Monday, April 30, 2012

Way to go Pottery Barn!

I was browsing through Pottery Barn Kids online yesterday, just looking and dreaming.  I would LOVE to have just one room look like something out of there, but I don't have the architecture.  Have you noticed how the rooms they start with are amazing to begin with?!?!  ANYWAY, I clicked on "Tabletop and Feeding"  since I was interested to see what Pottery Barn Kids had in the way of feeding, and I found something AWESOME!  It's a kid-sized MyPlate!  They also make a placemat that even has the circle for milk, like MyPlate does!  I LOVE this!  I think it's great that this "diet" is becoming so popular and I also love that it's kid-sized for kid-size portions.  As adults, it's hard for us to realize what a kid-sized portion actually is.  I read a tablespoon for each year of life counts as a serving.  That's really not very much when you consider a preschooler or a toddler.  I try to keep to this, but it's not always practical (think soups).  It's just a good rule of thumb! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Mothering Shop

I know I've posted about Mothering Magazine before, but I got an email from the yesterday and it reminded me about some of the great resources they have.  They've since gone all digital (I'm still a little bitter I don't get my paper subscription every month!)  but they do have digital copies of a lot of their articles that you can download for around $2.50.  They have articles on cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vaccines and health, living green, toys, etc.  I've ordered a few of them and I've been pretty happy.  Just another green resource for you to check out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Luna Burger Update

Awhile ago I posted about the new and improved Raisin Rack and some of the new products they now carry, one of which was the Luna Burger.  I raved about them in theory, but I hadn't tried them yet.  Since I promised that I would, here's my official report:  They were GREAT!  My little guy really liked them too, and he's usually too bogged down by bun to enjoy burgers.  I got the classic and the BBQ flavors.  Of the two I had, I liked the BBQ best.  They were the consistency of home-made veggie burgers, not real dense and chewy like TVP-types you usually get at the store.  I bought another variety to try this week, Farmhouse Chili.  I'm excited to try them all!  Way to go Luna Burger! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bulking Up

I had my 6 month doctor's appointment yesterday.  Everything looks good with the little one, but the nurse practitioner said she was concerned about my weight gain.  As someone who is ALWAYS concerned about my weight gain, I wasn't surprised to hear this, but I WAS surprised to hear that she was concerned that I hadn't gained enough!  This has never been an issue for me in my past 3 pregnancies.  I think it's due to the fact that I found out so late that I was pregnant (10 weeks) and that their baseline weight for me is actually about 12 lbs heavier than I usually am.  I am not concerned about my weight gain.  I am 5 lbs lighter, at 6 1/2 mos than I was when I delivered my second.  As I told the nurse, if this "lack of weight gain" causes me to have a little smaller baby, I'm all for that!  After 8lbs 6oz, 9lbs, and 8lbs 14oz, I feel I'm owed a 7 pounder!  But her comment did raise some questions for me.  If I did want to gain weight, how would I do it?  Now I know we all know how I could gain weight, but I don't want to gain weight like Tom Hanks did for A League of Their Own (sadly, I've been mentally composing this post since yesterday and I couldn't come up with a more recent sad, I know!).  I want to gain healthy weight.  My husband suggested I hit the gym again like I did after my daughter was born.  It's kind of an inside joke.  We joined the YMCA and I took a class to learn how to use all the machines.  I HAD to use them for about 6 weeks and record how often and what I did.  I did some weight lifting, and because my arms are about the size of my toddler's thighs, the muscle I built was easy to see.  They said I had Madonna arms.  But other than putting on muscle weight, I was kind of stumped as to how, on a whole food, vegetarian diet, to gain weight.  That's kind of the beauty of that kind of diet, it's healthy for you and you don't need to worry so much about counting calories and fat and all that other junk that goes with diets.  So I've decided just to keep going as usual.  She said the kid's still growing on schedule and that's all I really care about!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Door To Door Organics

What are you doing to me, Google?!?!  Just when I get familiar with your OLD format, you change it up on me! Hope it's better on your end!

