Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making New Year's Resolutions That Last!

Well, the new year snuck up on me just like every year, how about you? It seems every year I make the same new years resolutions.  This year I've decided to take a different approach that I have been working on with other goals (personal and professional). 

This year, I'm coming up wi th a new plan. It's a three layer system appraoch. First, I'm writing down my dreams for the next 5 years.  Am I heading in the direction that will help me reach these dreams. If not, I'm breaking it down into small parts. The second layer is to decide what big goals need to be met to ge closer to my dreams.  This puts it into something tangible that I can cross off a list.  This would usually include items I usually put on my new years resolutions. 

But that won't be good enough this year.  The third layer is to break these goals into small baby steps.  With small baby steps, I can cross things off sooner and the new changes won't be such a big leap that ends up failing after a week or month.  Let's come up with example to illustrate my point.

My dream is to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I'm already heading in that direction and to some people, I'm well on my way. Let's pretend this is a new concept that I want to integrate into my family life. I nstead of going the extreme direction and radically change my life (and my family's too), I'm going to make a list of things I'd like to work on this year. 

Eat local and mostly organic foods
Grow an organic garden
Switch to cloth diapers
Reduce my water consumption 30%
Reduce amount of plastic in my home 50%

Ok this is already a fairly large list for a newbie, but I wanted to give a variety of examples on the list. Next, I need to break this into bite size steps and work my way to these bigger goals.

So for organic foods, maybe I'd start by learning which fruits and vegetables are most important to eat organic. Then as the food already in my home gets eaten, I then add organic foods into the pantry. In the meantime, I'm going to start reading labels on the foods in my grocery store. What's in them and where did they come from? I'll build on this until I reach my goal and make it a slow process. 

Maybe with cloth diapers, I can start by attending one of our workshops or calling us up and using us to learn all I need to know. Then I would ask any friends or even strangers how it has been working for them and their preferences of diapers. Once I'm ready to take the leap, I might start with diapers and then work my way to cloth wipes.

So what are some of the changes you are thinking about making? Are you moving in the direction of your dreams? If not, how are you planning to get back on track?

Happy New Year,


Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Friday, December 30, 2011

Flip Trainers-Our Insight

We've officially been testing out these trainers for about 4 weeks now and have primarily been using them as added fluff to our cloth diaper stash.  Technically, they are designed to assist your toddler in moving out of diapers and using the potty.  I'm confident my son Tyler will get there when he's ready but we're both not ready to take that leap.  SO, I can only give you my input about the technical details and reasons I like them as a diaper and not necessarily as a trainer.

These trainers are by far the best designed trainers I've tested out yet.  They are very trim and adjustable to toddlers 20lbs to 50 lbs.  They can truly be pulled up and down by your toddler.  The kits that are available for purchase right now are offered for a limited time. I think this is a great deal for what it all entails.  I have 5 extra pads (look like a double) that are organic cotton and have used these inside the shell and also inside other pocket diapers for extra absorbency.  These trainers could also be used at night time as a diaper with 2 or 3 pads stacked inside the shell.  So basically you get 5 diaper changes for $25-not bad!!!

The pads attach to the inside of the shell with a hook/loop system and so nothing slides around.  Since the shell is a laminated polyester like most other covers for cloth diapers (e.g. Thirsties covers), it can be reused over and over again in one day.  The pads are also absorbent like a normal cloth diaper but since it is 100%, your toddler will feel wet.

Right now, we just have the "gender neutral" kits in stock which has the vanilla color with a turquoise blue.  It's nothing fancy or super exciting like our other printed diapers.  But it certainly gets the job done and works for boys and girls.

I'll post pictures of Tyler wearing them soon!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Give Your Presence as a Present!

I don't know about you but something about the day or two before Christmas sends anxiety over me that I haven't given enough "gifts" to our kids or my husband.  I feel this burning desire to jump back into my car with credit card in hand.  It's not a good feeling!

I imagine that after opening all the presents, my daughter will say, "Is that it?" or "But I REALLY wanted..." But you know what?  She might say that even if I dash back out there and buy more.  This isn't what the season is about.  And what Rita Clare and Tyler and Brian (spouse) really want is quality time with me.  What good am I if I leave during this holiday and go shopping?  I come back tired, they've been having fun without me, and we now have less money to spend on other fun events together.

Today, I am making a few extra surprise gifts to add to the Christmas tree.  No wrapping necessary!  They are going to be those cheesy coupons we gave our parents (and I've been known to do this for Brian too).  With two young kids and a busy lifestyle, I want to plan out fun events of one-on-one time with each of them to use this upcoming year.  Spending intentional time together builds our relationship and creates memories that last a lifetime.  I know I can remember some of those moments growing up and still like to think back to those.  Maybe it's going out to lunch just the two of you.  Maybe it is doing an art project together.  Get creative and cater it to the interests of your recipient!

So, share a nice warm drink together and enjoy these next few days where we are given an excuse to do nothing but spend quality time together.



P.S. If you are making coupons like this, what are in yours this year?

Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks = Happy!

I recently heard that happier people tend to be those who are more grateful.  I know I'd like to be one of those people.  Why does it take a special day for me to step back and acknowledge all that I am thankful for?  Why don't I acknowledge how blessed I am all day, every day?

Oddly enough, we also find these moments during times of tragedy.  Recently, my Uncle Steve died.  Out of his death, I felt more connected to those I love than I had in while.  Why did it take that event to get me to that place?  In some of my most painful moments, I have been more grateful for the support of my friends and family than any other time.

Well, today I am going to seize the opportunity and give thanks.  After all, it IS the focus of the day.  I truly have more blessings than I deserve.  Our life this past year has been turned upside down over and over again.  Despite some hardships, we are stronger as a family unit than ever before.  I have found more balance and peace.  I'd like to think that I've become a bit wiser too! :o)

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours,


Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Myth Buster: ANOTHER Load of Laundry?

It's true that once you have a baby (or two or three children), there's always laundry to do.  The idea that you'd be adding more to that pile, just seems off putting.  I get it!

The good news is that you can launder cloth diapers with less time and effort than all the rest of your laundry.  If you are able to afford a 3 day supply (and I recommend working toward that!), you are only doing a load 2 times a week.  The amount of time you are actually spending doing that laundry is probably 10 minutes a week.  Even better, you don't have to worry about ironing, folding, or even putting the cloth diapers away.  It can be as easy as throwing the clean diapers in a laundry basket from the dryer and pulling from that basket when it's time to do a change. (On those REALLY lazy days, I have been known to leave the diapers in the dryer and pull clean ones from there!)

