Bamdino Plates and Bambu Utensils Make Picnics Greener

One of the best parts of spring and summer is the joy that is eating outdoors.  In fact, tomorrow celebrates just that!  June 18th marks national picnic day.

With keeping sustainability in mind, paper plates and plastic forks and spoons have gone by the wayside for many families.  So, besides using reusable picnic gear, what’s a family to do?

Go the bamboo route.








Yes, bamboo!

Bamboo, well known for its ability to grow quickly and decompose just as fast, has become one of the most sustainable materials out there…and that goes for kid plates and utensils.  As much as I dislike the idea of disposable gear, sometimes, for the picnic or beach, there’s no way of getting around it.

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Pack This: Laptop Lunches

Always a fan of promoting healthier eating choices, I spotted Laptop Lunches, these fun lunch containers over on today’s Eco Baby Buys.

I was recently asked to review the toys from the latest happy meal, and as much as my kid is obsessed with the show that said toys are promoting, I had to decline the review opportunity.  I appreciate convenience as much as the next person, especially when we’re traveling, but as we all know, fast food isn’t always the best choice. With the unlimited selection and creative possibilities of packing fun and healthy meals, I think Bento Boxes are the new happy meal.

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Kid Kanteens Come in Fun New Colors

Looks like Spring made its return today.  Like many of you, we are big on the outdoors and taking adventures.  As we spend more time outside in the warm weather we often find ourselves drinking so much water.  And because of that, I love having so many reusable water bottles onhand.

Kleen Kanteen, a brand that I know many of you already know and love, offers a great line of Kid Kanteens.  What sets Kleen Kanteen apart from the usual water bottles is that they have special adapter that works with Avent’s sippy cup spout. It’s BPA-free polypropylene and works with the 12oz Klean Kanteen Classic bottle.  Kleen Kanteen recently added new colors to their Kid Kanteen lineup, including Prevention Purple, Solar Yellow and Reef Blue.

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Mishi Design Offers Transformable Wooden Toys

The kid and I were recently at a friend’s house for a playdate, and because it’s been so warm, all the kids hopped on various ride-on toys and were even pushing around their wagons and play shopping carts. And that’s when I was reminded of a really cool line of wooden ride-on/push toys that I saw at Toy Fair.


With their wooden construction and unique design, the toys by Mishi Design are both head-turning and intriguing. Mishi Design Toys are transformable ride on and push toys, meaning they’re multi-faceted and are multiple toys in one. Think of them as wooden transformers, with a bit of European edge and many sustainable qualities.

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Makedo Makes for Crafty Construction

Earth Day has come and gone, but hopefully, the important lessons from the day continue to linger in your home, as I hope it will in ours, too.

There are so many fun and fabulous green toys on the market, especially now that the eco-friendly segment continues to grow as parents become increasingly more aware.  But one concept of green toys I hope to see more of, are upcycled toys such as Makedo.

Makedo robot


Makedo, a concept that I learned about at Toy Fair, is a connector system that enables materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures.

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Pass the Corn-Fork, Please

Happy Earth Day, everyone!  Many of us do our best to live greener and wiser, especially for our children’s benefit.  Aside from the ever-so-important 3Rs–Reduce, Reuse and Recycle–there are a host of ways families can help Planet Earth.

Year round, I try to feature sustainable products that would complement our lives, but for Earth Day, I thought I’d showcase some innovative green and eco-friendly items that I’ve dogeared just for this week.

Dandelion In line with our family starting a new chapter in the suburbs, we’re implementing quite a few sustainable changes to our everyday way of life.  The kitchen and the way we eat has been an ongoing process, but specifically, I’m hoping to phase out plastics in the kitchen as much as possible.

The kid’s tableware and cups have taken over their own shelf.  I just noticed that more than half of the plates, cups, forks and spoons are plastic, which concerns me.  They’re likely full of pthalates and other elements that we just need to avoid all together.


When I was at Toy Fair, I fell in love with Dandeloin products, including their Natural Tableware Products.


These bright yellow forks, spoons and knives stand out among the crowd of plastic kiddie-sized cutlery.  Dandelion’s line of tableware are constructed of corn—as in, on- the-cob.


That’s right…corn.

I like corn as much as the next person, but I’m not a fan of all the food that’s being processed and engineered with corn.

