Got Boo Boos? Topricin Junior is a Medicine Cabinet Staple

On any given summer day, like many families, we can be found outside running around, riding bikes, playing pirates or whatever the kid’s imagination may conjure up.  The occasional injury is all a part of growing up, and with all of this summer fun, bumps, bruises, bug bites and boo boos are often the residual effects.

When I was a kid, if it wasn’t my older brother breaking bones, it was clumsy me falling off my bike and getting bloody knees or black eyes.  It wasn’t the injury itself that was painful, but the aftercare that subjected the trauma and excruciating pain.  I have no idea if my mom used salt spray laced with battery acid to clean our wounds, but whatever it was, it hurt like crazy.

As a family that leans toward more homeopathic remedies, I was so glad to be introduced to Topricin Junior.  A Healthy Child Healthy World parent ambassador and a green mama, in general, I do my best to steer clear of harsh chemicals in the conventional medical aisle. (Tea tree oil is my go-to antiseptic) Even if products are geared to kids, I can’t help but question, are they really safe?

Topricin Junior from Topical Biomedics is a pain relief and healing cream that’s intended for injuries such as bumps, bruises, bug, bites and burns.  It is said to relieve muscle spasms, leg cramps, sprains and strains—minor injuries that are sustained from horseplay or sports activities.  Aside from the pain relief it provides to the younger set, Topricin Junior seems to do it without the use of harsh chemicals.

Topricin Junior is fragrance and paraben free, contains no mineral oil, lanolin, menthol, petroleum or other chemicals that may be too overpowering for our little daredevils’ skin.

And like most preschoolers in that “I Can Do it Myself” phase, my kid, of course, wanted to apply the cream himself.  Because of the safe composition of Topricin Junior, I had no worries about the chemicals, or that it would be harmful if he applied it himself.

Now, after the spill he took on his scooter the other day, I didn’t use the cream on the open wound.  I did, however, use the cream after his wound closed up a bit.  From what he described, the cream wasn’t painful when he applied it, and from what I saw, it seemed to do the trick.

I love that Topricin Jr. is fragrance free and doesn’t leave stains.  The cream uses some ingredients that are plant and vegetable derived, unlike most products that line the first aid aisles.  Topricin Jr. is easy to use, seemed to help with the healing process and most importantly, doesn’t contain all the harsh chemicals that, in my opinion, hurt a little more before and after they actually help.  Not only do I give Topricin Jr. a seal of approval, but so does Healthy Child Healthy World and PTPA.

While nothing can heal as “effectively” than mama’s kiss, a safer pain relief cream such as Topricin Jr. is a staple in our medicine cabinet.  Now, if only this cream could curb any unnecessary stunts or spills that make my heart beat out of my chest!

Find it

Topical Biomedics also offers Topricin and Topricin Foot Therapy Cream.  The creams can be found at many health and organic stores, as well as online.  Additionally, Topricin products are now available at Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Whole Foods, and Wegman’s.

Full disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Best of Sunscreen for 2011: Tips, Ingredients and Tried and True Brands

It’s finally the unofficial kick off to summer, and I hope everyone has exciting things planned for the weekend!  Just in time for more sunny days, endless amount of outdoor play and loads of BBQs, the Environmental Working Group has released their comprehensive list of Best Sunscreens for 2011.  The list was analyzed in-house, with their findings based on health hazard, protection and overall stability of the product. Find out if your sunscreen made the cut.


NKT Faves

Many of my favorite sunscreens made the list once again, and there are also several products that I’m glad to see have new formulas, resulting in better scores.

Blue Lizard
Blue Lizard is what our family uses on a day-to-day basis around here.  With its thick consistency and trusted effectiveness, it’s no surprise the Baby Australian and Sensitive formulas made EWG’s Best of Beach and Sport Sunscreens.

TruKid is a longtime favorite for our family.  Because of its portable, gluestick size, the Sunny Days Stick is a mainstay in my bag and perfect for sending with the kid to daycare.

Kiss My Face Sun Sticks
I love most of Kiss My Face’s products, so I’m excited to see they have a kids’ stick, too.  Remember Zinc from back in the day?  Apparently, the Kiss My Face kids’ mineral sunblock stick leaves shades of blue, pink or white on easily burned spots like, ears, lips, nose and cheeks.  How 80s!

