15 Gift Ideas for a Green Mom

15 gift ideas for the green and natural mom

Mother’s Day is just a week away but I’m always in need of a few ideas for my birthday and holiday wish lists so I’m sharing them here.

Gifts Under $50

A gift card from Etsy :: I will always and forever be able to spend money on Etsy for lovely, handmade items. You can never go wrong with an Etsy gift card.  Plus it comes via email, no paper waste.

Jewelry that gives back :: I am smitten with the beautiful jewelry from the Noonday Collection. Each piece is carefully made by a woman in Ethiopia, Ecuador or Uganda and helps to restore their communities and provide business opportunities.

teapotJapanese teapot :: I recently enjoyed the best cup of tea made from loose leaf tea and realized what I’ve been missing out on by using teabags. I’d really like to have this glass Japanese teapot to start making my own at home.

Homemade and Natural Spa Kit :: How fun would it be to get all the ingredients to make this natural spa kit to treat myself at home? It also comes with beautiful printable labels.

Organic and fair trade chocolates :: Don’t gloss over this one because you can’t stand the thought of paying $2 for a candy bar. <Or is that only me?> My friend, Tsh, wrote a compelling argument for why we should be buying fair trade chocolate. I’m a chocaholic so I’m dying to try one of these yummy brands: AlterEco, Green & Black’s or Divine Chocolate.  (Tsh mentions many more brands in her post).

15 Gift Ideas for a Green Mom


Natural nail care :: I love to keep my toes painted year round and have my eye on these SCOTCH natural nail polishes. They aren’t inexpensive for nail polish but a bottle or two with non-toxic nail polish remover would be the perfect gift.


Books :: These are the books on my spring wish list. The Backyard Homestead: Product the Food You Need on a Quarter Acre gets fantastic reviews and seems doable on a smaller scale. Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches sounds perfect for my own small backyard garden.  I also wouldn’t mind having the bible of preserving books, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  I’ve recently discovered this author’s blog and would like to read several of his books starting with Clutterfree with Kids.

Gifts Under $100

french market basketFrench market basket :: I have wanted one of these market baskets for ages. They seem so quintessential French and would be perfect for our trips to the farmer’s market.

A garden at home :: We’re moving into a new-to-us home soon and all I want for Christmas are big garden beds. DIY inspiration here or for the non-DIY type, Williams Sonoma has some beautiful raised beds for purchase.  Another idea in this category? A gift card to a local garden store, the perfect spring time gift.

Organic spa treatment :: A facial is my favorite way to spend an hour at the spa. Silky, smooth skin, luscious amounts of vitamin infused moisturizer and a head massage. I instantly feel 10 years younger.

Preserving kit or dehydrator :: It will soon be the perfect time for preserving the summer’s bounty. I generally can items for the freezer but would like to learn how to use a waterbath canner.  I would also like to get a simple dehydrator to make easy and healthy snacks.

Gifts Over $100

A CSA membership :: Community supported agriculture is such a great way to support our local farmers and get a box of ultra fresh produce each week. We have several local CSA’s and I would love to participate this year. Find your local CSA here.

le creusetAnything from Le Creuset :: I’ve been transitioning our cooking out of a myriad of non stick pans to just a few pieces of cookware from Le Creuset. Sure, it’s not inexpensive but Le Creuset is the brand you can pass on to your kids. I can put my money behind that type of quality.

A cruiser bike :: I just want to button on a cute bike basket and ride this bike to the farmer’s market, like tomorrow. You, too?

Compost bin :: This is what I’m getting for Mother’s Day this year. I came across it yesterday and it was love at first sight.  Compact, portable, dual bins and an oversize lid for removing compost easily. LOVE. (hint: it’s about $20 less at the store)


Quick (and Natural) Constipation Cure for Kids

natural constipation cure for kids

My sister recently shared with me that a simple vitamin had cured her son’s constipation, something he’s been plagued with for years. Despite several suggestions from doctors, she wasn’t able to find something that worked.

