Thursday, April 29, 2010

Giveaway results Monday

We have decided to take a spur of the moment camping trip

HOORAY!

I have spent most of today making
  • baby back ribs
  • pasta salad
  • graham crackers
  • rosemary garlic potatoes
We are leaving tomorrow morning

So the results for the soapnuts giveaway will be posted Monday morning or as soon as I get back

I'll still only be taking entries up till 5pm tomorrow (thats California time)

I'll be back next week with giveaway results, recipes, pictures

And a review of my new ERGO CARRIER
that I recieved as an early Mother's Day gift from Heather and My mom!

A very big THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to them

You ladies are the best

Monday, April 26, 2010

"10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You."

I decided to participate in this twitter party because since I've made these few small changes to my day, I have felt much healthier. They are simple, and I noticed a difference in about a month. I didn't do all these at once, I probably started them all over the course of a year (being pregnant helped me be healthier as well) I continue to try to stay healthy, because I know its easy to fall back into old habits.

  1.  No Hydrogenated Oils. I know, you've heard it before, but cut them out for about three months, and when you eat them, you WILL notice how shitty they make you feel.
  2. No High Fructose Corn Syrup: It was HARD to get over my addiction to Coca-Cola, at one point in my life I drank at least a twelve pack a day. But when I got pregnant with annabella I vowed to cut it out (I didn't do very well) When she was breastfeeding, any caffeine was noticeable instantly! So I cut it out, I had a sip of one about three weeks ago and it tasted DISGUSTING! 
  3. Breakfast:  Personally I go with a bowl of maple oatmeal with: walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and cinnamon. And a glass of cranberry juice. I've found I have much more energy for the day with breakfast. Sometimes I'll have a grapefruit, but I find that oatmeal fills me up better.
  4. Letting Daddy take the car: Another hard one, I am an almost everyday grocery shopper, I decide whats for dinner that day most of the time. At first the walk to the grocery store seemed long, but then it seemed half the time, not its pretty much across the street in my scope of things. Now that the weather is nice, I use my stroller as my cart, and walk all over downtown running my errands. Annabella loves going for walks, and I get great exercise. Its much easier to not have to get the baby in and out of the car every time we stop; and I don't feel bad about turning the car on and off all day.
  5. Gardening: Fresh veggies from the garden have lots of amino acids and nutrients that go away within hours after being picked from the vine; and the difference is clear when you taste them. I also love the accomplishment of having a salad from my garden. I just mastered lettuce and it is SO YUMMY! Also, it turned out to be easier to grow then I thought. I have a great tan, and this slug battle while frustrating, is primitive and fun!
  6. Yoga: I have a eight month old and a flat stomach! Well, almost flat.. either way I feel great about myself. The mamas at my yoga class are wonderful, and annabella loves having other friends to play with!
  7. Acupuncture: I started having acupuncture done for my mood swings and back pain while I was pregnant. Everybody noticed a difference! The acupuncturist who I go to is so kind, she really cares and even has offered to come to my house if I need it. I don't think I'll be having her over anytime soon though, because I get an hour of ME time. After she puts the needles in, I get about forty-five minutes of relaxation with some music.... can you say Ahhhhhhh..
  8. Local Bee Products: I'm all about buying local, but when you buy local bee products, everybody benefits! When you eat bee pollen, and honey from local bees, it help your immune system fight allergies! It really works, I swear by it. I love going to the farmers market and seeing what kind of honey my local bee keeper has in store. We are about to start keeping some bees ourselves! A friend of ours has been keeping them with his family since before he can remember! I'll be sure to keep you updated on them!
  9. Cooking from Scratch: I use fewer preservatives, and fresher ingredients! Also my food tastes much better then anything that comes in a box. I feel such a sense of satisfaction, when I pull some pizza dough out of the oven that I have made from FLOUR! Besides that I am getting nice arms from all this stirring and kneading!
  10. Water: My Nana always kept water in the fridge, thankfully, it has caused me to be addicted to water.  I drink at least 10 glasses a day, Most of them are at room temperature, which helps your body to absorb nutrients better. However, I do drink ice cold water when I'm hot, nothing cools you down better. BONUS: Ice water burns calories!

