Today Pixar's new and surely genius film Up is out. Always fun, Pixar movies make for great theater going. For added fun, see Up at Disney's El Capitan Theater in the heart of Hollywood. El Capitan is one of the only movie palaces in Los Angeles still in use today. The sheer opulence alone is reason to go. But, there is also live show before the movie!


Adventure Playgrounds

When we first heard of Adventure Playgrounds, it was in a book on design for children. The playground was in the Netherlands and looked like a 10 year old boy's DREAM! A great deal of lamenting later, we were elated when a good friend told us about one in our own backyard. Here in Southern California, we have one of two playgrounds of this kind in the whole of the USA! (A third in Irvine is closed due to construction)
Children are encouraged to create their own space. They can literally build it themselves. They are encouraged (with adult supervision) to saw and hammer their way into the fort of their dreams.
A pond and rafts allow for Huck Finn type fun.

Adventure Playground
7111 Talbert Ave (approximate location)
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
# 714-842-7442

Opens June 22 and closes August 13, 2009
Hours are Monday through Saturday 10-5 p.m.
Children are $3 and adults are free!
Recommended for ages 5-12.

Here are t
he rules:
Closed Toe Athletic Shoe
s- a must.
(Leave the Crocs at home)
Bring a change of clothes and a bag for the dirty ones- we are talkin' real, real dirt here people- there's a mud slide!
There is a shower and a changing area!

pictures from City of Huntington Beach website


Recycler's Raft

Recycler's Raft has come up with an environmentally sound floating device.  Made from polyester and not pvc plastic this raft will last for years to come!  It floats by inserting empty 2 liter bottles; what a fun way to recycle and relax at the same time!

Eco Friendly Beach Toys

Green Toys makes these sand toys from recycled milk cartons.

This block from Spielstabil is made from pvc-free plastic and is perfect for making sand castles.  Here's to Summer Fun!


How safe is your sunscreen?

As summer approaches, we will be slathering ourselves in sunscreen.  While the little ones we know are covered in California Baby, what are the adults in their lives wearing and what chemicals do those lotions and potions contain?  The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database answers this question.  The database is user friendly and is searchable by brand and product category.  You might be shocked to learn how toxic some popular products are, even ones from natural brands.  But never fear!  This site makes it easy to discern which products are toxin free.  Much to our relief many are from familiar brands available at your local stores.  So wherever you are and whatever you wear, you can now be safe for you and your wee ones.  Let the Sunshine in!


Frank Lloyd Wright + Legos!

Over the weekend, I heard on NPR that Lego has introduced a new line - The Architecture Series. The first available of this series is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous buildings -the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Available through the Guggenheim's online store. This set is a mere $40 or $36 for members. This is a Lego set one could look at for some time to come.


The next in the series will be Fallingwater.
All Things Considered on NPR has an interview with the Architect for Lego, Adam Reed Tucker, who designed these sets.


Fallingwater will be an 800 piece interactive set. The house will be
... 'actually interactive," Tucker says. "It actually comes apart in a puzzlelike formation so you can get into the guts of the building and see the levels, understand his use of cantilever and how the forms play together."
Lego has created a piece where play and learning intersect. With this new line, Lego hopes to inspire a new flock of young designers!
picture courtesy of Wikepedia

Paradise Cove

Sometimes a name really does say it all! This private beach in Malibu makes an already fun outing even better. The beach and surrounding cliffs are reminiscent of a 50's beach movie. Pay to park and enjoy the many amenities that are offered. A full bar and restaurant allow you to refuel. You can eat inside or outside on the sand patio. Better yet, order take out and eat on the beach. There is an area with umbrellas and chairs along with a few comfy beds! (When we were there, people seemed to allow mothers with children first dibs) Feel free to bring your own tents, cabanas, and umbrellas. There are showers and a dressing room. Restrooms located in both the restaurant and the dressing rooms.

p.s. Bring along your fishing pole, they allow fishing on their pier!


Clothing Labels for Summer Camp

Summer is coming! Summer is coming! Time to get all the gear ready. As summer quickly approaches, help quash the time honored tradition of losing one shoe and a favorite sweater to the camp gods. Love Labels not only has a great variety of labels, they have a range of colors and icons too! These bag tags make finding the lunch box at the end of the day so much easier.

Their clothing labels ensure you come home with all your rash guards, towels, and sweaters.


Note: All orders are multiple. Bag tags come in groups of six and iron-on labels come in packs of 72. If you don't feel you would use that many- perhaps use just your last name for all your children.

Ultimate Camp Pack includes:

* 15 Regular Sticker Labels - great for water bottles and plastic or metal snack containers

* 30 Slimline Labels- toothbrushes,etc.

* 48 Press n’ Stick Clothing DOTS- perfect for t-shirts & sweaters!

* 8 Shoe Labels- great for all shoes!

* 2 Metal Mini Tags - for lunch sacks and backpacks

* 20 Connect with me! Camper Cards

You may also want to consider getting a few of their iron on labels for sleeping backs, blankets, and towels.