If you use diapers like GroVia's all-in-ones, Tots Bots Easy Fit Diaper, bumGenius All-in-Ones, or Tots Bots Tini Fit Diaper, you don't even need to stuff or assemble the diaper.  That's it!

For those veteran's currently using cloth diapers, how has the extra loads been for you?



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Myth Buster: Cloth Diapers Cause More Leaks!


This is a common concern I hear when I meet with families first considering a cloth diaper investment.  And certainly having leaking issues is an extra hassle no one wants to deal with.  I'm pleased to share a few insights in avoiding leaks in cloth diapers. In fact, I often here about less "blow outs" that many disposable diapers cause (especially the up the back leaks!).

1. Proper Size & Fit- You want to make sure your baby is in the correct size.  Don't try and purchase a larger size to save money.  The diaper should fit snug around the legs and waist.  Gaping in the legs is a big culprit of leaking issues, especially with newborns and boys in particular.

2. Wearing Diaper Correctly- It is always a good idea to make sure that you read the directions on your diaper label and/or visually see how to properly put on the cloth diaper.  If you haven't stuffed a pocket diaper correctly, haven't tucked in that prefold inside the cover, you'll have leaks.

3.  Changing Often Enough- Cloth diapers are much more absorbent than they have ever been.  That being said, they still need to be changed about every 1.5 hours to 2 hours.  Technically, that's how often you should be changing your baby in disposables but the companies make it absorbent enough to go much longer (read: health hazard!).  Now, night time is a different story in cloth diapers.  We use a pocket diaper stuffed more than usual to make it all night long.  Since there is a nice fleece liner used to keep your baby dry, we are able to make it all night in one diaper.  Everyone is comfortable and dry!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Monday, November 7, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Raise Your Sustainable Family

This list was put together just off the top of my head and could go on and on.  However, if you're looking for some ways to live a bit more sustainable, here's a good start. I'd love your additions in the comment section!

Top 10 Sustainable Living Ideas for your Family

  1. Start with your baby.  It’s easy to bring in a lot of excess “stuff” when baby comes.  Looks for ways to reduce (avoid a lot of unnecessary baby gear), look to reuse as much as possible (cloth diapers, used clothing)), and find creative ways to “upcycle” what you already have around the house that you might just recycle.  For instance, baby wipes containers can be used for storage of many items around the house.

  1. Skip plastic and work toward getting it out of your house.  Even with BPA regulations, we don’t know the harmful impact of BPA alternatives are right now. Glass, stainless steel, silicone, wood materials are a worthwhile investment.

  1. Eat in season and try to rely on your farmer’s markets for your produce.  Less miles traveled, the food is fresher, it supports your local economy.

  1. Try and eat as much organic as possible.  Memorize the “Dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables and make that a starting point.

  1. Look for ways to reduce your water consumption: turning off water while brushing teeth and washing face, hang dry clothes, don’t shower everyday, purchase water savers in toilets and shower heads that turn off.

  1. Compost your food scraps.  It will be your fertilizer for your garden.  It reduces waste in your trash.

  1. Grow an organic garden.  It will save you money, it is great exercise, it helps you appreciate where your food comes from, and skip the pesticides.

  1. Weatherize your home.  Keep drafts out of your home by sealing your windows and underneath your doors.  Insulate your heater coils. You’ll save money, you’ll be more comfortable, and you won’t be wasting money.

  1. Invest in energy efficient household items.  Sometimes cities will offer rebate, look for good sales.

  1. Purchase in bulk as much as possible but pay attention to how the bulk items are packaged.  A lot of bulk items that make items in “portioned sizes” use a lot of excess packaging.  All this extra packaging is unnecessary.

BONUS: Avoid purchasing any single use item as a rule of thumb.  It’s usually more expensive and all that packaging will be trash for a long time for one use.  


Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Friday, November 4, 2011

Too Clean to Be Green

Germs.  They are everywhere and we have become a culture that tries to sterilize everything.  As a parent, I can understand it.  There's not much worse than seeing your child suffering when you can't do much about it.  It's especially concerning with newborns because they are so vulnerable and most over the counter medication isn't safe for them.

I believe part of this cultural need stems from all the fear that has been driving us here in the US.  I often hear people justifying a bigger car because they are afraid of being hurt.  We run out to the stores to buy what "everyone else" has partly out of fear of not fitting in.  Don't get me started on how this plagues us as parents.  My daughter an outcast?  That feels scary.  We buy those shopping cart covers because who knows what's on them?

So, we fear getting sick and maybe covertly this reflects a fear of mortality.  The pharmaceutical companies feed into this and market their products to us, so we will buy their products.  Anti-bacterial gels/wipes/sprays anyone?  At my daughter's music class, it's practically not an option to pass on using that gel the teacher brings to each child.

Most often, all it takes to clean up around our house is some good 'ol fashioned vinegar and baking soda (occasionally hydrogen peroxide).  But people bring out the BIG GUNS...just in case, right?  Bleach (chlorine) is put into practically all of our store bought cleaners.  It is, however, unnecessary to use in most household settings. Shed the toxic bleach and make your own cleaner- it's super easy, less expensive, and MUCH better on Mother Earth (kinda like cloth diapers!).

Getting back to the issue of germs.  There seems to be a spectrum of people who range from believing germs are bad and need to be zapped immediately all the way to those who embrace germs believing they can actually help us.

I have to admit that I'm probably somewhere in the middle of the road but lean toward embracing germs.  I especially lean when it comes to my two children (4 & under).  Some of you are probably judging me believing that I'm being negligent or not protecting my children.  But studies are also showing that if we allow our children to build up their immunity at a young age, their immune system is stronger and they have lower rates of allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases in adulthood.

I still believe it's important to have good hand-washing routines.  We don't need the "anti-bacterial"soap.  Instead, some of LuSa Organics soap would be perfect! And I do believe we should be cautious about infectious diseases but let go of that fear and find some balance.

I even give our kids a supplemental bacteria daily.  Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in the large intestine.  By maintaining a healthy balance of these good bacteria, our body can protect itself better from the harmful bacteria.

