Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Olivia's Potty Training

Olivia has decided that it's time to start potty training.  Most mothers would be thrilled with this.  I am not most mothers.  It's not that I don't LOVE potty training--who DOESN'T?!?! It's that I realize, even if she doesn't, that she's still too young.  I was listening to two moms talk at the Y yesterday, clearly on their first round of potty training.  I sympathized.  I read everything I could get my hands on about potty training when Caden was going through it, but it wasn't until Ellie that I really got it.  You don't potty train your kids.  They do it.  It's the first big leap of independence-the first big loss of control as a parent.  "The Experts" have all different kinds of signs you should look for when you're ready to potty train a child.  They stop what they're doing with they have to go.  They tell you when they need a diaper change.  They show an interest when YOU use the potty.  They go for longer periods of time with a dry diaper.  They fail to mention my two favorite cues that your child is ready to potty train.  1.  They can get their pants up and down by themselves.  This, to me, is key.  If your kids can't dress and undress him/herself, this isn't going to be a successful potty training attempt.  Second, they have to be able to reach the toilet.  This is my preference.  I don't use potty seats.  To me, it's another transition that I don't want to make.  After going through the whole potty training thing I don't want to transition them from one potty to the other.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Breezy Hill Farm--It's Spring!

I've posted about Breezy Hill Farm before, but it's been awhile.  It's a certified organic farm in Homeworth, Ohio that produces TONS of veggies year round, thanks to their high tunnels.  A few years ago they started a working relationship with Hazel Artisan Bakery here in North Canton.  You could place an order with Breezy Hill and they'd deliver it to Hazel's for you to pick up--very convent for those of us in the Canton-NC area!  They when I was pregnant with Olivia and teaching preschool, I used to order produce from them and pick it up on my way home from school.  I'd  almost always find something special from the bakery too--a loaf of bread, or some cookies for the kids.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Crown Point Ecology Center

A friend of mine from High School sent me a request on Facebook to "like" a page.  I get these a lot, like I'm sure everyone else does too.  I usually assume that they just checked all their friends and hit send, but when I saw the word "ecology" my interest was peaked--shocking, right?  So it's taken me a month to actually check out their FB page (I'm pathetic) but it looks pretty interesting.  They were trying to get 1000 "likes" by Earth Day (sorry about that Crown Point--if I'd been on the ball you could have had my "like") which I guess they did.  I don't have the patience to scroll all the way down the page and search around on FB for pertinent information (maybe if you had pictures of puppies like Save A Mom Pregnant Dog Rescue does I'd visit your page more!) so I googled their website instead.  Here's a screen shot of their homepage.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Recipe Friday: Spring Vegetable Tagine

I found this recipe in Vegetarian times and thought it looked interesting. To be honest, I didn't think it would really be that great, but wanted to give it a chance.  I cut the recipe in half so I wouldn't waste a ton of food if it was a bomb, but I was pleasantly surprised!  I really liked it and so did Evan!  It takes awhile to bake, but it's similar to crock pot prep-just throw it all in the pot, put the pot in the oven and stir once.  It includes a lot of ingredients I don't normally use, like Fava beans (I couldn't find fresh or frozen like the recipe called for so I just had to use dried, which I soaked and cooked), radishes and fennel.  I don't have a tagine so I just used a covered casserole dish, which worked great for cleanup and leftover storage as well.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Honest Refills

I'm back on an upswing with The Honest Co.  I go back and forth.  Sometimes I feel like it's the best thing in the world (currently)  other times I'm frustrated because I feel like it's too expensive or I don't really need their products, or whatever is my current mood.  But as I said, right now I'm a fan.  Anyway, the newest thing they have that I love is their refills.  Instead of buying a whole bottle, you can just get a concentrate, pour it into your current spray bottle, add water and voila!  Less waste!  So cool!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Coupons for REAL food!

If you live in the Canton area you probably got THE Target coupon yesterday.  It has TONS of $1 off coupons for REAL food--$1 off vegetable, $1 off fruit, $1 off meat (it also had a coupon for a free 2 liter of Coke, but you take the good with the bad!).  I was SO excited to see coupons for stuff I always buy.  Things that are REAL food, not prepackaged or frozen snacks.  The down side is that Target doesn't carry organic fruits and veggies yet, but I'm just going to have to get some "clean 15" items I guess.  Along with my Target coupons, I got a message from a friend on Facebook that linked me to this site.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day! Grow Something!

