Product Reviews

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03.15.14 3 Reasons to Rethink Your Sunscreen

I recently counted the number of sunscreens at my local drugstore. There were 118 choices. Oddly, the display wasn't even that big, but the number of different products all leading you back to one specific need, had quite the range. I'm sure you can imagine the selling points: SPF, scent, sport, face, water-proof, sweat-proof, oil-free, ease of application....there's a lot to decipher.

To simplify: Most conventional sunscreens are chemical as opposed to mineral. All other claims aside, this is the critical distinction. 

Chemical sunscreens do their job by absorbing UV light. To do that, potentially harmful chemicals (see below) must be deeply absorbed into your skin, which is the last place you want them to end up. Dermal absorption is one of the main ways substances can enter the body. Not so great when those substances are potentially toxic. Read more...

02.27.14 Four tips for getting lunch to school hot

On a cold winter day a hot nutritious home cooked lunch tastes and feels great.  Follow these 4 easy steps and ensure your home cooked lunch is still hot at lunchtime.

 



 

 

Step 1: Choose your container wisely


We love this thermos from Lunchbots.  The wide base makes it easier to eat. 304 grade stainless steel interior, including the underside of the lid, ensures no plastic is coming into contact with your hot food.  And, of course, the insulation keeps food hot! 

 

 

 

Step 2: Pre-heat your container Read more...

12.17.13 Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

It's no small feat to find meaningful gifts for all of the people on your list. But then there's an expectation that they'll be presented beautifully wrapped, perfectly concealing the gift until opened. It's no wonder that we find ourselves on auto pilot mode and wrap everything almost identically, going through rolls and rolls of gift wrap. But here's the sad truth: half of the paper consumed in the US, every year, is wrapping paper!

But is there a good, eco-friendly and festive alternative? Sure! Frankly, gifts that have an original touch of the hand, even if it's just a small sprig of pine or juniper berries, just feel more personal and likely to be noticed by the recipient. So, if you're looking to reduce some waste and add some personal flair to your gifts, here are some ideas for eco-friendly gift wrap. Read more...

11.21.13 Whoa, a Glass Bundt Pan!

Growing up, we had our fair share of bundt cakes for family gatherings or special weekend brunches. But I can safely say (even though the baking pan wasn't necessarily safe) that all of those bundt cakes were coming out of non-stick bundt pans. My family wasn't an anomaly - many people are accustomed to baking with pans coated with teflon. Understandably, who wants their favorite recipes stuck in the pan? But there's an alternative to cooking and baking with Teflon in the kitchen. Really.

As a re-cap, non-stick surfaced pans are metal pans (such as aluminum) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetraflouroetheylene (PFTE), also known as Teflon. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is a chemical used to bond the coating to the pan. And when the pan reaches medium to high temperatures, toxic fumes are released (actually enough to kill a pet bird if you happen to keep one in your kitchen). These fumes can also cause people to develop flu-like symptoms, also known as "Teflon Flu." Read more...

11.19.13 Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: Meet Cakebox!

Last year, around this time, we fell in love with the handcrafted, Chicago-made Piebox. We even paired it with a trusty glass pie pan and a handmade Maple pie server for our own Piebox serving set. We still love the Piebox and have shared much love for this wonderful reusable and smart object.

So, it makes sense that it's offspring would involve protecting and transporting another necessary baked good; CAKE! But the makers at Piebox, sisters Adrienne and Carol, and Steve (soon-to-be husband to Adrienne), upped the ante and designed this next creation to handle two different styles of cake. Read more...

11.05.13 Catamount's Glass Popcorn Popper

For those of you popcorn lovers, the solution for safe microwavable popcorn is solved with this fabulous glass microwave popper! And not to mention the bonus of a rich amount of antioxidants - especially the hulls caught in your teeth, which have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber in this "nutritional gold nugget" of a snack. Read more...

10.30.13 Oh, Little Rabbit! Organic Cotton Goods

Combine the natural, charming look of hand-drawn, hand-pressed block prints with organic cotton and eye-pleasing colors and you have the wonderful outcome of Oh, Little Rabbit's passion.

"We love the idea of practical art; a piece that can be displayed and visually enjoyed, as well as earn its keep on the oven bar as the best dish drying flour sack towel around."

