green mama

green mama

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meatless Monday

Today is a soup cooking kinda day here in Mid-MO. So I have raided the fridge and pantry and prepared a pretty delish veggie soup. I had some frozen vegetable stock in the freezer, that certainly made my life easier today.
My niece spends the afternoons with us after she gets out of kindergarten, they only go a half day. Today is the day after her birthday and she and E both have a bit of a sugar hang-over. I promptly fed them lunch and put them to bed. I can't think of anything better to cure that day after feeling than a warm bowl of vegetable soup on a cold, windy day. Oh, except maybe some fresh bread straight out of the oven. Yum.
This recipe originally called for jalapeno peppers, but in the interest of making it a little more kid friendly today....I used zavory. This is a pepper I had never seen until I spotted it at the Farmer's market. The vendor insisted I try one right then and there. It was amazing. What a wonderful sales tactic, I bought up the whole lot and went back for more the next week. You can just eat it right off the stem, it has a wonderful flavor but no heat. It is perfection in this bread, if you want to ease up on the spice a bit. I usually make two loaves of this bread, one for the grown-ups and one for the kiddos....just be sure you know which is which! It disappears so fast in this house, no need to worry about spoilage. I have also substituted other cheeses, such as asiago. Play with it!

Cheese and Pepper Bread

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115 degrees)
4 cups flour plus additional for dusting (I have used all-purpose, bread, and wheat flour. all work well)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons chopped fresh pepper (if using a mild pepper, including seeds and ribs. if using a jalapeno I do 3 tbsp. with seeds and ribs and 2 tbsp. without)
5 ounces coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp.)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

Stir together yeast and 1 tablespoon warm water in a small bowl; let mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (if it doesn't foam, start over)
Mix together flour, salt, oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft dough forms, increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more. Add pepper, 1 1/2 cups Cheddar, and 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix until combined.
Scrape dough down side of bowl into center, then sprinkle lightly with flower. Cover bowl with a clean towel to keep a crust from forming and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface (dough will be sticky!) and gently form into a roughly 11-by 8-inch rectangle with floured hands.
Fold dough in thirds (like a letter) with floured hands, pressing along seam of each fold to seal.
Put dough, seam side down in an oiled 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Cover pan with same clean kitchen towel and let dough rise a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough completely fills pan and rises above it slightly, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400.
Brush loaf with egg, then sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano down center of loaf.
Bake until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 50 minutes to 1 hours. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen loaf, then remove from pant to test for doneness.
Return bread (not in pan) to oven and turn on its side, then bake 10 minutes more to crisp crust. Cool completely on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It has been round-about five months since my last post. Jeez, time flies. What have I done in that time? Hummm...
Well for starters L started to walk, which in and of it's self is enough to flip my world upside down. She is into everything! I finally have all the outlets plugged, and the cabinets under lock and key. Yet, still she is fearless. Her favorite place to hang out in the whole world is standing on top of E's doll house. It still gives me a mini-heart attack on occasion.
I also have done quite a bit of canning, which makes another one of my "to do" list items done. Yeah me!
We canned about 80 lbs of tomatoes in various concoctions, salsa, spagetti sauce, tomato juice and whole tomatoes. We had to supplement a bit with goods from the farmers market. We got 20 lbs. of onions and two cases of peppers from a produce auction. In addition to the tomato goodies we also roasted and froze peppers, shredded or sliced and froze zucchini and squash, and I still have a few onions hanging out in my garage. We also made tons of pesto and froze it into cute little cubes.
We ended up canning about 2 dozen quarts of peaches. They are beautiful. I so sincerly wish we had done that earlier in the season, so that I would have had time to realize that 24 jars is not nearly enough to get us through til next season. Damn the luck. They are going so fast I can hardly beleive it. Everyone in the family loves them and I am inclined to hide a few jars so we can enjoy them after the first snow.
Picking apples was quite a treat. The orchard we choose also is home to alpacas. It was awesome seeing the girls get to pet them and learn about them. Plus, we scored some cheap wool socks. The trees were dwarfs so there were no ladders involved, huge bonus. We ended up coming home with 100 lbs. of apples and quickly turned them into super yummy applesauce and apple butter. We also chopped and froze some for pies. They keep for quite a while, I think I still have about 20 lbs. in the fridge that will just get eaten casually throughout the next few months.
I have also fallen into some absolutly delicious pears. Twice this week friends have shown up at my door with large bags full of pears that they basically found on the side of the road. One of the friends works for a gentleman that has trees on his land, but he doesn't do anything with them. I think I am headed up there this weekend to see what I can find. There is also rumor of nut trees....Yum.
All in all it has been a bountiful fall so far. I am mourning the last weekend of the farmer's market. Our CSA was officially over two weeks ago. The market has still had quite a few brave souls, but the selection gets more and more grim with each passing week. We shall see if there are any sweet potatoes or peppers left this weekend and I will be sure to stock up on that delish goat cheese, then that will be the end of it. Poor me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gotta love the egg timer



I have been feeling a little dejected busy lately, and totally worthless for blogging. However, today I took a peek at my blog, mostly to see what other people were doing....and found out I can mark another item off of my "to do" list. Yeah me!

We got rid of our microwave. I was thinking I might do an experiment on the effects of microwave ovens, but then I realized how much I love both my Jade plants and opted just to get rid of the damn thing. So onto Freecycle it went.

I was a little nervous in the aftermath. I have a 5 month old baby who I am making food for and thought I would be microwaving this food. Guess again. I am okay with that, as she is much better off for it anyway. Somehow in my sick, twisted mind I have to keep my babies safe, but my health on the other hand is a free for all. I eat right and get plenty of exercise, just by default. Because I am the defender of my little ones, I also eat organic broccoli, herbs from the backyard and free range eggs.

However, one of the vices I have yet to relinquish is my coffee habit. That being said, I am not the type to consume multiple double shot latteblahblahblahs. I have my cup in the morning, made right in my kitchen, and drank out of a ceramic cup. So, I don't feel toooo terribly guilty for this small pleasure. In the back of my mind is the nagging thoughts of how bad my coffee is for me and the environment, so it is on my to do list. Oh, and I like to microwave old coffee.....

The things I use(d) my microwave for
-old coffee
-"softening butter"
-the timer feature

But all in all it has been a pretty smooth transition. I never realized how dangerous it could be to put a cup of water or coffee in the microwave. I have a whole new system for getting my old coffee warmed up which involves adding a mini-scoop of new coffee and a bit of water and turning the pot on. I just have to remember to only do that for two days, otherwise who knows how long I would be recycling coffee grounds. yuck. My mother questions this technique, but I figure it is at least better for me than radiation.

As far as my butter, it softens pretty quickly in a cast iron skillet. duh. Plus, why would I want to soften my butter in something so toxic, to make bread that is "good for me."

And I splurged on an old-school egg timer, which I am in love with.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sometimes one is enough


With the Hallmark Holiday of Father's Day quickly approching, I am losing sleep. My Guy prepped me weeks ago. He sat down at the computer and was shoppping Amazon out loud. You know what I am talking about.
"oh, this one looks nice. let me read you the reviews...."
"now, I like that this one comes with suchandsuch...."

So now, with only 5 shopping days till Father's Day, I don't know what to do. My dillema lies in to buy or not to buy.

Part of the problem that I am having is completely and totally selfish. I didn't get a damn thing even get a card for Mother's Day, and barely got a Happy Mother's day wish. I don't expect a new iPod (that is what my girlfriend got, ahem), something cute and thoughtful would have been wonderful. Some examples of what I would have liked from My Guy include: teaching my daughter to say "happy mother's day", a painting or drawing done in secret for said holiday, breakfast cooked for me (not the kind where I get to clean up a huge disater in the kitchen afterwards). And although I got none of those things, I do not want to let my raw feelings ruin Father's Day. However, My Guy is more of a *stuff* person than I am and he would like something, I am sure.