So there is my advice, I hope it helps some of you! To learn more about the campaign HERE

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 blogging program to be eligible to win 6 free Juicy Rewards points and a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” 




Here is a code you can redeem to get one juicy point. Visit The Juicy Rewards page to learn how you can save money. Code:TWMOM-READR. (This one-time use code is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account. Limit one new account bonus code per new account. All accounts must be created and all codes entered UPDATE! twittermoms just let me know that I posted the wrong dates, the contest ends on the May 7th 2010 at 11:59pm EST, ::not June 30th as previously stated::)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Teething Cookies!


Annabella has been teething
And since I like baking so much, I figured it was only fair that I make her cookies like I do the rest of the family!

I found this recipe
 from Chic Mommy
which has applesauce, maple syrup, and wheat flour

I ate one right after they were baked and still soft and they were pretty yummy

Annabella thinks they are pretty good too

studying the cookie
looks pretty good
think I'll do it
hmmmmm
she loves them!

And here is our picture from the apple blossom festival this weekend, please excuse the hair in my face


Fabric High Chair


I found this tutorial from this mama makes stuff about three months ago,
Annabella wasn't able to eat solid foods or sit up yet
As soon as we were old enough to start eating, I stalked my favorite craft store The Legacy in Sebastopol (where they sell recycled fabric at $2.00 a pound)
for the right fabric, and then I found about two yards of adorable green spotted prequilt.
And about four yards of a pink geranium print (how springy!)

I already had the velcro, so here is what I came up with
(excuse the messy shirt, these pics were taken post banana)

It works great
Annabella loves it because she can play with her toes

Its so small, I can take it anywhere with us!

Thanks again to this mama makes stuff
be sure to check out here site

Don't forget to enter my Soapnuts and extreme 18x giveaways!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A few from this week

Realized that I've been slacking on pics of my little one lately
So here's a few from this week

I love this dress, the silk over shirt was her grandfather's. And the hat is just adorable.
She got pretty tired of mommy taking pictures

T
Trying to eat her turtle, and in turn she got a beard!

My little Irish potato bug, caught in the act

You'll have to excuse my messy house.

Thanks for looking.

Don't forget to enter my naturoli extreme 18x giveaway, you can find it on the sidebar under giveaways! two winners!

Naturoli Extreme 18x Giveaway 2 winners!

Hello Everyone!

Most of you will remember my Naturoli Extremem 18x review

Well the people over at naturoli have aggreed to give TWO of my readers a chance to try a two ounce bottle of this product!



What is it?

  • Concentrated form of soapnuts, grown on a tree
  • two once bottle does 12 loads
  • great for cloth diapers
  • environmentally friendly
  • can be used for just about every household cleaning job!
To Enter

1. You must be a follower, Check out my Naturoli Extremem 18x review and leave me a comment on this entry letting me know why you would like to try Extreme18X (mandatory for the other entries)(1 entry)
2. Follow me on twitter(1 entry)
4.Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry)
3.Blog about this giveaway (2 entries)
4.Enter another one of my giveaways (1 entry)

GOOD LUCK!
Contest ends May 7


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WELCOME BOBO!

hooray!

My fellow norcal mama had her baby yesterday at 12:40am!
Born 4-20-2010
8lb8oz
(whoa)

What a nice birthday

I'm so happy for Anna and Joey

Its such a wonderful thing when a close friend has a baby. Before Anna, there really hasn't been any fellow mama's that I get along with very well in my area.

But we're gonna be raging the Mercedes wagon

I've never gotten to be a mama and run errands with another mama

I know this probably sounds ridiculous, that I'm so excited to have a mom friend. I never knew how lonely being a mother could be. Even with all the support I've recieved from my friends and family. I know that things will be getting a lot easier for me in the sense that I now have someone who I can lean on

I am so excited to help Anna with Bobo, and help her with all the new baby madness. 

Another Bonus!
Now I can make two of all my baby projects!

Projects I've made/am making for Anna include

  • Ring Sling (this was going to be a wrap, but I made myself a ring sling yesterday and I like it way more then my wrap)
  • Diapers
  • Wipes 
  • Changing Pad


Anna is also crafty like me, I'm so looking forward to our craft days!

Or when we will have arts and crafts with our toddlers

Anyways, Congrats Anna! Congrats Joey

Here's to two of  my best friends
and to Annabella's new best friend

Monday, April 19, 2010

When you wish upon a baby carrier

You will look at it everyday, until you can afford it

I want  this Ergo Carrier so bad

My daughter is now 21 pounds, and my wrap carrier just doesn't do the same job as it used to

I only weigh 95 pounds

I also like the thought that Ryan would also wear this one, the wrap seems to be too girly for him.

