Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homebirths, chickens and a bushel of blueberries

I feel a little like a stranger on my own blog. It's been a long time since I've felt ready or wanting to put pen to paper! It's difficult to know where to even start as the past couple months feel like such a long journey.

Starting with some easy things I'll note and expand on via separate posts:

Chickens. Yes, we finally bit the bullet and should have baby chicks arriving next week about this time. Crazy? Of course! It's how we roll. We're starting with 6- 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 1 Rhode Island Red and 1 Black Australorp. Truly I'd be happy with 4 but am attempting to plan on beginner mistakes... though hoping that doesn't happen! We have the brooder pretty much ready, coop plans bought and now just need to get going on materials and coop constructions. It is exciting and seems like well timed now that it isn't so insanely hot anymore! Pictures to follow, of course!

Berries! The last few years I've gotten most of our berries from a combo of our own yard and my mom's. However I lost my strawberries and raspberries last year and had to start new this year. The strawberries did fine but didn't bear(normal, won't until next year). The raspberries for some reason just didn't make it. Odd, as for once we hardly flooded at all in the backyard! The two blueberries plant near the dead raspberries seem to be doing well, so I'm going to be adding 2-3 additional blueberries in that particular spot. Not one to give up, we'll be building a couple raised beds behind the new(to us) swingset this fall and putting raspberries there.
This is a lengthy prelude to what I really wanted to talk about, The Berry Patch! Because we didn't have our own I had to look elsewhere; found a lovely berry patch about 30 minutes away. We went 2 times and came back with literally 20 pounds of berries. I'm not exaggerating in the least. Most were blueberries but also got red and black raspberries. Not this weekend but the following I hope to get back there again for some blackberries, raspberries and more blueberries. We did jam, syrup and vinegar from the blueberries. The others I froze and have used either in muffins, pancakes or on granola and oatmeal. It really is so fun to go as a family and pick berries together. I highly recommend finding a local patch and doing just that very soon!

Last but certainly not least, homebirths. After much research and soul searching, we've decided to switch from our hospital midwives group to a local CNM and a homebirth. My first birth was the traditional hospital OB; second a hospital midwife. While the hospital midwife birth was hands down a better experience than my OB, there were still too many routine interventions that got in the way of the kind of birth I feel is best for us. It will cost more than a hospital birth. Money certainly isn't free-flowing here but it's a priority and we will make it work. At a later time I'll write more in-depth of how and why we arrived to this decision. I will say this, if you are pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, please pick up Ina May Gaskin's, 'Guide to Childbirth' and Henci Goer's, 'The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.' They are thus far the most informative books I've read on the process of birth.

May everyone be finally getting to enjoy beautiful weather!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Roundup and Birth Defects Study released

Did ya'll catch this study that was released by Earth Open Source?

Roundup and Birth Defects - Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark

It's a very thorough look at what's gone on in the European Union regarding experimentation and regulation. Right up there with the PCB fiasco pretty much.

More and more people are becoming aware of what's happened to our food source over the last few decades. The fox entered the hen house for sure and our regulatory agencies have long been bought out by corporations. In the age of so much readily available information and rapid communication, it's my hope that we can organize, demand and change.

Over the past several weeks(while I wasn't blogging) I tagged more GMO type articles to share with those of you that may be interested. Hopefully some you haven't seen. Knowledge is power! Decide for yourself.

Cancer cause or crop aid? Herbicide faces big test

US subsidizes Brazil's cotton to protect Monsanto's profits

Toxics in our kids' foods: Where is the FDA?

Scientists warn of link between dangerous pathogen and Monsanto's Roundup(***warning***sad picture of late term bovine spontaneous abortion)

(About the PCB situation I refer to) Monsanto Hid PCD Pollution for Decades

Health Scandal of the Decade- Monsanto's GMO Perversion of Food - I *really* like this one for explaining what's going on and why we should be concerned.

Thinking Ahead- Do I want to hire a Doula?

It's still crazy to think I'm almost half way through this pregnancy. I say crazy, because I know just how fast arrival time can sneak up on you after 2 full term pregnancies! Sure, the last couple weeks might drag but all in all, it really goes by so quickly.

There are a few things I've been mulling over regarding how we might want to proceed come The Big Day. One thing is a trying to determine if we'd like to hire a Doula. ERGOparent Magazine had a nice little post on Inviting a Doula to Your Birth that got me to think about all of this. Don't you just love the internet? I've never had a doula present before. We have been blessed to have our sister in law (an L&D nurse) with us for our previous births. And while I love her to death and we have the same end goal, we still have different ideas in how best to get there!

