June 19, 2012

Clif Kid ZBar Baked Organic Whole Grains Energy Snack: Iced Oatmeal Cookie

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Kids need snacks. Kids like sweets. Combining whole grains with 12 vitamins and minerals kids need into an energy bar is a great way to meet nutritional demands and sweet cravings.

Clif Kid ZBar comes in many flavors. We were sent the Iced Oatmeal Cookie to try:

Ingredients: Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Fig Paste, Organic Soy White Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Flour, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic White Coating (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract), Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Milled Flaxseed, Natural Flavors, Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Organic Cinnamon.

Lots of goodness in these 95% organic bars. Of course, there is no high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, or artificial anything. You can feel good about giving your kids (or yourself) these snacks.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 31, 2012

Jason Natural Cosmetics Kids Only!: NOT All Natural, NOT "Extra Gentle"

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We've reviewed Jasons Natural Cosmetics before, and I always approach the brand with some trepidation after developing a scalp condition from Jason shampoo. I cannot say for sure the product was the cause, but I have avoided it ever since. That being said, I try to approach any review with an open mind.

We were sent three products from Jason's Kids Only! line. As always, I refer to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) hazard scores for safety. All of these products are free of:


  • Paraben

  • Sulfate

  • Wheat and Gluten

  • Phthalate

  • Fluoride

  • Glycol

  • Mineral Oil

  • Lanolin

  • Petrolatum Free


Jason Natural Cosmetics - Kids Only Orange Toothpaste
EWG hazard score: 2 out of 10
This product is not all natural, as advertised. It contains the synthetic surfactant Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate .

Jason Kids Only Extra Gentle Duo Set Shampoo & Conditioner
EWG hazard score: 5 out of 10
The biggest concern is the fragrance used in these products, which has a hazard score of eight. It is somewhat ironic that a product marketed as "extra gentle" would have such a moderate score. Plus, these products contain the know carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane.

I used to use Jason products because they are the most affordable, but since I have done research, I feel they mislead consumers with marketing terms like "pure", "natural", and "organic".

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 28, 2012

Zoo-Wallogy Wall POPS! Oh no! They are Toxic Vinyl!

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Decorating your child's room can be a fun adventure, but it also can be toxic. One of the biggest clues for me on toxicity is odor. Wall-Pops is made of very stinky vinyl, sure to give me a headache.

We were sent two Wall POPS! to try from the Zoo-Wallogy collection: Ozzie and Fundango Tree

Step into the wild with ZooWallogy by Wall Pops. ZooWallogy is all about ginormous animals in bright colors and oh so funky vintage retro prints. Even better ZooWallogy is so easy to use. Just peel and stick and you're on your way to creating an amazing safari adventure or a fabulous farm scene in minutes for just about any room in the home.

These vinyl stickers outgas so much! I would never use them in my home, let alone my child's room!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 27, 2012

Green Teens: 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment

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The preteen and teenage years can difficult ones both socially and emotionally. It was during this time of my own life that my environmental senses awakened. I felt at times both desperation and motivation to do something towards changing the pollution and environmental degradation I was learning about, yet the task seemed so large for one child.

47 Things You Can Do for the Environment by Lexi Petronis was written with teens in mind:

There's no doubt about it, our environment is in crisis. Everywhere you go, people are talking about it: how the earth is warming up as a result of too much carbon dioxide in the air and too few trees left to absorb it, how oil-drilling is ruining natural habitats, how trash is overflowing into our waterways, and how chemicals used in various products are making people and wildlife sick. Ugh.

You know the planet is in trouble. The question is: What can you do about it? Go out and buy a brand new $30,000 hybrid car? Persuade all of the health clubs in your town to install low-flow showerheads and toilets? Revamp your entire house to operate on solar heat? Come on -- you know better than anyone that this kind of stuff is hardly a reality for most high school kids. But what's the point of mulling over what you can't do, when there is so much that you can do?

You don't have to run out tomorrow and build a car that runs on vegetable oil, or ship out to South America to save the rain forests. You just have to get informed and start making small changes, one at a time. Decisions to shop, drive, and even party differently can have a huge and positive impact on the health of the earth. That's what 47 Things is about.

