Monday, June 8, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I fed everyone organic snacks, but since I'd had a migraine the day before, I had to go to Earthfare. I spent close to $50!!!!! Yikes. Next time I'll try to shop around.
For one activity, I had kids glue dandilions (we had quite a crop to choose from), sand, and various weeds onto recycled newspaper as an art collage.
For another, I let the kids plant carrot seeds in Yoplait yogurt cups. I washed the cups, drilled drain holes in the bottom, and let the kids put in the potting soil and seeds. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any organic potting soil at Earthfare in my hurry, so it was a fertilizer based soil. However, the yoplait cups worked great. Being slightly bigger at the bottom, they kept the kids from spilling!
I also found some great reusable picnic plates made from recycled plastic, and little trays made from fallen palm leaves. However, I will say that I got several splinters from the leaf plates!
Next year, I'm going to focus on planning more ahead!
Monday, April 6, 2009
We live about a mile from the city limit, which means that the city doesn't pick up our recycling. The problem lies, not in the collecting of the recycling, but in the act of taking it to the center!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
It is my understanding that Sean Goldman was abducted by his mother and held in Brazil without contact with his father, David Goldman, for 4 years. It is my understanding that she is now deceased, and that he continues to be held by his stepfather. It is my understanding that Sean Goldman was born on American soil, and therefore, is a US citizen. Why has your office not put your full power behind bringing home a kidnapped American citizen? If the courts of Brazil are intimidated by the stepfather of this child, then they might too sway at the influence of the US government. I am both appalled and ashamed that your office has not ensured that this child will be returned to his biological father.
I am horrified that his man has spent over $300,000 on legal aid to again and again be turned away by the Brazilian courts. It should not be solely his responsibility to bring this child home. No American citizen should have to bankrupt himself to fight a foreign government that is refusing to follow the treaty upon which they have agreed.
If we cannot expect our government to help return kidnapped citizens to our soil (and this child's Brazilian home is certainly a matter of public record), then what is the intended purpose of your department?
Monday, January 12, 2009
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Hey ladies, I thought I would share with you what my step-mom-in-
law does to help recycle. When she receives her Christmas cards she cuts the design off the front of the card, punches a hole in it and uses that as her gift tags for her Christmas gifts the next year. I also have seen that some people cut the front cover off, sign it and use it for a Christmas card the next year....sort of like a postcard in an envelope. It's an additional fun way to look at your cards when you get them....aside from the warm greetings being sent to you by your friends.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Today I received this response from Plan Toys in regards to the HealthyToys.org report that there is high levels of lead in the farmer and his wife dolls.
All of our toys have been tested and have passed all USA and European standards. The US standard for lead content is 600ppm (parts per million) or less. The European standard is 300ppm or less. All of our toys have been tested under these standards and have passed with flying colors. I have attached the copy of our test report.
Now www.healthytoys.org used a different test method to test our products and obviously came out with different results. Therefore, our team in Thailand is re-testing all of our product as well as looking into XRF test method that the healthytoys website used.
If in fact our test results come back and any of our toys do not pass the European standard at the least, they will no long be shipped.
Our company is based around safe green products for our children and never would we knowingly go against our word. Quality and safety are of the most importance to us.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me personally. Thank you so much for being a valued PlanToys customer. Have a wonderful day.
PlanToys made with sensitivity toward our environment.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
"MomsRising is working to bring together millions of people who share a common concern about the need to build a more family-friendly America. Started in May of 2006, MomsRising has gained over 150,000 citizen members and is rapidly growing. More than 85 national and state organizations have signed on to be aligned with MomsRising."National Campains include:Paid Sick Days for AllFair Pay NowSupport Breastfeeding MomsTurn Out the Mom VoteStop Toxic Baby BottlesStop Cutting Care for Kids!Keep Our Children Safe from Toxics!Vote Yes on Fair PayThe Power of ONEsieWe mean it. No toxic toys for our kids!
"People assume that products must be proven safe before they can be sold and that the government wouldn't allow unsafe toys to be sold. These assumptions are false. Government regulations are very outdated and weak when it comes to the burgeoning world of chemicals and their use in consumer products, despite our growing scientific understanding of the potential hazards of many of these chemicals."
- The government doesn't require companies to fully disclose to consumers what's in their products, or to label them so consumers can make their own choices.
- The office in charge of regulating children's toys, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), does not have the authority to ensure that toys are safe. The CPSC cannot legally test children's products before sale and would not have the capacity or funding to do so even if they wanted to. Recalls are mainly voluntary, rarely happen and generally only do after damage has already been done.
- Even if the U.S. had tougher regulations in place for local manufacturers, imported toys would still slip through the regulatory cracks given the CPSC's current capacity. Right now, there are only 15 staff people watching hundreds of ports of entry (down from a peak of 970 staff 27 years ago).
