubble within that time. Technology, social media, etc have all found a place in how we live today, but I embrace the idea that not every moment of my life or someone else’s needs to be documented online for the world to see. Crook puts it well when she states: “Our technologies, while aiming to make our lives easier, have, in effect, made them more complicated. And we cary our complications with us”.Sharing photos and connecting with friends and family half a world away is one thing, but we have succumbed to excess. As the saying goes ‘you probably won’t look back on your life and wish you had worked more’ and I think this same logic can be applied to the time we spend with technology.
The Joy of Missing Out by Christina Crook is available through New Society Publishers. $17.95 USD/ CAD
Christina Crook is a writer, journalist, and communications professional whose work has been featured in such publications as Vancouver Magazine, Today’s Parent, andthe Literacy Review of Canada and has worked for a variety of organizations including the CBC and Rogers Digital Media. A graduate of the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, she currently resides in Toronto.
A friend of mine told me about these reusable pouches by Little Green Pouch a little while ago and I was really excited when they offered to send me some to try out.
I received a package containing 4 reusable pouches, extra caps, labels, and a collapsible funnel- everything I would need to get the ball rolling on my own homemade & portable food. And while we associate food pouches with baby and kids food, who says Mom can’t test drive these puppies? Like their website says: “A reusable food pouch for babies, kids, and grown ups”.
These nifty little pouches hold up to 7oz of food and have a zipper top that allows to you fill them with your own mixes, wash and reuse. What initially attracted me to them was that they are reusable, (which reduces waste) and they give Moms the ability to mix up custom blends and control the ingredients they use. On top of this green perk, these pouches are also BPA and phthalate free, lead free, and dishwasher/ freezer safe.
The first thing I did (after taking some product photos!) was toss everything on the top wrack of my dishwasher to test how they would hold up. I used the prongs to hold them open and they washed up nicely. I let them air dry upside down on a towel (I would recommend doing this to help make sure no water remains from washing between uses).
For the recipes, I made sure to use ingredients that would puree well in a food processor (check out one of the recipes I created for LGP here!). I would recommend avoiding chunks as they could clog the spout. Like the store- bought options, smooth purees are the best filler.
Using a variety of ingredients that included blueberries, spinach, and quinoa, I made up a few combos for Ari to try. My goal was to combine less popular ingredients like spinach with flavourful ones like the blueberries to help mask the taste. For Moms with picky eaters, this strategy may help you get some greens into your little one!
Once they were ready, I used the funnel and a spatula to scoop the ingredients into the pouches. They’re made of a sturdy flexible plastic, so you can hold them open without them collapsing. They also have expanding bottoms, so when full they stand up (this helps make it easier to fill them and for storage). When I gave Ari one to try it was cute and amusing watching her adjust to eating from the side of the pouch instead of the top, but she mastered this new technique quickly.
Another great thing about these pouches is the ability to freeze them. Perfect if you want to whip up a large batch and have them in convenient pouches for lunches and snacks on the go. Simply label the pouches (date made & contents) and pop them in. When it comes to cleaning, I recommend giving them a thorough rinse before putting them in the dishwasher, and use a scrubbing brush to get into the creases in the bottom where food residue can be hard to reach. The bottoms of the pouches are clear, so you can see if there is any food stuck. I found using the suggested baby bottle brush with the small wiry tip for nipples worked best (if you don’t have one you can find them in most stores, and they’re available on the Little Green Pouch website. An added bonus is the labels dissolve, so you don’t have to fuss with sticky residue on the pouches.
I really like the Little Green Pouch and would recommend them. I know some older kids who love pouches, making these an ideal option for Moms with kids of all ages. And what the heck, they’d be great to freeze smoothies in for those busy mornings you don’t have time for a gourmet breakfast. Just take one out of the freezer the night before.
A four- pack of Little Green Pouches retails for $14.99. Or check out their starter kit, a great value at just over $50, which includes everything you need to get set up: 4 pouches, swivel brush, mini collapsible funnel, 60 dissolvable labels, 4 pack of silicone extenders (to help transition from bottles), & 4 extra caps. This would be a great baby shower gift!
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.