Friday, January 30, 2015

Floss!

I didn't really have anything super awesome to eat this week that was vegetarian that I haven't already shared so I thought I'd just share this tidbit of info.  Floss your kids teeth.  If you're like me, you kind of consider flossing as going that extra mile.  People in movies use it as a way to prove that they're "good" people. "I always do what I'm supposed to!  I even floss my teeth!"  However, my kids dentist (Dr Stephen Girdlestone, a pediatric dentist in Canton--HIGHLY recommend him!) told me that I really should be flossing all of my kids teeth.  ALL of them.  That includes Olivia and even Caden.  He told me that every night he has all of his kids put their head in his lap and he flosses their teeth for them.   He has 4 kids too so he realizes that's a lot of flossing.  But he told me this one thing that really made me take him seriously since ALL dentists tell you to floss.  "If your'e going to skip one thing, I'd rather see it be brushing than flossing."  This kind of changed things for me.  It made a lot of sense at the time since he had just finished telling me that Vince had yet another cavity between his teeth.  How often do you see or hear someone say they have a cavity in the middle of their front tooth?  It's always in the back nestled in there.

 Evan, for the record, is fanatical about oral hygiene.  We were on vacation once and ran out of floss.  The next time someone said they were going to the store he asked them to pick up some floss, waxed, of course.  He takes this stuff seriously.  As he should.  Recently and even not so recently he's had root canals, fillings, crowns and soon, he's venturing into the world of braces! I spent more time at the dentist as a kid than any other doctor so I too, understand the importance of taking care of your teeth. Caden already has 3 crowns and both Vince and Ellie have been in for fillings.  It sounds like we don't ever have our kids brush, but we do!  I swear it!  As a family, we just have cavity prone teeth.

So, I started flossing the kids.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rage

It has come to my attention in the last few years that I have a bit of a temper.  Just a bit.  It's generally well hidden and I've had MANY people tell me over the years that I'm very patient.  "You teach preschool?!  I don't have the patience for that?"  "You teach first graders?!! I don't know how you do it.  I don't have the patience."   But the fact remains that sometimes I lose my s%#&.  Like, LOSE it.  I know it's genetic because my mother once described the "rage building inside" and I know EXACTLY what she means.  I don't get angry a lot, it's just every once in awhile, but when I blow, it's not pretty.  The upshot of that is, I can ride that "do you want Mommy to get angry again?" for quite awhile.  "I'm going to LOSE IT!"  is also frequently heard at my house, although it's really more of a threat since I don't really LOSE lose it too much.  But sadly, today I did.  And Olivia was the recipient.

Every morning is frustrating for me.  It's such a battle with all 4 of them just to do EVERYTHING!  Get dressed, eat, brush your teeth and/or hair, put on your shoes, walk out the door. (Today Caden was mad I wouldn't let him take his DS to school and stood in the doorway with his coat and backpack on refusing to leave.) I'm already irritated to begin with in the mornings.  I got Ellie and Caden off to school and Vince was mostly compliant, which is rare. Vince hates school.  Every day he drags his feet and refuses to put on shoes, stand still to have his hair brushed (which is in the process of growing out and he looks so shaggy) or anything else that will prolong the process of getting him to school.  We're always late and it drives me nuts.  I start getting ready to walk out the door 20 minutes before we actually need to leave and it's STILL not enough time.  Today, Vince was ready to go, just need to physically put him in the van.  I ran back to grab Olivia and she was removing her pants, socks and shoes and whining.  We were going to be late again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Books

I'm blogging about books today because what I'm much rather be doing right now is finishing my book rather than blog.  I realized a few years back that I love to read.  I've always liked to read, even as an elementary kid, but a few years ago I realized that I LOVE it.  I read all different genres which I think keeps it interesting, although I generally get stuck on one genre for awhile before I move onto the next.  I'm in a book club which I love not only because I love the girls in it, but also because it keeps me reading, even when I might feel like doing something else.  Not to mention, it give me 12 books a year that I have to read, so I don't have to search for books to read.

It occurred to me the other day that I don't really model reading very much for my kids.  I read a lot, but it's when I have time, which is when I don't have kids--while I exercise (I have to brag that I recently started reading while I run on the treadmill.  I have no idea how I do it, but I've managed to do it twice now without getting sick or falling off the treadmill.)  or when the kids are in bed.