My husband is on board with how we'd like things to go(under ideal circumstances, of course). But the poor man turns into a deer in headlights when push comes to shove. Pun intended. We tried using Hypnobabies with the last pregnancy and really loved it. It really helped us feel more connected to the pregnancy rather than it just being me alone. It also helped us fall asleep every night in record time! In fact, we will begin going through the program a second time very soon using the Home Study course. However, again, everything we practiced for our son's birth flew out the window when he panicked. Poor guy!(Poor me) He needs almost as much support as I do!

There were also a couple of things that I believe may have gone differently had we a champion of sorts there to speak for us when I was otherwise occupied and my husband stunned speechless. For things like, demanding a wireless fetal monitor so I could walk- along with an IV thingy on wheels. Or at the end, being flipped on my back when I explicitly had noted I did NOT want to birth on my back. Just to have someone there able to keep their head about them for things like that would be really nice. That's where a Doula would hopefully come in. A Doula's purpose isn't to take over the role of the birth partner, but rather to help give a little direction when they don't know what to do to help.

Thinking about giving birth a 3rd time does in some ways scare me. It shouldn't. But it does. I know it's really important to get on top of those fears immediately so as to be better prepared and relaxed at the end. Giving birth is such an interesting mental process. If I can just get myself to a place where I feel safe and relaxed(as one can be while pushing 7+lbs out) then I know all will be well. Having someone experienced, on my same 'birth page' so to speak, would definitely aide that process.

So, I'm mulling. I do that a lot. I'm a muller. A very slow decision maker. But really this one is a no-brainer to me. The only hard part is figuring out which Doula to choose! (Oddly enough, despite our midwife shortage, we have an abundance of Doulas in our area. Go figure.)  I'll be considering how many births they have attended, what their philosophies are, their birth experiences, cost, etc.

And then I'll have to decide. Will let you know how that goes! I'm actually really excited about this. Whew for some rays of sunshine!

If you'd like to learn more about Doulas, please visit DONA International.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sigh.

"It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
"And freezing."
"Is it?"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."

Winnie the Pooh and friends are Trademarks of Disney. Quotes are taken from Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.



And so it seems things keep going. It's been horribly dry in our area for a long time and we needed rain desperately! Finally got some last night and today. But unfortunately with it came not one, not two, but three hail storms. The first was marble sized, the second pea and the third mixed with half-dollar pieces. We were totally mentally prepared for flooding. But hail? Not so much. 

I can see leaves everywhere but am afraid to look too closely. Haven't even put on my glasses for the day. I don't want to see what the damage is to my gardens. It sounds so trivial, but the gardens were about the only thing going right and a sort of brief escape for me while working in them. 

I know most things will bounce back eventually. Just really bummed and wanting to drown my sorrows in my crossword puzzle book and a carton of ice cream. Preferably Maggie Moo's dark chocolate with gummi bears and peppermint patties. 

At least tomorrow is Friday?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Arizona Trip- Take 2

Grandma H's house!

This was a large part of why we went out to Arizona- I've never met my husband's grandma. Her health is such that she can't travel. We were to go out there June of '08, but that's when the floods hit our area. The night before we were to leave we had 18" of sewage water in the basement. Yeah. Ick.

Anyways, so the first half of the trip we spent with his Grandma H. She is such a neat lady. I was surprised how much she reminded me in ways of my own grandmas. In stature she is similar to my dad's mom(tall, thin). Then for one meal we were preparing she was excited to mix a couple frozen juices for the beverage. That was so my mom's mom!

We just had a nice time getting to know each other, telling stories and laughing. All of us also helped in the yard with pruning and the citrus trees. Oh yes, she has a lemon, grapefruit and 2 orange trees! At one point she had a lime tree but it sadly died. Here are some pictures of our time there:

I wish you could smell these through the screen! Grandpa H loved roses and planted these. Wish I could have met him, too. 

Grapefruit time!

1, 2, 3... that's a lot of grapefruit, mom!

A little silliness makes the job go faster?

Trying so hard to get one off the tree!

It was just too tough!(For me, too! And they have spike-like things, ouch!)

This was just getting started. Maybe a quarter of what we pulled.

I thought it was pretty cool to harvest citrus! Wish we could grow some back home! There was so much on the tree we ended up juicing most of it and freezing it to take home. After looking at these pictures, think I'll go make myself a glass or two. 

Still to come, Squaw Peak and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!

Wordless Wednesday- Silly Sleepy Snuggles



While on vacation in AZ. Love that they are in the same position!

Also while on vacation in AZ(we were really beat, can ya tell??). He sure loves his daddy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Arizona Trip- Take 1

On our drive out to Phoenix, we made a little detour last minute and opted to stop at the Petrified National Forest. I love getting a little spontaneous!

We came across the park driving from Albuquerque on I-40 towards Phoenix. Happened to catch the signs and asked if anyone had every been- the response was, 'No, but it'd be awesome to see so let's do it!'

