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An Earnest Summer!

This summer is FLYING by!  Sorry the posts have been sparse – we are enjoying the weather and this hot season.  We have been keeping busy with our local zoo, libraries, bowling and even took in a movie.  I have to admit, with a school-ager it is tough to keep the interest, allow some boredom, all without allowing the craziness to take the days over.

This summer, we decided on a different approach.   Instead of trying to do BIG things like travel or get out everyday, we made a weekly schedule.  A schedule easy enough to change if necessary but also help with the dreaded summer “brain drain” (we have a great article on these tips coming up next week by one of our moms in the Earnest Mom Squad).  We decided weekends would still be the break so we assigned regular activities for the weekdays.  Mondays we have a fun class on self regulation and practicing hand writing, Tuesdays our local library has a free special event that we attend, Wednesdays are backyard days, Thursdays are baking afternoons and par kour classes in the evenings, and Fridays are science experiments day.

Tuesdays, our local libraries have been great.  We have seen magic shows, balloon shows, local baseball teams, the traveling zoo and bouncing play times.  All free and it is fun to get out and let the kids play in a new space with new activities each week.  Wednesday’s backyard day is literally time playing in the yard – nothing too special and sometimes we fill up the kiddie pool.  We usually get out everyday, at least the kids do but this is a special time where we all go out together and I may garden or rest my swelling feet and the earnest littles get to run and play to their hearts content.  All before rest time of course to help the nap process along.

On Thursdays when Earnest Babe takes her two hour nap, Earnest Boy gets up from his 20 minute rest and him and I bake together.  The first week was GREAT, we baked this Starbucks Copy Cat Banana Bread recipe (from myfrugaladeventures.com) with the bananas that my children will not eat once they have freckled, we substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts and enjoyed it for four or five days.  It was delicious.  The second Thursday, we tried our hand at strawberry jam with the strawberries we picked earlier that morning.  We made this recipe from www.intimateweddings.com.  The whole process took a lot longer than we had thought but the result was yummy plus it did not use pectin, only sugar and lemon juice.  The last two weeks we had family in from out of town so we did not bake but today we are back in the swing of things with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We are using the classic Nestle Tollhouse Recipe (not my french aunt’s recipe for you Friends fans out there) and using all organic ingredients.  The baking day was created at the request of Earnest Boy, I was surprised he was interested in cooking but he is home with me all summer and I love baking and cooking.

Our Science Fridays have been so much fun!!  Once again, we wait until Earnest Babe is napping so we can focus on the experiments at hand.  Now before you get to thinking this Earnest Mom has crazy organization skills and creativity to plan and execute educational science experiments, hold on.  We decided to purchase a monthly subscription for the summer to The Spangler Science Club.  They send you 1-10 experiments a month that are focused on STEM and growing the curiosities of 7-14 year-olds.  So far we have grown polymers, experimented with the grown polymers, grown crystals and currently we are on a polymer alligator growth watch.  This post is not sponsored, we just are loving the Spangler Science Subscription and feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck no matter the price level subscription that is chosen.

This summer, I feel as though I am not feeling pressure any day or week to keep kids entertained – they know what to expect each day and we get excited for every activity we do together.  All days, the activity is not a full day event so we are able to spend free time together and time that is scheduled.  I feel a lot less stressed!!! Any earnest followers have some fun activities planned for their little or big ones this summer to keep the boredom and/or summer crazies to a low?  Please share.

x. earnest mom.

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Local Spotlight: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Local Spotlight: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Earnest mom looks at a local children’s museum, ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum.

Having relocated to Erie last year, I was eager to connect with some local moms and find some great places for the earnest family to go for fun.  While out and about at the library, a local mom had asked if I had heard of the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum, so I decided to check it out.  I am earnestly glad I did!

The ExpERIEnce Museum truly is an experience for children of all ages.  My two earnest littles could spend hours there, daily if I let them.  The museum houses four main areas through out, the lower level being The Ronald McDonald House Creativity Floor which features several arts related educational classes, programming and activities, and exhibits such as the Tiny Tot Spot (for those 2 and under), The Open Studio Center, Multi-touch Art Table and much more.  The main level has two main exhibits, one being the Discovery Corner/Outdoor Classroom (one of my favorite spaces) highlighting natural play/exploration spots, an outdoor library and more.  The next exhibit on the main level is the Explore Floor, which has the mega and super popular water table (it is huge and earnest boy is there from the minute we arrive until we leave), the Bedrock Cave, Imagination Playground and many additional activities.  The upper level is the Imagination Floor, this floor features the adorably pint sized Wegmans Kids Market to “shop,” The Magic of Magnets, Old Town, a suspended train that zooms around the room above all the playing kids and many more places to discover.