Now, we have already made a super cute "I love Daddy" book out of cardboard. And if he knows what is good for him, he will gush over it. I have plans to head out to the farm that I bought our CSA from and pack a picnic and go fishing. I think this sounds like fun, and it will be a memory maker.

But, then what? The reasons I don't want to buy (in no particular order)

1.Our children are young. We have a lot of these holidays ahead of us. I don't want to set the bar too high at this stage in the game.
2. I try not to buy anything we don't have to have. We are saving for a house, and I am just an not the consumer I used to be.
3. I am still secretly sad about my mother's day. Even though I tell everyone I put no stock in these stupid Hallmark holidays.
4. I know that if I buy him what he wants, it will sit in his shop, unused, 364 days of the year. Annoying.
5. That one day of the year that it does get used, I will have get to hear all about it. "honey, its a good thing i've got this. what would i do without it?" Annoying.

So with all these reasons to not buy, I only have one reason to buy. It will make him happy. I guess I better get to the hardware store.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Meatless Monday

Tonight we are going to enjoy the bounty from the farmer's market and our CSA goodies. We got a bunch of strawberries, and last night I made strawberry shortcake with them. Yum! The difference between a strawberry from a local farm and a strawberry from the grocery store is astounding.
We also got a few sprigs of asparagus, damn that short-lived season. Mostly we got greens, spinach and such. So tonight we are having big salads and these goat cheese and herb souffles. I found some seriously delicious goat cheese at the Farmer's market, it is a tad expensive but I can't help myself and have bought some every week. I can justify it because I get the fresh herbs out of the garden and don't have to pay $3.00 for a litte bunch at the grocery store. So I think it works out.


Ingredients

7 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup crumbled soft fresh goat cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
4 large egg whites

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes. Place 1 tablespoon Parmesan in each dish; rotate dishes to coat with cheese, leaving excess in dishes. Place dishes on baking sheet. Whisk milk and yolks in bowl to blend.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes. Add flour; whisk 1 minute. Whisk in milk mixture. Whisk soufflé base until thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add 1/2 cup goat cheese, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper; whisk until cheese melts. Beat whites in bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into base in pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup goat cheese and 1 tablespoon Parmesan over. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Divide mixture among dishes.

Bake soufflés until puffed and beginning to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Meatless Monday

This Meatless Monday we are having cake, and eating it too! Now, I realize cake doesn't typically contain meat. However, this particular chocolate cake contains no milk or eggs, so it is pretty animal friendly. Try this cake, you won't regret it.

Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee, warm
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar

Tip: Quality cocoa ensures rich chocolate flavor. Try Green & Black's organic cocoa-available at gourmet and natural food markets.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with softened butter. Line bottom with wax paper, coat with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Set aside. Whisk the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bow and set aside. Stir the coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar together and whisk into the flour mixture, just until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center rack of the oven until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean- 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Serve with Deep Chocolate Glaze.

Deep Chocolate Glaze

8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 Tbsp.

Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a medium-size heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth. Use immediately. (this makes enough for two cakes)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The price of happiness


I was going to discuss all the wonderful deals I got at various garage sales this weekend. Somehow, I have lost my steam.

I am a recovering retail whore. There, I said it. It is truly shocking the total 180 that I have done over the last year or so. Admittedly, I have a ways to go still, sometimes I still get that itch. In order to keep myself from running to the nearest mall, I garage sale. I have to tell you I love it. I like all the aspects of it. First and foremost, the bargains, jeez have I ever found some deals. I also like that I am keeping someone else's junk out of the landfill. It is also a much better way of recycling than putting your plastics in that blue bag on the curb. Then when I get tired of it, I just sell it to someone else in a garage sale, and the recycling circle is complete.

I started hitting the yard sales when I was pregnant with E. I like to buy the sort of things that you never can get enough use out of, such as maternity and infant clothing. It is such a waste, and I just cannot justify spending money on a shirt that I may wear a handful of times over a span of nine months. I also like to buy furniture (yes, My Guy hates hates hates that) and toys.

This weekend I happened to find some yummy deals on Lego's, E's obsession. I brought home my goodies and had to throw it all on the back porch because we were running behind on a few obligations that we had on Saturday afternoon. Then this morning E happened to find my stash.

thatmytoieemommy?iwanmytoieemommyiwanmytoiee

I replied that I would have to wash these toys before she could play with them. She proceeded to follow me around with a red mesh bag full of Lego's.....

youwashmytoieemomy?youwashmytoiee?

Finally, I just had to stop and wash them up. I was hesitant because my original plan was to save these particular Lego's until I found out if L was the mouthy-type. E never really put anything in her mouth, and I am hoping L is the same way. If she is not, the last thing I want strung all over the house are these tiny little bricks. But, it was too late.

I headed to the bathroom sink with E hot on my heels, jangling the bag of Lego's. We filled up the sink with hot soapy water and dumped her treasure in. As we swish them around, my darling daughter looks up at me and says,

mommyihappy

My heart soars. Then I am hit with the realization that I am creating a little retail whore. Damn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday









I came home to four paper sacks full of clothes in the hallway yesterday. One of which seemed to have some good socks in it.

In the spirit of recycling and using the things we have, instead of buying new things, I found some uses for those socks. I am gonna make E and L sock monkeys, just because I have always wanted to. I have also used these ideas, and love them. Especially the soap!!

-Make muscle relaxing packs. Fill with rice or wheat and sew up the open end. Place in the microwave with a glass of water to heat for 1 minute. Hang around your neck or place on other sore muscles for instant relief. (Note: Always include the glass of water to provide moisture or the pack can catch on fire if it dries out too much after repeated use.)

-Make garden soap holders. Gardening can be messy and dirty. Pop a soap bar into the bottom of an old sock and tie a knot around the soap part of the sock. Leave the long part of the sock for tying onto a faucet in the garden. It will be ready for you whenever you need to clean up outside after a gardening session.


You can see the entire article and judge for yourself. I will probably skip the quilt made of socks, but then again it is 90 degrees right now....maybe I will change my mind come December.

We I have been using socks to dust the blinds for quite sometime. I will certainly be adding that to my little ones chore list, once they are a bit older. My five year old niece thinks it is a blast to gear up in a pair of socks and dust the living room. I can't wait.


For more great tips visit Rocks in my Dryer

Sock Monkey anyone?


I am totally giddy this morning.

Yesterday I went out to my mom's for a few hours, her parents and brother were in town. I hadn't seen them in awhile and they had never even meet L. Do you ever have those moments when you wonder "how could I be related to these people?"

My mom made burgers with chorizo in them topped with red pepper puree and caramelized onions and jalapenos. (She is not on my Meatless Monday bandwagon.....yet) They looked delicious. I did take a taste of the puree, yum. My dear uncle didn't even know what chorizo is....how are they siblings?

Anyway, when I got home My Guy had mowed the lawn, done the dishes (we don't use our dishwasher anymore...) and cleaned out the closet. Let me tell you, I have been hounding, pleading, begging, nagging him to clean out the closet since January. And, all of the sudden he finally did it yesterday. There are four paper sacks of clothes sitting in our hallway waiting for me to do something with them. Now, most of the time I drop them at Goodwill or the Wardrobe. I have tried taking them to a second hand shop in town, and they do buy some of our stuff occasionally. But it is pretty depressing to watch them rifle through all of our stuff and reject most of it. I guess we just aren't cool enough.

This is where My Guy and I differ, well, one of the many places. I see all of this *stuff* as money spent and he just sees it as *stuff* he doesn't use that someone else could. I have a hard time letting go of things because I usually know what I paid for it and never feel that we got full use out of it. Which is why I am loving the garage sale and thrift store purchases, but more on that later. It also helps that I have not bought anything new since January, well nothing that wasn't a necessity. With, of course a few guilty exceptions. Ooops.

