Saturday, July 18, 2009

5 Ways to Keep Kids Busy this Summer

Now that we're well into July, the seemingly eternal kids' question 'I'm bored, what can I do?' seems to be gaining momentum.

Here are 5 surefire ways to keep them occupied - at least for a little while! They're the traditional to-do's, tried and true.

1. Play Outside
The weather's beautiful. You grab your hats, water bottles, insect repellent and head out for a walk in the great outdoors. Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes into it - depending on their ages - up pops the 'I'm tired/I'm bored of walking' comments.
The Naturebag Eco-Activity Kit is a great little bag to take along on any outdoor adventure. It's packed with loads of great activities to keep the kids engaged and includes a step-by-step guide for parents to lead them. It was created by two mompreneurs (one a former educator) with the aim of getting kids outside and exploring nature rather than watching tv/playing video games/sitting in front of the internet. It's received a glowing endorsement from artist and naturalist, Robert Bateman.

2. Read
Find out if your local library has a summer reading club and join!
Every library - at least in BC - is offering a summer reading club for kids, Summer Reading Club 2009 - Follow the Reader.
For preschoolers, there's the Read-to-Me program where a record of books the preschooler shares is kept on a special card. You can drop in to the library for weekly stickers, stamps and reading suggestions.
For beginning readers to those in Grade 7, there's the Summer Reading club where members are given a special registration package that includes a Reading Record. Kids are encouraged to report their readings, watch for special weekly programs and prizes. In September, certificates and medals are awarded.

3. Bake
It may take longer and it will definitely end up being messier, but baking with kids is a great way to engage them and you'll have something yummy to show for it - usually.
Try banana bread, sugar cookies, in season blueberry/raspberry muffins, cupcakes (can't get enough of those sprinkles) or granola bars. Sugar cookies are one of the most time consuming but - similar to playdough - kids love rolling the dough and cutting out the shapes, then either putting on sprinkles prior to baking or icing them once they're baked. The more unusual the cutter shapes the better. This is a great set of natural cutter shapes - featuring a moon, butterfly, fish, toadstool and bird - or go for a gift set that includes a lovely wooden rolling pin too.

4. Create Art

Arts and crafts are always a hit and usually the messier, the more fun. Try modelling clay that simply requires a few days to air dry, then the kids can paint it or older ones can chisel/shape it as they wish.
Soy-based, pebble-shaped crayon rocks are great for developing the tripod grip that prepares children for writing, as are triangular coloured pencil crayons. Why not give them their own special sketchbook for Summer 2009 so they can create what essentially becomes a visual diary. Check out these super funky, recycled kids sketch books that are made in Canada.
Don't forget face painting - a true source of hours of fun. We've found some great non-toxic, wooden face paint pencils from Germany that don't require any water and they wash off easily, but not so easily that they disappear within minutes of being drawn on. And you can always focus on 'tatooing' hands and arms too!

5. Write Letters
Who doesn't like receiving a real, honest-to-goodness letter in the post? Kids in particular absolutely love it. Encourage developing penpals, writing to cousins who live out of town and why not start a chain letter? A bit of work, but it has its rewards. We couldn't believe how excited our daughter got when she received one for a sticker club last week. She wanted to write the letters and post them right then and there! She can't wait to receive her 36 packets of stickers. Neither can we...
Here's the text for the sticker club chain letter, it's a good one to catch their interest because pretty much all kids love stickers!

Dear X

Welcome to the sticker club! Please send one packet of stickers to the person listed as Number 1. Move my name to the first spot and place your name in the second spot. Then send this letter to 6 of your friends.

If you cannot do this within 6 days, please let my mom know because it is not fair to those who participated. Within 2 weeks, you should receive 36 packets of stickers! It is lots of fun to see where all the stickers came from…and also nice to get some mail.

Good luck and thank you for joining the sticker club!

