Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Well today's the day!  October 31st!  Halloween, otherwise know as Kristin's birthday!  Happy Birthday KM!  How are you celebrating today?  Like me?  Doing the exact same thing as you always do, with the added fun of planning to take down the decorations tomorrow?!?  That's why I really hate having trick-or-treat on a Sunday.  It takes away from Halloween.  It's just another day now.  For the last few years we've carved pumpkins on Halloween night, but this year Ellie and Vince have swimming and Caden was supposed to have his first wrestling practice (Sandy moved it back).  There's just too much going on to really "celebrate" the day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


They said to prepare for 3 days without power.  They said to have one gallon of water, per person, per day (18 gallons for our family).  They cancelled school.  We braced ourselves for Sandy to hit Stark county.  And last night it hit.  Well, I wouldn't really say "hit".  "Bumped into" maybe?  We never lost power, thank God I didn't do the water thing (because THAT'S what you need in a flood--MORE water!) and now I have 4 kids at home, watching TV and fighting for a turn on the internet (I get first dibs!) and devouring Halloween candy every time I turn my back!  I know that no one really could predict how Sandy would hit Ohio.  It was hard to tell how it was going to make landfall, then how it would slow and move once it got to land.  Turns out it died down way faster than they thought before it hit my house.  Kind of like I thought it would, but then last night I got scared.  3 days without power? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I actually read the back of shampoo bottles.  It's because I'm a direction-follower.  I read the entire back, the little blurb about how great the product is, how to use it and of course, the ingredients (this is of course, a new addition.  I didn't always that last step.) Sometimes it's just the usual stuff, but sometimes, you get a special treat--like the bottle that for directions said, "Come on!  You know how to wash your hair!"  This also extends to hair care products, although this, I think, is a little more common.  I think most people read the back of a new kind of product--do I use this on wet hair, on dry hair, before or after I blowdry?  Anyway, I was reading the back of a new product I bought.  I decided to try to wear my hair curly again and I needed something to help hold the curl.  It was an impulse buy--I don't really have too many of those.   I didn't even research it on EWG's Cosmetic Database. (I'm trying, but it's been down for a few days.)  So I grabbed a Garnier Fructis Curl Shaping spray.  Of course I read the directons.  Then down at the bottom, I noticed a Green initiative I'd never heard of before "TerraCycle".  Of course I checked it out!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Recipe Friday: Creamy Parsnip Soup

It's Friday!  So here's your recipe!  It's from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, by Cathe Olson.  I love this soup because it's warm an comforting and slightly sweet, which of course I love!  The down side is I can't seem to find organic parsnips so that's the one ingredient that's not organic when I make this.  But, as I've said before, I'm doing the best I can!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


As I mentioned before, I just finished reading Happier At Home, by Gretchen Rubin.  It's a sequel to The Happiness Project that I read a few years ago, and also enjoyed.  It's actually the reason I started this blog.  One of the things she talks about in this book is the way people shop.  There are underbuyers, who always buy just enough of what they need and are always frustrated because they don't always have what the need when they need it and overbuyers, who buy too much and end up with lots of things they don't need.  I am an underbuyer.  An extreme underbuyer.  I'm so glad I've learned this about myself.  It's helping me to change.  I wear clothes with holes, I am constantly doing laundry so I don't run out of pants. (Perfect example, after Ellie was born and I lost a lot of weight, I owned one pair of pants.  Not one pair of good pants, one pair of pants.  Including pajama pants.  Underbuyer.) 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New

Today is our last day with our table, chairs, sofa and loveseat.  Tomorrow the new furniture arrives!! While I'm VERY excited to sit on furniture that doesn't sink down half a foot when you sit on it, have a faint dog odor (ok, let's be honest, it's not so faint) or doesn't have stains from I'd-rather-not-know-what, it's also a little sad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Adventures in Grocery Shopping!!

