It’s a virtual holiday potluck on Facebook!

virtual-facebook-party

Does the holiday season creep up on you, and before you know it, you’re completely overwhelmed? This year start planning early and have some FUN with other busy parents just like you.

Join parenting experts Tamara Champion, CEO of natural parenting store bynature.ca, and Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit AKA yoyomama and author of Healthy Mum, Happy Baby, as well as other parents getting prepared for the holiday season with a Virtual Holiday Potluck! Join us to kick off the holiday season, have fun, and, yes, enjoy shopping discounts and prizes throughout the evening!

When and Where?

Mark your calendar! The party date is Wednesday, November 10th and runs from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm but you’ll want to register beforehand to take advantage of our special savings offer. The more RSVP’s the greater the savings!!

If you live on the East Coast, RSVP to the Parenting By Nature Facebook page BEFORE Wednesday, November 10, 8:00pm EST.

If you’re on the West Coast,
RSVP to yoyomama’s Facebook page BEFORE Wednesday, November 10, 8:00pm PST.

What to Bring:

It’s a potluck! Everyone who shares has the chance to win prizes during the evening. We’ll be discussing:

• family traditions and the spirit of giving
• your favorite holiday music
• funny Christmas YouTube videos
• your tastiest holiday recipes (allergen-free, for bonus points!)
• green holiday tips
• links to online holiday planning resources or tools you may use
• anything else to help with holiday planning!

Why Pre-Register?

The more the merrier! Share our holiday event with friends as we’ll be offering a discount on anything at the bynature.ca Kids store based on how many RSVP/participants we have for each party (as of 8pm EST):

• Free Shipping over $49 for 200 RSVPs (Storewide! Canada only)
• 10% discount for 300 RSVPs
• 15% discount for 400 RSVPs
• 20% discount for 500 RSVPs

So tell your friends to RSVP! The more participants, the greater the discount! The discount code will be shared with participants during the potluck event and will be offered for a limited time (discounts apply to KIDS department only and may not be combined; see bynature.ca policies for full details when using discount codes).

We can’t wait to connect with our fantastic fans, supporters, and customers and meet new people. Most of all, we want to help you save time and money as you get ready for this special time of year with your family.

See you on November 10th!

And the winners are …

The finalists for our Blog To Inspire Contest have been chosen. Let me tell you, this was no easy task with more than 40 fabulous entries submitted. A special thank you to all of our participants. We’re thrilled to have received so much encouragement and excitement about our contest.

So without further ado, our selected finalists are (in no particular order) …

In our Babywearing Category (1 finalist):

Holly’s post at the Domestic Dork was entertaining and we couldn’t help but smile when we read about Mr. and Mrs. Stroller collecting dust in her closet.

In our Breastfeeding Category (2 finalists):

If you didn’t read Amy’s post about memories of breastfeeding her baby Emily, you really must. Her story brought tears to our eyes and secured her a spot among our top finalists.

Kelly was one of the first contestants to enter our contest. Her well-cited and informative post also included her touching personal experience with establishing breastfeeding with her new baby. I think many mother’s can relate to her struggle.

In our Cloth Diapering Category (1 finalist):

We were pleased to have one dad that participated in our contest (what did you expect from a company that caters to moms and moms-to-be?!?). Stu’s enthusiastic and humorous post is one we’re glad to include in our list of finalists. It’s always fun to read a dad’s perspective on cloth diapering.

In our Natural Play Category (2 finalists):

Amber’s post on Battling the Toy Catalogue’s leaves us with much to think about this year as we quickly approach the holiday gift-giving season. Her post sparked quite the conversation with other parents!

Our last finalist is Sara, who wrote about De-commercializing the Child. Sara’s passion for natural parenting was very evident in her post and her poetic way of writing left me wanting to read more. Since I couldn’t stop reading her blog after receiving her entry, she is the perfect choice for our last finalist.

So there you have them! Our six finalists have been selected and now we turn the voting process over to you. I’m SO relieved because it was difficult enough narrowing our finalists down to 6, there is no way we could make this choice alone.

