Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ah....the time-honored ritual of Christmas cards!

Every November I open a tab with each of the online photo companies, upload our selected photo (post edited to leave out the stress of having that taken and choosing just the right one - you know that drill!) and look for the cutest possible combination of graphics, colors and available text space.

I forward my husband my passwords and he goes in to look at each of the choices.
I stress about the cost of something that kills trees and only gets looked at for 20 days, then tossed.
We debate.
We disagree on the choice.
We eat, sleep, go on with our lives.
Then, suddenly (yeah, right, as if Christmas comes as a surprise each year), it's the middle of December and I'm in a time crunch.
I blow off Husband's attitude to skip cards this year and, for the past 5 years, Shutterfly saves the day!

Given my past history, it's amazing that I'm so close to ordering this year's cards.  And it's only the last day of November.

So, without further delay...I think...am almost 100% positive...for 2010....we're using this one.  I'm a sucker for all things retro and all things blue = perfect.

There are many reasons Shutterfly stands out:

Their selection of cards gets cuter and more stylish every year!  Here's their latest batch of Christmas photo cards and holiday cards.  Of course, we do photo cards now that we have three cute faces to share, but pre-marriage my choices were the plain, boxed sets from the stationery store.  Now there's a huge variety of stationery cards that don't require matching outfits or pulling teeth to get smiles.

Another perk for my pocketbook - there are many price points.  I can't stomach the cost that some companies want me to pay per card but Shutterfly makes me feel wise and trendy without worrying that our card will be politely placed on the bottom of someone's card holder behind the free notepad from their realtor.
 
They also have calendars which I give to the grandparents EVERY year.  The benefit of such is that I can make sure they know all the birthdays and anniversaries they might otherwise forget (not naming names here, but someone forgot our youngest's 1st birthday this year....)  I make a special one for my grandmother using photos from all the extended family, adding new babies and new spouses is a must!  I finally got smart and set Gram's calendar to start in Feb of the next year so I can insert any last minute holiday pics from this  year and still get it to her without wasting a month.  Brilliant feature, Shutterfly.  Maybe I'll do an 18-month calendar for her this year.

Shutterfly also has my vote for supporting Heifer International.  In my classroom, every year, the kids and their families participate in a Read A Thon to raise money for the purchase of livestock to help families in third world countries become independent and self-sustaining.  10% of the purchase of these cards goes to Heifer!  Terrific!  They also support LiveStrong and the American Lung Association.  Albeit the cards aren't that cute, the point of Heifer is the livestock, not snowflakes and it's for a good cause, right?

Not only do they offer fabulous holiday cards, but we've done #2 and #3's birth announcements and thank you cards from Shutterfly.  Over the years, I've needed one copy here and there for baby books and such, so it's nice that they allow me to save all my old projects without a fee or minimum annual order.

#1 and #2 have first-year of life photo books from Shutterfly as well.  The quality of the glossy hard cover and the ability to caption and design each page made it simple for a brain-dead, lack-of-sleep mommy to create a book for each boy in the middle of the night.  Of course, Trilogy is already 16 months old and I have yet to order his, but it's created and in my cart now!

They always have coupon, codes and special offers so be sure to sign up for their email newsletter or connect to them on FB or Twitter.

December is just around the corner and I bet you'll be getting your first holiday card in the mail before the end of the week.  Some people are just that together, aren't they?  Well, now with Shutterfly and the reminder I'll get from my husband when he reads this post, you just might get mine by then too! =)

Happy Holidays!

If you have a blog and would like to check out what Shutterfly has to offer, click here. Disclosure - I did receive 50 free cards for promoting Shutterfly, but I was planning to use them anyway!  So that means I'm only paying for 75 of my cards =)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Organic milk. Is it worth it?

Every week I stand in front of the dairy section and debate my kids' health.   Is paying $5.99 for a gallon of organic milk versus $3.29 for a gallon of Trader Joe's no-Rbgh milk going to save them or haunt me years from now?
Here's a great break down from Healthy Child Healthy World on all the reasons I feel guilty when I walk out of the store and why tomorrow they'll be getting organic again.  (PS I never get it for myself, but why not when I am nursing?

Does your kid's book destroy the rainforest?

Wow.  Can't believe I never thought of this one?...Coincidentally I'm sitting next to a recycle can holding the remains of one Spanish-English flip book that didn't survive a 2 year old's naptime...
The RainForest Action Network (RAN) recently published a guide to the publishers who are and are not rainforest friendly.  Sad to see our Puff the Magic Dragon book is not a friend of the trees.  Shame on you Puff.
It's a good thing Simon & Schuster's Generation Green edition is!
Click here to see if you recognize some of the names on your spine...

Patch those holey jeans!

Sommer over at Green and Clean Mom posted a review of a new item, well not new, but you'll see what I mean.
JohnnyPatch takes recycled jeans and makes them into iron-on patches you can purchase and use.  Not sure myself if $9 per patch is worth it, but to not have to sew it, to have it look cute and not waste more space in the world by buying a brand new patch....
As the boys enter the next stretch of outdoor play, I'm sure we'll be needing a heck of a lot of these...free shipping = Yay!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things you maybe knew about being a mom but were afraid to ask!s

This came through today from AlphaMom.
Hello.
Right on target.  Love the one about the puke.  Especially as my oldest is puking as we speak...=(
________________________________________________________________
by Chris Jordan
Nothing really prepares you for becoming a mother. Sure, people tell you what to expect, but until you actually have a kid or two, their words mean nothing. Needles in your spine? Dignity lost on the delivery table? You think after hearing everyone’s labor delivery nightmare stories that nothing else will shock you.
The only thing that prepares you for motherhood is becoming a mother.  And then you can have your own shocking realizations.
1: Loneliness.  Motherhood is very isolating.  Even when I had several kids I described my life as being lonely in a crowd.  Now that my kids are older I  have moved past this stage, but I still think it is one of those things mothers don’t talk about much.  Somehow it is taboo to admit that your baby doesn’t fulfill  every last desire that you have.
2: Your body will never be the same.  I’m not sure why this one shocked me so much.