In this book, you'll find tons of real things that teens can do to make a difference. Some things are as easy as eating less meat, planning a green date, or learning to shop vintage. Others are more involved, like hosting a green film festival for friends, creating an environmental task force at school, or going on an eco-adventure to gain a deeper love and appreciation for this beautiful spinning rock we call home.

Why teens? you might ask. The answer is simple. You're strong, creative, and motivated. You're doers and dreamers. And you're also the ones who will inherit the planet. If change is going to happen, it has to start with you.

I like the ideas presented in this book, such as carpooling, which teenagers are already pretty good at, and shopping for vintage clothes. I got really into thrifting when I was in high school, and it is a great way to find unique pieces while saving the environment.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2012

Snoozies! Foot Coverings Super Soft Polyester, But NOT Really Natural

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Snoozies Footie Slippers are super soft and cozy, but unfortunately, this is another one of those incidents where a PR company sends a product that is not a good fit for this blog.

In each response I send to companies, I clearly state: "All products will be evaluated based upon their eco-friendly and natural properties."

Although Snoozies comes in cute patterns and are soft, they are made from 100% polyester. Green Choices explains why synthetic fabrics are not good for the environment or workers:

Nylon and polyester

Made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are non-biodegradable as well, so they are inherently unsustainable on two counts. Nylon manufacture creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Making polyester uses large amounts of water for cooling, along with lubricants which can become a source of contamination. Both processes are also very energy-hungry.


If this doesn't both you, than you might enjoy Snoozies:

Snoozies are not socks and they're not slippers - sort of a crossover between the two and that's why we call them "foot coverings"! They are made with a brushed fleece exterior in colorful and fun printed patterns and then lined with a soft Sherpa fleece inside. Soft, comfy, warm and just simply adorable - the newest foot coverings for your feet! Each pair has a non skid sole so you can feel safe wearing them on wood or tile floors. Keeps feet warm even on the coldest of days. They also work in warm climates where air conditioning keeps floors cold. Fully machine washable and won't shrink! Snoozies make great gifts and "me too" purchases.

Wool slippers may be a greener choice for keeping your toes toasty, especially if undyed.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 21, 2012

All Natura, Sulfate Free Monkey Balm with Organic Sea Buckthorn Oils

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It must be sea buckthorn oil week at Really Natural! On Monday, we reviewed Sibu beauty products made with sea buckthorn. Today, we review a product designed for children with this amazing oil.

Balmers Monkey Balm is designed for "baby soft skin for your monkeys".

Monkey Balm is a 100% homemade, all-natural remedy for eczema and extremely dry skin and is formulated specifically for children and infants. This formula includes all-natural ingredients and features the amazing healing power of the sea buckthorn berry. Sea Buckthorn (seed and fruit) oil is time-tested and clinically proven to soothe irritation and heal dry, cracked, even abrasive skin resulting from eczema, rosacea, dry climates, seasonal changes, sunburn, rashes, and even minor burns and wounds. Sea buckthorn has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe to heal skin problems and is considered a Holy Fruit by ancient and modern Tibetans. Its been recommended by doctors (even Dr Oz) as the best natural cure for acne. Monkey Balm incorporates these oils from the sea buckthorn berry with other soothing botanicals like cocoa butter, and Vitamin E to create a truly remarkable product in an easy-to-use use 2.0 oz lotion-bar, kind of like a super-sized lip balm for your whole body.

I do like the bar applicator, as my son has sensory issues and does not like lotions. He does not mind stick applicators for sunscreen, and this is very similar. I also trust this product as 100% natural. It's great for grown-ups too!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 12, 2012

How to Find if a Product's Natural Claims are True: No "Harsh" Chemicals?

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I have become a little more vigilant after reading last week's report on products, including green ones, with hidden toxic chemicals in their ingredients. I try to read labels diligently when writing product reviews, but frankly, it is hard to stay on top of all claims of natural and chemical-free.

Le Baby Detangler makes such claims that I find suspicious.

  • Le Baby Detangler gently detangles hair spray on wet or dry
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No harsh chemicals
  • No parabens
  • No sulfates
  • Not tested on animals
  • Fragrance-free
  • Natural scented botanicals
  • Does not irritate skin with it's easy on the hair ingredients
Thankfully, they do disclose ingredients:
Ingredients: water (aqua), citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) flower essential water, polyquaternium-7, glycerin, polysorbate 20, aloe, barbadensis leaf, polyquaternium-10, 1,2-hexanediol, sodium benzoate, tocopheryl acetate, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, peg-8 dimethicone, disodium edta, potassium sorbate, caprylyl glycol
Whenever I can't read an ingredient that includes numbers and dashes, etc., I suspect chemical compounds.
 

Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Groups cosmetic database, is my go to resource for looking up products. If the products, such as the LeBaby one, has not been reviewed, I look at some of the ingredients.

For example, I don't know what peg-8 dimethicone is, and it doesn't sound good. EWG gave it a hazard score between three and six.

About PEG-8 DIMETHICONE: PEG-8 Dimethicone is a polyethylene glycol derivative of Dimethicone (q.v.) containing anaverage of 8 moles of ethylene oxide.
USE RESTRICTIONS
type of concern
Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin

Those hazard scores are not terrible, but it is still a chemical.

Nowhere on the LeBaby label does it warn not to use on "injured or damaged skin". In fact, it says, "for babies, kids and everyone with sensitive skin".

We have previously reviewed LeBaby's Chemical-Free, Fragrance-Free Hair Gel for Babies and Kids raising similar ingredient concerns and claims of chemical-free.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2012

Made in China or Made in the USA? Point6 Kid's Merino Wool Hiking Socks

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Long ago, I realized my kids deserved quality socks during the winter months and for outdoor activities. Cheap socks don't last and lose their shape.  Good socks last and can be paced down to younger siblings.

Point6 makes nice socks for kids and adults

THE HIKING TECH MEDIUM CREW SOCK offers extra cushioning on the instep and around the leg to protect against pressure points from heavier footwear. The cozy wool cushioning next to the skin insulates the foot from hot spots and blisters. Kids who enjoy day-long hikes, climbing tall trees, and playing til the sun goes down would be wise to choose this sock.
66% merino wool, 31% nylon, 3% spandex.

There's no question these sock are of high quality, but what confuses me is where are they made?

Point6 is out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and their website says the socks are made in the USA. The sticker on the actual socks say made in China.  Which is it?

Point6 is a member of 1% for the Planet.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 7, 2012

Iglu: A Young Adult Fiction Book on Climate Change

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What happens when the rising sea envelopes Native Alaskan land and millions have relocated to the Last Frontier due to global warming? This is the setting of a fictional book written by Jacob Sackin for young adults.

Iglu is the story of native Inupiaq people who are mislabeled as terrorists for fighting for cultural survival.

But when the Iñupiaq people rise up to fight for the survival of their culture, the private army Skyhawk is brought in to subdue the growing insurgency and the Iñupiaq rebels are labeled as terrorists. Separated from her family in the aftermath of the ensuing battle, fourteen-year-old April Ipalook desperately searches for a place of refuge amidst the war zone of northern Alaska.

IGLU has a strong young female protagonist and will appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction and action stories.

I have not read the book cover to cover, and I will update this post after I have read the book in entirety.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 29, 2012

Perfect for Homeschool, Homework, or the Classroom: Kleenslate Dry Erase Paddles and Markers

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As an educator, I like using dry erase boards. They save on paper, and children think it is fun to hold up their answers.

KLEENSLATE CONCEPTS LLC. PADDLES KWIK CHEK II CLASSROOM KIT 12/SET makes it easy to incorporate this fun technique into your home or classroom.

Teachers and trainers find this award winning two-sided dry erase paddle "engaging, easy to clean and store, and great for active learning". It's lightweight and perfect in size for both young students and adults. Packaged with markers and erasers for "out of the box" convenience and comes in its own storage box. - The Kwik Chek™ II is an award-winning All-in-One hand-held white board and dry erase marker / eraser combination. - EZ pen storage-Right in the handle! - Clean up stubborn marks with water, few drops of dish soap and a soft cloth - Support a wide variety of interactive and fun learning applications and - receive quick and effective assessments - Saves paper - No grading - Affordable - Reusable

Each Kwik Chek™ Classroom Set comes in its own storage box complete with 12 hand-held white boards, 12 Low Odor/Non Toxic KleenSlate dry-erase markers with KleenSlate attachable Erasers.

I like how some of these patterns have grids and some have lines. This is helpful for math and writing.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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