wear-what-you-want wednesday...

sweats and a swimsuit, people. sweats and a swimsuit. thankfully we happened to be sticking around the house. because really, what type of shoes would one wear with an outfit such as this?



party in my pants winner....

the winner of the $25 gift certificate to PIMP is maria, who said:

I've got several on order from another vendor but strongly believe that, just like with CDing, a varied stash is key to success. I'd love the chance to get some of these, since I've heard such great things about them!

congrats, maria! i've just sent you an email with info. have fun picking out your pads!


more goodies...

i told you i was addicted to crocheted food from lucette on etsy. our latest order includes all of lucy's recent favorite foods--carrots, broccoli, orange slices and popcorn. lucy LOVES her popcorn. it all started with a little rhyme we learned at her preschool playgroup (sung to the tune of frere jacques/are you sleeping):

popcorn kernels,
popcorn kernels,

in a pot.
in a pot.

shake and shake and shake them,
shake and shake and shake them,

'till they pop!
'til they pop!


party in my pants--the giveaway!

what are you thinking right about now?

well, thankfully (for you and me both), "party in my pants" is a cute little company making top-of-the-line, reusuable menstrual pads. nothing x-rated coming from your loyal blogger, people. let's keep it that way.

i've posted some about cloth pads before, but to catch everyone up, here's a bit of a timeline:

  • 1993-2009: i hold firm in the belief that i am not a "pad girl."
  • april, 2008: lucy is born. no tampons allowed. i buy box after box of disposables in great dismay at the entire situation. hate sticking something to my underwear. hate the leaks. grossed out by the full trash can.
  • summer, 2008: first postpartum period returns. invest in the diva cup. find it okay, but with a significant learning curve. buy boxes of disposable pantyliners to catch occasional leaks. eventually decide to ditch the diva on most occasions and purchase (expensive) chorine-free tampons.
  • summer, 2009: pregnant. my great friend molly convinces me that we will use cloth pads after the birth of our second babies. not only that, we're going to sew our own. i wince and go along with her plan.
  • fall, 2009: birth of hudson drawing closer with each day. worry that my home-sewn pads are going to suck. order a couple of PIMP pads to have on hand, just in case.
  • november 6, 2009: hudson is born. i use the phone book-sized pads provided at the hospital. upon arriving home, i switch to cloth.
  • november 7: i'm sold.

i highly doubt that i will ever buy a box of disposable pads again. there is simply no need--cloth pads are more comfortable, more effective, and not nearly as gross as you might imagine. much like cloth diapers--you don't want your baby sitting in what amounts to plastic and chemical-treated fibers, right? well, then you shouldn't want the same for yourself.

many users of cloth pads will attest to the fact that their periods are lighter, shorter and less painful than they were while using disposables. can this be? can the moisture-absorbing chemicals in cloth pads actually make periods worse? there aren't many studies done to provide scientific findings on the matter--beyond the obvious fact that the bleaching agents used to make pads bright white result in the production of dioxins. dioxins are a known toxin--part of the reason we've personally replaced bleach in most of its applications around the valleygirl home. dioxins: not something you want pressed against your sensitive parts.

other than that, all i've got to go on is personal testimony. i have a friend who was often bedridden during her monthly cycle--it was something she'd been dealing with for years. simply switching to a chemical-free disposable changed this. i've nagged her to take the next step and switch to cloth, but she's not quite there yet. we'll see.

as for me, i'm a believer. less waste, better function, a better feel against the skin. washing is a breeze--i simply keep them in a wetbag under the sink and wash every few days. stains are pretty much a non-issue.

party in my pants pads are great. so, so thin and yet surprisingly absorbent. the makers use nylon instead of PUL as the waterproof layer, which is pretty unique to the marketplace, at least in my findings. snaps are nickel-free. besides the 100% functionality of these pads, you've got to love the cuteness. all sorts of fabrics to choose from--even some organic varieties. with 10 different sizes/absorbencies available, picking out a stash will be the only tricky thing about switching to cloth!

have i mentioned that the gals at PIMP are super generous?

everyone is invited to try a PIMP pantyliner for free--just pay postage. click here to read about and participate in their "cloth curious" program. i happen to have one of these myself--it's the "go-to" liner in my stash.

