Thursday, September 23, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

We made it!

Arrived late Saturday night into Providence Airport

I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful daughter who is very  patient at airports and on airplanes.

We started the day at 5am getting on the airport express, a bus that took us to the airport in Oakland. We arrived there two hours early, which was good because as soon as I got there I realized that two hands is not nearly enough for two suitcases, a stroller, diaper bag and a baby. So I walked the length of the airport looking for the delta terminal. I somehow managed to stack my luggage and roll it over.

Now, I checked out the website to be sure that I could bring my bags on the plane and how much they were... well, SORRY, turns out delta doesn't give you a free bag. (Even though it says that  you get a free one all over the website and terminal) So the man behind the counter tells me he'll check one for free as a baby item. Great , $35 (or so I thought) I didn't have a credit card so I had to have my mother pay for the bags while on the phone with her he tells me to  "be sure to pay for both of them" so we ended up paying $60" I thought it was pretty ridiculous for them to tell me that they would only charge me for one then charging me for both anyways. 

After that I wasn't looking forward to a security check. Alas, it cannot be avoided, but I was very surprised at how quick the security people were and how short the lines were. I think there were only about three families in front of me, so it wasn't stressful which was nice.

So for the next few hours Annabella and I hung out with a little boy and his mama, Annabella shared her snacks and coloring books with him. I spent five bucks on coffee and a water and got on the plane.

The ride to salt lake city was beautiful, we flew over Lake Tahoe and the surrounding lakes, they were all so blue that I swore at some parts I could see to the bottom.

But the salt flats were my favorite to fly over (they also happen to be my favorite thing to drive by) What you can see in this picture is fields of salt in Utah, I'm pretty sure that they belong to Morton Salt. I was amazed at how many different colors there were on the ground.

We only had 45 min till our flight to Atlanta, just enough time to change Annabella's diaper and grab a drink. I was bummed I didn't have enough time to get some real food since our next flight was the longest.

We got on the plane and found our seats next to a little boy who was about five and his mother. Annabella was overjoyed about this seat assignment, but the little boy was not as excited. He didn't find Annabella nearly as interesting as she found him. 

I was surprised at how rude the stewardesses were on this flight, when I asked if the bathroom had a changing table she looked at me like I was insane, jut curious whats the etiquette on changing a baby on the plane if there is no table? The lady told me to just do it on the floor of the bathroom.. EWWW, so I played supermom and just lay her across my lap while I sat on the toilet.. wow

 Annabella fell asleep for the last two hours of the four hour ride so it was a very pleasant trip

 I was also pretty bummed to find  out that the only way to buy food or snacks on the airplane is with a credit card (which I don't have) So I was good with pretzels that Annabella force fed me and a ginger-ale.

Then we got to Atlanta... Grrrrrrr
I don't know if you readers out there in blogland have ever been but this airport is huge, so huge that you have to take a train to get from one terminal to the next, and here I am with 30 min to get to my plane.. OH it was a nightmare, I was running down the terminals with my stroller, then waiting for the elevators was a huge stress, Some janitors acctually cut in front of me with thier garbage bin, leaving no room for me on the first elevator ride down.

We did make it, and it just so happened to be the best flight, it was not crowded at all and Annabella and I even got our own row of seats! But Annabella was so atsy on this flight, we were walking up and down the aisles of the plane, luckily my daughter is adorable and nobody minded.

I would do a few things differently next time, and since I couldn't find too many sites maybe this can help some of you next time you fly
  1. Forget books for yourself; I didnt have time to read, and while annabella was sleepign there was no room to read a book, I took a nap and it was well needed for both
  2. Bring your stroller; Getting your baby in her carrier can be a pain while trying to get off the plane, I found that having the stroller at the door of the plane was helpful because I could put all my carry-on luggage underneith and just push it (this is especially nice while running through the Atlanta Airport)
  3. Bring LOTS of snacks and toys; preferably new ones. Annabella tried out crayons for the first time on the trip and they wre a great distraction
  4. Breastfeed: while going up and going down,  it works for popping ears as well as calming baby down
  5. Bring a credit card; because you won't be able to buy anything on the  plane without it
  6. Bring a changing pad
  7. 2  hour layovers, I know it makes the day longer, but it really helps when the little ones can stretch their legs for a while before the next airplane ride
I hope you found some of these tips helpful