Today Vince, Olivia and I went grocery shopping.  I really hate to go grocery shopping.  Usually there's some kind of catastrophe involving one of my children, it takes way too long and I hate how much money I spend in an hour.  My new friend,, is helping decrease the amount of time I need to spend in the grocery store, but it's still a chore I do weekly.  Each week I plan a menu for the week.  I look at the calendar, plan around after-school activities (which days will I have a lot of prep time, which days require that there's little clean-up, etc) and draft a menu and corresponding grocery list.  Then I shop. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe Friday: Butternut Squash Coffee Cake

OK, apples are over.  Now we're moving into more fall, which to me, means squash.  I LOVE winter squash, which I didn't really learn until I was in my mid-twenties.  I wish I had realized this sooner, since winter squash is really healthy for you.  "This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese."  I love to eat winter squash, roasted and pureed, which, yes, is basically baby food, but it's SO good!  We (Ellie, Vince and I) like to add a little brown sugar and cinnamon or, Ellie's favorite, pumpkin pie spice.  This recipe takes the puree and "hides" it in a coffee cake.  It's from another one of my favorite cookbooks, Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Only 67 days left!!!

I was at a friend's house the other day for a playdate and she mentioned that there were only 72 days until Christmas.  I like to take my holidays one at a time.  I'm counting down the days until Halloween (13), then I'll count down until Thanksgiving, and THEN I worry about Christmas.  The thing is, EVERYONE is thinking about Christmas then so it's kind of hectic.  If I want to order gifts I need to do it early because the mail is slower, I have a million other holiday related events going on to worry I'm starting early this year.  (I still won't decorate until the day after Thanksgiving though!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Update Edition

I end a lot of my blogs with, "I'll let you know."  So this is the one where I do just that. I also promised pictures, so I'm adding those too. 

First, my apple pie.  I finally got my pie made this weekend.  It was one of the best-looking pies I've ever made, so I took a picture.  I used Jonagold apples from Arrowhead Orchards and I wasn't impressed.  Next pie I'm going to use a different kind of apple. 

Gopicnic taste test was a success yesterday!  Vince LOVED every last piece/drop of everything in his lunch.  He, like his mother, ate the dessert first (gummy airplanes) but he really liked the peanut butter on crackers.  It came in a tube so I could do a dot on each cracker, which for some reason, seemed "cooler" to him than spreading it on.  Even though it was expensive, I still think I'm going to grab another one to try at the store. 

My kale experiment is coming to a close.  I got them in too late, as expected.  (This just goes along with everything in my life!  I can't be on time for ANYTHING right now!)  I have cute little baby kale, which will be great to add to salads and I already used some in a recipe (egg salad), but we've had a few frosts, one I think I missed covering them, and I think they're done growing.  I'm still glad I did it.  I know now how easy it is to grow kale and how fast it grows, even in cooler weather so I'm DEFINITELY going to plant a lot next year. 
Curly kale

The Russian Red didn't grow as well

The willow isn't really something I ever promised to update on, but I was watching it sway in the fall breeze yesterday and it made me think of the post I did about the willow in the spring.  As I looked at it again, I realized it's yet again, showing me the changing seasons. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trip to the pumpkin patch

This Monday we finally made it to the pumpkin patch!  Every year we go to Kingsway Pumpkin Farm.  They have hayrides out to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin, animals to feed and pet, a barn with a cornbox (think sandbox filled with dried corn) and a hay bale maze.  There's also a giant corn maze, but we've never done it since the kids are still pretty small. I wanted to go last Monday, I even invited two mom-friends and their kids, but things didn't work out.   It's always so crazy there on the weekends and I thought a weekday would allow us to relax there a little more--and not wait in line for the hayride to the pumpkin field for half an hour. So since the big kids didn't have school again this Monday I thought we'd go.

