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Friday, December 30, 2011

Lappie top

VTech Brilliant Creations Advanced learning laptop
Another big hit for Christmas this year was a VTech Brilliant Creations Advanced learning laptop.  We bought a Barbie one at Costco for only $32, but the mediocre games,  two color screen, lame graphics, and Barbie theme made me return it.  The My Own Leaptop laptop @ 21 bucks is great for 1-3-year olds because it only has 6 learning stations that are very basic.  I do like that you can choose from 8 email messages and personalize them for your kiddie to enjoy.  Here's why we love the VTech laptop:  LCD color display, animated graphics, 120 learning activities including foreign language and Math.  It also has a back-light so it works well when you travel at night and your kid can create and save letters and art.  Read more reviews here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I read the whole book!

My little 4-year old is getting ready for the big K next year.  For Christmas we bought her BOB Books Sight Words Kindergarten...and she is in love reading now.  Sight words are common words appearing over and over in your kiddie's reading. You get 10 little books for 12 bucks on Amazon.  Each book has simple stories and short vowels. There's also lots of repetition and your little one will feel very successful after reading a 12 page book. Read on...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ice cream cone cupcakes

Betty Crocker Ice Cream Cone Cakes
They love ice cream.  They love cake batter.  Slap them together and they will fall over with joy.  I'm making these tasty treats for Belle's upcoming 5th birthday.  Here's what you do:  Mix your cake batter according to your recipe, place cupcake liners into  muffin tins, pour in the batter, place ice-cream cones on top and bake 15-22 minutes.  Cool, remove liner, frost and sprinkle with love. Here are some organic cake recipes. Send me your pics and comments when you make this one!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Almond milk

I am lovin' some almond milk.  Nutritional bene's:  less calories than milk, low sugar, no cholesterol and a lil protein. I hide mix it in the girls' waffle and pancake batter, oatmeal, and cold cereal.  I also throw some in my decaf chai tea. Here's the recipe for making almond milk at your casa.  My other love is almond meal.  Read more here. Yum.

Monday, November 28, 2011

crayon making

Make new crayons from recycled ones!
Yes, you and the kiddies can make crayons. Too easy. Take the wrappers off your broken crayons, place them in greased muffin tins. Place in a 275 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Pour into lightly oiled (they pop out easier) candy molds or into cookie cutters placed on a foil lined cookie sheet. Then put them in the freezer for another 10 minutes.  Instant fun and crazy colored crayons.  Great inexpensive recycled Christmas gifts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toothless Fairy

This week I introduced the Toothless Fairy and the girls ate it up.  This fairy loves candy, not your kid's baby teeth.  Just leave the sweets and she (you) will leave a small gift in return.  Here's what happened:  the girls picked three pieces of their favorite candy from their loot and the rest was left for the fairy on Monday night.  In exchange, the fairy left a new hat/glove/scarf set for each girl the next morning. I dumped the rest of candy in the community bowl at work.  Next up...Valentine's day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eco-friendly orange days

Here's are four ways to make your Halloscream a little greener...
1. Borrow a costume or buy a gently used one.
2. Hand out organic candy (yep it exists) or pencils, stickers, etc
3. Instead of buying a trick or treat bag to collect the lute, make one or use an eco-friendly shopping bag.
4. Carve the pumpkin and cook those fiber rich seeds with a lil butter and salt for about 40 min at 400.  Yum.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

no sugar soda

The girls loved it.  Every Friday and Saturday we have movie night with air popped corn and a 1/2 can of sprite.  But last night I served Talking Rain sparkling water with lemon lime flavoring with their corn.  No sugar. No sodium.  And oh so tasty.  FYI - one can of soda has about 27 grams of sugar which equals 7 teaspoons of sugar. Yuck. Or enjoy soda smartly with Sodastream - a great way to make soda at home and use less plastic bottles.  Use lemon, limes and oranges to add flavor or buy the lower sugar Sodastream sodamixes

