Category: Sustainable living

Our forest school to-go faves

best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste

In one of our earlier posts I shared that last year my family has started a forest school in our area. It’s been a lot of fun and of course a lot of hard work. But we all have been really enjoying having a community of outdoor loving kids exploring together on a regular basis each week. And having my kids spend 4 to 8 hours 3 days each week year around in nature with their friends has been incredible!

best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste
best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste

Here in this post I wanted to share the outdoor gear and accessories they have been using and enjoying during their forest school time. In the past I have shared our favorite winter gear, as well as our favorites for the wet and muddy season. For summers they simply wear white shirts made from organic muslin fabric and shorts, all sewn by my mom for them. Summer hiking shoes is the only area where our search for the best gear still continues, as we are yet to find something I could recommend. We have tried Wildlings barefoot shoes for children, but sadly it has not been a positive experience (see here a review of the Wildlings Shoes in this post). I just ordered Tadeevo barefoot kids shoes and will let you know how they work out for us in later posts.

And in this post I wanted to share some of the accessories we’ve been using on our hikes. As always, the products are sustainable and ethically made and their mention here is not sponsored.

Continue reading

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

Before I get into my review of Kanken Mini backpack, I want to quickly share with you 3 facts that stood out for me as I did a bit of research about this company prior to buying the backpacks.

  1. The fox isn’t just for the logo.

    Fjรคllrรคven actually means arctic fox in Swedish. Sadly, these beautiful animals are at the brink of extinction as a result of fur industry and now climate change. Fjรคllrรคven is involved in Arctic Fox recovery program in Sweden through co-funding as well as supplying field equipment. I think that is just amazing!

  2. Keeping plastic bottles out of the oceans

    The Re-Kanken backpacks are made from 11 used plastic bottles each, with lesser use of water and energy in the production process as well!

  3. On-going research into sustainability practices

    The company has a comprehensive set of sustainability values and appears to do an on-going research in this area to keep on improving its operations so it leaves lesser and lesser impact on our planet.

Ok, now that I shared these cool facts with you, here comes my review. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

This Spring as boys were turning 3 and 5 years old I wanted to get them new backpacks. Their old backpacks made by my mom from some upcycled old garments were adorable and very loved by both of them, but they outgrew them. And as we didn’t have any old fabric or garments around which were suitable for new backpack sewing I decided to go ahead and buy them their new backpacks.

I was hoping to find kids backpacks made of canvas, with no synthetic materials. I didn’t find anything of that sort in children’s size (not to say it isn’t somewhere out there), but I quickly discovered Fjallraven brand and was impressed with their sustainability values. I now discovered that it is apparently a very trendy brand as well and if you want to get likes on Instagram just wear a Kanken backpack :))) . But the reason why I chose these backpacks for the boys is because of the company’s sustainability values, great craftsmanship, functionality and perfect size for young children.

Continue reading

Zero-waste kitchen: cleaning supplies

zero waste kitchen cleaning supplies

Hello friends, I wanted to take a moment and share with you few easy swaps you can make in your kitchen to eliminate or greatly reduce single-use plastic waste. Iโ€™ve tried many different products sold at various zero-waste shops, and these are the items that ended up working best for us.

About plastic pollution

Before I jump into sharing with you what has been working well for our family I wanted to share with you a little bit about why it matters.

 

Many people are under impression that as long as we put our plastic waste into a recycling bin it will be taken care of. But sadly we produce such colossal amount of plastic than recycling industry simple can not keep up with it and vast majority of our plastic waste ends up littering our planet and will remain there hundreds of years.

Here, in the above images is the very sad reality of where our plastic trash ends up.

And if you use instagram check out these profiles — @ourgoodbrands, @no_plasticwaste and @plasticfreedom_ — both for eye opening images of what is happening with plastic, and for some great inspiration of things you can change in that regard.

Continue reading

Gardening in Colorado’s Front Range: fruit trees

 colorado front range gardening growing fruit trees and berries

Hi folks, this post is region specific to share some of the things what we’ve learned in the 7 years of living and gardening in Colorado’s Front Range. Although we come from a family of gardeners and have had lush gardens in our home country, gardening at this altitude (6,975 ft or 2126 meters) has given us a lot of challenges. But gradually we found what seem to do well and give good results with least effort. And while it does take work and often comes with many heartbreaks (those late Spring 2 foot snowfalls) it is so worth it!

Whether or not you live in Colorado or at another high-altitude (and not very garden-friendly) place on Earth I hope you find this post helpful to you as well.