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Felt crafts

I found this for a friend and thought I'd share.
She wants to put a felt or flannel board in her daughter's room for storytelling fun!

No Poo - Am I brave enough?

For the past year I've treaded the "No Poo" waters...
It might be time to dive in.
Here are a few of the fabulous posts I'm visiting and re-visiting to build up my courage.
Want to join me on my swim into the world of No Poo?

BabySlime - a great break down on "fixes" as well
SimpleMom -  has short hair like me. (note - this is not me =)
Kitchen Stewardship -  my life wouldn't be the same without Katie and her tireless research into all things green and important to me now =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big Blue? Easy-peasy! Joe's always ready for a challenge!

This week's matchups!

Ladies and Gentleman - with the time change, you now have ONE EXTRA HOUR to vote for Joe Bruin!


Last night, my family and I cheered on the UCLA Bruins to their, literally, last second win over the Oregon State Beavers.  Proof positive that Beavers can't build a dam, our kicker made a last-second field from 51 yards to seal the deal and win the game!  17-14

During the game, I threw out the "Mascot Alumni" card and asked some of the Yell Crew to bring Joe Bruin over for a family portrait.  Always gracious and humble, Joe proudly walked among his fans to our section and gave us a 30-second private audience before wowing the rest of his adoring fans who had lined up for aisles.

Ever so strong, Joe offered to hold all three of the kids himself, but we knew he had to save his energy to take on Big Blue in this week's Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge.  Have you voted for this studly, family-friendly bear yet?

Do it now - Vote!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Boo!

I set my sights on making a Halloween wreath for our door this year. I had found this version that used black burlap, scrapbook paper, black paint and B,O,O. Here's my version of it =)

Cutting the burlap into strips almost sent me packing...but tying it wasn't so bad.  I liked how it turned out and am trying to resist the urge to add more to it.  I'll take pictures of the rest of our Halloween decorations soon.


Mr. P and I did agree that I'd be all Halloweened-out next year so I should probably skip Thanksgiving crafting this year so I have something to do with myself next Fall....;)

Cute reminder sign


Believe it or not...I apparently have a crafty bone in my left foot, second toe from the right. It's small and if I'm not careful I might break it on the buffet, but for now...it's still working and it helped me create this.


































I LOVE my children's feet. Could eat them for lunch with Magic Shell.

Oh, and btw, 99% of outdoor toxins can be kept out of your home by simply removing your shoes when you enter. Thanks in advance =)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Little Pickle Press

Little Pickle Press - a conscientious kid's go-to

Fabulous site with some great books and a money kit that I'm thinking of "investing" in =)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cute Chore Chart idea

I like Frecklebox's personalized stuff and since I'm having trouble reminding myself to give Curly a magnet each time he helps out...maybe this will help me do my chore =)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Here's why people think I'm a freak =)  Although...truth be told: my kids think that Sesame Street only airs at Papa's house so they do get to watch it once or twice when we're there.  Other than that, they think the tv is for watching UCLA sports, nothing else =)

Here's a terrific article from the Greater Good Science Center that might help you better understand me =)
(i.e., pretty please stop arguing with me that my kids "need to learn about this stuff sometime"...they will.  when it's developmentally age-appropriate.)


_________________________________________________________________
Weighing the pros and cons of introducing television into our household

  
Dear readers,
As I write this, I am waiting for the cable guy (or cable person, as the case may be).  I haven’t had regular Internet access since June 17th, not that I’m counting.  So the cable person is coming to install a landline (no mobile phone service here, either), Internet, and, um, possibly cable TV.
I kind of want it. I haven’t had a TV hooked up for years.  Although I do take a smug pleasure in saying, “My kids don’t watch any TV,” I’m sure this is more annoying than inspiring.
People often say to me, “Don’t your kids feel left out that they don’t get to watch the shows that the other kids are watching?”  I honestly don’t think that they do feel left out, though they are only 7 and 9, so this may change.
To me, here are the pros of having television:
  1. It would be fun to watch cooking shows with my children; maybe it would inspire them to spend more time in the kitchen with me.
  2. If there is a show that all the other kids are watching (American Idol) it’d be fun to watch this together.
Although there is a tiny bit of evidence that some shows are, indeed, educational, clearly time spent reading or in other activities is a zillion times more beneficial developmentally, so I’d put educational shows in a neutral category—not really a “pro” of watching TV, but certainly not a “con,” either.
Here are the cons of television, for my family:
  1. TV takes time that kids could be playing, reading, socializing or doing other, more developmentally beneficial activities.
  2. My kids always seem really cranky after they’ve been watching TV.
  3. Currently my kids are great at entertaining themselves by drawing, playing outside, and by playing with their pet rats (sounds gross, I know, but those pets are a positive thing).  I’m afraid they’ll lose this self-entertaining skill if they can do something that takes less effort, like watch TV.
  4. TV may create a new battle-ground: “can I watch TV” begging.  I certainly know how to create limits (my mom only let my brother and I watch a half hour of TV per day) but I think my kids will still ask, beg, and cajole me to make exceptions.  I can also limit this behavior by taking away TV if they do it, but then I will have created a complicated new system ripe for arguments.
  5. Even if I’m super-controlling about which shows the kids are allowed to watch, TV can have a pernicious effect on our perceptions of race and ethnicity.  New research shows that watching how black characters are treated on TV tends to affect people’s attitudes about race both consciously and unconsciously, and usually not for the better.  Why would I want to let actors’ and producers’ prejudices influence my kids?
  6. Moreover, and I think this is my biggest concern, the influence of commercials, product placement, and celebrities—especially if my kids’ heroes are endorsing a product or style just by wearing it—is not happiness-making.  Consumption and materialism are in large part learned; the materialistic culture often represented on television creates beliefs and behaviors that ultimately make kids dissatisfied (and whiny) rather than joyful.

