Saturday, 31 December 2011

Artemis Plant Colour Natural Crayons

A few weeks ago, we received a new shipment of natural art supplies for children. Most of them are made by the German art company Stockmar, which produces quality art supplies that are non-toxic and are often used in classrooms in Canada. One product in specific had reallycaught my interest, the Artemis Plant Colour Pastel Crayons, made by Stockmar. Mothering  Magazine featured them as one of the top natural art supplies for children in 2011, so I was really excited to try and test them.
The colours are stunning! Our children, age 4 and 2, loved the vivid and warm colours of the pastel crayons and they fit nicely into their small hands. The crayons can be applied smoothly and easily onto paper, almost like oil crayons and much easier than with regular wax crayons, and they work well on either coarse or regular paper. The crayons seemed to have a harder texture than regular crayons but have been thoroughly enjoyed by our art-loving kids. Artemis Plant Colour Crayons can be applied on paper, cardboards and even glass.

Artemis Plant Colour Crayons are made from natural beeswax combined with colourants that are derived from natural plant sources such as flowers, leaves, roots and seeds, giving the crayons a unique, warm and luminous colour.

I imagine the beautiful colours and textures would be especially great for older children with blossoming art skills, and also for all the artistically-inclined moms out there.

View our great selection of natural art & craft supplies at Ava's Appletree - Natural Parenting Store.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

AMP one size Duo Diaper now with prints!

Great news for all AMP Diapers fans: AMP's most popular one size Duo Diaper is now available in fun prints. AMP one size Duo Diaper convinces through its versatility, great fit and outstandstanding performance.
Get your AMP one size Duo Diaper Prints today and see why so many parents love them. These new prints are a limited edition and are only available while supplies last.
Later Gater
Wee Trunk

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Moby Wrap - Best Newborn Baby Wrap

Babywearing has such a positive effect on babies and parents that it isn't surprising so many new parents are searching for the best newborn baby carrier each year. Being a mom and having carried both of my kids, I have developed a passion for baby carriers. My husband and I have tried many different styles but hands down, the Moby Wrap has been our favourite newborn baby carrier. 
Moby Wrap - Is there are better place to be?

The soft, light stretchy cotton wraps so nicely around you and your baby, and it looks so cozy in there, that I can't imagine a better place for baby to be. Your baby is able to smell, feel, hear and see you, and it really calms them. And what parent doesn't love to be close to their baby? It is just a great way of bonding, even if you are busy doing other things. 
The fabric straps on the Moby Wrap are wider than on most other carriers and they really distribute your baby's weight evenly across your shoulders and helps support your back. I had previously used a carrier with much narrower straps and thought it was fairly comfortable, but I was surprised just how much more comfortable I was with the Moby Wrap. Three pieces of fabric secure your baby safely while in the Moby Wrap, two pieces which run vertical over the back of your baby and one piece which runs horizontal over the back. If your baby falls asleep you can keep their little head safe by tucking it in under the soft fabric.
Some parents feel intimidated to use a baby wrap as you need to learn some wrapping techniques, but  after a few tries you and your baby will get used to it and it'll be like tying your shoelaces. You just put it on and you are ready to go!
The Moby Wrap is a one-size-fits-all baby wrap and comes in a wide range of neutral colours which makes it a great carrier to share with your partner or other caregivers.
As mentioned before, the Moby Wrap is a wonderful newborn carrier but not only as it accommodates babies 7-35lbs. If your baby loves it as much as my kids did, you will enjoy it for a long time.

We are happy to offer this wonderful baby wrap in our store.
If you like, you can view our entire collection of Moby Wraps.

All our baby carriers and baby wraps ship for FREE within Canada!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Thirsties Diaper Review

Want to know why we love Thirsties Diapers? They look absolutely adorable, they have a great trim fit and they are very affordable. All diapers in the Thirsties Duo Line (Duo Wrap and Duo Diaper) come in 2 sizes, each size with 3 different size settings to fit your baby from birth to potty training. The adjustable size setting, along with the soft leg gussets, also mean that Thirsties are a great fit whether your baby is tall or short, thin or chunky. Compared to most one-size diapers, these diapers actually fit newborns as small as 6lbs, while one-size diapers are designed generally to fit babies weighing 7 or 8 lbs and up. Thus with Thirsties Duo Line you don't need to invest in another set of newborn diapers for the first few weeks until your baby is big enough to fit into a regular diaper. Another great benefit with the adjustable rise is that in the smallest setting the rise is actually below the umbilical cord, giving it enough room to dry and heal. Both diapers are made from 100% polyester with urethane coating, a pliable and breathable waterproof exterior. The very soft leg gussets, an additional piece of fabric that hugs baby's leg, are great for preventing leaks. They really do keep the messes in!
All Thirsties Diapers come in vibrant colours. When we first received our Thirsties Diapers we were stunned how pretty these colours look. They are absolutely gorgeous.
Thirsties has just come out with a new fun print "Hoot" and a new colour "Mud" which is available in all of Thirsties best selling diapers, the Duo Wrap in Velcro and Snaps and Thirsties Duo Diaper.

