Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Beware Fish burps!

You know it. I love fish oil. Every since I was pregnant with Boo I have been slightly obsessed with good fats. Turns out we need the stuff. Our brains need the stuff. Avocado,egg yolks, I used to avoid bananas even after I learned they carried a gram (GASP!) of fat. Oh yeah, toss me that bag of fat free gummy worms, this lady is banana free!

One glimpse at my hips will show you I have gone the other direction, but seriously my body feels much better with this cushion. And it's not just my body, it's my fat ol' brain.

Even my kids have huge heads. Shirts are an issue in our house where my kids are most often found to be sporting V-necks and button downs and at least once a week shrieks of panic fill our house. The type of shriek the tuned ear of a parent will recognize as only occurring when a not yet overstretched shirt becomes stuck around the eyes.

Were I a less considerate mother I may photograph the little urchins, flailing this way and that with their shirts all a twist. But I am not. So I remove their shirts, give the neck a good old stretch and the occasional snip with the scissors, and continue about my morning: making coffee in my press, boiling up a pot of oats and chia, and divvying out the daily allotment of fish oil.

Lately Moo has been on a bit of a fish oil stroke, precipitated by her obsession with a video (comedy!) of her spitting out a capsule of the stuff. She has the same comedic technique as her father: If they laugh the first time, repeat! (Well, he has two comedic techniques, the other of which is: If they DON'T laugh the first time, repeat! They must not have been paying attention!) Anyhow this morning Moo refused her fish oil (usually a treat!) and I heard Boo patronizing her: "If you don't eat your fish oil, you will not grow anymore! Ever again!" She wasn't buying it. Neither was I.

 I mean, I know she will keep growing, but I see what he was getting at.

Fish oil is pretty near a miracle drug.
Pregnant? Take fish oil.
Psychotic? Take fish oil.
Troubles with attention? Memory? Fish oil please.
Middle age? Fish oil
Old? Young? Fish oil
Alive? Fish oil
Dead? Don't worry about the oil

Aw,Boo is still gobbling up the fish oil though. Between learning letters, words and counting, growing big for his basketball career (self identified start date 5/3/2025), and building his brain for future aerospace developments, his only concern is when he can start having more fish oil. I promised him I would bring it up at his 5yr check up. The last fish oil I bought got less than rave reviews from the kids (remember the pill spitting incident I spoke of? ). They chew the capsules and have a pretty good rancid sensor. Now we have a fresh bottle. It is by ABCD Vitamins and the capsules are super potent with 1,000 mg of fish oil each. I'll be honest. I don't cook fish as often as I "should" so this fish oil is a must for my kids. But don't take my word for it, take his.

**I received this product for free in exchange for my unbiased review **

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disco Bike

Yesterday I arrived home at the same time as The Ogre and crew did.

I was coming home from work and they had just biked back from an Earth Day trash pick up at the Big Urban Woods. After parking their bike The Ogre and Moo came out of the garage. "Where's Boo?" I asked. "He wanted you to get him out of the bike trailer," replied The Ogre. So I entered the garage. It was dark in there.

 At first.

Then the rave began.

 Blue lights flashed. Red lights strobed off the back of the garage door. A rainbow of colors splashed against my irises. Finally I arrived in front of the trailer, where I spotted a dazed four year old, in his proud new Keens, stomping the bottom of the trailer, a slight grin peaking out from below his giant Nutcase helmet. He was in his glory controlling this rainbow.

Of course it never would have occurred to me to put the LED wheel lights on the trailer itself, but when I gave these to The Ogre he thought of his kids first.

The lights are small, maybe three quarters of an inch long, and they screw right on each tire. They don't flash nonstop, only with movement, as Boo had figured out and mastered. When not flashing they almost look like clouded crystals, neither blingy nor tacky. I love added safety features to the family's bikes, especially since we live in such a busy area. This feature added not only safety by making the trailer more visible, but also upped the fun factor for the kids.

