Baby’s First Bookshelf – Our 10 favorite books for babies

One of the most important things you can do with your children is read together. Kids who are read to often begin to read faster, and the love of reading is a great gift. Reading together is also a bonding experience. Using books to gauge interest in hobbies or topics keeps you closer to your kids as they get into the pre-teen and teenage years, and reading lets imaginations run wild. It also teaches problem solving and can provoke conversations about complex topics. You can also share your favorite childhood books and family memories.

We asked you for your favorite books for baby’s first reading list, and we added our own favorites. Tell us in the comments what other books you recommend!

The Richard Scarry books have been around since we were babies, and they are timeless. The pictures let kids read the story for themselves before any words are necessary. Scarry is still one of the best-selling children’s illustrators of all time. The books are detailed for long or short reads, and a favorite on our family road trips. Ask for some of the books at your baby shower, maybe asking the giver to write in the cover pages about their favorite memories reading the book.

Another very popular and engaging series for babies that toddlers will also enjoy are the Sarah Gillingham “In My” books. The books come with a finger puppet that lets children be an active participant in the stories. The pages are die-cut in layers, and the books are very sturdy for the youngest readers. These make great big brother or big sister books to read to a new baby. While very short, the puppets extend the reading time.

What would any beginning reading list be without Goodnight Moon? The classic story of trying to evade bedtime will never get outdated, and the comforting arrival of darkness while remaining interested in the surroundings is genius. One of those books you can read hundreds of times, we recommend buying a sturdy version the first time for many happy bedtimes.

Another classic, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of the best books ever to read aloud. Babies will find it fun to be jostled while you make funny noises, while toddlers will enjoy the suspense and sound effects. Many nights the whole family marched around the house pretending to hunt the bear, find the bear and run back to bed together. Great fun!

Another book that requires almost no reading, Goodnight, Gorilla always gets a big laugh. The suspense builds for such a long time and when the naughty gorilla is caught in bed, it’s hard not to belly laugh, even after dozens of readings. The details are fun for older kids to pick out and the pink balloon and mouse with banana are clever touches.

Jamberry is one of those books that might not be an instant favorite. It appears on so many must-read lists but the syrupy sweet story isn’t ultra-compelling. Until it is. Perhaps children have the imagination to dream this story and the razmatazzberry sneaks up on you, but one day you’ll notice the book is dog-eared and very well loved. Something about it is so joyful and innocent you can’t help fall under its spell.

Every kid we know has a fascination with their belly button at some point. The hippos in Belly Button Book go to the beach to show theirs off and a lot of singing and dancing ensues. This is one of the best Sandra Boynton books, we also love her Going to Bed Book. Another fun navel-centric book is Where is Baby’s Belly Button?

Dr. Seuss books are a staple on any child’s nightstand. Green Eggs and Ham and Horton Hears a Who are a bit long for babies, but Fox in Socks makes for a challenging read (try to read aloud fast!) and enough silly talk that older babies will enjoy it. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is another good choice for babies, the rhymes are engaging and older siblings can read this to younger brothers and sisters.

We fight it, we wash our hands, but eventually, we get sick. Bear Feels Sick is the perfect book to have on hand for those days. Bear’s friends come and tend to him and do nice things to help him feel better and there’s a surprise laugh at the end. All of the Karma Wilson “Bear” books are equally sweet and teach good friendship and life skills.

For any little monster, a reading of Where the Wild Things Are sets the world right. We started reading this in a really abbreviated version and then slowly integrated the whole story. Another book you can act out or have more conversation about, Max and his friends will be a lifelong memory.

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Posted on February 1st, 2011 in reading & literacy | 1 Comment »

Pay It Forward — We asked, you gave ideas

When we asked via our Facebook page for ideas on paying it forward, we hoped for inspiration and thoughts on how to pay it forward ourselves.  Our focus is on small steps that you can use to create big change — we call them seeds of change. And, you didn’t disappoint. In fact, the suggestions were so great that we wanted to memorialize them and ask for more. Please leave your suggestions as comments, and feel free to borrow an idea or two!

