Sweets and Treats I Let My Kids Eat

Halloween is just a few days away and I've been making my preparations for the Switch Witch's visit. My children leave all their candy for the Switch Witch on Halloween night, and in return she leaves them a gift and a small quantity of better (less bad) candy. I've resigned myself to the fact that my children will get lots of extra sugar on many occasions and holidays throughout the year, but I'd like to avoid feeding them the food additives and other weird ingredients that often accompany the sugar. Ingredients such as:

I also like to avoid chocolate produced by child slave labor (pretty much all chocolate in mainstream candy, sadly). Yes, I do realize, I'm sucking all the joy out of eating candy.

Here are a few of the treats I let my kids eat:

I actually have some of these treats on hand at all times, because I've learned that people love to throw candy and treats at children at all times of the year, and I always need to be ready to make an exchange.

But I wonder how long I'll be able to keep this up. 

If you have older kids or teenagers, how do handle Halloween and other occasions filled with candy (Easter, Valentines, etc.)?

And on a related note, there is the dilemma of what to do with the conventional candy I collect from my kids. If you have a solution for that, click over and comment on this week's Green Phone Booth post.

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Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog. Thank you for your support. Read my full disclosure policy here.

The Poop Report: Diapering and Pottying at 21 Months

Sometime in the last month of so, I started to think of my 21-month-old toddler as more or less potty trained. Or, at least, I'm no longer really making any active effort to train her. Here are some reasons why:
  • She used a toilet in a public restroom (with my assistance, of course) two days in a row.
  • She regularly announces that she needs to pee and poop and then goes to the bathroom with me.
  • She is always dry in the morning and after naps.
  • She almost never has an accident outside of the house. I can't remember the last time we had to restock the back-up underwear and pants in my van.
  • She has taken off her underpants and used the potty by herself (although this is still an infrequent occurrence).
  • We often go more than a week without washing cloth diapers (mostly training pants/underwear and wipes these days).

She still has accidents regularly. I'm going to guesstimate 2 to 5 a week. The main reasons for accidents are:
  • She needs to poop and doesn't want to. I have learned that when my daughter refuses to pee even though I know she needs to go (for example, it's 2 hours after she woke up dry from a nap), it's probably because she needs to poop and doesn't want to. I have to pull out all the stops to get her on the potty in these situations.
  • She's playing outside. Usually I'm not outside with her, but sometimes even when I am. For some reason, she just feels A-OK about peeing in her pants in the great outdoors. When I remember, I try to get her to use the potty before playing outside. A few times she has taken off her shoes and come inside to tell me she needed to go, but that is (not surprisingly) very rare.

Almost Plastic-free Pizza

I did it! I finally found a tomato sauce jarred in glass that works as a base for my sauce for our Friday night pizza!

Eden Organic's Crushed Tomatoes are thick and just barely chunky ("screen-finished" rather than pureed), and come in several varieties (roasted garlic and onion, sweet basil, plain). I think I like the garlic and onion one the best, but I've tried them all and they all work. I buy them in bulk at Whole Foods every couple of months. I should probably ask Whole Foods about getting the case discount. You can also purchase directly from Eden Organic. One 25 oz. jar costs about $4, but since the jar is almost double the size of a can, I get two weeks' worth of pizza out of it (the sauce lasts fine for at least a week stored in the fridge) and it ends up costing me about the same as the Muir Glen organic tomato sauce in BPA-free cans.

I bought a few other tomato products in glass (Bionaturae) and the less-preferred Tetrapak (Pomi) to try, but I sampled the Eden Organic product first and it worked well and wasn't more expensive so I'm sticking with it. But if I ever run out and use those other kinds, I'll let you know how it goes.

Now the only plastic in my pizza is from the mozzarella cheese. I suppose I could go the Barbara Kingsolver route and make my own mozzarella from the local milk we get in glass jars. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. My next pizza priority will be to make and can pizza sauce I make myself from local organic tomatoes purchased at the farmers market. And someday, in the hopefully not entirely imaginary future, I will make homemade pizza with our own homemade pizza sauce made from homegrown tomatoes. But in the meantime, I'm happy to have found some plastic-free tomatoes.

Friday Night Pizza

[Find my more detailed recipe for homemade pizza with additional photos and instructions in this post.]

4.5 cups flour (I use 2 cups white whole wheat and 2.5 cups unbleached white )
2 t kosher salt
1 T yeast
2 cups water

1 can tomato sauce (I use half of a 25 oz. glass jar of Eden Organic's Crushed Tomatoes)
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t rosemary
1/2 to 1 t table salt (I use about 3/4 t salt with no salt added tomato sauce)
1/4 t pepper

16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
whatever else you like

Combine flour, salt and yeast, then pour in 2 cups warm water and combine. Knead in more flour until like pizza dough: smooth and not-too-sticky. Return to (dirty) bowl. Allow to rise until double.