Allergy Labels

Also, helpful and comforting are the Allergy Labels that they carry. Great for preschools, schools or camp. Not easily missed, these labels require one to be aware of pertinent information. They come in packs of 30. http://www.lovablelabels.ca/Product.aspx?id=174


Natural Playgrounds

Natural Playgrounds is a family owned company run by Ron King and his son, Ethan, child advocates and experts on natural environments.  They provide playground design and construction.  Dedicated to a low-carbon footprint and improving children's lives through play; Natural Playgrounds is a kindred spirit company.  Their vision for playgrounds across the country will inspire you to think about the spaces in your city and even your own backyard.  All children should be so lucky to play in such an environment!  To read more about their work and the research supporting the benefits of natural play spaces please visit their website: 


Who Knew? Helium is running out!

While on a hunt for ecofriendly balloons, we learned that helium is a limited resource. Who knew? And if you already did, gold star for you! Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe. However, it is so light and incapable of bonding with other elements that it escapes from the earth's atmosphere. Thus, the only usable form of helium requires excavating it from radiocative decay. Unlike hydorcarbon fuels, helium is non-renewable and within the next 7 years it will be a gas of the past. Unless, of course we start recycling it. A day where we recycle helium, now that's a green planet!


All Crafters Rejoice!

The Urban Craft Center

Where have we been? Right in our own backyard is Santa Monica's very own Urban Craft Center(www.theurbancraftcenter.com).   An ingenious concept, here you can rent studio time to work on projects, commune with fellow crafters, take classes, and buy supplies!  This is a crafter's respite in the middle of LA's hustle and bustle.   If you live on the Westside(or anywhere in Los Angeles for that matter)you will want to run right over!


Green Party Supplies!

Doesn't Martha Stewart always have the most inspiring photos!

As we enter into the season of backyard barbecues, fiestas, and picnics, we thought now would be as good a time as any to dish about the great green party supplies we’ve come across.

They have a favorite,
"Why didn’t I think of that?" product-

Biodegradable Crepe Paper AND Biodegradable Paper Garland!!

How did we all not think of this?!

They also have corn based plastics cups! Which means that they can be left in the compost.
You can find cups, lids, and straws! Just remember to put them in the compost or trash and NOT the recycling. If a bit of corn based plastic is mixed with petroleum based plastics at the recycling center- the petroleum plastic is no longer reusable!

Bees Wax Birthday Candles

While Green Party Supplies have handmade beeswax candles,
we are partial to the colored variety offered by Santa Fe Candle Company.
You can order in bulk over the phone or email them for local retailers. Both the color and the recyclable packaging make these a sure favorite!


An all around favorite is Preserve.
This company makes an ever expanding line of recycled plastic products. They are aligned with Stoneybrook farms and a large portion of their products are made from recycled yogurt containers!!
They have a wonderful collection of vibrantly colored plastic tableware: plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives, and cups.
And when it’s time to clean up –everything can be tossed in the recycling bin! Happy Days.

They can be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Fresh and Easy, online and out and about.
They may be everywhere at this point but they are still cool!
And their toothbrushes work great!

Eco Friendly Balloons

All latex balloons are biodegradable and compostable. They will break down in about 6 months. About the same length of time as it takes for an oak leaf! Thanks to Babyccinno we know about a company that helps if you want to be even more conscious of your footprint. Little Cherry Company, in Britain, has latex balloons which are created from FSC certified forests, and are fair traded! The balloons come in magnificently vibrant colors.
Also, they have a line of tableware made from Sal and Siali Leaves from India. They are fair-traded and handmade. Their website suggests they are best suited for sit down events versus buffets. They are compostable after use.


Real Life Dollhouse!

This has been floating around the blogosphere for a while now, but it bears repeating. Situated in a Saskatchewan Field, Heather Benning replaced the back of the house with Plexiglas for true dollhouse viewing. Within the home, she filled the rooms with furnishing circa 1960's around the time the house was abandoned. The project was finished in 2006, no word on whether it's still out there in the field.


On the market right now. . .

Now that we have you good and inspired here are a sampling of the wide range of dollhouses on the market.

For a budding Ed Begley, Jr.
Plan Toys has a green dollhouse which has among other features, a wind turbine, solar panels, and rain collection system. All this and more to help the young environmentalist learn all about sustainability.

If you are a child on the go- no worries, take your house with you...

The most recognizable, of the carry and go dollhouses, is from Dutch design house Kids on Roof- their great turquoise and red colored modern designed cardboard house is not only visually pleasing, it is also kind to the earth! Made from recycled cardboard- it is also recyclable when (if ever) the home is out grown.

A more stationary, bare dollhouse is made by Cardboard Designs for Kids. They make a three story dollhouse that one can decorate with fabric, wallpaper, paint etc. as their website notes-“perfect for a budding interior designer”.

For the girl who wishes to build her own:
Totem Nature
By Kids on Roof (5% of the sales of the Totem Nature line will go to UNICEF)

And for the traditionalist,
Greenleaf Designs has a delightful three story Victorian. It arrives un-assembled and unpainted so as to be one’s own clean slate.

Real Good Toys, also, has an extensive selection of good old fashioned doll houses. An impressive collection.

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