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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ornaments with a purpose

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Consume less. Share more." to my ear wax. Can you say re-purpose and reuse? Clearly, we can't save every recyclable thing for a future project because that's hording (see A&E's Horders) but how about, for instance, creating a CD Christmas Ornament with the kids. Or instead of buying new holiday ornaments and decorations, how about asking family members to gift you decorative items they aren't using anymore. My mom-in-law passed on some hand made 70's retro ornaments from my hubby's great grandmother and a few he had created in grade school. The girls think their fun, I didn't spend a dime, and we didn't contribute to the landfill.

Monday, December 21, 2009

merry christmas baby

I am too creative and cheap to buy gift tags. So I went online and found some downloadable print and color Christmas Gift Tags, gave them to the girls, and let them add their special crayon touch. Very homemade, cute and inexpensive.

We also attended a kid's Christmas party. The hosts asked us to bring a canned food item for the local food bank and a dozen cookies per kid. At the party, we made tube sock snowmen, candy ornaments (I would not stop inhaling the gummy bears), and did some near the fireplace caroling with instruments. All of the cookies were spread out on a table and the kids walked around the table, choosing, eating and moving on to the next treat. The girls and I made and brought pink frosted shortbread cookies like Uncle Seth's and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies (we used organic chocolate chips and Trader Joe's organic peanut butter). The pink ones went the fastest but I am not sure they tasted the best. I loved the haystacks that Jayden and her mom brought. Here's the recipe. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I am anticipating going back to work soon so I have been making my list and checking it... well more than twice. If you are joining the game of finding a childcare center, take some notes first on what you really want in a daycare and talk to some of your working mommy friends. Here are some qualities to look for: safety, clean record, staff attentiveness, location to home, cost, outside play, cleanliness, and pre-school curriculum. Keep in mind, there are licensed in-home day cares (cheaper & less structure), day care centers (more expensive & more structure), family or friends (familiar, even less structure, cheaper or free). Try to take your little one at least twice to play before they begin attending. Glam it up by calling it a school not daycare. Here's a site providing more info.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gym School

Belle is quite envious of Janae attending school. To give us something to do while her big sis is away, I enrolled her in a local parks and recreation 4 week "Kinder Gym" for a back breaking 21 bucks. Three times a week for 50 minutes. She loves it. They do circle time, sing songs, and play with and on inside toys you couldn't fit into your bathroom. Each Friday is bring your helmet/bike day and the kids trike and bike around the gym and fill up at the toy gas stations. Very cute. We also attend "Library School". Our local library has free toddler time in the mornings. You bring your kiddo, and the Librarian does all the work. She reads stories, sings songs, leads arts and crafts, the kids play with puzzles, and get their hands stamped at the end of the 30 minutes. Check your local mall, library and parks and recreation for inexpensive and free kid activities.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

Janae's preschool had sibling day last week and the school cook showed us how to make pumpkin bars. She used raisins but those aren't a fav in our casa so we used chocolate chips. Yummy. Here's what you do. Takes only 10 minutes to prep. Preheat oven to 350. Grease one 9x13 pan. Mix all wet ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 cup of canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup oil or melted butter until well blended in a large bowl. Mix dry ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of raisins or chocolate chips, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt into the wet mixture. Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes. We had them for breakfast with milk. Dee-licous.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Re-purposed Organization

I don't buy many boxes of wipes anymore since I have Belle 99% potty trained. Whew! But I've been stashing empty wipey boxes thinking I would find another use for them. Here are five ways I re- purposed them: 1. Hair ties and barrettes. 2. Puzzle pieces. If you have the bandwidth you could even take a picture of the puzzle when complete, print it and paste it on the outside of the box. I cannot claim to have ever done this but it sounds type A fabulous. 3. Toy jewelry box or itty bitty annoying toy parts. 4. Crayons and markers. 5. Cotton balls and ear sticks. Wanna buy a fashion forward, refillable and eco-friendly wipey box or case? Peek these out from Babies in Bows.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