The Forest also has some of the Painted Desert in it, so as far as I'm concerned we killed two birds with one stone. The colors were amazingly breath taking. Not only did we get to see really beautiful, interesting petrified woods but also a wonderful historical Inn and Indian ruins. There were even some cool petroglyphs around the ruins we got to walk around(around, not actually in). Although one part of that trail was closed due to 'swarming bees'. Um, yikes!

Sad attempt at a family picture! Wish my camera was able to capture the depth of color in the hills.

I was pleasantly surprised at some of the flowers that grew there. 

My favorite men!

An example of petrified wood. The water washed over them(hard to imagine water here!) and left mineral deposits behind. These changed the properties of the wood to quartz. Would love one of these hunks for an indoor or outdoor table! Unfortunately, a lot of people must have thought the same because a lot of the fossils have been removed.

Not usually a fan of wikipedia, but they do have some good info out there on the forest if you're interested in reading more: Petrified Forest National Park.

More Arizona Trip Takes to come!

***I had more pictures but my camera battery died and we can't find the stinkin' charger just yet. I know it came back with us, for sure had it in the following days, but now 'tis missing! Hoping it turns up soon or we'll be making an emergency purchase. 

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

The past few weeks I, like every other gardener out there, have been laboring every spare second in my gardens! Here are some pictures to give you a glimpse at what I have going on in the backyard currently. Maybe eventually I'll even do a vlog?

This is my great grandpa's rose from the family farm. First time blooming in my garden!

The veggie beds off my patio. Spinach, eggplant, basil, cilantro, lettuce, carrots, peas, brussel sprouts, lots of bell peppers and jalapenos.

These are my back 4x8 raised beds. They are currently housing green and yellow zucchini, cucumbers, beets, chard, kale, corn, beans and 8 tomatoes.

My garden mascot, The Blue Flying Pig.

The West Garden.

The South Garden. Snuck some Baby Bok Choy in there that I ran out of room for!


The newly-remodeled North Garden. Soon to include a 3x5 raised bed in the middle for herbs!

The Kids' Nook next to the sandbox. Complete with birdhouse and toadhouse!

So there you go, a little peek into some of my gardens. They are ever changing and the blooms really coming on now. Once I find my blasted camera charger,  will post more current ones! If you have any gardening questions, please feel free to ask away. I'll do my best to help!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Menu Monday!

Doth mine eyes deceive me? Is it really a Menu Monday, on Monday even?!

Oh yes, chickadees. I actually have my house in order this week! Or shall make a valiant attempt.

Monday:
Pancakes, blueberries and banana
Fettuccine Alfredo, broccoli, applesauce and bread/jelly
Cool Salad, TBD exactly

Tuesday:
Eggs, toast, cheese, oranges
PBJ, carrots, apples
Mexi-stuffed peppers(a super big recipe to freeze several entrĂ©es!)

Wednesday:
Pancakes, berries(whatever is good and available this evening at the store)
Grilled pizza with bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, oranges
Dad's house

Thursday:
Eggs, toast, cheese, oranges
Easy corn chowder, apples or grapes, bread
Chiro appt- so just leftovers

Friday:
Steel cut oats, berries or bananas
Tilapia or Salmon, steamed veggies and applesauce
Thai red curry(another make ahead freezer meal that will yield extra entrĂ©es!)

This week is about one part easy, one part plan ahead. In addition to the 2 freezer meals on Tuesday and Friday, we'll make at least one or two more on Saturday. My hope is to get in the habit of doing a couple of these a week so come crunch time in the fall- AKA, canning AND baby- it won't be too out of control.

Happy Monday!

The End of our Breastfeeding Journey: 17 months

Well, we almost made my goal of 18 months. It's close enough that I truly do consider it met. We made it 17 months in breastfeeding!

*insert cheer, yay, rah rah rah, boom, and assorted other huzzah's*

When we went on vacation the first part of May, we were so busy my son didn't really have the opportunity to nurse much. And he wasn't asking for it. After a week and a half of nursing maybe once or twice a day, I figured he was done.

We got back home and I was surprised when he wanted to nurse frequently again. Unfortunately by that point, what little milk I may have had left was greatly reduced. Add that to the fact he was cutting teeth and it was painful. I wished he would just be done!

Fast forward to tonight. Tonight was a rough night for the little man. He was overtired and those darn teeth still hurting. There was much screaming for 2 hours straight. When the tempest passed, he decided he wanted me. Not daddy. Which was unusual. So I thought maybe he wanted to nurse?(That's generally why he chooses me over Dad!)

Nope. He just wanted to lay in my arms and snuggle while I sang softly to him.

There's a part of me that wants to cry. To hang on for dear life to my baby. He is growing up so fast! And he won't be the baby of the family for much longer. We have such a different bond, he and I, than what I understood could be had when my daughter was a baby. I know I am afraid to lose that with him when #3 is born.