Monday, October 15, 2012


While shopping the the natural food section of Giant Eagle yesterday (with zero kids, so I had time to actually LOOK at what was on the shelves!) I found an interesting prepackaged product called gopicnic.  They're natural, shelf-stable, prepackaged meals containing products from other natural brands.  They looked interesting and I was about to buy a few to send with the big kids for lunch, when I looked at the amount of food you get and the price ($4.99).  I then decided to buy one, try it with Vince and see how it goes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apple "Recipes"

Since it's Friday I owe you a recipe and since I've been yammering on about apples, I thought I'd stick with the theme.  However, be warned, these aren't REAL recipes.  They're actually just ideas for using apples.  I think we can all agree that the healthiest way to eat an apple is to buy an organic one, wash it well and eat it.  However, that can get a little boring, so I'm giving a few suggestions of other ways to eat apples.  One of the things I like best about Cathe Olson's book The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, is that some of her recipes aren't really recipes, they're just this-ideas for throwing food together.  So here are my two apple ideas for today. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breastfeeding Center and Cloth Diapers

Last week, my mother-in-law (a.k.a. Meema) and I went to The Breastfeeding Center to get some more cloth diapers for Miss Olivia.  They were Meema's gift to baby Olivia since, being the 4th, she pretty much had everything else.  I used cloth with Vince since he was a newborn until he potty-trained and I'm planning on doing the same with Liv.  Because I used the diapers SO MUCH with Vincer, some of them had to be retired, so I was in need of a few more so they'd last for more than a day.  I was expecting to just get a few more of what I already had (BumGenius 3.0) plus a diaper cover and a few Snappis (new version of diaper pins) to use with the multitude of prefold cloth diapers that I used a burp cloths for the other kids.  WOW!  A lot changes in the cloth diapering world in three years!  It was like I was new to cloth with all the different kinds they have now!  I was there WAY longer than I expected to be (sorry again, Meema!) trying to decided which ones would work for us, then picking out the prints. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My dear friend Cecilie, who was chastised  in yesterday's blog for moving to LA, sent me a link to a new site she thought I might be interested in.  It's and it's a sister site to,,,,, and  I actually have know about for a long time.  It's a site I really loved when Vince was little because it did have so many green products that were hard for me to find around here (a plus to living in a larger city, like LA).  I got an email from then when they were launching, which is kind of like a drugstore online and also, which is an online pet store.  I never heard about the other sites via email but I've checked them out individually. is toys, is home products and is higher end beauty products, similar to a Sephora. is the green site, which I assume, pulls all the green products from the other sites to one place.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The Heart of It All.  Beautiful Ohio.  Birthplace of Aviation, and all the other license plate slogans.  I love Ohio! (Not OSU, the actual state!)  This blog is for all of you who don't have the pleasure of living in Ohio or for those of you, not to name names Cecilie and Lindsay, who have deserted our fine state. 
This is not actually my photo.  Just for the record, I did not take pictures while driving with my two small children in the car!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Apple Orchard Trip

Sunday we went to the apple orchard.  This year we went to Arrowhead Orchard in Paris.  As we were leaving the house, it started to rain, but we decided to tough it out.  I hoped that it would stop by the time we got there.  No such luck. It was 45 degrees and rainy, the PERFECT weather for an outdoor activity!  We were lucky enough to happen to go on their 80th Anniversary Harvest Festival celebration, which was also part of the Stark County Farm Tour.  Because it was the farm tour and harvest festival, there were some additional attractions, like the tour of the inside of the apple building where they wash the apples.  They were giving out samples of different apple varieties and apple butter and of course, CIDER!  There were representatives from Aultman Hospital and someone at a booth with MyPlate info.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Pie

After I blogged about how great Honey Crisp apples are, I feel I owe you an apple pie recipe.  It's pretty basic, just out of a cookbook actually, but it feels like early fall to me so I thought it was appropriate for this week, when the weather has been warm, but with that cool fall breeze. 
My crust STILL doesn't look that good, but it's getting there!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Amazing Ellie

