not from concentrate...

our farm box this week yielded a bunch of huge navel oranges, in addition to a few smaller varieties that we already had on hand. well, you know how the saying goes--when life gives you (too many) oranges, make orange juice! or at least, that's how i told lucy the saying goes. she'll believe anything.

our fresh-squeezed juice was deliciously sweet and filled with lots of good pulp (we are pulp people around here). it paired perfectly with homemade waffles (or was it pancakes--i can't remember). because, you know, there's nothing like having a big ol' breakfast as a follow-up to a thanksgiving feast...



confession: this eco-oriented blogger used to be a thoroughly addicted target shopper. as in, once-or-twice-a-week shopper. as in, $100-each-time shopper. it was bad.

thankfully, things have changed. i no longer need (or want) much of what target sells. kids clothes? i'm buying used. personal products? i head to my local natural pharmacy, or buy online. cleaning supplies? we make our own with vinegar, baking soda, water and castile soap. clothes for me? eh, i just don't really buy clothes much anymore.

so how is it that your loyal blogger ended up at target today (black friday, no less)? well, must plead some innocence--i was there to return/exchange a few items of clothing that i'd bought earlier in the week. yes, i did hit up target recently for some inexpensive clothes while i wait for the remaining bits of my baby belly to go away. (i'm of the mindset that maternity clothes must NEVER be worn once the baby is actually out... but i digress).

anyhow, here's the problem with target: occasionally, they have really cute stuff. case in point: some lovely knee socks in the women's department. which were just begging to be made into fancy leggings for little lucy.

have you ever made your own babylegs? it's a too-simple project that's fast and fun. i initially learned from this tutorial, but find that serging the pieces together is quicker and yields a more professional-looking product. i also find that using unwashed socks works better than washing them first, for some reason. just make sure to wash them before you put them on your little one!

now, someone keep me away from target for the time being. that rack of socks is calling my name...


fab fall breakfast...

our go-to breakfast routine of eggs and hash brown patties or homemade waffles got a bit of a shake-up this week. i'd made polenta from scratch for the very first time--we had it for dinner served with marinara sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese. then jeremy and i remembered a yummy breakfast we'd had at guerilla cafe last year and decided to recreate it: a bowl of polenta topped with a fried egg. super easy, very tasty and has that stick-to-your-ribs quality perfect for a crisp autumn morning. though jeremy insists on a hard-cooked egg, or scrambled eggs on the side. none of that runny yolk stuff for him (which i personally find delicious).

basic polenta recipe:

boil 7 cups water. add a tablespoon of salt. sprinkle in 2 cups medium-grit cornmeal, whisking vigorously. reduce heat to the lowest setting while you whisk--do not allow mixture to boil (doing so coverts the sugars in the cornmeal to starch). keep on low heat for 1 hour, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes. polenta is done when it thickens, begins to pull away from the sides of the pot, and develops a smooth consistency. add in 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and serve.

i don't need to tell you all how to cook an egg, right? you're with me there?

for extra inspiration on this meal, check out hudson in his favorite handmade hat.
very polenta-esque, don't you think?


like flies to vinegar?

i always though the saying was "like bees to honey," didn't you?

anyhow, we've been hit with a maddening case of fruit flies (i blame lucy for only eating half of the bananas and persimmons that i offer her). they've also been swarming our indoor compost bucket. we kind of just lived with them on and off during the summer months, but since their recent return, i'd happened to pick up some apple cider vinegar at the store--i'd read that it can be helpful in combating these annoying little bugs. i poured some into a bowl, added a drop of dish soap (which breaks the surface tension of the acv so they drown) and let it set out for a couple hours. i caught all of the flies! they're gone.

most of you probably aren't dealing with fruit flies this late in the year, but keep it in mind for next summer. i wish i had tried it earlier!


i've been waiting for this...

out of all of the (many) diapers that i made for baby hudson, this was my absolute favorite. i finally got to put it on his little bottom today now that he's lost his umbilical cord and the higher rise won't irritate it. so on it went--with mama squealing in delight.

well, he wore it all of 2 minutes before dirtying it up for me. no worries though--that's the beauty of cloth. he'll wear it again tomorrow.

and check out the baby belly--it's full of good mama milk & now sports the cutest little outie i've ever seen... so sweet.

the amount of laundry going through this place...

is anything but eco-friendly.

what can i say? these little newborns make some big messes, and toddlers don't win any awards for cleanliness either. thankfully these kids have cuteness on their side--otherwise i might be inclined to charge them for all the extra resources they're using.

we're back to doing diaper laundry every other day now, and i'm washing a load of clothes daily to help keep on top of everything--any longer and i feel like i don't stand a chance. we seem to be going though blankets, towels and sheets at an alarming pace. i recall this from lucy's beginning as well--it seems that both nursing and diaper changes are on a messy learning curve that lasts a couple of weeks. then we've got a load of cleaning rags and dishtowels every 3 days or so. that's 12 loads of laundry a week if you're counting--and 13 if you add in an extra load of all whites which i try to do when i'm feeling super domestic.