School Daze

So Janae started preschool a few weeks ago. The first day was great for her and bad for Belle. Picture this: a four year old happily getting on the school bus and smiling as her two year old sister runs and screams after her bus. Two year old then sprawls herself on the house floor and throws the biggest fit known to any toddler. Here are my five tips to kinder and gentler school days. 1. Pick out two of their favorite outfits and let them choose which one they want to wear to school. 2. Get the lesson plan from the teacher talk it up over dinner each night. 3. Take them to school before it starts for open house and any other excuse. 4. Create and follow routines consistently at home. Think structure. 4. Be patient. Janae finally fell in love with school during her 4th week. Belle now waves goodbye without squirting out a single tear. Joy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Janae snagged a cool kiddie pink camera for her 4th birthday. Her Papa bought her this Vtech KidiZoom at Walmart for $39. She loves the sounds it makes with each picture snap, adores the fun photo frames you can add to each pic, and I am amazed at how easy it is to use. It also has games and comes with a baby pink USB cord. Digital cameras are eco-friendly when you compare them to the plastic disposable ones. You can reuse them, print only what you love, and there's less packaging. Click.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


If you are looking for the miracle cream. Stop here. Vanicream skin cream takes that annoying eczema itch away, redness, and dry skin. I use it on Belle twice a day: right after bath time and before I put on her clothes. It boasts no common chemical irritants like parabens, fragrances, dyes, lanolin, etc. The moisturizing cream is very thick and the lite lotion is great for the face. I scrapped using DOVE and Ivory and now use the Vanicream cleansing bar on my face and in the shower. The soap has helped the maddening dry skin and itching subside. You can buy online @ at Walgreen's or contact them for a list of stores. Just dreamy. Really.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shower Me

The girls love to take long splashy baths. Like really long. Like hands turning to prunes long. And with long bath times comes abundant opportunities for a wet and moldy shower liner. I finally became disgusted with the cheap $4 toxic shower liner I picked up at Walgreen's. It was headache stinky and attracted mold and mildew. Our new liner is a non toxic, PEVA, earth friendly, chloride free shower curtain. Maytex makes it and it doesn't stink, has a pretty blue tone, and wipes clean with a damp cloth. It retails at $12. Less cleaning, less headaches, and worth the cost.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Silly Trixs

I trick my kids almost daily. I hide organic cocoa puffs by mixing them into the General Mills brand. I also mix cheerios with the organic version. Their 2 and 3 year old palettes can discriminate between the organic and heavily processed. "No mommy! Tastes funny," Janae will say pouting over her bowl loaded with organic love. I mix them in a Tupperware container, recycle the boxes so there is no trace, shake it and serve. Haven't seen an organic version of Trix yet, have you?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carbon Free Kiddie Fun

What can you do outside with the tykes that's fun, inexpensive and carbon free?

1. Take a 15 minute walk around the block. Bring a brown paper bag to collect interesting flowers and rocks.
2. Sell lemonade in the neighborhood. Use eco-friendly cups and organic juice.
3. Bike to a local park. Play and ride home.
4. Make mud pies and water the garden using the pool water.
5. Summer sprinkles? Throw on the rain gear and let them splash.

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Friday, July 31, 2009

A Pink House

"So I hear you have a pink house?" the nurse asked laughing. "Apparently," I replied not too happy. A pink painted house (see pic) would have been Janae's dream come true. But instead it was my living summer heatwave nightmare: both girls with pink eye on the hottest day of the year. Lucky mama. Pink eye is contagious so if you see some yellow discharge or your kid wakes up with yellow crusted eyelashes or they keep rubbing their eye or hey, they just have a red eye. Welcome to the club. The doctor prescribed a 5 day dose of antibiotic eye drops which cleared up the symptoms in 24 hours. Here is an herbal remedy, some home remedies and some doctor recommended ones. If your house is pink, wash down all door knobs and frequently used toys, change all the bathroom towels and bedding, and keep washing everybody's hands. Hourly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Green Thumbs