All that and I'm so thankful we were able to breastfeed as long as we did. It was only thanks to the love and support I received from many women I've never met in real life! My only hope is to pay it forward to other mothers who also wish to breastfeed their babies. Having done both, bottle and breast, I will say from my experience there is no comparison to the joy you receive from knowing your body is nourishing your baby in the healthiest way possible. If able, you won't regret it!

My Prince

Extremely Belated Wordless(Almost) Wednesday: Week 18: Belly pic

Yes, I've hit week 18 in pregnancy #4. I can hardly believe we're almost at the halfway mark! For those unfamiliar with how we roll in bellies, don't hate. *wink* My torso is 4 inches longer than the average woman's. Which equals a fairly small bump. What it does not mean, however, is getting out of morning sickness, the inability to sleep at night, back pain and peeing my pants when I sneeze.

Yep. I promise I'm really pregnant. The less-than-thrilled look on my face was due to my husband's refusal to get me donuts. Grrr...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Last call! Norwex $30 gift certificate ends tonight!

If you've wanted to try them but haven't, or even if you have already and love them, make sure to head over to Jen Speers Norwex on facebook and 'like' her page! Then comment here or there that you did that and you're entered.

My favorite things to clean thus far have been the windows. Totally serious. I'm a wee bit OCD when it comes to streaks and whatnot, so it can be a tedious task requiring multiple attempts. Generally ending in just giving up! But with a microfiber Norwex cloth and their Purple Drying Cloth, it's literally a one time deal. AND, no chemicals necessary. Just water. For real!

If you aren't sure where to start in trying their products out, personally I'd recommend the Basic Package. It's only 30.99 and includes 1 small enviro cloth and 1 window cloth. Consider the paper towels, window cleaning solution, time and energy you could save! 


Ends tonight, 11:59 PM CST. I will draw the winner tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Unintentional Test: Old Eating Habits

When things started to get tough at home and work a few months ago, my usual steadfast resolve to make my own from scratch and eat healthy foods wavered. Then crashed. Then burned. Big time.

Queue lots of eating out, eating junk food, drinking soda. Every trip to the grocery store meant either donuts(if in the morning) or a candy bar(if in the evening). I'm definitely an emotional eater, no doubt about it. Even sitting here now- after the day from Hades- I can't help but wish I had a plain glazed donut for each hand.

That's bad.

Pretty much our diet reverted back to what I'd consider to be the average American's diet. McD's, chips, soda, candy bars, easy processed meals, etc. Here's what I noticed in my 8-ish week binge with the dark side:

1. It's expensive.

2. It tastes gross.

3. It only added to my overall feelings of, well, feeling yucky.

Some may be surprised at the first item. Generally our organic diet is equated with a more expensive grocery bill. And in some things, it can be. But I think the idea that processed food is less expensive than organic whole foods is very false. Organic processed food, well, ok that definitely is more expensive. Pre-pregnancy and general life disasters my organic grocery bill was around $50 a week. That's for a family of 4 and feeding some extra mouths during the week. Now it's more like $100. That's not counting eating out.

Number two surprised me. Not sure why! As with the last 3 pregnancies, as soon as we get knocked up it's like some sensor kicks on and I can taste or smell chemicals a mile away. Fake sugars, preservatives, etc. I'm like a human divining rod for fake food! There was a time I delighted in eating the chocolate off a Milky Way; I'd flatten the remaining caramel and nougat, roll it up and finish it off. So I grabbed a Milky Way one day to eat clandestinely on the way home. And you know what? It was gross. I couldn't even finish it.

Of course there was plenty else going on that would explain some of the yuck feelings. But there's no question eating poorly contributed in a negative way. I justified everything I ate via cravings or the *need* to gain weight for the pregnancy. Not smart, Stacy!

 So, what's a girl to do?

Start being smart, for one. This weekend I put time into making a pantry list of everything I already have. Then sat down and came up with a list of meal ideas based around the pantry list. Even busted out my Fix it and Freeze it book to choose a half-dozen freezer meal ideas I'll work on.

It's time to get back in the saddle and take care of myself. And the baby I'm growing. If you've fallen off the proverbial saddle, too, hop back in with me. And pass the organic broccoli, please!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthing Pools Seized?


I came across some info on Facebook yesterday(I know, sometimes I think it's about as reliable as wikipedia) about the FDA seizing a container of birthing pools at customs in Portland, OR. The intent being to 'inspect and destroy' the pools as they are unregistered medical equipment. 

Norwex Winner and Extra Giveaway!


Congrats to the Klemm Family! I am emailing you now and will ship the product out as soon as I get your info back!