“I give the man who stands on the corner a couple of bags of groceries when I can.” –Kristin W.

“I’ve been lucky enough to afford to buy brand-new cloth diapers for my babe. When she’s done with them, I’m donating them to mothers in need.” –Lacey H.

“Dedricks Gifts pays it forward by donating 10% of our Holiday open House profits to Cystic Fibrosis, in honor of Eammon a 4 year old boy who’s Mom is a client. Our staff walks in May for MS in honor of our Gift Buyer who has MS. We continue to buy merchandise from Vendors like you that make a difference in the world.” –William Dedrick

“I will be freecycling my baby’s clothes as she outgrows them, which happens too fast!” –Wendi N.

“We always clean out our closets in January and take a large donation of clothing to the Salvation Army. This year we are taking our clothing to a Thrift store whose profits benefit our local animal rescue group!” — Jennifer C.

We are working to set up a memorial fund to honor our 22 year old son who passed away in October 2010. We want to start out having it be a scholarship fund, and have it eventually be a foundation that offers low cost/free mental health services to young adults. — Suzanna N.

Spending time teaching my 3 year old how important it is to give without conditions. Giving of goods and time. Paying it forward to the next generation. –Haley B.

Our daughter’s clothes were in such amazing shape after she outgrew them that we decided to lend them out to another mom expecting a little girl on the condition that when she’s done with them (NB-2T sizes) that they be lent to another expecting mom. I’m proud to say that these clothes are now being worn by baby girl #5! — Kindra R.

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Posted on January 26th, 2011 in seeds of change | No Comments Yet »

Greening your nursery and kids’ rooms: A podcast interview with Alexandra Zissu, co-author of Planet Home

We’re happy to share this interview with Alexandra Zissu, co-author with Jeffrey Hollender (co-founder of Seventh Generation) of Planet Home: Conscious Choices for Cleaning and Greening the World you Care About Most.

We all want to create the safest homes we can, and few places are as important as the rooms where kids spend many of their sleeping and waking hours.  In this interview, Tanya Lieberman asked:

- What are some small, important, and inexpensive steps that we can take to green our homes?

- How can you more safely renovate a nursery before having a baby?

- Why buy an organic crib mattress, or snug fitting pajamas?  And what’s wrong with particle board furniture?

- Should we be keeping electronic and wireless devices away from our babies’ heads?

You can listen to the podcast with the player below, listen to it with Quicktime, or download it from our free iTunes store!

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Posted on January 19th, 2011 in organic, podcasts, seeds of change | 1 Comment »

10 Seeds of Change in 10 Minutes or Less

We all want to be greener more earth-friendly, we really do. But, in the day to day grind of being a parent, working and just getting to tomorrow, it’s easy to put off our eco-friendly decisions. Here at Dandelion, we are committed to what we call Seeds of Change, little tiny baby steps we can all do to start change. Building on these seeds is important, but it’s most important to plant a few seeds first. Here are our top 10 ideas for seeds of change this year, we welcome your ideas in the comments!

1.  Turn off your computer at night. The Daily Green estimates that this will save you $90 a year in electricity, and it’s better for your computer too.

2.  Turn off the water. It’s easy to leave the water running when you brush your teeth, or delay fixing a leaky toilet. Make a conscious effort to use the leftover water in your reusable water bottle to water a plant, or set up a rainwater collection system for your garden. Kids will enjoy seeing how much water they saved each day and deciding what plant to grace with the extra love.

3.  Buy locally. Get to know one new local business each month. You can get carried away and take the kids to visit the farm or start a challenge to buy a certain percentage of your food locally, but in 10 minutes it’s easy to add one new business to your local favorites.

4.  Reduce plastic. All those plastic bags add up. One less baggie in your child’s lunch every day makes a huge difference. One reusable water bottle makes for how many plastic ones saved? A lot. My Plastic Free Life has hundreds of tips and plenty of motivation if you need help. The story of how Beth started her plastic-free journey is inspiring — read it.

