Friday, September 12, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Peapods Wins Green America's Summer 2014 People & Planet Award

(September 12, 2014, Washington, D.C) Green America, a national non-profit that promotes sustainable business practices, named St. Paul's Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care store as one of three winners of the Summer 2014 People & Planet Award.

The award, which includes a $5,000 prize, was given to three out of ten businesses across the country who were nominated. In addition to Peapods, Glee Gum of Providence, Rhode Island, and Green Beginning Community Preschool of Los Angeles, California were also named as winners.

Peapods, which is celebrating 15 years in business this month, offers wood toys, cloth diapers, baby carriers, and other green goods for kids at its store on Como Avenue. 

Millie Adelsheim, the founder and co-owner of Peapods, said "We're incredibly honored to receive Green America's People & Planet Award. As long-time supporters of Green America, we greatly appreciate their commitment to promoting sustainable businesses. 

"Our goal at Peapods has always been two-fold: to offer the safest and greenest goods and to build community in our city. We believe that a locally-owned store benefits a neighborhood in dozens of ways that chain stores or ecommerce sites do not. Today, we are thankful to our community for helping us achieve this award. 

"We will be using this award to invest in more energy-efficient light fixtures and to improve our selection of sustainably made toys for the coming Holiday season. 

"While most of our products are also available on our website,, we strongly encourage folks across the country to seek out local toy and baby stores in their own neighborhoods. Your local merchants deserve your support!" 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dispatch from the 2014 ABC Kids Expo

Dan & Ellie trying out new
Sakura Bloom linen slings
Well, once again we have journeyed to the temporary epicenter of the Juvenile Products Industry, a million square foot gathering in Las Vegas of over 3,000 baby products manufacturers and distributors.

Even more than past years, the global nature of the baby products marketplace was evident. We saw more products than ever that were developed elsewhere in the world, a trend that speaks both to the continuing globalization of the industry and to a growing consumer class in countries like China.

This year, Ellie trekked with us and got to try out lots of new products. (Yes, we brought a two year old to a trade show...yikes!) We met with many of the wonderful companies who supply our store, including Sakura Bloom, bumGenius, Thirsties, Haba, Tegu, and many more.

Warning: not to scale.
We found lots of great new products, and we'll be posting all of them to our facebook page, instagram, etc. as they all arrive over the next couple of months.

But, as usual, we also found a lot of bad ideas, too. Some were just kinda goofy, others we think are plainly ill-considered.

So, without further ado, here's our update on the activities of the Bad Idea Fairy

(For past years' reports on the bad idea fairy, simply search our blog for the keyword "expo".)

Part 1: The Goofy

The Dozin Buddy: Ok, this is a pool noodle. It attaches to your car's seat so that when your kid falls asleep she'll have something to lean against. The rest of the time I guess she'll feel like she's on a roller coaster. Did I mention this is a pool noodle?

The Saddle Baby: It's a saddle. For your toddler. Because carrying a kid on your shoulders is so difficult, right? Granted, this design does claim to allow mom or dad to do other stuff with their hands while carrying a child, but any decent structured baby carrier will do the same. Now, if the Saddle Baby could somehow prevent your kid from sticking his fingers in your ears, then we might be sold...

The HipNGo: At least Saddle Baby looks comfy. The HipNGo, which seems to combine a fanny pack with a baby carrier, does not. My neck kinda hurts to look at it.

The Binxy Baby Grocery Cart Hammock: Again, a good baby carrier would be easier and much more versatile than this odd invention. The manufacturer also recommends setting a car seat in this fabric pouch, which doesn't look shaky, no not at all...

Seriously, tho, this might be a really great solution for peaches and bananas.

The Slumber Sleeper: Why buy crib sheets and a sleep sack or jammies when you can just zip your baby right in to the sheet? Be careful--take a deep breath and disconnect your crying baby from the sheets before attempting to remove him from the crib or the whole mattress will come with him.

Part 2: Be Afraid!

The Pack 'n Potty: This portable potty seat comes with a plastic shroud that prevents your toddler from ever coming into contact with a germ-ridden public toilet. Instead, you can collect a bunch of those germs on the inside of the shroud and carry them around with you in a handy tote bag.

Seriously, babies and toddlers are on a germ collecting mission. Hopefully with the support of extended breastfeeding, they're building their immune systems one germ at a time. But that idea doesn't really sell any products, so let's get back to fearing germs...
The UVI Cube: The UVI Cube markets itself as a home autoclave that should be used not just on baby bottles, but also on toys, TV remotes, smart phones (of course!), and anything else that a baby might touch (though not hamsters, the website warns).

The UVI Cube goes on to explain that its ultra-violet radiation kills 99.9% of all bacteria. This leaves only 0.1% of surviving UV-resistant pissed-off superbugs to continue the microbial colonization of your home. Only $249. The germ phobia is free.