 I've blogged before about how I wish I focused more on reading to my kids, but again, one of those things I haven't really followed through with.  I will say that I have been reading with Ellie every night.  Awhile back she found an interest in religion and wanted to read a bible.  Of course the Good News bible I got in 8th grade was not only a little above her reading level, but also missing the book of Genesis since Brodie ate it. (Jack is not, in fact, the only destructive dog we've had.) I found a great kids bible at Ollie's, of all places, that is on her reading level, covers all books of the bible and is SUPER reader friendly because each bible story is condensed into one page.  There are 365 stories and we've been reading one a night...then two and sometimes 3.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Getting" Sick

I'm getting sick.  I'm sticking with the "getting" part as long as I can although at this point, I think I'm pretty much just "sick".  How this happened, I'm not sure.  None of the kids are sick.  Evan's not sick.  Just me.  It's just a sore throat and a slightly stuffy nose so far but I don't like it.  I don't get sick days in this line of work.  I don't get sick nights either for that matter.  I can't get sick.  So I'm doing everything I can to cling to that "getting" part and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to beat this thing before it gets bad.  So, first things first.
1. Drink lots of lemon water.  Check.
2. Apply doTerra's On Guard, their immune boosting blend.  Check.
3. Take some Oscilloccinum. This homeopathic remedy helps flu-like symptoms but needs to be taken at the first signs of illness.  So I'm running out of time on this one.  I thought I had some in the medicine cabinet, but I can't find it now.  Looks like a trip to the store is in my future.
4. Rest.   I ran 4 miles this morning, then some errands, picked Vince up from school then home for lunch and laundry and blogging and cleaning the playroom (which looks like some kind of toy-bomb went off in there).  Probably should work on the resting part, but like I said, I don't get sick days.
5. Drink hot tea.  I read that the heat helps to clear sinuses.  I'll drink it because it helps me relax (as much as I can) and it tastes good. And I'm going through a little tea obsession thing.  Mostly the obsession thing though to be honest.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Following Through

OK, so like I said before, I'm bad about following through on things I blog about.  My New Years Resolution this year is to stop that habit.  (You can make a resolution mid-January, right?) So far I'm doing pretty well.  I did the foot soak thing and this weekend I actually did the dryer balls!  Can you believe it!  Totally would have blogged about that and then never did it in the past.  Not now!  Friday I went out to dinner with my mom (thanks Mom!) then we went to JoAnn Fabric and bought wool yarn (and tons of St. Paddy's Decorations-again, Thanks Mom!) then hopped down to World Market and bought some glass tumblers to replace all the plastic I threw out.  TWO, that's right TWO blog posts I followed through on in one night!  I'm so amazing!

First, the glasses were actually $1.99 instead of $1.  Sorry about that.  They had a few different choices that would have worked, but I picked the ones with the widest base on Mom's recommendation to prevent spilling as much as possible.  We've used them all weekend and so far they've been pretty sturdy.  They had really cute ones with mustaches on them but I thought they mustache would probably just come of after a few rounds in the dishwasher so I went with these guys, who are also stackable, which is convenient.
New glasses with Ellie's leftover breakfast crust and Vince's guys.  

Next the dryer balls.  I got two skeins of yarn, dark grey and winter white.  I did the grey first and made the first one too big so the second was significantly smaller.  That was really the only mistake I made, the rest was really simple!  Just wrap the yarn around two fingers about then times, then wrap 10 times around the middle of the loops you just made then start wrapping to make a ball!  When I was done I had a little trouble feeding the end of the yarn into the ball to secure it, but after a few tries with a crochet hook I figured it out.  The video I watched showed pulling it straight through the ball, but I just weaved it across the sides a few times and they've seemed to stay secure.  It didn't take long at all to do the first two, the second were a little more challenging only because

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Grass is Always Greener

I always scroll through Instagram and read Facebook and check out blogs and thing, "Wow!  How exciting and organized and glamorous everyone else is!" My friends post selfies of them all dressed for work and I'm sitting there in jeans that don't fit right and a free teeshirt with God-knows-what down the front.  Bloggers are saying how they're raising chickens and using GENERATORS to watch the occasional movie and I realize that all the lights are on downstairs and no one is down there.  Then it dawned on me that some of you may read this blog and feel similar, like I'm doing what you feel you should be doing to live greener.  So, to clear the air and make sure that no one is out there reading this thinking that things are so awesome over here I decided to post this video clip.  Just in case you thought our house was super cool there's this.  Sometimes the grass isn't really all that green.  Sometimes it's frozen and you just have to let it go.


video

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Juice Beauty and Listerine Feet

I realize that I blog backwards sometimes, which I'm trying to right with this post.  Instead of telling you about this great product or idea that I tried, I often blog about this great product or idea I WANT to try.  So I've finally gotten around to doing some of the things I've blogged about in the past and I wanted to do a quick update on how that went.