5.  Send e-cards. you want to say thank you, happy birthday or just wish someone hello, but paper cards are not very good for Mother Earth. Decide if the greeting would be just as impactful with an e-card. If you want to send paper, check out some earth-friendly recommendations from Celebrate Green.

6.  Plant something. Anything. Sure, we all probably need an organic garden, but baby steps are fine too. Grow an herb on the window sill or let the kids each pick a packet at the garden store and grow whatever they want. It’s important for our children to know what growing food looks like, to play in the dirt, and to learn how to garden. Even if it’s just a window box.

7.  Buy used. Get to know Craigslist and Freecycle. It only takes 10 minutes (or less) to see if someone is selling what you’re looking for. You’ll save money, meet cool people, and feel better about your purchase. While you’re at it, list something you need to get rid of.

8.  Take off your shoes. Leaving your shoes at the door is one of the most important steps in keeping toxins out of your home. It saves on cleaning too. Making your own cleaning products is easy and inexpensive. The kids will love pouring the ingredients together and many homemade cleaning products actually work better than store-bought.

9.  Say no to receipts. How many times can you say no to a receipt in a month? Gas pumps, ATMs and other transactions don’t require printing a receipt. Keep track on the calendar and reward yourself when you reach a milestone.

10. Bring your own mug. A world without coffee would be pretty harsh for many of us, so the next time you hit your favorite coffee shop, take your own travel mug, and keep a couple spare mugs in the car. Your coffee will stay hotter longer and you’ll feel better when you don’t have to toss the cup, lid and heat shield.

Here at Dandelion, we already have taken a lot of steps to go green. We scan all documents and save digitally and use halogen lights in our warehouse. We centralized all garbage – eliminating all the small bags everywhere and set up a recycling station in office center. All desks also have recycle bins for all paper and we have skylights in the warehouse to eliminate indoor lighting as much as possible – our electric bill has reduced over 53%! We are changing over our phone systems to VOIP to eliminate our PBX, all our calls are tracked digitally now and we replaced all bathroom hand soaps to refill units. We only order paper supplies – like laser paper, paper towels, toilet paper have high recycled content and we have centralized our necessary printing to eliminate all desk printers except essential ones – reducing toners – plus all toner cartridges are sent to be recycled. We also offset our carbon footprint for all shipping in and out through

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Posted on January 6th, 2011 in seeds of change | 1 Comment »

Holiday Aftermath — Consumerism, Life Lessons and Santa

There are so many expectations, and excitement is at a fever pitch leading up to the holidays, especially for kids, so it shouldn’t be shocking that the “gimme” monster rears his head this time of year. That, combined with stress from the in-laws or a lot more sugar than usual, makes the whole family a little raw this week. Dr. Jeffrey I. Dolgan, Senior Psychologist at The Children’s Hospital, Denver, has some strategies for managing your kid’s expectations and disappointment, as well as the raging consumerism when they see a toy catalog.

Dolgan explains that the holidays mean different things at different ages to children. “Three or 4-year-olds don’t get the Christian meaning of Christmas, but they do get Santa Claus. They understand that they’re going to get some presents. It’s a time of imagination.” You might be teaching the giving instead of getting, but your child may just be a bit to young to grasp that at the same time as Santa’s magic toy express.

Who IS Santa Claus?

To your kiddos, Dolgan explains that Santa Claus is the giver of all good things. This is especially true if children have been to the mall and met Santa Claus and told him what they want. So, consumerism and obsession with all the good things they could receive is normal. As our kids get older they can understand more external influences (your budget!) but little kids just don’t think that way. So, managing what you might see as the “gimme” phase could start with talking about some limits Santa might have, such as bringing one simple toy.

We read an excellent article before the holidays about a mom who gets her kids something they NEED, something they WANT, something to WEAR and something to READ. It’s an excellent tradition to try next year.

Is the Santa Claus Myth Part of the Problem?