I got an email from my mom yesterday, which was a forward from her friend in Colorado.  It was about a company called Door To Door Organics.  At first I thought it might be a home-selling company specializing in organic products, but it's more basic than that.  It's organic food, delivered to your door.  Pretty cool, for some, not for me.  They must have something against Ohio, since they deliver in PA and MI.  Actually, I think it's great that they have limited delivery.  It keeps it local.  You can select what size box you want, with fruit or veggies or both, then the size, then frequency, weekly or biweekly.  The large box, which is what we would need, is $55, which seems like a lot, but when I total it up, that's probably about what I spend on fruits and veggies in a week, well, maybe not.  I did read that you get an email the Friday before your delivery telling you what's on the menu for the week.  You can make up to 5 substitutions per order, change the size of your order or put your order on hold.  I LIKE THAT!  Some places even have meat, eggs and bread available for delivery.  I really wish they had this in my area!  I SO hate going to the grocer store!  It's a pretty cool concept.  The FAQ pages has lots of interesting info.  about the company.  It seems really flexible, not alike a traditional CSA. 

Friday, April 20, 2012


It's that time of year again...short/skirt weather. I bough mostly black, capris and skirts so they'd be more versatile with my maternity wardrobe, not thinking that putting black up against my winter skin would truly make me look albino. I'm not big on tanning. I've had too many moles removed not to know about the dangers of the sun. I always wear a high spf sunscreen when I'm out in the sun. But to be honest (and here comes that vanity again!) I really like to look a little tan. Every year I tell myself that pale skin looks healthy. It means that I've protected it from the sun and it was WAY cool in Victorian's a vintage look. But then I look down at the contrast between my capris and my legs and all I can think is "zebra". So last night I thought I'd give my best friend, the Cosmetic Database quiz and see if I could find a decent sunless tanner. I really didn't think I'd find anything, since what could be more unnatural than getting a tan from something other than the sun, but to my surpise, there were a few products. Some were just bronzers, which isn't really what I'm looking for and some needed to be used with a sunless tanning machine(?? like a tanning bed???) but I did find some that are actual sunless tanning lotions. One is from Neutrogena-easy to find-and it only has a warning label of 4, which is higher than I'd like, but still in the middle range. You would think I would have learned my lesson with the hair color, but I think I might just give this product a try. SO, if you see me and notice that my skin is a weird shade of orange, please hold your tongue. I know vanity struck again and I've learned my lesson...until the next time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I totaled it up the other day. I have nursed kids for a combined total of over 4 years. 4 YEARS! That just really seemed like a lot to me. I've been pregnant for almost 3 cumulative years. That's 7 years of my life that my body hasn't been my own, that I've had to worry about what goes on it and into it because it affects the life of a little person. When I think about it that way, I feel like being the way that I am (my hippie-greenness) makes more sense. My brother-in-law is always giving me a hard time about the changes I make in our family's life and routines to make them healthier and greener. For obvious reasons, he's never had that same responsibility for another life like I have, times three and a half. It just made me have a little more perspective on those that are more critical of the choices I'm making for me and my family.

So back to what I was planning on blogging about! Last night I was doing my nightly routine and as I put Lansinoh on my lips, instead of a chapstick, I thought, "I need to tell more people about this product!" So here you go. Lansinoh makes a lot of products for babies, but my favorite, is their lanolin nipple cream. It's original purpose is to help nursing mom's with cracked nipples, and I have to say, it works really well for that. But I've found that it works WONDERS for everyone in my family. I used it when we ran into diaper rash with the babies (don't forget to use a barrier if you're using it with cloth. The oils will ruin your diapers by making them repel moisture.) I use it nightly to moisturize my lips, which quickly get dry and crack. I use it on my hands, which also get incredibly dry and cracked. I put it on an abrasion my daughter got the other day from jumping on our inflatable bouncer in the back yard. I've used it on my son's eczema. The list goes on. It's a great, all-purpose, natural product (it got a rating of 1 on the Cosmetic Database!) that I feel gets hidden because of it's designated purpose. Giant Eagle sells it, and I know Target does as well. It's easy to find and a tube last a LONG time (I'm still using the one I bought when my 2 1/2 year old was born!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Potty Training

