Kids

Back to School: Sustainable Clothing

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Here we go… finally part 2 to my back to school posts. I apologize for the delay. Things have been busy and crazy to say the least with a cross-country move and two vacations in 3 weeks. We finally got all of our furniture and boxes back into our house in Houston. Boy does it feel good to be home and settled! We broke up our time in Houston during the month of August with two trips to California: one to Lake Tahoe with the kids and one to Los Angeles just me and my husband. David didn’t start work until September so we took advantage of his rare time off and escaped the Houston heat while we could.

School has finally started for all of our Kids. I am so looking forward to the fall and the fun festivities (and clothing styles) that accompany it.

WHAT YOU BUY MATTERS The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world. It uses more water than any other, apart from agriculture, and is responsible for the unfair working conditions of millions of people. With that knowledge, what I look for in sustainable clothing brands are organic materials (nothing plastic-based), ethical production and superior quality. When shopping, I try and first find things second hand via Facebook groups, Poshmark, or local resell shops. I have also found some super cute brands that prioritize sustainability. Take a look at some of my favorite sustainable children’s clothing lines!

Art & Eden

Art & Eden clothing is made with sustainable fabrics - organic cotton and up-cycled or recycled polyester that is certified by Global Organic Textile Standard. They use low impact dyes and recycled, up-cycled or biodegradable packaging. They strive for a cradle to cradle operation, where what they make can be re-used, recycled or can decompose. Read more about their sustainability here

Soor Ploom

Soory Ploom consciously makes an effort to reduce their ecological footprint in everything they do. Their fabrics are dyed using low-impact dyes. Their garments come bulk packaged from their factories. Shipping materials are 100% paper and recyclable, they also recycle their unused fabric scraps with FabScrap. They strive to cultivate an appreciate for quality over quantity, live in a world where less is more, and teach our children that slow fashion is more sustainable.

Bobo Choses

Bobo Choses believes that at a time when environmental protection is no longer an option, but rather the key to our future, sharing this commitment with our children becomes an obligation. They are a Spanish brand that replaces conventional materials with sustainable ones like organic cotton and recycled polyester… plus its super cute!! Read more about their sustainability here

Mini Rodini

Mini Rodini is born and raised with the vision to make clothes that children love to wear, without compromising social and environmental aspects of the production. Mini Rodini carries one of the most sustainable ranges on the market – their collections include over 99 % products made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Modal®. They also have a selection of upcycled products where they reuse leftover fabric from earlier collections. Read more about their sustainability here

Thanks for checking this out! I am excited for Fall and hopefully some cooler weather soon!

Amy


Other Sustainable Stores & Sites I Love

Mabo

Misha & Puff

Millk

Patagonia

Vivo Barefoot

Back To School: Sustainable Accessories

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It is hard to believe that the time to start planning for our kids to go back to school is here. Along with the school-required shopping list, a lot of us are also thinking about what lunch box, backpack, snack containers, water bottles, and clothing items will be best for our kids’ return to school.

While using what you already have is the first priority, we are always researching the most sustainable options out there for purchase. To cut down on the length of the post, we are doing back-to-school as a multi-part series. Here, we are focusing on backpacks and lunchboxes and have rounded up our favorites here!

Backpacks

Fjall Raven

With the Swedish mantra in mind, “Straight backs are happy backs,” Fjällräven created the first Kånken in 1978 to spare the backs of school children, as back problems had begun to appear in increasingly younger age groups. Fjall Raven also considers sustainability from its design and materials to its production. These bags are intended to stand the test of time. Their designs are simple but come in a wide variety of colors. I made the mistake of asking Wil which color he wanted, so he might be sporting a black backpack this year (sigh!). I am hoping that adding a few colorful patches will liven it up!

*They are currently having issues with counterfeit bags so only purchase through their website or a certified retailer (a list of these is available on their website).

SHOP FJALL RAVEN KANKEN BACKPACKS HERE

Parkland

Parkland has the cutest, most vibrant prints! They carry many different sizes of backpacks, lunch sacks and even fanny packs! The exterior fabric of all Parkland products is made from 100% recycled water bottles. The vegan leather diamonds on their bags are made from apples. The recycled polyester they use is supplied by a partner in Shanghai, China, who is a global leader in producing recycled fabric. They are committed to ensuring our factories follow international standards regarding labor, wages and safety practices. They believe in being very hands-on with our manufacturing process and work very closely with our factories.

SHOP PARKLAND HERE

Lunch Boxes

For lunchboxes, the most sustainable options are ones that have promote the least amount of packaging inside. Here are a few of our favorite reusable snack bins, lunch boxes and bento boxes… all fabulously green options!

Planet Box

We love PlanetBox for our kids because of their simplicity for both the kids and for Mama (the one who packs lunch). With three kids, its so nice to already have the containers built into the lunchbox so I don’t have to worry about what is washed and what isn’t. As a former preschool teacher, I can also attest to it being nice to open only one item versus multiple containers or snack packages. Don’t even get me started on Gogurt Packs or those Danimals drinks that would both inevitably spill all over my hands (or even my clothes) when helping the students with their lunches!