Buying organic foods can also prevent some of the food-borne illnesses that have been causing massive amounts of recalled food.  Even today, I learned that cantaloupe is being recalled for having listeria on it and causing deaths. This is something to be concerned about and well worth spending a few more on the organic selection.

So what about you? Where do you fall on the spectrum?  What cleaners do you use at home?  Do you use those shopping cart covers to protect your child in the grocery store?

Here's another article on the topic, if you're interested in reading more about it.



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Goo

We're ready for hours of playtime using only a few ingredients that we already have around the house.  Whether we're at home, at a restaurant, traveling, or at a playdate, this goo is a hot ticket item in our house. Good news-it doesn't leave a resitudeo to stick to anything but itself!

8 oz white or carpenter's glue
3/4 cup water
food coloring (optional)
1 teaspoon 20 Mule Team borax
1-2 TB water

Combine first three ingredients.  In a separate bowl, combine the last two.  Add the borax mixture to the glue mixture, stirring until a "blob" forms.  Remove the blob from the mixture. Add a new batch of the borax mixture to the glue mixture.  Repeat the process until the glue mixture is all gone.  Knead all the blobs together.  Store in an airtight container.

Most of all, have FUN!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mom's Time Out Fall Market: The Place to Shop!

Whether you're ready to do some early holiday shopping or ready to enjoy the beautiful weather this time of year, our Mom's Time Out event is definitely the place to be.  I don't know any other event where I'm supporting both local businesses AND mom-run operations AND building community like our markets. I guarantee you won't find anyone asking you to sign up for a credit card, sell you an inflated cheap item, or encounter a rude face behind the booth.  Our event is fun in spirit and the positive energy is a breath of fresh air.

So come out to Earth Fare tomorrow and we promise a great time!


Jen Starks
MTO Member and Co-Founder

Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Friday, September 30, 2011

Starting a Babysitting Co-op!

A great idea for saving some money is to find a group of friends with whom you can start a babysitting co-op.  It's very simple to do and will save on childcare and the stress of bringing your kids to the grocery store. Who wouldn't enjoy more date nights? This works for families with parents at home or working out of the home because it works around your schedule!

Here's how it works:

-Gather a group of friends for your initial meeting.
-Give each person a coupon book of 30 coupons.
-Each coupon is worth 1 hours of child care, and this was how you pay each other.
-The Co-op can be used to grocery shop, clean house, or have an evening out (or you can come up with your own agreed upon rules).
-Members are free to specify if they wanted to baby-sit during the daytime, evening, or weekends.
-One could always say "no" on an occasion that wasn't convenient.
-Have a once-in-a-while meeting meeting to meet new members and keep up with how many coupons members have accumulated.

I know Claire on our team and some of my good friends are currently in a babysitting co-op.  I'd love to hear their insight and feedback!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

New Initiative: Finding More Ways to Save Green (Money)!

One of my new initiatives with Ecological Babies new year is to offer some suggestions of ways to save your family money so that you have more financial freedom to invest in other purchases you might not otherwise be able to afford.  So for example, say you REALLY like the GroVia all-in-one diaper but you don't have the budget to have your stash filled with it. With some extra spending money, you can upgrade at no additional cost to you!  I know I'd personally like to invest in higher quality items and perhaps save money for trips.  You might have other priorities!

We hope you find some value in this initiative and look forward to hearing your feedback!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reflections & Resolutions

What a busy year for us!  We went from launching our natural parenting products to adding a new location, and even hiring Claire Williamson.  I have to admit, having Claire on board our team has been a highlight. Partnering with others really helps bring in fresh new ideas and discussions!  Of course, Ecological Babies would absolutely not be operating if it weren't for my amazingly talented web designer, Liz Buzone.  Thank you Liz for ALL that you do!!!

Every year on our birthday, I like to do a little "R & R".  Nope, not rest and relax!  Rather, I like to see the day as the beginning of a new year and reflect & develop some resolutions.  It's time for planning and improving and going back through our notes when we first developed our mission.  

Here's some of the key points in my notes of what I originally wanted integrated into our mission:
-Creating value through our products & education.
-Developing relationships with those that we serve and work with in the community.
-Desire to serve society rather than exploit. Something many big box stores don't embrace.
-For me to be able gain balance and peace within my self and help others too.
-Promoting simplicity, social justice, community, and spirituality. These are values that stem from a volunteer year I spent with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC).  Spirituality in the sense of connecting people to each other and their environment, whatever beliefs you may have.
-For me to gain autonomy to be home raising my children.  

In reflecting on ways I believe we can improve, I've come up with a short list that will sound a bit vague.  But as I continue to dwell on these topics, I'll put more details into motion. Most of all, I'd love your feedback!

Ways of Improvement:
-More education.  I'd like to offer more discussions on topics related to cloth diapers to offer more support and guidance. In addition, I want to become more a resource on other topics related to our mission: natural parenting, attachment parenting, simplicity, community building, etc.  
-Faster Shipping.  I have to be honest.  Right now, it's an effort to ship out orders.  I want to become more efficient to minimize efforts and costs, and to be able to ship within 24 hours.
-Quicker Follow up.  We want to offer as much support to you as possible.  You should expect us to return your message or reply by email within 24 hours at the latest. 
-Find more ways to build community.  Since we're home-based, our main presence is online.  And while we can connect online to many people at once, we can connect better when we are physically with people.  We want to provide more opportunities where like-minded families can get together.  When you have small children, you can become limited in your ability to meet people you'd really connect with.  We want to help orchestrate that!
-Have more presence in hospitals, day cares, and other places where consumers can learn more about cloth diapers.  We want nurses excited about cloth diapers, day cares to be more eco-friendly and open to accepting cloth diapers.  If they won't come to us, we'll just have to come to them!!!  :o)
-Give back more to the community.  We're talking charity events, donations, volunteering.  We're all in this together, right? 

Like I said, I REALLY want to hear from you and your experience with us.  What can we be doing better or already doing well?  You can even post anonymously! Please don't make me beg! 

Thank you to all that we have met with this year.  You make us a success and keep our mission going in your community.

Peace and lots of love,


Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Winner Picks" Giveaway!

Our three year anniversary is right around the corner and we couldn't be more excited with where we are right now.  I found it difficult to pick an item to put up for our giveaway.  SO, instead I thought I'd leave it up to YOU! :o)  That's right.  If you are the lucky winner, you get to pick ANY item you've wanted to try out or have already been loving at Ecological Babies.  (Note: this doesn't include packages but single items)

Giveaway Requirements:
1. Like us on Facebook.
2. Tell us which item you'd like to win and post on our wall.