California Baby
Another parent fave, California Baby, puts out a great range of products that are often top-rated.  California Baby No Fragrance Sunscreen Lotion made the list, alongside of several other CF Baby sunscreens.  Even though I personally haven’t used this sunscreen, several of my friends swear by it, so it’s certainly on my list once we deplete our current stash.  Even better about California Baby?  This brand can be found in the baby aisle of most Targets.

Realistically, not everyone has easy access to these safer brands.  In fact, you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find many of the brands listed in EWG’s Top Beach and Sport Sunscreens at your local drugstore.  Don’t have time to order online at or run to a natural food store to pick up one of the safer sunscreens?  Here are a few brands that can be found at most grocery or drugstores and received moderate scores:
Aveeno Active Naturals Natural Protection Mineral Block Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

What Does Practically Green recommend?

At the recent Mommybites Summit that I attended last week, I sat in on a wonderful discussion led by green expert, Susan Hunt Stevens of Practically Green.  She mentioned that California Baby and Badger are two popular, safer sunscreen picks for kids.  Both brands are well-rated on EWG’s sunscreen list as well.  Hunt Stevens also pointed out that she has yet to find a safer aerosol spray sunscreen, so in general, she advised to stick to the old school lotions. Trust me, I love the convenience of those sprays, but if there’s an option that contains less chemicals, (the same chemicals which are often linked to health issues and hormone disruptors) why not opt for the safer option versus the convenient option?

Safer ingredients

For safer sunscreens, EWG recommends to look for products that include these ingredients:
Titanium dioxide
Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX

and avoid these ingredients:
Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
Added insect repellent

Check out EWG’s sunscreens to avoid.

Tips for Sunscreen

Obviously we all know “how” to use sunscreen, but do you really know how to use it effectively?  Growing up in a beach town, I literally spent my summer days—from dusk to dawn on the beach or at the pool—but, I barely ever used sunscreen.  I have to admit, when I became a parent, proper sunscreen usage was an anomaly, so I had to learn how to use sunscreen for the sake of my fair-skinned babe.  Goodness knows, my husband needed some tips himself!  So, here are just a few pointers courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatolgy and EWG.

  • Sunscreens expire.  Be sure to check your expiration dates when dusting off last year’s stash. You can use the sunscreen that you bought last Beach Umbrellasummer, but keep in mind that if you are using the appropriate amount, a bottle of sunscreen should not last very long.
  • Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands, and arms.
  • One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don’t forget that lips get sunburned, too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Sunscreens should be reapplied approximately every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called “water-resistant” sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you’ve towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
  • There are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, but it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.
  • Pick the SPF appropriate for your skin type and solar exposure. But remember that UVA protection in U.S. sunscreens maxes out at about 15, so higher SPF products will not fully protect your skin from sun damage. The American Cancer Society recommends that people use a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15, the American Academy of Dermatology opts for 30.

Have a safe weekend, everyone!

Photo credits: Fullofgrace and Paddyduke

Vans to Release Hello Kitty Kicks

First Doc Martens, and now Vans! America’s favorite bow-wearing kitty is partnering with the preeminent skate and street shoe company for a rather girly and super cool line.

The Hello Kitty-themed Vans, available in kids and adult sizes, are set to debut June 1st at select Vans and Sanrio stores.

I’m eyeing the pink patterned slip-ons for myself and can’t wait to pick up a pair of Hello Kitty baby Vans for a friend’s tiny girly girl. They’re too cute for words!

Little Fan: Beastie Boys Five Boroughs Tee

One of the many wonderful things about being a parent is introducing the things you love to your kid. On that list of things we love, so far, we’ve shared travel spots, baseball, great books, delicious foods, and of course, good music.

I’m currently loving the latest release from The Beastie Boys, so as a longtime fan with my very own budding fan, I absolutely love this boy’s Beasties Tee spotted over at Axl’s Closet. The light blue Chaser Beastie Boys Five Boroughs tee is a nod to the beloved trio’s homage to their hometown. Currently available in 2t, 4t and 6, the Chaser Beastie Boys Five Boroughs tee is $24.