Great addition to a Waste-Free lunch - ScrappyNaps!

A friend shared these terrific all-in-one placemat/napkin setswith me today.
The boys each picked out the fire-fighter hat and the robot sets.  I'm hoping that she'll have more fabric choices later on because Mama needs one of her choice to =)
20% off through Faberuna
Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Day Out 2010- tomorrow Sept. 28th

We all know the importance of sitting down to dine with our kids.  Two programs are in effect this week to encourage us to remember how valuable this act it.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse declared today Family Day 2010

Tomorrow is Family Day Out 2010. Participating restaurants offer a free child's meal with the purchase of an adult's. Check out this link to the California Restaurant Association for more info.

 Thanks, First Lady Maria Shriver =)

Now can your husband pay off our state's debt?

Or at least support the schools??

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Capital One Bowl - a little secret about me you may not have known =)

To all 13 of you....hehe

There's a little secret about me that 8 of you may not know...

I'll give you a hint:

I am not a lot less hairy than I was the last two years as an undergrad at UCLA.

My husband is very thankful about that for two reasons - 1) that's how he met me and 2) it no longer applies.

While growing up a UCLA fan (8th member of my family to attend), my family had season tickets (still do to this day) for Bruin Football.  My father (Class of '70) used to encourage my brother and I through subtle hints about the activities we could do while one day attending his alma mater.  Ever gender-correct, Dad would point out the awesome football team to JB and make me take notice of the beautiful, bubbly dance team, saying, "Someday, Jen will be cheering on the sidelines for JB."

Ahhh....a father's dream.

Not.  JB played baseball and I, well, I went for a less prestigious position - the female mascot, Josephine Bruin.

BOY DID I LOVE IT!

Not only did I meet my future husband and father of my own 3 Little Bruins.

screen-shot-2010-09-22-at-110441-amAs Josie, my head fell off twice, I was “mounted” by the Kansas Jayhawk and had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent UCLA while riding on a barge with the deafening band behind us on San Antonio’s RiverWalk for the Sweet 16.

Fast forward 12 years later....

I've been chosen for the Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge as the official blogger for UCLA and Mighty Joe Bruin.
WAHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Why do I care about Joe when I was Josie?  Because behind every GOOD Bruin is a GREAT Bruinette...? HUH?

Check it out here (oh and GO VOTE)


Standings here 

VOTE

More to come, but thanks to Danielle Smith, Founder of Extraordinary Mommy, for this awesome opportunity!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Digital Children's Library

Check this out the next time you think you'll fall over if you have to read The Mine-O-Saur one more time..  Online Library

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hyland's BellaDonna

I recently went to Rainbow Acres, a local health food store, and found a homeopathic fever and inflammation tablet from Hyland's.  They make the teething tablets that I told you about before.  I was amazed at how many products they have (Hyland's).  They even have a tablet for nausea and vomiting....hmmm...maybe I could have a fourth child after all...
Here's a link from Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dhpc&field-keywords=hylands+belladonna&x=0&y=0
I just couldn't stomach getting back into bed with Tylenol after the recalls...
Happy Weekend!

Applesauce! Make Your Own





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Our boys LOVE applesauce.  To hear my two-year old ask for it is a simple joy.  "Appuhsos"
As part of my make-my-own, save money kick, I've priced it out and it's more economical and more FUN to make my own applesauce.  Here's the recipe I follow:

Makes 4 jars.

15 medium apples (4 1/2 to 5 pounds)
1/4 cup water
1/2 to 1/4 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of the apples)
zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

My helpful assistant juices the lemon.


1.  Peel apples if desired.  (I don't b/c I'm lazy and just scrub my organic apples really well.)



2. Halve and core the apples.  Cut into 4 slices.  (I use my apple slicer - much faster.)

3. Put sliced apples into a pot with a heavy bottom.  Add water, sugar, lemon zest and juice and cinnamon.

4. Cover and place over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender, @30-35 minutes.  Keep heat low at first to the apples don't burn. 

5. If peeled, simply mash them with a potato masher.  I just put them in my food processor.

6. Store applesauce in a covered container in the fridge for a week or two. (I repurpose applesauce jars from Trader Joe's.)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nectarines everywhere!

This picture doesn't do justice to the amount of fruit that our nectarine tree is producing.  This is just what the boys and Mr. picked off one section of the branch.  i.e., if I picked all day for the next 2 weeks, we'd probably have 1,000+ nectarines.
I plucked about 50 today alone. 
What to do with them?????
Tried this recipe for Nectarine Blush today.  Had to make my own buttermilk - easy peasy!
Bonus - the boys LOVED it!

Off to brainstorm for tomorrow's harvest!
I'm determined not to let it go to waste this year so I borrowed our neighbor's fruit picker-thingie.  LAst year Mr. climbed the tree and shook it like a monkey.  As the nectarines fell, half of them smashed on the driveway or in the bushes on the front side of the gate and the other half got sucked up by the HooverMollyVac (i.e., our dog).

Monday, July 5, 2010

What's for Dinner? Hamburger Casserole in the Crockpot




I pulled this recipe from the Crockpot section because I had almost everything it called for!



2 potatoes, 1 tomato, 1 small onion, 3 carrots, 1 lb. ground beef (I sub'd turkey), 1 can of tomato soup and 1/2 C of water. Layer in that order seasoning with s&p throughout.



Made it the night before and turned it on low at 10am as we left for the park....



Boy did the house smell good when we got back!