Dolgan says that it’s good for kids to have a symbol and to believe. “This is the beginning of a belief system, which we all need so we have something to hang on to later on. For little kids, it’s something to look forward to. If they disbelieve, they can become negative and they lose a kind of charm.” He adds that it’s appropriate for kids to keep believing in something about Santa forever. (Wheww!)

Understand Expectations

Dolgan explains, “Kids are precise about what they want. It’s not a video game, it’s this particular video game. It’s not an action figure, it’s this action figure.” They expect these precise things, especially if they wrote it down or visited Santa Claus. Children come to expect that all kids should have these toys, especially if the ads instruct them to, “Tell Mom and Dad” or “Make sure to mention this to Santa Claus.”

If your child didn’t get what he or she wanted, or wanted everything in the catalog, Dolgan suggest setting up a volunteering expedition to open up kids’ eyes to the fact that there are needy people. “Parents can say: “This has been a tough year and many boys and girls have mommies and daddies who lost their jobs or are having a hard time staying in their houses. We can help Santa by doing some things that he would do because he’s having a very hard time providing all the food and clothes.”

Is Disappointment OK?

Dolgan says yes. “These are the building blocks of personality. Dealing with disappointment means both managing expectations and identifying feelings. Unless you master disappointment or an upsetting event early, it will be much more difficult to deal with it later on. Children who grow up without any disappointment become entitled and narcissistic. And that’s very hard to treat. Those who are truly entitled think everything comes their way and nothing goes the other. They think they’re the center of the universe. When someone thinks that way, who can they share with?”

What Else Do Kids Learn?

According to Dolgan, the holidays are an opportunity to know some myths, work towards a belief system and reconnect outside of school. “Doing something together is very, very important. If parents reflect on the best part of the holidays, they can replicate that. And they remember the worst part of the holidays and learn not to bring that back either.”

We’d love to hear your strategies for managing consumerism, ideas for next year, or recommendations on articles about the topic! Leave us a comment!

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Posted on December 29th, 2010 in seeds of change | No Comments Yet »

Guest Post: Foods for the Holidays – Don’t leave your baby out of the culinary festivities!

If you have a new baby this year for the holidays, you might be wondering how to include him in the holiday feasting. Our guest post comes from Maggie at Wholesome Baby Food. We asked her for tips on healthy foods for babies who are new to solid foods.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about “back to school” time, but I do agree, that time of year is a keen competitor for the “most wonderful time of the year” moniker; I am talking about the Winter and Holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year.  Not only is it winter and holiday time, it’s food time as well.  The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and right on into New Year’s Day, is one of great culinary joy as we set about baking and roasting and dreaming of sugar plums and decadent desserts.  If you have a little one who is just starting solid foods, or one who is venturing on to more “adult” tastes and textures, the Winter and Holiday season is a veritable treasure trove of tasty foods for little ones of all ages. Include your baby in the culinary celebration whenever possible; it is easy, tasty and of course, nutritious.

During the Winter season you will find all sorts of tasty (and totally nutritious) winter squash like acorn, butternut, Hubbard, and even spaghetti squash.  Also on the list of winter food are tasty pears, persimmons, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnip and parsnips, broccoli and a whole host of other totally scrumptious and baby friendly offerings from the dirt and the trees.  One big bonus of Winter fruits and vegetables is that the majority of them won’t pose any allergy issues!  Another big bonus of the holiday meals is that the majority of us will be eating in season foods; great for the farmers and for mother earth.

If your baby is between 4 to 6 months of age, she will be able to eat winter squash, pears, sweet potatoes and green beans (no way, not “that” green bean casserole, take her portion out first please!) as well as apples.  There should be no need to prepare these foods in a special way for your little one, simply remove a portion prior to seasoning and set that portion aside until dinner time.  Easy Peasy!  Read on for some fast and simple ideas about feeding your little one during the holidays and enjoy a few recipes as well.