1. Name

2. Name

For more ideas about keeping kids busy, visit Lavish & Lime. Do you have ideas, thoughts or comments about keeping kids busy?
Please add them below! Everyone who leaves a comment before July 31st will be entered to win a sport size all natural sunscreen from Soleo Organics.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Speak Up + Win Soleo Organics Sunscreen

We think everyone likes a conversation. Prove us right or wrong by joining ours (or not) here at The Lime Post.

We try to keep you up to date on our latest products and news and like to throw an interview or greener living tip into the mix every so often.

We hope you find our blog posts helpful. Or maybe not. Either way, we'd love to hear from you with comments, ideas, suggestions, anything that comes to mind, really.

Speak up and you could win a sport size bottle of Soleo Organics natural sunscreen - rated the #1 sunscreen by the Environmental Working Group out of almost 600 products on the market. Simply leave a comment on any of our July posts and you'll automatically be entered to win. The draw will take place August 1st so be sure to post your comment by midnight PST July 31st.

Weigh in with your thoughts on natural vs. traditional chemical sunscreen, recycling household water and getting kids outside, plus there's more topics on their way in the coming weeks.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Learn more about Soleo sunscreen and other eco-friendly products for greener living and giving at Vancouver-based online boutique Lavish & Lime.

Eco-Tip: Recycle Household Water

This is the first of what we're planning to be many tips on light green living.

These eco-tips are for those of us who are definitely not litterbugs, but we're not tree huggers either. They are ideas and suggestions about taking easy, little - do-able - steps towards living life a little greener.

So here we go.

Eco-Tip: Put a bucket in the shower

It's watering restriction time again for the garden (at least in Vancouver) and while we watch the amount of water we use outside the house, what about inside?

Do you know retro shower heads use about 20 litres of water per minute? That you'll waste 15 litres of water per minute by leaving the tap running?
Or that 30% of water use in the home is in the shower?

Why not recycle household water? One of the simplest ways is to put a bucket in the shower. Use the water you collect to water your garden, or even your houseplants. What about washing the car? And dare we say it, the dog?

You could always reduce the amount of water you use inside too. Yes, you can install a new shower head or you can simply pick up a shower timer. A great way to reduce your shower time from 20 minutes to the Aussie-recommended 4 minutes. Yes, a bit of push to get all your bits done, but the upside is more time to enjoy that extra morning cuppa!

Do you have ideas or tips about recycling household water? Please add them below! Everyone who leaves a comment before July 31st will be entered to win a sport size all natural sunscreen from Soleo Organics.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Creators of Naturebag Open Up

We love Naturebag and the two Canadian mompreneurs who developed it. Here Naturebag creators Sylvie DeSousa and Katharine Byers talk about the challenges of developing a new product, making partnerships work and why it's so important for kids to get outside.

1. How did you come up with the idea of Naturebag?
We wanted a fun and easy way to get children outside. We thought it would be easier to give families a 'kit' so they wouldn't have to change their habits too much or try to think up or research fun outdoor activities. "It's all in the bag" came to mind and we just went from there, thinking convenience and ease for parents and fun outdoor time for children.

2. Why is it so important for kids to get outside?

We are all hard wired with the need to spend time outdoors.
Viewing screens has become a child's full-time job. Kids are plugged in 24/7, watching an average of 25 hours of TV a week (Gentile & Walsh, 2002) and then logging additional screen time on the Internet, browsing the Web, playing video games, and engaging in whole new verbs, like IMing and Facebooking.
Richard Louv, author of 'Last Child in The Woods' coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder to describe the "human costs of alienation from nature" (p. 34), including diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness. Just when students need contact with nature more than ever, they have abandoned it.
A Canadian study found that children whose school grounds include diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another, and more creative (Bell & Dyment, 2006). Another study discovered that children playing in green settings have reduced symptoms of attention deficit disorder (Taylor, Kuo, & Sullivan, 2001).
The more studies are published, the more they agree: exposure to nature raises test scores; increases creativity, cooperation, and self-confidence; reduces stress; and enhances cognitive abilities.
We could go on and on, but we think you get the picture. Take your kids outside... NOW!