Happy Earth Day!  I'm so excited that Earth Day is starting to bridge into Earth Month!  Today the kids and I went outside to play--the best way to celebrate a beautiful (albeit windy) Earth Day.  I also registered for a program at the North Canton Public Library called Container Gardening today.  (Click here to register.)  With the new house and new yard and not really knowing what to expect in the way of sun/shade and trying to work with the grass, I've decided not to grow a garden this year.  The thought of not having ANY fresh produce in my yard is too much for me, so I've decided to do some container gardening, however, I've never done any container gardening so I thought this free class would be a great way to learn the basics.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beech Creek Gardens

Today Vince asked me if he could see a real live butterfly.  I think this was sparked by a discussion about butterflies in preschool, but with a four-year-old, who really know!  Anyway, I pulled up the Beech Creek website to see when their butterfly house opens (not until late June).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Recipe Friday: Healthier Ramen Soup

I mentioned a few days ago that I was trying the Weelicious recipe Healthier Ramen Soup and I'd let you know how it was.  AWESOME!  I LOVED this recipe!  Vince and Olivia did too.  I'm going to link you to the site here, but also do some screen shots so you can read the blurb she wrote about the recipe, see the picture and read the ingredients and directions.  I added tofu to mine to make it a little heartier since I only had one package of ramen (Evan ate the second the night before!)

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Despite the face that there's still snow on the ground,  it's getting time to think about sunscreens again.  I was shopping last weekend and noticed that the stores have started with the sunscreen displays already.  Before you start shopping based on package claims,  don't forget to check out the Sunscreen Database.  Don't forget to read those labels!  It's a little counterintuitive to slather on a sunscreen to prevent skin cancer if said sunscreen is laden with cancer-causing chemicals!  Also, although I really love them  for their ease of application,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Tuesday in the Kitchen

I was thinking of some kind of informative blog about something new and green, but I decided that on this snowy spring Tuesday, all I was going to do was blog about my day.  I'm feeling really green today.  First, we left the house and went to the Y to exercise.  The kids LOVE to go to the Y.  Olivia has grown attached to one of the Child Care staff members and Vince just likes to go and play with other kids.  This new exercise routine is fantastic.  I feel so much better, in the same way that eating a healthier diet after I've been eating junk makes me feel fantastic.

Tonight for dinner we are having Chicken Noodle Soup and Healthier Ramen Soup, with a salad.  I thought soup would be good on a cold, snowy day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Target Has Groceries!

I feel like my entire life revolves around food.  Making breakfast, packing and making lunches, planning, shopping for and making dinners--and ALL the clean-up!  It just gets so monotonous.  That's why when I found our our Target was getting a full grocery section I was super excited.  I love Target and I was glad for the break in my grocery shopping routine.  So last week I packed up the family (yes, all 6 of us went) and we headed to Target to check out the new grocery section.  This blogger gives it mixed reviews.  First, their overall selection is pretty good--however, their organic produce and fresh meat section was nonexistent.  NONE!  I was shocked!  Target is so great about carrying organic and earth-friendly products in almost all other areas, I was SO surprised to find that they didn't even have organic bananas, apples and carrots--the most BASIC of organics!  Even ALDI carries those in organics!!!  So that part was a little disappointing, HOWEVER, the rest of their groceries were great!  They and a pretty good selection of organics in the non-perishable departments and I felt the prices were pretty good--add that 5% off with my RedCard and I was pretty happy with my Target shopping trip.  I will not take all 5 of them with me again though.  WAY too expensive with 6 people throwing things in the cart!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Recipe Friday: Pizza Fondue

This week has been crazy!  We've had at least 3 things a night and usually something during the day! It's been really tricky coming up with dinner ideas that I can pull together quickly, clean up quickly and everyone will eat.  Enter Pizza Fondue.  SO fast to prep, cooks for only 2 hrs in the croc pot and everyone loves it!  The best part is, the fondue itself is meat-free so all I have to do to balance the meat loving and meat-less members of my family is vary the dippers!  I even made this last year at the beach when I was cooking for 10--went over well with everyone there too.  I always use fondue forks, which I think is the real reason my kids love this so much.  I dish a little into a small bowl for each of them to prevent double-dipping.  It works great thinned with a little extra spaghetti sauce for a thick, cheesy pasta sauce as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kinder Concert

Today is a crazy day, so a short post.  This morning Vince, Olivia, Nana an I are at the Canton Symphony's Kinder Concert.  It's a culmination of a 4 part series, the first 3 of which feature a picture book and a section if the orchestra (strings, brass, woodwinds).  It's in the Canton Cultural Center's Great Hall, which in and of itself is fun for the kids.  A great way to spend a morning--- unplugged!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Sustainability Fair-In A Nutshell