I was sitting here, trying to think of the blog topic that I came up with today in line at the pharmacy (something about medications? Drive-Thrus? It's not coming back.) when a little voice beside me said, "Pee Coming!!!!" So I thought I'd blog about potty training. This is the third kid I've potty trained and I have to say, it's my least favorite part of parenting (except for severe illness, taking them to get shots and circumcision...but those are more for the feeling of helplessness while your child is in pain.) Just like everyone says, my daughter was easy. My oldest, true to form, was very difficult, and this little guy, so far, seems to be kind of in the middle. I won't go through the whole thing with you, who really wants to hear about someone else's kid's bathroom habits?, but I will look at it from a green standpoint. I was at my favorite baby store, The Breastfeeding Center, the other day and I saw some cloth training pants. They were $17 each and I didn't really want to invest in that because I know from experience that you can go through 3-4 training pants in just a few hours some days. PLUS this kid only wants to wear boxer briefs, like dad and brother. So THAT makes it a little more difficult. He's still at the point where he needs help so the diapers are working ok for us still, but soon he'll need something he can get on and off by himself, but that will protect from accidents better than (and I have to say, SUPER CUTE) the boxer briefs. So I hate to say it, but I'm going to start looking into disposable pull-ups. I'm hoping I can get away with just buying one bag, like I did with my daughter. I still want to look for chlorine-free and as natural as I can find. So the search is on. I found that Seventh Generation makes a potty training pant. I've been happy with their diapers when I've needed to use disposables and I know they're easy to find in stores...a definite plus! I also found that Earth's Best also carries disposable training pants. I've been happy with that line in the past so I might give it a try too. The last brand I found was one I hadn't heard of before, Nature Babycare. I read a few reviews and people seem to like them. Their big claim seems to be that they use very little oil-based plastics. I'll have to give them all a try and see which one works best for us. HOPEFULLY I won't need to buy more than one pack!!!


I went to a Pampered Chef party last night. The hostess had a really nice, healthy meal for us, then the presentation, which included making dessert. (By the way, the main course was wraps. She used a Pampered Chef pan, but I have a similar one. She bought some of those Flat-Out flat breads then stuffed them with ham and cheese and roasted veggies, rolled them up and put them in a grill pan/press. I didn't really think about doing that, but what a great dinner that works for everyone in my family!) The part I'm blogging about was the dessert. First, let me mention that the Pampered Chef consultant was also a consultant for something else I've never heard of, but the way she explained it it was basically vitamins, supplements, protein shakes, that kind of thing. She also mentioned multiple times that her daughter was a dietician. Just background knowledge. ANYWAY, as she's making the dessert, a Strawberry Shortcake Trifle, she added strawberries, that prepackaged strawberry filling, pudding mix, sugar-free yogurt, store bought pound cake, almonds, and whipped topping. I assume it tasted good from everyone's reaction, but my cold is so bad I couldn't really taste anything. So here's the part that really got me. As she was serving the dessert, a woman who's daughter is a dietician and who sells supplements, she told us it was healthy because our hostess had used sugar-free yogurt. I bit my tongue. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! That's WAY worse for you!! I was so surprised to hear from someone that I THOUGHT would have known better that this dessert was healthy. I know the goal of this was to show off the products, not create a healthy dessert, my point is that after all we hear and see, people are still so confused as to what IS good for you. She was talking about low glycemic index and blah blah blah, it's so sad that it's so hard to actually figure out what you should be eating. Gluten-Free, vegan, raw dairy, soy, low carb, low fat, sugar free, the "superfoods"...everyone seems to have THE answer. I think we can all agree that the trifle was unhealthy (but it's dessert, it's SUPPOSED to be a little bad for you...otherwise we just call it a side dish!) but after that... I guess I'll just stick to my great new dinner idea of making stuff-you-own-wraps, keep reading as much as I can, and complaining about it all on here!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The New and Improved Raisin Rack