This time I have decided to dig through it and see if I can find alternative uses for any of it. And I am not talking about rags. (although I am sure there are a few white tees in there that have carpet scrubbing in their future) I already spied something made of heavy corduroy....would that make a good bean bag for E? I love to unravel sweaters and use the wool for pants over L's cloth diapers. Wonder if there are any wool sweaters in there? Curtains out of the old man's clothes may be a little much. Let's see what I can come up with.....

Monday, May 26, 2008

Meatless Monday


Happy Meatless Memorial Monday.

I had big concerns over how much opposition I was going to encounter on this meatless Monday. My Guy is a big griller, and especially on such a holiday. It seems Memorial Day is not really about honoring our veterans, but about lighting up the BBQ grill. My dad would freak if he knew that we weren't eating some sort of red meat today. Never the less, I have found an acceptable alternative that didn't cause too much of an uproar when I posed it to My Guy.

So here ya' go. I haven't tried the mushrooms yet, but it seems pretty straight forward. I am going to be serving them burger-style with a slice of cheese and an onion bun from our local bakery. The Marinated Barbecued Vegetables are a staple and they find their way onto the grill every time we light it. Even E likes them. I think they are yummy served warm or cold.


Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

3 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup canola oil
3 Tblsp. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar

Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour mixture over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


Marinated Barbecued Vegetables

1 eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
2 red or green bell peppers, seeded and cut into wide strips
3 zucchinis, sliced
3 squash, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
4 cloves garlic, minced

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, basil and garlic. Pour the mixture over vegetables, cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.

Place the vegetables on hot grill and cook about 2 or 3 minutes per side, brushing with marinade.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pass the milk

I am so having one of those days.

This morning the neighbor boy came over for a bit while his parents were busy. Everything was going swimmingly, until I looked over at E. She had woken up just after he got there, and was still in her jammies. Just as I looked at her a big juicy poo fell out of her pants and dropped in a puddle of piss. Awesome.

When they came to pick him up, they offered to let E go over and play while I ran errands. This is perfect, she is ready to go...and in a diaper because I cannot deal with anymore accidents. We have been having a really bad week of accidents and I am over it.

So I head of to my WIC appointment. I applied for WIC about a month ago and this was my second visit. I hate, hate, hate it. I have already had the "is it worth it?" conversation with my guy. He thinks if I can deal with it, then yes it is worth it. As of right now we get 6 gallons of milk, 2 dozen eggs, 36 0z. of juice, 1 lb. of cheese, 18 oz. of peanut butter and one can of evaporated milk. However, in order to get these things every month, we have to go in for "nutrition" consultations and "general nutrition" classes. This morning was one of those general nutrition classes. I am sitting there in a room full of women with their babies...one of whom is feeding her infant *CHEETOS*, yes, Cheetos. I could not even believe it. The over zealous woman running the class started by asking everyone what a calorie is. Silence. After a few quite moments, I finally pipe up that it is a measurement of energy. She almost hugged me.

She goes on to tell us all the predictable things. Eat so many fruits, eat so many veggies, meat is a source of protein, blah, blah, blah. Then she starts in on a milk rant and how that is the biggest thing that she wants us all to come away with. How extremely important calcium and milk are, and that we should all be sure that our little ones are drinking enough.

Just as I was about to put in my two cents and ask her how she felt about all the hormones, antibiotics, dead bacteria, and fecal matter in her frosty live-saving glass of milk....a woman comes in to get me to ask me if I am still breastfeeding. Jeez, that was a narrow escape. I manage to make it out of the WIC office without totally losing my mind.

I head to the grocery store and collect the items I am "allowed" from my checks. All the while wondering why in the hell are they giving me evaporated milk? Why are they giving me sugar laden juice? And where are all the fruits and vegetables? I get all my stuff, and find some killer deals on some natural/organic soap and lotion. And into the check-out line I go. The woman behind the register saw my WIC checks and was visibly distraught. I took a deep breath and proceeded to put my items on the convayor belt. She about has a melt down and treats me like I am a piece of garbage. Then all of the sudden when I am paying for my non-WIC items, she completely transforms and I am just another customer that she is pleasantly chatting with. L was being her adorable self and was giving her huge smiles. She asked me if L was my only one, I took a deep breath and tried to be friendly. No, I replied, my other one is playing at the neighbors. Oh, and where is dad? she asks.

It was then that I realized I was still being judged. None of your god-damned business! was the first thing that came to mind. Somehow I manage to get through the transaction. I don't make it out of the parking lot before I break down into tears. I suppose I am a little hormonal. I can't wait to tell my guy about this one, when he gets home from working a 12 or 13 hour day out in the hot sun. He will go ballistic. heeheehee I guess I won't be going to WIC anymore.

And then, just as I walk in the door with my arms full of babies and groceries, the dog pukes on the carpet. I sure could use a drink.

Works for Me Wednesday


I stumbled upon this on accident. Last week I was cleaning off the back porch and had drug the trash can outside. Of course, I got distracted with the feeding, changing and such of the kiddos and left our kitchen trash can out on the porch. Dinner time came around and now I am just too lazy to go out and get the trash can, so I spent the night with out my kitchen garbage can.

Let me tell you, I loved it. In my attempt to be more green I am recycling and have started a compose. However, as hard as I try to be noble....sometimes my laziness gets the best of me. The recycling is outside, and sometimes it is just easier to sneak that plastic tab from the milk into the trash can. Or it is just too simple to chuck that little bit of food into the trash. It is just too much to have to open the back door and toss it into the recycling or out to the compose pile. I know, I know, pretty sad.

But, with my trash can outside with the recycling there is *no* temptation to just toss, toss, toss. I consider every piece of garbage, and they all go in their proper place. If you are a lazy recycler/composer try this method for a week or two. Then you will be able to move your trash can back in, but with a new awareness and a good habit. It works for me!

Check out more Works for Me Wednesday @ rocks in my dryer

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Which sin is this?



I am looking into purchasing the Baby Safe Feeder. Whole chunks of food go into the feeder and through sucking and chewing, baby makes its own liquefied food. "Safe" in that there are no chunks to choke on. I contacted Designs U-2, Inc. the company that invented these things and requested an ingredient list.

What I got in return was a form letter saying, in summary, that the Baby safe feeder is made in the USA and FDA approved. That it contains no phthalates, BPA, PVC, dyes, or latex.

That's all great but, I am a little confused. In my email I asked for a list of what these things were made of, but what I got was a PR letter about what they don't contain. I do not trust the FDA. Their "approval" does nothing for me. In fact I think that the FDA should be done away with all together, then we would have the personal responsibility to ensure that the things we are giving our children to suck on do not contain chemicals that are cancer-causing. Or that the lotions, creams, and sunscreens that we are lathering on them are not full of parabens and "fragrance" and causing more harm than good. We would know that we are the only ones looking out for ourselves and our children, without some false sense of security that someone else is protecting us.

Oh, in reply I also got washing instructions. They advise washing it with vinegar, so they get bonus points for that I suppose. At least they are not suggesting you dip it in bleach......

So although they are not parading their product as "green", I think anything that you tout as being safe for children should fit that category as well. Why not make the mesh out of organic cotton, instead of polyester?

So, which one? Irrelevance? No Proof? Vagueness?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meatless Monday


Well, Saturday morning was spent running around like a chicken with my head cut off!
My little ones are not even to the soccer game/ballet lesson/birthday party/etc. age yet and I still was super busy Saturday morning. I did make it to the farmer's market bright and early to pick up my "bushel" of goodies from the CSA I signed up for last week. What a serious disappointment. My so-called bushel contained two small sprigs of oregano, a bunch of chives and a few asparagus spears. I am heart broken.