Extra entries:
1. Tell us one of your favorite products of ours you've been using and why you like it so much.
2. Give us a shout out on your wall promoting our giveaway and make sure to tag us.
3. Bring us a new friend to like us and tell them to give you credit when they post on our wall.
4. Post a picture of your baby wearing one of the diapers you've purchased with us.
5. Subscribe to our Blog and let us know on our FB wall.

Friday September 23rd at 10pm E.S.T.

Note:Winner will be drawn using and will be announced on our wall.  Winner has 1 week to claim prize.

Good luck!



Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Becoming a Community Insider

Last night, I realized something important about me.  Where ever I am (whether I'm just visiting or permanently living there), I need to feel connected to that community.  I seek out local establishments, local residents, and attempt to learn what it's like on the inside.  Perhaps call it an immersion experience! It wasn't until last night that I began to understand why.

Growing up, I was not connected at all to my community nor did I understand its significance.  In fact, I hardly paid attention to local, national,or international news, remaining in a little protected bubble.  Many people might say that is good for kids and I definitely agree to a certain extent.  I agree that children (nor us as adults really!) should not be exposed to violence. But I believe there are limitations of protection that hinder their chance at growing connecting to their "real" community that has some unfortunate circumstances.

For example, people who are homeless or poor in their community.  I personally believe that allowing our children to experience interactions and relationships with those experiencing hardship is beneficial to our children, to the disadvantaged person, and even to the community.  How many of us are honestly intimidated by the person asking for money on the sidewalk and act as though they are invisible?  I want my children to know these are people, just like us in many ways, people deserving respect and need love too.  They too are part of our community and because we are more advantaged, we need to help those currently living with a disadvantage as often as we can.  More about this another time though....I want to come back to my original topic of community living.

It wasn't until I volunteered a year of my life with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where our life was completely immersed in the community that I experienced what it was like to be a part of a real community.  I now know belonging to a community is a spiritual experience that feeds our soul in ways unimaginable.  It provides a sense of connectedness to those around us, a sense of belonging which is a biological need.  I also feel more grounded to know local people that I can trust and to know what events are going on around me.  Each community is authentic in its own way.

In some ways, this goes coincides with the current local movement.  The government is advocating this movement with the economy as it's main angle. I obviously believe supporting locally goes much deeper than that.  In some ways, I believe I'm connected more to the "slow food" movement.  It's about learning about local farms, what's in season, and developing a connection with nature. I yearn for the fresh organic produce from my local farmer stand as those it is going out for ice cream. It sounds ridiculous to say it that way, especially since I could never imagine as a child ever thinking this as an adult!

Well, we just moved recently and at first it was difficult, being an outsider of this community.  It was a bit lonely.  But it has also been really exciting as though I'm on a treasure hunt.  And I can feel my sense of grounding starting to take root as relationships are forming.

How about you?  Where's your community and do you feel connected to it?  Where have you "rooted" yourself in it and feel that spiritual sense of belonging?

If you don't feel connected, why?  Where would you like to become closer to your community?

I would love to hear about "your" community!

Peace and love,


Jen Starks, Owner 574.275.1235

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Our Newest Team Member, Claire Williamson!!!

I can't tell you enough how excited we are to have Claire taking over our Tallahassee region.  Never than before have I felt like the mission of Ecological Babies is going to continue to sustain itself, even without my presence (sigh!).  I anticipate Claire's customer service to outshine mine and put my complete trust that you will all welcome her with open arms to our EB community.  Some of you may already know her, as she is an active member in Tallahassee.  Below is her response to some of my questions I asked her to share with you.  I love how she's so open & honest and can relate to so many of us making stepping stones to living a more sustainable life. Serendipitously enough, I recently discovered Claire's son Grant was born only 3 days after Ecological Babies' launch date!  I can't help but wonder how much more we're connected and share similar paths. Maybe you will too....

Here's Claire in her own words...

Hi Everyone!  I am so excited to introduce myself as the newest member of the Ecological Babies team.  I know I am not the only one sad that our friend Jen is moving so far away, but I am thrilled for her family and the opportunities this move will provide for them.  I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I look forward to the opportunity to pick up the reigns here in the Tallahassee region and carry on the mission of Ecological Babies – Simplicity, Sustainability, Community.

My husband Nathan and I moved to Tallahassee in July 2005 from Nacogdoches, TX so that I could attend graduate school at Florida State University.  I graduated in 2007 with a Master of Music degree in oboe performance.  I’ve been a musician most of my life, and enjoy many different creative outlets.  Most of my musical opportunities these days come in the form of freelance gigs around town, and the occasional out of town orchestra concert.  Locally, I play with the Tallahassee Winds, which is a non-profit community ensemble.  My husband Nathan teaches drama at Deerlake Middle School, and we are both avid volunteers at Tallahassee Little Theatre.  However, he’s the one on stage, and I’m usually behind the scenes sewing costumes or working in the box office. 

On September 25, 2008 we welcomed a precious little boy into our lives.  Our son, Grant, is the light of our lives and keeps us running from dawn till dusk!  When he was born I was working at Tallahassee Little Theatre doing marketing, and briefly entertained the idea of bringing him to work with me.  I gave it the old college try for about 6 weeks, at which point it became painfully obvious it was not going to work.  I was firmly committed to being the one to raise him, and couldn’t bear the thought of taking my constantly nursing, wanting to be held all the time little boy to someone else for the day.  We crunched numbers, pondered and prayed, and decided we could make it work, so I resigned from my full-time job at the theatre and became a full-time mom. 

One of the many ways we decided we could trim our budget was to give cloth diapers a whirl.  I had an old friend in Texas who tried them for a while, and at the time she was my only resource, and a meager one at that since her foray into cloth-diapering lasted less than a month!  When Grant was tiny I was a regular attendee at the breastfeeding support group at A Woman’s Place, where one day I had the great fortune to meet Jen Starks.  She told me about her business, and I was intrigued.  My son has always had a very active bladder.  Come to think of it, all of him is active so it shouldn’t be a surprise!  He peed all the time, and cried to be changed immediately.  We were going through two dozen diapers disposable diapers a day, and it seemed like such a waste of money to buy something, have your kid foil it up, and then toss it in the trash.  Not to mention I was getting really tired of throwing out all those bags of trash, and at the time we were living in an apartment and the trips to the dumpster were getting really old really fast.  I made an appointment with Jen to have a consultation, and she graciously let us come on a Saturday so that my husband (who was totally on board!) could come with me.

