Category: Sustainable living

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.

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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. 🙂 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
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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’ 🙂 who spend their summer days snacking on fruits and berries as they round around half naked 🙂

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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 😉

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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.

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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! 🙂

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
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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. 🙂

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.

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Zero-waste dog food

zero waste door food

Recently I have discovered a Zero-Waste community over on Instagram. It is inspiring to see people around the world striving to live without leaving a trail of trash behind them. Through this community I’ve learned a number of good tips and merchants where one can buy package-free goods (here is a good one). A blog post on this is coming soon… providing my boys nap at the same time at least couple times this coming week, so I get a chance to get to my computer. 🙂

One thing I noticed people have difficulty with even among the Zero-Waste community is finding a package-free (read trash-free) way to feed our four-legged buddies both canine and feline. So, I wanted to put this little blog post together, because this area is one where one can easily shift away from packaged goods. In fact, in Russia and Kazakhstan where I come from we never bought dog food and always fixed dog food at home, using the same produce we had for our family.

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No-shampoo and zero-waste hair care

no shampoo nopoo zero-waste hair care

It’s been about 4 or 5 years since I last used a shampoo or conditioner on my hair. And it’s been about 2 years since I’ve been using soap nuts exclusively to wash hair.

The reason I started on the no-shampoo path was because my hair was getting dirty so fast that I had to wash it daily and still by the end of the day it was not a pretty sight. I went through many different brands of fancy and expensive shampoos, but the result was more or less the same… or worse. My first no-shampoo experience was with a dry mix of some herbs and clay my mom send me from Russia. It worked remarkably well, but we could never find that particular brand again. So the search for natural ways to care for hair ensued.

It’s been few years now since I’ve been using only natural products to wash my hair. I’ve also successfully replaced various other conventional body care products with clean natural ones (see my post here). And for the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring our household as close to zero-waste life-style as possible. I’m hoping you’ll find my experience and the information I share here helpful.

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Sustainable guide to Holiday gifts | Children edition

wooden children toys nontoxic handmade

[ On the photo: Gnomes from Mama Owl; Ostheimer wooden animals from Wooden Wagon ]

How beloved is the beautiful tradition of decorating a tree, lighting the lights on it and waiting for the magical winter-y man to bring us some sweet gifts under the tree! This tradition has survived the rises and demises of kingdoms, cultures and religions. It has changed the name from Yuletide to Christmas and even became a New Year tradition in some countries. Yet, the tradition itself has barely changed in centuries and all of us big and small are excited every year to light up the tree and unwrap our gifts when the time comes. 🙂

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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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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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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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