My one complaint, and this is a big one, is that HALF of the bulbs didn't work. With six LEDs we should have been able to class up the trailer, The Ogre's bike, and my bike as well (two LEDs each), but with half not working we could only bedazzle one, keeping the odd LED for a back up. I did contact the company but did not hear back. Had they sent me out a new set I would interpret it as a fluke, especially if all of the LEDs worked. We shall see how long these work. I will try to remember to update. How about you... Have you joined the LED craze yet? What is your latest LED purchase. I am looking forward to redoing our lights around the house, just hoping they don't all burn out at once, because they can be spendy. If you find a good deal on LEDs be sure to post it on the facebook page or on the comments below. Peace!

**I was given the LEDs to review in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion**

Monday, April 20, 2015

How to clean your radiators and your sinuses in FOUR easy steps

Previous to my current house I always lived in a Forced Air environment. After doing research on the pros and cons of forced air vs radiant heat I was excited for the change. For a household with allergy and asthma concerns radiators were the way to go! Well, we moved into this house with an energy efficient boiler, and I must say, I love the cleaner air, I love the low heating costs, but the radiators themselves? 100 years of narsty! They are dust magnets and hard to clean.

That is, dear friends, how we come to this FOUR STEP HOW TO on radiator cleaning:


1. After getting kids to sleep send your husband out to forage (dumpster dive). Have him find this sealed oddball of the cleaning world.  (Next to a fully functioning in the box steam mop if you'd like. Just for kicks. Resale anyone?)


2. Unveil the wild haired cleaning stick and shove it around in your radiator. Still dusty? Spray a little warm water and vinegar mixture in those crevices and poke away. 



3. Get out your deceased father's lucky 99 Bananas golf towel turned your lucky rag  (always makes me smile when I grab this happy banana from the rag pile). Pinch a few drops of Pure Naturals 100% Pure, Therapeutic Grade A cold-pressed peppermint essential oil on top of the radiator. Rub in with the happy banana. 


4. Inhale that wonderful pepperminty aroma, opening your sinuses and reaching  far into those lungs, while you admire the clean shine of the hulk of metal.

Seriously though, this peppermint oil smells great. It is not tested on animals (yay!). I think I will use it to make a salt scrub. Or maybe a DIY version of that vanilla deodorant. Anyone want to make them with me?
How about you, what would you use this peppermint oil for?

 By the way, I was given the oil in exchange for an honest review, but you can buy yours here

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My love affair with the French press

You all know my newfound love for the French press. Perhaps you are already a press guru yourself. If not I found an excellent starter set for you. The Kitchen Supreme French Press Bundle contains a glass French press, three replacement filters, a coffee/tea scoop, and a fun stir spoon.

The glass press is both classy looking and user friendly. For us French press newbies the glass makes brewing a cinch as you can see where the water level rises to and place the filter right below that to immerse the grounds.

I haven't needed a new filter yet, but I love that I went have to hammer with finding a replacement for a long time. French press gurus, how often do these filters have to be replaced? Hoping  the the extras will last several months.

The scoop supplied provides me with the amount of coffee for my morning LARGE mug. Were I entertaining a morning guest I would toss another scoop in there. 

The stirring spoon is adorable, though enjoyed more by the kids than myself. When I am able to snatch it back I find its use clever. No sticky coffee circles from setting my spoon various places on the counter or table.  (Yes, my coffee is sticky. Though I do take breaks from adding sweeteners I always return. My coffee tastes have matured somewhat, but after The Ogre brought me a bottle of caramel syrup last  month I have been on another sweet kick).

I haven't used the press for tea yet but will certainly try it  when/if I run out of coffee. We stocked up on a deal when I ordered the French press. I do think all the details the Kitchen Supreme French Press Bundle  contains make it perfect to give as a gift to any coffee or tea lover you have an occasion to buy for. 
**I was given this product for free in exchange for my unbiased review **

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Coffee Secret

My coffee secret?