Dandelion ReUsables tableware thrusts the use of corn into a new light.  According to the company, Reducing our dependency on both petroleum-based plastics and disposable ware in general, is an essential step toward a healthier future for our families and our environment.

Dandelion uses a unique corn (PLA) formula. Unlike conventional plastic, which is largely made from petroleum, our bioplastic is primarily made from corn! Polylactic acid (PLA) requires significantly less fossil resources, and generates far fewer green house gases than conventional plastic. And corn is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Dandelion ReUsables is sustainability at its best.  Before grabbing a package of those convenient plastic kiddie forks and spoons, consider all the resources it took to get them on the shelf.  Dandelion ReUsables is a fantastic alternative to the conventional options out there.  When we move, I hope to replenish our tableware supply and minimize the usage of plastic by going the corn route.


In addition to forks, knives and spoons, Dandelion also has bowls, plates and soon, sippy cups.  Dandelion ReUsables can be found online and I even saw a link to them at Kmart online.  They range in price, but it looks like they are in the $6-10 pricepoint.

Sesame Street Introduces New Gardening Line

Last year, Michelle Obama visited Sesame Street to tout the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Later in the year, the First Lady cultivated her own organic garden at the White House to further emphasize the value of healthy eating and gardening.

Since then, announcing her Let’s Move campaign, which focuses on combatting childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama has made it her mission to educate families and kids about making healthy choices, including cultivating your own seeds—figuratively and literally.

Mrs. Obama's Garden

So, when Sesame Street, together with Ferry Morse, introduced their new line of gardening products geared to kids, the marketplace area at the Annual Easter Egg Roll was an impeccably-timed venue to help even more kids learn about gardening first hand.  The kid and I had a fun time learning how to plant watermelon seeds, or um, excuse me—wataaaahmelons.

Jack learning how to plant seeds

The Muppets of Sesame Street can be seen on packets of watermelon, pepper, sunflower, pumpkin, garden beans and tomato seeds, for parents and children to plant together.  The new product line also features Sesame Street-themed gardening totes complete with an activity booklet, seeds, tools, labeling stakes and stickers, a mini garden kit and a mini greenhouse with recipe card.


Sesame Street’s new gardening line is a perfect way to encourage kids to be green while going green.  As part of Sesame Street’s My World is Green and Growing initiative designed to support children’s innate curiosity about nature, each product includes educational materials that teach children how fruits and vegetables begin with seeds and grow to become food for the table.  Additionally, it compliments Sesame Street’s ongoing Healthy Habits for Life initiative, helping children develop healthy lifestyles they can practice forever through fun and simple every day activities.  Materials include a booklet with activities for children, planting tips for parents and healthy recipes parents and children can make and enjoy together.  The following items are available now:

  • Seed Packets – $1.99
  • My First Mini Greenhouse – $4.99
  • My First Mini Garden – $5.99
  • My First Gardening Kit (tote) – $10.99

“Research shows that introducing young children to the natural world is the first step towards helping them develop a caring attitude towards the environment,” said Maura Regan, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Licensing states.

Be sure to head to Lowe’s to grab a few gardening items for the kids. I found them at the back of the store, close to the garden center.  Though I wasn’t too impressed with the plastic Sesame Street gardening tools (though, they’d be perfect for the littlest gardeners), the kits do look cool.  Even if you don’t pick up the tote or kits, the seed packets are reasonably priced at $1.99. We’ve got some peppers, sunflowers and green beans to plant!  Let’s hope they fare better than our watermelon seeds which didn’t make it back from DC in tact!


BabyBjorn Debuts Organic Line

With Earth Week just upon us, BabyBjörn’s new offerings are a perfect segue to next week’s eco-friendly and sustainable goodies, gadgets and gear.

Last September, BabyBjörn went a little greener:  three of its most popular products are now being offered in organically grown cotton, including the BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Original Organic in Walnut (below left) and the BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Active Organic (last one) and BabyBjÖrn Babysitter Balance Organic in Walnut/Khaki (below right).

Organic cotton is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and from plants which are not genetically modified. BabyBjörn’s Organic textiles meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).  In addition, all fabrics that come into contact with baby’s skin are Class-1 Oeko-Tex certified, which means that they are absolutely safe and free from harmful substances.


In the baby days, I couldn’t have survived without our BabyBjörn Carrier Active. Not only are carriers wonderful for bonding, but when running errands, traveling or using public transportation, it was nice to have baby close and still have both hands to maneuver.  For busy parents who are on the go, the Bjorn is a product to consider.

