12 no-bake, vegan desserts your family will love on hot summer days

05/27/16   filed under: baking, food, healthy recipe, kid friendly, recipe, snack, vegetarian

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Eating a lot of fruit during pregnancy may result in having a smarter baby

05/27/16   filed under: food, green maternity, health & body, kids health, parenting

pregnancy, pregnancy diet, health, fruit

Most of us tell our kids to eat lots of fresh fruit to get strong, healthy, and smart. According to a new study, we should be taking that advice ourselves while pregnant. A study published in EBioMedicine showed that eating fruit while pregnant was linked with children’s improved cognitive performance on tests and the more fruit, the better. The study, which included over 800 children in Canada, monitored how much fruit their mothers ate while pregnant, and then performed a development test on their one year-old child. For every portion of fruit eaten per day, test results improved by an average of 2.38%.  Pregnant moms who ate six or seven servings of fruit or fruit juice a day had children who had six or seven IQ points higher than typical. In order to rule out certain variables, the researchers compared these results to those of pregnant fruit flies and their offspring. While that comparison sounds a little suspicious, fruit flies and humans actually have 85% of the same genes involved in human brain function. As a side note, we would have loved to be there when the fruit flies were being tested for memory and brain function. The amount of fruit consumed by the kids themselves did not result in any differences in test scores.

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Mom builds serene and airy tiny home for her family of four and their Great Dane

05/27/16   filed under: green design, green family

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Daycare centers in Helsinki will offer vegan meal options during one-year food trial

05/26/16   filed under: food, kid friendly, kids health, news, parenting, vegan cooking

vegan, vegan preschool, vegan daycare, vegan options, food, diet, vegan diet, vegan lifestyle, vegan kids, kids health, news, Finland

Most vegan parents have become accustomed to packing their children their own lunch and snacks to ensure their little ones get plant-based food throughout the day, but parents in Helsinki, Finland may just get a little kitchen reprieve: the City Board recently approved a year-long vegan food trial at 20 city daycares that would provide vegan options at breakfast, lunch, and snack. Since only a small percentage of the 21,000 families utilizing the daycare services are actually vegan, there is plenty of opposition to this trial, which still needs to be approved by the larger City Council. Some of the arguments appear to be financially based, since officials estimate that providing these vegan alternatives will cost an additional €4.40 per child per day (which works out to be a hefty €123,000 difference that would be passed on to citizens each year). This estimate got us wondering what they are planning on including in the vegan meals and snacks, since meat, dairy, and eggs are often much pricier than vegan staples such as beans, vegetables, and fruits. Of course, fresh fruit and veggies (especially if they are organic), will result in a higher cost than foods such as potato chips, pretzels, and other typical snack fare, but we hope Helsinki gets on board with the idea that healthy vegan food can be affordable and simple. We’ve got quite a few recipes in our archives to prove it!

via Ecorazzi and YLE

Image via Shutterstock

 

Hospital volunteer has quietly rocked and soothed hundreds of NICU babies for the past 11 years

05/26/16   filed under: news, parenting

Carol Ann Lombardi, baby, NICU, baby whisperer

Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio have a lot of work to do: learning how to breathe on their own, withdrawing from a drug addiction developed in the womb, or any of a whole host of medical challenges. Hospital volunteer Carol Ann Lombardi knows how vital sleep and comfort are to these teeny tiny ones in their early days and weeks, and she has had the enviable job of holding and lulling these sweet babies to sleep for the past 11 years. Although a recent surgery affected Lombardi’s vocal cords and she had to switch from singing lullabies to telling nursery rhymes, the babies in her care don’t seem to mind. Lombardi has established a reputation as a baby whisperer, calmly and gently navigating the medical accessories such as tubes and lines that many of the babies need, while rocking them to sleep. Although she has no biological grandchildren, Lombardi lovingly cares for the NICU babies as if they were her own, and this retired school teacher responds as needed to her charges, spending as much time as necessary with each baby, soothing them until they are slumbering peacefully. Lombardi told The Columbus Dispatch that during her three hour shift she holds as many as 10 babies or spends more time with a select few who need her care the most saying, “One day, I held exactly two. I held one for two hours. When I tried to set her down, she cried — so I just held her. She needed sleep.” While volunteer jobs like Lombardi’s require special training and previous experience volunteering in other parts of the hospital, they are essential to ensuring that the nurses can attend to their medical duties. Since the babies’ parents can’t be at the hospital 24/7, Lombardi’s care goes a long way in making sure that they feel loved, cuddled, and relaxed enough to get back to their own work of getting strong and healthy.

via The Columbus Dispatch

Image via Nationwide Children’s Hospital Facebook page

 

Breast milk jewelry turns mother's liquid gold into a wearable keepsake

05/26/16   filed under: baby feeding, breastfeeding, green gifts, parenting

Mamma's liquid love, breast milk jewelry, breastfeeding, nursing

When I think of the 15 months I nursed my son, I feel overwhelmingly sentimental. For a colicky baby and an overwhelmed new mama, breastfeeding was one of the few ways that calmed us both and helped us bond. Not everyone has such a rosy experience with breastfeeding, however. Between bad latches, low milk supply, and hospitals pushing formula, breastfeeding is definitely not without challenges, and it was one mom’s own difficult experience breastfeeding her two daughters that lead her to create Mamma’s Liquid Love breast milk jewelry. We know breast milk jewelry might not be for everyone, but we were pleasantly surprised by how tasteful (no pun intended) and understated these meaningful, handmade necklaces, rings, and bracelets are.