i've been lucky to have nice visitors who aren't opposed to folding while they chat! i think of it kind of as charging admission to see the cute baby...

wear what you want wednesdays...

anyone ever heard of this? yeah, me neither. not till jeremy & lucy emerged from her room last week, lucy looking--um, how can i put this nicely--a little less than put together:

apparently "wear what you want" wednesdays are in effect around here. there's no eco-friendly aspect to this post (except if you count the fact that mama made the pants, and almost everything else is secondhand). but hey, toddler fashion can be inspiring, no? i mean, it takes guts to put yourself out there like that... and the upcycling of daddy's ankle socks as knee-highs (as seen in photo #2)? truly fabulous!


17 diapers a day...

that's a pretty good reason to be using cloth, no? i mean, besides the cuteness factor of it all...

we did begin using cloth diapers as soon as hudson was born. for anyone wondering what an hour-old baby looks like in a cloth diaper, here's a photo of our boy in a kissaluvs size 0.
we began cloth diapering lucy as soon as her meconium passed--around 3 days old or so. with hudson, we decided to bring our own diapers to the hospital. even as an experienced cloth-diapering mom, i was a little apprehensive at the idea. it turned out to be no big deal at all--especially because babies don't typically eat too much in those first couple of days. we didn't need a cover with our fitted diapers, and only needed 10 diapers in our 22-hour stay at the hospital. as usual, i overpacked!

one reason that many opt not to use cloth diapering from the get-go is dealing with that black, tarlike meconium poo. i have to say that i expected to lose a few diapers to stains, which is why hudson wore only kissaluvs during our stay. but a simple cold soak, hot wash, cold rinse washing routine took care of most of the stains. a few hours with the diapers laid out in the sun took care of the rest--they seriously look brand-new again. so for any expectant moms out there, cd'ing from day one is totally do-able. and the nurses all fell in love with our diapers!

funny then, isn't it, that we ended up taking a bunch of disposable diapers home with us from the hospital? it seems that anything in the room provided by the hospital gets tossed after a family leaves--including unused diapers, wipes, the nasal bulb, maternity pads, etc. which means we ended up packing up those 20 or so diapers and taking them along home with us. of course, we plan on donating them. he's never worn a disposable--why start now?


best newborn diaper cover...

hands down, the best newborn diaper cover is a pair of fleece pants. even massive "newborn sized" fleece pants such as the ones dear hudson is modeling. we've got a TON of different diaper covers. all are too big on this little peanut. i recall having the same issue with lucy as well--covers intended for babies sized 6-13 pounds are simply too bulky on a 7 pound baby. they irritate the cord stump, and the velcro closure makes a sounds that can be jarring to a startle-prone newborn.

enter a simple pair of fleece pants. wool is also amazing and serves a similar purpose--the 2 pairs of wool longies that we have in our stash are just too big for hudson at the moment (whose thighs are seriously 3 inches in circumference). but wool is generally not machine-washable, and it's easy to just toss fleece pants into the wash at the end of the day. so i dug up a pair of fleece pants i got at a thrift store awhile back. my mom also gave us a pair as part of a gift. they're PERFECT for comfort, warmth, and keeping leaks at bay. plus, no added bulk. a few pairs should be on the "too buy" list of every cloth-diapering mama to be!

just because we're in love and everything...

i've come to realize that i have a problem with pregnancy. my issue, i think, is that i get so caught up in all the aches and pains and general discomforts and inconveniences that i forget about the ever-impending ending. the best part. the fairytale bit. the miraculous little person who shows up and, by doing nothing other than simply existing, manages rip apart any notion you might have had about your capacity to love and how infinite love really is.


okay. back to your regularly-scheduled eco-stuff.


say hello...

to hudson. hudson bear, the much-loved and very long awaited valley baby #02 is here and we couldn't be happier. hudson may have taken his sweet time picking an arrival date, but delivery was lighting-fast. this mama was at the hospital for a mere 20 minutes before holding a screaming little boy in her arms!

hudson weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 inches long. lucy was 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 20.5 inches long. i guess i'm nothing if not consistent, right? anyhow, he's a darling but very sleepy little baby. sleepy is good--it means we're all headed toward a very early bedtime around here--at least for the time being. in the meantime, here are just a few photos to introduce our little one. more to come over the next few days, i'm certain!


i can't rave enough about...