Organizing pictures from our trip to New York City, I'll be posting them soon

Monday, September 20, 2010

On Vacation

Hey everyone, just wanted to let ya'll know that we're on vacation in CT, I plan on doing a few posts while I'm here, but we're off to NYC for the day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A reason to be thankful

Remember this pizza stone I won from  Emile Henry in the giveaway from Show me mama the other day??

Well the day that I won it, I was cooking a pizza due to my excitement over my pizza stone and I noticed this
Thats right, after two years, my pizza stone finally needed a replacement

So for now, I am just cooking them on the stone pieced together and it is working fine, but I can't wait for my new pizza stone to get here!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I got my fracture

And I'm amazed

This Fracture is the coolest picture I have ever recived.

After lots of debating we finally decided on this picture of Annabella I took at Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa California. Its been a favorite of ours for a long time, apparently we weren't the only ones who liked this picture because look at the note that came with it, thanks Matthew, glad you liked it.

The picture arrived in about four days from when I ordered it, pretty impressive considering that they are a new company!

First I noticed the package, its sent in a piece of cardboard that the picture sits in, opening the package was definitely more fun then most. I appreciated that here wasn't a lot of extra foam and bubble tape, the package keeps the glass safe without adding lots of extra.

The process is simple, upload your photo onto the site and then select your photo size (don't worry, if the quality of th photo is low and it won't look nice on the fracture the site tells you). Then you can choose a frame (also printed on the glass). Finalize your order and then you are done! Your image is digitally printed onto the back side of the glass and then sent to you!

The size I got was an 8x10 I got it for free for the review,but it only costs $12 to buy. The size photos start at 5x7 for $8 and go up to 11x14 for only $25 with deals like these, why bother spending all the money to get your picture framed?

the fracture is super thin

Not only does the  Fracture have quality like a television screen, it will last 3-5 years (and thats if you put it outside in direct sunlight) Its scratch and shatter resistant and it has no sharp edges. To hang it, simply put the provided screw in the wall and hang the thin self mounting photo onto it. So simple.

Overall; get yourself some, you can't beat the price, and they look so much nicer then a regular photo underneath some glass. I plan on getting all Annabella's pictures that are nice made into fractures. Because they will last for so long!

Thanks to twitter moms and  Fracture for hosting this great opportunity
I received a free 8x10  Fracture for a previous post, and this review the opinions are entirely my own


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Look what I won!

This all natural pizza stone from Emile Henry! I can't wait to get it, I am such an avid pizza maker we make it about three times a week!

I want to say thank you to  Show me mama for hosting this giveaway!

This pizza stone can be used on top of the stove to make tortillas, and other flat breads, it can also be used for searing, the surface is so strong that I can even cut the pizza right no the stone!

The ceramic surface makes so that the crust won't stick! Its even dishwasher safe.

Thanks again to Show me mama, be sure to check out here site for lots of great advice and giveaways!

Airplane advice

Well its about one week before me and my little one get on an airplane. I have to admit I'm a little nervous, now last time we went on a plane trip she had a blast! She loved getting to sit on our laps for so long.

But now I worry that my little toddler may not like sitting still for hours at a time on a plane.

So I'm asking you bloggers and fellow mommies for some suggestions!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blood Computers

We all know about blood diamonds, well it looks like Americans may be supporting another deadly mining buisness when they buy computers and electronic equipment. Here's a video to explain more

to find out more visit Raise Hope for Congo

Thanks to for posting about this

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ditch the Disposables!

Love this video for lunapads

Monday, September 6, 2010

tsa agents took my son

Any parent who is going to get on a plane with their child should read this first, Its a woman's story of how her son was taken from her by TSA agents during a routine security scan, because he had a metal pacifier clip.