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Crafts Go Green: Eco-friendly Art Supplies for Kids

Crafts are a fun family activity, and one that we love doing outside on our deck.  When we’re painting and doing messy crafts outside, the little artist’s canvas seems limitless, and thankfully, cleanup time is much easier—or so it seems.

Many of my favorite eco-friendly crafts are of the DIY variety.  The kid and I are fans of repurposing old household items and painting scraps of wood from our ongoing remodel.  Even better than recycling the medium is making your own tools.  Aside from DIY crafts, there’s a myriad of eco-friendly and kid-friendly art supplies that make craft time safe and colorful.

Here are just a few of my faves:

Glob Arts and Crafts Paints

Glob Art & Crafts Paints are botanically-based paints that also have fruity scents. These paints are colored naturally with pigments from fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices with natural food-grade ingredients. I love the Glob paints that come in packets; all you do is add water when you’re ready. Whether you and the kids are more watercolor painters or gauche painters, you add water and can determine the desired consistency. Glob also comes in Easy Shake jars, paint sets and other kits.

The color palette that’s offered is pretty basic, but after mixing and matching the paints, the spectrum of colors is seemingly endless. Glob can be used for paints, as well as for coloring DIY play dough, coloring eggs and more.


P’kolino, the makers of gorgeous modern children’s furniture and toys, also have a great line of art supplies.  Through a collaboration with Jovi, P’kolino offers kid-friendly, non-toxic art supplies that includes, Triangle crayons, fingerpaints, markers, colored pencils, dough, creative dough and poster paints.  P’kolino recently introduced their new line of art supplies which are inspired by famed Pop Artist, Romero Britto.  And a coloring book inspired by Romeo Britto?  Yes, please.  The sustainability, bold colors, combined with the modern influence of P’kolino’s products make these art supplies ones to check out.

Stubby Pencil Art Studio

Stubby Pencil Art Studio is the mecca for eco-friendly art and school supplies. This online shop has a plethora of kid crafts and a great selection of supplies that are non-toxic, recycled, fair trade, educational, sustainable or environmentally responsible. I love perusing all of the different crafts and unique supplies, many of which you’d be hard pressed to find at your local big box craft store. Of all the green crafting goodness, however, I’d have to say my personal favorites are the cupcake crayons (!) and the colored Smencils. Ideal for birthday party gifts, the colorful, hand-poured cupcake crayons come in a 4-pack and are made of soy. The Smencils are made from 100% recycled newspaper, sharpen just like wood pencils, and have delicious scents like watermelon, bubble gum and cotton candy!

Changing the World, One Flip Flop at a Time

Flip flop season is almost upon us; the time of year where many of us bare our toes and opt for the ubiquitous summertime footwear.  At our house, weather permitting, we tend to wear our flip flops from the end of April to October.

I’m such a fan of flip flops, but among our many pairs, I’ve never really considered what happens to the flip flops after we’re done with them.  Donate? Hand them down? Let them collect dust?

How about recycle?


There are a few organizations that accept old flip flops to recycle them into something else to give them a new life.  Check out what cool things that can be done with those 10 year old flip flops that have put in many, many miles.


This forward-thinking company isn’t new to recycling and upcycling.  TerraCycle is the organization behind those cool Capri Sun bags, among other functional items.  I absolutely love what they’re going to be doing with old flip flops.

TerraCycle and Old Navy are partnering in a month-long drive to collect used flip flops and recycle them into four public playgrounds around the country.  The public can stop in any Old Navy store in the U.S. between April 22-May 21 to deposit used flip flops in designated collection bins.

As such a big supporter of getting kids to play outdoors, combined with this innovative recycling effort with a major retail store, I think TerraCycle and Old Navy’s partnership to create playgrounds is simply awesome.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about the playgrounds and the neighborhoods where they’ll go.

My only wish about this program is that I’d love to be able to donate all of our old flip flops to recycle them to create playground mulch for our neighborhood.  Maybe one day?  With kids constantly outgrowing their shoes, I’m sure many families would pay good money for something like that, and truly repurposing objects that would inevitably create more waste in our landfills.