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Inventor uses found objects and blocks to make kid-friendly Rube Goldberg machines

05/25/16   filed under: eco play, kid friendly, kids entertainment

Rube Goldberg machines are often quite complex and highly creative ways to problem-solve and demonstrate cause and effect. One example would be the extensive steps taken in order to open a gate, as seen in the classic movie The Goonies. A Youtube user is taking a simpler approach, turning found objects and Kapla blocks into short, yet effective sequences that are especially inspiring and doable for kids. Using objects such as marbles, dominos, and magnets, Kaplamino sets a variety of actions into motion. The videos are oddly meditative, and the low-tech, process-driven configurations are a fun way for kids to rethink how to use their toys and game supplies. With summer on the horizon, we think this activity would be a great one to tackle. By the end of August, these chain reactions could be graduating to new heights and levels of difficulty. Whether your kids make you do the Truffle Shuffle to witness them is entirely up to them.

via This Is Colossal

 

LEGO toys are becoming more violent and featuring more weapons, according to new study

05/25/16   filed under: eco play, kid friendly, kids entertainment, parenting

LEGO, kids play, kid friendly, kids entertainment

LEGO is among our kids’ absolute favorite toys, and we’re pretty fond of them too since they encourage creativity and imaginative play and build motor and spatial skills. But a new study indicates that this mammoth toy company is going to the dark side  — and we don’t mean by adding more Star Wars-themed LEGO sets. After examining nearly 60 years of LEGO catalogs regarding the number of sets that contained weapons and the proportion of weapon bricks/weapons to regular LEGO bricks as well as surveying LEGO customers to rate the perceived violence in LEGO catalog scenarios, researchers concluded that violence in the depicted products in the LEGO sets and the use of weapon bricks in LEGO sets has significantly increased.

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12 treehouses that have us dreaming of summer vacation

12 treehouses that have us dreaming of summer vacation

Image © 99TravelTips via Pinterest 1. This treehouse with a view is the perfect combo of playful (the suspended bridge), picturesque (the waterside view), and rustic (the wood…

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See the best & worst sunscreens for kids in EWG’s 10th annual guide to sunscreens

See the best & worst sunscreens for kids in EWG’s 10th annual guide to sunscreens

For the past decade, Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been releasing an annual sunscreen guide for consumers, highlighting sunscreen facts, tips, and best and worst sunscreen…

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Fairytale scenes literally leap from the pages of these sensational book sculptures

Fairytale scenes literally leap from the pages of these sensational book sculptures

Blackwell’s London studio resembles an old library, filled with books waiting to be turned into her next project. Using only an X-Acto knife and glue, the artist meticulously cuts…

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How to safely introduce peanuts into your baby's diet

How to safely introduce peanuts into your baby's diet

With the growing number of children suffering from peanut allergies today, parents may be wary of feeding their infants anything containing the nut. However, research suggests that this…

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Organic Nomad pillow-blankets are the ultimate travel accessory for kids

Organic Nomad pillow-blankets are the ultimate travel accessory for kids

Cleverly named after real explorers, these blankets have a lot of personality. There’s Amelia the Bunny, Marco the Panda, and Lewis the Raccoon. Simply fold up the blanket into…

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Mom's voice has a powerful, light-up effect on her child's brain

Mom's voice has a powerful, light-up effect on her child's brain

Talking to your baby or child is essential for helping her understand the world around her, building her vocabulary, and bonding with you, and a new study from the Stanford University…

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Under the Gun is a must-see documentary that examines the state of gun control and violence in America

Under the Gun is a must-see documentary that examines the state of gun control and violence in America

After exposing the ills of the food industry in FED UP, Katie Couric and Stephanie Soechtig are turning their lens on gun control in the United States. Gun control is a minefield of…

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Updated nutrition facts labels strike a sour note with the sugar industry

Updated nutrition facts labels strike a sour note with the sugar industry

There’s a new nutrition facts label coming to town… and certain members of the food industry are NOT happy about it. Ever since the FDA announced two years ago that it was…

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HOW TO: Make vegan chocolate zucchini muffins with cute bear faces

HOW TO: Make vegan chocolate zucchini muffins with cute bear faces

1. Gather the ingredients. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup organic cane and 1/2 cup…

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$25,000 scholarship will put 125 more kids in Audubon nature camps this summer

$25,000 scholarship will put 125 more kids in Audubon nature camps this summer

Summer camp is a long-standing American tradition that many kids never get to experience, due to the cost. For years, Wild Birds Unlimited—a national chain of nature specialty…

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