Monday, February 27, 2012


I have to share this recipe because I'm always on the look-out for a good rice recipe and since I found one, I feel it's greedy to keep it to myself. I found it in Vegetarian Times (Jan/Feb 2012). It's called Pineapple Fried Rice. Here are the ingredients:
2 1/4 C vegetable broth, divided
1 C long-grain brown rice
1 1/4 C diced FRESH pineapple, divided
1 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (this will give the rice a lot of heat. I would suggest using 1/4 or less.)
2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
1/2 C diced yellow onion
2 TBSP minced garlic
1 small carrot, finely diced
1/2 C finely diced red bell pepper
5 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Bring 2 C broth and rice to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
2. Blend 1/2 C pineapple, remaining 1/4 C broth, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in blender until smooth. Set aside
3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add carrot and bell pepper, and saute 3 minutes more. Add remaining 3/4 cup diced pineapple and cook 3 minutes more. Add cooked rice to skillet, and cook 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add blended pineapple mixture and cook 3 minutes more or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in green onions and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

The recipe also suggests adding 1/2 C peas and/or sliced shiitake mushrooms. I also thought diced tofu would be good, to make it into a meal. As I mentioned above, I thought the 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes made it a little too spicy. My kids couldn't eat it with that much heat. I could, but would have preferred a little less, but my husband liked it. He's also eaten the Atomic wings at Quaker Steak, so take that into consideration! You also REALLY need to use a fresh pineapple. I found that I could buy a whole pineapple for the same price I could get fresh diced pineapple. I got a whole lot more pineapple for my money with the whole. It's really easy to slice, it even gives directions on a tag that's attached to the stem. You just hack off the top and bottom, cut it in fourths, slice out the core, slice off the rind and then dice. It's really pretty fast and easy. And it's SO GOOD! I always forget how good fresh pineapple is until I try it. My oldest couldn't stay out of the kitchen, before or after dinner, because he keep needing just a few more pieces of pineapple.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Dream

A few nights ago I had a bizzare dream. I tend to analyze dreams, but this one kind of had me puzzled. In my dream, Children's Services came to my house. The conversation kind of went like the time the dog warden came over, a little chit-chat, do you know why I'm here, then you're dogs are barking a lot (OK, we were on vacation during the time in question so I'm not really sure what happened, but I have a feeling the neighbors were provoking them again.) Anyway, in my dream it wasn't that my children were barking, it was that I've been feeding them organic food. Since it was a dream, I was quick on my feet and could actually have a come-back, which I don't really remember what it was now, something about statistics that I would only be able to recall in a dream, for some reason that stuff seems to get buried when I'm awake. I then woke up, but I was, and still am, really confused. Why would I dream that people were concerned about my kid's eating habits? I'm doing to guess it's about my guilt that my kids aren't eating as well as they could be. At Build A Bear this weekend, the bear-stuffer asked my daughter what her favorite food was, answer, Kale. I don't think the bear-stuffer knew what kale was, but I felt bad because it's been a long time since I've given her her baked kale. I've been slacking on my morning smoothies that I used to do for the kids too. I think my dream was actually a wake-up call. I need to pull myself together and take care of the three kids I have now, even though the fourth one is making it really hard to have the energy to cook like I should. So right now I'm going to make my grocery list for the week. I'm going to be sure to plan for lunches and snacks so that I have healthy, fun options for them.

Have I mentioned the nibble tray before? My daughter mentioned it the other day and I had forgotten how great they are! They're an ice cube tray (I use the baby food Beaba container) filled with healthy snacks that the kids can have access to throughout the day. It's intended for toddlers, who naturally graze, but my preschool loves it too. I put in nuts, small crackers, "egg boats" sliced veggies, one container can be dip, my little man LOVES hummus, raisins or other dried fruit, dry cereal, anything you can think of that will fit. It's a great way to have the food at-the-ready when little tummies are hungry.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day!

I love President's Day! It's like a little vacation right in the middle of February, when it's cold and gross and I always seem to need a day off. So today I didn't have to get anyone on the bus, I didn't have to drive anyone to school. I just have to spend the day with my kids. I got an email from my son's school, it's a weekly newsletter, and it said, "Quality time = Love". Which made me rethink my plans to just hang out at home today.

I've decided to take them to the William McKinley Museum and Monument. I know this sounds holiday related, but it's not. We're members so it's kind of a free trip for us. It's only about 10 minutes from our house, kind of educational, and the kids love it. Since we're members, I don't feel bad about having it turn into a 30 minute visit either. So this morning, I'm working hard to get all my mom-job stuff done (laundry, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, all the fun stuff!) so we can enjoy our afternoon off!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Here Already!