3. You've created a brand new product - something from nothing. What's been the most
difficult part?
The sourcing of the 10 items that make up the Naturebag. We were so determined to find the best quality for the children who would end up using the Naturebag and also wanted to respect the planet in the process. We had to research everything: fair trade working conditions, organic cotton, rubber wood, soy crayons, recycled paper, cardboard, pencils, hemp. You'd think we were there as a society, that ethical products were easy to find. Well, think again!

4. You're two busy mompreneurs. How do you make your partnership work?

Ahhh, it's a match made in heaven! Without meaning to sound overly corny, it's really one of those things that was meant to be. Katharine and I work so well together, with our priorities straight and complete respect for one another. We complement each other perfectly with different strengths for the business and both have a great sense of humour which is terribly important I might add when you start a small business!

5. What's the best part about your work?

Working with Katharine (says Sylvie), working with Sylvie (says Katharine) and getting feedback from parents that are grateful that they have found more balance in their lives since spending more time outdoors.

Thanks for the insight ladies! Sylvie and Katharine's innovative Naturebag is available at Lavish & Lime.
Do you have ideas or tips about getting kids outside? Please add them below! Everyone who leaves a comment before July 31st will be entered to win a sport size all natural sunscreen from Soleo Organics.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Leading Naturopath Dishes the Dirt on Sunscreen

We wanted the lowdown on natural sunscreen so we went to the certified Naturopath who first introduced high SPF chemical-free sunscreen to the US back in 2004 - Dr. Tony Kovacs. Originally from Australia, Kovacs is now involved with research & development at Soleo Organics in San Clemente, California.

1. How do natural and conventional sunscreens differ?

Natural (there is only one, ie. zinc) and conventional (chemical) differ in that zinc is a “physical” sunscreen as it reflects and/or scatters UV light, whereas the conventional chemical sunscreens, ie. containing titanium, oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, homosalate, etc. absorb UV light. It is via this absorbing action that toxic and dangerous new compounds are formed.

So, they primarily differ in the manner they deal with the UV light and the resultant byproducts, if any that occur as a result of this action. Zinc is stable, non absorbing and safe. Chemical sunscreens are linked with DNA damage, oestrogen mimicking, endocrine disruption, free radical production, damage to the coral reefs and ecosystem disruption.

2. We hear that higher SPF's are good for some skin conditions but we also hear that anything over SPF 30 is simply about marketing. What's this all about?

It is a marketing hype of sorts. When SPF levels are portrayed on a graph, the graph tends to plateau around SPF 32-35. Any number above that is negligible with regard to protection. Ie an SPF 100 may give an extra 1% protection (at most) but the reality of being able to stay out in the sun longer is a complete hoax. For example, if an SPF 30+ will offer protection of up to 4 hours, then it stands to reason that an SPF 60 would offer 8 hours and therefore and SPF 100 would be 10 hours. This is definitely not the case as no sunscreen can offer protection for that period of time. You are fundamentally paying more money, for a greater concentration of toxic chemicals and receiving very little, if any extra benefit.

3. What is the benefit of biodegradable sunscreen and why should we consider trying it out?

Biodegradability touches on a number of issues. Awareness for the consumer to consider products that breakdown safely in the environment and hence do not interfere with the natural balance within the ecosystem. The use of ingredients that are largely non toxic in their main usage form as well as their breakdown form. Biodegradable sunscreen addresses the issue of harm to the environment primarily. If the sunscreen is not biodegradable then the toxic compounds (formed prior to and after photactivation) will have a direct effect on the environments they are introduced to. They will create issues either by interfering with the reproductive cycles of the flora and fauna (nearly all of them), affecting the nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soils (titanium dioxide) or at worst causing DNA damage and possible mutations within the animals they influence. Bleaching of the coral reefs is just one example.

Learn more about natural, biodegradable sunscreen at Lavish & Lime. Visit the Natural Skincare category at Lavish & Lime for a range of natural and non-toxic sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer and more.


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