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jam on it

Making strawberry freezer jam is pretty darn easy.  I made eight jars for the girls in oh....30 minutes.  Here's what you do:  mash strawberries, mix in sugar, add pectin (thickens), pour into containers, let sit for 1 day and then place in freezer.  The girls love jam on their pancakes, almond meal waffles, biscuits, peek a boo eggs, in smoothies, and on PBJ's.  The best thing it tastes like fresh fruit.  Makes great presents too!  Get on it. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

almond meal

My kiddies love pancakes and waffles.  Here's a few tricks I use to add protein and less sugar to their morning treats.  If you make these from scratch or by the box, substitute half the mix or required flour with almond meal which is just ground up almonds.  Buy it at Trader Joe's for cheap.  Cut the sugary syrup by topping the pancakes with warmed blueberries mixed with a little raw honey.  You could also throw some freezer jam and coconut flakes on top. Here's the Everyday Paleo pancake recipe. Yummie.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

cavekiddie diet

Way back illions of years ago...our ancestors ate veggies and bread carbies.  I kinda like carbs, Janae really loves carbs but I also see how they make us tired, feel full but empty, and hey...make us wanna eat more crabs.  I started the family on a modified cavekiddie diet, also known as Paleo, stone age diet. We are still eating dairy. From the book Paleo Everyday, Sarah Fragoso suggests a kiddie on-the-go breakfast of a hard boiled egg, almonds, frozen blueberries. Sound filling? You'd be surprised.  Fragoso bodly suggests you ditch the pop tarts, bread, flour, and chips and opt for pumpkin seeds, almond butter, coconut milk, almond meal and tons of veggies. Read her blog here. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Free bowling

Oh... free feels so good. This summer kids + bowling = free. Sign up at, find your nearest lane, print your coupon, take the kids to local bowling arena, and throw some balls for nada.  Gotta love this.  Have an old bowling ball that you want to re-purpose?  Check out this cool way to spice up your garden. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

honey child

It's spring and our allergies have kicked in.  So a few weeks ago, I went to our farmers market and purchased a jar of local raw honey for $16.  The girls and I are allergic to grass, pollen, dust mites.  Digesting a wee bit of local honey each day can slowly build your immunity.  It's working.  Combined with sporadic nasal rinses and daily doses of Costco's Kirkland Signature Aller-tec we are all doing better.  No sinus infections in the last three months!  Read more here.

Friday, June 10, 2011


The girls and I just made some fab little hair barrettes.  All you need are:  feathers, a piece of felt, a hot glue gun, an alligator pinch clip, silk flowers, and beads.  You can buy all of this at Michael's.  Here's the skinny - cut a small square piece of felt and hot glue around the barrette so it covers all sides.  Then hot glue the feathers one at a time onto the felt and finish with a flower.  Or you can stuff a few beads through a feather, then glue gun to the felt on the barrette.  Here's an eco-barrette made with organic cotton.  Kinda pretty and super easy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

we fly

We got back from "the land" last week and the girls flew for the first time.  Here are seven fly tips to ease your trip with the kiddies.  1.  Bring snacks like trail mix and fruit.  Or you could buy an airplane meal for $10.  2. Huh?  I said, ear plugs work.  They will slowly equalize pressure against the eardrum. Try Flents ear stopples eco-friendly ones.  3.  Stuff an extra shirt in your purse.  Your baby could throw up from the turbulence.  4.  Save money and stow your kid's luggage on the plane.  5.  Pass out the gum or sip water.  Swallowing and yawning as the plane is pressurized opens the ear-to-throat connection. 6.  Pack a small blanket for plane naps. 7.  Bring crayons, pencils and workbooks to pass the time.  The kiddies will love to pull the seat table to play.  Have fun!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

disneyland food tippies

We are in the magical land of happiness.  Our first family vacation.  Here are my seven cost saving foodie tips for eating at Disneyland.  1.  Bring snacks. They don't mind, meals are expensive and your kids are too excited to eat full meals anyways.  2.  Bring water. Or you can buy it at the park for $3-5 a bottle.  We bought a case at the mini mart near our hotel.  3.  Find the hotel buffet breakfasts that let kids eat for free.  4.  Pack cereal, paper bowls, spoons in your luggage and buy the milk and bananas at the mini mart.  Great afternoon snack and/or cheap breakfast option.  5. Eat dinner at Ihop.  Kids eat free@ Ihop after 4pm when an adult buys a meal.  What kid doesn't want pancakes and strawberries for dinner?  6.  Avoid the park food courts and opt for the restaurants.  You get more bang for your buck$. 7.  Do the character dinning (see pic).  Great memory.  Just realize that's what your paying for.  It's $35 per adult and $19 per kid.  We had a tasty breakfast at Ariel's Grotto while the princesses strolled around. The girls loved it.  Bring your camera and keep snappin' and bring your appetite, because they will keep the food flowin'. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

earth friendly snack bags on sale

In honor of Earth Day, Mama Luvs is having a sale!  Get 30% off your entire purchase with free shipping on all orders through the month of April!  Use code "SMDF Earth Day" to nab this exclusive savings.  Mama Luvs snack bags have new springtime fabrics. These are perfect for summer camps and packing meals for daytime adventures at the parks and beaches this spring and summer! - Taken from