***EXTRA GIVEAWAY ALERT***

Hello, Old Friend

I'm starting to feel like a broken record, 'Apologies for my absence...'

We survived 'vacation'. What a silly word, by the way. One that invokes ideas of relaxation and/or rejuvenation. Which, if you're headed to a week at the spa, may be the case. But let's be honest- there's nothing relaxing or rejuvenating about driving 1400 miles(one way) with 6 people in a car. Add almost daily trips about, not always the healthiest food and a 2 hour time difference = potentially a recipe for disaster. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jen Speers Norwex review and giveaway!


Unless you're living under a rock, you've probably caught wind of the hot 'new' company, Norwex! I first heard about them around New Year's at my aunt's home in Minnesota. My aunt had attended a Norwex party and fallen in love with their products. She was very excited at the prospect of cleaning without the use of toxic chemicals. Which we definitely love in the Crazy Green Home!

Fast forward a few months and my mom gave me a couple to try(right about the time morning sickness set in). She kept telling me how great they worked but you know how sometimes things go in one ear and out the other when your mom talks? Even at almost 30, I just can't help it. Then my good friend, Jen Speers, contacted me about reviewing some additional products and hosting a giveaway. So I figured it was high time I found out for myself what the fuss was about.

To start, Norwex has actually been around for a while. They began in Norway, 1995. Then moved into the US and Canadian markets in 1999. From there it's been nothing but growth! It was in 2007 though, that they introduced the antibacterial microfiber. That's when things really took off. And for good reason- it truly is a remarkable product.

The Norwex Microfiber is different than the kind you'd find in stores. It's a certain blend of polyester and polyamide. They get the fiber smaller than 1/100th of a human hair and then knit it in such a way that it becomes an amazing cleaning material. It can hold up to 7 times its weight in water. And while many lesser quality materials simply smear dirt around, the Norwex microfiber actually picks it up. The idea is you can clean WITHOUT using those toxic, harsh chemicals that are affecting our health and creating super bugs. And how is this possible? Because their material is antibacterial.

Why is Norwex Microfiber antibacterial? It's due to special technology they use with silver particles. (My washing machine actually has a silver cycle on it, too!) The Enviro Cloth picks up bacteria and due to the silver particles, they are removed. Testing has shown it effective against E. Coli, Salmonella, Bird Flu, MRSA, SARS, etc. Some nasty bugs! The Enviro Cloth is not the only product with the silver in it. The Window Cloth, Dusting Mitt, Towels and Mop Pads do, as well.


And it didn't take me long to see why so many people love Norwex! I started out in the bathroom. On the toughest thing I could think of: our tub. Hate, hate, hate scrubbing the tub and shower tiles. Despise! Short-cut! Pass it off to the hubs! Using the yellow Enviro Cloth I went to town on it with a bit of a scowl. Which was soon replaced with a look of surprise. Followed by... delight? Joy? Oh yes, I scrubbed that tub with glee. It was amazing. We have an old cast iron tub and my wonderful (but sometimes misguided DIY) hubby used the wrong grout when he redid the tiles. The iron in our water also leaves a bit of a rust stain. But that cloth took it right off.

So I hopped out of the tub when it was done and kept going. It was a bit addictive to see what I could try cleaning next. The mirrors, followed by the purple Window Cloth. NO STREAKS. NO LINT. It was so easy! Actually, easy pretty much sums up what it's like to use these cloths. It just doesn't take as much effort and they are so effective. I'm sold. We have an Enviro Cloth, Window Cloth and Kitchen Cloth. I've heard great things about their mops, too, so will definitely be getting those to try on our hardwood floors and tiles.

Norwex carries tons of different products for the home in addition to the Microfiber Cloths. They have a floor system, bath and body products, home essentials, a kids' line, etc.

I'm so grateful to my friend, Jen Speers, for finally getting me motivated to try Norwex! And because she's so awesome, she's also giving away some great product to one of our readers to try! Here's what the package will include:


1 Pink Enviro Cloth
1 Fruit and Veggie Scrubber
1 Norwex Dishwashing Liquid
1 Micro Cleaning Hand Pads

Retail Value: $43.96

To Enter:

Please visit www.speersnorwex.com and comment which item you would be most interested in trying.

Then, 'like' Jen Speers Norwex on facebook. Comment when you've done that!

Each task is worth an entry, so make sure to leave two total comments with an email address that I can contact you at if you should be the lucky winner! That's all, easy peasy! The giveaway will run until 5/15/11 at 11:59 PM CST.

If you are interested in purchasing, hosting or selling Norwex, you may contact Jen Speers at www.speersnorwex.com or email her at Speersnorwex (at) gmail (dot) com.

