Archive for September, 2009

Let’s Talk Plastics And Some Other Stuff

September 28, 2009

Recently, I’ve been reading Smart Mama’s Green Guide Simple Steps To Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure by Jennifer Taggart.  Let me tell you, this woman is very smart, knows what she is talking about, and is highly respected.  I wanted to pass along some tidbits from the book, as well as keep a reference for myself.

Phthalates.  What are these you ask?  Phthalates are a class of industrial compounds.  They are plasticizers that are added to many consumer products.  They are added to make plastic soft and flexible, but do not, I repeat, do not form a bond with the plastic.  This is super important!!!  Since they do not form a bond, they can leach out of the plastic.  Phthalates are hormone disruptors, which can interfere with sexual and reproductive development, as well as being developmental and reproductive toxins.  Scary!!!  That little rubber ducky doesn’t seem so cute anymore does it? 

Also, lead may be present in some of your plastic products.  That is right, lead.  Do I need to say it again?  Lead!  Yikes!!  Lead is used to stabilize PVC plastic and since it is not bound in the plastic polymer, it may surface, where it can be picked up as lead dust.  This can happen easily with friction or heat.  Oh, not good.  Oh, and lead is also found in lots of other things too (ceramics, baby changing pads, children’s jewelry, an array of consumer products, crib mattresses, drinking water, folk remedies, cosmetics, soil, toys, wall coverings, etc., etc., etc.).  Also, very important, lead exposure is cumulative.  So, the old adage, a little won’t hurt, is not necessarily true.  A little here and a little there, really do add up to potential harm.  No amount of lead is good for your body!  (But, you already knew that!)

So, why am I telling you this?  Am I trying to keep you awake at night?  No, I am trying to pass on some information that I wish I would have known from the get go.  I wish someone would have passed this valuable information on to me.  I could have been wiser in my choices and purchases.  I could have prevented harm to my body and my family.  I know, we do our best, but when we know better, we do better.

Well, what have I done with all this new knowledge?  I have made some recent changes around our home.  I have taken off the PVC waterproof mattress cover.  It is not really needed, and I’d rather have a few unsightly stains on my mattress than be inhaling toxins while peacefully resting.  I have removed all PVC items from the nursery.  This means I will be making a new changing pad for the new little one, but that is fine by me!  I plan to make it out of organic fabric and bamboo batting.  Nothing too fancy.  I have shopped around for an organic mattress for the new baby.  Costco has one that I am still researching for about $200.  Yes, it is a splurge, but knowing what I now know, and me being the worrier that I am, I could not sleep at night knowing full well I was knowingly exposing my baby to toxins for a $100 savings.  I’ve also researched appliances and flame retardants.  We may be in the market for a new TV, refrigerator and washer/dryer.  The only not necessity would be the TV, as the other three are on there last legs I’m afraid.  I’m also vacuuming and dusting more, as I’ve learned it is one way to avoid some of the toxins.  A lot of toxins you pick up from household dust.  I’ve also made many mental notes about new products I buy and have become more label savvy.  I still have a long way to go, but feel I’m improving our environment, health-wise, everyday.

Lastly, I strongly encourage you to be an advocate for your child.  It is not easy, but it is extremely important.  If you believe strongly in something, then voice it.  It is not always easy for me to find the right words, but it is important to try. 

What have you done lately?  Any good research or books you’ve read?  Do share…I crave knowledge!

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Sewing Sunday…Yay!

September 28, 2009

I love sewing Sunday, but I probably told you that last week.  It is a nice feeling to know that I will have time to do projects and to feel some accomplishment by checking finished projects off my list.  Also, it is nice to know our daughter is taken care off and occupied (mostly) by her daddy.  This morning they took a walk and went to the park.  There was a soccer game at the same park, so they watched a little of that.  How fun!

We are still working out the bugs…as in, big breakfast really eat up a lot of ‘my’ sewing time, so I think we will stick to big breakfasts on Saturdays and something simple on Sundays.  Seriously, breakfast took two hours this morning.  I was a little annoyed, but it was yummy and I ended up getting everything done sometime throughout the day.  It all worked out.

On Thursday morning (before our daughter was up), I cut out all the pieces for this felt mail.  Having my sewing projects cut and ready to sew (or mostly ready) really speeds things up and makes for a more rewarding sewing Sunday (because I’m actually sewing and not fiddling around with all the cutting nonsense that is boring and takes so very long).  I made notes about where to start and what needed to be done in what order.  This was super helpful, in that, I was not trying to take something apart or squeeze something in as an afterthought.  