Monday, April 4, 2011

spring showers

Enough with the rain. We live in the pacific northwest and the induction of spring only means more rain.  Sigh.  Besides going to the movies and indoor germ infested kiddie centers, here are some other ways we are beating the showers around these parts...roller skating, ice skating, library visits, painting pottery (like Paint the Town), or check out volunteer matches at

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

springing forward

Bye bye winter.  Hello daylight at 8pm.  So hard to put the girls to bed when it's flippin' bright out.  Enter Eclipse Thermaweave curtains. I bought mine at Target for about $25 for two panels.  And they work great!  Not only do these triple weave construction window coverings help keep your babies napping and slobbering longer, you will save 25% on your home heating and cooling costs.  Gotta love saving a lil cheddar.  Read more at 

Monday, February 28, 2011

tasty glue

Edible Glue.  You might refer to it as Ranch Dressing either delightedly or with distaste.  I'm going with the latter.  But the girls love dipping their veggies in it. And I am all for my babies getting their veggie fix on. I refuse to buy the bottles at room temp because the artificial smell of glue really shines on these.  Here's my workaround - O Organics refrigerated Buttermilk Ranch or any buy cold organic version.  You could also make your own!  And not the MSG laden powdered kind where you add mayo.  Weelicious has a recipe with the following that I made, that's not so bad. Here it is: Ranch Dip- 1/4 Cup Yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt), 2 Tbsp Vegansaise or Mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp Fresh Chives, chopped, 1 Tsp Lemon Juice, 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard, 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder, 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder, Salt to taste.  Makes 1/3 Cup.  Happy dipping.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

dirty candy

I forgot Valentine's day is like Halloween.  All that darn candy.  I have a friend who lets her kids eat as much as they can stand on the first day and then the bag disappears.  Our bag is still around and the girls have it on their mind as soon as their tired eyes pop open.  Here's an eco-friendly trick to get rid of the love day treats - compost them!  If you don't have a compost bin, you could just place them deep in your house plants or outdoor plant soil.  Or you could take them to work and let your co-workers gobble them up.  Here's some more tips from my eco-buddy over at Green Halloween

Friday, January 28, 2011

cold mice

Ice cream good.  Mice bad.  An ice cream mouse...tasty.  We made these the other night at pre-school family night.  Here's what you do - place a scoop of ice-cream or frozen yogurt into a cupcake liner and then let the kiddies decorate it to make a mouse.  Use vanilla wafers or mini cookies for the ears, craisins or jelly beans for the mouth and eyes and a pretzel stick for the tail.  Make it organic by using - Julie's Organic Ice Cream and Newman's Own baked pretzels.

Friday, January 14, 2011

allergies and congestion

Janae has had chronic sinus infections for oh...about a year.  Her symptoms?  Yellow snot, headaches, and severe congestion.  Her pediatrician has been treating it with antibiotic which clears the issue but the infection pays a visit 2 months later.  So she had an allergy back prick test.  The cause?  Dust mites and grass.  We have now encased her pillows and mattress, kicked up the air purifier, dutifully vacuum her room twice a week and wash her bed linen once a week in hot water.  And she does a daily sinus rinse (nasal irrigation) and a prescribed steroid nose spray - fluticasone. It's working. Want a homeopathic sinus recipe? Just mix iodine-free salt, baking soda and water. Allergy Buster is a homeopathic nose spray option. And instead of the antibiotic, I now give her the allergy tablet cetirizine when her symptoms flair. Allergy shots are another option if your kids can deal.  There are side effects to everything, so do your research.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

manners baby

We actually started the "Can I be excused from the table?" a month or so ago.  Had to.  Here's a taste of what they were doing - sitting and eating children, 4 minutes in, getting up, walking, running, playing, food in mouth, food on floor, mess.  I was done.  Tonight we sat down to eat dinner.  TV was off. I had the girls tell me things they could do to show good manners.  Eat with your mouth close.  No talking while eating. Saying excuse me when someone is talking or you walk in front of them.  They sat the whole time.  Talking.  In his weekly blog, Rosemond says - "We will spend at least as much time helping our children develop good manners as do helping them get good grades in school, which means we will cut back significantly on the time helping with the latter (in consideration of the fact that good manners, which are expressions of respect for others, will take one further in life than will good grades)."  Read more at
Happy resolutions.  

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