Boy did it kill these kids to eat this....



Boy did I wish I had poured the soup in that morning and not the night before.



Boy was I happy to serve it to Jeff on Friday night and proclaim it as "stew."

Better luck next time. I was proud of myself though!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Seeking Significance - Becoming Minimalist

Becoming Minimalist has a wonderful article up today about Seeking Significance instead of Success.  This couldn't come at a better time for me because I'm on the brink of a major life-changing decision about my job.  I hope you find something of comfort and inspiration in it too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Shipping on CleanWell

CleanWell is having a free shipping offer! Don't miss it.  If you're not sure why to get it, read this previous post heralding the product =)
Enjoy!

Here's the info:

"It's summer time - you've got your flip flops on and you're ready to get out and explore. Those outdoor adventures might make your feet more than just tired. New York Magazine's Summer Beauty Survival Guide recommends CleanWell wipes when your exposed dogs need a little refresh!


Use discount code "shipsummer" at our webstore and you can easily take us along on picnics, beach outings, wading in the creek, and on family BBQs!

• Kills 99.99% of germs

• No Alcohol

• No Triclosan

• Kids safe formula

• Safe for sensitive skin

• Never tested on animals


Clean feet AND clean hands! Remember enter discount code "shipsummer" at checkout! Good until midnight July 1, 2010.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homemade Yogurt - Yogolicious?

Homemade yogurt was all the rage a few months back.  I've just now caught up with it since I've been too busy discovering self-serve frozen yogurt...come to find out it's a few years old already.  So much for keeping up with the times.  Or my diet.  Yogolicious, our neighborhood self-serve joint is helping me eat enough to be my own house and home.  Dulce de Leche Caramel with Mother's Animal Cookies and Gummy Bears.  Heaven!!

At 33 cents an ounce, it's the cheapest sin I commit, but in order to hide the frequency from the Mr., I have to save money elsewhere so I've decided that in order to afford such a luxury (weekly) the kids can sacrifice their organic "vanana" yogurt from Trader Joe's and eat Mommy's homemade organic vavavavaoom yogurt instead.

Justified, no?

Intimidating at first, it's actually quite easy if you have all the materials needed!

Here's the recipe I've used twice with success from Small Notebook.

1) Boil 1 quart of milk until it reaches 180* (to kill all the bacteria).  "Mommy?  Why is there a clock sticking out of the pot?"

2) Let the milk cool to 110* which is the temp at which yogurt cultures.  I stick mine in the fridge so that I can complete a million other tasks because a watched pot never cools or something like that.

3) Add 2 TBS of live active cultured yogurt to a jar.  I purchased mine at Trader Joe's for the first batch and used Stonyfield for the second.  (Be sure to thoroughly wash your jar and lid first =)  As you can see, I've repurposed one - applesauce, thank you very much.

4) Add a little bit of the cooled milk and swish it around to mix with the yogurt already in the jar.

5) Wait.  Or don't wait.  Or sing a song.  Add the rest of the milk to the jar.


 6) There are a few options for this step, but I just chose to put my jar in the oven overnight with the oven light on.  Easier for me to remember it in the morning.

There are all sorts of mix-ins you can add (nuts, fruit, anything these people suggest or you can be really cool (blaring techno music a must) and put one of the Yogolicious toppings for their FROZEN yogurt.  Forgive them their spelling errors.  The music is REALLY loud in there.  But I really want to try putting actual cinnamon toast on mine next time.  The "rownie Bites" are a personal recommendation from Scooby Doo.
 ___________________________________________________________________________
Fruit Toppings
Strawberry, Mango, Blueberry, Pineapple, Kiwi, Banana, Raspberry, Blackberry, Cantaloupe, Fresh Peaches, Fresh Oranges, Honey Dew, Lychee, Pomegranate Arils, Seedless Grapes, Watermelon
Sorbet
Chocolate Custard, Hawaiian Delight, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango, Pomegranate/Raspberry, Vanilla Custard, Orange


Yogolicious Dry Toppings
Almond M&M, Butterfingers, Captin Crunch, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Sprinkles, Cinemon Toast (cereal), Cocoa Puffs, Coconut Flakes, Frosted Animal Cookies, Fruity Pebbles, Garham Crunch, Granola, Gummi Bears mini, Gummi Bears reg, Gummi Worms-sour, Heath Bar, Holiday Sprinkles, Kit Kat (Chopped), Lucky Charms, Lucky Charms, M&M's (mini or reg.) Mochi, Nilla Wafers, Oreo Chocolate, Peanut M&M, Peanut Pieces, Raibow Nerds, Red Bean,Reese's PB Cups, Reese's Pieces, Semi Sweet Choc. Chips, Sliced Almond , Snicker, Sour Patch Kids, Walnut sm Pieces, Yogurt Chips

Yogolicious Wet Toppings
Banana, Blackberry, Blueberry, rownie Bites, Cantalope, Cheescake Bites, Condensed Milk, Cookie Dough Bites


Syrup
Fuit Flavored Syrup,
Honeydew, Kiwi, Lychee, Mango, Peaches, Pineapple, Raspberry, Seedless Grapes, Seedless Wtermelon, Strawberry, Condenced Milk, White Chocolate Syrup, Chocolate Syrup, Caramel Syrup

 _______________________________________________________________________________
The boys did reject the first batch.  I think because it was too thin.  But toss in their usual request - frozen organic blueberries and they drank it right down =)  Haven't ventured to strain the excess liquid with a colander yet.  But I did pull out the coffee filters in preparation...and then thought "Now that wouldn't make this so easy, would it?"  And happily decided not to...

*Update - This recipe is very similar to the one I used today (7/8/10) from Super Baby Food - the thickest but most informative kiddie foodie book to hit yourself over the head with.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Love these fashionable re-usable bags!

