Thursday, July 31, 2008

Theme Thursday- Fashion

Today's theme is Fashion. Since my 4 year old always dresses herself, I knew this would be a fun one. Initially I thought I would take a picture of my daughter each day to show her various concoctions, but of course they have been boring this week. Well, except this one....

DSC_0524 edited


Oh yeah, work it girl.

DSC_0528 edited

She was very proud of this outfit so she was more than happy to model it for me. I did help her put on the belt, which is obviously essential to pull the entire outfit together.
My son on the other hand only has one thing he will wear. "Hire (Fire) Truck Shirt" is his response anytime you ask him what he wants to wear. I am sure his fashion sense will develop like his sister's soon enough.


Head on over to Stacy's to see some more fashion shots.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lean Mean Green Hygiene


As I mentioned here and here, one of my biggest challenges so far has been "greening" my cosmetics, soaps, and lotions. I settled on a face lotion and a body lotion without much problem, but shampoo has been a whole different story.

I started my shampoo makeover with the Whole Foods 365 brand. It contains no preservatives or parabens. It was fine, but nothing special. While at K-Mart one day, I came across a bunch of Jason products heavily discounted. I picked up some Tea Tree Oil Scalp Normalizing shampoo and Aloe Vera conditioner. The first few times I used the shampoo I was not impressed. It has a very strong smell. After some experimenting, I discovered that I do not need the conditioner after using this shampoo. When I use the shampoo alone, it's not too bad.

Still on a mission to find something perfect, I decided to try Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar. The idea of a bar was immediately appealing, since there would very little packaging. The bar smells wonderful, but it is hard to get a good lather and when dried my hair just looks stringy and feels funny. I tried using a little Jojoba oil when I got out of the shower and before I dried my hair, but then my hair just felt icky. Guess I will stick with the Tree Tree Oil Shampoo for now.

The second thing I have been focusing on is deodorant. I searched the EWG's cosmetic database and found Almay's Clear Gel Hypoallergenic Antipersperant & Deoderant was rated a 1. I have been using it for about a month and it works really well. I also tried Lady Mitchum Clear Gel Unscented, but I felt stinky after a couple of hours. Both contain ALUMINUM ZIRCONIUM TETRACHLOROHYDREX, which supposedly is not as readily absorbed into the skin as other Aluminum compounds. It basically clogs the pores preventing the pores from releaasing sweat. I still want to try the Crystal, but will have to use up my current deodorant first. I thought about making some like Angry Chicken, but I am just not sure I am that adventurous yet.

I know you guys were all wondering about my personal hygiene, right? Well, there you go. If I smell a little funny now you will know why.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No New Clothes - Chapter 1


Last Friday I started my quest to find some fall/winter used clothing for my kids. I know stores are starting to put out fall clothes so I thought now might a good time to start. I was right. The first consignment store I hit starts accepting winter clothes July 1st. They already had a decent selection of items and it did not seem totally picked over. While I was checking out, I was making small talk with the cashier and she mentioned that she had boxes of clothes that they did not have room to put out yet. She let me weed through the boxes with the sizes that I was looking for. Guess it pays to be friendly. The second store I went to was a little more expensive, but I found some items that I knew would be perfect for my son.

Here's what I got:

1. 4 long sleeve t-shirts for my son. All sporting some sort of locomotive, which is currently all he will wear.

2. 2 pairs of Stride Rite shoes for my son. He has a very wide foot and Stride Rite fit him the best. These shoes look brand new. They are a big for him now, but hopefully by winter they will be perfect.

3. Janie & Jack skirt for my daughter. Ok, I know I am supposed to be shopping for winter clothes, but I could not resist. Besides, she will be able to wear it next summer for sure.

4. Gymboree bike shorts for my daughter. These still had the tags on them. Again, another summery item, but she will be able to wear them next year (hopefully)

5. Gymboree sweater for my daughter. I found this one digging through the boxes. It is really cute.

6. Furry sweatshirt jacket for my daughter. I also found this digging through the boxes. It is a good medium weight so she should get some good use out of it.