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This felt mail is a little different from what I made a few weeks ago as a gift.  Instead of ric rac on the postcards (okay, there is ric rac on one of them, but who is counting?) I used some leftover scraps of ribbon.  I really like this detail.  I also made a few different address labels: ‘Grandma’ and ‘Papa.’  

Hopefully, she will enjoy this mail.  It is time consuming, but I think it is a great gift.  Now, if only I can hold off until Christmas to give it to her!  🙂

I also sewed this skirt for my niece’s upcoming 4th birthday.  Okay, so it is a month or so away, but it is one less thing to do (it is already wrapped with the card thoughtfully decorated by our daughter).

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It took a little longer than I had anticipated, but all in all, it went smoothly.  I also was going to applique some butterflies unto a shirt, but found a really cute brown shirt with a pink flower on at Target instead.  Hopefully, she will like it. 

Finally, I sewed these shorts for my daughter’s Halloween costume.  She will be Dora this year.  Hopefully they fit her, as I did not follow a pattern other than a pair of shorts that were fitting a little too small.  I may have to make some adjustments to these as Halloween approaches.

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What have you sewn lately, or what are you planning to sew?  I’m always looking for ideas!  Have a great week!!!

Stained To A New Life

September 26, 2009

Here are a few hand-me-downs (thanks sis!!!) that I so love to receive, but were a little stained.  Well, my idea of a good time (seriously) is sewing, so I got out the machine and went to work making the stains disappear into something pretty and unique.  You won’t find these shirts at Target!  🙂

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My favorite ‘You Tube’ video is a tutorial of how to applique.  It makes it look really easy (as it is).  You just need a few supplies, an iron and some clothes that need a little extra something.

Hope you’ll try this fun and rewarding techinque.

Homemade Nutella

September 23, 2009

I found a list of ingredients used to make homemade nutella, but no measurements or directions were given.  Thinking I could pull it off without them, I dove right in and made it up as I went.  As a sidebar, if you google homemade nutella, there are an amazing number of recipes out there.  If I had just googled first.  Oh well.  Here is the recipe I made up:

1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. hazelnut oil
 
Melt chocolate and cream over medium heat and stir until melted.  Add hazelnut oil and stir until combined.  Put in glass jar with screw top lid.  Refrigerate.  Makes ~1cup

Well, I must say that the made-up recipe is not very, well, ‘Nutella-like,’ but more chocolate-like.  I think I’ll melt it and use it for dipping pretzels.  Who doesn’t like chocolate dipped pretzels!?!?

Here is the recipeI googled.  It is definitely better.  I think it is a bolder flavor than store bought nutella, which I think I may prefer.  Don’t let the recipe fool you though by thinking it will only take 20 minutes to whip up.  I think it took me more like 40 minutes – 1 hour.  Removing the skins from the hazelnuts was the biggest time eater in the recipe.  Also, I only have a small food processor, so I think that add a little to the time to process all ingredients together. 

This will probably not be made again, just because it took so long, but who knows.  It is good, but with only 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein per serving, I’m not sure it is that good for us to eat too much of.

In short, this was an adventure, but probably won’t make it on our list of staples to have around the house.  Now what to do with all this hazelnut oil??

 
 

Simple Things

September 22, 2009

It is the simple things, really, that I so appreciate and enjoy.  Here are a few pictures of some simple things I’ve enjoyed lately.

Baby Mommy and Baby Daddy placed so lovingly in our daughter’s booster seat at the table.

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A little bunny near our deck just relaxing.

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Her wooden animals in a row.

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Yummy organic apples freshly washed and ready to be eaten.

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Fresh banana bread right out of the oven. 

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Spiders made by our daughter (with a little mommy guidance, but not too much).  She asked to make a purple one after nap…I need to find purple paper.

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What simple things have you been enjoying lately?

Books, Books, Books

September 22, 2009

Can you ever have enough books?  My daughter’s book shelves are telling me, “Yes!!!”  I just don’t agree.  Books stimulate her mind so much.  She talks about her books a lot and references them a lot too throughout her day.  She spends at least a good hour or two a day just looking through her books and talking about them.  She has even started ‘reading’ to us.  It is so cute!  She is mostly happy doing this independently, but will bring me a book from time to time to show me something or to ask me what something is.

She is really into Dora and Franklin books right now, but any book will do.  She is able to tell you the title of the book by the second time you read it to her and will ask for the book by its name.  She will even open the book to the first page and tell you, “This is where you start.”  If you want her to make good choices, all you (usually) have to say is, “Mommy (or daddy) reads to girls who make good choices.”  Works like a charm!! 