After starting her boys on this probiotic, she noticed her oldest became regular quickly. Simple and natural, my kind of cure.

If your child is experiencing the same thing, give them a try.  They are inexpensive (just $10 for 2 months worth) and my children like the taste so much, they ask for them each day. Let me know how they work for you!

What has worked to help your child’s constipation?

Go Play Outside

 Go Play Outside: Resources, Book and Apps to Get Your Family Back into Nature

On several days a week throughout the year, you will find my family out in nature on our bikes, kayaking, hiking, camping, snowshoeing or skiing. The kids call it fun – I like to call it nature therapy. Here I share some of my favorite resources to get your family back into nature.


The book that jump started the conversation: Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. If you need a reason to go play outside (and you have kids), this is your book.

If you’ve already read Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv followed it up with The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. It’s on my to-read list.

Not for the already adventurous parent, this is a great introduction for anyone on the fence about taking their kids into the great outdoors:  Let Them Be Eaten By Bears: A Fearless Guide to Taking Our Kids Into the Great Outdoors.

3 great books for inexpensive, go outside and breath fresh air ideas for parents:

Parents: take your kids camping. Of all the amazing vacations I took as a kid, camping trips were the ones I remember.  This book gets excellent reviews (and I love the cover design). The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature.

Technology & Apps

Technology gets a bad rap for keeping kids from nature, but there’s some great apps out there to use in your quest for nature.

Here’s a great article on why we need to bridge technology and nature for our children.

This report from the NWF provides real-world advice to help parents serve as positive role models and teach children to use technology in moderation.

The Wilderness Society suggests 9 free nature and wildlife apps for kids.

The NWF compiled their favorite apps where you pretend to be animal or naturalists.

Go Play Outside: Resources to Inspire Your Family to Get Back into NATURE

Online Resources & Blogs

Children & Nature Network : News, research and more about the movement to connect kids to nature. I enjoy following the C&NN Facebook page for the highlights.

The National Wildlife Foundation has a great Nature Finder tool for finding local parks, trails and other nature sites.

The Be Out There Campaign, also by NWF, provides inspiration and ideas for outdoor play.

Join thousands across the US during the Great American Backyard Campout held annually in June and here’s 10 backyard campout activities.

A great Pinterest board featuring places all over the US for families to ride their bikes.

Nature Rocks has a great tool to help you generate ideas for getting outside in any weather or environment. Let’s say it’s raining today and you are going to a local park, Nature Rocks suggests playing games such as 20 Questions, Puddle Jumping and Guess What’s Inside Nature’s Mystery Bag? All come with instructions.

Outside Magazine (one of my favorites) has a blog titled, Raising Rippers, chronicling a mom’s journey to living outdoors with her kids.

Gadgets and gear for kids to play outside. How fun!

To make outdoor exploration more interesting and for gift ideas for little nature lovers, check out my 10 Favorite Gadgets and Gear for Outdoor Play.

Please share your own ideas to encourage others to get a fresh breath of air today.

Gadgets and Gear for Outdoor Play

These are great gift ideas for getting our kids back out into nature.

It doesn’t take much but a sense of adventure and a comfy pair of tennis shoes to play outdoors but a few gadgets and gear fit for kids makes it that much more interesting. Here are my favorites for little nature lovers.


Carson Hawk Child Binoculars : perfect for bird identification and viewing animals from afar.

Mini Microscope : my kids love to investigate leaves, insects and tree bark with these petite weapons of exploration.

Whistle and Compass : we have a similar version of this whistle and compass combo allowing us to teach the kids safety measures while out in the wilderness.

Petzl Headlamps : small enough for kids, we use these primarily for camping and playing outside at night.

Julbo Kid’s Sunglasses : this summer, my optometrist reminded me that children should have sunglasses on just as much as adults. Gulp. Julbo makes a durable pair for little ones, now if we could only make sure they don’t get lost.