It also has a sold seperatly backpack attachment $48
this velcros to the straps and makes the carrier into a backpack with a baby!

And of course I always love the idea of a fanny pack $22.00


this straps onto the front of the carrier, and would be great for my cell phone and wallet

The changing pad comes with lots of pockets and  a waterproof bag, to put soiled items $46
Right now the carrier is $110

Mother's day is coming up....
::Ahem::

hopefully somebody has been reading my blog.
 I finally got some pictures up of the dresses I've been working on
They are available on Etsy



Very Hungry Caterpillar




Springtime Bugs




Galaxy Dress


Elroy Dress




Rolling Bones Dress

Soon these will all be available on my etsy site

Citrus Swordfish with mango salsa and coconut rice

Last night I got swordfish

It was a battle, mostly because I had no idea what to do with it
Luckily, swordfish is not as hard to cook as I thought it was.

I found the recipe for the swordfish here
I omitted the cilantro, but if you like cilantro you should add it

For the rice:

Two cans coconut milk
Half a cup of water
pinch of mace
tsp cinnamon
quarter tsp ginger
salt and pepper
Two cups jasmine rice

I put all of this in a pan, brought it to a simmer and let it cook until all the liquid had evaporated. (careful, this smells exotic and yummy)

Meanwhile I toasted some pecans, about three to five minutes on 350

I grilled the swordfish till it was white in the center, this took a lot longer then I thought it would, and I only managed to get good grill marks on one of my steaks.

For plating:
Rice
Crushed Pecans
Swordfish Steak
Salsa

The nuts add such a nice texture with everything else. I'm sure you'll love this
I will make this again, I love how tropical it tastes.



Pizza dough, the secret ingredient

I have mastered Pizza
I have Jamie Oliver to thank

Annabella is also thanking Jaime

A few months ago, I found a recipe from him in an italian cooking magazine

I haven't tried it up until now because I have never in my life succeeded with pizza dough

But I tried it because I was broke, but had all the ingredients I needed here in my house

And the secret ingredient? Semolina flour, this high gluten flour is what I use to make my pasta. Everything I make with Semolina seems to come out perfect...

It only takes about an hour to make it!
I even tossed this dough (much to annabella's amusement)

You can get Jaime's recipe 

Then you can make this

Pizza is a great way to reuse leftovers, yesterday, I made Ryan one with leftover pork roast, Jaime's recipe only takes about an hour and a half

My Pizza Tips
  • Roll it out, let it sit for a half hour, then add toppings and let it sit for about fifteen minutes before baking
  • Get your oven HOT, turn it on about an hour before you cook your pizza
  • Use lots of flour on the board you use to transfer it to the pizza stone
  • That reminds me, get a pizza stone
  • Less is more with toppings
  • Fresh ingredients make a difference..USE THEM
  • Make your pizza with Love
  • Practice tossing it in the air (if you dare), on a few dozen pizzas before you do it in front  of pizza
  • also if you are going to practice tossing, you should wash your floor first
  • Babies Love Pizza Crust

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Soapnuts Giveaway!! Three Winners!

Hello everyone!

The folks over at naturoli have decided to give THREE readers a trial size bag of Soapnuts!


Most of you will remember my review of Soapnuts two weeks ago. You'll remember how it works for EVERYTHING!

What are they?
Soapnuts are grown on trees, you make a tea with them and then use it to clean whatever you can think of, I was also recently informed that it can be used as a Mosquito Repellent!  I don't know what these things can't do!

Rules:

Winners will be chosen from the random number generator on random.org
I will contact the winners and you will have three days to respond, if you don't respond in three days (72 hrs), I will choose another winner.
Please leave a post for each entry (if you blog about the giveaway, post three times, its the only way i know to keep the numbers fair)

Giveaway ends April 30, 2010 at five pm

How to Enter:


Mandatory
1. You must be a follower, and leave a comment telling me me what you would try your Soapnuts on (one entry)

Bonus
2.  Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (one entry)
3. Blog about this giveaway (three entries)


Good luck everyone!