good at coming up with original, witty descriptions? click here to "name that PIMP" and win a free pad.

the PIMP gals have also graciously donated a $25 gift certificate to one lucky blog reader. to enter, simply leave a comment here on the blog. giveaway ends saturday, 1/30 at 8 am PST. winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced shortly thereafter. good luck!



peek at this list before your next shopping trip. it sets my mind at ease against the frustrating expense of buying organic. genetically modified food is just not something i want to mess with--especially when it comes to my kids. and to see that the nations #1 formula company is listed on the "may contain gmo's" list is, quite frankly, a pretty gross discovery.

so, check the link above.

have another minute? read this tidbit from an article on the huffington post:

"Beware the SCCC. No, it's not some new government agency (though maybe it should be). That stands for soy, cotton, canola, and corn, which are among the most common GMO crops. The statistics are startling: 91 percent of soy, 87 percent of cotton, 75 percent of canola, and 73 percent of corn crops grown in the US are GMO, according to the USDA. So unless the label specifically says organic, you can pretty much bet that any food or product you buy that contains any of the big four have been genetically changed. We're not just talking tofu and tortilla chips, either: It's the sheets on your bed, those potato chips fried in cottonseed oil, and the aspartame in your Diet Coke (made using a fermentation process that involves soy and corn)."

have yet another minute? click here to read information and help oppose lifting a ban on genetically modified "roundup ready" alfalfa. the form takes less than a minute to fill out. and it's for an cause if you care about preserving the integrity of organic foods. alfalfa is pollinated by bees, which means that if the ban is lifted and genetically modified alfalfa becomes legal, bees will spread gmo's to everything that they pollinate--including plants otherwise considered organic.

if only people knew this stuff. pass it on.


the empanadas were made...

rolling out dough? super fun. especially with little handfuls of flour everywhere--that dough didn't stand a chance of sticking to our counters. we used this recipe from buttons magee and were really pleased with the outcome. piping hot hand pies with various fillings and a nice, somewhat flaky crust. jeremy likened them to gourmet (and much better tasting) hot pockets. i guess i understand the comparison, as we've just made more to have on hand in the freezer to have on hand for quick lunches.

we made a few with broccoli, carrots and cheddar cheese. a few with spinach and feta. a few with grass-fed beef, onion and beans. and a few with a mishmash of everything. lucy enjoyed the spinach. toddler eating spinach = totally satisfied mama.

make these. cross my heart you won't regret it.

just because...


more good cooking...

i don't consider myself a "good" cook by any means, but i've certainly been giving it a go. after all, cooking is just following directions, right? well, that's the problem with me. following directions is so tedious. :smile:

we had several brown bags filled with all sorts of potatoes from our csa box. red ones, yellow ones, even a few purple ones i'd gotten at trader joe's. well, in addition to all those potatoes, we had a few leeks. i don't think i've ever had potato leek soup, but it seemed we had all the proper ingredients, so i set about googling a recipe and came across this one at pinch my salt. a simple recipe accompanied by a series of gorgeous food-y photos. perfect.

a few hours later (after a run to the market for cream) we were dining on delicious homemade soup. lucy liked it. i loved it. jeremy thought it good but hinted to add garlic next time. a "good" vote on all three counts means that this one definitely has repeat-ability. which is nice, because it was quite cheap (notice the lack of meat, aside from chicken stock) and easy to make. even for a cook without a potato masher--mine appears to have gone missing. or perhaps i never had one at all. who knows. lack of a masher just meant our soup was very hearty in texture--perfect for all the rain we've been getting here in northern california.

next up--empanadas.


have i mentioned...

just how much i love bok choy? oh, that's right. i probably have.

just looking at this photo gets my tummy rumbling. if there wasn't a cozy baby napping peacefully on my chest, i might just get up and make some more for tonight's dinner. yum.

