Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring has arrived in our CSA box.

The weather here in Phoenix has been warm for awhile now.  I'm talking sundresses, shorts, tank-tops and even a visit to the pool.  Our CSA Chow Locally hinted a couple weeks ago that the vegetables would be shifting from the winter kale and root veggies to more spring types in the coming weeks.

I was happy this last Saturday to see zucchini and scallopini squash amongst the beets, chard and onions.  We are big fans of zucchini around here and eat it year round.  Having local organic squash sounds just about perfect to me!  And of course you already know that we like artichokes.

I have a tasty springtime stew in my crock pot right now filling up my kitchen with a lovely aroma.  I used zucchini and carrots instead of the usual potatoes.  I'll post the recipe tomorrow.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Easy way to keep track of medication doses.

My poor 9 mo old baby girl has had a few rounds of sickness in her short life.  More than one of them required antibiotics. :(  I'm not one of those moms that demand the Dr write out prescriptions, I prefer my kids have the least amount of medications as possible.  However, I am thankful that there are antibiotics especially when my little one had a fever of 103.6, or when her eardrum burst b/c an infection was so bad.


I was happy to see a hint on Pinterest just in time for our most recent round of medication.  It's pretty simple but I hadn't thought of it, ha!  You just make boxes for each dose and check them off the bottle as you go.  Genius!  This is especially helpful if you're like me and you can't remember if you've given the dose oh-say 10 minutes after you did. ;)  I plan on using this method for my own medications next time I'm sick too!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hurrah for Keurig!

I got the best gift for my birthday, a Keurig Platinum coffee machine.  I have secretly wanted one of these magical beverage machines for awhile now, but it seemed impractical since we don't drink coffee all the time around here.  In fact our other coffee machine is a 4 cup Mr Coffee, you know the kind college students have in their dorm rooms.  Ha!

However, I have admired them from afar and used them with great glee while traveling when they were in our hotel rooms.  And now I have my own, oh the caffeine bliss!


The Keurig came with 60 K-cups (4 boxes!) and a reusable filter in case I want to use our own ground coffee.  I can also use it to make hot water for my tea.

Seriously, I am loving this machine.  Anyone else have and love the Keurig?  What is your favorite coffee K-cup brand?

Thank you thank you to my BFF Anne C.  You're the best! (and ah-hem, you've set the bar high)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fisher Price Fridays - Little People Floating Marina

I'm so glad it's Fisher Price Friday, aren't you?  I had a hard time deciding which Fisher Price Little People (FPLP) play set to talk about this week.  Choices choices.  Ha!  Eventually I will run out of FPLP toys to feature, but not for a few more weeks yet. :)

I finally settled on my newest addition that arrived just this week.  It's the Little People Floating Marina #2582.  The marina was made between 1987-1990 and is designed to be a tub or pool toy.  This is not a toy I ever played with as a child, I would have been too old for it.  However, I saw it on Etsy and couldn't resist.  It has so many fun features and I knew my 4 year old would LOVE it.  I put it together tonight and it was a big hit.  The original set came with two children (shown above) and a sea captain with a big white beard (not the captain/pilot in my photo).  The other piece that I am missing is a yellow life vest.  Otherwise it's a complete set! 

The set has two exclusive boats, a red and white speed boat and an orange rowboat.  Both boats have loops in the top that hold them on the dock.  They also have pegs in the back so that they can fit on the yellow boat lift.

The yellow boat lift moves up and down so that the boats can go in and out of the water.

The marina set came with an exclusive orange and white sea plane.  The plane has a black propeller that spins around. 

 The sea plane has its own garage with a door that flips up to open.  Also a little ramp that it can use to gently slide down and into the water.  The only lithograph in this waterproof set is the LP Floating Marina sign above the garage.

There is a retractable orange diving board in the roof just in case the LP want to swim.  The top of the set has a handle that folds down and a flat area for playing.  The sea plane garage has two nautical looking orange windows. 

The dock side of the play set has a back door to the garage and a gas pump with a fabric cord.