***I received product to aid in giving my honest review, no monetary compensation was received. The opinions and experiences contained are my own. We would like to thank Jen Speers Norwex for the opportunity to try their products!***

Silikids Siliskin review




A little while back I was sent a pair of Silikids Siliskins for baby food jars to try out! My kiddo is largely past baby food now at 16 months but we do still carry some on the go for emergency snack situations. (He is always hungry) Silikids carries several different silicone sleeves that are great for all kinds of things. First, here's the baby food jar skins in action:


Here you can see the small and large size jars to get an idea of what they look like. 


It is probably hard to discern, but there are bumps to aid in grip. 


And here's a side and bottom view. The hole on the side I used to pull the skin on the jar. It was easy. 

Silikids is a relatively new company started by a couple of moms tired of the toxic garbage in kid products. (We can relate!) They opted for silicone as it's safe, clean and hygienic. This is due to silicon's non-porous properties. It's easy to sterilize, germs in general can't hang out and it's soft, making it great for many different uses. Silicone also is not made with BPA, lead, PVC or phthalates. 

The idea behind these silicone skins is to reduce breakage in your diaper bag or via dropping your glass jar, bottle, etc. The skin both protects the item and serves to give you(or baby) a better grip. They are dishwasher safe; technically you could even throw them in the freezer or microwave. There are several siliskins you can purchase of varying sizes- including ones with the glass or glass bottle already in them!

I've been carrying around those two jars in my bag for a good week now. They've taken all the standard beating, getting banged around, dropping the bag, stepping on the bag, etc. So far, so good! We'll be taking them with us to Arizona tomorrow. I'd really love to try the 6oz glass 4-pack that Silikids carries, too. We have some well-known plastic sippie cups we've been using and I'd love to toss them and go to glass. Plastic issues aside, dentists for years have been saying it's better to get our kids to use cups rather than sippies, anyways. They are also on my list to buy for my kids' Kleen Kanteens. Every time they drop their Kleen Kanteens I cringe; wouldn't have to if we had Siliskins on them!

You can purchase Silikids Siliskin products on their website at www.Silikids.com! The pair of baby food jars is only 6.95. Definitely worth checking out if you are a glass user or wanting to switch to glass but concerned about things getting broken.

Follow Silikids on facebook and twitter

**I received product in order to provide my opinion and experiences; I was not compensated monetarily. The words contained herein are my own and not influenced in any way.**


Wordless Wednesday- Sibling Love


Pardon the poor quality camera phone picture! But I think you get the idea. The kids have started holding hands in the car between their seats when we go places. They laugh, make silly noises together and in general, melt my heart.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SCOTT Naturals review- 4 Week Test Drive


The company SCOTT Brand, known for their paper products like napkins, paper towels and bath tissue, has recently come out with a new line called Scott Naturals! SCOTT Naturals are a made with a blend of recycled and new materials. The result are hybrid products that both perform well and are kinder to our environment. 

(Sorry, wasn't smart enough to grab a picture BEFORE I opened and used the product!)

I've been participating in their 4 Week Test Drive to see just what I think about their new products firsthand. Now I'll preface the following with this was actually a little difficult for me. 'How hard can it be to use paper towels and napkins, Stacy!?' Well, you'd be surprised how hard it is to break a 4 year habit! Since shortly before my daughter was born, we switched to using mostly cloth. That being said, I recognize cloth is not for everyone and am thankful for efforts being made by companies to use more recyclable materials. SCOTTS Naturals Brand Manager Jennifer Nobui states, 'If we all used SCOTT Naturals products for four weeks, we'd save over two million trees.'

So obviously, if cloth products aren't an option in your home, it would be eco-prudent to consider using ones that contain recycled material. I can hear what you're thinking. 'I've tried them before and (insert product here) fell apart, didn't work well, wasn't soft, etc.' Oh yes, I've been-there-tried-that 1-ply recycled toilet paper!(Yuck!) But after giving SCOTT Naturals a go for the past 4 weeks, I can tell you they are indeed both functioning and eco-friendly.

Here's a break down of what I tried:

Bath Tissue: SCOTT Naturals tissue is 2-ply and contains 40% recycled material. Even the packaging is made from 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and the cardboard tubes are 100% recycled material. 

My take: Not bad for a recycled bath tissue. My family will tell you, I've bought some pretty tough stuff, but I've heard no complaints from them while using SCOTT.

Paper Towels: SCOTT Naturals towels are made from 60% recycled material. They also offer the option of using half a sheet versus a full one. The packaging is again 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and the cardboard tubes are 100% recycled material. 

My take: I really can't tell a huge difference between these and ones made from all new materials. They function just as they ought! And amazingly enough I actually WAS thankful to have them available while struggling with morning sickness. We'll leave it at that. 

Napkins: SCOTT Naturals napkins are made from 80% recycled material. 

My take: I love that they have such a high content of recycled material. Again, you really can't tell the difference between these and those made from all new materials. They were quite handy for my daughter's tea party!

