Monday, September 29, 2008

Ready to talk baking soda

What does getting back from a trip have in common with using baking soda? Laundry. I keep a separate box of baking soda with my laundry stuff and sometimes throw a little in with a load of clothes.

When I realized my laundry-room Arm & Hammer was running low, I bought more baking soda - store brand this time. Looking at the two boxes side-by-side, I realized something. Both claim to be for "baking, cleaning and deodorizing," and both contain sodium bicarbonate. However, the Food Club brand has "nutrition facts" on the side panel and says there's 7% of your daily value of sodium in 1/8 tsp, while the Arm and Hammer has "drug facts" and lists its purpose as "antacid."

Does that imply you should bake with generic baking soda, but go with the brand name if you have an upset stomach? Just wondering.


P.S. We're back now, so I should be posting trip pics soon. Also, I realized I forgot to mention it on some of them, but this post, this one and this one were while we were out of town. Sorry for the confusion!

Photos by me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nice if it gets cold where you are

In some parts of the world, forecasts for the first days of Fall do not include 100-degree temperatures. But, whether you're wearing a jacket this week or just dreaming about it, you have to admit this is a pretty clever product.

It's a fleece vest, called the Peekaru Original, that fits over a baby carrier. The vest is designed to keep both parent and child warm and is made out of 85% recycled Polartec fleece.

Not surprisingly, the mom who came up with the idea lived in Colorado - not Phoenix.


P.S. We're in Indiana this week, but I wrote this up for you ahead of time.

Photo courtesy of TogetherBe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What we pack with us

To me there's something fascinating about packing. Even more than the process itself, I'm interested in the items an individual chooses to take and the thought behind it.

The Hubs likes to pack light. Not just on trips, in daily life too. When we lived in an apartment without a washer/dryer, he would take the exact number of quarters with him that he needed to do laundry. I would take the whole tube of quarters. I like to be prepared. (I was a girl scout.) What if I dropped one behind the machine? Or if it kept rejecting one? Or if one of our neighbors were there and realized she didn't have enough change with her? (That happened one time!)

I try to avoid the discomfort of not having something I need or want with me. He tries to avoid the discomfort of transporting a bunch of extra stuff. What are you taking with you?


Photos by me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is child's play

I know we have it easy. I know that traveling now, in this pre-pre-baby phase of life, is exponentially simpler than it will be once we throw some kids into the mix. So I'm trying to savor that. I'm also trying to learn as much as I can, so I can be ready.

With all that in mind, I loved this post on Creative Travel - although I *did* have to look up Swedish fish on Wikipedia - some fabulous ideas for keeping kids entertained on a road trip and how it all plays out!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Overheard while packing...

In case you've ever wanted to be a fly on the wall while the Hubs and I were packing for a trip (scary!), here are some actual comments/conversations we had this weekend*. (*We're leaving early tomorrow morning for Indiana, but, don't worry, there will still be new posts coming your way this week!)

"Is Chapstick a liquid?"

"You know how the TSA has their list of things you can bring with you on the plane?"
"It includes 'Transformer toys'."
"Yep. Right after shampoo and toothpaste."
"I guess that's good."
"Yeah, but who checks the list looking for that?"

"Do you want a Ziploc for your underwear?"

"How much milk do we need for two days?"
"I want to take whatever milk we're not gonna use over to my parents'. Can you help me figure out how much we need for - wait...are we going to eat before we leave the house Tuesday?"
"...Ok, one day's worth of cereal and coffee and a little extra in case we randomly decide to drink milk with something. How much milk is that?"

"So can I bring my Transformer with me?"


Photos by me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthday fun!

So last Saturday was my birthday. The Hubs had been very secretive, so other than going to a friend's morning wedding, I had no clue what was planned for the weekend. I just knew he had been busy planning, shopping and even conspiring with my mom!

And you know what? He did a great job.

I had presents to open all throughout the day on Saturday. We had coffee at La Grande Orange.

I got to take a nap, and when I woke up, the Hubs surprised me with some really gorgeous flowers! All that AND we went to Pepin for tapas and the Flamenco show that evening.

Sunday we partied with the fam. More good food (including 2 chocolate desserts!). More presents. Plus, I got to wear a crown. I'm a lucky girl!

Thanks everyone!


Photos by the Hubs and me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quitting my day job

Actually, I already quit, gave notice, and today is my last day!

What's next? All Bold Avenue all the time. Ok, not ALL the time. I will be doing other things too. Like going to visit my dad's side of the fam in Indiana next week.

Overall, though, I will be focusing on taking my business to the next level - this includes my current shop, as well as some fun new additions that I'll let you know about at a later date! ;)


Photos by me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Right outside

This summer I read a post (which I can't find now) from a mom saying she couldn't even use the bathroom in peace, because her toddler would be trying to come in or whining outside the door or at least waiting RIGHT THERE until she came out. Lots of moms jumped in to sympathize, adding their own stories.