Preheat oven to 415. Divide dough into 2 or 3 balls. Roll your pizza dough into a circle using a rolling pin and place on a greased pizza pan. Poke dough with fork all over. Put your dough in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden some places on top. Make the sauce by combining all ingredients.

Divide sauce evenly between crusts. Then add mozzarella, pepperoni, and other toppings. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until cheese is fully melted. For an extra crispy crust, use tongs to drag your pizza off the pan directly onto the oven rack and remove pan from the oven after cheese is mostly melted. Allow to bake directly on a lower rack for 2 to 4 minutes, then use tongs to pull off rack back onto pan and remove from oven. 

Allow pizza to cool and slice on wooden cutting board. Enjoy! 

How do you avoid eating plastic?

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Absorbent Yet Trim: Hanna Andersson Training Unders

My 22-month-old in Hanna Andersson XS Training Unders in organic cotton

Now that I am nearing the end of our days using training pants, I decided it was time to give those Hanna Andersson Training Unders in organic cotton a try. Guess what? They're great! Too bad I didn't invest in a stash when my first child was potty training. They cost $26 for 3 (solid colors) or $28 for 3 (patterns) and are made of 100% organic cotton, certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, an excellent third party certification for textiles.

Hanna Andersson Training Unders look a lot like Gerber training pants in photos, but they are so much better.

(Note: You can read an in depth comparison of the five other styles of training pants we've tried here.)

Why We Love Hanna Andersson Training Unders

  • Well made. I'm impressed with the quality of materials and construction. 
  • Organic cotton. Conventional cotton accounts for 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide. Organic cotton is much better for the environment. I don't buy much organic cotton clothing for my kids (they wear mostly second-hand), but I do buy organic pajamas and I'm moving towards organic underclothing. I figure they wear their pajamas for about 50% of each day and their underwear is right against their skin and in contact with their most sensitive parts. So those are my priorities.
  • Great fit. The training unders come in size XS (1-3.5 yrs, 20-33 lbs) and S (3-6 yrs, 31-48 lbs). The XS fit my 22-month-old really well, and I'm sure they would have fit her well around 9 months and one-year as well (since she was chunkier then).
  • Very easy to pull up and down. My toddler can remove and pull back up these trainers all by herself.
  • Absorbent. The Hanna Andersson Training Unders have a four-ply crotch panel and are surprisingly absorbent. Not quite as absorbent as the Imse Vimse training pants, I'd say, but much more absorbent (maybe 3 or 4 times more) than the Gerber training pants  Despite the fact that they are similar colors to my Gerber training pants, I never have any trouble telling them apart, because they just feel denser and more substantial. I have been really surprised by how much the Hanna Anderssen Training Unders hold. They often prevent puddles, even for big accidents (which is the main kind of accident we have around here), especially if my toddler is wearing pants over them.
  • Yet trim. The training unders feel like underwear made of heavy fabric with a little extra absorbency where it counts. As with the Gerber training pants, I will continue to use them as regular underwear even when my toddler's potty accidents are a distant memory because they basically have the same fit and bulk as regular children's underwear.

Naturally, they are not waterproof. But you could always slip a nylon shell over them if you needed some insurance.

I like our Training Unders and the idea of organic under clothing so much that I'm going to watch for a sale and stock up on Hanna Andersson underwear and undershirts for my older two children as well.

What are your favorite training pants?

Is Your Child Ready to Use the Potty?
Top Methods of Entertaining a Child on the Potty

Disclosure: I purchased our Hanna Andersson training pants (and all of our other training pants) with my own money. All opinions are my own. Hanna Andersson and Amazon links are affiliate links. Your purchase via these links helps support my blog, which I very much appreciate. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Puddle Jump Safely with PVC-free Rain Gear

One of the only hand-me-downs I have ever turned down was a fireman rain coat. It was so cute and in quite good condition, but when I looked at the label, it said: 100% vinyl. And, for me, that was a deal breaker. Vinyl pops up everywhere but is especially common in waterproof products, such as rain gear, crib mattresses and waterproof mattress coverschanging pads, and children's bibs

What's so bad about PVC/ vinyl? 

In a nutshell, PVC plastic is uniquely toxic among plastics because of its highly toxic ingredients which readily migrate into the environment during its production, its use, and its disposal. This means, for example, that the phthalates (which are endocrine disruptors) added to PVC to make it softer and more malleable so that it can be used to make a rain jacket can then readily be inhaled or ingested (through hand-to-mouth contact) by your child. Check your child's rain gear. If it's made of PVC, I would seriously consider replacing it, particularly for younger children.


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