The museum staff also works very hard to have weekly classes to encourage education and art exploration through out the year. In the summer time they have wonderful Discovery Day Camps, two of which we had earnest boy enrolled in last year and will be enrolling again this year.  He absolutely loved his camp and a shout out to Miss Tami (who was as sweet and fun as could be), he walked away from camp with a tie-dye tee that he still wears, a painting the he made, ‘Pollock Style,’ a camp shirt that changes colors in the sunlight plus many happy memories of fun, art and learning with his peers.  The museum is still enrolling now for summer camps, and it is not too late to get your kids an unforgettable summer experience plus support our local children’s museum.  They feature week long camps and single day camps to fit every schedule and budget.  More information on their camps can be found on here: ExpERIEnce Discovery Day Camps, or call 814-453-3743 to register today!

The expERIEnce Children’s Museum hosts nearly a dozen special events throughout the year, many of which this earnest family has enjoyed thoroughly. Including their signature Breakfast with Santa program, Noon Year’s Eve, Bunny Days, Fancy Tea Party, Jedi Academy, Super Science Day, Future Me- kid’s career fair and more. Upcoming events include a Teacher Workshop on Friday July 8 in their outdoor classroom, Discovery Corner. This workshop is open to educators throughout the country looking to learn more about engaging kids in nature and making art with nature. The workshop does qualify for Act 48 and PQUAS credits. Pre-registration is required and can be found at natureexplore.org.  The museum also hosts an annual ADULTS-only fundraiser on Saturday August 6 called the Street Soiree. Tickets are $50 for members and $65 for nonmembers and can be purchased at eriechildrensmuseum.org The event features live music, delicious local food, drinks of cheer and fun- all to support the children’s museum. We will offer free admission August 18, 19 and 20 to celebrate ERIE during the city’s annual community celebration.


The ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum is truly a gem to the Erie community and a treasure for our children to explore, create, learn and grow.  The vision of ExpERIEnce Museum, according Ainslie Brosig, ED, is that it would be “a place where ALL kids and their families can engage in learning through play. We help to ensure that every child has a chance to play, thrive in school and succeed in life.”  I believe that they have succeeded in this vision and will only continue to be an asset and positive influence on our little Erie community. Please check them out today!

NOTE: earnest mom has not received payment nor promotional items by posting this article. I earnestly love the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum and hope many more of you can get out there to enjoy it too!

x. earnest mom.

 

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It’s That Time of Year! Host a Healthy Baby Home Party for Your and Your Friends!

As you may recall, I hosted a Healthy Baby Home Party last year via Facebook.  We had a great attendance and a TON of prizes.  Want to host your own?! Here is what it is all about!

What is a Healthy Baby Home Party?

Seventh Generation’s home parties are powered by people like you who are focused on creating a healthy environment for the next generation. Developed with input from non-profit partner, Healthy Child Healthy World, they are a great way to get together with friends, share helpful information, and make an impact!

Healthy Baby Home Party kits are provided to all selected hosts and are filled with educational info about our environment, helpful tips, a fun game, and samples and coupons from Seventh Generation and other favorite family-friendly brands like bobble, American Meadows and Zarbee’s Naturals

What is the Application Process?

  • Sign up atgenerationgood.net to join the Generation Good community, or log in if already a member.
  • Accept the Healthy Baby Home Party Application offer on your Generation Good dashboard and complete the application.
  • Applicants will be notified by mid-June if they have been selected to host a party, via an email to the email address assigned to their Generation Good member profile.
  • All selected applicants will then need to confirm their participation by accepting the Healthy Baby Home Party Mission in Generation Good and confirming their shipping address.
  • Hosting spots are open to US residents only at this time. Canadian parties are planned for later in 2016!
  • Full terms and conditions are available within Generation Good in the “Healthy Baby Home Party Application” offer.

So why not apply?  It is a lot of fun plus you will be helping to get the word out about toxins in our everyday lives that we can minimize for a healthier home for you, and a healthier home for baby!

x. earnest mom

I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

I Screen. You Screen. An Earnest look at Sunscreen – plus an earnest give away!