I was whining about it to my mother and she basically told me to suck it up, and that when signing up for the CSA I should have known that I was "participating in the risk". I hate it when she is right. The weather has been really, really mild here. I don't know what I was expecting...he can't magically coax food from the earth just because I cut him a check. The thing that really got my blood boiling though, is that he charged me for the plants I bought from him. I wanted to get a few more tomato plants and a couple more herbs to squeeze into the empty spaces in my garden. Couldn't he have throw in the marjoram for good will?

I am still optimistic about next week, and the items we did get look great so hopefully in the end we will all come out on top. The eggs are awesome, it is too bad I broke three of them on the way to the car wrestling L and E and the stroller and the plants and the eggs and, you get the idea. I am still supporting a local farmer with a family of his own, so maybe I will just consider this a charity case this week.

At any rate, here is what's for dinner tonight. It is Meatless Monday and the ingredients are all in my fridge and pantry.


Spring Tabbouleh

1 cup fine bulgur
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup peas, freshly shelled

1 garlic clove, crushed to paste with 2 big pinches of salt
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch chives, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

Put the bulgur in a medium bowl, add boiling water to the surface of the grains and let stand for about 15 minutes, just until tender. Drain and press out any remaining water and toss with a couple pinches of salt. Set aside.

Return the saucepan to the heat and bring the remainder of the water back up to a boil. Salt the water and cook the asparagus and peas for just about 20 seconds, just long enough for them to brighten up and lose a bit of their bite. Drain, run under colder water to stop the cooking, and add to the bulgur.

For the dressing, whisk the garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil together and season with more salt if needed.

To the bulgur, asparagus, and peas add 1/2 the chives and walnuts. Toss with a big splash of dressing. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the remaining chives, walnuts and chopped egg.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday


Today, in honor of sinus problems, I would like to share my spring-time trick that works for me. I always have issues in the spring, some allergy related. Although it seems that they have backed off some since having kids??? Maybe I just don't have the time to stop and realize how bad I feel.

The thing that has really been working for me so far this spring, is a Neti Pot. Maybe I was living in a cave, but I just discovered these about a month ago. They are absolutely great. It is a small tea pot looking thing that you use to pour a saline solution through your sinuses. Let me tell you, it cleans all that yuck out. I haven't been to the doctor begging for sinus meds yet this year, and don't think I will end up there at all. No sinus infections? No doctor bills? Works for me!

Check out more Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

P.s. Tomorrow is the last day to receive your $25 for signing up for Revolution Money exchange, use the button on the left. It is free and super easy! Works for me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rainy days


This has to be the most content baby out there. Little Bean just woke up from a nap with mamma, isn't she the cutest thing ever?
We are still going diaper free most of the time. She does great through naps, especially on those occasions that I get to sleep with her. At home is simple, however, I am still not brave enough to try it out of the house....or tell my pediatrician!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life savings spent


I called my dear husband on Saturday afternoon after running around all morning, most of which was spent at the local farmer's market.

The market was crazy busy, and lots of goodies there, despite the cooler than normal weather we have been having. The weather has slowed down the produce, but it was still in full swing with lots of plants, soaps, breads, meats, eggs, and more. I snatched up some asparagus right off the bat. I kept seeing these *gorgeous* hanging baskets in every one's hand and had to scope them out right away.


I was looking to add a few more items to the garden, mostly herbs. We got some lovely ones, and at a great price. A totally random purchase was that of some blackberry bushes. We came across them toward the end of the day, and he gave us a great deal on them. The three cherub faces of my daughters and niece helped with that, I think. I am just going to throw them in along the fence and see what happens. We will not have berries until next year, but I think the girls will have fun picking them.

And we ran across a few people with spots still open for their CSA. I am so excited. I spent a pretty penny this week at the Farmer's Market (who knew it could be so dangerous!). The gentleman who runs it was wonderfully accommodating. It is from Danjo Farms, which is the name of the husband and wife team that runs it, Dan and Joanne. How cute is that? This was the first week and we go the last spot. Since it has been so mild here, he didn't have any extra produce, but let us choose some herb plants to start us off on the first week. We will be getting a 12 lb. bushel every Saturday morning. It is filled with various vegetables, that we can modify and specify if we want. I also opted to add a dozen eggs and 3 lbs. of fruit for an extra $288. The price of the CSA dropped $150 because I signed us up to work 12 hours on his farm, which I am sooooo looking forward to.

This should be an awesome way to supplement the haul we are getting out of our own garden. I told him of my canning plans, and he was willing to include extra tomatoes or peppers to help me if I need more ingredients for my sauces and salsas. I am sure that will not be a problem, I have a lot of plants, but I love that it is an option. I cannot wait for next weekend to roll around and see what is in store for us in that bushel basket. I told my dear husband that I had spent our life savings at the Farmer's Market, he just laughed and said he better find another job.....just wait till he finds out! Who cuts a $900.00 check at the Farmer's Market?? Only me.

Meatless Monday

We hit the farmer's market this weekend. On this meatless Monday, I am incorporating some ingredients I found there. It has been unseasonably cool here, so the pickins' were slim. However, I did finally get signed up for a CSA! *woohoo*
We did come home with a few more plants for the garden, including some blackberry bushes. We won't have blackberries until next year, but I think the girls will have fun picking them. We plan on putting them in along the fence and just letting them go wild.
The hot item at the market this weekend was asparagus, it was everywhere. And I just can't stop buying strawberries! So here is what's for dinner...............

Grilled Asparagus Salad

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tblsp. lemon juice
12 fresh asparagus spears
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 Tblsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tblsp. seasoned slivered almonds

Combine lemon juice and olive oil on a plate. Place asparagus on the plate, and roll around to coat.
Grill asparagus for about 5 minutes, turning at least once and brushing with the olive oil mixture. Remove from the grill and place back on the plate with the oil. (You can also broil these, it takes about 7 minutes that way.)
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, Parmesan cheese, and slivered almonds. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces, and add to the salad along wiht the lemon juice and oil from the plate. Toss to blend, then serve.

Possible add-ins include
-cooked penne (If you need something a little more hearty)
-chopped tomato

And for dessert.........

Balsamic Strawberries

1 Tblsp. butter
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup (or less) sugar
1 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
Organic plain yogurt or low-fat vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the strawverries, sugar, and vinegar. Cook until the strawberries are heated through and darkened to a ruby red.

Place yogurt or ice cream into dessert bowls or stemmed glasses. Spoon strawberries over the ice cream and serve. Serves 4.

Um, yum.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hazard Pay


I always love the news blurbs about how much a stay-at-home mom is worth, no matter how many times I hear it. For some reason it makes me feel appreciated, even if we are talking immaginary dollars. I heard it on the radio again this morning, on the way to the doctor's office. According to salary.com, they said, the average stay-at-home mom is worth the $100,000 range.

I went on salary.com and they have a calculator that will let you imput a few of your specifics. My resulting paycheck is $117,104. How do you stack up?

Wouldn't it be nice if this were the case? I sincerly believe those of us that choose to take care of our children are saints, whether it be the stay-at-home mom, the daycare provider, teacher, school bus driver, ect.

I heard this broadcast on the way to the doctor's office this morning, where I had to wait an hour in the waiting room with my 2 year old and my darling 4 month old daugthers. Anxiously awaiting the time when our name gets called, so we can be taken back to another room where we wait another 45 minutes for someone to see us. They are "understaffed today". Once someone does come in my 2 year old gets to watch as they stick three needles, one right after another, in the legs of her screaming baby sister. All while mom helplessly holds her down. I want Hazard Pay.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Coco Puffs, please!



"Today's children are exposed to far more TV advertising than their parents were-up to 200 commercials a day!" This according to Affluenza (2001)

And according to the AAP, children in the United States see 40,000 commercials a year. Check out this link to see how it is affecting your children's health.