Camelbak Kid’s Mini-MULE Hydration Pack : both kids, ages 4 and 7, tote these along whenever we venture outdoors. They not only hold water but snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, and other gadgets we bring along. I do not leave home without them.

Lifetime Youth Kayak : without a doubt, one of our favorite pieces of gear for kids. My son was 3 when he started paddling on his own. Perfect for weekends at the lake.  I recommend making sure it comes with a backrest and paddle.

Balance Bikes : skip the tricycle and training wheels and go straight for a balance bike. Just make sure you get the right size by measuring your child’s inseam first. Oh and please don’t forget a helmet.

Motorola Walkie Talkies : skip past the cheap children’s walkie talkies, they will be broken before you know it (speaking from experience). We got the kids this Motorola pair for Christmas and have been using them for our winter outdoor play: sledding, skiing and snowshoeing. They will get even more use this summer.

RoadID : this wristlet comes personalized with emergency contact phone numbers and information, just in case something might happen. My 3-year old got his own RoadID this past year, here’s why.

Visit me here for my favorite books, online resources, blogs, and apps for getting our families back into nature.


Guide to Safer Bath Toys – PVC Free, Phthalate Free, BPA Free

Safer Bath Toys : Your 2014 Guide to BPA free, PVC free and Phthalate free Bath Toys

While I’m no expert, I do avoid PVC, phthalate and BPA when I purchase bath toys for my own children or as gifts for others. Over four years ago, I had a hard time finding such products so I researched and published one of my most popular posts on safe bath toys.

I still get emails asking whether a specific bath toy is considered safe and sadly, I find a lot of bath toys still do not meet this criteria. I’ve finally updated our list of safer bath toys so we can all shop smarter, enjoy.

BOON – One of my favorite brands because all of their bath toys are PVC, phthalate and BPA free.  I particularly love the Boon Water BugsWater Pipes and Fishing Pole. (Update: the Boon Cogs, Jellies and Pipes are not PVC free)

B.Toys (Battat) – All of their toys are both BPA free and phthalate free. The squishy toys do have non-phthalate PVC in them, they are softened with a food-safe citroflex.

Green Sprouts – The Stacking Cups are PVC free, phthalate free and BPA free.

Green Toys – Another of my favorite brands because everything is created with recycled milk jugs. The submarine, tugboat, ferry boat and sea plane are PVC, phthalate and BPA free and also get great Amazon reviews.

Hevea – Their toys are made from natural rubber which is free of BPA, PVC and phthalates. Their toys are also biodegradable.

Milliwik – These clever bath-friendly playing cards are BPA, PVC and phthalate free. Super fun.

Moluk – Created by Swiss designers, the Plui is a rain cloud that fills with water, sprinkles over your child and then opens to be cleaned out (no mold!).  I also really like the Mini Bilibos because they are so versatile. Perfect for stacking, floating, scooping and digging.

Munchkin – The only product from Munchkin that meets the test is the Caterpillar Spiller.

2014 Favorite Safe Bath Toys

sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Nuby – Customer relations told me that “all Nuby product including bath products are BPA Free and PVC/Phthalates Free.”

Rich Frogs – Their bath toys are BPA free, phthalates free and use phthalate-free PVC. I particularly like their terry towel mitts and tub puppets.

Sassy – All bath toys are BPA, PVC and phthalate free except the Snap & Squirt Sea Creatures and they are non-phthalate PVC.

Skip Hop – The only bath toy that meets all 3 conditions are the Stacking Toys. Their other bath toys are phthalate free and BPA free but not PVC free.

Sprig – All toys are made from recycled materials and do not contain BPA, PVC or phthalates.

Zoe b Organic – This biodegradable and made in the USA bath and beach toy set is one of my favorites. Also free of BPA, PVC and phthalates.

For more water toys and safer toys for sand play, check out our Guide to Safer Water and Sand Toys.