we got ourselves out to the farmer's market on saturday morning. haven't been in quite awhile, as our csa box has been keeping us pretty satisfied. but we're on a mission to up the veggie intake and eat a little less meat, so off we went, braving the threat of rain. we scored raisins, two loaves of artisan bread*, the last bit of bok choy available, and even a tiny container of california-grown strawberries amongst a few other treats. the strawberries were from santa barbara, which is a good 5-hour drive from us. i rationalized my purchase by figuring that santa barbara, though far, is much closer than chile or ecuador--which is where trader joe's is currently importing all of its berries from. and lucy LOVED the berries. specifically, when i covered a few of them in chocolate. (we were making chocolate-covered almonds, but the darn strawberries kept crying to be dipped too!).

we also got a bit of grass-fed ground beef from a local farm. not sure what we'll do with it, but it's on the menu for this week. i'm thinking empanadas from this site if i can find the time to make the dough. sleeping babies are just so snuggly. nature's pause button, i guess.

*a note about the bread we bought at the market--i've got to start making my own again. it's infinitely cheaper.


he's smiling....

hudson's toothless grins have become a much-adored part of everyday life around here. the kid even has a dimple--no kidding! (of course it's impossible to caputure on film).

this post is just a "sigh-of-relief-and-a-little-observation" post. i think we're finally hitting the "coast" part of life with 2 kids under the age of 2. at the very least, we've adapted to our "new normal." which certainly doesn't mean that every day is coast-y. but a little bit of coasting makes the uphill stuff much more manageable. it's getting fun. and the smiles make it all the more worthwile.

you might even say they're contagious...


we're so spoiled...

well, hudson is, anyway. check out his new longies, made with love by my brother's girlfriend jaime. super soft, super stretchy. easy to get on and off. and as cute as could possibly be. we LOVE wool over fitted diapers. thankfully hudson's skin seems to be getting a little less sensitive and he's able to wear all those fitteds i made him a little more often. which is good, because i'm a lazy cloth diaper-er and hate stuffing pockets. anyone else?

thanks jaime!


farm box friday...

i so look forward to our csa delivery. now that it's only coming every other week (we couldn't keep up with eating everything in a mere 7 days) we're able to use everything at a leisurely pace, trying out new recipes. but by the end of 2 weeks, i'm eyeing the packed-in-plastic produce at trader joe's and itching to get our new box delivery to freshen up our fridge. here's what came today:

~ 2 pounds navel oranges (um, 2 oranges weighing a pound each! huge!)
~ 2 lbs fuji apples
~ 2 zuatano avocados (guacamole coming right up!)
~ baby bok choy
~ a red cabbage
~ grean leaf lettuce
~ kale
~ leeks
~ carrots (carrots with stems attached are like, the cutest thing)
~ italian parsley
~ yellow onions
~ french fingerling potatoes

i get SERIOUSLY excited when i find baby bok choy in the box. so good. and wouldn't you know, i'd never ever cooked with it until starting our csa. now i'm totally hooked. we've had it on its own, in soup and in pasta. lucy calls it "lettuce," (we let her believe that anything green is lettuce--hey, it works) and gobbles it right up. so satisfying!

on a side note, our farm newsletter announced that our farm owners welcomed a baby girl into the world on january 1. they named her lola. eep! isn't that cute?

so. we watched food, inc.

i'm sure most of you eco-minded folks have already seen this. we were late to jump on the train, but watched it over our computer the other night. wow.

honestly, the documentary concreted many of my suspicions--basically that if you don't know where your food is coming from, chances are the answer isn't going to be something you want to hear. i was already familiar with some of the information provided--the horrors behind factory chicken farming, the fact that it's far cheaper (in the short run) for a family to eat a diet of fast food rather than a diet of fruits and veggies, america's dependance on corn, and the far-reaching effects of monsato's stronghold over genetically-engineered seeds & crops. all depressing stuff, really. which plays a large part in the changes we've made in our own household over time (switching to organic whenever possible, shopping at farmer's markets, joining a csa, raising chickens for eggs, etc.).

still, there were more than a few instances during the film when my mouth literally dropped open--meat being routinely washed in ammonia to rid it of potentially harmful bacteria. the fact that a single fast-food hamburger contains beef coming from 1,000 cows. the disgusting lengths that monsanto has taken to stamp out small farms and farmers. the many disguises that corn has when listed on an ingredient label.

so. where do we go from here?