Monday, April 12, 2010

NaturOli Extreme 18x Product Review

Many of you will remember my soapnuts review . You will remember how well they cleaned just about everything in my house. Sometimes however, we just don't have the time to make a tea and let it simmer for an hour. And some of us (::ahem:: myself) have a hard time remembering to grab a muslin bag from the laundry. ::cough::  But, we still want to be green! We still want to use the most pure natural thing we can, especially if it's going on our baby's bottom!

A solution, the Soapnuts Extreme 18X is a concentrated form of the Soapnuts. That comes already in liquid form to use just like the Soapnuts liquid, and works just as well in most cases, and better in some.

I received this with my Soapnuts order, so it came just as quick! I used it for a load of dishes, because I had been using my Doctor Bronner's anyway.

The concentrate is very affordable it is $17.95 for a bottle, and it comes with the micro dosing pump, which I didn't have but looks like a sweet addition, because without it, pouring too much into the sink is an easy mistake. You really can't beat the price considering all that you can use it for.

The extreme 18x is a highly concentrated form of the Soapnuts liquid that you brew at home.


How to Use

The Extreme 18X is much simpler to use then the raw Soapnuts, because you don't have to boil it down, you can simply use it right out of the bottle. I used it for my dishes when I got home  by just adding a drop to my dish water,  It got more suds then I remember the homemade Soapnuts liquid making, which I really appreciated,  because it makes me feel like the dishes are getting more clean.

I also made a spray out of it by using  a tablespoon of the liquid, one ounce of vinegar, a few drops of orange blossom oil and the rest water. It leaves everything just as clean as with the homemade Soapnuts liquid. Its a great alternative if you don't have time to make your own.

For Laundry, I used a teaspoon per load, and everything came out just as well as with the Soapnuts.

How It Works

The concentrate does a great job of cleaning, I love it for dishes, and like keeping the bottle next to the sink at all times. 

Its also very handy , because you can keep the bottle right next to the machine, I didn't like having to measure a teaspoon each time (mostly because I only have one set of measuring spoons, and I had to take them to the laundry room each time and this sometimes meant I had to wash them) But with the squirt top that is now included, this can be easily avoided. And you can just squirt it in the laundry. Just as with the Soapnuts, Annabella's bottom still looks great.

Where to buy

The concentrate is available from NaturOli, it is affordable, and from my experience, arrives quickly.

What I liked


  • No need to make the tea
  • Affordable
  • Pretty Color
  • Makes suds in dishes
  • Green
  • In spray form works just as well as homemade liquid
  • all purpose
  • gentle on sensitive skin
What I Didn't Like
  • Missed the scrub that I got with the Soapnuts powder
  • measuring for laundry (this is now avoided with the squirt top)
  • I liked having the raw Soapnuts around


Overall, I really liked the product, and if you don't have time for all the work of making the homemade Soapnuts liquid, its a great alternative to the raw ones. I personally like having the powder around for scrubbing. But love having the concentrate by my sink for dishes!

I'm back

Hey Everyone!
I know its been a while
A little over a week?

We were visiting Annabella's Great Grandparents in South Carolina.
And let me tell you it was beautiful!
The Oak trees!
The Wisteria
The Spanish Moss

I was in the same place they filmed Forrest Gump
And its even more beautiful then I imagined

Also I ate lots of east coast shrimp
I forgot how delicious they could be

Frogmore Stew, is now one of my favorite foods

We also visited Folley Beach,  where I ate a crab cake from blue crab. 

For Breakfast.

I miss east coast seafood

But alas I hate airplanes.



Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy easter

Happy easter everyone!

Just thought I'd share what I won from Mothering magazine.
A limited edition fair trade easter box filled with nine organic vegan truffes from sjaaks organic chocolates. They were delicious, my favorite was the Dark Chocolate Pistachio. Heaven

Saturday, April 3, 2010

SoapnutsReview

I'm always looking for a great all purpose cleaner, something natural, green, gentle, and easy to use. While I was looking for such product I came upon soapnuts. At first the whole thing sounds a little crazy, you just put these date looking things in with your laundry and it comes out clean.  They are different, but I had heard a little bit about people using this product with sensitive skin. Annabella's bum gets red pretty often, never a bad diaper rash, but its not that baby bum that you're used to. I liked the idea that if the product worked on my laundry, it would also work for cleaning other things in my house.


They are also affordable, one bag of nuts at twenty five dollars does around 160 loads of laundry,. The sample pack which does five loads is only two dollars and ninety cents.