Continue reading

Use your end of the season florals for zero-waste decorating

Hello, now that it is summer I wanted to share a quick little post about how flowers make the prettiest decorations for gift wrapping. Here I used just some of the roses from our own yard that already finished blooming and dried right on their branches. But you could use any other flowers that are abundant in the region where you live. I also really like using some of the herbs for decorating, such as rosemary, thyme or lavender. Those I just clip fresh and add to the little ribbon I’m tying around the gift. They add loveliest smell to the wrapping making it even more special.

Continue reading

Natural rubber rain boots for children

natural rubber rain shoes for children

As always, this is not a sponsored post. The reason for the post is to merely share with other mamas brands that are sustainable and make great things for our little wildlings to help them be comfortable, healthy and spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Jumping in puddles is one of the biggest joys of childhood as I remember it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another one is being able to get really dirty or stump around in wet, slushy, dirty mud. Recently we got both boys their first pair of wellies (rain boots) so they could do exactly that — stump through mud, jump in puddles and any combination of these two beloved activities. ๐Ÿ™‚ And they have been a priceless addition to their outdoor gear both in cold and warm weather, in the forest as well as in the garden.

While there are many rain shoes on Amazon and possibly department stores I learned not all are of equal impact on the environment, some are considered toxic and of course there is quality of craftsmanship to take into account. So I wanted to share with you here the shoes we love and recommend; other brands we tried and what we didn’t like about them; some of the information on the natural rubber rain shoes vs PVC ones. Basically all that I learned and discovered so far on the topic of rain shoes to help you find the best ones for your little wild creature at home ๐Ÿ™‚

Bisgaard rain shoes review
kids natural rubber rain shoes review
Continue reading

Zero-waste and non-toxic laundry detergent

Where to buy: Meliora website

Hi folks, I wanted to share with you this great laundry detergent we’ve been using that comes with absolutely ZERO plastic packaging. Which is a huge deal, considering that plastic pollution is considered one of the most severe and devastating environmental issues our planet is currently facing.

As usual, this is NOT a sponsored post. I have no arrangement with Meliora to post about their products. This is me sharing with others a product that I believe is good for our families as well as gentle on our planet.

Continue reading

7 things worth knowing about GMO
(Genetically Modified Organisms)

is GMO safe in food

“Most GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide.” — source nongmoproject.org

Two years ago here in Colorado we had a citizen initiative on our ballots that would require all food to be labeled whether or not it contains GMO. And to my great surprise and deep disappointment the initiative did not pass. Yes, there was a non-stop avalanche of commercials against this initiative, the amount of money poured into our state to fight against this initiative was colossal. But the choice of having a choice, to know what’s in our food seemed like an obvious one to me.

In this post I’m not trying to convince you one way or another. But I do want to share with you those things I have learned about GMOs which helped me to make up my mind on whether or not I consider them safe. Hope you find this information both informative and useful for when you shop for your family.

Continue reading

Children’s snow suits:
non-toxic + made from recycled plastic bottles

non-toxic children snowsuits design fashion slow fashion children brands

I wanted to share with you a quick post about these beautiful snow suits I got for both boys from our beloved Lea and Jojo. You might have seen this blog post on a rain jacket we have that is made from recycled plastic bottles. And just like their wonderful rain jackets the snowsuits are also made from 100% recycled plastic bottles as well as being certified non-tofus, thus free of formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals.

I highly recommend their products, and here few reasons what makes them so special.

Continue reading

Bathroom: Going toxin and plastic free

zero-waste chemical free bathroom personal care kit

Ok, looking at this photo probably makes you think it is some hippy-dippy stuff that just isn’t your thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Honestly, where all the fancy skin and hair products? Instead some funky powders and a metal shaver on top of it all! Right?

But hear me out on this one and give me a chance to show how these products are actually incredible, they are cleansing, nourishing and make you healthier.

The short version

  • Conventional cosmetic products contain chemicals that are toxic to the reproductive system, disruptive to the endocrine system, neurotoxins and/or known carcinogens
  • Contrary to common assumption the FDA does not regulate the majority of ingredients used in cosmetic products
  • The word ‘Fragrances’ in commercial products mean further undisclosed synthetic chemicals
  • The word ‘Natural’ in the product name is pure marketing, there is no official certification or standard associated with it. It is 100% unregulated term.
  • Even products labeled ‘Organic’ can contain petrochemicals and as little as 10 percent of organic ingredients by weight or volume
  • The list of substances banned for use in cosmetics in Europe is over 1,000, while in America it is only 8 substances long
Continue reading

Autumn is the time to start on your #UrbanGarden :)

urban garden how-to easy

Isn’t this photo with our garden pickings from few days ago so beautiful! It is October, but we are still enjoying the tomatoes, fall raspberries, plums and pears and few other veggies. Yet, as much as I refuse to accept it, the summer is finally slipping away. This past Sunday we had a little family farewell party to this beautiful and generous summer we had this year.