Oh, Little Rabbit (a traditional saying in Cara Hibb's family) was founded by husband and wife team, Jason and Cara Hibbs in the lovely state of Oregon. They started out printing in their hall closet and eventually moved to a larger space as their business grew. The two of them are responsible for every step of the process; from drawing the original designs to printing the fabric and then packaging the goods. 

The materials are very important to these artists. They use non-toxic water based inks for printing and organic or recycled materials whenever possible.  Read more...

10.22.13 Bee's Wrap: Eco Alternative to Plastic Wrap

We are often asked for alternatives to using plastic, especially when it comes to food storage. So, we were thrilled to find a wonderful and viable alternative with Bee's Wrap! 

Sarah, the owner of Bee's Wrap lives in Vermont with her family and grows her own food in addition to raising sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and three kids! With growing concerns about the environment and the health safety of plastic,  she looked for alternatives to using plastic in her kitchen. Through this goal and the lack of options (plus her own creative thinking) Bee's Wrap was realized.

Made from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin - the combination of ingredients and the infused fabric create a malleable food wrap that can be used again and again. The simple warmth of your hands (+ a little forming) naturally creates a seal and as the beeswax cools, the material stiffens and holds the seal intact. Read more...

10.17.13 Cast Iron Cooking

People have been cooking in cast iron for a long time. Nearly every home at the turn of the century (talking about the 20th) used cast iron for cooking. It wasn't until the 1950's when Teflon made its debut, and the launch of the "Happy Pan" was all the rage. Cast iron was immediately dumped in favor of the light, slippery surface of non-stick chemical-laden teflon and the heavy iconic pans were relegated to the garage. Or worse, the pans received their final good riddance at weekend "tag sales." Read more...

10.10.13 Austin Air Purifiers + Giveaway!

As the chilly fall air moves in, we find ourselves closing the windows much more frequently. What this unfortunately leads to is inadequate ventilation. According to the EPA, "this increases pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home."

Breathing in clean air is vital to the well-being of our immune systems. Research shows that IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) is often 3-5 times worse than outdoor air. Scientific evidence links poor air quality to conditions such as allergies, asthma, fatigue, bronchitis, chemical sensitivities and recently they have been able to establish a direct link between air pollution and heart attacks. Read more...

10.08.13 Some Like It Hot!

More often than not, I get the sweet request for a packed thermos filled with leftovers from last night's dinner (when I'm packing school lunches). I understand this. It's comforting to have some warm food for lunch, especially during the cold months. Come fall, I crave soup for lunch and all of the autumn flavors that are naturally simmered in.

And kids? According to a seasoned 10 yr old who routinely brings a packed lunch, "Some dishes need to be warm in order to taste good. Pasta, rice, chili, udon noodle soup, black bean burritos - they have to be warm. It makes me look forward to lunch even more."

How long is it safe to eat? It depends on the container and how you heat up the food.  Read more...

10.01.13 Sarah's Silks - From Halloween to Dress-Up

Fairies, dragons, unicorns, oh my!  It's hard to believe but Halloween is just a few weeks away.  Here at MightyNest we have costumes on the brain and are super excited to introduce several great options from Sarah's Silks!  

Playing dress-up is an an incredibly fun activity for kids but also a very important part of childhood. Children build up their vocabulary and their confidence while playing dress-up. And silks are a wonderful addition for any type of make-believe game or open-ended play.

Role playing also encourages taking turns, cooperation and socialization. Kids who can use their imagination also develop skills for creative thinking and problem solving. Dress-up play also encourgaes teamwork and an interest in peers. Read more...

09.30.13 Natural Face Paints Without Scary Ingredients

Kids love having their faces painted. Whether it's just a small star painted on their cheek or a full-blown animal patterned face to decorative princess or fairy or butterfly eyes, transforming their 'everyday' look is incredibly satisfying.

But many parents wonder or even worry that face paints can't be all that great for their kids' skin. This is a reasonable concern as the vast majority of face paints for kids (and even art materials in general) are made with harmful ingredients. And yes, even the ones that are labeled 'non-toxic.'

All too often, parabens, artificial dyes and harmful preservatives like the formaldehyde-releasing DMDM Hydantoin are listed in the ingredients of many kids' products. Conventional arts and crafts face paints do not list the ingredients, leaving parents to rely on a 'non-toxic' certification (which still could mean their product is made with petrochemicals and a host of other toxic ingredients).  Read more...

09.17.13 Clean Kids Naturally!

Inspired by the healing and revitalizing properties of the sea and the homeopathic teachings of a wise grandmother, the founder of Clean Kids was determined to create a line of healthy alternative for children's skincare. 