jeremy and i have agreed that it's high time to look for alternative sources of meat. we regularly buy beef and pork from trader joe's, with some chicken thrown in on occasion. not that we're big meat eaters--certainly the opposite is true. but it's time to make the switch to grass fed and local. my stomach feels queasy at the idea of buying (and consuming) any more factory-farmed meat. and, as i've said here before, i do believe in the whole "voting with your food dollars" thing.

we are now looking into either joining a meat csa with regular pickups, or buying directly from a local farm as needed. both options are expensive. which means we may be looking into more veggie-based meals to help cut back on our meat consumption. with our farm box bounty, it shouldn't be too hard. i'll keep you posted when we make our decision soon.

we eat fast food so rarely it's almost not worth mentioning--maybe 4 times per year. this will not be hard to give up. as for the rest of dining out, i really don't know. we always try to pick places that serve fresh, quality food. but every now and then, a girl likes a cheap taqueria burrito. i guess from now on, it'll be a cheap beans and rice taqueria burrito. ole.


the case for cloth...

i think it's well-known that we're a cloth-diapering bunch around here. making the decision to use cloth diapers (first on lucy--at around 4 days old--and on hudson since birth) was a fairly simple one. i knew that i didn't want my child (or future children) sitting around in chemical-treated diapers. i knew i didn't want to add needless piles of trash to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. i knew cloth was cuter than plastic diapers.

what i didn't really know, at the time, was that cloth diapers really do work better than disposables. i can make this judgment fairly, as i have worked as a nanny for many years and am familiar with the shortcomings of diapers like huggies and pampers. blowouts and leaks, bits of gel left behind on baby's skin, dysfunctional velcro tabs that render an unworn diaper useless... while we've had slight trouble here and there with our cloth diapers, for the most part, i'm absolutely thrilled to be using them. i think it's safe to say that in terms of "good, better, best," cloth diapers are at the top--and because of our great satisfaction and success, they're also served as a gateway to many other changes that we've made. my "better in cloth" list follows here:

1. cloth rags for cleaning. you probably know that we've been without paper towels in our household for.... i don't know how long. it's been quite awhile. cloth rags are great for cleaning up big & little messes, super durable, cheap and easily washed. what's not to love? i keep a huge stack of them under my sink, and toss dirties out into a mesh basket (to guard against mildew) in the garage. i wash once a week or whenever our stack is getting low.

2. cloth napkins. another no-brainer. i bought a set of 10 napkins in a neutral color, and keep them near the table. they get tossed in with the cleaning rags and get laundered whenever we start to run low. i often use my personal napkin several times before washing, unless we've had an especially messy meal. lucy has a set of her own (carter's washcloths in fun colors).

3. cloth nursing pads. light-years better than the "eco-friendly" disposables i used the first time around with lucy. with hudson, i used (and still use, on occasion) pads made from materials like hemp fleece, bamboo, flannel and wool. if you're ever in the market for cloth nursing pads, i cannot tell you how much i love my wool-backed pads. wool here serves an identical purpose as it does in cloth diapering--creating a barrier for moisture but still allowing for breathability. i also made myself a bunch of PUL (polyurethane laminate) backed pads. these are wonderful because they're trim and don't show up beneath clothing, but must be changed often because they hold dampness against the breast. i always use wool-backed pads overnight. 15 sets has been more than enough--especially because we still do laundry daily around here. i estimate i could have gotten by with 6 pairs.

4. cloth menstrual pads. i, for one, cannot believe that i'm writing this. if you'd told me a year ago that i'd eventually be switching to cloth pads, i would have called you crazy. seriously. i'm not a pad girl to start with--hate them! but as you know, postpartum bleeding leaves you no choice. with lucy, i used box after box of disposables. the experience was horrible and i was in absolute disdain for every second of it. this time around, with some urging from my good friend, i decided to try cloth. we sewed up a little stash for ourselves (along with all those nursing pads) using wool, PUL, and upcycled knits and flannels. i started using them as soon as i got home from the hospital. and you know what? these things work really, really well. over the course of my postpartum recovery, i had only 1 leak (user error). the pads weren't bulky and i never had the gross "damp" feeling that i hated about disposables. best of all, i made no trash. jeremy certainly appreciated that, as he's the one who takes the garbage out.

my cloth pad stash (again, much too large--what can i say, i was nesting!) consisted of about 12 postpartum/overnight pads, 12 regular pads, and 8 liners. i kept used pads in a wetbag under the bathroom sink and washed them with the diaper laundry every other day.

i anticipate breaking out my pads again when the time comes for me to reacquaint myself with my diva cup. the liners will be just right for catching any leaks that are certain to occur. that thing can be tricky.

