Sunday, May 31, 2009

Size DOES Matter

Well it does when your a Monster Truck.

Who is this boy and what has he done to my baby??

Feeling kind of small.

Michael tried out a stunt ATV with a driver.

A moment of boy love caught on film--the equivalent of seeing a beautiful pair of shoes on sale.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturdays in Syracuse

It starts with a baseball game.

Moves to the Farmers Market.

And ends with Monster Jam.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby and Child Marketed Soap Brands That Tested Positive for Formaldehyde

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the tub.
The following baby and children soaps and bath washes have been found to contain formaldehyde, considered a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

*According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

American Girl Hopes and Dreams Shimmer Body Lotion (Bath & Body Works)
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)
Baby Magic “Soft Baby Scent” Baby Lotion (Ascendia Brands, Inc)
Tinker Bell Body Lotion (Goldie LLC)
CVS Baby Shampoo (CVS/Pharmacy)
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies)
L’Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Fast Dry Shampoo – Burst of Cool Melon (L’Oreal USA)
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works)
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works)
American Girl Real Beauty Inside and Out Shower Gel – Apple Blossom (Bath & Body Works)
CVS Kids Body Wash – Blueberry Blast (CVS/Pharmacy)
Equate Tearless Baby Wash (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)
Gentle Naturals Eczema Baby Wash (Del Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)
Grins & Giggles Milk & Honey Baby Wash (Gerber Products Company)
Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wash (Kimberly-Clark)
Barbie Berry Sweet Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies)
Dora the Explorer Bubble Bath (MZB Personal Care)
Sesame Street Bubble Bath – Orange Mango Tango (The Village Company)
Tinker Bell Scented Bubble Bath (Goldie LLC)
Hot Wheels Berry Blast Bubble Bath (Water-Jel Technologies)
Mustela Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath (Laboratories Expanscience)
Huggies Soft Skin – Shea Butter (Kimberly-Clark Global Sales Inc)
Pampers Kandoo Foaming Handsoap – Magic Melon (Procter & Gamble)

How do I avoid this problem? The first way is I use only natural and organic soaps and washes and even then I still read the ingredient list carefully to be sure I know everything that is in it such as Dr. Bronner’s . Secondly for bar soaps, I make my own cold-process goats milk soaps with added essential oils for complete control over the ingredients.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Works For Me Wednesday: Summer Tote

This week for Works For Me Wednesday....

I have a bad (very bad) habit of leaving my purse in the car. But even on a hot day when we go to a park , whether my purse is with me or not, whatever is in it is just as hot. This is not always a good thing for your delicate cell phone, camera, and occasional chocolate bar.

My solution is using a cute insulated lunch tote as a summer purse. This way no matter what the temperature outside (or inside the locked car), my electronics and other delicate items wont get damaged by the heat. It is also great for bringing along a cold juice box or two to the park.

I got my cute polka-dot bag at Target for 10 bucks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped: Proof I Exist

Im getting concerned that many of my Tuesdays Unwrapped posts involve ice cream. Anyway, Emily mentioned a week or two ago that we often take no photos of ourselves leaving no proof we exist. Well, here you go. Proof I exist and further proof that I love ice cream-- especially after Meg's softball game.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bagel Love

Ok, we are on carb overload over here. Grandma and Abuelo brought up authentic NY bagels this weekend. It is our one thing that we truly whole-heartedly miss from living downstate. No one can make an authentic NY bagel outside of the NYC / Long Island region...can't happen.
So we were smitten with the dozen or so of everything bagels that adorned my kitchen counter for less than 24 hours. We ate bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Toasted with butter or cream cheese.

We smacked our lips, licked our fingers of the dripping butter, and picked at the toasted garlic pieces left on our plates afterwards.

Sadly, the bagels are now gone. We must patiently wait for their return with our next visit from downstate family.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The grandparents have left, the BBQ is over, the bon fire has been put out, the neighbors have gone home, and all is right with the world.

Friday, May 22, 2009

10 Things I Will Say in the Next 24 Hours

1. I dont think you need to add more wood -- the bon fire is big enough.
2. Please put your clothes on we dont need to run around naked in front of the neighbors.
3. Rum...extra rum in my pina colada please.
4. What are you doing with the canister of gasoline? Don't put it on the fire!
5. Oh dont worry about the mud you tracked in, I'll just wash the whole kitchen floor again.
6. It is a hot tub not a swimming more cannonballs!
7. Seriously, the damn fire is big enough...don't you know there is a brush fire warning!
8. I know Grandma said yes but MOMMY said no.
10. Mommy needs another drink.

As you can see, we will be starting our Memorial Day this evening. I hope you have as great of a time as we will. Have a great weekend everyone!