Flushable Moist Wipes: SCOTT Naturals flushable moist wipes are made from 100% sustainable resources. Available in tubs or refill packs. The tubs contain 30% recycled material, the refill pouches contain 25% and the bags the pouches come in are 20% recycled material. 

My take: This is the only product to date we haven't used. Why? Because I'm saving them for Arizona! What better test than a 24 one-way trip with 2 kids?

I found it interesting how the recycled content percentage varied from product to product. Part of me wishes it were all 100%, but the logical part of me knows that isn't possible if we want a product that people will actually use. (Because I totally know just how fun that 100% recycled, 1-ply tissue is!) Bottomline, I truly believe you'll find SCOTT Naturals to be a quality, eco-friendly alternative to products made with no recycled materials. 

'Take the 4-Week Test Drive' Sweepstakes!

(From the sponsor) In honor of Earth Month, the Scott Naturals brand is challenging Americans to take an easy green step by testing out its line of hybrid paper products for four weeks- and to enter the brand's 'Take the 4-Week Test Drive' sweepstakes for a chance at winning a new 2011 Ford Fusion hybrid sedan.

For more details and official sweepstakes rules, visit www.ScottBrand.com. Promotion ends 9/30/11.

Monday, May 2, 2011

SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion review

A few weeks ago I was sent a bottle of SkinMD Natural Shielding Lotion to try out! I'll be honest- I'm not a huge lotion fanatic. You won't find me at a certain large bath products shop as scents make me nauseous and we're really trying hard to reduce product use in the home that contain parabens, sulfates and the like. SkinMD is definitely my kind of lotion, although it took me a while to really start to use it since it hasn't been habit.

This little bottle packs a lasting punch!

What I like best about the Shielding Lotion is how non-greasy it goes on. A little bit goes a long way and it absorbs readily without leaving you feeling like you might need to wash your hands to rid the residue. It also doesn't have a scent, which I greatly appreciate(as does my husband). Of course the big question is if it works- and I'm happy to say that under the most dire, roughed up, dried-out gardening hands, it truly does.

This is all I put on. Initially you can apply every 2-8 hours, then once or twice a day. I probably use it twice a day due to gardening. 

In the last week of gorgeous weather we've really put the Shielding Lotion to the test. One of the worst things I get from gardening without gloves(I know, I know, just can't stand wearing them!) are these prickly bits of skin that stick up on my fingers and grab on to anything with texture. Getting dressed can be pure torture!  However, after a couple applications of the lotion, the condition of my hands greatly improve. Even to the point I can pull on my cotton, sweater-knit top and not cringe!

There are other things I appreciate about the SkinMD Natural company. For one, they don't do any animal testing. They are also free of animal products and use 100% solar energy to manufacture their product. If only every company made such efforts.

SkinMD Natural has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and you can even request a sample to try before purchasing here! They have two formulas; the original and one with SPF 15. You can purchase on their website or use the store locator for a retailer near you.

Catch up with SkinMD Natural on facebook and twitter for the latest news and deals.


***I was sent a complimentary bottle of lotion in order to base my review; it in no way influenced my review and the words contained here are reflective of my honest opinion and experiences with the product.***

Menu Monday?

Menu Monday has been a disaster the last month. I kept trying, but any effort to stick to it has been outdone by work stress, morning sickness and family events. My usual healthy, frugal, home-cooked diet has been replaced with eating out and convenience foods. Don't get me wrong- I've discovered some very handy and healthy fast fixes(hello, creamy tomato soup in a box!) but it adds up quickly to a much higher grocery bill than what I'm accustomed. Truthfully, there are no plans to rectify this sad state of affairs until we get back from our 'vacation' to Arizona. So, barring any disasters or continued morning sickness, my goal is to resume Menu Monday with the usual gusto May 23rd. Possibly a trial run on the 16th, but don't hold your breath!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Many apologies for my lengthy absence, life kept tossing tomatoes quicker than I could catch them! Ok, not all tomatoes, some lemons which were made promptly into lemonade. But things have finally eased up a bit to the point I feel I can blog positively again! Skipping the tomatoes, let's do a quick picture recap of the things that have kept me happy the past few weeks:

Girly's birthday(s)
My sweet daughter had her 4th birthday mid-April. The much loved birthday girl pretty much had a whole month of birthday goings on! From a special mommy/daddy/daughter date to purchase our first fish(that debacle shall be saved for later blogging), to birthday parties with 3 sets of grandparents(all separately) and one tea party hosted by yours truly for her little friends, it was busy. Think, lots of balloons. Lots of missed naps. But lots of great times with family!

Easter
Easter pretty much ran like all of our other holidays; aka: 4 family dinners. Three of those crammed into one weekend! No, we don't do anything the easy way here. That's just how it rolls with a large, close family. While it all ends with the wish of one more day to recover, wouldn't change it if I could.

