Going green in 21 ways

Going green kid

When we talk about going green, we imagine expensive, organic foods and things. Some think about the effort required and impracticality involved. In retrospect, going green is not as difficult or expensive as it may seem – if you know the ways. After all, we are the residents of the Earth and it is our responsibility to take good care of it NOW and for the FUTURE.

Did you know?

family enjoying nature

  • 95% – energy saved by recycling an aluminium can versus creating the can from raw aluminium.
  • 61% – women’s lipstick, out of the 33 popular brands tested, found to contain lead in a test by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics in 2007.
  • 60% – reduction in developmental problems in children in China who were born after a coal-burning power plant closed in 2006.
  • 40% – energy saved by recycling newsprint over producing it from raw materials.
  • 5% – world’s carbon dioxide emissions produced by air travel.

You can gradually make the change by carrying out one change each week:

1. Turn your computer off at the end of the day. It’s still sucking up energy although you may have put it to sleep mode.

Use recycled shopping bags

2. You’re probably doing this already – donate old newspapers to animal shelters and participating groups. Take your plastic shopping bags back to participating grocery stores. Better yet, purchase cloth or canvas grocery bags and skip that part altogether.

3. Bring your own mug to the coffee kiosk. Some give discounts for this!

   Online boarding pass

4. Save your e-ticket instead of printing our boarding passes when travelling.

5. Rent a hybrid car on your next road trip.

6. Schedule your errands back-to-back to save petrol and time or walk when possible.

7. Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the news online instead.

8. Share your magazines after reading by passing them to your friends or doctor’s office.

9. Pack your lunch and your kids’ in an insulated lunch bag instead of paper or plastic bags.

10. Use rechargeable batteries and learn how to dispose old batteries properly.

Natural home cleaning products

11. Make very effective, non-toxic home cleaning products. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.

12. Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Instead of using a dryer, hang-dry them on a clothesline or rack.

13. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins at dinner.

14. Have a go at having one meatless meal each week. Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can.

15. Ditched bottled mineral water and use a water filter to purify tap water instead.

16. Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.

17. Plant drought-tolerant local plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering.

garage-sale3

18. Instead of buying new, get gently used preloved items. Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.

19. Wear clothes that don’t need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.

20. Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.

21. Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. Although you might pay more, you’ll be happy when you don’t have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).

Have you got more tips on how to be more environmentally responsible? Share with us!

 

 

 

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Swaddling a baby – the dos & donts

For first-time parents who are completely new to the world of babyhood, swaddling may be a skill that needs practising. I still remember our struggle in wrapping up our newborn – just like how he was handed to us by the nurse – on the first night since he came home from the hospital. Armed with a baby book flipped to the “Swaddling” page and a teddy bear as our trial guinea pig, it took us almost half an hour before we got it right and had our baby go back to sleep peacefully.

Here’s an easy diagram on how to swaddle a baby, if you’re using the conventional one-piece cloth:

Step by step to swaddling a baby

There are many benefits of swaddling your baby:

  1. Babies sleep better – Swaddling helps babies stay asleep, and get comforted quickly. A properly-swaddled baby feels warm and secure, and the wrap can help prevent a baby from the occasional newborn startle-reflex.
  2. Less crying – The startle-reflex causes baby to throw his arms and legs up, an overstimulation that usually leads to crying. When swaddled, these jerky movements are minimized.
  3. Fewer scratches – Newborn nails grow fast. The jerky movements in their sleep may cause them to scratch their face. With their arms wrapped inside, they are less likely to do so.

If your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled, you can try swaddling him a bit looser or leaving his arms out of the blanket altogether. However, there are also disadvantages associated with swaddling:

  1. Your baby may get overheated, which is also a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  2. Long-term swaddling will limit your infant’s movements.

In a nutshell – as in everything in life – practice moderation. Balance is key. As babies usually begin to roll over between two to five months old, it is a good time to stop swaddling and get your baby to fall asleep on his own.

Here are some high quality swaddles available at Happikiddo:

Soffy Poffy Swaddle Blanket

Soffy Poffy Swaddle Blanket
Very easy to use with a slot to insert baby’s legs, it is made of bamboo fibre material and is naturally cool for newborns.

Little Bean Swaddle Wrap
Little Bean Swaddle Wrap
Perfect for babies to feel snug and secure, it is made of 100% cotton and comes in various adorable prints. Available in sizes of 0-3 months and 3-6 months.