Today, the weather if what we in Ohio consider beautiful in February. It's still nasty and swampy outside, but looking out the window, it's sunny and pleasantly breezy and walking down the the end of the driveway to the mailbox doesn't require 30 minutes to warm back up. My kid feel it too. They both insisted on wearing sandals to the BMV this afternoon, and since it's the BMV and the dress code is, "Crazy" I figured, why not?

So with the warm weather in the air today, I thought about my garden and thought I should check out my calendar because I vaguely remembered that February was grow time. AND IT IS!! Next week I'm supposed to start my bell peppers and tomatoes (we don't like tomatoes so we don't grow them) inside!

And now I'm in a panic! I don't have seeds, I don't have containers, and most importantly, I'm not sure WHERE indoors I'm going to keep my seedlings!!! SproutRobot to the rescue!!! I just clicked on the instructions link and it told me everything I need to know to get started! It says your sunniest window, which, luckily I have a decent window ledge there so I should be able to put lots of containers on it. Now all I need are the seeds and the containers. Umm, tomorrow is my birthday. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF SOMEONE BOUGHT ME A GIFT OF A SMALL OR FAMILY GARDEN. Just a hint. But at least I can start planning now for what I'm doing to do in April (that's when sproutrobot says I need to get stuff in the ground.) So bell peppers, ready or not, here I come! (I actually had a lot of success with this guys last year! I think they were actually the most successful and favorite of my garden plants!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gender Stereotypes

This post isn't really about being green, but I thought it was interesting so I'm blogging about it anyway. I take my youngest to gymnastics on Wednesday mornings. It's for kids ages 24 mos to three years and a parent/caregiver. It's a great program, they always have a theme and they do a little circle time, then an obstacle course, then free play in the pit of giant foam blocks, the tumble trak (trampoline), rings, bars, beam, you get it...they use the gymnastics equipment. There are probably more boys in there than girls, I'd say there are only about 6 or so kids in the class (they all don't come every week). There's the background.

Since it's at the gymnastic center, they're required to either wear socks or be in bare feet. The pit eats socks so you have to be in bare feet to go in the pit. And this is when I noticed something interesting...almost every single little boy, including mine, had his toenails painted! I've seen this other places as well, swimming, the block room, but I thought it was interesting how painted nails was the norm in here. I know how my son's nails got painted...he has a 5 year-old sister who LOVES makeup and is always painting her nails and he wants to have his painted too. And why wouldn't he? He doesn't get that it's something that only girls do...she's playing with paint and he wants in on it! One week the teacher made some comment about one of the little boy's nails and his dad happened to be there. He said Mom was painting her nails and he wanted his done too. "But you just LOVE that!" she said, and he just shrugged. I thought that was great.

I read an article about boys and pink in a magazine awhile ago and I thought it was really interesting. My son loves pink too, because every his sister has is pink and whatever she has he wants too. Plus, pink means strawberry (as in frosting) and who doesn't love strawberry frosting!? They were saying that there are LOTS of little boys who like pink and they should accept and market never see pink tees for boys (and this article said they should have trucks on them!)

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Update on Cloth Diapers

tI've recently had a few people ask me about cloth diapering and I've just sent them to my blog link I did when I first started blogging. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place, because I was tired of typing and retyping my "cloth diaper story". I hadn't read it in awhile and I wanted to make sure it was still a good reflection of how I use cloth (I list the kinds of diapers I have and which I like the best).

I don't think I've clearly stated on here that I'm expecting another little one in August, so that's that official announcement. Having said that, I'm looking into cloth again. My diapers served me very well for the last two years and 5 months, but they're not going to make it through another baby. So I'm kind of back to where I started with #3, just with a TON more know-how. As I said in the last diaper post, I DO like the Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius (Fuzzi Bunz elastic in the legs when kaput a few months back, and I had to pull it out, but his little toddler legs don't really need it anyway.) and the Bum Genius velcro closures are pretty much all shot. I can still use the organic cotton prefolds, but I have to get the smaller size diaper cover and I'm not sure how well those will work with a little one, since I still have to fold the over with my toddler. So as I said, I'm back to where I started. I've been looking into the Gdiapers, but I'm still not sure how I feel about these. They're the ones that have a cloth insert that you can wash and reuse OR a disposable insert that can be composted, thrown away, or flushed. I thought this might be a good option for when others watch the little one but I think it also sounds messy and kind of a pain. I am interested in trying them though, so I think I'm going to either try the GDiapers or one of the other hybrids that she has at the Breastfeeding Center. I will again RAVE about the Breastfeeding Center in Massillon. I LOVE how I can go and actually SEE the products, where ryonline I just have the little picture and TONS of input from all kinds of people saying everything from it's the best product ever to it's a total waste of money.