Somehow I've shifted my grocery shopping day to the weekend. I hate shopping on the weekend because that's when EVERYONE shops and it's a madhouse. However, if I shop during the week I have to take my kids with me...this is also a madhouse. I find the weekends to be a lesser of two evils. So Sunday I went to my favorite natural food market (primarily because it's 5 minutes up the street from me), The Raisin Rack. They have been in the process of expanding for what seems like forever and today, they look like they're almost done. They've opened the new addition and have a much bigger selection of products and room to add even more. I was glad I was alone because it took me awhile to figure out where everything had moved, but I like the new lay-out. I'm excited to try the new items they have and will be getting. (My daughter loves crescent rolls and they had a spot on a shelf marked "organic crescent rolls") My big buy was veggie burgers. I usually get Amy's and now they have an even bigger selection, but then I saw some locally (Columbus) made veggie burgers. They say they're made with local ingredients as well! I'm SUPER excited to try them out! They're called Luna Burgers. If you go to their website, they actually list the local farm (including their website if available) where they get each ingredient! This, to me, is the definition of sustainability. These burgers are a little more expensive than Amy's, but to me, it's worth it because I know my money is staying in Ohio, I'm supporting local growers and I'm eating all natural ingredients...HFCS and textured soy protein are NOT in this ingredient list! So now the last big test is how they taste, which I guess, is really the biggest factor as to whether I'll continue to buy these burgers or not. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Soothing Mint Soup

I had a different blog post all prepared in my head that I've been mentally writing for the last few days, but then the weather turned so gross, and I had such a delightful lunch (isn't that such a fun literary term!?!? People in books are always having "delightful lunches".) that I decided to go with this recipe from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook by Cathe Olson. I made it last night for dinner and then I was actually looking forward to having the leftovers today for lunch. It's SO fast to make, and it honestly is pretty soothing.
4C vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP peeled and MINCED fresh ginger (I didn't mince mine thoroughly enough and was eating big hunks of ginger...not so soothing!)
1 cinnamon stick
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1C peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 C tightly packed fresh peppermint leaves, chopped (I can't find peppermint so I just used the spearmint that's in my garden. I made a soup from this book earlier in the week and it called for mint also, but it was too strong so for this recipe, I just loosely packed a scant 1/2 cup with the chopped leaves.)
2 tsp soy sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 TBSP water.

In medium pan, heat stick, garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick over medium heat until it reaches a boil, then stir in the green onions, peas, mint and soy sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour in egg mixture in a thin stream around the outside of the pan and stir so the egg forms thing streamers (like egg drop soup). Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick and enjoy this DELIGHTFUL dinner or lunch!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Tomorrow I wrote on the calendar that we need to dye eggs. Every year I forget and the day before Easter I'm trying to quickly boil and color. This year I'm planning ahead--and buying white eggs! Last year I forgot that all my organic eggs are brown...dying brown eggs doesn't work well at all. (I also got a tip from a friend that Eggland's Best eggs have a stamp on each egg--I'll remember not to get those!) So I was thinking about how to color eggs naturally, and I'm sure there's some kind of natural Easter Egg dye out there that you can buy prepackages, but I was looking for a way to actually not use chemicals to color my eggs. I found it, but I'm not doing it. It's DOES look like it might be fun, but I don't have the time or the resources to do it this year. For example, for pink you use beets--which makes sense, but you need 4 cups of diced beets. If I have 4 cups of beets, I'm going to eat them, not waste them on coloring eggs that will probably get thrown away anyway. I'll link the info anyway, so you can check it out, but it's not for me. Not this year anyway. This year I'm going to green our Easter by not dying a ton of eggs, because, like I said, they don't really get eaten in our house. I'm also going to tone down the basket. No junk toys this year and not much candy. I don't really have anything yet (tonight is my Target trip while my daughter is at dance) but I know I'm going to get a "good" small toy for each of them, a few pieces of candy and as few other things as possible to fill the basket. They're still young enough not to really care about WHAT they get. It's still about the magic of the Easter bunny and hunting for a treasure. (That's our secular Easter--I know neither of those things is REALLY what Easter is about, but my kids don't and and I'm fine with that!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Play Date