My order arrived in about two days, very quickly.It arrived in a cardboard box, the nuts were packed in a muslin bag, with a smaller muslin bag enclosed. The nuts were dry and looked like dates, wrinkly and dark brown, They were very dry, and I was curious how they would make soap. There was also an instruction book with instructions on how to use the nuts, and some information about them. I liked how organic the soapnuts looked.

The soapnuts are grown in New Delhi, near the Himalayan mountains, but they grow in other places, they have been used for centuries as a laundry detergent.

this is what the soapnuts look like


How To Use:


The instructions that came with my nuts were lacking in a few areas, I was a little confused at how much water to add to make the solution, this was quickly managed by looking on the internet where I found clearer instructions, basically what you are doing is making a  tea, that you simmer for a long time.

To  make a liquid, I boiled 12 nuts in six cups of water and let them simmer till it seemed all the saponin  was out of them, it was a little hard to tell if they were done or not, but they looked grey and they started to fall apart. I let it cool and strained out a thick liquid, when I held it up to the light I  couldn't see my hand behind it. After that I felt confident that I had done it correctly. I can best relate the smell to an artichoke, my friend, Heather said it smelled like a squash, I'm not sure how much I like the smell, but it can easily be fixed with some essential oils

To make an all purpose spray you just add some of this liquid to a spray bottle (I used about two ounces) and fill the rest with water. I then added essential oils to make it smell good. I made to spray bottles one with vinegar and one without.

You can also add the liquid to the laundry in place of using the muslin bag with the soapnuts in it.

The liquid can also be used in dishwater like regular dish soap.

If you need to scrub something, just grind the soapnuts in your coffee grinder, but be warned, that when I did this, I let it grind a little too long, and upon opening the lid got a nose-full of soapnuts powder, which is not very pleasant, I would recommend leaving the lid on for a minute before opening it. After that I used the scrub on my stove.

How it Works


Overall I really like them, for the kitchen I found that the liquid mixed with the vinegar worked wonders to clean off the baked food on my stove top. Any spots that were hard to get off, I used the soap nut powder, I was amazed at how the powder worked. It is scrubby; then it gets soapy as it gets wet so it cleans very well.

I did not however like it for dish water, it doesn't get enough suds for me to feel like the dishes are clean, I would however use it if I was out of dish soap.

I used the spray to clean my bathroom , I loved how when mixed with the vinegar it got the soap scum off my shower, it also cut through the toothpaste that was in my sink so I didn't have to scrub it off which I hate.

I loved it for laundry, and I have found my new laundry detergent. What I first noticed about the nuts were that they were simple to put in the laundry, no measuring or putting too much or too little soap in. Just toss the bag in and you are done. I did however, have a hard time finding the bag as I transfered my laundry from the washer to the dryer.   Annabella's diapers smelled fresh, and looked VERY clean, much cleaner then I have gotten with other detergents. They were also so soft! All of the clothes that I have washed with the soapnuts with have come out soft and fresh, almost like I used a chemical cleaner or fabric softener. Its my new favorite for towels and diapers. Annabella's rash has also gone away and not come back since I've been using soapnuts for the diapers.

The soapnuts can be used in compost after the saponin is expressed. I read that they can be added directly to the soil, I didn't' try this because I was unsure what nutrients they would provide and I didn't want to shock my plants

Where to Buy
Soapnuts can be purchased in lots of different forms from Naturoli. They are available in a concentrate form if you don't want to boil them down yourself. Naturoli has excellent customer service, and they ship orders quickly

What I like

  • I love them for cloth diapers they are natural so keep up absorbency, as well as make the diapers clean and soft.
  • they are gentle on sensitive skin
  • they are easy, no measuring
  • they are all purpose, no need to buy multiple products, you can stick with one
  • THEY GROW ON TREES!
  • they work wonders as a scrub
  • as a spray, they can clean soap scum!
  • they confuse my neighbor 


What I don't like

  • they don't get sudsy in dish water
  • its hard to remember to remove the bag from the laundry
  • the smell of the powder



Overall, I think soapnuts are amazing, they are my favorite laundry detergent so far (and I have tried upwards of twenty in the last year).  I also love them as an all purpose cleaner. I will continue to wash my dishes with regular sudsy soap, but plan to use the soapnuts for most other cleaning.

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