These are some terribly disturbing statistics. I am fortunate, my oldest E never really cared much about the television. I didn't have cable growing up, and I never really cared much for it either. I like to think that she takes after me. She is two and a half and I can probably count the number of commercials she has seen on one hand. Unfortunately, my younger one already seems to have taken after her Dada. He is not obsessed, but he thrives on it more than I do. She is only 4 months old and already seems eerily drawn to the thing.

We got around this problem by getting rid of our cable all together. Now, don't get me wrong...those first few weeks were a little rough. But, we made it through and we are so much better for it. If it were up to me, we would never turn the damn thing on again. I do live in reality (at least some of the time) and I know it will come back on one of these days. For when that day comes, I am doing what I can to stop marketers from praying on my children.

Sadly, the television is the least of our worries as parents. At least we know that it can be a threat. Our children are not even safe from these aggressive marketing tactics anywhere, even in their schools.


Do what you can for your children, to protect them from this ridiculous onslaught. How about the Parents Bill of Rights?
Cast your vote here!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday



Works for me Wednesday

Today is a "doesn't Work for me Wednesday"

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I would share my favorite Mother's Day gift. We all love flowers, but they fade. We all love chocolates, but we know where they go. We all love stuff *ahem*, but don't we have enough? None of these things work for me. However....

My parents split when I was five, so my dad was never around to give my mother anything. I am certain there were, sadly, Mother's Day holidays that came and went without my mother even getting a "Happy Mother's Day" wish. However, I do remember when we were a little older, my little sister and I would make her coupon books. You know the type, one good for a back massage, one good for dusting, etc.

My mother is still single, and we live in the same town again. Now that I have little ones of my own, I still like to make those coupon books. We color and decorate them as a family. However now they read things like..."Good for one afternoon of lawn care" and "Good for a weekend of heavy lifting" or "Good for one room painted"

The whole family heads over to Nana's house, and we have fun helping each other. She gets those things done that she has a hard time doing herself, and we get to spend some quality time together. An added bonus, the coupons never sit on a shelf collecting dust! Works for me. (Just wish the hubby would catch on! I'll take one of those books myself)

Check out more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


For E's first birthday, I went all out on the decorations, the food, the cake, the cupcakes, the whole nine yards. However, Dad and I had decided that we didn't want a truck load of toys at the end of it. E has a cousin who, incidentally passes down a lot of things to us. Most of them are like new and we are very fortunate to get her hand-me-downs. I also have some wonderful single friends in Chicago and New York that just can't help themselves and send us packages on a regular basis. So, we already had a house full of great things to entertain our little one.

We put little inserts into her invitations letting everyone know how we felt. We felt very blessed to have what we do, and felt like we didn't need anything else to trip over. Please, come to the party, but don't bring any gifts. If you feel like you must do something, cut her a check. That's right, we went there, however inappropriate. We asked that people give cash to start her a savings account. Now as anti-Miss Manners this is, a lot of the people invited were family members so somehow we felt okay about doing it.

The day of the party arrived and we had dropped a pretty penny on the festivities, but what the hell? she only turns 1 once. E's birthday is October 29th, so of course, we went with the Halloween theme. We had a great time, I talked our neighbors into letting them trick or treat, even though it was two days before Halloween. But, somehow we ended up with a table of gifts, I guess they just can't help drop $20 bucks at ToysRUs on some silly doll. So be it. The funny thing is that the people who did bring checks or cash gave her like $5 bucks. Isn't that ridiculous? Can't part with hard-earned cash for a college fund, but on a piece of plastic from China...bring it on.

Over the weekend we had two 2 year old birthday parties to attend on Saturday. That's right, two of them. One was at noon, and the other at 3 o'clock. There wasn't even the excuse that we couldn't do them both because they were at the same time. So Hubby and I decided just to go for the gusto and do them both, to hell with naps.

The first one went great, a casual little deal in the back yard with plenty of decent beer for the dads. The birthday girl got a few gifts and we all played a few games. Then on to the park for birthday party number two. This one was a combo-party for a two year old little girl and a one year old little boy, they are cousins. I like the idea, just get it all over at once.

The pile of gifts was obscene...OBSCENE. It took an entire picnic table, and it was still over-flowing. Now, I know that little kids have no idea. How would they know that they are not supposed to just tear into each package, tossing the contents aside like a piece of garbage? No one knows who got what, or who gave what. Watching the adults feed them one brightly colored gift after another was about enough to make me vomit.

I think when E's comes around again this year we will just put the cash in her savings fund ourselves and take her our for an icecream cone.....or maybe to volunteer at the local homeless shelter.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Meatless Monday


Meatless Monday

In honor of Cinco de Mayo I thought I would share one of my favorite super easy recipes. It is not authentic in any way, but tastes yummy none the less. My mother and I make our own salsa from all the tomatoes in the garden, this is a great way to use it.

Black Bean Soup

-16 oz of black beans, prepared (Or if you are short on time, 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed)
-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I also make this homemade and freeze it, however you can use the store bought stuff, if you must)
-1 cup chunky salsa
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-sour cream (or I like to use organic plain yogurt, it is so good for you!)
-thinly sliced green onion

In a food processor or blender, combine beans broth, salsa, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth. I like to leave it a little chunky.

Heat mixture in a sauce pan over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with sour cream and green onion. (you can top it with anything you have on hand, i.e. tomatoes, avacado, ect.)

Serves four.

I like to serve this soup with homemade Guacamole (I got avacados at ALDI for .49 a piece, score!)and Smoked Gouda and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas, yum! Have a happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday




"Crayon Cookies"
E loves to color! She calls it "writing", as in iwannawrite. However, seeing as she is two, there are always men down at the end of the coloring session. Small little pieces of broken crayon. It used to frustrate me, I was constanly combing the clearance isles for cheap crayons to replace the never-ending stream of useless ones. Until, I got out my old muffin tin. I save all the little pieces of colored wax and when we have enough (which happens pretty quickly), I put them in the oven on a low setting and wait for them to melt. I usually keep similiar colors together, remove the paper, and now you have little crayon cookies. They are perfect for toddler hands and keep me from having to buy new crayons every week. Works for me!

Check out more Works for me Wednesday tips!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stimulus?


So, apparently, rebate checks are hitting bank accounts and mailboxes a little earlier than expected.
And Bush is now putting an empasis on spending this "free" money on oil and groceries. According to the article on CNN, Sen.Charles Schumer said "It's galling to think that taxpayers' stimulus checks will be lining the pockets of OPEC. The sad truth is that the average American family will spend almost their entire stimulus check on higher gas prices this year." I whole heartedly agree.

As far as spending more on groceries, I am currently working on putting in my garden. It should supply us with lots of yummy, pesticide-free veggies. My mother and I are both joining a local CSA, so that should pretty much take care of all of our produce for the next 25 weeks. I cannot wait! That will seriously reduce the amount of money spent at the grocery store. We don't eat much meat, and I am currently cutting down on the dairy in our diet. So I am excited to see that grocery bill drop immensly this summer and hope to never look back. How can you save yourself some money?

Now, on gas. I have restricted my traveling to three days a week. It is amazing what you can do with a little planning. All of our errands are run on Tuesdays, although since we are not buying much the errands we "have" to run are at a minimum. We go to the park for a play date or to the local library on Wednesdays and I allow Saturday or Sunday for a free day to go see the grandparents or head up to Amish country for some eggs and such. So far this month I have spent $40 on gasoline, two $20 fill-ups. Granted, I am a SAHM. But, tweak it to fit your lifestyle. What can you do to reduce your consumption? Cancel that summer vacation? (gasp!) Carpool? Ride your bike to work? (This is my husbands answer to this problem)

I don't think my rebate check will be going into my gas tank. And lets say it does, it will take me 15 months to spend it.
What am I gonna do instead? Pay off that last lingering credit card. This is on our radar, stimulus check or not. We are just gonna be able to do it that much faster. My husband's it going into the emergency fund, and my daughter's....straight to her retirement fund. Yes, she is two. We have decided that to really bless her, we will set up her retirement. So even if she flunks out of college, she will still be able to grow old gracefully. Think about it, it brings tears to my eyes.