Gardening
We lucked out in the midwest with a week of great weather around the start of April. It was well timed as we had 4 fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries all delivered about that time. We worked hard to get everything in and were rewarded with just barely making it before the rains moved in. Lovely! Even managed to get the flower beds somewhat cleaned of debris and winter cover which I'm hoping equated to less chance of slugs. The last week of April was once again gorgeous, so we've been back at it mulching, tilling, planting, building raised beds, etc. There is still lots to do but I feel so much better now looking out at my tidy gardens.

Baby
I wasn't joking when I said we don't do anything the easy way here! To add to life(pun intended) we're expecting baby number 3. A bit of a surprise, but we are very excited. I'm about 13 weeks now and finally starting to feel something akin to human again. Technically this is my 4th pregnancy and I have to say, out of all of them this has been the hardest. The morning sickness has been difficult(may as well call it half of the day sickness) but the worst has been the exhaustion. Sheer, utter, indescribable exhaustion. Most likely exacerbated by stress from those tomatoes and lemons. But thankfully it's easing! Our due date is sometime November. My belly is definitely sticking out earlier than the others!

So that's about it. Minus the produce which you don't want to hear about. There's a lot to catch up on- I'll get there, bear with me! We have a mini vacation coming up next week but I'll be taking my trusty little netbook with me to blog our experiences. Twenty-four hour car trip one way with 2 kids and my in-laws? Check. First experience in Arizona? Check check. Copious amounts of delicious Mexican food? Check, check, double check! If nothing else, I'm sure you'll want to peek in to see what nuggets of wisdom were gleaned from the 24 hour, one way drive. Did I say 24 hours? Oh yes. Yes, I did.

Happy May Day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Trudie Davies Designs: April 2011 Giveaway

I have a little weakness for handmade jewelry. Trudie Davies Designs has some really beautiful pieces. And since this month is her birthday, she's giving away a gorgeous stacking ring set! Go and enter it now!

Trudie Davies Designs: April 2011 Giveaway: "Well It is my birthday this month and I have not done a giveaway on my blog for a while - so here it is April 2011's giveaway: I reckon it..."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Sleeping Puppets

Modest, Sleeping Puppets

This is how my almost 4 yr old put her Prince and Princess puppets to sleep the other day. Can't remember if I'd posted on our first boyfriend experience. But that's where this came from! Her little crush spent the day with us a couple of Fridays ago and they were in heaven playing The Prince Rescues the Princess! Cape, dress and all. It was hilarious. She even asked me if they could kiss. Which I was definitely not ready for(at least she asked??). Mom's quick thinking said hugging is better. *wink* Ah, young love!

So much for Wordless Wednesday... haha.

Baked Falafel recipe

My friend Heather told me about her Baked Falafel recipe post when I was looking for a new version to try. So we put it to the test a couple of weeks ago. It was really delicious and so easy! Stuff a couple in a pita pocket with whatever extras you enjoy and you've got a healthy meal. My kids all did great with them, too.

Check out her post: Baked Falafel for the recipe.

And I used this Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing recipe to go with. Yum!


Of course now I'm having a bad case of Mommy Brain, but I really don't think I strayed too far from the original recipes. Might have added a lightly beaten egg white or two to help it all stick together! Man, now I'm hungry after looking at these pictures. Yum yum!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Diaper, Diaper, Who's Got the Diaper?

Did you ever play that game as a kid? Button, button, who's got the button? That was one of my favorites! Of course now I look back and think, really, not exactly an exciting game to play with just two or three people. But still! Loved it. Along with Skinamarinky Dinky Dink and Heads Down, Thumbs Up!

This evening, however, I pay homage to another love- my cloth diapers. Three in particular. 

Green Acre Designs pocket. Bought used for 6.50. In rotation for 1 year.


Green Acre Designs pocket #2. Bought used for 6.50. In rotation for 1 year.



Patchwork Pixie fitted. Bought used for 10.00. In rotation for my daughter and son!



While I'm not sure an approximate number of use for the Patchwork Pixie fitted, I can estimate the GAD pockets to have been somewhere around 200 times each. They weren't pretty when I got them! But they sure paid for themselves and then some(5 times over, to be exact). With a simple prefold insert, these puppies were an awesome workhorse diaper. It was painful but I finally sent the GADs on to the Great Cloth Diaper Heaven in the sky. The PWP I can't let go of, yet- rather silly but sentimental in that it was used on both of my babies.

Just had to share! We usually only see pictures of super cute, super new diapers. This is what those diapers look like when they've been loved, loved and loved some more. There's no shame in holey dipes! Only love, respect and gratitude. Wear 'em out, mamas!
 
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