We were hooked on cloth from the get-go.  We didn’t buy them on the spot, but went home loaded with information and hemmed and hawed about what to buy.  Since we had made the decision to drop to one income, we wanted to spend wisely.  Finally we decided to go with mostly prefolds and covers, with a couple all-in-ones and pocket diapers to use when we were out.  As I mentioned, Grant peed a lot and demanded immediate changing, so getting anything super-absorbent (or fancy and expensive!) wasn’t really a draw, since even at night if he was even slightly damp he wanted changing – pronto.  The biggest issue I had to overcome was what I fondly refer to as the “poo factor.”  I was not entirely convinced that the poo would rinse out in the washing machine, and had visions of a layer of poo stuck to the drum of my washing machine that would then surely leave a layer of poo film all over all of our other clothes.  Surely we would need a separate washing machine!!!  Well, lo and behold, it really does wash out, they don’t make your washing machine gross, and wonder of wonders, they don’t even stink!   

To a mother considering making the jump into cloth-diapering, the best advice I can share is just try it!  For a relatively small investment (you can get a days worth of prefolds and a cover or two for less than the cost of two mega boxes of Huggies), you’ll have enough diapers to at least try it out.  I would almost guarantee that after giving it a week you would be hooked like I was, and like so many others have been.  When you have a baby, you deal with poop and extra laundry no matter what type of diaper you use, so why not choose one you can use over and over and save for the next tiny bottom that comes along?

The choice to cloth-diaper our son was initially done for mostly economical reasons, but little did we know that it would be the catalyst in a chain of future decisions to create a more sustainable, “green” life-style for our family.  The longer we did it, the more we noticed our thinking towards many other aspects of our life slowly changing shape.  We made small changes over time, often not even thinking about them until looking back.  For example, one day it dawned on me I hadn’t bought paper towels in over six months.  That was in 2009, and I haven’t bought any since!  We changed our eating habits and our purchasing habits, and while we have come very far we still have far to go.  The path towards sustainable, green living is an ever-changing one as more research comes available, as more green products and organic food becomes available and more affordable, and also, we must admit, as public opinion changes.  Our generation has a huge undertaking ahead of us as we work hard to counteract what was once seen as progress – the integration of chemicals and disposable products.  Taking steps toward green living and stepping away from the conventional and familiar can be intimidating, but I look forward to the opportunity to help enact such change and help parents like me see things in a new light.  


Jen & Claire

p.s. You can now reach Claire at!

Ecological Babies, llc 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ecological Babies' Top 3 Recommended Events this Weekend!

Here are our top 3 recommendations for this weekend:

1.  Tour of Gardens (Maclay Gardens)- Saturday from 10-5pm.

2. Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby 5k Walk/Bike/Run- 10:30-1:30pm

3.Prophecy School of the Arts' Annual Student Showcase

Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer Fun Contest-Best Smoothies!

Ok, to kick off the warm weather lately, I thought we could cool things down with a smoothie contest.  Post your favorite smoothie recipe and where you found it in our "Albums".  Then everyone will get to try out the recipes and vote for them.  The person with the most "likes" and comments (total between them) will win one of our new Kinderville Silicone Ice Molds.

We often freeze leftover smoothies in these for a sweet treat later.  Can't wait to try these and add them to our smoothie list.  :o)


Good luck & have fun!



Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Simplify Your Diaper Bag

Holy smokes!  I just cleaned out my diaper bag (can't tell you that last time that happened) and it's no wonder I can't find anything in there...ever.  My diaper bag has become a dumping ground for random items I need during each trip, yet I don't make the effort to clean it out right after a trip.

I found single socks, random toys, 3 chapsticks, spare clothes, spilled Easter candy, 3 pairs of sunglasses, extra pair of shoes, sunscreen, receipts and way too much more to list individually.  Recently, I've thought that I need a  bigger diaper bag.  Not today!  Today, I completely cleaned out my bag (literally, as my diaper bag is going through a wash cycle right now!) and am going to attempt to be better at keeping it at bag. I really only need a few things in there for each outing. Instead of thinking that I'm saving time by keeping a bunch of things in the all the time, I want to lightly pack the bag each day (or the night before) and cater it to our plans for the day.  Not only will I be carrying a lighter load but I will actually be able to find what I'm looking for in there with ease.  I can't tell you how many times I didn't think I had an item in there that I wanted only to find it deep in the bottom of my bag buried under junk.

What's in YOUR diaper bag?

If you'd like to ditch the idea of a "diaper bag" all together, I have an alternative suggestion.  Pack a wet/dry bag for all your diapering needs.  In the dry part, put only the amount of diapers necessary, a onesie, & wipes.  Once the diaper has been soiled, you put it in your wet part of the bag.  Then all you need is a small purse for your belongings.  If you plan on only changing the diaper in the car, leave it there until you do the change.  It feels so freeing to only carry around a small purse these days.  Sometimes, I even stick my credit card, ID, and phone in my pocket and do errands.  It's wonderful!!!

Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celebrate our Motherhood!

Ah, Mother's Day.  Why can't you come every Sunday? :o) I officially like Mother's Day better than any other holidays (even my birthday).  I feel no pressure to plan my day or think about how I'm getting older but can just stop and "feel the love."

It's also my favorite because 2 years ago on Mother's Day weekend, I found out I was pregnant with Tyler.  What a special gift for the weekend!  If you've been reading any of my recent posts, I've been in a great space mentally and I can see the impact it has had on my relationship with my 2 kids.  The amount of quality time I spend with them directly impacts the well-being of everyone in the family.  But I have to admit, I'm wondering if I can keep up the momentum.

I have been doing a few things these past 2 weeks that have been KEY to how things have been going.
1.  Organized-With all the purging I've been doing, I've also be organizing the heck out of everything I want to keep and use in my house.
2.  Efficiency-I've found a few tricks that has saved me a lot of energy and time, so I'm not completely exhausted at the end of the day. For example, I've set up routines for laundry, dishwashing, cleaning up toys.  I've integrated them into the day, so it doesn't all wait for me at night.  I really can't believe how much I'm able to accomplish.
3.  Preparedness- I cannot tell you how much of a difference getting things prepared the night before does on my days.  I'm not a morning person, expecially when I never seem to have enough sleep.  I've been packing lunches, putting things in the car that I need to do the next day, getting my coffee area all set up for easy access, meal planning, and coming up with a couple activities I want to do the next day.  HUGE difference in my life.
4.  Taking Care of Myself- Eating breakfast, green smoothies, more yoga and time  for myself at the gym.  It's like taking a big breath of fresh air.  I am a new person when I meet my own needs.

