Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lunch Is Served!

I now have two children eating lunch at school.  This is proving to be a bigger challenge than I had expected. First, we have issues with buying.  For some reason both of the kids are FASCINATED with buy food from the cafeteria.  Caden has an obsession with buying breakfast at school, even though he's just eaten at home.  Our school also offers, "healthy snacks" at lunch time, for an additional fee--also a favorite of Caden's.  With a lunch account it's hard for me to control when my kids buy.  They simply type in their pin and they get the food.  They don't seem to understand that there's money involved in that.  So I've made the rule that they are each allowed to buy once a week.  (Oddly, this is the opposite of the rule I had in school.) 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Safer Infant Formulas

I know the majority of you aren't affected by the safety of infant formulas--especially if you don't have a little person in your house drinking the stuff.  Honestly, I'm not either, since I don't use formula or bottles, but when I was checking out EWG's webpage, anxiously awaiting the release of their Household Cleanser Database (not out yet.) I found an article about Infant Formulas and Bottles.  I thought that even though it's not relevant to most of us, for those that DO use infant formulas and bottles, it's important information to know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Diaper Rash

My poor little Olivia has managed to get diaper rash already!  It doesn't seem to bother her too much, but it REALLY bothers me.  So for the last few days I've been hyper-vigilant about diaper changes and applying diaper rash cream.  Everything I read says the best thing to do is to leave the diaper off and let the air get to the rash, so for the last few nights I've been sitting with her with a cloth pre-fold in case she decides to go, which she did, frequently.  When I got tired of being pooped on, I decided to slather on the diaper rash cream.  As a mother of 4 I have to say that the BEST thing I have found for diaper rash, isn't a diaper rash cream at all.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Sounds of Silence

Shhh!  Can you hear that?  The fighting, crying, yelling at the Wii, doors slamming, thud of feet jumping of the couch, crash of God-Knows-What?  Can you hear it?  Neither can I!  The big kids are back in school!  I have a sleeping newborn and an almost-three-year-old playing quietly with his "guys" (action figures).   As quite as this house gets!
Yesterday was Caden's first day and today they both went, since Ellie's kindergarten does a stagger start with half of the alphabet going the first day, half the second, then the whole class on the third.  I managed to get up on time, get everyone dressed, fed and pictures taken before we even HEARD the bus!  I'm SO ahead of where I was at the end of last year! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wash Your Hands For Dinner!

"I just did."
"When I got home."
"That was 3 hours ago and you were just playing outside.  Go wash your hands."
(Child returns.)
"Did you use soap?"

This is a daily conversation I have with all three of my kids that are able to wash their own hands.  (Olivia isn't touching anything that contains germs that aren't hers.)  I'm not sure what the aversion is to handwashing, we have fun foaming soap, you get to play in water and climb on a stool, but I'm continaully getting, "Why?" when I ask the kids to wash their hands.  So here's why:

According to the CDC, hand-washing is the most effective way to prevent to spread of illness in most settings--and it's EASY!  I taught my kids to sing the ABC song when they wash their hands to make sure they're scrubbing for a long enough time.  The CDC says:

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.
 Then there's the argument about antibacterial soap.  The Minnesota Department of Health says, "Antibacterial soaps are no more effective than plain soap and water for killing disease-causing germs outside of healthcare settings. There is no evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective than plain soap for preventing infection under most circumstances in the home or in public places.  Therefore, plain soap is recommended in public, non-healthcare settings and in the home."

I've always heard that using antibacterial soaps causes superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, but this study says that's not proven, but there is evidence to support this theory.   I personally try not to use antibacterial soaps, just to be on the safe side. 

So I'm going to continue to wage the war on handwashing in my house and answer the question, "Why?" At least now I have a newborn I can blame, "We need to have clean hands to touch Olivia so she doesn't get sick."  I wonder how long that will work.... 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quick Mexican-Style Dinner

Last night I pulled a dinner together WAY fast, using mostly what I already had in my freezer.  We had Chicken-Chipotle Soup and Beans and Rice Casserole. The soup recipe is from my trusty Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook and the casserole is from The Vegetarian Mother's cookbook. 
Bring one can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes and one can chicken broth to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Put a hand-full of roasted chicken, chopped avocado and Monetary Jack shredded cheese in a bowl, ladle the broth over and garnish with crushed tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Beans and Rice Casserole:
Mix 1.5C cooked brown rice, 2C black beans, 1C fresh or frozen corn, 1/4 C salsa and salt and pepper to taste and put in an oiled casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake, covered, for 20 minutes or until warmed. 

Super fast meal, which can be made with all organic ingredients--and I found that simply allowing the kids to add tortilla chips to the soup made them WAY more eager to try it! 

Just a idea for a quick meal on a busy school night---because it's that time of year again! 
Back to School 2011.  This year I'm putting TWO on the bus!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

On My Soapbox Again (pun intended)

Yesterday Evan sent me an upsetting article about Johnson & Johnson products.  The brand of baby wash and lotion that was used and sent home with me from the hospital.  The products that, to me, have always been "The Scent" of baby.  They always seemed like an established brand that I could trust.  (Disclaimer, I don't actually use J &J products on my kids.  I found part this research a long time ago and haven't used it with my last two infants.)  So what's the article about, you ask?  It's titled, "J&J to Remove Harsh Chemicals From Baby Products." 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kale?!?- It's What's For Dinner!