5. cloth wipes--now for mommies, too? yep. we've always used cloth wipes for lucy, and kept up with it as she potty trained. but it's been about a year since i made the switch to "family cloth" as well. jeremy doesn't partake, which is all too fine by me, but lucy and i (and hudson, too!) are believers in the wonder of cloth wipes. they're softer than the recycled toilet paper that we still keep on hand, are far more absorbent, and really leave the user much cleaner, in my opinion. we keep a big stack in the cabinet next to our toilet. dirties go in with the diaper laundry. so simple. and really not as gross as it seems.

well, there you have it. our list of all things cloth. it seems to me that what i love about cloth diapers (they work better) holds true with all of the items listed above. there's a certain quality to an item that's intended to be used for the long haul (and i'm not talking old navy t-shirts, if you know what i mean). i get a sense of satisfaction from not tossing. even if it means i have to do an extra load of wash. and i do so love not to have to make a desperate trip to target or the grocery store because we've run out of something crucial.

you'll notice i didn't include cloth grocery bags in my list... i really figure that if you're reading this blog, you've already made the switch. if not, consider yourself banned until you do. :)


movies i'm waiting for...

who's bringing the (organic) popcorn? also, i have to admit that your loyal blogger has not yet seen food, inc. it's on my list of things to do now that i can get through the day without a nap and/or stay up past 9 o'clock in the evening.

i hear it will change my life. or, at the very least, re-light the fire under my bottom to go and check out local sources for free range beef. we had stew meat from australia as part of our dinner tonight. australia. not even kidding. and while it was trader joe's no-hormone, no-antibiotic stew meat, it was still from halfway around the world.


so, that babies movie looks pretty cute, doesn't it?


hudson is 2 months old!

talents include: 

~smiling. the surefire way to melt a mama's heart.
~cooing. even better when combined with an aforementioned smile. 
~getting that big ol' head up. tummy time is finally fun!
~living up to his nickname of "the huddler cuddler."
~nighttime sleeping. don't want to jinx myself, but this kid has some pretty serious talent in the overnight department. naps are another story... 

to say that we've fallen in love with baby hudson simply doesn't begin to describe it. and while those words certainly aren't unique, the feeling behind them is absolutely delicious. 



it might just be...

one of my favorite antique fair finds of all time... 

perhaps because i was :thisclose: to buying lucy a (used) plastic dolly stroller. you know, one of those really tacky ones. there's no shortage of  them in the thrift shops and consignment stores, and because lucy always gravitates toward the stroller at her preschool playgroup, i was getting quite tempted to go ahead and purchase one. despite the tackiness. i mean, if little girls want to push their baby dolls, who am i to say no on account of a little plastic? especially if that plastic can be had secondhand?

well. this little buggy caught the corner of my eye on sunday afternoon, while strolling through the alameda antique fair. i had to have it. and so we got it, for the fair price of $18. lucy pushed it right out of that booth with the proudest look on her face. and then steered it straight into a trash can. and into then a passerby's leg (the lady found it charming). 

we're working on her driving skills.

other finds: 

a little metal box for holding bills and things... 

two books--365 bedtime stories, and 365 nursery rhymes. both published in 1946, and originally belonging to a little girl named linda who wrote her name in perfect cursive on the inside front cover. too sweet. 

a little sweater had for $1. at first i thought it cute in an ugly sort of way. now i just find it rather ugly. oh well. it fits perfectly, and lucy digs the buttons. anything with buttons, for that matter. 
it was a trip of little things--a trio of embroidered potholders, a tattered tablecloth that will be made into pants, and something charming for hudson to wear for his 2-month photoshoot. which should happen tomorrow. how can it be that my sweet boy is already 2 months old?