Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Goose Droppings

I don't know if any of you remember this, but several months ago an Organic Baby & Family store named Franklin Goose held a promotion where you got $5 in store credit for each product review that you complete.  Seriously... they didn't even charge for shipping or ask for a credit card number.  Luckily, we've owned and/or used many, many products that they sell on their site!  As a result we got lots of store credit, and have received tons of great stuff!  I wanted to take the time to thank Franklin Goose, and also to show off some of the great stuff we received.  Thanks so much Franklin Goose!




Some of our goose droppings included:





(Top Row: Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner, Plan Toys Stacking Ring, Rockin' Green Detergent; Middle Row: Green Toys Block Set, Hand Full Organic Chocolate Dog Hoodie, Piper's Closet Bamboo/Cotton Wipes; Bottom Row: Rearz Eco Trial)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cotton Babies New Product Announcement: BumGenius 4.0



TL;DNW (Too Long; Did Not Watch): Some new colors, slightly larger,  and you can get them in snaps now.  Meh.

Here are the new colors:



They will be $17.95 in the US, and $24.95 in Canada.

We own a few BumGenius 3.0's and they aren't our favorites, but maybe at some point we will give these 4.0's a try.

Totsy

A friend of mine invited us to a baby deals site called Totsy, and they are going to have Imagiplay toys in a few days, so get to joining!





Boobs are for Babies


I love this.  As Aias gets older, our breast feeding relationship changes so frequently.  It's hard to believe that he used to be just a little lump in my arms who I had to assist with latching, etc.   Now he just crawls right up has and signs for some milkies. Adorable.
In case you've not seen this, here are 101 Reasons to Breastfeed


Monday, June 28, 2010

Toddler Treats: Kale and Chorizo

If sharing with your toddler, make sure to take extra time to cut the chorizo into teeny tiny bits to reduce the choking risk. 

Ingredients:

One yellow onion
Two bunches of kale
Olive oil
Chorizo or any other sausage
Tomatoes - cherry tomatoes look better, but it doesn't matter.
Salt to taste

-Turn on the skillet, add some olive oil, add your chopped onion.
-Chop your chorizo.  Remember, tiny bits for tiny people.
-Add it to the onions, stir.
-Take your kale, rip the leaves off the stems and rip them up fairly small. Toss them in, stir so everything is mixed.
-Add a SMALL amount of water and cover..
-Chop up the tomatoes (halve them if they're cherry tomatoes, otherwise cut them to that size) and toss them in. This should take one or two plum tomatoes, or the equivalent amount of cherries.
-Cover again until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled.
-Take the lid off, and optionally raise the heat and push everything to the side to allow some of that extra water to boil off.

Final result:


Thanks to Conuly from Livejournal for this recipe!!!

These are a few of our favorite things: TOYS Part One

When it comes to choosing toys for Aias, I'm sure many people would consider us picky.  For example, we only let Aias play with toys that are made from wood,  or at least plastics that don't contain BPA or phthalates.  We also try to limit him to toys that allow for him to play creatively, rather than toys that have the "game built in."  While we find that good quality toys tend to cost a bit more money up front, we'd much rather him have 4-5 really good quality toys than 20+ toys that were inexpensively priced but could potentially carry a high cost to his health or to the environment.  The last thing we want is an apartment full of junky plastic toys that won't stand the test of time and will ultimately just end up taking up tons of space in a landfill.  Below are some of the toys that we've considered favorites up until this point. So yeah, toys for babies under a year.

I seriously kick myself on a daily basis that I did not invent this product myself, because it's seriously that awesome.  Indestructibles are books made of the same material that tags are made of, and if you have an infant then you already know how much babies love to suck on those silly tags.  Furthermore, you probably also know how much babies love to destroy anything that's made of paper.  These books are brightly colored, full of beautiful pictures, and totally live up to their name... they are completely indestructible.  Aias has destroyed his share of magazines, paper books, and even cardboard baby books, but he finally met his match when I bought him one of these.  The book can be ripped at, sucked on, chewed, squashed, thrown, and despite the abuse, it is still intact.  It can even be put through a washer and dryer if necessary.  The best thing about it is that he gets all the satisfaction of playing with a magazine, without me having to worry that he's going to swallow paper or a staple.


I really love Plan Toys in general but this is probably my favorite Plan Toys product.  When I saw these online I thought they looked really cute, but I quickly moved on from them as I figured they would be tiny like some of the dollhouse furniture put out by the same company.  Some time later I saw them in the store and much to my surprise, they were actually quite large and made of excellent quality hard wood.  The age on the box says 2+, which I find really strange because there are no small parts that he could swallow. I imagine the concern is that kids will fall on the posts or something, but I'm definitely more than comfortable letting Aias play with them while supervised.  We use them as people that live in buildings we create with blocks. Another trick we have is to clamp the toy on the edge of the stroller or on the edge of the high chair so he can observe and touch it without our worrying that it will fall to the ground. 




This is one of those toys that would actually be a great gift for people of any age.  In fact, the first time I saw this toy was when a friend of mine in her early 20s purchased one for herself because she thought it was so cool. This toy is made up of rods and spheres that are looped together with durable elastic string to form a geometric shape. The spheres slide along the rods and make a gentle rattling noise when shaken.  You can squish and squash the toy all you want, and it bounces back to its original position.  Sometimes we just let Aias chomp on it and play with it by himself, or we sit down with him and show him how it can be distorted.  This toy also attached easily to the bar on his stroller so that we are confident he won't throw it into the street or something.  There is also an unpainted version of this toy (Natural Skwish).  