What are you gonna do with yours?

Meatless Monday

In my attempt to live a less-consuming lifestyle, we have cut back some on our meat consumption. We never really ate all that much meat to begin with, if it is missing in our dinner it is not a big deal. We rarely eat it during the day. So I have decided to post some of my favorite vegan or vegetarian recipes. They are usually pretty healthy, good for the environment, and good for the wallet. It is amazing how much your grocery bill drops if you avoid the meat and dairy cases. Yesterday I did all of our shopping for the week and only spent about $60, that is every meal for the family. (We NEVER-well almost never- eat out) I don't use/advocate coupons. They are generally for things that we don't buy anyway, over-processed junk food that you do not need. It is not saving money if you are buying something that you don't need or even worse, may not use. Big deal if you can save .45 cents on 2 Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls, you shouldn't be eating that crap anyway! Make it from scratch,if you must have it, at least you know what is going into it.Okay, enough of that rant.


So, here is what's for dinner tonight....Yum!
BTW, I am not a huge fan of "meat substitutes" I usually just skip them, this recipe is just as good w/o the tofu. If I make it without tofu, I usually chop up about half a head of cabbage and throw it in. I also just go ahead and add some of the ingredients from the marinade straight in the stir-fry, i.e. the garlic and ginger. It is a very easy and flexible recipe.


Tofu and Vegetable stir-fry

Marinade:
1 lb. tofu, cut into 1" cubes
3 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tBsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tBsp sesame oil
2 tBsp dry sherry
1/4 hoisin sauce

Vegetables:
2 tBsp olive oil
medium onion, chopped
carrot, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 lb snow peas
red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tin sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 tBsp cornstarch
2 tBsp flax seed, ground

-Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in tofu cubes, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
-Heat oil in frying pan and add onion, cooking until soft. Add other veggies, from slow to fast cooking and fry until desired.
-Add tofu to the veggies. Stir 1 tBsp cornstarch into marinade and pour over vegetable mixture. Heat until tofu is hot.
-sprinkle flax on top for garnish

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brain dead


It has been five days, well four and a half really. Johnny comes home late tonight, he should be to the airport in a little bit and then he has a two hour drive. I am anxiously awaiting his arrival. I cannot say that I will be up at midnight when he gets here, I don't think I have ever been so tired in my whole life. My back is aching, and I don't even have someone to bitch too.

My little five year old niece was here for some of the weekend too, and it has been an extraordinarily long weekend. Every time I thought that I had everything under control, someone would poo their pants or some other equally exciting surprise. Of course, the weather did not cooperate, so we were stuck inside all weekend due to the rain. Umm, have I mentioned that I live in a 900 sq.ft. home? As if taking care of three little ones was not enough to physically drain you, I can hardly complete a sentence. I think the only full sentence that I have uttered the last few days is "are you listening?" A whopping three word sentence that most of the time didn't even elicit a response.

And now? The only thing in my brain is and you want three!?!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I have never been so green


Yesterday my guy left us for Charlotte, NC. I was so not looking forward to being a single mom for five days. This is the first time he has had to leave town for work since L was born in January. Although I am here with them all day by myself and seem to manage just fine, there is something about those last three hours of the day that so completely requires another set of hands.

Last night was our first night "alone". We went to a class at the library, so E had a PB&J and a variety of fruit for dinner. I guess it could be worse. I ate her crust. (yum) Unfortunately, L screamed the whole way home. In my humble opinion, there is nothing more nerve racking than being completely helpless for your screaming baby. I mean full on red-faced, tear-streaked, can't-catch-a-breath, blood-curdling screaming. For the love of pete, help me. Of course, the second I pull her out of the car, she is fine. Inexplicable.

We got home a little before 9 o'clock. Now, I am not one of those mothers that totally freaks if her kids aren't in bed right on time, but pretty close. I start to check the clock every second and am painfully aware that with each passing moment my job gets more difficult. I am a little more relaxed with E, she is a little older and seems more adaptable (I cannot believe I just said that about my 2 yo). However, L, on the other hand, I have worked very hard to get her on a sleeping schedule. It is brilliant, she is in bed by 9:30 and sleeps til about 4 a.m. I bring her to bed with us at that time and she sleeps with us until I get up at about 6:30. I usually leave her in there and she comes to at about 9:00. Needless to say, after slowly shaving precious moments off her bedtime (it used to be 11) I am not about to screw it up now.

I decide to take my chances with E, so I plop her down on the couch with a book. I explain to her that I am gonna put L down and that she needs to just read quietly until I come out. Since L is getting a tooth (yes, a tooth @ 3 1/2 months) she has been a little bit more difficult to get to sleep. Another source of stress, since I am flying solo. I have all these visions in my head of E running around crazy and L screaming in her crib.....

It is a miracle. A. Miracle.
E manages to actually do what I have asked, and so sweet about it too. L goes down without too much drama. I am half way home. E is next, she gets a bath almost every night, it is just part of our routine and helps her calm down. However, since it is already after 9:30 I decide that tonight is not one of those nights. I give her the five minute warning, the tension rises. She starts dumping her juice on the couch. So, I grab her jammies, I figure she doesn't know what five minutes is anyway. Then the meltdown ensues. We manage to get on her jammies and get to her room, she has said the word "NO" a record number of times in the last three minutes.

Bedside is usually a sweet end to the day, full of hugs and songs and giggles. Tonight we get there, and WHACK. The last thing my beautiful little girl does before she falls asleep is smack mommy in the face. I can't deal. I just put her in her crib. There were no words, no hugs, no giggles, how depressing.

Moments later my guy calls. He is in his hotel room, safe and sound. Asks me how it is going. "Fine", I say, not quite ready to unload.
Then he starts bitching about how his "company put me up in the nicest, most expensive damn hotel in Charlotte. I have spent almost all my per-diem for the weekend on one dinner. I had a steak, a glass of red wine, and a glass of whiskey and it was $48! How do they expect me to eat all my dinners on only $100!?! I will have to call tomorrow and have them wire me more money. I could eat appetizers, but it is still $10 for two little crab cakes! What the hell?"

I am a puddle of envy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday



Works-for-Me-Wednesday

Love to have shaving cream handy in the shower? Hate scrubbing the rust ring off the tub? The thing that works for me is taking clear fingernail polish (cause we all know...who has time to paint their nails anymore?!?) to the bottom of the shaving cream can. Paint the bottom of the can before your first use and it will stay in your shower rust-free.

I had a sneaking suspicion




You are a Hippie



You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.

You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.



You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.

You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

This statement is from the EPA's Fact Sheet on the insect repellent DEET.

Consumers can reduce their own risks when using DEET by reading and following products labels. All DEET product labels include the following directions:


Read and follow all directions and precautions on this product label.
Do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
Do not apply to hands or near eyes and mouth of young children.
Do not allow young children to apply this product.
Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing.
Do not use under clothing.
Avoid over-application of this product.
After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
Wash treated clothing before wearing it again.
Use of this product may cause skin reactions in rare cases.


So, it doesn't seem that bad. If you use it correctly the EPA has found DEET to be safe for everyone, including children 2 months and up. However, when your are spraying it, does it accidentally get near your little ones hands or mouth? Do you run into the house and give everyone a bath to wash the chemical off treated skin? What exactly is "over-application"?