Square Foot Gardening Update

Despite two unexpected hard frost nights last week, the garden continues to be doing very well. This is one of the 4 sections of the Sqaure Foot Garden I planted last month. We have already been able to enjoy some strawberries.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome New Little Friends

Hatched only a few hours ago, three baby birds are waiting for Mama Bird to deliver some food. She waits patiently in the tree nearby while I snap a few newborn shots.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kid Friendly Natural Body Products and a Giveaway!

Here's this week's Works For Me Wednesday:

We recently discovered, quite by accident, that Michael reacts to dyes when absorbed into his skin as well as ingesting Artificial Food Dye. So we have been working to use only natural products exclusivly now. We were pretty cautious already of chemicals and other nasties on their skin, but many of the things were colored such as shampoos and soaps. Here are some of our current favorites.

I L-o-v-e the Dr. Bronner's Lavender 18 in 1 Hemp Soap and the Badger Anti-Bug Balm.

I will be giving away a Badger Anti-Bug Balm to a lucky reader as well as a bottle of the Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hemp Soap. To be eligible for the giveaway leave me a comment and place a link to my blog on your site. You can grab our button (code is at bottom of this page) or inlcude a link to us in your post.
If you don't have a website, just leave a comment to enter the contests. Winner will be notified via email. Giveaway ends on Thursday May 28th at 12:01 AM. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Evening Softball

Getting in the last inning before the sun sets. Check out other Silhouettes at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dietary Makeovers

In our effort to remove artificial food colors from our diets (read why here) I have been making more things from scratch. Since I am making things from scratch, I have the opportunity to make-over a few of our foods to increase the nutrition. Slipping veggies and fruits into unsuspecting foods isn’t a new thing but I offer some of my newly made-over foods; foods that are big hits even with my pickiest eater.

Flourless Chocolate Cake (gluten free)
19 oz. can of garbanzo beans ( or white beans / chic peas etc.)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ c chocolate chips melted
4 eggs
½ tsp baking powder
Blend in food processor or blender until super smooth.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes . High in fiber and protein.

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Organic Pancake Mix (Either complete or add milk and egg kind)
½ C pumpkin canned puree
Pumpkin pie spice to taste
¼ c Wheat germ
Mix all ingredients together and make pancakes as usual.

Non-Foodcoloring Ice-Pops
V-8 Fusion Fruit and Vegetable Juice (we use the Acai one)
Pour juice in ice-pop molds and freeze.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I am submitting this photo into the Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

We Redesigned ...AGAIN

I hope you like it as much as I do. I redesigned mostly to add in more columns so I can have a more organized blog and be able to feature more information. I'd love to know what you think of it...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Homeschooling Co-op Day

Meg and friends making non-newtonian fluid (slime for you non-homeschooled people).

And Michael doing dam construction in the creek.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eliminating Artificial Food Coloring From Kids Diets-- Why Do It and Is It Worth It?

I had loosened up on my kids diets once they were around 4 and 3; mostly out of trying to keep myself sane when we were in the process of moving to Syracuse and needed to live in a hotel for 2 months, then a one-bedroom apartment, then in a new house stacked with boxes. While I didn't give up entirely on nutrition, I did allow a weekly or so candy (Skittles were a favorite), we went out for fast food a lot since boxes were stacked around and we didn’t get a stove in our new house for 4 weeks. It was a bit of a shame, we had been exclusively organic before moving and I had even pureed all of my kids’ baby foods and froze them in ice cube trays. So while we weren't junk food junkies, we had strayed from where we were. I had friends who ran the gamete on nutrition beliefs: those who ate only organic, those who let their kids eat anything, and those like me that ran the middle-of-the road. I'd hide the Skittles from my organic friends and get McDonalds with my no limitation friends. Things were ok. Until...

Someone had planted a little bug in my head that artificial food colors were linked to behavioral issues in kids. It sounded ridiculous so I researched it. The things I read scared me and changed my ways-forever. I stared reading correlations between artificial food coloring (AFC) and hyperactive / problematic behavior. I was also told that Artifical Food Coloring was made from (hang on to your hats) coal tar residue / petroleum. Yikes! I write this here to educate and bring light to a hidden issue not to be an alarmist; but if it helps someone the way it helped us then I feel good about this post.

Michael gets overwhelmed easy. When he gets overwhelmed he essentially explodes. It makes me sad because this sometimes defines him but it really isn’t who he is.I thought it was worth trying and decided to give it a go and eliminate AFC. This resulted in chucking a whole bunch of food from my pantry and re-buying after reading ingredients. I found that AFC is in almost everything-- even where you don't expect it.

Dr Feingold was the leader of this movement. Back in the 1970s, he strongly advocated the link between diet and behavior which culminated in his dietary guidelines for children suffering from a variety of behavioral issues. Southampton University did a study that linked artificial food coloring and sodium benzoate and hyperactive behavior. Read the study information here.