I had been coveting this toy for quite some time, but someone actually gave us a Playskool Step start Walk 'n Ride for Aias as a gift so I figured we wouldn't be needing this.  When Aias started "pulling up" a few weeks ago, I built the plastic walker in hopes that it would help him learn to take steps.  I couldn't help but notice that the plastic walker was incredibly light, and sure enough, it was way too flimsy for Aias to actually pull up on, and when he did manage to pull up on it, he went FLYING because the plastic walker was simply not heavy enough.  I brought him to a toy store and let him sample this one, and this one was so much better.  First off, it's not made of cheap plastic so I feel better about him biting on it.  Second, he loves to touch the beads that are on the lower bar.  Third, he loves the clacking alligators.  Finally and most importantly, he is able to pull up on it without it flipping over, and it's heavy enough that he can actually take some steps while holding onto it without flying forward! There are more expensive wooden walkers than this for sure, if you want to shell out the money for the Plan Toys Woodpecker Walker or the Plan Toys Baby Walker with Wooden Blocks, but this one definitely does the job!  



A few weeks ago we noticed that while Aias had lots of toys that were great for teething and such, but not a lot of toys that presented him the opportunity for creative play.  We had been coveting some wooden blocks that we saw at a friend's child's first birthday party several weeks ago and had been shopping around.  Some options we considered were the Plan Toys Construction set and Plan Toys Creative Blocks, but we didn't thing there were enough blocks for the price.  After much price checking and exploring, we finally settle on these blocks, and we are super glad that we did!  These blocks are so much fun, and with 150 of them, there is lots of room for creativity and creating amazing towers and buildings.  We will actually probably get a second set of the same blocks once Aias is a bit older to expand our options even more.  These blocks say they are for 2+, but there aren't any super tiny pieces.  There are a few half-size triangle blocks, but I'd just remove them if you're concerned.





Asparagus by Under the Nile (or Watermelon, or any of the veggiesfruits)
When I first saw these, I was a little confused about why they were so pricy as they just seemed like another stuffed toy.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that Under the Nile toys are made from Fair Trade Organic Egyptian Cotton and they are also free of choking hazards and toxins.  In general, we hate stuffed toys because of their dangerous furry bits, dangling eyes, etc, but these are a unique exception.  Right now we have the watermelon and the asparagus, but I hope to eventually aquire the mushroom and green bean, because I think they are hilarious.  The grapes are pretty tempting as well!  Actually, as I sit here Googling them right now, I can think of like 20 that I think are absolutely adorable.  Ahhh!



That's all for now, as Aias is demanding my immediate attention. 



Sunday, June 27, 2010

These are a few of our favorite things...

A year ago when I was pregnant with Aias, I didn't know anyone in real life who was pregnant.  Now that Aias is 8 months old, I know 7 people who are due to have their babies between September 2010 - January 2011.  I guess Morgan and I started a trend?  Either that or I just wished pregnancy upon everyone I know and my wish came true.  Either way, I'm super happy to be watching so many people that I care about becoming parents.  Yay for babies!

Lots of people have been asking me what baby items I have used in the last 8 months that I loved, and what things I haven't loved so much.  I'm going to do a series of posts where I discuss this stuff, so keep your eyes peeled for these posts!  My first few themes will be:

- Diapering
- Feeding

I'll start with those and work from there.  First post will be tomorrow or the next day, it all depends on Aias's mood!

A Picture

Toddler Treats: Black Bean Mix

This is delicious hot or cold.  Eat it with a spoon, or let your toddler scoop it up in their cute little hand.

Ingredients:

Several cloves of garlic
One each small to medium red and yellow bell pepper
A bunch of cilantro
Two handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
Leftover parsley (also optional)
1 cup frozen corn
Olive oil
Salt, pepper, cumin (fresh ground), oregano (fresh makes all the difference!) and adobo powder if you have some on hand
The equivalent of two cans of black beans (half pound dried)

Heat the skillet.
Add enough oil to coat the bottom, turn the heat on medium-low (garlic burns fast) and crush several cloves of garlic.
Keep an eye on it while you dice your peppers, then toss them in.
Stir it all, add the frozen corn and keep stirring until it warms up again.
Add your beans, stir it.
Use some scissors and cut the cilantro, spinach, and parsley (or just the cilantro) into the beans.
Add spices.

Final Result:




Thanks to Conuly from Livejournal for this recipe!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A+ Parenting: Lasagna Survivor

I made lasagna.
I cooked lasagna.
I cut a piece of lasagna.
I cooled the piece of lasagna.
I gave the piece of lasagna to Aias as he sat in his high chair
Aias played with lasagna for 20 minutes.
He ate a few pieces, the rest was on the floor.
I ran the bath water.
I put him in there.
I scrubbed him, I thought, pretty darn thoroughly.
He played for 15 minutes.
I took him out.
I dried him off.
I put a diaper on him.
I sent him on his way to play in the living room.
He opened his right hand, and a piece of lasagna fell out of it.
He had been holding it the WHOLE time.
The dog ate it.
The end.