Old Navy will collect old flip flops in designated collection bins from April 22 to May 21.

UniquEco Designs

UniquEco is another innovative organization that recycles old flip flops, but has an emphasis on cultivating social liveliness in more ways than one.  UniquEco, out of Nairobi, Kenya, collects old flip flops and employs talented artisans who create unique consumer goods out of the flip flops. Check out the UniquEco shop.  The Champali bracelets and necklace are currently on my wishlist.

As trash and thousands of flip flops washed up on the shores of Africa, UniqueEco was started in part as a clean up effort, which in turn, became the organization it is today that employs local people who create amazing handmade products.  I love the significance behind UniquEco and think this is such a valiant foundation to support.

Involving kids to donate and collect old flip flops to send to UniquEco underscores the ‘recycling’ and ‘reusing’ lessons they’re taught, but also teaches kids the impact of being socially aware and responsible by contributing to a cause that also provides a sustainable livelihood to those in need.

To send your old flip flops to Uniqueco:
PO Box 15565-00503
Nairobi, Kenya

UniquEco will donate 9% of the sale price for all products sold from your footwear.

Tulle Hem Floral Sundress from 77kids

Although Spring is having a hard time making up its mind, here in my part of the east coast, I can’t help but daydream of days of sundresses and flip flops.

I’ve been eyeing quite a fun adorable Spring outfits to feature, but since I’m thinking of sundresses, how could I not spotlight this adorable frock from 77kids.

This cotton dress features a soft, floral print and has a classic feminine silhouette, paired with spaghetti straps.  The peek-a-boo pink tulle gives this dress a splash of color and a little more flair.  This tulle hem floral sundress comes in sizes 5-14, perfect for  fashionable tweens.

For those of you on the market for updating the kids’ spring/summer wardrobe, make sure you check out this coupon for 20% off at 77kids.  The coupon can be used in stores or online, and expires on 4/24.

Cooking With Kids Video Series Debuts

Michelle Obama initiated a movement when she started her Let’s Move campaign to emphasize the importance of combating childhood obesity.  Jaime Oliver embraced this same movement in his own way with Food Revolution, where he’s gone on to raise awareness of how skewed the food “system” has become and educate families about eating better.

Because I’ve become so interested in food and how it pertains to our kids, I’m always impressed when a company I already admire joins this movement.  In line with getting kids to make healthier decisions, Weight Watchers, perhaps the favorite weight management program among my friends, has launched their “Cooking with Kids Web Video Series.

The Cooking with Kids video series, featured on Weight Watcher’s site, aims to bring to life “teachable moments to help kids value fresh and healthy foods to instill good eating habits at an early age.”  Through this video series, Weight Watchers hopes to take kids beyond the kitchen to discuss topics like where the food is harvested, the culture behind the food and the difference between fresh food and processed. And as we’ve seen from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it’s clear that these are topics that many kids don’t know about.

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Burt’s Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion Touts New Formula

Natural skin care and beauty care brand, Burt’s Bees, recently rolled out new versions of their popular Baby Bee Nourishing Lotions. The Original, Lavender and Fragrance Free formulas are pediatrician-tested, 99% natural and hypoallergenic.

In addition to being paraben-, phthalate- and petrochemical-free, part of the “new and improved”  equation is that the fragrances in the Baby Bee Nourishing Lotions are also 100% natural.

I like the thick, but non-greasy consistency of the Fragrance Free Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion. The combination of aloe, shea butter and other ingredients create a gentle moisturizer for the tiniest babies, but are just as effective for rough and tumble kids, such as my own. This is my new go-to baby lotion, and one that’s worth checking out.

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Quick Review: Vordak the Incomprehensible

One new book that I’m currently loving is Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow Up and Rule the World.  Geared to tween-aged boys, Vordak hilariously highlights the most important How-Tos on becoming a supreme Supervillain.

In this 197-page tongue-and-cheek manual, Vordak speaks to his minions on important topics like perfecting the supervillain laugh (MUHAHAHA!), choosing the lair that’s right for you and how to spot your arch-nemesis.  Vordak is a funny read with brilliant graphics that channel the same sort of hijinx that one would find in a Phineas and Ferb episode.