Butternut Squash or other Winter Squash

While these squash varieties straddle between the Fall and Winter, they peak between September and November, you would be hard pressed to not find them at a December holiday dinner table.  For babies between the ages of 4-6 months old, serve up some roasted butternut squash. This tasty squash usually makes an appearance on the majority of Holiday dinner tables in one form or another.  This squash is packed full of vitamins A and Beta Carotene as easily seen in its vibrant orange color.  The winter squash also has lots of minerals like calcium and iron.  If you won’t be finding this wonder veggie on your Holiday table, do be sure to try and roast one yourself.  It is so easy to roast and puree winter squash that you’ll wonder why you ever thought about baby food in a jar.

Roasted Butternut Squash – for babies 4 months and older

1 medium sized butternut squash (or any other type of winter squash)

1.  Preheat oven to 400-425F degrees.
2.  Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seed portions, lay face down in a baking dish then add some water to the dish.
Bake at 400-425F degrees for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the shell/skin puckers.  Allow to cool then scoop out the meat and puree!

For your older baby (from 8 months and older) there is no medical reason to hold off dishing out a wee bit of that roasted squash with apples and maple syrup on the table.   Baked acorn squash with apples, raisins, maple syrup and ground walnuts is a tasty dish that my family always has during the holidays. Many pediatricians are even suggesting that your little one can partake of foods that contain tree nuts as long as you do not have a history of tree nut allergies in your family!  Do be sure to watch carefully for choking hazards in any food that you offer your baby!

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots – for babies 6 months and older

1/2 pound carrots – washed, peeled and cut into long sticks
1/2 pound parsnips – washed, peeled and cut into long sticks

1.  Preheat oven to 400-425F degrees.
2.  Prepare a baking dish by lightly coating it with olive oil, add the prepared carrots and parsnips to the pan and swish them around a bit so that the veggies are coated in the oil.
3.  Cover the dish and bake at 400-425F degrees for approximately 30-45 minutes or until fork tender.  You may uncover the baking dish during the last 15-10 minutes of baking if you really want a deeper roasted flavor!
4.  Once finished allow to cool, then puree if needed.

Parsnips and carrots are truly delicious when they are roasted together and if you add a bit of fennel, the taste is just out of this world.  These two root vegetables are so simple to roast that if you have never done it, you’ll be sure to try it now.  Babies from the age of 6 months and older will delight in the color combination of parsnips and carrots as well as the slightly sweet and nutty flavor.  I suggest mashing or dicing them a wee bit and letting your little self-feeder dig in with his fingers.  Don’t forget to make this a side dish for your holiday meal!  If you want to add some zing, slice up some fennel and add to the baking dish with the carrots and parsnips.  Fennel may also be introduced to babies from 6-8 months and older.

Roasted Pears – for babies 4 months and older

3 Pears
dash of cinnamon or vanilla or ginger (leave out for babies under 6 months)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2.  Halve and core pears.
3.  Place pears in a shallow baking dish with about 1 inch of water.
4.  Add spices if desired, directly to the water.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees F. 25 minutes or until tender.
6.  Allow the pears to cool and then mash and serve mixed with sweet potatoes, turnip, carrots or even green beans!

Here is where these winter fruits pass into adulthood – serve warm baked pears with a scoop of french vanilla yogurt, drizzle a bit of caramel and dig in!

Pears are high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. They are a great fruit to offer your baby if she is suffering from a bout of constipation. Pears are gentle on the tummy and a pear is very nutrient dense; there are more nutrients per calorie than calories per nutrient. There is no need to peel a pear unless you are feeding it raw to a baby between 4-6 months of age. A pear’s skin is easily digestible.

Here are a few more ideas on how you can easily pull up baby’s highchair and let him dig into the Holiday meal.  Enjoy!

Squashy Apple Sweet Potatoes (6 months+)
Take a small scoop of that baked acorn or butternut squash and mash in some sweet potatoes and applesauce.

Sweet White Potatoes (7 months+)
Take a small scoop of (pre-seasoned) white mashed potatoes and blend in some sweet potatoes.

Baby’s Sweet Potato Apple Pie (6 months+)
Mix in some sweet potatoes and applesauce with oatmeal or rice cereal. Mix in yogurt for babies over 8 months.