I was very happy with my first round of shopping. Maybe this won't be too hard after all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Keepin' it Simple Part 2


Since I returned from vacation, I have been all about reducing my stress. Not that I am overly stressed, but things had begun to get a little out of control. As you may have noticed my menu plan has been simplified. I have been slacking big time and not really putting too much thought into our meals. But you know, I am ok with that for now. I do enjoy planning and cooking our meals, when I have time to actually do it. I am still trying to keep it healthy, but also simple.

You have probably also noticed that my blog entries have become less and less informative and more me just babbling on about nothing. this entry for example. I am ok with that too. Blogging takes up lots of time. Eventhough I enjoy blogging and reading other blogs, I don't want it to be too much.

I feel like the focus of my blog has changed and probably will continue to change. When I started blogging, I had no idea that the blogosphere was so huge and influential. I also had no idea I would get a DSLR and become so interested in photography. I don't know what direction I want my blog to go, but I know right now I just want an outlet to voice my opinion, show off some photos of my kids, and interact with others doing the same thing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best Shot Monday- Keepin' it Simple

Like most Saturday mornings, we sat around the house for about an hour before we started getting antsy. "What should we do today?" was uttered at least a hundred times. It was overcast and a little rainy. The only logical answer was "go to the zoo". So that's what we did. We also purchased a year pass so now we can go whenever we want. Matter of fact, we HAVE to go now to make it worth the purchase.


There is a huge playground that the kids have missed out on the last couple of times we visited the zoo. So we made it one of our first stops this time.

flight pattern

Oops how did that get in there? This has absolutely nothing to do with the zoo. It is just a shot I took last week and I liked.


It was Ice day at the zoo so we got free ice cream and my daughter loved playing in this soapy snow flake blow machine. I think Kroger should use this as an advertisement. If anyone from Kroger is reading, I will make you a deal. Just e-mail me.


So to answer Tracey's question. I have been reflecting on many things this week, but my primary focus is keeping it simple. I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. I am slowing down. Keeping it simple. Happy Monday everyone. Check out everyone else's shot over at Tracey's.

Menu Monday July 27-July 31


Sunday- Sushi (We had Sushi last weekend and our son has been requesting it, eventhough he really just wants edamame.)
Monday- Shrimp, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Salad
Tuesday- Filet Mignon, Sauteed Portabello Mushrooms, and Zucchini Boats
Wednesday- Sweet Asian Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli
Thursday- Linguine and Salad

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Green Goals

green goals_edited-1

Since I promised more green goals to my loyal and dedicated readers, I thought I should actually follow through on that promise. I have been brainstorming on what goals I want to accomplish next. This is what I have so far:

1. Unsubscribe to all those e-mails I get from stores tempting me to take advantage of their great sale. I have been deleting them, but for some odd reason have not wanted to unsubscribe. Maybe I am afraid I will miss out on the best sale ever. No more. I don't need to know.

2. Start shopping consignment and thrift stores for the kids fall wardrobe. I spend and buy way too many clothes for the kids, especially my little girl. (Girls clothes are so cute.) They ruin, stain, or outgrow them SO fast. What's the point? I am not sure how this will go, but I would like to only purchase each of them a couple of brand new things for next fall/winter. The rest will be used.

3. No more new books. I love to read books. I love to look at books. I love to buy books. I love just thinking about books. You get the idea, right? If I read every book in my possession that I have not read, it would probably take me a couple of years to finish. So I am officially on a book buying strike. I will get my fix from the library or maybe even read the ones I already have. Well, that's a novel idea. Get it. Novel idea. Ok. You get it.

4. Complete one sewing project using recycled materials. I have an idea for an apron using an old skirt, but my ideas always seem better in theory. Plus, will I really wear an apron? Maybe if it is cute enough. Looking all domestic might eliminate the dinner making dread. A girl can dream.

5. Stay away from Target. Seriously. I could probably find an excuse to go there every day. What is it about that store? I buy way too much junk and spend way too much money there.

These goals all revolve around consuming or buying less stuff. I know this is one of my biggest challenges so I am dedicating myself to it this month or next month. Whatever. It takes 21 days to break a habit, right ? So do you think Photoshop, a lens for my camera, or a Kindle would count? See I told you it would be tough. Wish me luck.........

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Theme Thursday- Summer Fun

This would have been an easy one if I was actually taking decent shots. I feel like I am in a major rut. My photos are getting worse instead of better. I am still really struggling with the editing. So after messing around with the photo for awhile I usually just end up scrapping it and going with SOOC with maybe a crop. Maybe I am trying to do much too so with my camera. I did manage to find a few that I could live with so that's what you get.