First, Juice Beauty.  My friend, Stephanie, told me about Juice Beauty, an organic cosmetic line that she had recently discovered.  I loved the idea of it, and wrote a blog about it, just never got around to actually buying some to try.  SO almost a year later, I'm blogging that I did, in fact, give Juice Beauty a try and so far, so good!  I only bought the eyeliner, which required a TON of self control on my part, but it's really nice.  I was expecting it to be significantly different from conventional cosmetics, since I tried a brand in the past that was natural and I was really unhappy with it.  It was $16, which is literally 4x as much as I was spending on the cheap Cover Girl eyeliner I used previously, but I KNOW it will last longer than the CG and it's better for me and the planet.  I'm going to go back to Ulta and try a different Juice Beauty product next time I need cosmetics.  This time I will leave my girls at home and I'm sure it will be a much faster, less expensive trip.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dryer Balls

I sat here and stared at a blank page for a long time, trying to come up with something to blog.  So I fell back to my Christmas gifts.  Every year I get something "green" for Christmas and this year I got dryer balls.  I've used dryer balls before, even blogged about them, but these new ones are different.  My old ones were bumpy plastic things that would crack after repeated use.  These new ones are wool.  Let me back up.  What's a dryer ball, you ask?  It's a ball that goes in the dryer, or course!  Why you use it is the interesting part.  They're supposed to reduce drying time and help soften clothes, reduce wrinkles and static.  The wool variety will also absorb some of the moisture to help decrease the drying time even more.  Tennis balls are sometimes used as dryer balls as well.

The dryer balls I got for Christmas from my mom were from The Sitting Tree.  (Pictured above) I like the idea of dryer balls.  I like not needing to buy dryer sheets (although they work WONDERS to stop static hair in the winter-only an issue for Ellie now that mine is so short) and I like that they're all natural as opposed to the plastic (what was I just saying about heating plastics?!), but in reality, I'm not sure I LOVE them.  These wool ones really do absorb the moisture, I can tell when I pull them out of the dryer that they're still a little damp.  You can even add a drop of essential oils to them before you toss them in the dryer and voila, naturally scented clothes!  (Actually, I was just rereading the directions on their Etsy page and you need to let the oil dry overnight before tossing them in with clothes to prevent spotting.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Drinks All Around!

Birthday season is fast approaching.  Ellie's is February 12th followed by mine on the 18th then Caden on March 10th and Uncle Rob on the 22nd.  This means lots of family parties, which means lots of entertaining and lots of food.  The food part is usually pretty easy.  I ask the kids what they like and then go from there.  Where I run into trouble is the beverages.  Evan insists that we serve pop (I realize that the rest of the US calls it soda, but I'm from northeastern Ohio and it's pop up here.)  but I HATE to buy all those two liters which are opened for maybe one glass for one guest.  It's a guessing game about what everyone's drink is.  Coke or Pepsi? Regular, diet or zero? How many "other" kinds do we get?  Rooter, 7-up, ginger ale...I hate it!  It's such a pain for me and it's so expensive to buy all that CRAP that I don't want to drink, don't want my kids to drink and feel guilty serving my guests.  "Welcome to my home!  Can I interest you in a beverage that literally eats through iron nails?  Perhaps something with more sugar in one serving than a human should consume in one day?"

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Plastic Purge

Ahh, it's SO nice to be back to blogging!  Simply writing each day and thinking about what my next post will be is keeping me in a greener mindset.  I was doing just that as I emptied the dishwasher the other day and realized, I have TONS of plastic.  Plastic cups, plates, containers...wasn't I trying to decrease the number of these items not that long ago?  If you know me, you know I have obsessions (did I mention that I started running?!?) and although they're often short-lived (remember when I was going to get backyard chickens?) they often times help me in the long run.  I've selected decreasing the amount of plastic in my house as my next mini-obsession. (So you can relax.  I'll still talk about running all the time and continue to blog.)