Then, there was the Security Seat Cushion Alarm: We're not sure what to say about this. We're hoping that an electronic pad that sounds an alarm whenever baby gets up from his stroller or car seat isn't the next must-have product. We can't imagine the level of anxiety that would make this product seem worthwhile.

Unfortunately, the fact that this idea seems ridiculous to us probably speaks more to our privilege as Americans. This was a strong reminder that human trafficking is a very real concern in many places. We certainly hope that this device might someday seem ridiculous everywhere.

Last but not least, we'd like to mention Milk Sense, a device which can electromagnetically measure the amount of breastmilk available in a mother's milk ducts before and after nursing. Paired with a sensitive digital scale (which hooks on to the handle of a car seat...) and tracking software, the Milk Sense is designed to assure women that their babies are getting enough milk. The goal, according to the Milk Sense representative, is to give mothers the confidence to continue breastfeeding.

While a device like this might make sense in a clinical setting (which would require FDA approval), Milk Sense is offering this device as a consumer product. As such, it's just one more gizmo that makes women believe that they cannot successfully breastfeed their babies without technological assistance. Yes, anxiety about whether a baby is getting enough to eat can be very real. But the solution isn't a $200 sensing device. Doulas, lactation consultants, and La Leche League can help immensely with this issue while at the same time giving mothers so much more support than a gizmo ever could. Another example of how we forgo community and embrace technology at our peril.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

5 Things We Are Not...

5 Things We Are Not...

Our store has changed a lot in the 15 years since we opened, but our basic mission has stayed the same. What is that? Sometimes it's easiest to explain what we are not.

1. We aren't everything to everybody. Unlike big box stores and internet behemoths, we are a curated store. We use our experience as parents and years of customer feedback to offer the best products available. And, if a product doesn't support attachment parenting or connect with the natural world, you won't find it in our store.

2. We aren't just pink vs. blue. Kids aren't color-coded and toys shouldn't be either.

Millie & Ellie3. We are not alone. We depend on a community of toymakers, publishers, bankers, accountants, etc. Many of these are local businesses, which means a lot what you spend with us stays right here in Minnesota. This is also true of all the other amazing local indie retailers in the Twin Cities.

4. We're not planning to take over the world anytime soon. Our goal has always been to make our one little store the best it can possibly be.

5. We are not invulnerable. We need your support! If you like our store, please tell your friends or post a review. We truly appreciate your business and your continued support!

Thank you from Millie and Dan all of us here at Peapods.

Rainbow ChewbeadsDid you see our new
Rainbow Chewbeads?

We asked the folks at Chewbeads to make these a while ago and now they're finally here.

Chewbeads are made out of 100% silicone and are soft on your baby's gums and emerging teeth. They're great as a sensory tool to help babies focus while nursing and as a colorful toy while babywearing that won't get lost. They're pretty darn snazzy, too.

New Sakura Bloom Classic Linen Baby Slings

New Sakura Bloom Classic Linen Baby Slings

These just arrived! Sakura Bloom's beautiful new classic slings come in beautiful new colors and are made from with fine Belgian Linen.

This new fabric has a sturdier weave and is still made in the USA.

Music Together Summer Classes at PeapodsFree Music Together Demo Clasess
Fall Session Begins September 13

Demo class times are:
September 8 @ 10:30 - mixed ages
September 22 @ 11:30 - babies
September 9 @ 11:30 & 1:15 - mixed ages
September 11 @ 10:30 - mixed ages
We're greatly expanding our Music Together Program. Classes will now be available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Babywearing Class & Clinic with Kelly Lillibridge
Babywearing ClassSaturday, September 13th
1pm - 2:30pm
Kelly returns again to teach everything there is to know about the four main types of baby carriers and will help you decide which style is right for you.

Whether you're expecting or already carrying a baby or toddler, learn how to wear your baby in comfort with Kelly's excellent hands-on help.

The Ins & Outs of Potty Training Class
Potty TrainingThis Saturday! Still a couple of seats available.
12:30 - 3pm

Fall can be the perfect time to begin potty training! If your child is ready, this class will offer lots of ideas and tools to help you successfully train your child.

Taught by certified behavior therapist Jamie Waldvogel, this class may be just the ticket for becoming diaper free!

Free Cloth Diaper ClassPeapods FREE Cloth Diaper Class
2nd and 4th Thursday of Every Month 6pm
Want to learn more about cloth diapers? Attend one of our FREE Cloth Diapering Class! Held one the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of every month, we'll teach you just about everything there is to know! No need to pre-register. Next classes: August 28th and September 11th.

Hey, we're now on Instagram. Who knows what we'll post there. Cool, huh?
And now for more new arrivals:

Apple Park Organic Robbie Raccoon Dool
Under the Nile Organic Dolls
Limited Edition Spence & Marie bumGenius Prints
BEKA Blocks Toddler Set
Skip Hop Insulated Food Jars
lifefactory glass food containers
Kikkerland Photo Mobile
Zebi Baby Organic Baby Clothes
New Styles Skip Hop Diaper Bags