While looking over the set and playing with it we discovered the slide in the lighthouse.  You put a LP in the top and twist around the red beacon.  Then the person falls down the hole and out the bottom of the slide.  Too fun!  The detailing is great on this set, you can see stones on the ground at the bottom and even a starfish on the stairs.

It is a perfectly adorable set and I think quite a steal at only $13 (plus shipping).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birthday Freebies



Yesterday just may have been my birthday.  I am smack dab in the middle of my 30's.  I'm planning on staying there for at least a couple more years. ;)

One benefit to getting older are the birthday freebies!  I love collecting and redeeming free things. :)  This year I've had free coffee, goodies from World Market (madeleine cookies and some hair clips) and free dinner from a sub shop.  I have plans to use a couple more before they expire in the next few days.

Dunkin Donuts - free drink (card comes in the mail)
Starbucks - free drink (a card comes in the mail) when you register a Starbucks card.  You also get other freebies and upgrades during the year with your Starbucks card.
World Market - $10 voucher if you have a rewards card
Jersey Mike's Subs - sub and drink (email voucher) when you join their email club.
Jason's Deli - $5 off voucher came by email after I filled out a b'day card in the restaurant.
blissful yoga - free class within a week of your birthday
Einstein Bros Bagels - Free breakfast sandwich (with drink purchase) email voucher after joining their online club.
Johnny Rocket's - Get a free burger with entree purchase, voucher came by email after joining their online club.

I didn't use all of the vouchers this year but it is fun to get freebies!  Do you know any that I missed?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - dog crate shenanigans

The baby discovered the dog crate yesterday.  

She quickly figured out how to unlatch and open the door.

It's just a matter of time until this happens.  

This is her older sister around the same age.  I guess dog crates are irresistible to my children. ;)  



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and United


I recently read Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and United by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein.  This is one of those can't-put-it-down kind of books.  For me the most shocking part is that it was true, real-life, actually happened!  It read like a mystery novel.

Here is the description of the book from Amazon:
Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn't until her mid-thirties while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother.  What she found instead was shocking: She had an identical twin sister.  What's more, after being separated as infants, she and her sister had been, for a time, part of a secret study on separated twins.
Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother.  When she answered a call from her adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula's life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth.
As they reunite, taking their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation.  And when they investigate their birth mother's past, the sisters move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives.

I am not adopted, but I have worked professionally for many years in Adoption related fields.  So I found it especially fascinating that such secrecy occurred, and not even that long ago!  I couldn't imagine being that caseworker or researcher knowing that the girls were twins and not telling the adoptive parents!  What a conflict they must have experienced.  I still have dreams and regular thoughts about the Child Protective Cases (child abuse) I worked on in the early part of my career.  There are so many things that I would do differently now after years of professional and personal experience.  I can't help but wonder if the workers involved in these (many) separated twin adoptions felt the same.

The other aspect of the book that I found especially interesting is the concept of nature verses nurture.  As a therapist this is right up my alley.  What I found remarkable were the many examples of separated twin similarities despite being raised apart.  I can't help but wonder in what ways my children (and myself) are destined biologically to act, look and think.  And of course in what ways I have been shaped by my environment.  Would I look physically differently if I hadn't lived in Hawaii for 4 years?  Or if I had started eating (more) healthy foods earlier?  What if I actually exercised regularly (ha).  Ah, the possibilities.

The sisters started life out looking completely alike.  However their environments (and therefore decisions on where to live, what to eat, etc) shaped their physical appearances and now they look similar but not identical.  Fascinating!

Now you can see why this book has caught my interest.  I have been telling all of my friends about it non-stop since I finished it last week.  I highly recommend reading it, I found my copy at the local library.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Growing and storing green onions at home.

I discovered recently via Pinterest that you can grow your own green onions at home.  If you harvest the top of the onions and place the bulbs back into water they miraculously grow again, almost overnight!  All you need to do is keep them in a location that gets some sun and change the water every 2 days or so.