Why get rid of plastic?  There's bad stuff in there.  And that's not just hippie me saying that. ( *I read an article from Pinterest yesterday about running and in the comments, someone had written "Where's the scientific proof for the information in this article?"  I realized that I do that a lot on here.  I make a comment, but don't show evidence to back it up.  Mrs Abrashoff, Ms Palmer, Mrs Barthel and Mrs. Klase would be horrified.  So out of respect for the Hoover High School English Department I'm siting my sources.  Sorry folks, no APA though.  You just get linked to the original article.* )  The Breast Cancer Fund states, "Three plastics have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure: polycarbonate, which leaches bisphenol A; polystyrene, which leaches styrene; and PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which break down into vinyl chloride and sometimes contains phthalates that can leach."  I've blogged before about the harmful effects of bisphenol A (also called BPA) and phthalates but I'll give you a quick refresher here.  BPA is found in water bottle and lots of plastic cups (you've seen the BPA-free label on sippy cups and baby bottles and increasingly more and more plastic bottles)  the bisphenol A leaches from the plastic into the food it's touching, either the liquid or also, the food from the can it's touching. (BPA is also found in the linings of cans.  Look for canned food that says BPA free.  As if you didn't have enough going on at the grocery store!)  WebMD states that 90% of us have detectable levels of BPA in our bodies.  As for the phthalates,  it seems they're everywhere!  They're in cosmetics and they're used to make plastics soft so things like teethers and pacifiers may contain phthalates.  They also leach into the food or liquid they touch, but in the case of things like pacifiers, they can even leach directly into the body.  Styrene, also a know carcinogen, is found in styrofoam and #6 plastic.  

OK, so enough scientific stuff.  It's bad for you.  So what am I going to do?  While I'd love to grab a bag and walk around the house tossing everything plastic, that's not really realistic or necessary.  So first, I'm just going to focus on the kitchen.  I'm going to decrease the number of plastic cups and plastic plates and work (again) on tossing those plastic food storage containers in favor of glass.  In the past the thought of getting rid of the plastic, unbreakable, kid plates and cups seemed a little scary, but I think the bigger kids are fine "real" plates and cups.  Olivia is still a spiller, but I'm hoping the sturdier glass cups might actually help her with that.  I'm also going to look for some stainless steel water bottles.   The only issue with that is the spouts are almost always plastic!  But, as always, I'm just going to do the best that I can.  I'm going to head over to World Market and have the kids pick some fun cups.  They have such a big selection and most of the cups are around $1 each.  When we got married we actually has a full set of salad plates (aka kid sized) but over the years we've broken so many we're down to 4.  I'll be honest, I'm actually REALLY excited to get rid of the leaning tower of Pisa in my cupboard.  Those dumb plastic plates don't stack and they're always falling over!  I'll grab a few more fun ones when I'm at World Market, but there's not really a good reason the little kids can't use a big plate.  The only thing I need to watch is portion size.  That big plate makes a normal kid-sized portion look super tiny.  

While I work on that, I'll also try to think about plastics in other parts of our house.  Keep reading those bottles for phthalates and BPA. Look at the bottom of plastic bottles for the safer plastics, 2, 4 and 5 and stay away from those really bad guys, 3 and 6.  I found this cute chart on babygreenthumb.com
With birthdays coming up (Ellie and Caden) I'm going to try and think about the number of plastics coming into our home in toys.  I'll check out Magic Cabin and Nova Naturals before I look at Toys R Us.  I'll also try to think about eliminating some of the crap toys we have downstairs that no one ever plays with.  Many of them are made of cheap plastic.  It's a big job, but it doesn't have to be completed right now.  It'll be a work in progress for a long time, but like everything else I do to green this house and family.  That's why I say I'm doing the best I can.  Sometimes it's really a lot and sometimes it just throwing out a few cups and plates. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Recipe Friday: Baked Ziti and Carrot Ginger Sauce

Lazy today!  Kids are off school (except for Vince) and we've been running errands and trying to keep my weekday schedule on a weekend feel.  SO, you get two quick recipes from Weelicious.  The first I SWEAR I've posted before, but if I haven't TRY IT!  I love this one!  Evan loves it too--despite the lack of meat.  The second I hesitate to even post because it's not a crowd pleaser.  I liked it and Vince and Olivia did too, but it has ginger and therefore I automatically like it.  A word of warning: it's not like a pasta sauce.  Think pesto if your'e tossing it with pasta (I used soba noodles).  Here you go: Baked Ziti and Carrot Ginger Sauce compliment of Catherine McCord of Weelicious.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas For My Dad