This poor woman was put through hell by the agents, over nothing.

Note to self: get there early, and only bring plastic

tsa agents took my son

Friday, September 3, 2010

Worlds Largest Gummi Bears!

Worlds Largest Gummi Bears! TM and Giant Gummy Bears - The Original Manufacturer - StumbleUpon
World's Largest Gummy Bears! TM

Just stumbled upon ( this site and thought that it sounded awesome! Being someone who loves gummy bears, I can't wait to find an excuse to get some!

A fun party!

Annabella turned one on the first of the month and we had a small get together for her. She got lots of wonderful presents, unfortunetly, I forgot to charge my camera until she started opening them, luckily my camera charges fast, so I got pictures of her opening up her barn set.

The first gifts were opened much slower then the last one, by the Barn she had figured out what was going on

Showing off some wrapping paper skillls!

Look! A farmer!

After presents and some playtime, we had some cake, I'm kind of regretting that I didn't make her a chocolate cake because I think the pictures might have been better. But everybody at the party loved them, in fact it was the first time I've ever seen every cupcake that I made get eaten. 

Watching mommy get the cupcake ready,  I made the hat with a simple design, let me know if you would like a tutorial for it and I will work on one. I also made her the bib out of recycled fabric.

She was a little confused at everybody singing to her (usually she's singing to us!)

I can't remember my first taste of buttercream, but I bet it was an amazing experience. 

To get a reaction like this out of your guests make Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes, they are sure to be a hit, as is anything I make from Martha's website. I used 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder, if you read the comments and watch the video, you'll see there is a lot of dispute about how much baking powder to put in them. To be honest I think using 2 tsp of the baking powder might have made them fluffier without effecting the taste.

This was after the cupcake, you can tell by the huge sugar -spun eyes. She had just taken the toy from the dog and was making one of her typical 'Please  Uncle Sean' faces. She has him wrapped around her finger!

All in all it was a small but happy birthday and I think Annabella enjoyed herself, the highlight of the night was watching Annabella take her first steps after her cupcake while  being a crazy baby! 

Happy Birthday Annabella!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mail Time!

Check out what just arrived in the mail today!

This 'stuff bucket' from Neatnix. You can get one for yourself on thier website.  This bucket is 8" tall and can hold TONS of stuff! So far Annabella has been using it for her new farm animals. But I plan to use it for my craft and sewing supplies. 

The 'Stuff bucket" is 8" high and sells for $18.00. The website also has lots of other devices for organizing your closet like the Slide N stacks a vertical system for organizing your closet! Its like a files for your closet so that you don't tear everything off your shelves! I hope to try them in the near future

The "Stuff bucket" got here with superfast shipping. and arrived in some large bubble wrap, which normally I wouldn't like, but Annabella really ejoyed popping the larger sized bubbles so...

I won the bucket by being one of the first ten people to send the staff at Neatnix a picture of my disorganized closet! Thanks to Twittermoms for hosting the great RAMBO alert that told me about this contest

I received a free "Stuff Bucket" but was not required to write a review. These opinions are my own.

Ten Tips for a Greener Cleaner Home

Leave it to Twittermoms to come up with another post that hits so close to my home! I've always believed that if you use natural products in your home, then all you need are natural products to clean it. Most of my products come from the same places that my food comes from. With the addition of a few ingredients. I find that my cleaning schedule is simple. And after working for a cleaning company, I try not to put anything on my surfaces that we wouldn't find in the earth.

