Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Five Reasons to Choose Organic Crib Bedding

The fact that a child has so much less body mass than an adult’s, and their skin is five times thinner, means that their exposure ratios to toxins are much higher. Toxins are stored in fatty tissue, where the concentration is much higher because baby has less mass to spread it around and therefore suffers more from the direct effects.

Even more worrisome, so many toys, pacifiers and even fabrics are likely to end up in baby’s mouth that their exposure rate is much more than that of an adult. Moreover, being small they can inhale higher levels of chemical carrying dust as well as any fumes that might be in the home, such as from flooring or cleaning products.

While it is virtually impossible to care for a baby in a completely toxin-free environment today, here are 5 reasons that organic baby bedding is well worth the extra cost to give your infant a healthy and clean start in life.

1:  Naturally Flame Resistant

The polyurethane foam usually found in the cheaper types of child’s cot mattresses is made from petroleum, that can emit volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.’s), which both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have linked to respiratory irritation and other health problems. Additionally many such mattresses have plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) covers which should be strictly avoided because they release cancer-causing dioxins and may contain phthalates, which can interfere with testosterone and can cause abnormalities in male reproductive development.

While mattresses made from natural materials, such as wool, must still meet flame resistant standards but as they are inherently flame resistant they require fewer (if any) chemicals. The sheep are also raised organically, which means they don’t overgraze and strip the land of vital nutrients. Organic wool is softer.

2:  Better for the Environment

Bedding made from organic cotton or wool is also free of pesticides and fertilizers that can irritate your baby's skin. This means it is better for the environment as well. Conventionally grown cotton is a known environmental pollutant, whereas organic cotton is grown in an environment where no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides have been used for a minimum of three years.

3:  Non-toxic Coloring

Organic baby sheets also use non-toxic dyes that come in lovely soft colors such as wheat, light brown or sage green. Conventional sheets, on the other hand, are whitened with chlorine bleach or brightly colored with toxic dyes which may contain heavy metal, petroleum products or even formaldehyde.

4:  Anti-allergenic

Truly organic nursery bedding, including pillows and comforters, is stuffed with organic cotton or wool batting which is resistant to bacteria growth and dust mites, meaning the baby will be subject to fewer allergens.

5:  Far More Durable

100% certified organic cotton crib bedding is not only a greener option and softer, but they are also more durable, lasting up to five times longer than conventional cotton.

A greenbuds baby is a healthier baby with a much more confident, environmentally conscious mum.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Mom’s Survival Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In the early 2000s, budding Potter fans had little hope for leaving their humdrum muggle existence behind and entering the magical worlds of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. No matter how many times they read the series, they were left to wait desperately and despairingly for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which they knew in their heart of hearts would never arrive.

Today’s generation of “Harry Potter” acolytes has it much easier. Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida offers young and old fans alike a wizarding wonderland full of shops and rides designed to dazzle even those with a superficial knowledge of the series’ sensational secrets. With 20 acres of magical fun, it is no wonder this addition to the amusement park has brought in millions of attendees to dramatically increase the park’s profits. In fact, only six months after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010, the park announced that it had sold its millionth brew of butterbeer.

Your family may be utterly enchanted by the promise of Universal Studio’s magical realm, but you probably have some doubts about the shops, the rides, and the crowds. Fortunately, with a little guidance, you can prepare fully for your trip to the Wizarding World — unlike Harry while he searched for those Horcruxes.

Stay On-Site

If you and your family make hotel reservations at any of Universal Studio’s four on-site hotels, you are granted early admission to the parks, which means you and your kids will have one hour to see the busiest attractions before the rest of the biggest crowds arrive. Because the Wizarding World remains the newest and most visited region of the park, you can spend your morning touring the shops and riding the rides.

However, it is important to note that Universal Studio’s hotels can be a bit costlier than off-property lodgings. You can stay on budget by booking your flight to Florida on Alternatively, you can stay at a budget hotel for most of your trip and move on-site for the night before you plan to visit the Wizarding World.

Eat the Food

You might be tempted to smuggle in your own snacks and lunches to save money. While in-park meals can be expensive, in the Wizarding World, the experience is well-worth the price. Unlike hamburgers and French fries you’re likely to find in other amusement parks, the Wizarding World offers all the unique British cultural foods mentioned in the books, many of which your kids likely have never seen or tasted before.

There are a handful of restaurants and food stands to fill you up when your energy flags, but the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley and the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade are by far the most bountiful and immersive. For dessert, stop by Honeydukes or Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour.

Use the Facilities Beforehand

Little ones don’t have the best track record for letting you know when they need to go, and unfortunately, the Wizarding World has precious few restrooms to relieve the pressure of tiny bladders. Diagon Alley is particularly egregious of this crime, as there is only one bathroom located in a far, back corner — and as you might expect, there is always a long wait. Before you head to the Wizarding World, and Diagon Alley in particular, you should schedule a family pit stop to mitigate potential bathroom emergencies.

Look for Magical Secrets

Just like the books, the Wizarding World parks contain countless cute (and crucial) details designed to delight those paying close attention. If you and your family keep your eyes peeled, you might be able to spot any of the following hidden treasures around Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts Castle.

  • Shrunken heads singing “Show Me the Way to Go Home” in Knockturn Alley
  • Talking snake in front of the Magical Menagerie
  • Self-playing cello in the window of Dominic Maestro’s Music Shop
  • Moving cat made of Measuring tape in Gladrags Wizardwear
  • Kreacher peeking out a window at 12 Grimmauld Place
  • Moaning Myrtle’s cries in the Hogsmeade restrooms
  • The red phone booth outside King’s Cross dials the Ministry of Magic with 62442 (“magic”)
  • Potions class in session in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride
  • Voldemort appears in front of Malfoy Manor during Hogwarts Express ride to Diagon Alley
  • And literally hundreds more.

Photos by Scott Smith on Flicker’s Creative Commons.
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