I thought we had brown thumbs. But it's been confirmed. They are green. The girls and I have ventured into gardening. And to prove our worthiness, we have eaten some pole beans, made pink peonies flower madly, and yesterday we saw itty bity baby cucumbers, lettuce and squash taking up space. Not bad for 2, 3 and 30 something year olds. I'll come clean. The pole beans, cucumbers and squash were sprouts but we did grow the lettuce from a seed. We used organic gardening soil to re-pot the sprouts and planted the lettuce in veggie pots. You can buy organic seeds online here. The girls love watering the plants and veggies and Janae really likes to pick and eat the beans. We used veggie pots to keep it easy but here are 7 tips to planting an organic garden. We're still waiting for the carrots to sprout. Hmmm...too late?

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Free Stuff to Do

Oh how I love free kid stuff. This past week we did two fun, entertaining, free events with the girls. At 10am, we went to our local Regal Cinema for a free kid movie - they offer this three days a week on multiple screens with two flick choices. Janae was engrossed. Belle got a little restless so I bought some popcorn. She stood, munched, watched and talked. Luckily the lady in front of me had a two year old in her lap so she didn't mind Belle's chomping and muttering in her ear. Afterwards, they gave us Costco waters, oranges, and coupons to Charlie Safari. It gets better. Outside there was complimentary huge inflatable slide. We also went to our local elementary school for the playground pals program for kids ages 2-12. Here's the schedule: free hot lunch, playground time, art and crafts, guest speakers, snack time, and playground time. All free and staffed. Check your local school district for similiar programs.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Be honest. Are you still throwing diapers on your kid and dipping them in the pool? My hand is up but I'm stopping. Really. There are eco-friendly alternatives to the non-disposable, land filled, soggy swim disposable diaper. Kushies makes a very hip option - an environmentally sound waterproof, washable, terry-cloth lined wrap style diaper. Love it. I actually have one of these and forget to use it. That was until my sis-in-law told me her son Asher is in a chlorine free swim class (very cool) and she just bought one similar to the picture. If your wee-one goes wee wee or #2 in the pool, it won't pollute the water. Surfs up. Now if only I could get Belle potty trained...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Make your Dough

Kate Gosselin actually inspired me to do this. And with the tough economic times I figured I should try. Yes, I made my own dough. Edible playdough. The ingredient's are simple: 1/2 cup of peanut butter (I used Skippy's Natural Extra Chunky), 1/2 cup powdered milk (I used powdered buttermilk), 2/3 tbsp honey, and a little flour. Mix and start playing. Janae was a fan but Belle spit it out. They did have fun slicing it with mini cookie cutters and plastic knives. You could also buy some eco-dough by eco-kids. It's not edible but it's made from plant, fruit and veggie extracts. And you can order it free of gluten, dairy and soy. Now, go play.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Protect the Planet. One Snack at a Time.

If you pack snacks and lunches for the kiddies and yourself, you probably are still using BAGGIES. Shame on you. Shame on me. Most times I try to use Tupperware but I have peeked a better alternative. An eco-friendly, washable fabric bag with water-resistant, BPA free lining. If you use one of these five times a week for a year, you will save our precious earth from 260 land filled one-use plastic bags. I just ordered and received mine from Mama Luvs at a recommendation from a sis-in-law. The girls love the color: hot pink polka dots on a lime green background. I heart the easy Velcro closure. For those of you in the Seattle area, Mama Luvs will come to your playgroup for free to do a product demonstration. And you get a free snack set just for hosting. Make a dent, and buy one.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Online Scrapper