Some people might frown or scoff at the sight of my kid eating peanut butter crackers out of a Coach pouch.  Or they might think we're really hurting when they see me serve carrot sticks out of my pink organic pouch that's sewn diagonally across the bottom corner where the dog chewed a hole and ruined the perfect rectangular shape.  But, of course, I don't care.  Even though my kids might when they get to school...we have about 12 reusable bags/pouches that I throw snacks and sandwiches in in my quest to save the world one ziplock baggie at a time.

I tried to give them a pouch to be proud of (like they care) and so when a friend suggested PouchPals, made by a local mom, I was sold.  I got three pouches in different sizes and called it a day.  $7 and $9 for the different sizes.  BPA and all other bad stuff free.

When the topic came up in our local Mommy and Me class, I was happy to show off our PPs.  Come to find out, it's an idea that's catching on.  Another local mom is brilliant and has great taste too - check our her reusable bags at PBGreen

I loved the idea of a sandwich wrap that could be used as a placemat too.  And the fabrics were much cuter than the denim I had emailed to my MIL as a gift suggestion for my husband two years ago.  Thankfully, she passed on it.  I picked out the Giraffe print with a different background color and the two other coordinating fabrics are just as sweet, but we need more than just that one lunch set since the sandwich wrap is unique to our random bag collection.  Maybe the UCLA hibiscus print?  $20 for the set is a good price and individual bags are $6.50.

We don't see much of a difference in the way the boys access their snacks or use each bag so let personal preference and price be your guide.  Either way it's good for the environment, good for your kids and a way to help out a fellow mom. =)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All-Natural Green Cleaning - Laundry

As a family of five, with two dogs who shed enough to clean up oil spills and at least one nightime diaper leak a day, I wash a lot of laundry.  Note: I wash  it.  I do not claim to fold it.  Instead it rotates between the machine, the kitchen counter, the couch, our bed, the pack-n-play, our bodies, the hamper and back.  Occasionally there's a detour into drawers, but highly unlikely recently.  It's very helpful when Curly runs to the couch to find his clothes and offers Spike one of his shirts along the way.

During my pregnancy with Curly and my 25-week relationship with the toilet, I noticed that the smell of my toxic, vomit-inducing long-loved Tide scent was causing me to heave each time I dried my face with a bathroom towel.    Welcome to the start of my personal green revolution. (Can you hear the angelic music?) 

To avoid reliving those puke-filled days, I banished any artificial scent or chemically induced high from our house.  Bye-bye Tide.  Since then, I've gone back and forth between the "traditional" Borax/Washing Soda mix and Seventh Generation which I can get from Diapers.com.  After seeing the white residue on our dishes, I sai, "No, Hell No, Absolutely NOT" to the dishwasher recipes using Borax. Funny thing, my stomachaches stopped too... It still didn't sit well with me that such ingredient was sitting on my kids' skin.  So I went with Seventh Gen and their 6-pk delivered to my door.

I hate that I'm wasting all that plastic using 6 bottles each time I order and I'd like to save a few pennies here and there so I'm going back to making my own.

After ordering some more Dr. Bronner's - find it here and here - from Amazon, I'll venture out searching for Arm and Hammer's Washing Soda and try this recipe from Passionate Homemaking.  No interest in the Soap Nuts so far...there are enough nuts in my household already...

I'll let you know how it goes!  (What a great excuse to get a cute Mason jar for storing my detergent and scoop.  My MIL has one, but I have no clue where she got it....Mary?)

PS - I do have some OxiClean in the cupboard and I hesitate to use it but sometimes the stains from Poopgate are just too powerful and I quiver in their presence.
____________________________________________

Here's a wonderful way to make your own safe bleach. Except I don't know what to use bleach for. Dope!

Color Safe Bleach via Retro Housewife Goes Green

In a plastic Gallon Jug (I used a old laundry soap bottle, any clean gallon jug will do) add:
2 c. hydrogen peroxide
enough water to fill.

Store covered.

To Use: Soak items in this solution for 10 to 30 minutes.
___________________________________________
The detergent recipe below is a back-up. I found it on TipNut.

Recipe #10 – (Powdered)

1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap

■Mix well and store in sealed container.

■I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.

A lean, mean, green smoothie drinkin' machine! Or "Can I do this without a VitaMix b/c I'd rather spend $300 on a Silhouette?"

I've had this link on my favorites menu for ages and with my ADD setting in tonight, I decided to check out what other food ideas I want to try with the kids this summer instead of making my 4th batch of strawberry jam.

I know this one is going to be at the top of my list and the bottom of the boys'.  This Green Smoothie from Happy Foody.    My friend KDGW impresses me every day...most recently b/c she claims states that her kids will drink whatever veggies are left from that week's CSA box.  How nice.  My kids eat their veggies, but I doubt I could convince them to drink anything that's not white and starts with an "m."

At KDGW's Mother's Day gathering, her sil also claimed touted the amazingness of a smoothie-a-day in her three's diet.  At the risk of using too much of our CSA greens in yet, another, salad (please, no) I'm going to test out their exaggerated state of happiness claims and see if it can indeed produce the same results here at the P Ranch.

Here's my shopping list for this coming weekend's test run.  (i.e., Mr. P get ready to drink the leftovers)

Frozen bananas
Whole peeled orange
Fresh pineapple
just enough water to blend it at this point

and finally...

Baby spinach (She also recommends swiss chard, mustard greens or romaine).  I tried this in my first batch and obviously put tooooo much greena bit of sweetener, like Stevia

I don't have a VitaMix but she did recommend blending it for 2-3 minutes.  Green smoothies shouldn't have chunks...20/20 hindsight, right?



Note - wide straw helps the kiddos...