Despite all this, I can tell you that I have put in more "floor time" and intentional time with my kids than ever.  For example, I spent about an hour just having fun with Tyler on our hammock.  I thought to myself, why don't I do this more often?  We played hide and seek, colored, did puzzles, read books, shared nice meals, went out for frozen yogurt, and all today.  It blows my mind away.

Today, I love being a mother.  I hope you have a wonderful day full of love and laughter.



Friday, May 6, 2011

Ecological Babies' Top 3 Recommended Events this Weekend!

Hopefully the weather will continue to be as beautiful as it has been these past few days.  If so, I know we'll be outside as much as possible savoring these last few days before the heat sets in.  Don't forget sunscreen!

Tallahassee Downtown Book Fair- 9:30-2pm
-This event supports our local library book sale, features local authors and musicians, has food and sounds like a wonderful day outside in our community.
For more details:

Kidsfest at the Fairgrounds- 10am-4pm
-A fundraiser for Kids Incorporated, this is a great family event.  It has kids activities, live performances, lots of tables of local businesses, and a great way to meet other families.
For more information:

Blue Crab Festival in Panacea- 10am-9pm
-Our family attended this festival last year and had a pretty good time.  It's a little bit of a drive, so I recommend bringing a picnic blanket, some of your own snack food, and devote a solid chunk of time there.  They have live music, bounce houses, kids activities, vendors, and a lot of food.  The food, however, is a bit like our festivals downtown-a lot of grease.  BUT the seafood is excellent.  Be prepared to spend some money on the food.  I also love that it's located right on the coast with a beautiful view.

For more details:

What's on your agenda this weekend?

Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Counting My Blessings!

I can honestly say that this week hasn't gone as smooth as last week. Brian just finished up his faculty position on Sunday.  Oddly enough, having Brian home has been a bit of an adjustment period. Who's doing what, when and who's going to tackle some extra time with the kids.  Our balanced has been thrown off.  But like any new adjustment, we get through it and find our rhythm again.

When I get caught up in some of the trials of the day, I often lose sight on what's really important on a grander scale and just how good I really have it in my life.  Today, I'm going to stop and write down some of my greatest moments today I was gifted.  Life is truly good once I can pull away and admire it's beauty.

1.  My son, Tyler, is source of much love and joy in our family.  Today, he was on a kick of going to each family member (and a visiting stranger!) and giving kisses.  He particularly loved giving kisses to my daughter and seeing their growing relationship makes my heart swell.  Sigh!

2.  Rita Clare's sense of self-assurance and maturity astounds me.  For a 3 year old, she understands more about the world and just needs a few extra skills to keep up with the confidence that she can do it all.  The other day, I had the WORST experience ever as a mom.  My keys got locked in the car with both my kids inside.  Yep!  I can feel my heart beating faster just thinking of the situation.  First I called my husband in a panic and told him to rush to me (I was at home).  Then as I'm trying to explain to RC what happened, I decided to try and see whether she could unlock her seat belt.  My first instinct was, "Wait, I don't want her to know how to do this!"  But we calmly walked through it and she DID it!.  I was so proud of her.  She saved me!

3..  My husband surprised me with delivered flowers as an early Mother's Day sentiment.  It stopped me dead in my funky mindset and I couldn't help but recognize how lucky I am that I'm in a great marriage.  We have our stumbling blocks but I'm so grateful for a good life partner who sometimes is a bigger believer in me than myself.

3.  I'm so grateful that I live somewhere that I have access to all the things important to me: clean water, fresh food, a safe community, great preventative-minded family doctor, freedom to live a life of autonomy, kid's nights at restaurants :o), and supportive/unconditional love from friends.  

I have a million more but these are the top tier.  What are some of your blessings today?

Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Monday, May 2, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

This is a phrase that has struck new meaning this morning. In particular, the second half-"want not."  Recently, I have been posting about my journey toward a more simple life and it has been an indescribably freeing experience.

A chosen life of simplicity is not one of sacrifices.  Instead, it is living life the way you want it, to the fullest.  It's the freedom of staying in those precious moments far longer than you can imagine. It's empowering. This past week, I have been repulsed at what possessions I just couldn't let go of that "cluttered" my home and my mind.  Clothes that I might "someday" fit into, candy that has been around for months, little "trinkets" filling in space and collecting dust, books I read a long time ago that I thought I MAY someday want to read again (and didn't!), baby toys that were never really a hit but couldn't let go of (that future baby might like it??), and more.

All these things carried emotional power over me.  The life of consumption is an endless drive that takes over my mind, drains my financial resources, and crowds my space.  Today, I looked at my small bathroom and for the first time, I thought it was the perfect size and looked beautiful with absolutely nothing on the surfaces. I took a few moments and admired the colors, the way the light shown in, and how clean I felt as I stepped out of the shower.  My mind was still.

As I embrace a more simple life, I don't want many things.  The idea of going to Target or another box store that tries to fill my head with "needs" seems unpleasant.  this is completely different from how I normally feel when I head to Target (excitement over deals, etc).  I've stopped thinking I might need something in CVS or Publix a while back, as most of their items aren't what we use or consume.  There's an occasional item or two, but on the whole I drive around not interested in most of the stores.

Does it bring the opportunity of quality time with my family? Am I REALLY going to use it enough times to justify it's need in our home?  Can I borrow something like this from family, friend, or a neighbor for a short period of time?  What happened to our community life?

I've decided this past week, that big warehouse stores like CostCo isn't right for our family anymore.  Sure I save a dollar or two on Cheerioes, easy to make meals, organic broccoli and carrots, etc. But I don't need 4 boxes of crackers (Even the ones I like) taking over my storage or 10 pairs of socks b/c it's a good deal.  I definitely spend more when I'm there, but more importantly, I'm tricked into thinking I need items in there and I don't.  The bulk buying usually has more packaging too.  I'll let my favorite stores buy in bulk and only pick up when we immediately need.  Right now, I have the luxury of it being so close to me (literally down the road).