I couldn't relate. Not that I'm complaining. But I didn't have a story.

You know how Monday's post mentioned that there were a few things from housesitting for my parents that I hadn't time to write about? Well, one of them was about Ranger. Ranger loved the Hubs. So much that while we were staying at my parents', he decided that if the Hubs was in the bathroom, he should be in there too.

He would try to come in. He would whine outside the door. And he would be RIGHT THERE when he opened the door back up.

Good toddler practice, I guess.

Photos by me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sad news

Why is it so hard to bring up the sad stuff? I have been sitting here staring at a blank, white window that's waiting for words. Then I go do something else. Then I come back. Type, backspace, laundry, repeat...

Ok, you're saying "Out with it already!" Ok, ok, ok...

Well, you remember Ranger, right? The very smart, people-loving German shepherd who was my brother's dog first, then stayed with my parents when E moved to Seattle (and back)? And who, while we were housesitting, faithfully got me up every morning before I wanted to be up? Yeah, him.

He got very sick, very fast over the last week. I don't even know with what, but he was in a lot of pain. And yesterday evening he had to be put down.

And, you know what? I'm gonna miss that guy.

Photos by me. Yes, that's a toy he's carrying in the second first photo.

Monday, September 15, 2008


This tiny little cantaloupe - small enough to fit in the palms of my hands - came out of Mom's garden. It had the color and the ridges of a full grown cantaloupe. It smelled delicious when we cut into it. We didn't know if it was really ripe yet, but we decided to try it.

It tasted...just like a cantaloupe! I thought about the plant it came from with its vine climbing up some chicken wire. I asked Mom how she knew this tiny cantaloupe was ready.

"Because it was on the ground. It had already come off the vine when I went out to the garden."

Which reminded me what I had begun to write while "housesitting" for my parents. Due to the headaches that started around then, there were a couple posts during that time that didn't get finished. But I had a lot to think about.

Like tomatoes. And how they come off the vine easily - but only when they're ready.

And how you can't rush a good, deep watering. The best way to cheat evaporation in this bone dry climate is to water trees and bushes and vegetables slowly, with water coming out of a hose at just above a drip for sometimes hours at a time.

While I picked tomatoes and fed chickens and watered plants, I also thought about life. The reason my parents were out of town was for the interment of my Grandma's cremated remains in her home state of Colorado. Even though Grandma always opened her heart to us, there was a lot of her heart that she never opened up about. (Wonder where I get that from.) What did she really think about death? And dying? In her final hours, what did she see ahead?

While I was watering plants in Arizona and my parents were at a funeral in Colorado, my good friend J. was sitting in a hospital in California, next to the bed of her father. He was (and still is) slowly recovering from his third (or fourth?) major stroke but had never wanted to talk with anyone much about dying or life after death. And then that Saturday, he talked with his daughter about death, about heaven, about hope in Christ. So many people have prayed for this man for so long. For the first time, dad and daughter prayed together. I guess he was ready.


Photos by me.

Edited to add: The hand in the second cantaloupe photo is my brother's. I said "E, put your hand in for scale..." and that is what he did.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What to say about the unspeakable?

Seven years ago I was teaching Spanish part-time at a small Christian school. Classes were not canceled on September 11 - even though some parents kept their kids home. The principal decided to continue with school, providing some normalcy and getting the kids away from their televisions for a little while. It was hard for me to tear myself away from the t.v. and get ready for that afternoon's classes. And hard for me to think of standing in front of all those kids. How could I teach on a day like this?

When I arrived at school, I was encouraged to let the kids talk if it seemed like they needed to or to go on with class if they seemed okay. I got a little Spanish in that day and lots of questions from wide-eyed first-, second-, and third-graders. I don't remember most of what they asked. I don't remember anything I said. I didn't know much more than they did at that point. I did my best to give them information, listen to their concerns, assure them that God is in control - even when scary things happen.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how to speak to kids about difficult issues, how to give them truth that's appropriate for their age. How do you talk about tragedy with a child? How do you explain 9/11?

One mom posed that question on Yahoo answers. I think most responders thought she was asking about math or something. One pointed her to September 11 Digital Archive, which seems to have a lot of information (photos, emails, etc.), but is not kid-specific and may not be the best format for younger children.

I also found an article entitled "9-11: What Should We Tell Our Children?" written just one year after the fact. It had some great principles (telling kids the facts, not overgeneralizing or stereotyping, helping them deal with uncertainty), but the examples given seemed like they would go over the heads of most children. How could you apply those ideas in a way a child could understand?

Apparently, in New Jersey they are working on a school curriculum that will explore the 9/11 attacks and what we can learn from them. It'll be interesting to see how that turns out.


Photo by Victoria Chapman. CCL.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The cart cover report

Like I said, the multitude of cart cover options was starting to confuse me. So I went to Consumer Reports, not expecting them to have anything on the topic...but they did!