Ever once in awhile I feel GOOD about what I'm doing! It's not very often. Mostly I'm reading something that's telling me how WONDERFUL everyone else is doing and how much I need to improve, but last week I had a small victory.
My son had a friend over during spring break. At lunch time I prepared my usual lunch for my kids when they're home. It's basically MyPlate-a fruit, a vegetable, a protein and a grain. I chose peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the grain and the protein (homemade wheat bread, organic pb and j.) I had a few choices for fruit, grapes, apple, banana, or kiwi. I called our guest in to choose his fruit, and he told me, "I don't eat any of that salad stuff for lunch." I was shocked. "OK," I said. "So do you want grapes, apple, banana or kiwi?" He REFUSED to pick a fruit. I buy all organic fruits and veggies so there was no way in hell I was going to give him a piece our precious organic knowing full well it was going right in the trash! So I gave up trying with the fruit and offered a few veggie choices then let it go. So what did I learn? At least my kids are getting their 5 a day (we watch a lot of PBS). I know that there's MORE I can do, but looking at that child and his eating habits, I at least know that I'm my kids the advantage of a healthy diet at an early age.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I warned you yesterday that I was going to talk A LOT about Kiwi Magazine's new edition and so it continues today. I LOVED the article about green spring cleaning! (I linked the Mom's Meet shortened article.) It goes through each room in the house and talks about how to clean it, greenly. There are also some DIY green cleaner recipes at the back (mostly just baking soda and vinegar!) (All Purpose Cleaner: 2 tsp borax, 1/4 C white vinegar, 4C hot water, 1/2 tsp lemon oil for antibacterial. 2 drops pine oil to disinfect and deodorize, and 2 drops of dish soap. Mix and spray!)

I was SUPER excited about what I THOUGHT was yet another database, like the cosmetic database. Sadly, it's not. It's through Whole Foods, and it's just a Eco-Scale rating system that rates the products that they carry. Like the Homeland Security Alert levels, they're color coded from red, orange, yellow and green. Method was listed as orange and yellow and the ones that were all green I had never heard of before...why don't WE get a Whole Foods around here?!? The good thing is that it DOES tell what ingredients to look out for in any cleaning product so you can compare what you have at home and see it's "threat level".

I do have to share one more thing from the article. Under "Bedroom" they talk about cleaning the mattress. If course you're supposed to wash all the linens (in hot water to kill dust mites) but to actually clean the mattress, you're supposed to drag it outside and beat it with a broom. As much fun as my kids would have with that, I don't think I'm going to be able to manage that just now. So the other options...have the kids jump on it to bring the dust to the surface then vacuum! Why didn't my mom read this when I was little?!?!

Monday, April 2, 2012

More on Soy...Ugggg!

I got my latest issue of Kiwi Magazine over the weekend and, as usual, I'm all excited about it! Almost every article had something I wanted to talk about in the blog, so I'll do my best to spread it out so this isn't just a Kiwi "Cliff Notes". The most interesting thing they had was an article on soy. After reading my latest book about how HORRIBLE soy was for you, this article says it also has some health benefits, which I think most people know. It did say that the isoflavonoids ARE estrogen mimics, but like other books and articles I've read, it said that in it's who form, organic and Non-GMO certified, it's not bad in moderation (25 grams a day). This makes more sense to me. I just had a hard time believing that soy was ALL bad. I know that drinking soy milk with a soy protein shake for breakfast and a soy-based hot dog for lunch and then "meat-free" soy burgers for dinner is probably not OK, but eating edemame every once in awhile and tofu and miso and soy just seems like if it were all THAT bad then most of Asia would be in trouble...and would have been for generations, not the reverse...running into health problems now that they've adopted a more western diet. SO, I feel better about eating tofu occasionally, and edemame is my kids FAVORITE veggie, so I feel like I'm probably OK giving them that on occasion, but I'm still not serving soy milk and watching packaged products that contain soy, since those are going to be the "bad" soy. We are going to be guzzling rice milk in our house since I accidentally bought a sale carton...that has an expiration date of April 3rd. If only I hadn't had one kid pushing the cart all over and the other one who's diaper leaked and had pee all down his leg, walking like a cowboy. Maybe THEN I could have paid better attention to expiration dates! I'm already checking labels for HFCS, soy, parabens, ahhh, the grocery store with young children!