Do I have to tell you? It is so embarassing!

Okay, here goes.

Up until two weeks ago I was drinking instant. I loathe appliances. They are tacky. They have cords. They take up counter space. Most of them try to make life simpler and if I wanted a simpler life, well, let's just say a lot of things would be different. I wouldn't have kids. I would have a favorite television show. I would rent my house and have a self propelled lawn mower. But that isn't me. So instead of a coffee maker I did the foodie unthinkable and used... INSTANT! 

Something had to change. 

Three days before Easter my Folgers instant ran out. (Photo for illustrative purposes. I  recycled that mofo Thankyouverymuch)

Perfect timing as I was having the family over and had just ordered a Francois et Mimi double walled French press. 

I asked my mom to show me how it worked and she passed the duty on to my Aunt LC. LC as in Lucky Charm (not sure if she wants her real name used).

LC is a sweetheart of an Aunt. Always calling you hun, and using these adorable little sayings in her gentle Irish accent, then dropping some cynical comment that sums up what everyone has been thinking but wasn't sure how to say. If she were coffee she'd be dark roast with a swirl of wildflower honey AND a raw sugar cube. Hold the milk. 

I tell you this so that when you watch my YouTube video and mentally critique my husky monotone (or the black scotch marks on the bottom of my saucepan) you will know it wasn't supposed to be that way. The video was supposed to be magically delicious but LC was ill on Easter. My uncle was an excellent, though camera shy, teacher of all things French press so I give him cred for my FP skillz yo. Shout out to Drain Drain the bathtub I'm Drowning! Aka unc' DDBD. Oh dear, I really am tired aren't I?

Anyhow, I  Really do recommend this French press. If you are still drinking instant IT IS NEVER TOO LATE! If You have a plug in coffee maker clear up the counter space and move in this beauty. This particular French press is big enough for several cups. The double wall keeps the contents hot but doesn't burn your hands when yOu handle it. 

And don't forget... those grounds are compostable! 
**I  received this product for free in exchange for my unbiased review**

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace review

Moo chomping those sore gums
I love Amber. From the ant filled resins of Jurassic Park to the aromatic resin I purchased from The Garden Of Eden and rubbed on my ears and wrists through high school.  I Am not sure then why I never purchased an Amber necklace for my children. Maybe it was just too trendy. Like that Damn squeaking giraffe every kid would chew while being wheeled around in their stroller. Ugh, I am such a parental minimalist. But teeth hurt. And unless you want to slip your babe some Tylenol, rub that scary mouth numbing cream on their gums, or let them chew your boob while all five million teeth erupt (it feels like five million if you go with the third choice) the Baltic Amber teething necklace may be worth a try.
Apparently the necklace releases a natural analgesic chemical, succinic acid, from the Amber, naturally relaxing babe. That is, if the necklace is real. The net is FULL of fakes.
It may seem a bit late to get a necklace, with Moo already two, but she had been really starting to chomp her hands and complain about the seemed-like-fifteenth set of molars that were erupting from deep within her jaw.
I ordered this Baltic Amber teething necklace in exchange for an unbiased review. Hmmming and hawing over whether we really needed it or if I should pass it on to a new friend's babe, Moo snatched the necklace out of my hand when it arrived in the mail. "My's" she informed me, passing up two other necklaces and in the box. She doesn't let me do her hair, so I was quick to agree to the necklace. Just like tiny wispy pigtails are cute so is miniature jewelry.
Now, Amber necklaces are supposed to be worn close to the skin so the acid can be affectively absorbed, but this necklace is not fitted. It hung on her neck, and although her collar is petite like the rest of her (okay, fine, Her noggin isn't petite ) the only one of the family it fit correctly on (snug to the neck) was myself. I couldn't quite get it on The Ogre, though I did creep up behind him at his computer and try to fasten it on, his neck is just a tad too SOLID for the necklace.
Another concern is the clasp. The clasp appears to be a synthetic bead colored like amber,which makes sense, but it isn't the quick release style I see on so many infant geared neckwear. This isn't a concern on my two year old,  but on some children, particularly infants, the risk of tangle would be too high for my comfort level. 
Given this list of tests to determine if the Amber is genuine I would guess this is the real thing. My Moo loves it and I plan to let her continue wearing it, past the last tooth, or until she gets bored, at which time I just may claim it for myself!