Ten Tips for a Greener Cleaner Home

  1. Throw out the bleach: Its horrible, and you don't need it. Vinegar can kill bacteria just as efficiently, and it won't take the color out of your clothes. Use it to clean surfaces after they have come into contact with raw meats or just to disinfect.
  2. Baking Soda: Use this to shine pots and pans, It polishes the surface without breaking down the enamel like other harsh clears can do.  It also will get rid of the smell on your wooden cutting boards. Just sprinkle a little bit on and then use a sponge or cloth to buff the surface.
  3. Polish Your Wood: Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil to clean and polish wood surfaces. I love this method and use it on everything in the house, it smells better then pine-sol because its real lemon juice!  The olive oil conditions the wood and gives it nourishment as well as cleaning off dust and giving it a shine
  4. Soapnuts!: I know that I have shared the benefits of soap-nuts with you before, they are hard to beat.  They are my absolute favorite for the laundry, they are free of synthetic fragrances so they don't build up on my diapers, or on my clothes. They are also great if you grind them up and then use then to scrub off baked on grime. 
  5. Dr. Bronner's : There was a time in my life when Doctor Bronners was the only soap in my house. We used it for dishes, laundry, counters, shampoo, soap, even toothpaste. (I don't reccomend the last one) But the point is that you don't need a whole cabinet of fancy cleaners, an all purpose cleaner such as Dr. Bronner's  can fill all your cleaning needs. I like to use it in my dishwater through the day to help release the dirt from my plates
  6. Daily shower: This stuff is a lifesaver, it basically breaks down the soap on your walls so that it doesn't all build up and make it hard to clean I currently am using one by Method, try to have everyone use this  after the shower, if not don't worry I just spray it after everyone is done taking showers for the day.
  7. Essential Oils:  This site has recipes for aromatherapy blends, building your collection of essential oils is great, you can use them to make your own cleaners that have scents. I like adding sweet orange oil to my cleaners for the kitchen, and I have some lavender cleaner that I made for the bedrooms, and living rooms. I like to switch it up in the bathroom depending on my mood.
  8. Carpet Freshener: Is that carpet stale? Last time I tried commercial carpet fresheners, they left me with watery eyes and an itchy nose (my carpet was very clean though). Now I make my own my sprinkling some essential oils in a mason jar with some baking soda, I shake it up and then sprinkle it on the carpet. I leave it for about fifteen minutes and then vacuum it up. It leaves my carpet and my vacuum smelling great and extra clean.
  9. Microwave cleaner: I love this trick for the microwave that I learned from my grandmother. Put a microwave safe container 3/4 full of water into the microwave and heat on high for about a minute. The steam will loosen everything off the sides and make the grease and grime wipe off easily.
  10. Your Air: Clean the air naturally with houseplants, they filter the air and bring oxygen to the environment. My favorite are spider plants which can be grown in just glasses of water! Try your had at macramé and  you can have some decorations that bring you back to the sixties, and make you and your family feel better while you are at it. I also have an Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier I love how I can see the dirt that comes out of the air on the filter.
  11. Use those brown paper bags: If you're like me and haven't quite mastered remembering your reusable  bags to the grocery store every time. . Then put all those bags to use and use them to hold your garbage when you run out of plastic bags, or your recycling. I always would end up with piles of brown paper grocery bags now I use them to hold my trash because they biodegradable instead of sitting in a landfill for years.
I hope these help to make your homes safer and cleaner, while saving you time and money, keep a schedule and do certain chores on certain days and sooner then you know it it will be second nature!  Good luck, and happy cleaning

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Ten Ways to Make Your favorite Foods Healthier

Hello everyone, Annabella's birthday was amazing. I'm getting some pictures together so that I can show all of you what a fun day we had!

In the meantime,  I found out about  this contest from Twittermoms, and I had some great ideas! Being a mother and since I've been pregnant, I have been more involved with making sure that I make the right food choices. Its simple to do if you know  a few basic tips, and if you pay attention to the ingredients in your foods. Using whole and natural choices are the best ways to be sure that your foods are healthy!