My dad is horribly hard to buy for.  He doesn't have a ton of little hobbies, he's not that into sports and he doesn't wear ties to work.  There goes he traditional golf balls, sports team gear and the generic tie gifts.  PLUS the buys whatever he wants as soon as he wants it.  So what's the one gift that he can't buy for himself?  Good health.  And it also happens to be something that he's always in need of, especially at this time of year.  So today I'm going to blog about my Christmas gift that I got my dad this year.  The theme was "Good Health and Good Cheer" since that's what all the holiday cards wish you.

First, my dad may or may not read my blog, but he only does it to support me.  He's not buying into all my green stuff.  That's my mom.  I talk her into trying all kinds of crazy stuff, but not my dad.  So when I bought him most of these things, I did it realizing that he was probably not going to use them, but it was worth a shot.

Second, my sister will attest that my gifts all come with directions. (My in-laws will tell you that my meals also come with directions- how are you supposed to know what everything is and what toppings go with what if I don't explain it!?!?) I like to think that the directions are my way of explaining that I put a lot of thought into the gift.  So much thought sometimes, that it needs a little explanation.  My dad's gift went a little beyond that.  Many of the gifts were actually wrapped with directions  and explanations attached.

Third, child on my lap is making this SO HARD TO WRITE!!!!!!

OK, so the actual gifts I gave.  They were all individually wrapped and then packaged in a large cardboard box.  I (very greenly, I may add) padded each layer of gifts with beach towels instead of tissue paper to reduce the amount of packaging we threw out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lemon Water

It all started when I got sucked into Facebook.  I never really intended to spend the amount of time on Facebook that I do.  I just want to check one thing.  Usually it's the Save A Mom page. Then something else catches my eye and the next thing I know 10 minutes have gone by and Olivia is starting to get frustrated because I haven't noticed that she's been talking at me for about 5 of those minutes.  Curse you Facebook!  BUT, sometimes I find more that just snarky posts from my friends!  SOMETIMES, I find interesting articles that people have shared, like one on the health benefits of drinking lemon water!  I'd like to actually give you the article, but for some reason, when I went back to my friend's page who originally posted it, it was gone.  This, of course, after I spent WAY longer than I should have trying to find it.  SO, here's another link to an article that touts the benefits of drinking lemon water.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Put Those Kids To Work!

When I was young we had "jobs".  When we got home from school we looked at the giant job chart on the side of the refrigerator and completed our job to get a sticker which then translated to our allowance. (A portion of which always went into our savings account.)  On the kitchen counter beside the sink was a laminated pile of cards with our names on them which would indicate who's job it was to set the table that night.  As we got older the jobs changed and they didn't rotate a whole bunch.  I can remember as an older adolescent doing laundry a lot and being glad that I was no longer assigned the "land mines" job that I hated so much as a kid.

Now that I have my own kids I understand the importance of "jobs".  Not only does it teach them responsibility, but it also helps me to keep this place presentable.  I've been on a mission to find the perfect job chart and I found it at erincondren.com.  HOWEVER, I guess I was the only one that loved it because she no longer makes it.  What I loved about it was that I could change the job each day AND there was only one job that each kid had to do.  Many of the chore charts have TONS of items listed.  While I'm not opposed to my kids doing all of these (may include brushing teeth, making beds, throwing dirty clothes where they belong) I don't want to have to give them a sticker each and every time they do something.  With one kid that's young I can see it, but with 4, I'd spend my entire day in front of the chore chart.  Anyway, I was stuck for awhile and the kids were off the hook.  I still have a whole bunch of the reward cards that I got when I got the chart, which I also LOVE.  Of course they don't make these anymore either so this time when I get down to the last one I'm going to take a page from mom's play book and have them laminated so I can reuse them!
I like how you can write the reward that the kids are working for right on the card so we can talk about and the older kids can read their goals.  There are just enough circles to get their checks that the goals are within reach, but they're not getting something all the time.

So, my new genius idea to replace the chore chart.  Are you ready?!?! I'm so impressed with myself for thinking of this!  STICKS!