Symptoms of DEET Exposure
- Eye and mucous membrane irritation.
- Ingestion can cause CNS disturbances.
- Desquamation about the nose, dryness of face, a slight tingling sensation. Contact urticaria.
- Toxicity is primarily neurologic (encephalopathy, seizures, movement disorders, coma) and may occur via oral or dermal exposure, most commonly in children.
- Bradycardia is rare but has been reported after dermal exposure to deet. Hypotension has been reported after large ingestions.
- Eye contact may result in a smarting sensation. A burning sensation of the lips, tongue and mouth may be noted.
- Confusion, ataxia, hypertonicity, and clonic jerking progressing to coma and seizures may occur after acute oral or chronic dermal exposure.
- Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

(source:Hazardous Substances Data Bank, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. March 2003)

Ummmmm, I think I will take my chances with the ticks and mosquitoes. Luckily for us, there are alternatives to the chemical laden repellents on store shelves. Here are a few of our favorite recipes for tick and mosquito repellent. The ingredients are all basically the same, it just depends on what type of essential oil you use.

Start with
-2 Tablespoons vegetable or Olive oil
-1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera gel
-add 20 drops of your choice of the following

Tick repellent
-rose essential oil or
-eucalyptus essential oil

Mosquito repellent
-lemon balm essential oil or
-thyme essential oil or
-lavender essential oil

Mix the ingredients together, shaking to blend them well, and keep in a glass jar. (we reuse small food jars) Use a few drops on you skin or clothing. (safe for Fido, too)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dog fight

Yesterday was another beautiful day here, about 75 degree. I got my first sunburn, oops. I hate to put all that sunscreen on and managed to protect E with a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and hat. However, I was not so concerned with myself. I hate it when that happens.
We took a nice long walk with the 5 year old boy that lives next door. I had L strapped on in her sling and E was walking with Byron. Our seven year old dog, Addie was walking with us. We live in a pretty quite area and she is very good about sticking close, so she was off leash. It seemed at the time like a good idea, between chasing a two and five year old and carrying an infant, a dog on a leash seemed like a little much. However, I could not leave her in the house, she is a good dog but likes to show her angst at being left out by eating pillows. I was not in the mood to come home to a house full of stuffing.
We were headed back to the house, about half a block up the road, when I hear a woman calling. I turn back to see a pit bull stalking us. Panic sets in, and I can hear it in the woman's voice. She is chasing her dog and calling frantically, to no avail. I quickly get E and Byron right behind me and I am freaking out. I have L strapped on me and have no idea how I am gonna stop this dog. My dog Addie, comes running. I don't know if this pit was after her all along, or was coming for us. The two dogs clash and the pit goes straight for her neck, they dance around the middle of the street, teeth barred and growling. The kiddos are safe, they are peaking out from behind me. It seems like a life time, I yell at the woman to pull her dog off. What a terrifying thing to have to do, stick you hand into the middle of two dueling dogs. She was kicking at her dog and finally somehow managed to pull it off. Addie instantly backed off and as quickly as it started, it was over. I look over Addie, she has a lot of slobber and some bloody spots on her neck.
Her chain is missing....we use a choke collar on her, our vet says that is better for them than a regular collar. I think that metal saved her life. I recovered the chain in three pieces in the middle of the road. The collar was badly bent, I cannot even imagine the damage that would have been done to Addie's neck had that collar not been there to bear the brunt of the attack. I have been thanking god all day that everyone is okay, and that the pit decided to go after my innocent dog rather than my innocent children.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

BPA

Here is an interesting development on Bisphenol-A. All the findings and research surfacing is totally creepy. For more on the creepiness, check out the findings by Frederick Vom Saal They have found that the level of harm found in studies of BPA depends on who is funding the study. Shocking that the chemical corporations found no harm in 13 of 27 studies.


We recently attended a talk at the local library by Dr. Matthew Cowan on xenoestrogens, a category that BPA falls into. Xenoestrogens are substances in our daily life that our bodies uptake as estrogen and cause hormonal imbalances. Plastics and pesticides are two widespread, but common sources of xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens act like hormones once they are absorbed through the body.

As frugal as I am, I see replacing my plastic food storage as a necessity. I have already recycled all of my tupperware, either in the conventional way in a recycling bag or for other uses such as organization in other areas of our home. We now keep small items such as crayons or pencils in them, rather than the food that is being contaminated by them. The resin ID Code on the bottom of plastics gives you an idea of the ingredients. (in addition to the recycling implications) Not only should you not eat out of plastics in the #7 catagory, but they also cannot be recycled. Most certainly avoid these types.

1, 2, 4, 5 =Better plastic
3, 6, 7 =Bad plastic
No. 7= Bisphenol A

Take a look in your kitchen, what do you have in there that is poisoning you and your family?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

OMG


This afternoon E and I spent some time outside playing in the sunshine. It is a beautiful day, and L is sleeping. We picked dandelions (she is my juice powered weed eater!), swung, and walked over to say 'hi' to our neighbor, Larry. Just as we were getting ready to head back in the house, E disappeared for a minute. I didn't think much of it at first...by the time I found her, it was too late.

mommyipoop

Inside we go. We hit the bathroom and I yanked off her clothes, "oh my god."
I plop her down on the pot to see if she needs to go anymore. It is a nasty, diarrhea poo. (I took photos, but came to my senses before posting them) So now it is also all over her potty chair, "oh my god" I utter again. After a few minutes of not breathing through my nose, we manage to get cleaned up.

In the rush to get in the house and to the bathroom, we wake up L. Damn. I go in, get her, and feed her. We are all hanging on the living room floor. L is at that stage, she can roll onto her tummy, but not onto her back. It really pisses her off. I usually let her squirm for a few minutes, and start to fuss a bit before flipping her back over. She was up on her hands and tummy looking at the puzzle pieces E was showing her, when BLAHHHH. Projectile vomit right next to E. E looks up at me and in total distress shouts out....

ohmydawd! ohmydawd!

I can't help but chuckle, it could be worse!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One small step

E and I just walked out to the mailbox. It is a decent 60 degrees here, which is a welcome change from the *snow* we got over the weekend. Yes, snow! I am so sick-of-it, all I want to do is get out of this house and play outside with my babies.

At any rate, we went to the mailbox and found it empty! There was not a single piece of junk in there. And thanks to our efforts to also reduce our debt, not a single bill either. The few things that we do still pay every month are put on paperless billing. (This is how I justify the Internet!)

So I feel like we had a small victory today! I gotta celebrate all the little ones!

I just realized, maybe I should go into more detail about how we (I) accomplished this.....

-reduced debt
-the credit cards (two left!) that we do still have send e-mail statements and I pay them on-line
-no car payments, they are both paid off (yeah!)
-home and car insurance is an auto-draft on our checking account. I do receive a statement, but only every 6 months.
-all utilities are paid on-line
-library notices are e-mailed
-we no longer receive all the junk (i.e. coupons for restaurants we don't eat at. coupons for diapers we don't buy. adverts for cars we don't need. applications for credit cards we have vowed not to use. and on and on.) See this post for info on how you can get your name off these lists too.

We shall see what that box holds tomorrow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wish List


Helen E. Riegle is the founder of HER Designs, she creates bags that are cruelty-free and eco-friendly.

She says, "When I embarked on this business, I envisioned products
that would challenge conventions and change perceptions.
My designs celebrate the virtues of cleaner, greener living
that embraces style.”

I only WISH I could afford one....maybe you can.

Hardcore Enthusists need not read


Top Ten Things I have done this year to help.....(in no particular order)

(For those of you out there who can do no wrong, remember that I am a SAHM just trying to do the best I can. So, get off my back!)


-quit drinking bottled water

-neither of my children (3 months and 2 yrs.) use disposable diapers (or diapers of any kind, for the most part)

-no longer buy things that I don't need (Granted, this is subject to opinion...maybe I didn't NEED that cool wallet for my BDay. However, it was bought at a small local shop that carries things made by people in my city.....)

