All posts by Maria

Raincoat made from 100% recycled plastic bottles

non-toxic children rain gear
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change… Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean. The Guardian

Which is why I’m particularly excited to share with you these beautiful coats by Lea & Jojo that are not only non-toxic (no PHTALATES, nor PVC, nor PFOA’S / PFO’S, nor AZO DYES, nor NONYPHENOL ETHOXYLATES), but are also made form 100% recycled bottles!

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West Coast Wild

children book about nature alphabet

It seems like Ale’s world is so much about tracks these days — our kitchen is plastered with track stickers, floors are strewn with legos, we watch garbage track every Monday and go to bed with a tractor. So having this beautiful book as one of his favorite bedtime stories makes me particularly happy! He calls it the book about eagles — his favorite animal.

We don’t actually read the book. Instead my little eagle joins Mr. Bear as he digs for mussels under the rocks on the shore and then follows him into the woods to eat together some huckleberries (because that’s what the eagles do, right? ☺️) We ‘fly’ over the ancient forest and listen to the wolves as they howl to each other down below. We watch orcas play in the ocean and we share fish with mama whale. We listen to the rain and watch cougar emerge from the woods at sunset. And as the sun sets over the ocean and sky becomes studded with stars my little eagle lays down in his nest, I cover him with a blanket and we listen to some wolf howls and eagle calls on my iPhone as he is falling asleep. 💕💕💕 (scroll to the bottom to listen to the wolves howl!)

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Organic clothing: where to buy

Here is Part 2 of my Organic Clothing series (read Part 1 on why organic clothing matters here). In this post I’m sharing all our favorite brands that make organic children’s clothes and stores where you can buy them. While there are many other brands and stores out there, these are the ones we’ve used and had just great experience with! 🙂 (See also this post on our favorite shoe brand – Pololo)

While some of these brands sell directly from their websites, others sell through dealers. I’m providing a link where you can get each of the brands listed. But also at the bottom of the page there are few links to online stores where you can find all of these beautiful brands and much more!

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Organic clothing: Why it matters

organic baby clothes and organic children clothes

On the photo: Organic wool fleece jacket from Engel, organic wool overalls from Disana

I started writing this blog post several times, but always ended up tossing the draft away. It is such an immense and important subject that I found it difficult to make the post informative and useful without turning it into a long and boring doctorate essay :). So here I’m trying again and I thought first just to give a short version:

Reasons to go organic (short version)

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Summer in a jar – berry and fruits preserves

When we lived in California for 10 years I really yearned for seasons and snow. But now that we live in Colorado I wish summer never ended. I love everything about it – warm nights with candle lights and fruit tarts, picnics on the grass in our yard, flowers everywhere and of course all the fruit and berries!

Back in our dear Kazakhstan we used to have such abundance of fruit and berries that we always set some aside for varenje – Russian fruit and berry preserves. My grandma’s cellar was stacked with jars of preserves made from strawberry, cherry, currants, raspberry. And throughout the winter there were always little jars of various preserves at a table for a customary tea after a meal. What a life that was!

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My journey to co-sleeping – the key to sanity and good night sleep

co-sleeping

I love co-sleeping. It may or may not work for everyone and it surely has a controversial reputation in this country, which I think is unfortunate. But for me it was a difference between exhausting, sleepless nights with a fussy baby and nights when both of us slept peacefully snuggled together. For this reason I wanted to share my experience with other moms, as I think it can make those first few months with the new baby so much easier and enjoyable.

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Less Junk Mail — More Trees

Paper junk mail..arrghhh.. Who doesn’t hate it? In addition to being a nuisance it is also a contributing force in deforestation and consequentially loss of animal habitats, increased greenhouse gasses and wasted water. And according to Rainforest Action Network, while United States has less than 5% of the world’s population it yet consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.

Stopping the junk mail

I’ve been on a mission to eradicate the annoying and wasteful junk mail delivery we receive and wanted to share the things that have worked.

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Truly Natural Body Care

I used to enjoy owning many beauty products — all the pretty bottles and tubes! But as you start learning what goes in your food, body care products, cleaning supplies, as you start reading those lengthy ingredient labels you discover that majority of the ingredients in commercial products (doesn’t matter cheap or expensive brands) are chemicals that are known carcinogens , hormone disrupters, affect reproductive system, nervous system and so on and so forth. You can see details on EWG.ORG website.

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Absolutely the best children shoes!

I am very excited to share with you these incredible find! When Ale first started walking I went through quite a process of finding the right shoes for him – something that is comfortable, flexible and can survive all the abuse such as dirt, rocks, sand, water, dust and so on and so forth. 🙂 I first tried Uggs – they were cute and comfortable, but they did not last due to poor design. Honestly, it was a waste of money. We then also tried few other cheaper brands – some shoes fell apart after 3-4 weeks of use, even though they were lightweight and comfy, others were made of such cheap and synthetic materials they were making baby feet smell! And that to me was a very bad sign as far as materials used, so I discontinued using those shoes.

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Propagating Rosemary and Thyme

I love plants and so does my mom! My husband enjoys our plant addition and our house is a bit of a jungle to be honest, with my work desk soon having no more room for any more plant pots. We even have a tomato plant in our bathroom (we got two giant windows right in the bathroom which I find rather inconvenient in general, but it worked out good for the tomato plant) that’s been yielding modest, but consistent crop of cherry tomatoes over the last couple months. 🙂

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Plastic-free and chemical-free dental care

This is a small post, but I’m rather excited to share it. Here is why…you know how marine animals and birds (whales, Albatros, etc) scoop water in order to get fish? The thing is along with fish they scoop various plastic bits, which make it into their intestines, but never make it out. Eventually all the plastic bits leave no room for food, so…no food no life. Don’t believe me? Google ‘plastic pollution albatros’ as just one of the examples. This is also a great website on the topic of plastic pollution.

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Our latest favorite: not your usual Goldilocks story

One of the latest additions to our library became another Gerda Muller’s book and yet again it turned out to be a total hit! Even though we’ve loved all the books of this author that we own I was hesitant to buy this particular one. The thing is I don’t like the kids stories where animals are portrayed as mean-spirited, vengeful and alike. In all honesty those are human traits, yet as children grow up learning about animals in this way they form an opinion of animals being often mean and evil which is simply not true. There are countless stories of biologists who spent extensive time near a family of wolves or following a particular bear where you see that those animals actually rather tolerant of other species, often fiercely loyal to their family, brave and intelligent. So, if we aren’t teaching children real animal behavior, let’s not teach them negative falsehoods either.

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Woodland animals IKEA Latt table hack

A few months we got Ale his first table and chairs. I had many beautiful (and expensive!!) children furniture pieces bookmarked in my Pinterest boards. But considering what children’s possessions can go through in their exploration of the physical universe I knew that in the real world I needed some furniture pieces which Ale could comfortably sit on, eat on…draw on, bang thing on, climb on, spill things and so on and so forth 🙂 So IKEA Latt table + chairs set was a perfect choice. Just $25!! And it is made from solid wood, with the exception of table top and chair seats, both of which you can replace with real wood to eliminate any off-gasing ingredients.

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Homemade applesauce

I wanted to share a quick recipe for homemade applesauce. It is so easy to make, absolutely delicious and because it is homemade you know exactly what is in it (..or what isn’t). 🙂 We usually make it daily and it’s been great as a snack food for Ale as well as a natural sweetener for his cream of wheat or any other porridge and even plain yogurt. And while you can always buy organic applesauce free of preservatives, still nothing can beat applesauce just made from fresh apples.

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