With the summer’s sunny season quickly approaching I have been doing some earnest research on sun safety and our skin.  According to the American Cancer Society, people who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer – sunlight being a main source of UV rays.  If you have been burned once in your life, you may be at a greater risk of developing skin cancer; since our children are dependent on us – lets keep their skin safe.  Of course, this does not mean stay out of the sun completely but to follow basic sun safety.  Seek the shade on sunny days (you will still get UV exposure even in the shade), wear sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), cool long layers, and a hat.

When it comes to sunscreen, most of us buy one of the major brands like the one with the puppy pulling on the girls bathing suit or the one that smells like sunny vacations – hot and tropical, but I would earnestly encourage that we turn that bottle over and read what we are slopping on our skin in the heat of the day.  Remember, our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs all chemicals it comes into contact with instantly – which is directly absorbed into to our bloodstream.

The majority of big brand labels (non-mineral or organic based) sunscreen’s active UV filter ingredients are Oxybenzone, which acts like estrogen in the body; alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women; Rentinyl Acetate, a synthetic vitamin A ingredient – the FDA has raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations; Octinoxate which creates hormone-like activity in the reproductive system, and linked to thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies.  These ingredients are among only some of the concerning ingredients (others are parabens and fragrances) that have been proven to attribute not only to hormone disruption, but have been found to be linked to cancer and skin allergies.  So – whoa, earnest information overload I know, and if you are interested in learning more I urge to you to do some of your own research, start with the Environmental Working Groups website article The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals, and from there check out their other links that are helpful and informative.

Okay, so now what?  Well there are sunscreens out there that are mineral based, which on the whole are much more safer for you than the ingredients already listed. When shopping for a safer sunscreen use the following criteria:

  1. Stay away from ALL aerosol spray screens – the inhalation factor raises too many concerns.
  2. Natural does not always mean safe – check ingredients and avoid the ones listed above.
  3. Stay with mineral based – look for the following ingredients Titanium DioxideZinc Oxide or Mexoryl SX.
  4. Avoid SPF higher than 50, there has been little evidence of the increased protection once the SPF has reached 50. (According the EWG – High-SPF products may give people a false sense of security, tempt them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.)
  5. NO tanning oils – the offer minimal sun protection and placing oil on your skin only magnifies the harmful rays we are trying to protect ourselves from.

If you are not in the mood for looking and researching all ingredients here are some of my favorite, low toxicity exposure sunscreens that I love (and will also be giving away).  For the earnest kiddos, I like BabyGanics, not only is it mineral based but is also friendly on the checkbook.  BabyGanics offers 2 cream based sunscreens (one in a tube, another in non-aerosol, pump spray form) both go on nicely and are fragrance free for sensitive skin, water resistant (80 minutes), tear free, hypoallergenic, and have NO PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.  BabyGanics can be found at Target, Babies R Us and other big box stores that have natural or organic sections.  For the whole earnest family I like The Honest Company‘s Sunscreen Lotion.  It is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen, it is also a bit higher in cost.  If you are already a subscription holder you can get it at a discounted rate, and can also be found at Target stores.  This sunscreen is hypoallergenic, non-Nano, mineral-based, biodegradable, reef-friendly, water resistant (80 minutes)  and pH balanced.

For my everyday facial lotion, I am sure to use a face cream that contains SPF 20, I use UrbanOreganics Green Tea facial moisturizer (you can find my review of the item here).  This cream contains no harsh chemicals and leaves your skin feeling soft and well moisturized, without feeling greasy. It is thick, but not heavy, and will fully absorb into your skin in a matter of minutes. Perfect for all skin types. SPF is from Zinc Oxide and the cream is vegan, organic and contains non GMO ingredients.

Earnest followers, get out and enjoy the sun, its vitamin D, its light and its warmth – but let’s be safe and choose mineral based coverage in addition to covering up when we can. Have fun in the sun!

To Enter To Win Sweepstakes:

Please share your sun safety tips in the comments below (one entry per person) to enter to win an earnest sun safe prize pack that will include my favorite sunscreens listed in this post (UrbanOreganics SPF 20 facial cream, The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen lotion and BabyGanics SPF 50 mineral based sunscreen lotion – valued at over $50.00). Earn extra entries by sharing on Facebook/Twitter and come back and comment “shared” in the comments section.  The earnest giveaway closes 5-31-15 and is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on 6-1-15.  **Participants must 18 years of age or older.

x.

earnest mom.

Earnest Tip:  SPF cannot “add up” – if you use SPF 15 facial cream, then apply SPF 30 suncreen, the protection factor is 30 – it does not add up to 45.  This is a common consumer mistake so lets spread the word and be sun safe.