I am a millennium mommy. I only scrap online at Shutterfly and I love it. I started hard scrapping with all the colored paper, photo book binders, cutters, and pictures in 2004. And it not only broke my wallet but my space. I just never had the room I needed to spread out. I have created at least seven photo books online in the last three years. I make one each year of my family and then every other year I make one for the grandparents as Christmas presents. I get creative with what I can't physically paste into the book. For instance, I took photos of Belle's hospital birth card and the hospital menu, changed both into a sepia tone and placed them in the photo book. I also took Belle's welcome baby cards and typed the welcome message as text next to these pictures. Not the same but hey it works. It's also more eco-friendly to online scrap. Less paper. Since I blog each month about the growth and giggles of the girls I add some of my blog notes as text to the books as well. It's amazing how creative you can get with these!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

She's got curls curls curls

Janae's curly hair type is 3c. The best way to care for her mane is to wash with shampoo with no sodium lauryl sulfate or I co-wash with a conditioner, detangle with a wide tooth comb while hair is wet, use a handful of Pantene's Relaxed and Natural Conditioner (high in moisture), and then Kinky Curly Curling Custard (think natural gel snot). This double threat combo will yield elongated, defined and moisturized curls. All hair is different but if your kiddies have curly hair, check out this site where I have gleaned most of my hair wisdom. To keep her fun locks from matting I pull it back at night into a high ponytail or I make two braids and add more conditioner. In the A.M. I usually spritz it with water and then do the conditioner and curling custard. Pass this tip on to all your mommy friends with curly haired babes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pop your Corn

The 4pm afternoon snack in our casa is usually popcorn. I use this air popper and add a little bit of butter and salt once the hot corn hits the bowl. It's one of the healthiest, tastiest, low calorie whole grain snacks. Here are some tasty popcorn recipes. Using an air popper or the stove is eco-friendly cuz there is less packaging. Plus it tastes better than microwave and it's cheaper! There are some yummy organic microwave popcorn alternatives if you just don't want the fake buttery taste and the fuss of cooking your own popcorn. The girls love their own individual bowls and I usually use clean out plastic cool whip tubs or brown paper bags.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Take a Hike

Looking for something eco-friendly and fun to do with the kids this spring or summer? How about taking a hike or a camping trip at your national park? Check this site out for a map of all the US parks. Some parks have short paved hiking trails (bring your stroller) or day hikes for older kids. There's nothing like being outside with your family, enjoying nature, looking at the birds, rocks, mountains, beautiful scenery, AND getting some exercise. Plus if you live in Washington State, any day with a sun peek, is a good day to get out of the casa. The Washington's National Fund for instance provides a healthy list of kid friendly activities at the three national parks in Washington. Some tips on hiking with the wee ones: dress for the weather, pack lunches and a first aid kit, bring a magnifying glass for inspecting bugs and rocks, and hike at their pace. More tips here!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Potty Breaks

So I woke up Monday morning. Nothing unusual about the day at 8am. Belle had a dry diaper so I put her on the the potty, she went and it clicked. I said to myself, "This is the day. I am going to potty train her." What came over me? I don't know. I have been encouraging her to sit on the potty for awhile. I have read the guide to potty training in three days. Not for me as I can't stay home three days straight with my wee ones, drag a potty chair in the kitchen and force the unnatural consumption of water and juice for 72 hours. I WILL go nuts. But here's my 7 potty training tips. 1. Buy 5 pairs of potty training pants. Eco-friendly ones are great. 2. Set your timer or cell phone to go off every hour for pee pee time. 3. Before you go out or they go to bed (which I did and learned) have them go potty right before. 4. Offer a favorite treat each time they wee (Belle gets 2 olives for pee and 4 for poo's) and clap madly with joy when they deliver. 5. Have them sleep wearing undies, diaper or pull ups and wake them up in the middle of the night for pee time and a treat. 6. Take extra sets of their clothes with you everywhere. 7. Be patient. Don't give up. Did I say be patient? Sigh.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Move that body!