- The fact of the matter is that the chemical regulatory system needs an overhaul. Around 80,000 chemicals are registered for use in everyday products and roughly 2,500 new ones are introduced every year. Few of these have been adequately tested for potential health impacts on children or developing fetuses despite their known unique vulnerability to these chemicals. And none have been tested for cumulative effects (i.e., how they may interact with one another), but that's how we are exposed to them every day." . . .Manufacturers are committed to safe, PVC-free toys including:
Brio, Chicco, Early Start, First Years, Ikea, Lamaze Infant Development, Lego, Little Tykes, Playmobil, Primetime Playthings, Ravensburger, Sassy and Tiny Love.
Toys "R" Us has begun phasing out PVCs in its own line of products and has announced that beginning in January 2009 all products sold in any Toys "R" Us or Babies "R" Us store in the United States must be produced without the addition of phthalates that have raised concerns about infant safety."
Additionally, we specifically test our paints and coatings very frequently, to be sure our toys meet or exceed government recommendations limiting heavy metals and lead in children’s items. We have cabinets full of thousands of passing test reports, and these passing results have been verified by 3rd party independently accredited testing laboratories, considered by many to be the best scientific laboratories in the world.
I spent a good deal of time at Bears & Friends Toy Store this morning looking over different products. Although they are terribly expensive, there are some brands that are earth friendly and safe for our kids.
- They include tips on their website for choosing toys for your child's age and developmental level.
- They state that they meet both the EN71 toy safety standard (European Union) and ASTM International (ASTM) standards.
- They produce everything from playhouses, dolls, baby toys, construction sets, train sets/ auto sets, blocks, etc. There are too many toys to put here, so check out the website.
- Their "Green Concept" is ". . .Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Our manufacturing processes are designed to reduce waste and save energy. We reuse materials, and have introduced innovative methods to recycle paper and other products. . ."
- Their "Policy" states: "Wood free from any preservative chemicals is used to design toys. It is carefully processed, shaped, cut its sharp corners, and carefully assembled under respectable requirements before being coated with non-toxic colors to ascertain that it is not detrimental to children’s health and sanitation. . . "
- Awards: "With high-quality workmanship in all manufacturing processes, Plan Toys has received strings of honorable awards both at the national and international levels including Reddot Design Award and German Design Prize."
- Their Policy includes, "our toys are created with the joining forces of toy designers, educational specialists, and child psychiatrists to ensure that every product is instrumental in enhancing creativity and skill development of the children of all ages."
- Their Social & Environmental Policy: PlanToys® is the first rubberwood toy manufacturer in the world who successfully uses rubberwood from rubber tree that no longer provides latex as the main material to create toys. Meanwhile, paper used in our packaging is also recyclable which absolutely helps reduce a large amount of garbage to the world and simultaneously maintain the ecological balance. We also initiate work-generating scheme for villagers so they can upgrade their standard of living. Besides, we provide an opportunity to the people with disability to work in our company.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
From: "Theresa Denton" <Theresa.Denton@state.tn.us>Date: August 20, 2008 10:05:48 AM EDTTo: <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Fields of GraceMs. [W]:
Your question about "Fields of Grace" has been forwarded to me for response.
I do not have any knowledge of or information about this case.
I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful in answering your question.
Theresa H. Denton
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Ellington Agricultural Center
Post Office Box 40627
Nashville, TN 37204
Ph: (615) 837-5280
Mobile: (615) 618-1883
Fax: (615) 837-5011
Monday, August 18, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Okay, so I went shopping for my birthday and left my reusable bags in the car time and time again. So, I am walking to and from my car with my purchases in my arms -- or worse yet -- in a horrible plastic bag.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
From: Hannah WDate: July 30, 2008 3:42:03 PM EDTTo: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.orgSubject: Serious concerns regarding 'Fields of Grace' Petting FarmTo whom this may concern:I have spoken to representatives from the Carter County Mayor's Office, the Carter County Health Department, made unsuccessful attempts to reach Carter County Animal Control (as I am told there is no officer at this time), spoke to Dr. Brunkhorst at the USDA Animal Care office in Nashville, TN, and have spoken to the USDA APHIS representative for the East US region in Raleigh, North Carolina. All of the individuals I spoke to at the county government level were very helpful, but unsure of who would have jurisdiction over this matter.I and several other mothers (including a veterinarian) took our toddlers to "Fields of Grace" petting farm near Elizabethton, TN after reading a positive article about it in the Johnson City Press online newspaper (dated 5-07-2008). Another article in the Elizabethton Star was dated Sept. 18, 2005.Unfortunately, as we toured the "farm," we all became very concerned for both the health and safety of the children visiting and of the animals exhibited there.The owner claimed that the animals were trained for "therapeutic" service, and assured us that all were safe to pet. However, the USDA representative stated that there was no license for this "farm," and it was not registered with the agency.As I have many complaints, I felt a bulleted list would be most effective in relaying the cruel, unsanitary, and unregulated conditions of the "farm."