Would you like to give Thirsties a try?
We offer many different, money saving Thirsties Diaper Kits and Trial Packages in our store.
Save up to 15% and enjoy FREE SHIPPING in Canada.

Thirsties Part-Time Diaper Kit

Thirsties Part-Time Diaper Kit
  • 3 Duo Wraps*
  • 12 Organic Indian Prefolds
  • 1 Snappi Diaper Fastener
*Your choice of colour, closure and size

Our Unbleached Indian Prefolds are made from 100% organic
cotton and are layered 4-8-4.

View Thirsties Diaper Kits in store.

Thirsties Full-Time Diaper Kit
Thirsties Full-Time Diaper Kit
  • 6 Duo Wraps*
  • 24 Organic Indian Prefolds
  • 2 Snappi Diaper Fasteners
*Your choice of colour, closure and size

Our Unbleached Indian Prefolds are made from 100% organic
cotton and are layered 4-8-4.

View Thirsties Diaper Kit in store.

Thirsties Trial Package

Thirsties Trial Package
  • 2 Duo Wraps*
  • 4 Thirsties Stay Dry Duo Inserts
*Your choice of colour, closure and size

Upper insert: 100% polyester
Lower insert: 55% hemp, 45% cotton

View Thirsties Trial Package in store.

Visit our store for more offers!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Top 10 Things To Do With Kids In Toronto - Fall Activities

Fall is coming and while many of us will miss the warm and sunny days of summer, autumn is a great time to get outside and explore this colourful season in Toronto.

We have found 10 great outdoor activities for your family to enjoy in the city:

1 Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works is located in the heart of Toronto's Don Valley. The unique environmental community centre invites Kids of all ages to have some planet-friendly fun!

Open Saturdays and Sundays (between 10am -4pm)

Visit the Chimney Court for a morning of traditional crafting and seasonal cooking. Inspired by the four elements and drawing on themes of sustainability, community, the seasons and local history, children are guided through a variety of hands-on activities using traditional skills, materials and recipes. Kids and adults can join in to make a clay vessel, whittle utensils, or share a story around the fire.

The courtyard is an experimental landscape the children co-create with our play-learning experts through story and hands-on learning that reflects the surrounding geography, streams, forests and wetlands of the Don Valley.
Here you will find natural materials for building, raised garden beds for growing food, a greenhouse, a traditional wood-fired oven and a fire pit.

How to get there:
Located at: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario (view it with google maps)
Daily Parking Rates: $6
TTC: Bus 28a (wheelchair accessible) departs every 30 minutes from Davisville subway station
A FREE shuttle bus runs every 40 minutes from Broadview Station

Admission: suggested donations of $5

2 Edwards Gardens

A visit to the Teaching Garden in Edwards Gardens is fun for the whole family. My kids love the flowers and to watch the fish and birds down by the stream that flows through the grounds. Don't miss the Teaching Garden, located on the west side of Edwards Gardens, across the wood bridge over the creek and up the curved path. You'll see a red-roofed garden house and a giant monarch butterfly, letting you will know that you're in the right place. Dinosaur footprints on the ground guide you through the gardens. The garden is open from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week.

The Teaching Garden features a series of demonstration gardens (described below) and two large plots reserved  for children to plant, cultivate & sow vegetables and flowers.

Alphabet Garden: Children are guided along a winding path, visiting plants with names that begin with every letter of the alphabet. Can you think of a plant that begins with the letter X?

Sensory Garden: Use all five senses to explore the magic of this garden. Plants that smell like pineapples and lemons, that feel like the softest lamb's wool, and that shrink from your touch are featured in the Sensory Garden.

Dinosaur Garden: In this garden, which is home to a friendly stegosaurus, children will see and touch plants that dinosaurs once munched on. This garden's purpose is to help children discover the history of plants.

The Spiral Butterfly Garden: Marked with a giant butterfly sundial, this garden teaches children how the movement of the sun affects plants, and features plants that are especially attractive to butterflies.

The Teaching Garden also features an Herb Garden, Rocky Mountain Garden, Organic Vegetable Garden, Sandpit and more.