When I taught I used this kind of thing a lot.  You'd put all the kids names on a stick then draw them to out choose groups or whatever.  For this, I wrote a job on each stick.  SO FAR the kids really like it.  I think it's cool because it gives them a little control.  It's not really a job I assigned (even though I created the sticks) it's a job they picked.  I'm going to include a picture of all the sticks to give you an idea of what kinds of things I have my kids do. I'm doing this because I was talking to a friend once about her kids chores and she very excitedly asked me what I had mine do.  I stole some of her chore ideas and she used some of mine.  Some of the chores are in there multiple times, simply because they need to be done more often (and also because I was running out of ideas).  So far I have them draw a stick then put it back it.  I could also keep the sticks out that have already been used, but I think they like the idea of digging around in there to pick one out.  All of these are things that I'm doing anyway so it's not like they NEED to be done, but most of them are things that could use a touch-up between my cleanings. (Think the kids bathroom.  That thing needs cleaned every 15 minutes or so!) 

Sometimes I make them draw again, like the 10 minutes cleaning the playroom. Caden drew that the same day as I cleaned the playroom.  Some are easier than others and some are a little more fun (dusting ceilings is going to be a favorite) be I wanted to keep it varied so they don't get bored.  So far they haven't reacted like they're chores, more like little tasks to get closer to their selected goals.  FYI, we also give checkmarks on the cards for other things besides chores.  If they're extra helpful or are super good I'll sometimes throw a checkmark on there.  The other day Caden was playing basketball with Olivia.  Clearly it was way more fun for her than for him, but he was spending time with his sister and she was in heaven.  Extra checkmark. Ellie is a BIG fan of the extra checkmarks.  She's ALWAYS asking if she can do something for an extra checkmark.  She used to do then ask, but now she's wised up! 

So there it is!  Child labor in my house.  


Friday, January 9, 2015

Recipe Friday: Ginger Garlic Tofu

I LOVE tofu!  Olivia seems to be following in my footsteps.  I know that it's a soy-based product and I should be staying away from soy as much as possible, but tofu is just so versatile that I use it every week.  It's a fantastic transition between meat and veggie.  Last week a made the omnivores in the house  chicken, ham and smoked gouda with a mushroom sauce.  Olivia and I (and Vince ate some too) had baked tofu with the gouda on top and the mushroom sauce.  This week I'm doing pork chops with an apple glaze and you guessed it--the pork will be substituted by tofu for Liv and I.  It's my go-to when I don't feel like making two entirely different meals.  It's been so long since I blogged about a recipe that I just decided to do a quick search of my blog and see if this title popped up.  It didn't so this is what I'm giving you today.  Sorry if I've already posted it.  We had it for dinner last night and it was quick and easy.  It's from Chop Chop magazine which is a really cool magazine targeted at kids and focusing on healthy eating.  All of the recipes are written so kids can follow them and are therefore great choices for "can I help with dinner?" nights.   Here's the link to the actual recipe on the website, but I'll post it below as well in a modified version for adult cooks.  (I'm going to omit the part where I tell you to take the tofu out of the package first. )

Ginger-Garlic Tofu

 Ingredients
14 oz block of firm or extra firm tofu
3 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 C water
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
1-2 minced fresh garlic cloves
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes or more (I omitted this for the kids but Sriracha would be good in this too!)
1 TBSP canal oil
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, sliced (I did green parts only)

Slice the tofu block in half so you have half the thickness.  Then slice each half into 4 equal parts  horizontally and one cut vertically to give you 8 pieces per half of tofu.  Or dice it or slice it-whatever.  However you want to do it is fine for this recipe.  Press the tofu for 30 minutes.  (Click here for directions on how to press tofu.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Healthy Feet

Just a quick disclaimer.  I'm sorry, Jeff.  This is not a post you're going to find as interesting as the tea post from yesterday.  

That said, I'm super excited about this post!  To ring in the New Year this year I watched the ball drop, put the kids to bed, then began the long process of getting my feet wedding ready. (My brother-in-law got married on January 3rd.)  As I was mid-exfoliation, letting my feet soak in a tub of epsom salts I decided to check out Pinterest and see what I could find on DIY pedicures.  So here's the thing.  I don't really care about the polish part.  I can paint my nails.  Olivia makes me practice on her daily.  (Literally, DAILY!  So cute at first, now it's getting old.) My feet (heels) get dry, like REALLY dry and crack.  DEEP, DEEP cracks that bleed and make it painful to walk.  I love to show them to my mom because I always get so much sympathy from her.  Anyway, Pinterest didn't disappoint!  I found an easy recipe that will hopefully work.  I'm really excited to try it.  Here's the recipe:

1/2 C white vinegar (is there anything vinegar CAN'T do?!?!)
1/2 C Listerine (I've used Listerine as a mouthwash.  Really not surprised that it can take skin off of feet.)
1 C warm water

Soak your feet for 10 minutes and then rub with a nubby washcloth.  The dead skin is supposed to wipe off.  WAY easier than the scary looking metal exfoliating tool I've been using!