Yummy Pumpkin Pie
Baby Pumpkin Pie is easy, simply blend pumpkin puree together with oatmeal or rice cereal. Mix in yogurt for babies over 8 months.

Mince Squash (8 months+)
Dish up some of the Christmas squash and add some pureed raisins and figs, sprinkle cinnamon and/or nutmeg and mix.

Green Beans and Potatoes (7 months+)
Green beans and mashed potatoes are a staple of many Holiday meals, for your baby, make a blend of white potatoes and green beans.

Christmas Spirit Tofu
Blend tofu, add smooshed peas and a hint of mint.

Baby’s Roast Beef Dinner
Serve your baby a yummy Christmas Holiday Dinner melange.

1 slice of Roast Beef
sweet potato

Blend all of the above Christmas food together for a yummy meal.   If your baby is eating finger foods, simply cut the meat into small pieces and arrange in baby’s dish with the sweet potato and applesauce.

Happy Holidays to all!

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Posted on December 17th, 2010 in feeding baby | No Comments Yet »

Teaching Gratitude

‘Tis the season when we talk about being thankful and how much better it is to give instead of receive. But our kids are bombarded with catalogs proclaiming that getting is so much more fun than anything else. Because of the economy, a desire to take the holidays back to their most important elements and just plain common sense, many parents are trying to balance happiness and presents with teaching true gratitude. But, it’s harder than it sounds when their little faces beg for the latest thing.

Here are a few suggestions, and we’d love to hear yours in the comments!

Be a Grateful Role-Model

Our kids really do see and contemplate everything we say. When we complain about the small bonus from work or make an off-handed remark about someone who gives us a gift we think is less than optimal, they catalog our behavior. To teach our kids to be truly grateful, we have to be truly grateful and express that regularly, not just at the holidays. Since being grateful can actually change your life, it’s a great thing to make a resolution to do more often.

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a simple notebook where you write three things every night that you are thankful for. This idea was popular a few years ago, and while it sounds easy, some days are pretty challenging.  Having a family journal where each person contributes is a powerful way to focus on gratitude all year long, and the journal makes a wonderful keepsake. If you’re a crafty family, you could make the journal yourselves, but just a simple notebook will do fine.

Other Thankful Crafts

A found tree branch can be hung with simple construction paper leaves that each hold a message of thanks from the family, making a gratitude tree. The tree also makes a great holiday table centerpiece. Your family could hang the leaves in a special ceremony once a week or once a month after collecting them daily, reading the notes aloud. Making a gratitude garland might be fun for larger groups and younger children.

Hardship Experiment

Have you ever tried to go without something for a whole day or week? Pare down the toys, special food or something else meaningful to simulate in a small way what some families are faced with and give your kids something to think about. Kids are naturally very empathetic and thinking of others going without is a powerful way to help them think of their own ideas to both help others and be grateful for what you have. Older kids who are particularly challenged with wanting big ticket items might go without a different item each day for a week, and you can talk about what is really important as a family.


Volunteering as a family is something you should do all year — not just at the holidays — but it’s even more sobering this time of year. Realizing how truly blessed we all are is a natural result of helping others. It’s really true that it is better to give than receive but until you demonstrate that, kids can’t conceive of the concept. Giving of your time is the most precious gift (as a parent and as a volunteer) and it makes a nice break from the commercial mayhem of the holiday season. Volunteer Match has opportunities categorized by family friendliness, and your kids might have a friend or two to invite along.

What does your family do to teach gratitude? Please tell us in your comments!

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Posted on December 8th, 2010 in seeds of change | 1 Comment »

Dandelion’s Holiday Gift Guide

We know how hard it can be to pick an earth-friendly gift that’s just right for the little ones in your life.  So we have put together a Gift Guide featuring of our top selling toys as well as a special section of top toys under $20.  No need to spend a fortune to find the perfect present!

So whether you’re shopping for your child, grandchild or another special little guy or gal in your world, we have the perfect, thoughtful, eco-friendly gift for you.