She says that, "Adding a green smoothie to your day is the BEST thing you can do to get on the path to a healthier you. When you drink a big green smoothie in the morning, it fills your body’s need for those vital nutrients to function throughout the day. You will slowly STOP CRAVING junk food."


I'll drink to that...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Not what it was meant for...a different kind of repurposing..




On each of the boys' beds I have this little basket from IKEA filled with appropriate board books or cuddlies. I liked them for two reasons - 1) matched the Russian orphanage nursery decor and 2) they are flimsy, yet sturdy, with a simple and safe zipper closure diagonally across the bottom.

Since the nightmare of Poopgate 1.9 and Mr. P not coming home this past weekend to reassemble the disassemble- so-it-can-be-scoured crib, I've been juggling 3 kids between 1 bed and 1 crib. NOT FUN.

Tonight it took Spike a bit longer to fall asleep and just as Trilogy was drifting off on our bed I heard Spike call for me with a wimper and a slight scream.

Ran in there to find....

He had put his head through the zippered bottom and was stuck. Since I didn't come right away, he had resigned himself to this new sleeping position and was sucking his thumb with his head on the bumper.

Scared the crap out of me. As I'm lecturing him on how unsafe and dangerous that was and how much it scared Mommy, all he could think of was "More mi Mommy." I guess if you think it's your last meal, it might as well be something you love.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Free bottle of Safe and Effective Cough Syrup

Zarbee's is giving you a free bottle of their Honey Natural Children's Cough Syrup if you post on their Facebook page or email them a picture of your recalled Tylenol or Motrin. You know you probably had 5 of them, but they're all tossed now...no worries at $9.95 a bottle, trying something new and safe won't break the bank, especially if you factor in the cost of peace of mind after all the problems with Tylenol the past year.

I signed up for the bottle swap, but couldn't wait long enough to see it supplies were still available, so I jumped the gun and ordered a bottle for myself and a bottle for a friend whose kids are frequently sick. Although my kids don't get coughs that much during Spring and Summer, I know we'll put this bottle to good use before it's 2011 exp. date.

My Mommy&Me class has been brainstorming other safe remedies for fever....let's hope Zarbee's gets the memo.

I'll let you know when we use it for the first time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Safety Q&A with Gavin DeBecker

I've heard his name a dozen times. Mostly with regards to celebrities and stalkers, especially Tom Cruise.

But a few months ago, Mr. P brought home an excerpt about intuition and looking for danger signs from this book. I was hooked.

Not that I have stalkers or anything, but why can't I be as informed about my personal safety as say, Cameron Diaz?

Macaroni Kid, a local kids' activity newsletter, had a Q&A session with DeBecker and I am so interested in reading his other books now. Especially because I had a heated debate with my father and 3 younger brothers tonight about why I was upset that Curly saw a preview for the new Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz thriller. A preview with guns. And explosions. And blood.

Why should I have to explain a decision I'm making NOT to expose my kid to violence?
Maybe that explains why my brother left the birthday gathering early to hang out with his friends and why the others were on their iphones most of the time that my kids and I were there. No values for what's important in life - family. Rather than edge-of-your-seat action that makes you numb to all other feelings.

Pay special attention the part about sleepovers. Brilliant.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"The beauty of sharing our history is that our children can learn the easy way what we learned the hard way."

Wow. For more inspiration, chcek out yet another great post on Zen Family Habits. I love #2 the most. If my kids only knew what went on in my head all day long...uh-oh!

Family Happiness - can it be achieved?

Here's a great reminder of what's important and how to really live like you mean it. Zen Family Habits A reminder to get off the computer during daylight hours =)

National Wildlife Federation: Great American Backyard Campout - Home

National Wildlife Federation: Great American Backyard Campout - Home

Saturday, June 26th...Dad and the boys will be taking over the backyard...wonder what I'll do with the whole house to myself...
Get your tents ready too!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Car Seat Safety - never too careful!

I'm seriously thinking about being certified. Here's your reminder about what you can do to ensure your precious cargo stays where they should =)

Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus: Katy Farber: Corwin - Helping Educators Do Their Work Better

Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus: Katy Farber: Corwin - Helping Educators Do Their Work Better
I get her feed and answered some questions when she was doing her research. Curious to see how it all plays out...

Are you prepared?

The Southland has been rocking and rolling and I'm getting a wee bit nervous. Hiccups are good for the fault lines, right? Uh....Great website to remind us all about how to prepare for an emergency.

Tell Nickelodeon to stop promoting violent games on their websites

For all the details and a link to fill out the form, click here. I've been getting emails from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood for awhile now and they're informative and helpful. No worry re: spam.
=)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Healthy personal care products for babies and kids

Great list for starters =) from Healthy Child, Healthy World. My online BFF. You should also check your products for these hazardous ingredients.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brusha!


Took the two little ones to Target today and did major damage. But not to my boys' teeth. As we strolled up and down the aisle, Spike gnawed away on an apple. I was so proud of myself for grabbing that snack on the way out and not relying on the Annie's Bunny Snacks that I knew were in the diaper bag.

Spike was very helpful and picked out a new toothbrush for himself and each of his brothers. Up until now, I've been getting the Oral B Stages brushes because I know they are BPA free.

Inhabitots has a great review of eco-friendly and safe brushes and I think I'm going to take the Preserve route once and for all. They sparkle at me from the Trader Joe's aisles, but I love the idea of a ToothBrush Subscription plan that the boys can look forward to getting in the mail. The price isn't too far off from what I paid today for the Oral B and we're helping the planet keep cavities away too =)
If you want some fun toothbrush songs and a chart to help them (and you) remember to brush twice a day, check this out. We sing ours during breakfast and I make up silly ones while they're actually brushing.
As for toothpaste, we use Tom's of Maine for Mr. P and I and Weleda Children's Gel for the kiddies. I've actually caught Mr. P using it too =)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Toxic America

The Hubsters hadn't seen Food, Inc. yet so we watched it last night while dining. Thank goodness we didn't have chicken...
I'm really happy to see that the toxic bandwagon is getting bigger. Less people are calling me crazy lately...
You may want to know what's in your stuff too. Check out this special on CNN tomorrow and Thursday nights. Great site for information too. Let's hope Sanjay doesn't goof this one up though, like he did when he called Dementia a form of Alzheimer's...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TruKid Rocks! Coupon code too!