I have 4 children.  Ella Katherine is #2.  She is 5 years old and in Kindergarten.  She loves girly things, nailpolish, makeup, jewelry, playing with small dolls and My Little Ponies, candy, dresses, riding her bike and whatever her older brother is interested in at the moment.  She's going to be a pink Power Ranger for Halloween.  She loves to read these "books" that she's made to you.  They're really only scribbles in a small notebook, but she "reads" them with a fantastic inflection, just like she's actually reading a story.  She's good at school, follows rules, doesn't struggle academically, makes friends easily. And she's deep.  Before school started I had to talk her out of a meltdown because she was afraid to die.  She's always asking if kids can get cancer, what happens when you're legs hurt, what happens if your stomach gets too full of water...will you die?  What 5 year old dwells on their mortality?  Yesterday, she was supposed to be in bed, but she was out in the kitchen as I cleaned up.  "Who were the first people, Mom?"  She's supposed to be in bed so I just told her I didn't know.  "Where did they come from if there wasn't anyone for them to be born from?"  Again, I don't know, go back to bed.  Where did THAT come from?!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Honey Crisp Apples

I accidentally found THE BEST apples the other day!  While shopping at the Raisin Rack, I turned by back, only to find that Vince was walking over with his arms full of apples.  I usually just grab a bag or two (that's per week.  Yes, we go through that many apples!) and they're usually granny smith, gala, fuji or red delicious.  Vince had grabbed some other variety, and I didn't really take notice, until I got them home and actually tasted one.  FABULOUS!  I'm not a huge apple fan.  I like apples, but I don't really just pick one up to snack on, like Caden and Vince.  But I've eaten a ton of these because they're THAT good!  I've been sending them for Caden's snack at school and last night Evan tasted one and agrees that they're SUPER good!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What did I do today?

Today was hectic for me.  I was running around all day and when I finally got home an hour before the bus comes I had done nothing on my to do list.  Then I saw this poem in the back of a craft book I was looking at while nursing.  It made me feel a little better about all the items that aren't crossed off on my list.

"What did I do today?"
Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 3:30

The diapers soaked a little longer,
The odor grew a little stronger.

The crumbs I spilled the day before
Are staring at me from the floor.

The fingerprints there on the wall
Will likely be there still next fall.

The dirty streaks on those windowpanes
Will still be there next time it rains.

Shame on you, you sit and say,
Just what did you do today?

I held a baby til he slept,
I held a toddler while he wept.

I played a game of hide and seek,
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak.

I pulled a wagon, sang a song,
Taughtba child right from wrong.

What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess that's true.

Unless you think that what I've done
Might be important to someone,

With dark brown eyes and soft briwn hair.
If that is true...I've done my share.

Author Unknown

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October First!!!!

Yeah!  It's here!  The "Official" Start of the Halloween Season!  This is a family tradition that goes back, literally decades.  Every October first the Halloween decorations come out and are put up and we "Officially" start celebrating Halloween, no earlier.  For the past few years Nana has gotten the kids special Halloween shirts to wear to commemorate this festive day.  Traditionally, Hazel the witch also comes to visit the kids (she also scared the hell out of me by hiding in the shower when I was in high school) and brings them little treats.  (Caden got a grow-your-own-skeleton.  Ellie got a pumpkin paper punch and American Girl Halloween clothes and Vince got Halloween sponge capsules.  Oliva got a card.)  So today I will put up my Halloween decorations, (which greatly outnumber my Christmas decorations),  don Abby's glow-in-the-dark skull and crossbones collar (and reverently pack away Brodie's Howl-o-Ween collar) and forgo being Green for today.  Today I'm all orange and black! 
Vince's shirt has a cape that says "Drac is Back", Caden's skeleton is wearing sunglasses and Olivia's butt is a pumpkin.  Ellie's outfit is the only one you can really see.