Just 30-60 minutes a day. I take the girls to the park or somewhere to get some EXERCISE every day. Living in Washington State with the most finicky weather doesn't help. To keep it exciting for me, we go to a new park each time or a new play area. I always pack a lunch and after they play for awhile, we eat at the picnic table and then they play some more. The girls play so much, that the afternoon doze off hits them when they get strapped in their car seats. If the oldest Janae won't sleep, I inform her that it's officially quiet time. No talking. As you may know, kid's who exercise have stronger bones, lower blood pressure an are less likely to be overweight. Here's more info on the kiddie movement.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Accidents Happen

My two year Little Belle was jumping on the bed with her big sister, fell off, and hit her head on the dresser. Lots of crying. I was in the kitchen and went to check on her. Blood. I tried not to scream. Poor baby. I began applying pressure to the cut, but it was pretty deep so I took her to a reputable urgent care because the visit is cheaper and faster than ER. They were able to put a clear glue on the cut instead of stitches. If your child bumps their head, look for signs of lack of consciousness, vomiting, and confusion. Kid proof your house with these safety tips.

Friday, April 10, 2009

California Dreamin'

I love California. Well I love the sun. So anywhere boasting 70-80 degree weather for the most of the year is my friend. There's a eco-friendly line my sister-in-law introduced to me called California Baby. With a name like that, I had to try. The good thing is their products are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free and there are plenty of fragrance free items. I bought the Super Sensitive Bubble Bath at Target, the girls LOVE the bubbles and Belle's eczema has subsided. It also comes with a bubble wand so the wee ones can blow bubbles which apparently keep the bath water warm 15 minutes longer. Organize your bathtub toys with this inexpensive storage unit.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easy like Sunday Morning

I'm at home with the kids while looking for a new job and it seems getting out of the house each day has become grueling, tiresome, and frustrating. I have been chatting with other stay at home mommies and have come up with my top seven list of things to do to keep organized, sane and moving efficiently throughout the day. Of course if you work, just apply this to your weekend fun. Here it goes...
1. Lay out clothes for the next day the night before
2. Bathe kids at night
3. If you will be out during lunch, pack some sandwiches and fruit for the ride
4. Dress your sleepy child just when they wake up - less fighting over outfits
5. Demand a 1-2 hour quiet time with the choice of napping, reading or playing quietly
6. Go to the park, for a walk or let them play in the backyard every day
7. Arrange play dates once a week
Here's a good article on creative lunches for kids. Now get some rest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pink Power

Janae loves pink. What three year old girl doesn't? She loves pink so much she has to wear the color everyday. Recently she added purple to her palette of on demand colors. It's maddening. Especially because I don't like pink. At all. Her Grandma bought her the book Pinkalicious by Elizabeth Kahn for Christmas and it has only confirmed her love for pink. We also found Purplalicious at the library last month. The gift that keeps giving. All said, the books are funny, cute, memorable and I love reading them to her. Pinkalicious is about a girl who eats so many pink cupcakes she wakes up the next day and she is pink all over - her hair, face and legs. "I was beautiful, " Pinkalicious says. "Even my tears were pink." There is also a Musical showing in select cities. I am waiting for Kahn to write about my favorite color - Orangalicious. Happy reading.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cut it out

Veggies and fruit pieces get you excited? My hand is up. If you love them, your children will too and if they don't, just keep trying. Opt for fresh produce (organic and freshly picked if you can) instead of canned and frozen. The latter usually has unnecessary syrups and sodium added. The other night I gave the girls a tomato based meat sauce over these cute Heartland Mickey Mouse pasta shapes and I served cut up cucumbers sprinkled with salt on the side. Now, I wasn't raised with dessert after dinner but I love something sweet after a meal so I cut oranges and Fuji apples. The girls loved it and there was enough for their last snack of the night. Excited yet?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

poopy shoes

Little Belle stepped in dog poo the other day. I found this out when I picked her up to place her in her car seat. The stench was like a bad child hood flashback and a raging wave of nausea hit me. The lazy in me wanted to throw the shoe in the garbage and walk away. But I had paid too much for these cute knock off baby Ugss. Hold your breath and wash off the poo right away if you can with paper towels, newspapers and water. I waited to long and it dried up. Next step is to clean off the pop by using an old toothbrush with baking soda, some dish soap and have at it. The baking soda also will remove the stench. Or you can create an eco-friendly baking soda paste (just add water), let it dry and then rinse off. Watch your step.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Belly Bug