The polls open tomorrow morning at 11am EST and close in one week (Friday December 11th at 12pm EST). Please take a moment to cast your vote for the blogger you would like to see win our Blog to Inspire contest and become the Eco Babysteps blogging ambassador for 2010. We’d be thrilled to call any of these fabulous writers the Most Inspiring Blogger!

The winner will be announced right here on Monday December 14th so be sure to check back. :)

Eco Friendly Birthday Parties

My daughter turned four at the beginning of March. It was only four weeks earlier that she was invited to her first birthday party by a friend at preschool. Since then, she’s been to three more parties. Needless to say, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the whole eco-friendliness of birthday parties and let me just say that what I’ve seen so far is, well, FAR from it. So when I came across this new website, Green Planet Parties, I was (a) SO excited to learn they were located in Canada, and (b) very impressed! What an awesome idea, started by a mom, of course, to help inspire parents across the country to plan more environmentally friendly children’s birthday parties. I really hope they take their website a step further and work towards educating parents about waste, possibly providing alternate suggestions that may not only be found on their website. For example, one of the moms that hosted a recent party used small, plastic buckets in place of loot bags. While not the most environmentally friendly of materials, I thought it was fabulous that our “loot bag” could be reused at the park, in our sand box or at the beach.

I’ll save my ideas for a “greener” birthday party for a future post, but in the meantime check out Green Planet Parties for some ideas and inspiration. I’m getting ready for my daughter to ask for her first party (I got lucky and she didn’t even mention it for b-day #4!). When she turns 5 you can be sure we’ll be planning as green a party as we can. :)

Keeping your little one Safe from Critters

While this time of year is generally a bit better for pesky insects of one sort or another, as soon as the sun goes down we are still swarmed by mosquitoes and other nighttime insects. I’d thought I’d share some of the hints and tips that have helped us survive this time of year with our 15 month-old daughter.

  • Try to keep baby covered up as much as possible. Dress in a long sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat. Watch exposed ankles!
  • Dark coloured clothing will attract bugs. Dress your baby in lighter colours.
  • Use only unscented soaps and shampoo as fragrances will attract insects.
  • When the bugs are really bad, use an insect repellent that is specially designed for use on children. We like a citronella-based repellent such as Citronella Moisturizing Milk by Druide which is all-natural and DEET-free.
  • Apply insect repellents to a young baby’s clothing and hat instead of directly on the skin. This will prevent absorption, but still deter the bugs.
  • Wash off insect repellents as soon as possible. Avoid contact on hands and face.
  • Watch where baby walks! Remember that insect repellents do not generally protect against most stinging insects such as wasps, bees and fire ants.

I hope a few of these tips will help prevent your little one from getting bitten or stung by bothersome critters this summer!

Slinging in the Summertime

My daughter is 14 months old now. I can’t believe how the time is flying by. Her grandpa and dad built her a sandbox yesterday out of some scrap wood in the backyard. She is just the right age for this. She’s just past putting everything in her mouth, and at the age where she’s exploring everything with her other senses – her hands, eyes and ears notice everything! She’s loving the feel of the sand between her toes. It might be a few more weeks before she’s building sand castles, but in the meantime she loves digging in the sand and moving it around between her fingers.

We tested out our new Hotslings water sling today. What fun!! I was able to enjoy a quick dip in our pool while Rayne was held on by the mesh water sling. She had such a blast! We are within a short biking distance from a beach on Lake Simcoe. We’ll be biking to the beach so she can play in the sand and water there, as well. This sling makes it so much easier trying to hold onto a wiggly, wet, soon-to-be toddler and the fabric is so light and comfortable on me. We spent a lot of time at Lawrencetown Beach when we lived in Nova Scotia, as well as the many tiny beaches that are found all over the Halifax Regional Municipality, and this sling sure would have come in handy last summer. In any case, we’ll be getting a lot of use out of our water sling this year!

I LOVE the turquoise colour. Don’t you think it just screams summer?

Baby Slings in Canada