Now I'm going to be honest about something that is somewhat embarrassing.  I didn't know how to properly use green onions.  There I said it.  No, it's true.  I had been cutting and using the bulb part of the onion b/c, well it's the part that looked like an onion!  Believe it or not I had been throwing out most of the green portion of the onion.  Shocking I know.  I had it all backwards.  Ha!

I discovered my faux-pas while researching how to grow them at home.  Ah, the things you can learn from Pinterest and google. :)

Now, back to the onions.  Around the same time I was growing the onions I also saw a great idea on Pinterest about how to store them.  You cut them up and place them in a plastic water bottle, then keep it in your freezer.  When you need some onions you just shake them out.  Perfect and easy!


Here are our onions this weekend after we harvested them (for the 2nd time).  They're back on the counter growing again.  I didn't take a before photo, but you can see how tall they were from what is on the counter.  It took about 2 1/2 weeks for them to get this tall. 

I'd suggest using a sharp kitchen scissor instead of a knife to harvest and slice them, much easier.

The 4 year old wanted to help me so I put her to work putting the pieces into the plastic bottle.  I'm sure there is an easier way (funnel perhaps) but she was having fun and was able to work alongside me as I cut all the pieces.

We now have a full bottle of cut green onions.  I will have to start looking for more recipes with green onions because it will be time to harvest a whole new batch in about 1-2 weeks!  I may never have to purchase green onions again.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mama Mia Designs at the Momma's Organic Market

The last Momma's Organic Market (M.O.M.) of the season was yesterday.  We try to go to the market each month and I have some favorite vendors.

One of my favorites is Kim Boardman and Mama Mia Designs.  She's been at the M.O.M. for years and makes the most fabulous baby items including shopping cart covers, changing pads, burp pads, dolls, busy bottoms baby seats, blankies and bibs.

I absolutely swear by her bibs, they are the best and I try to buy them for all of my friends.  What makes them so wonderful is that they have a pocket at the bottom (that can snap out) to catch food.  Genius!  They are also lightweight, can be easily wiped off or rinsed out and can be folded up tight to fit into my diaper bag.  And if that wasn't enough they come in stylish and contemporary prints.  Sock monkeys anyone? :)


I also love her soft tag blocks and have a couple for the baby and have given them as baby shower gifts too.

Our most recent addition was a splat mat for our kitchen.  It is just the right size and isn't an eyesore in our kitchen.  In this picture she is also wearing one of the soft drool bibs that Kim makes.  It still works for eating too.

The M.O.M. is done for the season and won't start up again until September since its so hot already (over 100 degrees yesterday).  But you can still find Mama Mia's Designs online here or on facebook.  She also does custom orders if you see something you like.


I'm already missing the Momma's Organic Market and am looking forward to it's return in the fall.  I hear that they will have the market every Saturday next year instead of only once a month!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Make your own diaper pail deodorizer

It's been awhile since we talked about cloth diapering (CD).  In case you're new to my blog I have CD both of my kids.  My first daughter did cloth from newborn all the way through potty training (including overnight cloth pull-ups).  My second daughter is currently 9 months old and is going strong in size medium.

However, things have gotten a bit stinkier since she began eating solid foods.  As a result the dry diaper pail needs a little help.  In the past we used an air purifier in the changing table room, but right now that's been moved elsewhere.  So, I started looking into things to add to the pail.  I wanted something stronger than straight baking soda (which works too, just a sprinkle here and there).  Here's what I did with a little help from my 4 year old.


Diaper Pail Deodorizer

Ingredients
Baking Soda
Water
Essential Oil (lavender, tea-tree, eucalyptus, mint or lemon)
A container to put it in (a large spice container would work great)


Directions
1. Take a medium bowl and put baking soda in.  I used 1 cup b/c that's what my shaker held.
2. Add water slowly until it makes a thick paste.
3. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil. I used about 5-7 drops.
4. Spoon the paste into a cupcake cup until it's about 1/2 inch full.

5. Wait 1-2 days for the mixture to dry out.  Mine took only one day but I live in a very dry climate.

6. Put the powder mix into your container and shake up to break up the clumps.  Then shake in your diaper pail at changes or when needed.