My little Belle got the stomach flu. For a glorious week. All of sudden signs - vomiting, dry heaving, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and fever. Watch out it's contagious. My three old caught it and combined with the tonsillectomy it was not so good. My hubby caught it and a host of other friends and relatives who had the pleasure of being around us. True to being a mom, I managed to avoid the bug. My tips - take your vitamins, mix and sip on Airborne, keep washing your hands, do not share drinks or food, clorox down your counters, door knobs, faucets, and toilets. Feed the sick: water, broths, bread, bananas, pasta, Gatorade, crackers, and sugar free Popsicles. Do not serve (I learned) peaches, grapes, apples (if vomiting), fruit juice, or dairy. Keep it bland and un-sexy. Let the flu ride it's course by sleeping as much as possible and avoid taking any anti-diarrhea medicine. Bien Suerte.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Say Ahhhh...

Snoring. Always tired. Sore throats. Ear infections. Sleep apnea. All signs your kid may need a tonsillectomy. Janae, my energetic three year old had her tonsils and adenoids taken out last Saturday. I couldn't of read enough blogs and articles to be prepared for what happened to her. She just wasn't herself for the first three days. My tips if your wee one gets them about what will happen, there will be some pain, they can eat Popsicles and drink juice all the time. After the surgery your baby will return tired, cranky, filled with pain and whining. Get ready. Pamper them, cuddle, kiss and tell them how brave they are. Then keep the liquids going. The throat needs to stay wet otherwise it could bleed. Once home we battled it out about this time and time again and threatened a trip back to the hospital if water was not consumed. Here is a blog site and another site that helped me prepare. Foods to keep on hand - applesauce, jello, soup, gatorade, and oatmeal. So she could feel better, Janae did request a return to get her tonsils hours after the surgery. And stay on top of the meds for pain. Good luck.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dinner then lunch

Give yourself some extra time in the morning and make your kid's lunch while you make dinner. I know. One more thing to do. But why not? I timed it and it takes me 15 minutes to make lunches in the morning. Here are some tips on speeding up the process: give everybody dinner left overs for lunch in pyrex glass containers, cut up a veggie for the week and place into a container, and place small snacks in a small reusable containers for easy refill and grab n go. If you are using plastic containers, avoid the ones with a 3, 6 or 7 on the bottom and don't microwave them. Here's why. Want reusable eco-friendly containers? Click here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Silly Teeth

Tom's of Maine has a silly strawberry Children's toothpaste. I saw it and bought it. My daughters now REALLY enjoy brushing their teeth. There was joy before when we received a free tube of Crest's kiddie glitter blue toothpaste but now...forget it. I get squeals of delight when I announce it's time to brush. If you didn't know, Tom's of Maine creates natural, sustainable and responsible health care products. And hey, get the most from your toothpaste with this reusable handy squeeze it tool. Happy brushing.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Grab n' Go

I'm all about being more organized in 2009. Got a great tip from a co-worker I wanted to share. I tried it out yesterday and I can see the light. When you are folding laundry, take an extra second and fold together outfits (a top and a bottom). Then in the morning frenzy you can grab n' go without hesitation. And to be eco-friendly, how about having your child wear it one more time if there are no drips or stains. You could also play a game with them to get the folded clothes in the drawer. 09 is looking sweet.

Quick and easy, eco-friendly Kid Tips for parents. Email your parenting tips and kiddie tips to