Sunday, April 12, 2015


If you had hidden a mic in my bedroom (CREEP!) here is what you would have heard last night:
ME: (beaming, I shove my outstretched hand ceiling-ward) Smell my pits!!
ME: (Thrusts underarm up towards his face) Smell my pit!!
THE OGRE: Are you super overtired or something?
ME: (still beaming) No, they smell really good! I used this new deodorant this morning, just a deodorant not an antiperspirant, and the package says you will smell at the beginning, but I don't, it smells really good!
He never smelled my pits :/
But they were excellent! 
I had used Bella Organics Deodorant Creme in Vanilla Mint. Let's compare the ingredients in my usual deodorant with Bella Organics. I am not going to tell you what the brand is though, that is my SECRET ;)
Okay, do your tongue exercises before you try to read this list out loud, it has some doozies: Aluminum Zirconium Octachlorohydrex Gly 16% (anhydrous), water (Yay! I know that one!), alcohol denat., propelyne glycol, cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, trisiloxane, calcium chloride, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone (Say wha?), oh and fragrance, whatever that is....
Bella Organics: Shea Butter*, Arrowroot Powder*, (Vegan) Virgin Coconut Oil*, Aluminum-Free Baking Soda, Peppermint Essential Oil*, Vanilla Extract*, Teat Tree Essential Oil*
*100% Organic
How does it work? Bella Organic states:
"Organic arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally. Organic Shea butter soothes and moisturizes dry skin. Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties as well as soothes and conditions the skin. Organic peppermint and organic tea tree essential oils provide anti-bacterial and germ-killing anti-septic properties. It leaves you feeling confidently cool, fresh and clean."
I don't know if I can ever go back. And why would I?
I want you to enjoy this same privilege and am proud to host a giveaway. If you don't win I wholeheartedly think this is a worthwhile product to invest in at http://lovebellaorganics.com. When purchasing consider that only a pea sized amount is needed so the 2 ounces will go a long way!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 9, 2015

On the Go Snacktime

Most everybody with small children seems to be on the go these days. Even The Ogre and I feel we live an on-the-go lifestyle and that is with us both only working part time. We definately take advantage of the freedom and time this intentionally non-work-focused life gives us and fill our schedules up with all sorts of enrichment activities with the kids.
So there are a couple of our interests/values: Equally Shared Parenting and playing hard/adventuring with the kids, but a third value is filling our kids' growing bellies with healthy, nutritious (and economical!) food. This can be hard when we are running here and there so we need quick snacks we can enjoy on the go.
When I was asked to review Easy Anywhere Reusable Food Pouches* I jumped on the offer. My kids had suffered** enough being served their snacks from mason jars while their friends held crinkly neon colored packs of corn syrupy delight***.
After ordering, a pack of four pouches was quickly delivered to my doorstep. I tucked them away until Easter when I filled them each with applesauce for a sweet yet healthy treat for my kids and their cousins. After the snack the cousins had something to take home and reuse.
I was worried that master of food container deconstruction Moo would bust hers open and create a big pile of sauce on the floor ("uh-oh"), covering her hands in goop ("yutkee"), and wreck her Easter outfit ("Wan new dess"), which would inevitably end in a complete self stripping and, as anybody who has a streak-loving two year old knows, it is much easier to get the clothes off then back on again.
Anyhow, that wasn't how it went at all. These heavy duty pouches are like a (heavy duty) ziploc bag with a tough straw sticking out the side. As long as you make sure the grooves are aligned and press them together there should be no issues. If your kid IS a Houdini, ze will likely only open the bag at the end, just to check if there is any deliciousness they missed inside. But there won't be. These pouches are easy to suck dry, my apologies to all those parents out there that exist on their children's leftovers.
As stated I put applesauce in mine, but I plan to mix it up over the summer with other purees and mixes. Whatever is in season and I can mush up myself. I did add cinnamon to the applesauce on time and noticed it was harder to wash clean as some of the cinnamon clung to the grooves of the "ziploc" part. Wasn't impossible, but given that I want something I can quickly rinse I will just stick to the straight purees from now on.
What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?
Here are 6 more of my faves:

1. Muffins 
Read this blog post to see how to make homemade muffins with less clean up

2. Fruit
The Ogre is used to me writing "Hand Fruit" on our grocery lists. What is hand fruit? It is my way of saying Fruit you can hold in your hand - making it super for on the go snacking.  
3. Homemade "Fishy Crackers" (Goldfish Grahams)
We made so many I think there are still a couple in the fridge!  
4. Yogurt
I put single servings in baby food jars to bring with, You can add berries/muesli/hemp seeds too  
 5. Breast Milk
 Come on, you didn't expect me to leave this one out did you? The best nutrition for little ones and oh so transportable for the Mommas of the family. Here Moo practices breastfeeding her "bebe dow." Don't laugh, it takes a few tries to perfect that latch ;)
6. Dehydrated       fill in the blank     
We use our dehydrator for whatever is on sale/free/fresh. Remember, just because you may not want to eat it doesn't mean your kids won't. We have preconceptions about things that blur our opinions. Like dried tomatoes, a perfectly good potato chip to a toddler.

*I was provided this product for free in exchange for a review

**I don't really think snacks is mason jars is cruelty

***For illustrative purposes only ;) My friends feed their kids more than corn syrup

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What to do with 100 glow sticks

Super Bright Longest Lasting Glow Stick Bracelets - 100 Premium Quality Glow Stick Bracelets
TEN ways to use your STIX!

I was so excited to be selected to review a 100 pack of glow sticks, as my sister in law's family has me slightly hooked on the things. They liven up any event by bringing glow sticks for the kids. SMART! Especially when going to large children's event where you know junk will be hocked from all corners. Bring out your own glow sticks and don't worry about your kid wanting to buy every little thing. But ONE HUNDRED glow sticks you say? What can one do with so many?!

1.Pass them out in Boo's birthday party goodie bags

 2. Have Boo bring them to school for each classmate in lieu of Crisco and food coloring filled mini cupcakes

 3. Bring them to Bay Lake Camp, our favorite summer getaway location, and cover the kids with them so we can find them in the cover of night

 4.Give the kids "rave baths" where you turn off the lights and drop a few in the tub.

5. Do what my SIL's favorite blogger did and create a glow in the dark night bowling set out of objects you already have in your house.
6. Repurpose leftover plastic eggs from Easter as lightening bugs as seen on http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/DIY-fireflies-that-really-light-up-147918. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child(ren) about environmental stewardship and the effects of light pollution on the little guys. Review this list of five easy ways to decrease light pollution and identify one or two actions your family can take in the next week


 7. Geek out next February with free printable of Star Wars Valentines complete with "light sabers " from Design Wash Rinse Repeat

8. Knock your blood sugar up a notch with this nutritionless party treat 
from Style Whipped

9.Freak out the neighbors with these winter lawn creatures
An easy-to-make, inexpensive Halloween costume that gets rave reviews and looks fantastic! It's a glow-in-the-dark stick man!
10.  Make a cheap Halloween costume like this one from HubPages featured on Pinterest

AND DON'T FORGET to put those sticks in the freezer at the end of the night. They just may last another!

So, what would you do with your glow sticks?