Bubble Wrap
Bubble Wrap
Measuring a generous 120cm square of muslin wrap made from 100% pure pre-washed cotton, it can used for traditional swaddling, or as a blanket, nursing cover, buggy cover or even a burp cloth. Each pack comes with 3 wraps.

Swaddle Designs Swaddle DuoSwaddle Designs Swaddle Duo
The set comprises two lightweight, breathable and soft cotton swaddling blankets. There’s a marquisette blanket for warm weather and a flannel blanket for cool to moderate temperatures. A wonderful gift for new parents!

Ergo Cocoon Air
Ergo Cocoon Air
True to its name, it’s made from super soft, natural and breathable bamboo. No zips, no Velcro and no unravelling. It keeps baby swaddled and sleeping comfortably on the hottest days and nights.

Once baby attempts to roll over, you can begin the transition to sleeping bag. These are some good options:

Ergo Cocoon

A multifunction swaddle that can be later converted into a sleeping bag, it’s made of organic cotton and has a two-way zipper for quick nappy change. There are arm poppers for transition to sleeping bag. Available in sizes of 0-3 months and 3-12 in 0.2tog ideal for the local climate.

Grobag

Grobag
This award-winning sleeping bag is a safe alternative to traditional sheets and blankets. There are no covers to kick off or get tangled in, ensuring a cosy and safe night. It’s 0.5tog and comes in sizes of 0-6 months and 6-18 months.

For more variety and designs, please visit our website and drop by any of our stores.

10 tips to great family portraits

one-happy-family

The day is coming and your excitement is growing. You have hired a good photographer to capture the memories of your family. You have envisioned nicely coordinated, candid shots that reflect the true essence of your togetherness. You desperately need to get this right. In addition to engaging an experienced photographer with your desired photography style, here are some tips to ensure an awesome outcome:

1. Prepare in advance
Create anticipation by telling your family members about the upcoming photo shoot. Let them know what to expect. For kids, tell them the session is a big game and promise them a treat if they cooperate and allow the photographer to get some nice pictures while they have fun. Show them a picture of the photographer as well as some of his work.

2. Do your homework
Look for examples of photos that you like in Pinterest or Google images and show them to your photographer a week before. On the day of photography, put these photos in your iPad and brief the family about achieving something of the desired effect.

Yellow_Grey_Family

3. Coordinate the clothings  
Gone were the days when everyone wore the same colours and looked matching to the core. Instead, pick several coordinating colours (ie. yellow, blue and grey) to play around with. Mixing neutral tones with one or two pop colours usually makes the photos more interesting. The bigger the family, the more colours you can choose from. Rule of thumb is – you can wear one, two or a combination of these colours in various forms or tiny doses such as accessories, scarf, shoes and so on. Make sure the clothes are clean and well-pressed. 

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4. Choose a natural location
Where would you like the photos to be taken? Where’s your favourite family place? You may opt to have the session at home sweet home, or your kids’ favourite park. Bottom line is, choose somewhere that actually means something to the family and allow everyone to relax and let loose.

5. Select a good timing
Pick a time when your kids are usually in their best mood or behaviour. Make sure they are well fed and contented before that. Perhaps mid-morning after breakfast or some time after their afternoon nap?

6. Keep it natural
To get happy, candid shots, stay relaxed and let the kids be themselves and play around. Don’t force them to pose or do a certain something as the calmer and natural-looking portraits will come later. Give them their favourite toy or bring them to their favourite swing. 

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7. Beware of flying hair
Always get the family member with long hair to stand on the downwind side of the family. This will keep her hair from blowing across the face of another person or all over hers. 

8. Optimise the advantage of different heights
Instead of standing or sitting in a leveled line, get the group to sit on a staircase or a small hill with different level of heights, while positioning themselves closely to each other. This will create a differentiated interest in the pose.

9. Take a break
If the children become restless, give everyone a break. This will be a good opportunity to shoot candids of the kids too. Everyone will come back with a smile and ready to give their best again after that.

10. Be yourself
Wear something everyone is comfortable in, add a little more make-up and do a proper blow-out. Behave how you usually do when mingling with the family, don’t be too stressed out about it and enjoy the moment.