- The animals at this farm appeared undernourished, in horrid conditions, and some exhibited signs of serious illness per the opinion of a veterinarian.
- Many of the animals were housed in a large barn that had approximately 6 inches of soiled hay underfoot. Most were in rusty and dirty cages with barely enough room to move. Most were without clean water, and none had food. When our children began to feed the animals from the feed bags we'd purchased, we were all concerned that the animals appeared frantic and trampled each other to reach the food.
- Most of the pens and cages for the animals were filthy, too small, dark, and appeared to be of an improper function for the animal inside. For instance, she had a large chicken in a small birdcage, several chickens in a cage barely big enough for a hamster, and several pigs in large wooden boxes with little ventilation. One chicken was housed in an old child's playpen with old window screens secured by wood planks on top. Several Guinea pigs were in a small hamster cage, and one was in a bird cage turned on its side.
- Most of the chickens on the property were missing some or all their feathers on their backs, and some were missing feathers on their necks and sides. Our veterinarian acquaintance saw open sores on the chickens.
- The veterinarian stated that a pig (one which the owner encouraged our children to pet), had a skin disease.
- Our children were encouraged to walk through stalls and pens that appeared to rarely have been cleaned. Our children were encouraged to pet diseased animals, and we did our best to decline those opportunities.
- The owner appeared to have no education or concern regarding the proper care and maintenance of these animals, how to ensure safety of the public, and how to avoid spreading disease.
- At one point, she asked us to place our children into an above ground swimming pool that contained many rabbits (some caked in feces), rabbit feces, and many rusted or dirty toys. Of course, we declined. The newspaper article states, "One popular attraction is the rabbit garden, where kids can sit in a pen with rabbits hopping about."
- During this trip, the children were encouraged to hand feed animals one after the other, and there were no hand-washing stations available. Luckily, I had brought hand sanitizer with me.
- Several large dogs were in pens near the petting area, and one in particular seemed very aggressive. The dog pens smelled strongly of feces and urine.
- From my non-expert reading of the USDA regulations for Animal Exhibitions, Ms. Pilkington is breaking most if not all of them.Certainly, we did our best to protect our 2 year-old children the best we could once we were in the maze of the "farm." This "farm" appears to be marketed to small children as the newspaper article states, "Fields of Grace has just opened, and the first buses to arrive have been from Head Start and special education programs, but [the owner] sees her audience as ranging from preschool to youth, with an emphasis on church youth programs." Obviously we were concerned for the health and safety of the animals. More importantly, however, we felt that this woman should not be allowed to market this "farm" as a "storybook environment," as she was quoted in the newspaper.I am greatly concerned that this is a hazard to these animals and to the general health and welfare of the community as it is advertised as a safe place for children to interact with animals. In my opinion, it is a matter of time before a small child contracts salmonella, TB, or E. coli from the soiled environment and animals which are known to spread these and other diseases.I will be sending this email to the USDA offices, the Carter County governmental agencies, and the newspaper that wrote glowing articles. Please keep me informed as to the progress of any investigation that may be begun by my concern. The owner of this "farm" is a woman who appears to be very well-intentioned, but is not running this for-profit business in a healthy way.Sincerely,Hannah WInformation on Fields of Grace:"Fields of Grace" is located at:2615 HIGHWAY 91ELIZABETHTON TN 37643-6922Articles on the Petting Farm:Fields of Grace Petting Zoo article, "It's a ZOO! - Fields of Grace Petting Farm offers fun for kids in a storybook setting" by By James Brooks, Press Staff Writer, Johnson City Press"'Fields of Grace' offers kids simplicity, play with animals"By Bryan Stevens, Elizabethton Star Staff
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
In honor of the last blog entry, Jack and I made a rain stick from things we already had around the house.
Jack and I attended a Mom's group today in our new city! During the group, there was a demonstration from a Kindermusik instructor. It jogged my memory a bit, and I wanted to share a forgotten project from before this blog was started.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
RebW: (pr) "I don't pick up after my dogs with the plastic bags that are at all doggie stations. I leave it on the ground so that that little area of land, will be fertilized and fed." Can't you hear the sarcasm?
Mom 2 3: She made the kids a bug house by re-using a butter tub. She poked holes in the top, cut a square section out of the side for a viewing window and then taped clear plastic film on the inside. Can be recycled, and keeps tupperware clean and in the kitchen where it belongs!!!
S Panda: She goes thru her little girls old clothes to see if old pants can be capris or dresses can be swing-tops. Best of all: She works from home via the internet!
J Schaef: She only runs the self-cleaning function of the oven during the winter to save on AC, and she unplugs appliances and chargers when not in use (good one!).
Jacob's Mom2B: Household game to save money by clipping coupons so it's easier to afford organic. Instead of plastic baggies, and to save on saran wrap and foil, they use the washable canisters with lids.