And it's right here. They focus on the health aspects of the cart covers (and whether they're worth it). I wish they had addressed the comfort issue, as well, but they don't really go there. I still thought it was a helpful article, though, in explaining what to look for.


Photo by orionoir. CCL.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Need to feed

Well, here I go again. Talking about my blog on my blog. But I wanted to update you on the weirdness going on with my feed, because I know some of you are missing it. (Others of you aren't sure what a feed is. Click here if you're interested.)

The good news is I went to this site last night and found out my feed is, in fact, valid. (I don't really know what that means. But somehow I still feel validated.)

The bad news is that Feed Validator (very helpfully) suggested some fixes - which are buried pretty deep in a whole pile of code. Just looking at it made me think, "It's time for bed!"

So I do plan on attacking that soon. But not right now.

Fear not, loyal feed readers! Someday you will again peruse the Little Stuff of Life effortlessly with your reader of choice. Until then, do not lose hope! Reminisce on the days of yore, ere you had discovered the feed - and return often, lest I indeed become lonely!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oh, yes, there are options...

I started looking into shopping cart covers. And, yeah, there are a lot of different kinds. Here's what I found from quickly scanning sites for the top results of my Google search:

The Clean Shopper on Bippity Boppity Baby - $28.95

  • My impression: Cutesy, kid-centric designs.
  • They claim: "Can be installed using one hand, in less than 10 seconds"

KozyPal - pre-made $61.95 (single), $89.95 (double)
  • My impressions: Both kid- and mom-friendly designs. Customize or order pre-made covers.
  • They claim: "KozyPal™ shopping cart covers have a universal fit for all grocery store shopping carts, Costco and Sam's carts, park swings, public strollers in malls and zoos, and restaurant high chairs or booster seats."

Shopping Cart Cover Shop - $32.95-$92.99
  • My impressions: Site has a very professional look and an article on how to compare shopping cart covers, which may come in handy. They offer different brands, including Cuter than a Duck's Butt. (Not setting the bar real high, are we?!)
  • They claim: "We offer a wide selection of the most popular brand name baby shopping cart covers."
Not to be confused with...

Shopping Cart Cover Store - $49.99 includes monogrammed tote
  • My impressions: There's some nice designs mixed in there. Don't have much to say. Is my mind already going numb with the options? I think it must be...
  • They claim: "We feature quality boutique fabrics for uptown babies and moms."
And just those 4 sites were enough to make me feel all mixed up about shopping cart covers. So we will be visiting this topic again.

Photo 1)
by abstrakone (cart cover by the baby's grandma). CCL. 2) by hive. CCL.

KozyPal graphic from the company's
"link to us" page.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Some bloggy business

I don't like to spend too much time on this blog talking about the blog itself. (Because then, what's the point, right?) But today there are a few matters I think we should discuss.

  • Yes, I finally put a photo in my profile. Meg told me to, so I did. The story on this pic is that the Hubs randomly decided to hold the camera over his head and (try to) shoot a photo of us, and this is how it turned out. I thought it was funny, so there it is.

  • The story on that shirt is it came from my shop, and I have to say I like it. I am, of course, biased. The design is just a funky red and purple heart.
  • I've been trying to spruce things up around here, so look for more changes coming soon! (And, yes, I'll post about them, so that those of you reading via my feed don't miss out.)
  • Speaking of feeds, I've had a couple people report recently not getting all my posts in their feed. Anyone else having a problem? I generally post 3-5 times a week. I'll be looking into it, but please post a comment or email me if you're having a problem.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Last week's sudden storm gave our plants (and the Hubs's raincoat) a good soak!


Photos and video by me. Actually (edited to add): the Hubs took the photo of his raincoat. | More WW here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Shopping cart covers

Shopping, originally uploaded by AvaJune.

After I posted about shopping cart covers last week, it got me thinking about a few things. Is there more than one brand of those things? Are they all the same? Can you get them just anywhere?

So, of course, more research is in order. Feel free to let me know if you have any recommendations.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Was it something I said?

You know those Cingular commercials where a conversation goes awry because of a dropped call? (I think this one is my favorite.) All of the sudden there's silence on the other line, causing the speaker to wonder what he/she said wrong.

That was me last week after I posted this and didn't hear anything from the Playful Childhood crew. I became increasingly sure they had misunderstood my response to their "Protect Our Kids from Preschool" post. And were offended. And possibly really mad at me.

As it turns out, they weren't mad. They were planning to respond. And they did. Colene says:

"I am all in favor of high quality, short term care of children to give the mother a break."
So maybe we see eye to eye on this after all. Maybe we all have a common enemy: preschools that aren't doing things in the best interest of the children.

Look what happens when you talk things out! Good thing I learned that in preschool. ;)


Photos: 1) By the Hubs. 2) By cafemama. CCL.