I am so glad we started reading to her so young.  We will definitely read to the next child too.  Our plan is to read a lot while I am nursing.  This way, both children will be read to and other things can be attended to while I am not nursing.  I think I’ll ask her to pick a book for herself and also pick a book she thinks the baby would like to hear.  Hopefully, she will pick with the baby in mind and not her own wishes, but if not, oh well, it is still reading and in my book, all reading is good!

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Oh, did I mention, this is not all the books…they are overflowing in the living room shelves as well.  We are always in the market for books (contrary to what Daddy thinks)!   Happy reading!

Sewing Sunday

September 20, 2009

It’s football season!  I usually like it until January, then it is getting old to me.  Well, my husband takes part in two fantasy football leagues, which takes up some of our time.  I thought I’d strike a deal that would work for both of us.  I get to sew in the morning and he gets some peace and quiet during the afternoon for football.  I’m not sure how it will work, but this Sunday, it worked pretty good, except the big break for breakfast.  I sew at the kitchen table, so all my sewing gear had to be moved to have breakfast, then moved back after breakfast.  All in all though, I won’t complain.

Here are a few projects I completed today:

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A stuffed frog (for Christmas for our daughter), 3 Boo Boo Bags (two for our daughter and one for her friend for Halloween), a sleeping mask (for ME), a loyalty card wallet (for our daughter for Christmas) and a handprint and footprint ornament for our Christmas tree (the daycare she was in the first year of her life did these cute ornament keepsakes, so I thought it was something simple I could keep up…these are her prints from Nov./Dec. 2008).  I just need to mark the keepsake ornament and then I will have completed 7 small sewing projects today.  Yay!!!

My Birthday Wishes

September 18, 2009

Well, my birthday is a least a month away, but I’m already thinking of what I wish for and how I’ll spend my birthday money.  As a SAHM, I don’t really get a lot of treats for myself, so my birthday becomes one of those days I look forward to treats and don’t feel too guilty.  Here is my birthday list so far:

1)  Handmade Home Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures  by:  Amanda Blake Soule  (Loved her first book, The Creative Family)  Hopefully my husband takes the hint with the post-it note on his desk *Birthday Idea

2)  A fabric shopping spree.  So many lovely prints I long for.

3)  Some yummy organic chocolate.  Green & Black’s is suiting my taste recently.  Yum!

4)  A whole day to sew without any interruptions (or machine jamming).

5)  A dinner out a my new favorite Chinese restaurant.

6)  My little one to poop in the potty and not in her undies.  Maybe a prayer here would do.

7)  Some sewing notions I’ve been wanting as well!

8)  Projects completed around the house.  Please honey…complete your honey-do-list.  Please!  It is driving me mad!  😉

9)  A food processor with a shredding attachment.

10)  A really nice mixer with all the attachments.

11)  A whole day to myself to do whatever I want with no interruptions.

Okay, so I am really dreaming, but it is fun to dream.  What would you ask for if it was your birthday?

Day At The Beach

September 18, 2009

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We had a fantastic day at the beach the other day!!!  It was her first time at the beach and it was exciting!  The only thing missing was daddy!  😦

She was tentative at first, but then went into the water with me.  She did beautifully!  We held hands and let the waves crash into her belly.  She laughed and laughed.  The only way I could get her out of the water was to tell her I needed a drink (which, I actually did).  She kept wanting to go back in every time we came out.  It was a very good time.  My friend that we were there with (and her two children) would cheer for our daughter and tell her she did a good job. 

It was an exciting experience!

New Curtains Revamped

September 17, 2009

DSC00312 Sorry for the sideways photo…not sure how to get it the right way.  Okay, so other than turning my camera, but then it wouldn’t have taken the shot I wanted.  Anyway…

Made some revisions to the curtains that were going to be for our daughter’s soon-to-be new room.  They are now in her room and I switched the curtains into her soon-to-be new room.  This way, if the baby is a boy, he will have more masculine curtains.  Which, isn’t really a huge thing for me, but I figure that is one of the only things that would change about the room and I wanted it to look a little different.  Plus, with the addition of the side panels, they just seem to look better in this room then her soon-to-be new room.  The curtains in her new room are pink and purple shades and were semi-expensive, so I would like to get as much use out of them as possible.  Plus, they just look better switched around.

I really like the look of the brown and blue panels.  I just made it up as I went and had just enough fabric with a few small squares leftover that I might make into Boo Boo Bags for our daughter.  I was feeling creative!