Borrow a free explorer backpack for children from the information desk for the duration of your visit. Backpacks include a magnifying glas, bug collection kit, a book about local birds and insects and more! Activities are geared toward children aged 4-12.

How to get there:

Located at: 777 Lawrence Ave East (view it with google maps)

Admission: FREE

3 HabourKIDS Festival at Harbourfront

The third HabourKIDS festival this year will run October 8-10, and looks interesting:

Got monsters? Under the bed? In the closet? Keeping you up at night? Sounds like you need to tackle those monsters. Put on your brave face and visit HarbourKIDS: Monster – where monsters become manageable. Come explore your ideas about monsters in a fun, safe environment!

The HarbourKIDS festivals aim to engage kids and their families by encouraging their participation in activities that explore "Big Ideas" like respect, fearlessness and community through the lens of arts and culture. These Big Ideas challenge kids’ notions, validate and illuminate their values and ask some questions that aim to ignite imagination, creativity and thought.

HarbourKIDS programs are designed for kids 5 to 12.

How to get there:

Located at: 235 Queens Quay West (view it with google maps)
Daily parking rates at Harbourfront Centre: $8

Admission: FREE

4 Whittamore's Farm

Pumpkinland and the Harvest Festival Weekends run from September 12 through to October 31. Kids can pick out a pumpkin for Halloween and run through the corn mazes or take a wagon ride through the "haunted forest". Kids also love the play structures, the tree fort and slide, bouncing castle, tractor track, and more.

Pumpkinland is open daily from September 12 to October 31 between 10am-5pm.

How to get there:

Located at: 8100 Steeles Ave East (view it with google maps)
Parking: FREE

Admission:  Weekends and Holidays - $10.00 (+tax)
                    On Weekends Family of 4 for $36.00(+tax)
                    Weekdays - $6.00 (+tax) per pers. 2 years of age & older

5 Toronto Music Garden (concerts only until Sept. 18)

Treat your kids and yourself to outstanding performances of classical and traditional music from around the world.
FREE concerts take place in the Toronto Music Garden most Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm and are approximately one hour in length. Bench seating is available but limited, so feel free to bring a lawn chair or a picnic blanket.
Enjoy the delightful lanscape design of Toronto Music Garden all year around.

How to get there:

Located at: 475 Queen's Quay West on the waterfront between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue (view it with google maps)

Admission: FREE

6 Take your kids for a bike ride at Leslie Spit (Tommy Thompson Park)

The park is a 5km long peninsula build from lakefilling which extends into Lake Ontario just east of downtown. It is accessable from either the waterfront trail or Leslie Street.
The Spit has been transformed into an extraordinary wildlife reserve. It is home of over 300 bird species and many kinds of reptiles reside here including Garter Snakes, turtles and several species of frogs. Beavers, otters, red foxes, and even coyotes have been seen on the Spit. In late August and early September, the Spit is used as a staging area for thousands of Monarch butterflies.

How to get there:

Located at the base or foot of Leslie Street where it meets Unwin Avenue, south of Lake Shore Boulevard East (view it with google maps).
Open from 9am-6pm April to November

Admission: FREE

7 Riverdale Farm

Have your kids ever seen a goat getting milked?
Your children will be delighted to see the animals at Riverdale Farm. The farm is home for a variety of farm animals, including a horse, donkey, cows, rabbits, pigs, chicken, turkeys, goats and the ducks and turtles at the ponds.
Riverdale Farm is fun and has been a hit for our kids since years. Riverdale Farm is located in the heart of Cabbagetown.
Riverdale Farm is open all year round from daily from 9am-5pm.

How to get there:

Located at: 201 Winchester Stree,  3 blocks east of Parliament Street along Winchester Street or 3 blocks north of Gerrard Street (view it with google maps)
Parking: on neighbouring streets

Admission: FREE

8 Allan Gardens Conservatory

Allan Gardens is a nice place to visit on a rainy day. Little greenhouses are connecting a world of beautiful flowers over an area of 16,000 square feet. It contains tropical plants from all over the world from palm trees to cacti.

How to get there:

Located at: 19 Horticultural Avenue (view it with google maps)
Parking is available right at the building (enter laneway off Gerrard Street)

Admission: FREE

9 Toronto Zoo

Take your kids to the zoo. The zoo gets quieter in the fall which can make it a nice time for a visit. The Polar bear habitat with underwater viewing area, the Gorilla Rainforest and the orangutans are always highlights.