So that's where I am right now with cloth. I have a load of diapers in the wash right now, and I'm very happy with what I have, so maybe I'll just get some more of those too. With the 4th kids...there's not a whole lot more planning so this is pretty much it for the next 5 months!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Health Tech Webinar

I was going to blog about the new webinar that Kiwi is offering, but I found this link to the last webinar that they did on "Health Tech: Home Gadgets to Help You Through Cold and Flu Season"
It's about "
ATMs, self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores, tablets, and cell phones: These technologies all make our lives easier and more convenient, but they can also spread viruses, bacteria, and other germs. This cold and flu season, make use of the technology that can potentially reduce your family’s exposure to viruses instead. Learn about the gadgets that’ll help make cold and flu season a little more endurable, for kids and adults alike." If you're interested in checking it out, it's pretty interesting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birthday Shopping

My birthday is next week. My mom is going to buy me a composter, but since she's not a veteran composter either, she's letting me pick out what kind I want. So needless to say, I'm going to be doing some research on various kinds of composters and try to find one that will best meet the needs of my family of (almost) 6. So I went to the only place I know to look, Lehman's. I typed "compost" into the search bar and found a whole bunch of composting toilets...not really what Mom or I had in mind, so I tried looking under gardening, then composting...that was much better. It looks like I have about 3 choices from them. The thing about composting is that it needs to be turned, so two of them are drums that can be tumbled. The third is composted by worms, which for some reason really appeals to me, but doesn't seem like it will do the work I need it to, although it does say you can compost junk mail, cardboard and newspaper. I don't know, maybe the other ones compost the same things. I'm still too clueless. I think the most helpful thing I found was all the books that also popped up when I looked under the gardening compost (again, still not ready to make the jump to the composting toilet...which makes me think about that zero waste family...what do they do with their toilet paper tubes??). I'll have to look and see if any of these books are in at our library and read through them to make the best choice. I know that I want my composter to work fast (one says it will compost in weeks, not months) and that I want it to be easy to use. I have a lot of kitchen waste and we also have quite a bit of yard waste, so I'd like it to be able to hold a of the ones I looked at is for hobby gardeners (me) and only will hold a small amount. Not sure if that's REALLY what I want or not. So I guess I'll be taking a trip to the library to do some more research. If I can get this composting thing to work for me, I'm excited to see how different my garden is this year.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Public Toilet Seats

I was talking to some moms the other day and the topic of public toilets came up. We were talking about putting down toilet paper, but toilet seat covers for kids, that are extra big so they cover what kids touch when they're holding on and one mom even told me about some toilets that she's seen in airports that have an automatic toilet seat cover that refreshes after each user. I found this all interesting. I was raised to put toilet paper on the seat before I sit on it. I was taught to always flush with my foot. I was even taught to use a paper towel to turn on and off the sink and open the door with my elbow (hook your arm through the loop. My mother didn't actually teach me how to turn a door knob with my elbow!) So as an adult, I only still do a few of these things. Covering the toilet seat is NOT one of them. As I've grown up, I've read NUMEROUS articles and seen many programs and facts about the "dirtiness" of toilet seats. They're not that bad. There are germs everywhere or course, but surprisingly, toilet seats aren't really as germy as you'd think. So I did a little research online today just to back up my thinking and (my husband won't be surprised by this..) I'm right! I didnt' find one article that talked about the hazards of toilet seats. NOW, that said, there are hazards in public bathrooms, but the seat is actually one of the cleaner places. The flusher is pretty gross as are the sink handles. Think about the process...what actually touches the toilet seat is actually a pretty clean part of's covered up almost all the time. Now your hands on the other hand...they're pretty germy. Whatever yours or other's hands touch in the bathroom is where the REAL germs lurk. SO, I'm going to continue my routine of sitting flushing with my foot and using a paper towel, or my covered arm, to turn on and off the faucet (one study I read said that the faucet is 400 times dirtier than the toilet seat!). Also, randomly, I found an article comparing the cleanliness of public toilet seats to "chip and pin pads" (I know, I was lots too, another British term we don't use...they mean ATM machines!) You'll never guess which came out dirtier...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Groundhog Day!!

Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and it looks like 6 more weeks of winter. The good news is that I'm SURE this site I'm going to share with you today adjusts for this VERY scientific weather prediction! My mom found it for me (thanks Mom!) passed it along. It's called SproutRobot and it helps those of use that aren't farmers (or are just starting with our gardens) know when to get things going. You type in your zip code and it tells you when to start planing which crops and when to start them indoors. It will even send you seeds! (For a fee of course!). It's free to sign up and I was surprised how early we can start to plant! I think I started most of my seeds last year around May, but this is telling me the beginning of April. I'll have to look into buying some of their seeds...I could use all the help I can get, especially since this year bending down to plant and weed all summer is going to be a little more difficult than it was last year!