 When I was looking for information on organic cotton for my blog a few days ago, I noticed this article on  The title was eye-catching, so I thought I'd check it out.  As you probably know, I'm a huge Kale fan, had it for dinner last night in fact.  Vince was "helping" me write this blog and when he saw the picture he said, "That's Kale!".  He is also a kale fan, despite the catastrophic trip to Lowe's last night to try to find kale seeds to plant for our fall harvest.  (Lowe's does not have kale seeds, but they DO have Cheetos and aisles that are fun to run up and down and echo.  I apologize is you were shopping at Lowe's last night on The Strip.)  So here it is, 7 reasons why Kale is the new (actually not new at all) beef.

 7 Reasons Why Kale Is the New Beef

Written by Jill Ettinger   
Dinosaur Kale
Like the saying goes, the only constant is change. We may resist it all we want, but Time and its inevitable evolution of everything in its path is unaffected by our attempts to stop it. The resulting trajectory of humanity's nascent ascent appears to be positioning itself to sweep us into progressive new times, especially where our food choices are concerned, as nearly 7 billion people are now standing on the little scraps of land that we share with some 55 billion rather large animals raised for food each year. (As another famous saying goes: This town ain't big enough for the both of us.) So, beef (and all factory-farmed meat) may be going from rib-eye to relic as we transition to a greener world… literally—as in leafy, green vegetables.
Environmentalists cite meat production as one of the biggest contributors to global warming, and the USDA's new food pyramid (MyPlate) suggests the healthiest choice is making vegetables and fruit the biggest part of every meal by reducing consumption of animal proteins. Kale is far more nutritious than other leafy greens, but these seven reasons why it is such an important future food may just surprise you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm a Farmer!

I finally got outside to weed since Olivia's been born.  Not as bad as I was expecting!  I got all the beds done first (special thanks to Nana for weeding the thistle patch down by the pines!) then I started in on my garden.  I really felt like I was leaving the best for last.  It's funny, because just a few years ago, I was talking to another mom about gardening.  She was saying how much she loved it, and I said I hated it.  Which I guess makes sense because gardening to me used to mean fighting a never-ending battle with overgrown beds.  My garden is so different!  I don't mind weeding the garden and I love to check and see how things are doing.  Things, as it turned out, were doing VERY well!  I pulled out the strawberry plants before Olivia was born, to make room for the  kale I'm going to plant.  This weekend I pulled out the lettuce, because I was bad about harvesting and it all bolted and was getting tough, as well as trimming back some of the vining plants that were escaping the garden into the yard and patio.  Then I harvested.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Organic Cotton

It's back to school time!  Today on the schedule is back to school clothes shopping (also cleaning the rat cage, the bathroom, the floor and laundry, but those aren't as interesting to blog about!).  I have 4 kids so I can't just go to the mall and browse.  It creates chaos.  So I research before I go.  I look online, make sure I know what clothes my kids have, how many of each item they'll need, note sizes that fit and that don't, anything that will help me get in and out of the store with as little drama as possible (a few years ago Caden found a backpack at the Gap that he liked, put it on, then decided to go out to the middle of the mall to the vending machines to get a gumball...alarms sounded everyone looked...drama.) So as I was shopping online I noticed that Gap now has an organic collection, which I think is great!  I try to buy organic cotton items for my kids whenever possible, but sadly, that's not very often.  You're probably thinking, "I don't EAT the cotton.  Why would I buy organic clothes?"  The answer is, cotton is know as the dirtiest crop. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Harvest

Last night we feasted on our first cantaloup from our garden!  The kids were so excited to watch it grow and when they saw me with it in the kitchen, "Is that OURS from OUR garden?!?!", they could hardly believe that we had grown it.  THIS is what I love about the garden!  This is why I felt it was important for my kids to be a part of planning, watering (which always resulted in a change of clothes and tears), watching and harvesting.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More about The Honest Company

I blogged a few weeks ago about The Honest Company, which sells it's own brand of home and personal health products, as well as diapers and wipes.  I was SO excited to try their Bundle Package and the other day it finally arrived!  I was super disappointed.  It was my own fault.  I was expecting 5 full sized products, when in reality, all I got was 5 sample sized products.  I went back and looked at the information on the website, and it DOES say "trial" and "sample" but for some reason I was thinking that they would be full-sized.  I was already kind of disappointed in how long it took to get here and then when the day finally arrived and I got this tiny package...anyway, about the products. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

EWG's Newest Database!!!!!

I had a blog entry all planned out for today and when I sat down to check my email and found THIS, I couldn't wait to blog about it!  The Environmental Working Group is going to launch an new database this fall, similar to the one they have about cosmetics and sunscreens, but this will be for cleaners!!!!  I've been looking for something like this!  FINALLY I'll be able to compare my household cleaners and see how they measure up, toxically speaking.  There are SO many toxic chemicals in cleaning products that are so much worse than those in personal care products, that I think this data base is so important to use. 

Although the database isn't active yet, there is a preview.  It's a Database Hall of Shame, similar to the one that they did for the sunscreen database.  They've divided it up into different categories, one of which is Greenwashing, which lists the worst offenders of products that claim to be green. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olivia Ann Has Arrived!

She's here!  Olivia Ann was born at 5:30 pm on August 2nd.  She weighed 7lbs 3 oz and was 20 inches long.  She's doing well and is not still strapped into the car seat, despite what the picture may lead you to believe.  (We have a picture of each kid in the car seat as soon as they get's our family tradition.)