In this previous post, I heralded the wonders of TruKid's products. Since ordering a lifetime supply of their Sunny Days sunscreen, I've also added the chapstick, the HeroStick, Happy Face and Body Lotion, Friendly Face Wash and the Bubbly Body Wash. Is there anything else to order?
Oh, yea, the conditioner and shampoo. The former of which I desperately needed until I donated my hair...but should order anyways. But I digress...

While patiently awaiting my order, I received a message on our machine from some girl named Jennifer who was calling about a problem with the security code on my credit card. A day or two later I got around to calling back and she answered the line. I assumed she was some college student working in their shipping department to avoid pole dancing and we casually chatted.

Now picture my jaw dropping to the floor as she mentions that one of her 6 kids is playing on the ground as she's taking my order. A nanosecond passes and my brain realizes that I am talking to none other than THE Jennifer, my ProductCrush, the creator of TruKid.

Holy Moley - she probably obtained the restraining order the next day. I could not STOP thanking her for calling me herself, for creating such a wonderful line of trustworthy products and finally, for giving me a 20% off orders of $25 or more to share with ALL MY FRIENDS.

That means you. So use the money you save to donate to my legal defense fund when I'm arrested for stalking this amazing woman.

Oh, the code. PICK20. That's right. My new BFF loves me so much that she put part of my name in the code.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You Raising A Narcissist?

Great article from Michelle (Scribbit) to remind us that "A Star is Born" shouldn't be our kids' first thought.
Ok, so I'm 100% guilty of the photomania. Must. Stop. Now.

Justice-Minded Children

Sunday was the big par-tay for the boys! Lots of fun. More to come on that later. As we gathered in the living room last night to open presents, I talked to Curly and Spike about our ritual of selecting a few (or more) toys or games that they would like to donate to someone or someplace that doesn't have the chance to enjoy as many toys as they do. In other words - give it to someone less fortunate before you open all the other stuff that you are damn lucky to have.

Curly seemed to get the idea. Until he suggested giving his firetruck to his friend, Alden, because Alden didn't have one. Love Alden. Know that he could have one if he wanted to, but he's not the kind of "someone" I was thinking of.

Mr. P and I pondered what we could do to help the boys, at their respective ages, see how they world is full of injustice and how they could play a part in righting some wrongs and making a difference.

Today I came across this post about how to raise justice-minded children. Thought you might like the read too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saving the world. One plastic bag at a time.


Took my mommy (Hi Mommy) out to dinner last night for her birthday (didn't say how old, Mom.) The waitress paused a second when I refused the plastic bag for my take-out container. I told her that I was saving the world one plastic bag at a time. Then she brought me a NEW glass and NEW straw for my iced tea refill....

Sigh.

Anyways...when I can, I try to read Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish. Very motivating. And guilt-inducing at the same time.

Today's post about storing produce without plastic was especially relevant as I looked over this week's CSA stash (huge!). She has a great link to the Berkeley Farmer's Market which recently went plastic free. This awesome pdf file lists out recommended ways to store those coveted items like the kohlrabi that I had to call my CSA coordinator to ask what the heck it was...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mother's Day activities at the UCLA Family Commons

Click here. Fun place. Easy parking. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Embrace life. Always wear your seatbelt.

My mom loves me. She sent me this.
Your kids love you. For their sakes, watch this.

Have you seen these helpful tips?

I've received this email a few times this month...if just one of the tips stick in my head...

Did YOU KNOW? ,
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.

If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. ?


Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.

Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. ?



Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.
It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.


To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of
spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream; then beat them. ?

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste

of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Reheat Pizza
Heat leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove; set heat to med-low
and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the food channel and it really works.


Easy Deviled Eggs
Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal; mash till they are all broken up Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy; squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done - easy clean up. ?

Reheating refrigerated bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in
a microwave next to a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food
moist and help it reheat faster. ?

Newspaper weeds away
Start putting torn newspaper in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers,
put layers around the plants, overlapping as you go; cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic; they will not get through wet newspapers.
?


Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.


Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.


Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... ta da! ... static is gone.


Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water.
Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient (peanut butter, honey, etc.) and watch how easily it comes right out. ?


Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! ?

Reopening envelope
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside,
just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
?


Conditioner
Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.
?

Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2 with Apple Cider Vinegar
and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!


Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!


INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load of clothes.) He took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material . I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well .... the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us
that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh - that's what burns out the heating unit.
You can't
SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your
clothes soft and static free. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush ?at least every six months.
He said that increases the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?!

Wonderfully complete wheat-free grocery list

Monica at HealthyGreenMoms recently shared a terrific wheat-free friendly grocery list. Check it out and subscribe to the blog cause you know you will want to after this!

In her words,

"One major key to healthy nutrition is to eat food as close as possible to it’s original state. Simple Real Food. Food we recognize and ingredients we understand. My grocery list is pretty simple. Notably absent are products made with corn, soy and wheat – this also includes avoiding products that use these ingredients as livestock feed – organic or not! If it makes the animals sick, why would I eat it? We rely as much as possible on local suppliers and ask a lot of questions. If I were to describe our meals these days? Real foods, local fresh foods, organic, wheat free, reduced dairy, 50% raw and cooked from scratch."