Don't miss the Kids Zoo where kids can meet and interact with domestic animals like donkeys, miniature goats, and pigs. There's also a play area where kids can burrow through a plexiglass prairie dog tunnel, dig for dinosaur eggs, slide down the treehouse's two storey slide or bird watch in the giant aviary. It's a special place for kids where they can have fun and learn about Canadian habitats.
The Kids Zoo is open until Oct. 30 from 10am - 4.30pm.

How to get there:

Located at: North of Hwy 401 on Meadowvale Road, Toronto (view it with google maps)
Parking: $10

Admission: adults $23
                    children (ages 4 - 12) $13
                    children (ages 3 & younger) FREE

10 High Park

It doesn't matter how often you had been in High Park already, it's always fun again. Plan a stroll through the park with the entire family this fall and enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn. Let your kids find the nicest leaves and accorns. Visit the lamas, buffalos, bisons, deer and peacocks at High Park's mini zoo or go for a walk along the pond to find ducks, geese and the beaver lodge. End the day at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a one-of-a-kind, family meeting place inspired by the imagination and creativity of local community children, with castles, ropes, swings, ladders, slides and artwork.

Visit High Park Harvest Festival
Sunday, October 2, 2011 from 12 – 4:30 p.m.
A great day of family fun including music, drama, storytelling, wagon rides, nature crafts and activities, traditional lawn games, seed collecting and a free Children’s Garden harvest lunch while it lasts!

How to get there:

Located at: 1873 Bloor St W (view it with google maps)

What are your nicest family activities? Share them with us!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Back to School - Waste Free Lunch Gear Which Is Safe For Your Kids

It's now the time of year when many parents start shopping for Back to School gear. So much waste is produced every year in Ontario's schools. Why not help to reduce waste this year by buying litter-less lunch gear? Investing in reusable lunch gear might be a bit of an investment upfront but it will payout over the lifetime of the product and you are also investing into our environment. Look out for these features when buying your reusable lunch products:

Washable materials: Juicy fruits, sandwiches and leaky drinks can really leave a mess. Look for reusable products that are washable in either the dishwasher or in the laundry.

Safe materials: Make sure that the products you choose are made of safe materials as they come in contact with your food.

Here is some great REUSABLE lunch gear:

Kids Konserve Nesting Trio

The Kids Konserve leak-proof Nesting Trio is the perfect solution for packing yogurt, fruit salad, applesauce, pasta, salad, hummus, apples and peanut butter, bagels and more! Use them to store your leftovers in the fridge. Since they nest perfectly inside one another they will take up very little space in your cupboard.
·  Made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel
·  Lids are made of recyclable non-toxic LDPE #4 plastic.
·  Free of BPA, phthalates, PVC and lead!
No matter how many times you refill it, no matter what you put into it, your Klean Kanteen will keep your drinks fresh, crisp and clean tasting. All caps are BPA-free.
·  Made of 18/8, food-grade stainless steel, no liner needed
·  No BPA, phthalates, lead, or other toxins

See more Reusable Water Bottles in our store!

These baggies are a chic and functional alternative to disposable plastic baggies and wraps. Made of a 100% cotton exterior with water-resistant nylon liner, they are easy to use, reusable and washable. The secure Velcro closure makes them ideal for sandwiches, dry snacks, travel and storage. The baggies can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher or laundry.

See more Reusable Sandwich Bags in our store!

The stainless steel bento is specially designed with an leak-proof lid and insulating sleeve, making it a versatile, safe and eco-friendly food storage solution. Great for storing sandwiches, pasta, salads and more! The BPA free protective sleeve reduces temperature transfer to protect little hands and keep your food warm, or cold, longer. It also helps to keep contents fresher by minimizing temperature changes.

Freezer safe
BPA-, phthalate-, PVC- and lead FREE!

Here are some more ideas on how you can prevent pollution in and around school:

  • Bike, walk or carpool to school
  • Use less toxic glues, markers or paints
  • Buy unbleached, recycled paper
  • Use both sides of paper
Share your ideas on how to prevent waste and pollution in school with us!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Thinking About Cloth Diapers?

You are thinking about using cloth diapers? Great! You’re in the right place. We’ll help you to understand all you need to know about cloth diapering. It’s easy and Mother Earth will thank you.
Cloth diapers have come a long way. Times of leaky, bulky cloth diapers which were held together by safety pins are gone and have been replaced by new high tech performing materials and fabrics. Many parents are still worried about cleaning messy cloth diapers, but modern cloth diapers make clean up an easy task.
Today’s cloth diapers come in a huge variety of fun prints and beautiful colours with either Velcro or snap closures for easy fastening, and elastics in the back and leg openings to keep in the poop. They are waterproof and breathable and most importantly they keep your baby’s bum healthy.
New designs like the All-In-One make cloth diapering as easy as using disposable diapers. At Ava’s Appletree we know that understanding the many options of cloth diapering can be overwhelming to a new mom and dad. Let us help shed some light into the many choices available to you.
Once you are into your routine you will be surprised how easy it is to cloth diaper your baby.