The two above were taken at the mall play area. It has been too hot to play outside for long.


That boy can move. I can't believe that this one is not one big blur.


Head on over to Stacy's to see some more great shots.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yogurt Smoothie Pops

I was craving a smoothie the other day so I decided to whip up some posicles while I was at it. Here's the recipe I threw together with stuff we had on hand.

1 banana

1 6 oz container yogurt (I used Horizon Blueberry)

1 small handful of spinach

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup blueberry pomegranate Juice

1 cup frozen fruit

If you like your popsicles sweeter, add some honey or agave nectar. My kids gobbled these up. The only problem now is they are already gone and I need to make more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Kids Have Officially Been Corrupted

My husband enjoys watching videos on You Tube. If he finds one that he thinks is hilarious, he will have me watch it. My daughter is very interested in anything that we are doing so she wants to watch too. She now requests to watch this one. Good thing she can not read yet.

What have we done? The next one is really bad. My husband was sharing the next video with his brother-in-law and my daughter decided to come over and see what was so funny. She REALLY does not need to be watching this one.

The song IS catchy. So my husband sometimes sings the lyrics. Well, today my daughter said, "Dad, you always think it is Business Time, but it is not always Business Time" . I hope we have not corrupted her sweet little mind too much. I promise we are good parents. You believe me, right?

Monday, July 21, 2008

How Things Change You and my BSM

There are things in your life that change you. People, experiences, and just living life changes who you are. Maybe not the core of who you are, but little things about you. (When you are in the car for about 36 hours, you have too much time to think.) You might not always know it or recognize it. You just know you are different somehow.

I have always been a tad bit obsessed with our children getting enough sleep and sticking to a schedule. I have to admit that when they have meltdowns, are grumpy, or down right bad I tend to blame it on lack of sleep. For some reason, I think our lives are going to spin out of control if they stay up too late or miss a nap. Well, during our trip I just let it go. I did not care if they stayed up too late or only napped for 30 minutes. I tried to enjoy the moment and knew my kids would be ok. It felt so good to not worry about it. Guess what? The kids dealt with it just fine. Hmmm.....who would of thought? That's not to say they can skip naps every day and go to bed whenever they want, but maybe from now on I will chill out. That's one thing I took away from this trip.


(This is the only time all 3 kids were asleep in the car at the same time)

Another thing I realized is taking care of my kids is not always work. I know that sounds bad, but I work full time, come home, cook dinner, spend a little time with the kids, then start the bedtime routine (bath, movie, brush teeth, books, bed). Most days it seems like work. On the weekends, we have cleaning, laundry, yard work, and grocery shopping to do. I feel like I have little time to truly enjoy them. With no chores, lots of time in the car, and fun things to do, I had time to truly enjoy them. This is also sad, but I feel like I know them so much better now. My daughter acts like she is all grown up and does not need me anymore, yeah she is only 4. She is so independent. I look at her and I am so proud of who she has already become. I bonded with my niece and know her so much better. She has such a sweet little voice and a contagious cheerful attitude. I could listen to my son talk for hours. It amazes me what he comprehends. His broken up sentences put a smile on my face no matter what.


(Oh my goodness, she is so cute. Her eyes get me every time.)

I also realized that I need to reevaluate some things in my life. What is truly important to me? If I want to change my lifestyle and be "green", I need to do it 100%. It is too easy to succomb to convenience and end up right back where I started. I think I am ready to step it up a notch. I promise some new green goals this week. Oh, and I want to brew my own beer and start sewing more. Thought I would throw those in there too. To end my very philosophical post, here is my Best Shot Monday. I am not sure why this photo. I think it is the look he is giving me. It's just him.


Head over to Tracey's for more great shots.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Menu Monday July 20-24


Sunday- Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob
Monday- Taco Salad
Tuesday- Peanut Satay Chicken Skewers, Coconut Rice, and Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday- Manicotti and Spinach Salad with Strawberries

Friday, July 18, 2008

We All Made It Back In One Piece

We're back! We survived the trip from Tennessee to Minnesota and back again. The kids handled the drive really well (the dvd player was a lifesaver). Like all vacations it seemed to go by too fast, but I am glad to be home and so are the kids. A note of warning-I have not edited these photos at all. Well, ok I cropped a few, but that's it. I have too many and I am lazy. Right now I am all about straight out of the camera.