The Center for Science In the Public Interest urges the FDA to eliminate artificial food coloring. In a quote from the article "The science shows that kids' behavior improves when these artificial colorings are removed from their diets and worsens when they’re added to the their diets," said Dr. David Schab, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center, who conducted the 2004 meta-analysis with his colleague Dr. Nhi-Ha T. Trinh. "While not all children seem to be sensitive to these chemicals, it's hard to justify their continued use in foods—especially those foods heavily marketed to young children."

JM Swanson and M Kinsbourne found in their research that food dyes impaired children’s' ability on a learning test.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has not acknowledged the link, however in the February 2008 AAP publication "AAP Grand Rounds", the article states that after reviewing the evidence and studies, the AAP concluded that "parents and providers understandably seek safe and effective interventions [for ADHD] that require no prescription ... a trial of a preservative-free, food coloring-free diet is a reasonable intervention" My opinion is of course it is reasonable-- why wouldn't they advocate for trying something natural like this before medicating kids with Ritalin and other medications? I wonder what took them so long to encourage people to at least try something before going directly to pharmaceuticals.

In my own experiment in our house I have found dramatic results. First of all, Meagan has no sensitivity to food dyes. She can have them which I have allowed occasionally and demonstrates absolutely no reaction to them.

Michael on the other hand is a very dramatic case. I can usually time his behavioral outbursts almost to the minute after having artificial food dyes. Having been off the artificial food dyes for three months now the change is dramatic: he is more even tempered, more rational when upset, episodic meltdowns have dramatically decreased, his focus is much clearer, and he is more easy-going. In my findings I do believe that there are children that have "sensitivities" to these artificial food additives and that they can be helped with dietary changes.

I encourage all parents to look into this issue, get all of the facts, and make a determination based on your unique situation for your family.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped: Girl Talk

A walk off into the woods to have a little girl talk. See the rest of Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

Friday, May 8, 2009

He Is Braver Than I Am

My poor baby had an absessed molar. It hurt so bad and he was on antibiotic for a week. Today he went to the dentist to have it pulled. I knew it would be pulled, I just played dumb and said that *somehow* they would be sure the tooth didn't ever hurt him again.

He walked back to he room without me and reappeared about 15 minutes later--slightly dazed, gauze hanging from his mouth, and his arms loaded up with goodies for being such a good patient.

He is fine; I need a Xanax. And the Tooth Fairy is en route.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My New Stove: A Happy Day For All

So I got a new stove to replace and upgrade my old one which broke after being only a year old- (don't ask me to explain any further: my blood pressure can't take it).

While I thought I was the only one giddy with excitement at the delivery I was surprised when the kids quickly told the delivery men they NEEDED the box and dragged it off to the side.
Little bottles of craft paint flew out of the house at lightning speed and I didn't see the kids for several hours, (well, except when I was hiding behind the garage photographing them).

The remainder of my day was spent trying to remove the massive amount of craft paint from their clothing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


While we don’t follow a traditional Waldorf method I do love to adopt parts of their handwork ideas. I love the idea of handwork aesthetically speaking as well as in the practical sense of strengthening hand muscles and improving fine motor skills.

Today we worked on soap carving using some freshly made cold process goat’s milk soap (freshly made within the past week so it was still some-what soft for little hands to carve). We listened to some smooth jazz on the radio for inspiration. It was a lesson on patience, concentration, creativity, and the subtractive method of sculpting. Periodically Michael would exclaim to look at how awesome his was. He was so motivated and into the idea of sculpting. He sat there without much discussion as he meticulously carved .
At one point when I asked him what he was carving he told me “I’m just letting go of my ideas and being creative.”

Wow. Why can’t we all do that?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesdays Unwrapped

I love this picture. There is something very calm about the two boys looking out over the lake.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ways I Know I am Finally Getting Over Being Sick

1. I can yell at my children without running out of breath midway ,flopping down on my pillow and passing out.
2. My children no longer need to rely on neighbors or delivery people to provide them with food.
3. Jumping off my bed into a pile of pillows and screaming is no longer a sanctioned activity.
4. SpongeBob is no longer blaring on three tvs on three different levels of my house while no-one watches him—except for me.
5. I can now again win an argument against a 6 year old without asking for pity.
6. I have showered and successfully removed all of the shampoo from my hair this time.
7. My clothes match and they are not pajamas.
8. My children have finally changed their clothes (how many days have you been wearing that outfit??)
9. My children have been reacquainted with time-out.
10. The kids no longer feel “bad” for Mommy and any kindness extended is long gone.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Ok maybe the paparazzi aren't going to start chasing me down the narrow streets of Syracuse but I am this week's guest blogger in the Family Life section of . And writer Gina Chen *likes me*--she thinks I'm funny (who knew?)

So Im going to go don a pair of shady sunglasses and big hat to hide myself from all of my fans and you can check out my guest blog.

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