Read more in our Cloth-Diaper-Guide

Monday, 20 June 2011

Family Fun at Killbear Provincial Park

Fishing For Tadpoles
We decided in January to book a campsite at the very popular Campground in Killbear Provincial Park. We reserved a site in "Beaver Dam" close to the beautiful sandy beach. After stuffing our car up to the roof (you always have to prepared for everything), we were excited to finally leave the city on a Thursday and drive up north with our two children Ava (3) and Ewan (1) to explore the beautiful nature in Killbear Provincial Park. We were a little anxious about how our children would handle 4 days away from home, sleeping in a tent, as it was our first family camping trip, but once arrived we had no doubt that we would have an amazing time there.

Sandy Beaches
The afternoon sun was warm, little birds were singing around us and woodpeckers were working diligently in the trees. Before we had unloaded the car our kids found their way to the beach and it was just a matter of a few minutes until they stripped off their clothing and splashed in the water. It was heaven to see the joy in their faces.  

Ava's Caterpillar Farm
There was so much to discover, we played on the beach, cooled off in the water or explored the wildlife right at our campsite. There were many big and colorful caterpillars, some blue, yellow or green. Ava decided to keep and care for a few of them in her lunchbox; it was her little caterpillar farm.

We found tadpoles in puddles along the shores and a water snake hiding under leaves. Frogs were sunbathing in waterholes and in the evenings a young deer visited our campsite twice not being disturbed by us at all.

On one afternoon we took the "Lookout Trail" which is a short 30-minutes hike with our kids. Our daughter excitedly jumped from rock to rock, climbed down little paths and through the forest, listening to the animal sounds around us. Once we reached the end of the trail we were treated to a spectacular view of the Bay from the Lookout point which sits on top of a huge rock. We had lunch in the shade of the trees before we walked home on a scenic path along the shore of Georgian Bay. 
Watching the sunset was an enjoyment for the whole family.

Sadly we had to leave Killbear Provincial Park on Sunday already. We all enjoyed our break from the city. Besides having lots of fun, the children had the possibility to see and learn so much about Ontario's wildlife and its' beauty.
We are excited to visit Killarney in August for another great adventure.

Killbear Provincial Park:
Killbear Provincial Park is located on the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, about 3 hours north of Toronto. The park contains a wide variety of geographic formations from the bold granite rocks of the Canadian Shield to the sandy beaches of Kilcoursie Bay. The park contains a diverse ecological system of forests and wetlands.

Killbear Provincial Park is a natural environment park.  These parks protect the landscapes and special features of the natural region in which they are located, while providing ample opportunities for activities such as swimming and camping.

Whether you want to relax on a beach, hike in the woodlands, swim in the clear waters of Georgian Bay, paddle a canoe or kayak, explore the island waterways surrounding the park or take part in one of our educational programs Killbear has something to offer all outdoor enthusiasts.

About the campground:

Seven campgrounds offer 881 campsites, 236 with electricity, all near the water. Each site has a picnic table and fireplace. Vault toilets and drinking water taps are convenient to all sites, and there are comfort stations with hot showers and flush toilets (the facilities are very clean). Each campground has its own character, from the sandy, protective beaches of Kilcoursie and Beaver Dams to the pine and rocky settings of Harold Point, Granite Saddle and Georgian campgrounds.


If you plan to reserve a campsite remember to book ahead of time as these campsites are very popular.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Egg crafting

When it comes to crafts, my children love three things: stickers, lots of glue and watercolors. How about your kids? I bet they would have loved our craft afternoon too. Ava found some pretty stickers and colorful craft paper at our local craft store which we planned to use for our special Easter eggs. Take a look at her beautiful eggs below, every single one crafted with lots of love and lots of glue.

First we had to blow out the eggs! You need to make a little hole into the top and the bottom of the egg with a needle or egg puncher, then carefully holding the egg, blow into the top hole pushing the yolk and egg white out through the bottom.

We inserted a kebab stick through the two holes of the empty egg shells to have a better grip on them and started decorating our eggs.

Ava loves these flower and butterfly stickers on her egg.

Another one got painted with lots of glitter glue.

And some others were painted beautifully with watercolor.

We rolled the eggs with glue on it in colored paper.

And let them dry.

Of course we had to put stickers on to the painted eggs as well.
Aren't they lovely?!

Need an idea for dinner? How about scrambled eggs?