The main caveat I had with our BabyBjorn, was after our kid hit 8 months, it was difficult to wear him because he was so heavy.  He was always in the 100 percentile, so after a certain weight, babywearing was tough with our particular carrier.  I’ll have to check out the new carrier with more backsupport for our next kid.  Also, I had to “settle” for our blue carrier, but if we had the option 2 years ago, I would have much rather gone the organic and natural colored route.  If the organic option’s there and you can afford it, then why not?


BabyBjörn’s Organic Line is now available in department and juvenile specialty stores throughout the United States and Canada.  In addition to the Organic Line, BabyBjörn will be introducing the Comfort Carrier, which is set to launch in May.


alma by bloom Combines Style and Function

Welcome to Baby Week on NKT, everyone!  This week, I will be focusing on the latest and greatest on baby gear.  Stay tuned for my picks for the most notable baby items for modern families.

Outfitting small spaces often demands creativity while combining functionality, especially when babies are added to the mix. But just because a space is small, doesn’t mean you have to forget style.

Cribs, perhaps one of the most pertinent elements of baby’s nursery, monopolize a lot of space.  In some cases, families don’t have the space for a full-sized crib, or perhaps, have the need for a secondary crib.  Earlier this year, bloom debuted its alma crib, a compact, modern, stylish, yet functional solution for space-strived families.

The alma, which comes in a palette of vibrant colors and touts clean, straight lines, needs no assembly, as it opens and collapses with ease.  Described to be as wide as a standard dresser, the Alma is small enough (37x20x33″) to be used an an alternative for co-sleepers, bassinets, mini-cribs or even pack-and-plays.  After use, the Alma can be closed and stored to maximize space.

The alma, like other bloom products complies with all CPSIA requirements, and is a sustainable option for baby gear. According to bloom, alma is crafted from solid birch wood from certified sustainable wood forests. The wood is independently tested to be free of wood PCP and other toxic wood preservatives. The finishes and bedding textiles are lead free, phthalate free, PVC free, heavy metal free, and AZO dye free.  For me, sustainability is a huge selling point.

I love that bloom was founded by four dads who sought to bring contemporary design and intelligent innovation to a range of baby products. bloom’s simple, clean, but innovative products are head-turners and among some of my favorite high-end baby gear.

Just like many urban dwelling families, we know the lack of space predicament quite well.  It might be shocking to those who aren’t used to it, but we’ve managed to coexist in our 1br railroad apartment just fine, thanks to intuitive baby gear and furniture that gives us room to breathe.  Before we opted for our Stokke Sleepi, we were leaning towards investing in a mini-crib for our closet nursery.  We were disappointed at the lack of options for durable, safe and modern mini cribs.  Had the alma been out a few years ago, we could have totally gone this route.  I love the idea of being able to store the crib when it’s not in use, yet not having to sacrifice modern design for function and convenience.  I’ve always been a big fan of bloom products, but somewhat deterred by the price tags.  Though the alma wouldn’t have lasted for us as long since we have a taller kid, this crib is certainly a viable solution for families who crave space, portability and sleek designs.

The alma can be found at retailers such as giggle and retails for $400.  By the way, I love giggle’s Q&A feature on their site.  Great consumer interaction!

The mattress and bedding are all sold separately, and can also be found at giggle.


Mama Likey: Method Laundry Detergent

I typically review and talk about kid products and services, but I thought I’d start something new. I thought I’d overlap Mama Likey over here on NKT and feature products that might not be geared TO kids, but are still used FOR kids or, in essence, products that make our jobs as parents easier.

So, with that, I’ve got laundry on the brain today. With Spring in full bloom, we’re finding ourselves outside for hours at a time usually playing in dirt, getting sweaty and adding to the laundry piles. And I mean PILES.

Because we’re still city dwellers, at least for another few weeks, doing the laundry at the laundromat continues to be quite the chore. Gather, lug, schlep it a few blocks, unload, wait…and wait… It’s such a tedious process, to say the least.

And so, when a new laundry product designed to streamline this process makes its way onto the market, I’m usually the first in line to try it out. In this case, a few months ago, the husband* brought home a smallish, slender bottle not too long ago. The packaging, itself, was eye-catching because of the sleek modern design.

The cool bottle was none other than Method Laundry in Fresh Air.


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