lucette on etsy. check out this adorable crocheted play food that i ordered for one of lucy's christmas gifts. this is my second transaction with lucette and i could not be happier! i gave her a set amount that i wanted to spend ($30 including shipping) and let her go wild. it's evident that she loves making the stuff and her work is top-notch. the only thing i asked for specifically was a pair of hash brown patties (one of lucy's favorite foods---blush) and a few cookies. i also let her know things that we had from our previous order. here's what we got in the mail last night:

a gorgeous, cherry-topped cupcake...
a pair of pears...
half a grapefruit and a breakfast sandwich (egg, ham and cheese on a bun)...
cheeseburger (with all the fixings) and french fries...
the hash browns!
half a pizza...
a peanut butter and jelly sammie (on whole grain bread, of course) with apple & pear slices...
three chocolate chip cookies...

i'm officially addicted. lucy helped open the box yesterday and was having so much fun "nom nom nomming" on the stuff it was hard to pack it up for the holidays. but i did. and then i unpacked it during naptime to play with it myself while taking pictures! can you tell i had a good time?

the only thing i would change about the transaction would be to ask for minimal packaging from the vendor. she places each "meal" in a plastic food container within the cardboard shipping box, which is a cute idea but not too eco-friendly, especially since #6 plastic isn't recyclable here. just a heads up if you're looking to place an order.


lucy's having a baby?

well, she's adopting one, anyway. check out my "baby gift" to the soon-to-be big sister in the house... any guesses on whether or not she'll like it? lucy's a bit of a baby maniac, truth be told. i think chances are high that this gift will be a big winner.

i found the baby at a recent garage sale for the excellent price of $1. i think she's an american girl bitty baby, and is in great condition, so this was quite a find. her eyes open and shut--lucy's grandma says that this is of utmost importance!

baby needed some clothes, so i sewed her up a little pair of knit pants. the top is made from one of jeremy's old t-shirts. both pieces were based on clothing patterns i had for lucy--i just scaled them down to "baby" size.
and of course lucy's baby will wear cloth diapers! here are a couple made from old receiving blankets... along with a set of cloth wipes.
baby modeling her giraffe-print diaper...
a sling for lucy to wear her new baby. i used this super-easy tutorial to make it.
a roll-up changing pad. because i recently made one for MY diaper bag and lucy couldn't get enough of it. another really easy project--this is just 2 pieces of fabric with a layer of fleece in the middle.
i've packed everything up in a repurposed, kid-sized gardening tote that i had laying around. it makes the perfect diaper bag, don't you think? i've tossed in a bottle and a binky. baby needs a hat and some socks, and i think we're good to go on this gift!
i've also made lucy a quilt for her doll. she's getting my old toy cradle as a big sister gift from her grandma, and though she has many, many blankets, i thought a special quilt would be a nice touch. i intended to make one from scratch, but recently ran across a queen-sized quilted pillow sham at the thrift store for 99 cents. the perfect size for a doll's quilt. i simply added a backing of cozy hemp fleece, then topstitched the whole thing. these aren't the greatest photos, but you get the idea:

all in all, a fun and satisfying project, and pretty inexpensive as well. a similar set-up would make a great christmas gift for the baby maniac in your life. but there i go talking about christmas again...


are you thinking about christmas?

personally, i'm not. i'm thinking more about getting valley baby #02 out of my belly and into the world where he/she belongs. the due date officially arrives in just a few hours.

but for those of you thinking about the upcoming holiday season, check out this program through home depot. you bring in your old or broken incandescent lights for recycling, and they give you $3 off of a box of LED lights. so your old junk gets turned into new stuff, and you get safer, more energy-efficient lights for your tree.

now, is it really eco-friendly to bring in old-style lights that still have life left in them? after all, these new LED lights didn't just pop out of thin air--they had to be manufactured which results in resources used and waste created. but LED's require 80% less energy to run, and can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light strings.

i say it's a wash. i personally won't be digging through my christmas boxes in search of lights anytime soon--there are more pressing matters such as refolding the items in my hospital bag, sewing my gazillionth newborn diaper, and soaking up these last sweet moments of true one-on-one time with lucy.

unless there's a chance that rooting through my christmas boxes will bring about labor--if so you'll find me in the attic, digging away!

lucy is 18 months!!!

one and a half! it was slim pickings on photos this time around--the girl won't sit still for a second, and when she does, she's shooting her mama a sad face that says "can i get up yet?" or maybe it was just her serious cowboy face--don't mess with me. who can tell?

new talents include:

~ marching (inspired by the laurie berkner song "we are the dinosaurs.")
~ telling all the dogs in the neighborhood that they are "naughty." well, it's true, they are.
~ getting "cozy" with daddy--which basically entails burying him in a pile of blankets, pillows and books
~ learning the difference between garbage, recycle and compost
~ giving out hugs--nice, strong ones
~ reading to maizy
~ stringing words together--"read to me," "lucy high chair," mama all done," etc.

she's total cuteness. as always, you know?