Clean Kids products are made without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial colors or fragrances, mineral oil or petrolatum. The following are also gluten free, vegan and thankfully never tested on animals. Read more...

09.04.13 A Complete Waste Free Lunch

It's likely that many of you have already started (if not refined) a waste-free lunch packing routine. Taking steps to ditch the disposable plastic sandwich baggies for reusable cotton alternatives (saving countless and unnecessary bags from piling up for many years in the landfill). Packing sandwiches, pasta or last night's dinner in stainless steel containers keeps foods fresh, un-smooshed and appetizing until lunchtime. Filling a reusable beverage bottle in either a glass or stainless steel bottle allows you to kick the habit of spending money for endless juice boxes or mini plastic water bottles.

So what completes the waste-free lunch?  Read more...

08.29.13 The Art of the Bento Box

The bento box is a fairly simple idea - it's really the equivalent of a single portion takeout meal or a home-packed meal. Compartmental by nature, the bento box is the perfect box to pack lunch in, especially for those who love variety. The bento has long inspired packing aesthetically pleasing lunches - in fact there are traditions of packing bento in elaborately arranged styles like "Kyaraben," (character bento) and "Oekakiben" (picture bentos - animals, flowers, etc.).

The name "bento" originated from the slang term "convenient," as packing healthy foods like rice, vegetables and fish were convenient to have packed to eat while away from home. A traditional Japanese bento box was thoughtfully prepared for both adults and children, usually in a lacquered box. Eventually this box was made into aluminum and then modern day plastic versions became available too. Read more...

08.16.13 The Best Reusable Water Bottles for School

Research indicates that staying hydrated throughout the day helps children stay focused and become better learners. With so many water bottle options it's difficult to decipher which ones are best suited for your kid's needs. First and foremost, you want a bottle that's free of toxins like BPA and other chemicals often found in cheap water bottles.

Plastic (polycarbonate) bottles and aluminum bottles lined with an epoxy resin, both contain BPA. Measurable amounts of BPA can leach into the water, especially when plastic is heated by the sun or worn out and scratched. Given this, you'll want to invest in a safe, practical and durable reusable water bottle that was made to last a long time. Read more...

08.12.13 Best Reusable Containers for School Lunches

Summer's winding down and it's time to pack school lunches. For some, this may bring about a slight panic: what to pack? I have to say, that having the right tools in my "lunch-packing drawer" has made all the difference. I've long since removed any plastic tupperware (always stained, never had the matching lids and likely leaching chemicals into the healthy foods I had packed).  Read more...

08.08.13 Best Preschool Backpacks & Lunch Gear

My 3-year old starts preschool this year and she couldn't be more excited about it.  In fact, every night she asks to sleep with her "packback" on, asks daily for a packed lunch/dinner (to eat in the backyard) and LOVES to tell her little brother about all of the snacks she has in her lunch bag...typically followed by, "HEY, THAT'S MINE!"because of course, he wants a share in the goods.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was equally as excited - I finally have a legitimate reason (read: stop trying to justify that a Papar the Owl lunchbox is totally for adults, too) to purchase some of MightyNest's amazing preschool lunch gear!  My daughter's school is 3 half days plus one afternoon she'll stay for "lunch bunch."  She doesn't need a lot of gear but she was super excited to pick out her new stuff.  Much to my despair, my daughter has an affinity for dinosaurs not owls, as you'll soon see in her picks below: Read more...

08.07.13 Win a Complete Set of Wean Green!

 

What to do when you can't find suitable, safe and stylish eco-friendly food storage? 

Make them yourself! 

That's what Melissa, the founder of Wean Green did when she was in need of food storage for her homemade baby food. And as her kids have grown, so has her company and the fabulous food storage options made by Wean Green, including sizes perfect for adults (in addition to kids and her original baby food containers).

Luckily, there are Wean Green options that double as portable food containers (yes- these are easy to pack and bring along to work because they're tough and very impressive!) and as food storage at home (convenient clear glass = ability to see exactly what's stored in the fridge).

Wean Green glass is tempered, meaning MUCH stronger than typical glass. And the BPA-Free lids are durable and don't fall apart like some other flimsy snap-lid brands. And YES. They can go in the dishwasher, freezer and microwave (sans the lid).

What exactly is included in the fabulous 7 pc. giveaway set? Read more...

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