 

 

Dos and Don’ts of Starting Solids

Weaning your baby

Your baby is approaching her sixth month and you’re getting excited. Anxious too. Starting solids is an exciting milestone for both parents and babies. It’s the beginning of their journey to the wonderful world of culinary! Armed with tips from other parents and knowledge from your research in Google, you’re determined to give your baby the best and healthiest start to her food experience. But how do you know if your baby is ready for it and where do you start?

In a nutshell, look for cues such as steady head control, ability to keep and swallow solid food as well as sitting upright unsupported. Her appetite may also increase,  where she seems hungry even after milk feeds and becomes more curious about what you’re eating.

There are several approaches to weaning, with the most common being giving pureed and mashed food from 6-12 months before graduating to porridge. If you’re adventurous and want to raise a child who is aware of her food choices, likes and dislikes, and enjoys feeding herself from early on, you may want to look into another method of starting solids known as Baby-Led Weaning. This approach allows baby the independence and confidence to feed herself with a variety of solid foods in bite-size form. My first child was raised with the traditional weaning method while my second child took the baby-led weaning approach. I’m glad to report that if I were to have a third baby, I will choose baby-led weaning without a doubt too. Click here to find out more.

Mums at Happikiddo share the several dos and don’ts of starting solids:

Starting solids baby

DOS

  • Be patient and wait until the sixth month before introducing the grown-up foods as your baby’s system may not be able to digest it if you start much earlier. You may also miss a crucial window of interest if you wait too long.
  • Even if your baby doesn’t like a certain food at her first taste, keep trying. It may take six to 10 attempts before she accepts the taste of pureed spinach. Don’t give up!
  • Skip the boring rice cereal. Start with avocado, banana, or pureed sweet potato. Allow your baby to explore the food by letting her see, touch and smell it first. You may want to mix it with some breastmilk or formula milk.  Let your baby see, handle, and smell the food first.
  • There’s no need to delay meat for too long. Give varieties. Add spices. Combine meat or egg yolk with some cereal or pureed veggies – babies love it!
  • Eat together as a family from the first bite. Your baby will soon understand that being on a table means it’s time to eat, which also translates that everyone sits and enjoys food together. No more running after your toddler with a bowl and spoon trying to feed him.

DON’TS

  • Never add rice cereal to your baby’s bottle as this can make it easier for babies to gag or choke.
  • Avoid fresh milk, honey and runny eggs before baby’s first birthday. Baby’s digestive system is not ready to process the properties in honey before that. Cow’s milk does not provide sufficient nutrition that baby needs during the early stage too. Keep on breastfeeding as long as you can.
  • There’s no need to wait three to five days between foods, unless your family has a history of food allergies. Giving mixtures of foods and introducing them quickly creates a more adventurous, happy eater. If your baby seems to be tolerating the foods well, go for it!
  • Don’t worry about offering fruit or vegetables first for fear of rejecting the latter. It doesn’t matter. Baby’s tastebuds are underdeveloped then and will be keen to try anything.

In addition to the conventional way of preparing baby food – wok for steaming and fork as masher – here are several gadgets that will make your life easier:

Little Bean Multi Function Food Processor

Little Bean Multi-Function Food Processor
Get your baby’s food ready in a safe, fast and healthy way. It can heat up food, defrost, steam, chop and blend. Also includes three storage cups with measurements.

Avent Steamer & Blender

Philips Avent Combined Steamer & Blender
This multi-functional processor allows you to steam fruit, vegetables, fish or meat. Simply lift and flip the jar over to blend it, with no transfer of food required! For steaming, just flip the jar over too. It includes a spatula, a measuring cup and a recipe booklet.

BabycookClassic

 

Beaba Babycook Original
This is the baby food processor that works well and looks good! In the market for over 20 years, it steam-cooks, blends, defrosts, and reheats. Nutrients in food are preserved. It comes with a spatula, a mixing lid and a recipe booklet.

BabycookProx2

Beaba Babycook Duo
It’s a full course meal for baby with the Babycook Duo range. You can steam-cook a savoury food in a jug, and blend a dessert in another. Or prepare a meal for two children at one go. Its large capacity jugs allow you to cook and freeze in advance, saving time and effort.  The set includes a spatula, two mixing & smoothie filter lids, as well as a recipe booklet.

Touch and feel the products by visiting any of our stores today or click here to order online.