Another quicker option is to put a couple drops of an essential oil onto one of your cloth wipes and put it in the diaper pail.

Check out a Christmas Version of the deodorizer here.

Diaper Liners
And don't forget that using disposable and environmentally friendly rice-paper liners is helpful with the solids too.  That way if baby poops you can just throw the liner in the toilet instead of worrying about rinsing or even worse swishing in the toilet - yuck!  And if they haven't soiled the liner you can just throw it in the wash with the diapers and then use it again (2-3x before you need to toss it).

For more information on Cloth diapering check out my posts cloth diapering 101cloth diapering 102, and cloth diapering 103.  I talk about my washing routine, what diapers I use, where to buy them and how I organize them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fisher Price Fridays - Music Boxes

Another oh-so-popular Fisher Price toy is the music box.  If you were born in the 60's-80's you must have had at least one.  Am I right?


Today on Fisher Price Fridays I take another break from the Little People (but don't worry, I'll have a new set next week) to show you our collection of music boxes.  Two of these beauties are actually from my childhood.  The other two were from Ebay and an antique store.


First up the Music Box Teaching Clock #998.  It was made between 1968 -1983.  This lovely clock is a childhood toy of mine.  It is a bit beat up and even missing the top handle, but it still works!  The yellow short and long hands of the clock can be moved manually by the knob in the front.  The sun and moon dial move around the clock when the music plays.  As the clock goes around it shows children doing different activities that they'd do during that time of the day.  

There are lovely lithographs on each side of the clock showing the time.  


The back of the clock has the dial to wind it up and more pictures of how to tell time (the same ones that show in the front).  At the top there is a cute little bird ringing the school bell (he's on the front too).

The music box plays the song "Grandfather's Clock" in time with a "tick-tock" sound as the clock hands go around.  The front has a drawing of a teacher welcoming her students (and a little dog) into school.  It is a lovely music box and I was thrilled to be able to share it with my daughters.

This next one is the Giant Screen Music Box TV #114.  It was made between 1967-1983.  This was our most recent arrival, a Christmas gift for my baby from her grandparents.  The box plays two different songs and has two different pictures that scroll across as they play.  It has a 7 inch screen and two knobs on the front.  One knob winds the box and the other makes a fun clicking sound.

It plays the songs "London Bridge" and "Row Row Row Your Boat".  There are lithographs on each side with cute pictures.  The base of the box is wood although later they switched to plastic.

Later editions of the music box tv did not have a sticker on the top of the box. 


Next up is the Music Box Clock Radio #107.  The clock radio was made between 1971-1984.  It is made out of all plastic.  The clock has two movable arms with an hour hand that moves if the child winds the minute hand all the way around, just like a real clock!  My clock is not the oldest edition because it has three noticeable differences from the earliest ones.  It does not have a red rim around the clock face cover, the blue bead is plastic and it has two arrows on the dial.  The original clocks had the rim, wood beads and only one arrow.  Ah, the little details of vintage Fisher Price toys. 

The music box plays "Hickory Dickory Dock" and has a funny lithograph on the back with the words of the song.


Last but not least is the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Pocket Radio #767.  This radio was only made in 1977.  There is a prior Twinkle Twinkle Pocket Radio #774, which was made between 1967-1971.  The main difference being the lithograph on the back.  This clock is also a childhood toy of mine and was made in the year of my birth.  It has survived these ah-hem many years and I love that my daughter gets to play with it too!

As the title gives away, this music box plays Twinkle Twinkle little star.  As the song plays pictures of animals revolve past the little screen.  The back has a lithograph of a bunny, squirrel, turtle, mouse and bird.  The earlier edition had pictures of children with their dog instead.

The Fisher Price music boxes are entertaining toys and make wonderful additions to our "collection".

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

wordless wednesday - backyard pool

I decided to join the wordless wednesday crowd.  Yes, I'm a follower.  But hey, not much as been going on around here lately.  Here is what we did yesterday afternoon.  It's rough living in Phoenix in the spring. ;)