Yet the gardening life is still very busy. If you are new to gardening, you might not realize that some things you wish to enjoy next year get planted in fall. Plus if you’d like to add some fruit trees and berry bushes to your garden now is a great time to check for end-of-season sales at your local nurseries.

So here I’m sharing with you some gardening tips on planting bulbs (garlic as well as lovely flowers) and what to look for when buying fruit trees. I hope this helps you get started with your Urban Garden if you don’t have one yet. You will be so rewarded once you get one going and it is much easier than you think. And there is no words that can describe the joy it gives to little fruit bats aka ‘small children’ ๐Ÿ™‚ who spend their summer days snacking on fruits and berries as they round around half naked ๐Ÿ™‚

Continue reading

Our favorite to-go ware for kids (and ourselves)

stainless steal to-go ware container non-toxic food container

Few years ago we got this container from To-Go Ware. I was attracted to it for being stainless steel rather than plastic, and also being an upright container. Over these few years it’s been such great and integral part of our outings with the boys, so I wanted to share it with you.

One thing that has always been a bit of an inconvinience for me with regular rectangular broad-base containers is that when placed in a bag they pretty much always end up getting on their side and the contents are at risk of leaking some liquid out into the bag. And that is if the lid doesn’t come ajar from all the shaking and rattling in the bag. And when they do stay put the way you had them they always take up more room than I wished.

This container is made in the style of Indian tiffins — Indian style lunch container. They have been around for ever in India, but are apparently a cool new thing in our cutting edge Western world ๐Ÿ˜‰

Continue reading

Tips for co-exisitng with coyotes in your area

[Coyote photo by: unsplash-logoBan Yido ]

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
– Colors of the Wind song

Recently I saw a post on the NextDoor about a coyote sighting in the area. Some people were scared for their pets, others argued whether or not hunting and trapping was legal within city limit. It is always very sad to see these discussions. Surely we can do better than that. Especially considering that it is us who came to their turf and destroyed their habitat, in which they’ve lived for thousands of years, to build our homes.

Most of us living in urban areas are rather detached from wildlife, knowing very little about it. And to make things worse the news channels only love airing things that are shocking and terrifying (ideally both) while Hollywood specilizes in creating ridiculous and most unscientific concoctions about wildlife such as ‘The Grey’. In all of these the wildlife is always presented as a canning beasts always searching for its next victim and eating anything that moves or breathes, humans included. [Big sigh…]

As a result of these misconception peddled from the TV screens people are scared and seek the ‘removal’ of the wildlife to safeguard their beloved pets. Co-existence doesn’t seem an option. And at the end of the day the coyote, one of the most native animals of America, is killed in astronomical numbers. It is estimated that about 500,000 of these animals are killed annually. A half a million of beautiful native sentient creatures who lived here and served this land well long before us.

Continue reading

Where we shop for natural toys (no plastics!)

natural

Alexandros turned 3 years this weekend! Few weeks before I asked him what he’d like for his birthday. This is how our conversation went:

— Me: “Ale, what would you like for your birthday?”
— Ale: “Garbage track! Yellow one. No, blue. No, white. No, red!”
— Me: “But you already have 2 garbage tracks…three actually.”
— Ale: “I want GARBAGE TRACK!” Big beaming smile! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, we got him this big beautiful Fagus wooden garbage track from Wooden Wagon.

wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
Continue reading

Zero-waste and non-toxic baby care

nontoxic baby washing and baby care

These three products, or their variations, are all that we use. No shampoos, no fancy lotions and special baby things…none of it. It saddens me to see all the chemically laden, plastic wrapped so called baby products all over the internet, magazines, not to mention supermaket shelves. Parents are made to believe that they need those to take care of their most loved little ones. But in truth our children need none of that. And with these basic products they could be cared for in a healthy, simple and sustainable way. ๐Ÿ™‚

This isn’t a sponsored post. These products are just the ones we are using. You could use other similar ones. There are many small businesses offering great natural care products. You could also make your own.

No shampoo is needed. E.V.E.R.

Continue reading