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Teen to Meet Hasbro Execs about Easy-Bake Oven

Cooking and baking should not be gender-specific.
Cooking and baking should not be gender-specific.

When McKenna Pope’s 4 year old brother asked for an Easy-Bake Oven, her and her parents were surprised at what they had found. Even at the age of 13, McKenna was taken aback by the obvious gender stereotyping on the packaging of the Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven. The casing was completely tailored to girls, from the pink and purple colors to the lack of boys on the box.

Rightfully so, McKenna didn’t want her brother to feel awkward about wanting an Easy-Bake Oven that is so obviously targeted to young girls instead of boys. I mean, why can’t boys cook and bake too? There are plenty of famous male chefs these days! So she decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a petition on Change.org in hopes of downgrading the very obvious gender roles depicted on the product. She stated in her petition plea that she wants her “brother to know that it’s not “wrong” for him to want to be a chef, that it’s okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate.”

McKenna just may get her wish too. The petition has been picking up steam, with more than 40,000 signatures and a surplus of comments in support of her argument. One commenter wrote, “I loved my easy-bake oven when I was a boy and I love cooking today. all boys should have access to the kitchen. and it’s never too early to let them have that access.” Amen, my friend, amen.

Will you see gender-neutral Easy-Bake Ovens on the shelves soon for the little one in your life? Maybe. The landslide of signatures has not gone unnoticed at Hasbro, and she is now set to meet with executives on Monday. Go McKenna!

For more on the story, visit CNN.com or abcnews.com.

Elf Sighting: December 12th

Today on Wednesday, 12-12-12 (sorry, couldn’t resist putting that in writing!), I found Beartha in the Customer Service department! Apparently she was taking phone calls throughout the night. If you did happen to talk to Beartha, give us a call back, the message may not have been clearly received. ;)

Where has your elf been lately?!

Baby Jogger City Versa Strollers Recalled: A Fall Hazard

December 12, 2012.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in cooperation with Baby Jogger, has issued a recall of nearly 10,600 City Versa strollers.

According to the CPSC and Health Canada, the stroller frame can potentially fail to lock completely and therefore collapse, causing a fall hazard to the child in the stroller. In total, there has been six reported incidents, though no injuries to date. Purchased from July to October 2012 from stores nationwide in both the United States and Canada, the recall includes all Baby Jogger City Versa model strollers.

Consumers should immediately stop using this stroller and contact Baby jogger for a free replacement frame.

Call Baby Jogger toll-free at (877) 506-2213 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST Monday-Friday, email at [email protected], or go online at www.babyjogger.com. For more information, visit CPSC.

Defining Organic Food

Within the past decade or so, the emphasis on our health and the environment in which we live has increased tremendously. This shift in our world view is absolutely necessary and a welcome change to many – including myself-, yet it can be confusing. We are constantly exposed to terms like all-natural and organic, but do we really know what they mean?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has worked diligently to increase awareness of what “organic” is and how organic food can be upheld. The National Organic Program (NOP) specifically deals with this matter under the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

The NOP defines organic as “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster recycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”

Simple enough, right?

Okay, maybe not… In short, the term ‘organic’ loosely represents the avoidance of man-made alterations. It is simply natural and conducive to preserving the environment, just the way it has always been, and arguably the way it always should be. No radiation. No pesticides. No harmful chemicals. However, when we wind up in the grocery aisle with tons of marketing phrases leaping out at us, it can cause a lot of confusion. From organic to all-natural to 100% organic, it’s extremely overwhelming to figure out what means what.

Thankfully, in 2000, the USDA established their rulings on the use of the term “organic” on food labels. A company claiming their product classifies in one of the below categories is subject to approval by a certified third party accredited by the USDA.

“100% Organic” – Products deemed 100% organic must contain exactly that, only organic ingredients. This product is allowed to display the USDA Organic Seal.

“Organic” - Products labeled as organic must contain at least 95% organic materials. This title may also display the USDA Organic Seal.

“Made with Organic Ingredients” - This title is given to products that contain between 70-95% organic ingredients.

Anything less than 70% may not be called organic. If falsified, a producer could face a lawsuit as well as a large fine.

For more information on how to decipher what “organic” means, visit the USDA.

For even more on organic foods – from what foods to invest in and what organic foods you can skip – read Buying Organic 101.

 

Elf Sighting: December 11th

We found Beartha spinning on a display mobile in our store today! She obviously has good taste setting up camp in the CoCaLo Surie crib set display.

Don’t elves get dizzy?