Buy 1 Get 1 Free at Publix? The $1 section at Target?  No thanks.

Hoping you find the beauty in your moments today,


Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Steps Toward More Simplicity

This past week, I have been shedding excess possessions at levels I never imagined.  I'm fortunate in that our moving process has sparked new energy to organize and see what we don't need anymore.  But beyond that, I've realized that all this clutter and extra "stuff" is sucking up attention and energy away from my children.  I'm not even aware of it but I've realized that I've been full of restlessness that has kept me running, yet I'm exhausted from it. Waste of energy, if you ask me. Regretfully, I haven't really been enjoying the time spent playing with my kids as much as I like to and often when we play, I think about what I still "need" to do.  Yuck!

First of all, someday I hope to reach a point where my happiness isn't based on my accomplishments.  It's ego-based and mostly causes me disappointment because I can never "do" all the things I think I need to do.  When people ask me how I'm doing, the first word that pops in my head is BUSY....What???  Instead, I'd prefer my first thought to be AWESOME, or NEVER BEEN HAPPIER!  I lose touch with people because I get so wrapped up in all my to do lists and that includes my kids. :o(

As the layers of excess has been slowly removed from my home, I'm spending more time using the toys/tools I actually like to use with my kids. Bye bye crappy plastic toy that I kept around because we got it as a gift years ago!! The drawers aren't filled with a mess from things just thrown in there.  I don't have to search through all the items I don't like, we don't use, or doesn't work well. Now I'm only keeping the things of use or will keep for a short period of time (following the geniune interest of my kids).  What a great feeling!

Another thing I've been doing is working on simplicity of my time.  I don't need an action packed day.  We can do things...but much slower. For example, the other day after I dropped my daughter off a preschool, my son Tyler in tow), I decided to stop by our closest library to pay a little fine I had.  Well, the library wasn't going to be open for another 10 minutes.  Waiting 10 minutes shouldn't be a big deal, right?  I honestly considered driving to the bank first and then to come back. I didn't REALLY need to go to the library.  I then looked around and thought, maybe I should walk around a nearby store to kill time.  Kill Time???

But then I stopped and thought, here's a great opportunity to slow down and enjoy these short moments with Tyler.  I put on some nice music, rolled down the window, and blew bubbles in the car.  Tyler LOVED it.  I even had a great time!  I want more of these moments.  I don't want to spend my days doing things FOR the kids and wait to have "me" time.  I want to spend the day WITH the kids with us all having fun.

In just this short week, I have already noticed a difference.  Instead of feeling proud of my accomplishments off my to do list, I'm feeling grateful for my wonderful children.  Instead of trying to get them both to nap at the same time so I can be alone, I'm enjoying their staggered naps and the special time we get to share with each other.  We've been dancing and singing, playing games, taking slow walks, and genuinely enjoying each others company.

Granted I still need some space for myself too.  And I'm a little manic about wanting to get rid of more things in our house.  It's a work in progress but am grateful for this next mindset.

One happy mama,


Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ecological Babies' Top 3 Recommended Events this Weekend!

1.  Nene Fest:
*This is one of Tallahassee's finest festivals.  It's run by the Indian Head community and for them but open to anyone!  I highly recommend bringing a picnic blanket, change of clothes/towel, and sunscreen.  

Optimist Park from 3 to 9 pm. This year’s ―for neighbors, by neighbors‖ festival will feature live
music and a few surprises. Bring your picnic, a chair, dancing shoes, and a kickball, Frisbee, or whatever
else will contribute to the fun. When Indianhead/Lehigh neighbors come together, amazing things can
If you have questions, contact Marie-Claire at marieclaireleman(at)gmail.comor 728-7514.
You can view photos from last year’s Fest at

2. Clothing Swap: 8:30-10am

Need some new clothes for the kids?
Good Samaritan MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Group and Momslikeme Tallahassee are sponsoring a Spring Clothing Swap. We all know how expensive kid's clothing can be. It doesn't get any easier than this!

Check in begins at 8:30am. Bring your kid's clothes and shoes ready to exchanged - get one credit for each piece. The Swap will start promptly at 9:30am. "Shop" around the swap for the things you need, using your credits. All leftover clothing can be taken home by the original owners, or will be donated to The Brehon House.

There will be some fun things for the kids to do also! Come check out our info tables that will have information about our MOPS group, Momslikeme Tallahassee, Good Samaritan Academy, and Good Samaritan Arts program. Free to attend!
3. PRSM Sale: TODAY 10am-6pm, Sat, 10am-6pm
Probably pretty picked over since it started today but awesome deals!
Parents Raising Sensational Multiples (PRSM) is happy to announce the spring sale will be at the former Goody's location at the Tallahassee Mall.
For the first time our sale will be accepting credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Discover). There will be a $20 minimum purchase required for using a credit card.

What are your plans this weekend?

Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Festivities

I must say, each Easter seems to get a little more fun as the kids get older.  When Rita Clare was younger (much like how Tyler is now), she really didn't understand too much about what was going on, nor could she participate in the ways she did this year.

Highlight #1: Dyeing & decorating the eggs.  Next year, I'm going to have Rita Clare help me make the natural dyes.  This year, I lacked confidence in whether it would actually turn out, she's notorious for making decisions without checking in with me first, and her attention span would have died out before we actually started dyeing the eggs. Much like cooking in peace (when both kids actually nap at the same time), making the natural dyes was quite fun and adventurous.  I used some leftover red cabbage (blue/purple color), beets (pink), and turmeric (yellow-gold).  I tried mixing a couple to make different shades but it didn't work out that well.  (Maybe next year, I'll double my quantities of the primary colors and work with it)

After cooking the color into the water/vinegar, I poured the contents through a strainer.  If I had strained it with a cheesecloth, I wouldn't have had any specking of the eggs.  Honestly though, I kinda liked it speckled! At that point, I was ready to set up the dyeing station.  The stress level was low because I had it all prepped before Rita Clare came out from her nap.  Tyler sat up at the table and watched, while eating an undyed egg.  Both the kids (and actually Brian and I too) have been eating a ton of hard boiled eggs recently.  Some mornings, Tyler will eat two in one sitting! Here are a couple pics of the dyeing process:
Red Cabbage
All three cooking at the same time
Highlight #2: Setting out everything from the Easter Bunny.  This year, I progressively picked things up. I especially was excited for the opportunity to support a few local businesses in our gifts: Little Speckled Frog, Happy Little Monkey, Handmade Natural Wooden Gifts, Earth Fare, One Week Boutique, and a local vendor (I can't remember now) from Spring Time Tallahassee.  This year, I wanted quality rather than quantity.  Brian still thinks I went a little overboard (and I probably did) but many are the gifts that will bring us quality time together as a family.  Here's what it looked like before I turned out the lights last night:
Highlight #3:  Little moments in the early morning.  As neat is it the moment they come out to look at everything, it is usually immediately followed by a craze that I have a hard time handling.  This is especially because I am always woken up earlier than normal and have not had my first cup of coffee.  Despite all that and some of the greed that is in there, there were a few memorable moments I'm glad I captured:

Tyler secretly swiped Rita Clare's chocolate & decided to help himself to it.  When caught, he started laughing as thought he knew what he'd done and was proud of it!
Rita Clare wanted to ice the cinnamon rolls "all by myself".  She'd ice one roll, lick off the knife and move on the the next one.  I just couldn't bring myself to throw away the dye at that point, so I actually dyed the icing lavender.

Highlight#4:  Easter Egg Hunt with family & friends.  We were fortunate enough to be able to do our egg hunt with some other like-minded friends at Lichgate.  I take this space for's stunning!  It was so low key and most of the eggs weren't loaded with more candy.  We put temporary tattoos in ours as our contribution.  

Honestly though, Tyler was a major highlight of the egg hunt.  It was his first official "hunt" where he could put it in his basket and look for the eggs.  I was surprised how quickly he caught on.  It was adorable.  I have a video I made too.  Maybe I'll post it on facebook, since it's too cute to keep to myself.  :o)

Entering the Enchanted Space

Sister & Brother Love
Satisfied with a full basket
Priceless.  This was his first egg.

Final Highlight: Baby birds on our back porch were born and set free this weekend. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture but this was such an awesome experience.  A finch nest was made on our screened in porch and the last few days, we knew the eggs had hatched.  We'd hear their little chirping and the many rounds of food their parents made keeping their little bellies full. But yesterday, they all left the nest and flew for the first time...all over our screened in back porch.  I couldn't believe how large they were for only being a couple days old.  Their little fuzzy heads and vulnerable state kept Rita Clare and I watching them from our window.  It was an honor to witness their freedom and how we helped protect their nest as they grew into being.  

Hope your Easter was a great as ours!

Peace from our family to yours,


Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Now Hiring! Sales Representative

 Sales Representative/Community Educator

Job Description

Summary of Position:___________________________

Oversee and manage Ecological Babies in the Tallahassee region.  Will be responsible for community education, fulfilling orders, providing customer service, and be involved in various community events. 

Must promote & advertise Ecological Babies’ mission and help continue to bring in new clients.

Key Qualities of Employee:_______________________

  • Passion for cloth diapers and green living
  • Excellent interpersonal and social skills
  • Ability to handle money and enact sales transactions
  • Must have daily access to computer and the internet
  • Must have clean, temperature controlled space for inventory storage
  • Needs effective time management skills (must schedule and keep appointments)

  • Strong community ties is a plus
  • Sales background is a plus
  • Acquaintance with Social Media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a plus

Specific Duties & Responsibilities:_____________________

  • Run Community Seminars- (approximately once a month)
  • Host Cloth Diaper Showers in the area
  • Set up, maintain, manage online registries
  • Advertise -Post flyers in various locations of upcoming events
  • Social media assistance- announcements, promotions/sales, local events
  • Mom’s Time Out participation (possibly sit on committee board)
  • Manage local inventory
  • Pay is commission based (Must be able to commit to a minimum of 10 hours per week, more hours will produce more income)


Owner will provide training on all aspects of the job.  This will include an in-depth introduction to Ecological Babies’ mission, procedures for inventory management, and training on how to conduct sales, community seminars (will observe at least one seminar presentation), and cloth diaper showers (may observe one shower).  Owner will maintain a close relationship with employee and be available for ongoing support.

Ready to Apply?  Here's the Application.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All About Sunscreen!

Finally!  After trying out so many different brands of sunscreens, I think I can finally settle on this one. If you were to look in my bathroom closet, you'd think I was a collector of sunscreens.  We have ones for us adults that I've had for a long time (and now my husband is the only one who uses it).  They include the standard brands and some with insect repellent in it too.  Then a couple summer ago, I was hooked on those cooling mist ones that spray on.  I thought, hey's this is easy and it's SPF 70 too!  Plus, they didn't feel like they were clogging my pores. 

Then I started to learn that some sunscreens were arguably worse for your skin/body than if you never worn it at all.  Say WHAT???  If you're just starting to evolve in the land of sunscreen and want to learn more, here is an EXCELLENT website to bookmark:  It will cover makeup, lotion, shampoo, and MUCH more.  Be careful though, the more you learn, the uglier and more unsettling it gets!

So then we started trying one just for kids.  Bad news-most of those aren't trustworthy either!  BUT there are a few safe brands that are safe that I've tried and will review for you:

Badger-Smells good, goes on really thick, terrible for my face
California Baby-Pricey for little bottle, goes on white & very difficult to rub in, thick on face
Aveeno-has parabens, gentle, rubs in nice, strong sunscreen smell
Jason-Like the smell, not good for babies, rubs in nice
Burt's Bees-strongly dislike smell, texture after rubbing on is weird, easy to rub in, not thick

I know we haven't tried them all but I believe we've made a good dent!  So, here are some features about Dr Robins sunscreen and why I'm finally settling on this one:

1.  It's made in USA by a pediatric dermatologist
2.  The ingredients are very impressive and therefore I can trust it.  Here's the list. 
3.  The entire family can use this (including babies).
4.  I will put this on my face.
5.  It goes on white at first, so you can see where you put it on.
6.  It rubs in so easily, which is especially good for my squirmy kids.
7.  The smell is non-intrusive.  It's very mild.
8.  After I put it on, I don't feel the need to go wash my hands.  It's not oily & can be rubbed off hands easily.
9.  It's not tested on animals.

If you have some time, I'd recommend you checking out Dr. Robin's sunscreen Q & A.  It's a great jumping point for being safe in the sun, especially for your little ones. 

I'm curious what other brands are out there. Which ones have you tried?  Like/dislike?

If you'd like to give ours a try, then we now have it in stock.  Here's the link.



Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887