Ten Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

  1. Brownies, Cookies, and other baked goods: Replace about a third of the flour in your recipes with whole wheat flour. This way, you can get back the bran and the germ from the flour. Wheat Bran and Germ are the parts of the wheat that are the best for your body. Be sure that if you are making a recipe with yeast that requires rising, remember that you only want to let it rise about 1 1/2 times bigger  as opposed to double. To use all wheat flour in a bread recipe, be sure to add about two tsp gluten and some extra water.
  2. Have a GREEN salad instead of a 'cooked' veggie: Lets face it, most (well at least most people I know) of us cook our veggies in butter, or oil. We fry them or bake them filled with bread crumbs. Smother them in cheese. Why not just have a small salad with diner. But make it a green one. Simply add some oil and balsamic. Bonus points if the greens are from your garden, they will taste fresh and have many more nutrients then ones that have been sitting on a store shelf.
  3. Potato Chips: I know its hard to give them up, but replace the crunch with something a bit healthier. Share some of you're toddler's veggie puffs, they really are yummy. Or how about some pita chips with hummus. The mashed bean dip will fill you up better then just potato chips alone. So you will eat less, and get more benefits from the protein in the dip.
  4. Baked not fried--try some panko: Panko crumbs become my best friend when I am trying to flatten my tummy a bit. Why?? They stay CRUNCHY! I love crunchy, fried....... anything! And who wants to replace crunchy deep fried goodness, with some mediocre chicken from the oven? Panko crumbs almost always stay crunchy. I love to grind up some peanuts, almonds or pecans and add them to my breadcrumb mix for a little added flavor.
  5. Replace the pie with fruit: This one is easy (and yummy) Instead of baking a pie, just spoon some fresh fruit over some vanilla ice cream (splurge on a good pint fruit is cheap.) You can enjoy whatever fruit is in season. Or make a parfait with fruit, granola, and yogurt leave it in the fridge an hour then try it.  These are quicker to make, and its much better to enjoy the fresh fruit. Having this instead of chocolate ice cream sundaes, will help kids learn to reach for healthier desserts.
  6. Replace your butter with oil: Its okay in most recipes. Most of the time I don't notice a difference, and if there is its as easy to fix as adding some extra spices! If you are noticing that your stuffing needs something to replace the buttery flavor, add a little bit of extra marjoram and savory. I think that they give a smooth buttery Herby flavor to stuffing that can't be beat. Any chicken dish in my opinion can be improved with savory and marjoram. 
  7. Squash your pasta!: Literally, you can almost always replace spaghetti with spaghetti squash with surprisingly good and healthy results!  My favorite ways to use it are in primavera, shrimp scampi, and underneath a red sauce (the ultimate surprise dish). To cook the squash, just cut it in half, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven at about $350 till its fork tender, then use it as you would cooked spaghetti in your dish. I try to stock up at the farmers market when they are in season, local ones taste the best and because they are squash, they keep very well.
  8. Add some sweet potatoes to your mashed potatoes: I  LOVE mashed potatoes. I could eat them everyday. My favorite way to sneak some vitamins in them is to mash up a couple of sweet potatoes with the white ones. This adds a hint of savory sweetness to the potatoes. Its also unnecessary to add globs of butter because the potatoes already have so much flavor from the sweet potato. The color of the potatoes is almost that of a pale butternut squash they go great with roast chicken and green beans.
  9. Have some soup: Instead of eating a sandwich for lunch loaded with cheese, condiments and consisting mainly of bread. Have a bowl of soup.  Be smart and don't choose soups that are cream based. But a hearty minestrone or a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup can fill you up and will warm your belly in the coming fall months. If you must have some carbohydrates, go for some whole wheat crackers or slice of whole grain bread. If its too hot for warm soup, try some gazpacho a cold tomato soup that I love with slices of avocado.
  10. Replace the mayo; I am a huge fan or using alternatives to mayonnaise, its fat and cholesterol. There are so many alternatives! Add plain yogurt to your potato salad. Use pesto or aioli on your sandwich. If I have to use mayo (like when I'm making tuna sandwiches). I always add lots of veggies to make-up for the mayo. Diced celery, onions and bell-peppers are my favorite things to mix in with the tuna. To the sand which I add tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts and avocado. If I have some I like to add a slice of crunch bacon. Yum.

I hope this helps everyone! 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.