Saying No to Gifts You Don’t Approve Of

So we’ve covered how to say no to your kids, but what about when your child is dying for a toy that you’d literally rather poke yourself in the eye with a pine needle than allow your child to have? It’s a tough situation, especially with the holidays in full swing, and gift givers everywhere are on the prowl for the latest and greatest in toys that you may very well not approve of.

Perhaps you’re an eco-concerned parent and every toy in the house better be BPA-free and lacking in phthalates. Or perhaps, the absurd beauty ideals subliminally attached to many dolls on the market today are not the values you want instilled on your sweet daughter, or son for that matter? Or perhaps you’re like me, and think Furby is the freakiest thing since Chucky and would honestly be uneasy housing one under your roof, let alone in the room of which your child sleeps!

So, how do you say no to your child when they want gifts you don’t approve of?

  Choose your battles. Is the Furby thing just you? Maybe your child truly will benefit by owning a Furby. The Gremlin-like creature’s behavior is shaped based on how your child treats it – maybe it will be a great learning tool and teach empathy. Maybe… But in all seriousness, what you may see as unethical or just plain weird is more than likely nothing that your child will ever see or absorb. Children are beautifully innocent; sometimes it’s best not to over think things.

  Ignore the wish-listed item. Sure, children go through great lengths to compose a wish-list fit for a king, but sometimes, everything on their list simply cannot be bought.  For a good five years of my youth, I always included a chimpanzee. I never got one. I got over it.

  Provide an alternative. If your child is dying for that Barbie with the skin tight outfit that you are just simply not comfortable with, opt for a different outfit. There are plenty of other options that may be more suited to your tastes. It’s all about compromise.

  Teach your child to appreciate the gifts they do receive. Discuss the importance of gratitude and how many people are less fortunate. As we all know, it’s tough for a child to put on a happy face if they are disappointed by what they received (e.g. clothes vs. video games), but it’s a life lesson that they’ll have to master eventually.

  Communicate. If you know of other friends and family members that will be shopping for your child this year, tell them what they should get him/her. It reduces the pressure on the shopper, and you’ll be sure you and your child are happy with the result.

Have you ever been in this situation before? What have you done to skirt the situation, or did you bite the bullet and give in?

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed towards an innocent stuffed animal in this post are solely my own and do not reflect BabyEarth’s core values or opinions.

Elf Sighting: December 10th

Beartha participated in some snowflake making over the weekend!

Unfortunately, she didn’t bother to clean up the mess…

Where did you find your elf today?

Praise Can Help You Do Anything

This video is one of my all-time favorite clips on the internet. In fact, I like this video as much as Jessica likes her “whole house!” If you are ever feeling low or need a pep talk, simply watch this and all is right in this fast-paced world we live in. The confidence and overall happy meter this little girl displays is admirable and infectious. I personally believe “Jessica’s Daily Affirmation” is a testament to the benefits of having supportive and loving parents. Granted, this may not be as awesome if it were said by anyone over the age of 10, but c’mon, it’s too great! If every parent instilled this much self-assurance in their little ones, I think the world would be a better place.

Praise your kids, and believe in them, because they’ll start believing too!

 

Elf Sighting: December 7th

Apparently Beartha has employed accomplices to help her keep tabs on who has been naughty and nice in the office. Here she is holding a meeting in the conference room!

Have you started the elf tradition in your home? If so, what has your elf been up to?

Interested in starting the tradition?! “The Elf on the Shelf” children’s story kit can be purchased at many chain retailers as well as online.

Dream On Me Recalls Bath Seats and Bed Rails

December 6, 2012.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Dream On Me Inc., has issued a recall of nearly 50,000 bath seats and 900 bed rails.

According to the CPSC, the bath seats fail to meet Federal Safety Standards and are therefore a drowning hazard as they can tip over in the tub. Purchased from July to September 2012, the recall includes all Dream On Me bath seats. For more information, visit CPSC.

This is one of the various colors and models recalled.
This is one of the various colors and models recalled.

In terms of the Dream On Me bed rails, the CPSC claims the bed rails pose a suffocation and strangulation hazard as the rail can separate from the mattress, potentially resulting in a child becoming entrapped between the two. No injuries have been reported. This item was sold from September 2011 through May 2012. For more information, visit CPSC.

Consumers should immediately stop using these products and contact Dream On Me.  Call Dream On Me toll-free at (877) 201-4317 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday-Friday, or go online at www.dreamonme.com and click on “Recalls” found in the upper right hand corner.