We started our journey Thursday morning. We drove about 8 hours and stayed in Bloomington, IL. We found a park so the kids could burn some energy. Then grabbed some dinner. The next morning we woke up and drove about 4 hours to the Wisconsin Dells.


We stayed at a hotel with an indoor and outdoor waterpark. The place was really cool and the kids had a blast. Too bad we only stayed the night.


Saturday morning we played for a little longer. My daughter loved the big huge slide. She kept saying "I love it. I really do. Can we do it again?" It's a good thing that her dad loved it too!


My son's favorite part was the water that squirted up in the baby pool. He discovered that sitting on the water spurting up felt kinda funny.



After a little more fun, we packed up and were back on the road again. We drove about 6 hours to Duluth. The van started acting up and we ended up in the parking lot of a Nissan dealership. We were able to drive it on, but knew we would have to take it back in on Monday to get checked out. Man, oh man!


That's my niece on the left. Isn't she a cootie patootie? Yes, we fit all 3 of them in the backseat. Grammie and G-Pa (my husband's parents) were with us too. So that's 7 of us in one minivan. We finally made it to our destination and had a lovely dinner with family. It felt good to be there. Sunday was the family reunion. It was a bit chilly which was fine by me.


The kids loved fishing. My daughter stood on the dock forever casting her bobber into the lake. You can see her just barely in the right corner of the photo above.


Look a photo of me. How did that happen? My son is very shy and wanted to be held the first 2 days. I actually enjoyed his clinginess a little bit. He was so sweet and cuddly plus he wasn't getting in trouble, bouncing off the walls. Isn't that horrible?


On Monday my husband took the car into the shop and the rest of us hung out. It was nice to just relax and have no worries. The kids even took naps. Later my husband let the kids do some very supervised fishing with worms and actual hooks. My son is kissing the fish below.


A part had to be ordered for the van so we took it back in on Tuesday so they could install the part. Originally we were going to stay in Duluth and do some shopping and sightseeing, but since it was our last day and the weather was nice we decided to go back to the lake. We drove all day Wednesday and Thursday. We were home by about 5:30 pm. What a trip. All things considered the trip went really well, but we spent way too much time in the car. I think we will save up our money and fly next time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Toddler Travel Tips Anyone?


I have been compiling a list of travel tips and activities to entertain 3 young kids on our journey from Tennessee to Minnesota. I know some our obvious, but I thought it would help to have them all listed out.


The first thing I did was make I Spy Bags for the kids. I originally saw the idea over at Nature Moms and knew I had to make some of my own. I did look at several tutorials, but like most sewing projects I attempt I just winged it. The kids might be a little young for them, but hopefully they will come in handy.


The next thing I did was buy some eco-friendly, hypo-allergenic, washable travel pillows. Using the leftover fabric from the I Spy Bags, I made some cute little pillowcases. The pillows are a little bigger than I had envisioned, but they will do. (The first 2 photos show the other side of the pillow)

We do have a DVD player in our van so that is a bonus. We have a HUGE collection of movies. We let each child pick out a new movie so they have something new to watch.

I downloaded some free audio books and put them on my ipod. I think this will be good around nap time. Storynory has some great stories and there are several podcasts on iTunes that have free stories as well.

I found this website, which is packed with tons of printables and travel ideas. I am excited about playing some travel bingo.

Parent Hacks and Family Fun have some great travel tips.

I plan to have snacks and treats readily available for melt down moments. I read somewhere that you can set a timer to go off every 30 min- 1 hour. When the timer goes off, they get some sort of treat no matter what is happening. I am not sure that we will do that because that would be a lot of treats, but I think it is a good concept.

We have lots of books, stickers, coloring books, and small toys ready to go. The only thing left to do now is pack. UUUGGGGHHHH!!

Anyone have any advice they want to share?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Some Tuesday Tidbits

ice pops

Today I thought I would share a few little tidbits of things I have wanted to share, but never seemed quite enough to warrant an entire post on its own.