We decided to get the Rover version for its many compartments but they also have two other sizes depending on what your child prefers. They are all very durable and dishwasher safe! I purchased the accompanying lunchbox to solve the problems of where I would put the silverware, napkin and drink! They have so many cute options!

SHOP PLANETBOX HERE

ECOlunchbox

Another favorite! The lunch bins are probably better for older kids lunches but the snack bins are perfect for any kid or adult’s snack time. If I packed a lunch, it would be in one of these since I am not going to carry a lunchbox around, and it would fit nicely in a purse or backpack. I often carry one of these out to dinner for takeout!

SHOP ECOLUNCHBOX HERE

Getting ready to go back to school is such an exciting time. I miss the routine that school provides as a parent and seeing my child meet new friends and learn new things warms my heart. This year, I am especially excited since we will be returning home to Houston from a year away in North Carolina. The kids will meet the children they will become lifelong friends with! My husband grew up in Houston and we still regularly hang out with the friends he met in preschool and elementary school!

Happy Back to School!

x, Amy

Potty Training: a waste-reducing milestone

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This year we have saved 339 pounds of food scraps from entering landfills by composting with CompostNow,  changed our purchasing habits to avoid most plastic packaging and started recycling what plastic we do accumulate through TerraCycle. But with 20 billion disposable diapers dumped into landfills each year (EPA), accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste, we might have accomplished our most waste-free change yet… potty training our 2.5 year old! 

Potty training is no easy feat, so following someone’s sage advice is wise. When I potty trained our oldest, I devoured Brandi Bruck’s book, Potty Training in 3 Days and followed her method to a tee. I had my in laws take Joseph for the weekend so I could give my full attention to Wil. We packed up our diapers to say goodbye and didn’t watch television or any screens for three days. I made the perfect potty chart for him (see below) with presents purchased for every eight stickers on his chart, and we gave him a treat for every time he went pee pee or poo poo. It was very organized and worked perfectly. He was potty trained in 3 days. 

Wil with his potty training chart when he was 2.5 years old.

Wil with his potty training chart when he was 2.5 years old.

I’m embarrassed how low-grade this looks compared to Wil’s. Like I said, this was last minute!

I’m embarrassed how low-grade this looks compared to Wil’s. Like I said, this was last minute!

Poor middle-child Joseph did not get the same treatment. I decided day of to start the training while our nanny was on vacation. It was me, Joseph, Isabel, and Wil in the house in the middle of the hot North Carolina summer. We were probably going to be inside all day anyways, so I was determined to accomplish something useful. I used Bruck’s method in my own revised, realistic way, and with what I already had in the house. I ripped out a sheet of paper from “The Secret Life of Pets 2” coloring book to use as his potty chart (it also had stickers in it). I threw some underwear on him with a short shirt. You want a short shirt so you can easily see if they start peeing. We already had the Baby Bjorn seat insert and Baby Bjorn step stool, so I took him to the bathroom and showed him how to pull down his pants, sit, and go potty on the toilet. 

We modified Bucks’ rules of potty training and allowed him to watch TV (Mama was in survival mode)!

We modified Bucks’ rules of potty training and allowed him to watch TV (Mama was in survival mode)!

I told him Thomas on the underwear he was wearing did not want to get wet. I also said, “Let me know when you need to go pee pee or poo poo and then you can get a treat and sticker” about a hundred times the first day. Brucks recommends giving one treat for pee and two treats for poop and a sticker on the chart for every time the child successfully gets something in the toilet. He got really excited about getting so many treats and stickers so  he was regularly going in the toilet when he was thinking about it, but he also had many accidents ( especially poop accidents). Because I was alone with all three kids all day, I ended up letting him watch a lot of TV for my own survival (seen in pic). I think that slowed down his initial training because he would get distracted by the screen. The first days were MESSY, but finally by the fourth day he really started to get it and would go on his own without me asking. He was even successful on our first outing to a birthday party (seen below). Bucks recommends not going on any outings until at least 3 days into potty training.

First outing post potty training. A birthday party at a local farm.

First outing post potty training. A birthday party at a local farm.

It’s fun to see your child’s personality come out during the potty training process. Joseph is a very exuberant, determined, and independent little boy. He now refuses to have me help him in the bathroom and says, “NO, me!” and closes the door when I try to help. After he goes I can always hear him applaud himself with a “Yay!”. I am so proud of him and know that he feels proud of himself. Because I decided last minute to do the potty training, I wasn’t prepared with toys for every eight times he successfully went potty. I think this was fine because he remained excited enough about the stickers and treats. I had told him when he filled the coloring page full of stickers, then he would get a new toy. We chose a fire station by Green Toys that he LOVED, and knew he got because of his hard work!

Joseph and Isabel playing with his new fire station.

Joseph and Isabel playing with his new fire station.

Two down… now only one to go (maybe in a year or so!).

our Potty training essentials


I am no expert, but please comment if you have any questions about potty training!

x,

Amy