Top Dandelion Gifts

Organic Shape Sorter ($34.99)

Remember the classic toys?  We all played with a shape sorter, and the award winning Dandelion version is an up-to-date improvement on the old favorite. Super stuffed with 4 sound filled shapes to squish and sort, and lots of texture to explore.  Safe and soft: made with organic cotton fibers and filled with natural stuffing made from corn! And after all that touching, teething and tossing around, its machine washable.  Awesome!

Organic Toddler Doll ($24.99)

A little girl’s first doll should be soft and sweet, just like her! Dandelion Organic Toddler Doll is a 12” best friend, big enough for growing girls, yet safe enough for a baby – there are no small parts. Velour fabric made with organic cotton fibers and filled with natural stuffing made from corn! Mom can machine wash and dry as needed.  Choice of blonde or brunette.  A portion of the proceeds from sales support cures for childhood cancer.  A wonderful gift with a wonderful purpose.

Bamboo Zoo Lion Plush ($27.99)

A unique and special stuffed animal is impossible to resist and makes the perfect gift.  So every child on your list deserves the BambooZoo Plush Lion, made with silky soft bamboo viscose fabric (in a yummy orange sherbet color!) and stuffed with soft corn fiber filling.  He has slightly weighted tush & toes, a sweet smiling face and a ruffled mane.  A gift they’ll remember!

Top Gifts Under $20

Organic Plush Bear ($19.99)

Every baby needs a Teddy!  The Dandelion Organic Bear is a sweet little guy packed with enchanting features.  Baby will love to tug & teethe his ears and knot tail and enjoy the surprise of his soft rattle.  Made with organic cotton terrycloth fibers and filled with fluffy corn fiber filling.  And he’s machine washable, a nice surprise for mom and dad, too.  A Dandelion best seller!

Organic My First Baby Doll ($12.99)

Perfection in PINK velour! Ready to be Baby’s best friend and dressed in her favorite color…Pink Baby Doll enchants parents and little girls alike. Made with organic cotton fibers, and lightly stuffed with fluffy-soft corn fiber filling, so she’s just right for little hands to hug & hold.  Her ponytails are ready for tugging and teething, and her sweet features are all stitched for added safety.  A portion of the proceeds from sales of the PINK Collection will support Breast Cancer Research.  A sweet gift with a special message.

Organic Bear Teething Blanket ($14.99)

Teething Blankets are favorite baby gifts, for a good reason – Babies (and their parents) love them! Give the best, with the Dandelion Bear Teething Blanket, safe and soft in plush velour made with organic cotton fibers. Features knots to tug and teethe and swirly stitches to touch and discover.  Bear head is stuffed with soft corn fiber filling and hides a crinkle sound for an extra surprise.   Oh, and he’s machine wash and dry…a gift they’ll REALLY thank you for!

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Posted on November 30th, 2010 in dandelion products | No Comments Yet »

Plant the Seed for Change

Welcome to our new blog!

We started a blog because seeds of change are really important to us at Dandelion. We founded this company not only to grow our own seeds of change, but because everyone can plant the seeds for change. The tiniest change when multiplied by hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands can create real change!

All of us here at Dandelion look at change on a daily basis…whether its some small thing in our offices, like scanning and saving digital images instead of using paper, or looking at a new material like recycled PET fill for toys.

But change is also about changing the world around us. As a company, we offset our carbon footprint with This is an easy step for any company or individual, there’s even a handy calculator on the site to help you figure out just what your carbon footprint is!

One of the first items on our mission statement for Dandelion was that we would give back to our community in efforts that would support change for the people and world around us. This important mission is one that usually suffers greatly with our economy — people just stop donating to the food bank,  supporting environmental causes and simply don’t give to the poor homeless man on the street.  As a family-owned and operated company, we made the decision to give without regard to the economic impact to our company.

That giving back starts with our commitment for ALL Dandelion products to support 1% for the Planet. We set aside 1% of all gross sales to donate for global earth-saving causes. This year we have used those dollars to support The Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy. 1% for the Planet is a great way for any company to start, but for us that’s just what it was — a start. We also support many other great organizations and fund raising efforts.