My kids love popsicles. I bought some molds so that we can make our own. I had intentions of whipping up some smoothie or yogurt type pops, but have been too lazy. So instead I have been filling them with organic apple juice or lemonade. I personally like the lemonade ones the best. They think it is a big treat and I don't feel guilty about it.

Every now and then my daughter's hair is difficult to brush after it as been washed. I used an old spray bottle and mixed about a tablespoon of conditioner (Jason's Aloe Vera) with some water and shook it up. Now I have leave in conditioner. I even use it on my hair sometimes when I have bed head.

My kids also love yogurt pops. I buy the Horizon ones and freeze them. Their hands get so cold when they hold them. So I stick some old baby socks on the end to block some of the cold and it helps absorb some of the stickiness.

I know I have more tidbits share, but it is late and I must go to bed. It will give me something to write about another day, right?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Can I have a 3 Day Weekend Every Week, please?

We had a fun-filled Fourth of July weekend. We woke up Friday morning and decided to go for a hike. We had so much fun. The kids loved exploring and saw a turtle, snake, deer, frogs, fish, butterflies, and a huge garden. I took so many pictures and decided to try "P" mode instead of the auto mode on my camera. Baby steps, right?



mossy tree

Then we went to my parent's house to Slip-N-Slide. They set up the world's largest Slip-N-Slide. I swear the pictures do not do it justice.



Both kids were sound asleep at 8:00 pm. On Saturday morning we cleaned and went for a dip in our neighbors pool. The kids napped and then we went to Grammie and G-Pa's house. We ate Mexican and shot off some little fireworks, which the kids loved. I decided to only shoot in Manual mode. Getting brave, I know.


He is already such a stud and he knows it!


Look at that hand. Man, oh, man. I am choosing this as my Best Shot. I just can't resist. On Sunday, we went to the park and swimming again. My battery died on my camera so I did not get any photos. Oh well, what do you do? Buy another battery so that you have a spare? Ok, that's a good idea. I am not posting a menu this week. We are leaving for vacation on Thursday and I just don't feel like it, so there!!!

Check out everyone else's Best Shot Monday.

Happy Monday everyone.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Theme Thursday- Linear

Today's theme is Linear. Easy one, huh? Well, I am not exactly sure I hit the nail on the head with this one, but I gave it my best effort. I was actually going to skip this week altogether. Then yesterday evening my kids were playing on the bench on the deck and I thought, hey I will see how it looks. I was pleasantly surprised.


linear color 2

Head on over to Stacy's for some more great photos.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bloomin' Borage, More Caterpillars, and the World's Largest Blueberry

I have to be honest. I have been feeling rather uninspired lately. I am still living just as green, but have not had much to say about it. I feel kind of at a stand still, but I think the main reason is I am now obsessed with my new camera (a Nikon D60). When I have a little bit of free time I play with my camera or editing software. I promise I am working on a good post that goes back to my green roots, but for now more on stuff going on in my backyard. (Can you tell I don't get out much?)

My borage is now blooming. How pretty is that?


I was picking some parsley to use for dinner and found two caterpillars on my dill. We found one on the parsley last night. I am not sure if the little guys that I showed you here are all grown up or if these are different ones. It is more fun to think they are the same ones.


Birds have been feasting on our blueberry bushes. I read somewhere that if you place something shiny that moves near the plant it will keep the birds away. So I came across these at the grocery store and thought we would give it a go. I wasn't ready to buy nets just yet.


I know birds are still eating some of the berries, but we have some that are making it. Yesterday I found two HUGE blueberries. I know you can't really tell from the photo, but that baby was big. I say "was" because my son ate it. At least he got to it before the birds.


I also made pesto last night using some of my basil. I am lovin' my little herb garden.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Our New Feathered Friends

We have a bird (I think it is a dove) that built a nest right outside our bathroom window. Look how close I got to her. I took the photo below a couple of weeks ago.


I took the one below last night.


Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, I heard the bird making noises. My husband told me that there are now 3 birds. I could not believe how big the baby birds are already. The mom flew off as I approached and the nest is no longer there, but the two baby birds just sat there watching me.

baby birds

I took SO many photos and that is the best one. Those little guys were tucked back in the corner and I had to just hold my camera up and shoot. I love discovering new things in our yard.


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