Sorry if this post is a little incoherent.  Olivia is insisting on sitting on my lap and Ellie is searching YouTube for birthday cake ideas.  She's found some cute cake pop ideas that look like lots of work.  I've got a month to change her mind...

Picture for the day doesn't really go with the post but it's a catch-up from my time off.
Ellie got tattoo pens for Christmas.  Vince had a mustache for 2 days!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

So once upon a time I used to write this blog...
As  you can imagine, I've been just sitting around in my time off relaxing, reading romance novels and drinking wine.  Actually, I've been thinking about topics to blog about, but never actually doing it.  I've also been getting more and more relaxed about my green living and at this point, I'm almost not qualified to write a blog about raising a green family.  But my time off has been  rather productive.  A few things happened.  I know you like pictures so I'll try to photo-it-up for you.

It looks like my last blog was in August so since then, I potty-trained a toddler.

I started volunteering for a dog rescue group.  It's the one where we got Jack back in June of 2013.  It's called Save A Mom Pregnant Dog Rescue.  I love it.  I've only worked a few events, but it's so great finding home for dogs.  The rescue takes in pregnant dogs, or moms with litters, or even orphan babies and nurses them back to health (if need be), spays/neuters them and gets them all up to date on their vaccines.  As wonderful as it is to find homes for them, it's also hard to hear the sad stories of their lives before.  It amazes me that people can be so cruel.  Treasure, a senior dog that made her way to Save  A Mom has a bullet in her leg that has since healed over.  She has a limp, but she'd been living on the streets for God knows how long with a BULLET in her leg?  Who does that?  Or the puppy mill pup that spent her ENTIRE life in such a small crate that when she was allowed out all she knew how to do was turn in circles?  OK, enough ranting.  Save a Mom is AWESOME!  Working with the dogs is great, but made me miss having two dogs.  So we got Stella.  Also a sad story, her mom was pulled from a shelter in southern Ohio.  Originally one of 6 pups, Stella was one of the lucky two to survive.  Mom was so unsettled by the pound that she wasn't taking care of the pups.  Stella and her brother (who was lucky enough to also find a home!) were taken from Mom and bottle fed.  She's an amazing little girl who has fit in with our family like she's always been here.  Clearly, Jack is good big brother. 



Oh, and I've been doing a little running!  I ran a 5K in October which was a lot of fun.  Then in November I ran a half marathon.  In December I ran another 5K but this was with my new jogging partner-Jack!  The weather is keeping me inside now, but I really enjoyed running.  It was so freeing to spend 2 hours alone.  The feeling of strength and power I got from knowing that I could run such a long distance was rewarding in and of itself.  And yes, I did get a 13.1 magnet for the back of my van.

Let's see, what else?  I think that's about it.  I've been spending a little time raising 4 kids.  So that's about it.  My 4 months off.

So on to the new.  My mom got me a gift card to The Republic of Tea for Christmas.  She also got me a few of their teas to try.  Spoiler alert--new obsession!  Be like everything I obsess about, I did a little research.  Bagged or loose? Rooibos, Green, Black, Herbal?  There are just so many choices!  So here's what I found out in a nutshell.  Loose is better than bagged and stay away from anything that's not organic. I found out that conventional tea isn't washed before it's dried so you're not only eating any and all pesticides and herbicides that were on the tea at harvest, you're also boiling those chemicals. Here's a great article I found about what's in most teas.  I'll copy and past the chart form that article here.

So there you go!  A quick catch up and a new post.  WOW am I being productive today!  I even shoved the front walk and the sidewalk all the way to the kids' bus stop.  Of course it's all covered now because it's still snowing. Yeah. 

Oh, and we went to the Outer Banks!  I need pictures of my kids in tank tops and shorts on days like this to remind myself that it will get warmer!