Saturday Vince and I went to the NCPL's sustainability fair.  He LOVED it!  I thought it was pretty great too!  We started out downstairs for the children's program Earth Month Celebration where we listened to books, did a few crafts and played games.  Then we went upstairs for the fair.  The way it was set up was that you got a bookmark with each vendor listed.  As you went to each booth, the vendors would check off their names on your bookmark and when you got them all checked off, you got a water bottle (BPA free I might add!).  There were 10 booths, some of which Vince hated and some he loved.  Since you're not 4, I'll give you a synopsis of all of them, hoping that your interests are a little broader than Vince's.
1. Ermanno's Legendary Pizza--This was Vince's favorite!  Well, maybe second favorite, but we'll get to that.  Ermanno's had pizza to sample, which I have to admit was AMAZING!  I got their Margherita Pizza. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil Infused with Garlic, Our Triple Blend Cheese, Roma Tomatoes, Organic Local Basil.  Topped with Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Italian Herbs & Seasonings, and Balsamic Glaze.)  Why they were there--they use local, sustainable ingredients for their pizza (fresh, local basil on the Margherita)

2. K.B. Industries, Inc.--Vince liked this one slightly, because they had samples of their recycled rubber pavement over a big jar and he could pour water from a watering can and watch it seep down through the pavement.  I thought it was pretty cool--what a great way to filter and prevent run-off!

3. North Canton Farmer's Market-  Vince got a coloring page to enter into a coloring contest, but I was excited for the prospect of farmers market season coming back!  The NC Farmer's Market is close enough to my house to WALK!  It starts June 14th and goes through Sept 27th from 8:30 -12:00.  It's located at 125 S. Main St.

4. Stark-Tusc-Wayne Recycling-- They had free pencils, which I was super excited about because between Jack and Olivia, pencils are in short supply at our house!  Vince liked the corn hole game they brought.  They're a recycling company--pretty obvious why there were there.

5. The Akron Zoo-  I've blogged before about the cool sustainability stuff the zoo has.  I LOVE the Akron Zoo!  They had a snake with them today, which of course we love.  The first thing Vince does is try to pet it, which didn't go over well with the handlers.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Recipe Friday: Sesame Udon Noodles

This recipe was from my Weelicious Menu for either this week or last week.  I'm a HUGE fan of asian flavors so this was a must try for me.  Olivia, Vince and I LOVED it!  Quick, easy and taste super good!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I'm not a huge fan of inspiration quotes.  I generally find them kind of funny.  Pulling a phrase out of context isn't generally what speaks to me.  This past weekend I read a quote that really did speak to me.  I was at the Columbus Zoo with the family when I saw this quote written on the wall.  I was afraid I'd forget it, so I dug around in my bag for my phone to snap a picture.  (I would also like to confess that it was the only picture I took of my family at the zoo.  Sorry kids.  Guess this trip will have to live in your memories only. )

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NCPL Sustainability Fair

I love the North Canton Library.  I know I've blogged about them a lot, but they really have so many great programs to offer.  Last night Ellie read to Sarge, the Tail-Wagging Tutor.  The Children's department brings in a therapy dog for the kids to read to him.  It may seem silly, but dog's don't judge your reading ability.  They don't jump in and tell you a word you're trying to decode before you have the chance to really give it a shot.  They don't correct you, or hurry you along or get frustrated.  They just listen.  To a lot of emergent or struggling readers, that's just what they need.  I was surprised how fluent Ellie read to Sarge last month.  She was SO excited to go back and read to him last night.  See what I mean--GREAT programs.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Not the REAL nuts, but the characters created by Charles M Schultz.  The McKinley Musuem's Keller Gallery will be featuring the exhibit Peanuts...Naturally.

"Peanuts, Naturally 
May 23-August 17
How many suns? Is the Earth flat? Charles M. Schulz touched on many aspects of the natural world during the nearly 50 years he created the Peanuts comic strip. During the 1950s and 1960s, Schulz’s characters explored aspects of the natural world with wonder and delight, and their cockamamie understanding of the world around them afforded many opportunities to introduce readers of the strip to fun facts about the natural world.
Peanuts. . .Naturally will explore the “web of life” through Peanuts comic strips, didactic materials, and inter actives."

I went to the Charles M Schultz Museum website and found this short video which shows a little more about the exhibit.  SO excited to take the kids to this!