-use baking soda for anything and everything(no more plastic bottles and toxic chemicals)

-quit using paper towels, by using old clothing instead

-quit drinking soda

-got cotton bags to use at the grocery store (and actually remember to bring them with me!)

-got on this site to get off the list for credit card offers. (this is also helpful on our way to debt freedom....more about that later)

-further reduced junk mail here

-buy all (yes, ALL) my produce at the Farmer's Market. I plan all my meals for the week from what I find at the Farmer's Market. Find a market near you. (Although, I am putting in my own garden in three weeks. We will have almost everything we need in our own back yard.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Product Review


Now that the three (my niece is staying the weekend) babes are finally napping.....

Product Review #1

Erbaviva Baby Lotion

I purchased this lotion from Apple Blossom Organics
First of all, let me just say, the customer service is excellent. I immediately got an email stating that they had received my order and that it was on it's way to me. Alicia is excellent, the items arrived quickly and with a little sample of another one of their products. (Plus they use recycled shipping materials).

With that said....I am also in love with the lotion. I couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt every time I lathered my little ones up with Huggies baby lotion. So here is the alternative. It is a bit pricier than it's petroleum laden counterparts, but well worth it. I use it regularly on my 2 year old and my three month old and we have barely made a dent in the bottle, a little goes a long way. I like the smell, it is pleasant without being overwhelming. And, of course, it doesn't contain any parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates or propylene glycol. What's not to love?

I also purchased Erbaviva Sniffles Baby Chest Balm. We dig it too!

Thieves in training

Our big party plans for Friday night consisted of meeting my mother and five-year old niece, Eliana for dinner at a local mexican restaurant. My mom is somewhat of a regular there. We had a margarita and some enchiladas and were relaxing at the table, our kiddos were sick of sitting and since it was late and there was hardly anyone there, they got up. They went over to help the Mexicans roll silverware and pretend like they were employees. Restaurant work is in their genes, in about a decade they will both be third generation waitresses or bartenders.

As they came back to the table my niece informed us that she was "Cindy" and my daughter, her friend, that was with her "Well, her name is Kelly".

Oh, I say, and what are you ladies doing out this evening?

Just had some dinner, and we are getting ready to have dessert. We live just down the street, and are going home soon, she answers.

I decide to compliment her on her lovely boots (my mother will get a kick out of this seeing as she is the one who bought her those black suede and green leather kicks). Before I can continue this conversation with these new found friends "Cindy" and "Kelly", my niece pipes up.....

I know what you name is. Your name is Beth, and your name is Emily. Referring to us by our real names.

Well, how do you know our names? I ask her, in shock.

I read your mail

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rotting out of my head

Some days being a SAHM really sucks. Today, is one of those days.

My two year old, who is potty trained, decided to smack me in the face this morning while we were getting dress and having her morning pee. Okay, I get the picture, she doesn't want/need to pee.
*Time out for smacking mommy in the face.
We go out to the living room so she can watch Elmo while I get breakfast ready. This is our morning routine. Even if I only let her watch a few minutes of it, she is happy and I don't have to hear "Iwannawatelmo" all day.
*Time out for peeing on the couch while watching elmo.
Back out in the living room, we have managed to get through breakfast. She is playing with baby sister and I decide to change the laundry. I head for the laundry room, and my darling daughter follows me. This is fine, I get the clothes out of the wash, and either hang them to dry or hand her the few items that do go into the dryer. Today, however, she wants me to hold her "jui". She refuses to put it on the counter/floor/table and wants me to hold it. We have a bit of a discussion as to why mommy can't hang laundry and hold her juice at the same time. Besides that, why does she need me to hold it anyway? I finally take it from her and set it on the floor, which sends her into space.
*Time out for throwing huge fit and acting insane.

It is now ten a.m.

My employer doesn't even provide dental insurance.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

3 months later....


L started rolling over last week! Now, I know...that is a milestone that most parents look forward too. The pediatrician looks for it as a sign of normal development. It is a requirement for the next step of crawling. However, I was not ready for it and it reeked havoc on my life for a few days. How could such a small thing destroy my world?


I am a fan of most of the hippie principles of child rearing, however, the one I cannot deal with is the "family bed". DH and I will be one of those old couples with the two twin beds.....if it were up to me we would already have those twin beds. I sleep better on my own, so the fewer people in my bed the better. That being said, L did spend sometime there. In those first few weeks I was not capable of getting out of bed every two hours, out of sheer exhaustion. Running around chasing a two year old all day and then feeding every two hours almost got the best of me. At any rate, we had gotten L out of the bed and into a cradle! Hooray for me, I have a 2 1/2 month old that sleeps through the night! (Sorry to rub it in)

Then she rolled over. At first I thought it was awesome. She was going after a shiny robot toy a good friend of mine gave her. She loves it and had to have it, and by god she got it. I immediately called DH and told him the news, his little girl is growing up. I had her perform her new trick when he got home that night, all is well and everyone is happy. Even big sis E is cheering her on.


Midnight "rolls" (sorry, I can't help myself) around and I am startled by a crying baby. Why? Was the whole sleeping-for-six-hours-a-time thing a joke? A mean way for the gods to trick me into thinking I was actually going to get some quality sleep? I would get all nice a comfy with my nighttime routine, and then BAM taken away just as fast as it came.

I head over to her cradle and see she has her poor little face smashed against the sides of the cradle. Gravity is working against her and she cannot get back over on her back. I pull her out and feed her, just for good measure. Back in the cradle she goes. Then 2 a.m.-crying baby-face in the cradle-feed-back to bed. Then 4 a.m., I am sure you get the idea.

Why not just bring her back to bed with me.....I will not admit defeat!

At the 6 a.m. waking it dawns on me, big sis E is at her Nana's house. This entire ridiculous night of waking was all for nothing. There is a perfectly good crib sitting in E's room, nice and comfy, with a warm blanket, and a stationary mattress. Damn, I am an idiot.


Through bleary eyes the next day, DH and I finally got L's crib put together. And that is a story for another day........

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Screw Paypal

Check it out. Revolutionary Money Exchange is the way to buy and sell, fee free! It is super easy to use, and they will give you $25 just to sign up!



https://www.revolutionmoneyexchange.com/ReferAFriend/ReferAFriend_landing.aspx?referreremail=emilylong123@yahoo.com

Diaper Free


It has been five days since I changed a poopie diaper. I consider that a major accomplishment seeing as I am a mother of two. E is 2 1/2 and L is 3 months. Yes....3 months old. Who would have ever thought?


On Thursday morning I decided that we would try Elimination Communication (ECing for short). I thought all these hippie mothers with their naked babies were crazy....but, lo and behold, the first time I held dear L over that little bowl, she peed!!!

Sucess!! I thought. I couldn't beleive the luck we have had with "catching" those pees (and more importantly poos)

she has gone in a bowl, in our toliet, in my dad's toliet, and next to the parking lot in the park....


Now, there have been the misses. A big streak on the blanket is not a pleasant thing to find. But, I just throw those misses in with her cloth diapers and wash them all together. So far it is working out great. I look forward to more adventures with a diaper free baby. Isn't this summer gonna be fun..............

Getting GREEN

Just a little reminder....GREEN= Getting Responsible for Earth, Environment and Nature.

I like the "getting" responsible part, it reminds me that it just takes baby steps to get to where I want to be. Each day I take a moment to think of the ways that I can be better TODAY.

Being green is more than just recycling, eating organic and avoiding the plastic bag.

Being green is about making choices to support small businesses, support companies with a social conscious and to buy locally or buy fair trade. It is about helping yourselves and helping you neighbors. It is about the example we are setting for our children. It is about charitable giving. Green living to me is about making the right choice for our community and for my family.

I know that being green is super hip right now and that's great but lets make green not just the new black but also a new way to live and a new way to inspire. Everybody's doing it.