Feeding America is one such great organization. When we created our bioplastic corn products we wanted them to not only be a healthy alternative to plastic but also another way to be able to give to our community. The dollars we donate feed thousands of people in our local community who need our help.

The PINK line is our way of helping to fund Breast Cancer Research. Breast cancer is so widespread that anyone you talk to has been affected in some way. We have also been touched by childhood cancer. A dear friend suffers from Neuroblastoma – and so our new Toddler Dolls will allow us to donate to Childhood Cancer Research.

And, we have planted thousands of trees in hopes that our efforts would enable reforestation.

Welcome to our blog, where we want to share other opportunities for you to sow the seeds of change in our own life. All of this is just the beginning of what we hope will be a future full of spreading seeds of hope and change.

Amy Shumway, owner and co-founder

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Posted on November 29th, 2010 in seeds of change | No Comments Yet »

Green Gift Ideas for Baby’s First Holiday

There’s something especially magical about that first holiday season with a baby. If you’re still pregnant, the season is filled with special anticipation, and baby’s first holiday appearance keeps Kodak in business for at least a year. This might also be the start of your families doing something “extra” when it comes to holiday shopping. Grandparents who were especially frugal as parents are even vulnerable.

But, especially in today’s economic climate, it’s important to be respectful of all our resources, including our money. And, teaching our children that the simple gifts are really better takes a good role model or two. Without taking any of the joy from the gift giver, or muting the celebration, here are five ideas for gifts that honor your green values:

Grow Your Garden Green

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Gift Tree program helps you give ready-to-plant trees to everyone on your list. In a gift that keeps on giving sorta way, plant the tree in a pot for the winter and have a special celebration when you move it to its permanent home in the spring.

If you give a tree to your own family, talk to your kids about what the tree signifies (maybe a special memory, the new baby or a loved one who is no longer with you) and use the opportunity to learn all year. Hang crafts from the tree all winter (it works, I promise) and decorate the tree to every celebration you can think of.

Eye of the Beholder

Grandparents and aunts and uncles will cherish something handmade and useful. Take a string and mini-clothespins (you can even decorate the clothespins) and package them with a selection of art work from your family. Kids can draw their own, moms and dads can print pictures or do something more grand. As the year goes on, send regular packets of new art to clip and keep the collage fresh.

Conversation Starter

If you need a budget-friendly green gift for several families, consider doing a holiday conversation starter. Find or make a box and print questions on small slips of paper that fit in the box. This can be a simple project or you can go all out and design your own paper and decorate the box. Sample questions could be, “What’s the best gift you ever got, and why?” and “What’s your favorite part of the holiday?” or make up your own. The idea is that as you share your holiday meal with family and friends, the conversation starter box ensures that everyone gets a chance to share something meaningful. The boxes can become a family tradition, and you might print updated questions each year for a follow up. If you haven’t announced your pregnancy yet, you can have fun leading the family to the new arrival with the theme of the questions.

Family Library

Offer to take some books (or toys) that your kids have grown tired of, and swap once every month or two with the families on your gift list. The books can go in a circle, and aunts and uncles can add extra favorites or just swap out what their family no longer reads. Since books are so expensive, it’s a fun way to stretch your investment and share something about your family. Grandparents will enjoy reading together via Skype or video and your kids will love their favorite stories with the reader’s own spin. Books can be sent media mail, which is very affordable, and every month all the families will get something new without a big price tag.

Family Craft Night

Instead of expensive presents and Martha Stewart workload, let the family decorate your home for the holidays – together. Provide craft supplies, and if you wish, set up tables for things you want made. A wreath station, tree decorating area, snacks or cookie baking, or a family-wide holiday card circle are all possible ideas. It really is about the time spent laughing and recalling holidays past, as well as looking forward to what’s in your future. Older kids will have fun recycling items all year for craft night, and some advance prep allows you to buy supplies on sale.

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Posted on November 16th, 2010 in seeds of change | No Comments Yet »

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