Here at the P house, we're not wheat-free but I am aiming for simple real food as often as I can. Realistically, Mama loves her some carbs. But the ease of this list and the mere organization of it along with the fact that someone else typed it up and it reminds me of what all is available to my family all equal brilliance in my book.

Bless the beasts, the children and Monica.

30% off my favorite hand sanitizer!


I blogged about CleanWell a few weeks ago.
Lucky us! They're offering 30% off their products until Monday, April 23rd. Just enter code ED10 (as in Earth Day 2010).

Shipping is reasonable and I compared their prices with the discount to ordering off amazon.com and direct from CW is the way to go.

Best parts: alcohol free, safe for kids, leaves hands soft, fresh citrus scent, safe for sensitive skin, easy to use flip-top, never tested on animals.

CleanWell is all natural and non-toxic. It is made from rapidly renewable botanical sources and is part of a sustainable solution.

Now we're all stocked up on hand soap and sanitizer until Earth Day 2011!

I can't wait to try the new Orange Vanilla "sprinkles" (as the boys and I call it). Maybe this will help Mr. P stop moaning that our car smells like CleanWell all the time =)

Eat this one up soon....

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's a thought...National TV Turnoff Week 2010

Start with just one night =)
My kids think that tv is for UCLA sports and nothing else!
For links and stats that make you sad, click here

Get outside people!

Entrance fees will be waived at all 392 national parks April 17-25 for National Park Week.
Details

Interesting article about mothers' influence on daughter's eating habits

Quick but important read here

"Food is never just food. Food is love. Food is solace. It is politics. It is religion. And if that’s not enough to heap on your dinner plate each night, food is also, especially for mothers, the instant-read measure of our parenting. We are not only what we eat, we are what we feed our children. So here in Berkeley — where a preoccupation with locally grown, organic, sustainable agriculture is presumed — the mom who strolls the farmers’ markets can feel superior to the one who buys pesticide-free produce trucked in from Mexico, who can, in turn, lord it over the one who stoops to conventionally grown carrots (though the folks who grow their own trump us all). Let it slip that you took the kids to McDonald’s, and watch how fast those play dates dry up. "

Are you serious?

I'm...uh..scared.
Huggies

Orange you glad you eat well?!

Ever since starting the CSA, I've had a new interest in making dinner. My mom worked full-time and still had the energy to put a four-course meal on the table every night. I loved eating her pasta sugu, her porkchops, stuffed artichokes and especially Breakfast-for-Dinner! I hated that she wouldn't let me drink my glass of milk until I was all finished with it, but I loved the majority of what she made. Except beef stroganoff. Yuck.

When I moved into an apartment with roommates in college, we set up a system where we each cooked for the 4 of us one week-night and didn't have to worry about anything but eating the other 3 nights of the week. Sweet!

Sour. Well, sheepishly sweet for me, but probably still sour for them. Their moms all stayed home with them while they were young and, for the most part, cooked from scratch. So did mine, but she still had a realistic relationship with Hamburger Helper.

(Our "Orange" meal from last week. We hit all the food groups - even had an orange jelly bean to show how little sweets we "need."

So one of my first presentations for my dinner debut was just that. Cheeseburger Macaroni. To this day, they tease me about how, um, healthy, and happy that meal was. I think 2 of them had never heard of Hamburger Helper. Or Pop Tarts.

For my birthday that year, they presented me with a hand-made cookbook with all their recipes written out on cards along with memorable quotes of our year together. I treasure that book. For the memories it brings, but also for the dinner ideas and simple ways to make something special for your family. Recipes calling for 5-7 ingredients and not a little time. I've added my favorites from my mom as well as a few from my mother-in-law and some close friends.

When I started cooking for Mr. P, I was so excited to use some of these recipes. He ate them. He also started insisting on cooking more and serving less. I didn't get his new obsessions with portion controls. And who doesn't want applesauce and a starch with their meal? My mom was an expert at providing a healthy-balanced dinner so I assumed I had to do the same. How dare Mr. P risk his health and my ego but refusing his carbs?

When I got pregnant with our first son, he started eating less of what I made, I started throwing up more of what I made and my cooking days were numbered. Mr. P gladly took over (for various reasons) and I let him. Happily. I'm embarrassingly admitting that up until last year, I probably cooked once or twice a month for almost 3 years...toddlers don't require "cooking" and most of my vegetables were frozen from Trader Joe's. Not unhealthy.

Enter the preschooler, the husband who isn't available to cook and time. Well, I don't have more time, just more motivation. I have two real eaters in the house now, besides myself and $15 a week going towards the most deliciously fresh picked vegetables in Orange County.

Even I am blown away by all that I've conquered in the past 3 months - kale, bok choy, swiss chard. The list goes on and on. So does my receipt from Trader Joe's where I do 99% of our shopping now. I cook with fresh ingredients, often using a "starter" from TJ's (whole grain mix, turkey meatballs, etc.) Lunch is rarely PB and J and can even be handfuls of samplings from each food group.

We've been talking every day about the 5 food groups and "eating a rainbow" each day. Something that I have taught first graders for over a decade but didn't take to heart until I was teaching it to and feeding it to my own precious boys. When the CSA box comes each week, I let them sit on the kitchen counter and help me sort, wash and chop up the "vegetibles" as Curly calls them. We've been to the farm twice, most recently for a strawberry tour. This past week, Curly asked me if we were adding "green onions" to our lunch as he pulled them out of the fridge! Green onions! My kid knows what a green onion is! Jamie Oliver would be proud! (Love that show, by the way. SO inspiring).

I also put handouts in a clear, plastic sleeve and we cross them off with a dry-erase marker each night. This one from MyPyramid.gov will personalize it based upon your child's weight, height and age. Brilliant. Here's another one.

The boys are benefitting and so am I. Healthier eating and a healthier relationship with food for a healthier LONG life.

Won't their roommates LOVE me? =)