Friday, February 27, 2009

Brace yourselves...

The Hubs never had braces when he was younger. He decided it was catch up time. Actually, he got them put on about a month ago, but I didn't think he'd want me blogging about it right away.

If you look closely, you can see them in the photo from our Valentine's Day arboretum trip. But they're not very noticeable.

When he first got them on, chewing was really painful for him, so even softer foods like bean soup and corn chowder either got blended or food processed. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to eat real food again! Once he was feeling well enough to tackle thin crust pizza, a bracket popped off mid-bite. Then there was a wire causing him pain, and, really, it was a couple weeks before it was all sorted out. Poor guy.

Since then, he's recovered. He can eat pretty much anything he's allowed to eat.

I don't remember how long it took me to recover from getting my braces on, because it was (ready for this?) 15. years. ago. And now I'm wondering what I ever did with my old Water Pik.


Photos by me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time to get your thrift on!

I'm always for getting the most bang for your buck. In good financial times or tight times, stretching your dollar is just smart. But I think it's taken the current economic crisis for a lot of America to realize/remember this. (Yes, some of you knew it all along. And, yes, some of you are not from the U.S., have attitudes changed in your home country?)

Enter Thursday Thrift. On Thursdays, Deborah at Bette's Bungalow gives tips for saving money and recipes to make a whole lotta food for less. The chicken and rice recipe I mentioned Monday came from Thursday Thrift, and, I have to say, it was delish!

I believe another edition is on its way today. In the meantime, I'd definitely recommend perusing past posts to inspire your frugal side!


Photos by me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

From our garden

poppy, originally uploaded by boldavenue.

Photo by me. More Wordless Wednesday (WW) at

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keeping kiddos safe in the car

Fabulous post over on SortaCrunchy today on The Pivotal Importance of Car Seat Safety! The safest ways for children to ride in car seats, how long they should be in car seats, the best safety's all there with plenty of links to even more information.

So even if you think you know everything about kids and safety seats, check it out. You might be surprised.

(And, yes, if you go read it, and it turns out you really did know every single thing there, you can come back and tell me "I told you so.")


Photo by M J M.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On the menu this week

Even after going to that workshop and getting all these really cool options for menu planning forms, I still write my weekly menu on the back of my grocery list. That way, if I'm at the store and it turns out that romaine is a better deal than spinach, I can flip over the list and see what I was planning on doing with that spinach and if Romaine would work just as well. Handy, huh?

This week I told Jenna at My Joyful Haven that I'd participate in her Chive Talkin' Menu Plan, so I tried to write (a little) more legibly on the back of my list.

But I'll translate anyway.

  • Monday - Chicken tacos with black beans and squash. Haven't decided yet if I want the black beans and/or squash to be side dishes or if I'll mix it altogether and call it Steph's Super Taco Filling.
  • Tuesday - Planning on trying Deborah's Chicken and Rice Casserole in a Pan.
  • Wednesday - We have caregroup that night, so I want to have something that'll be ready to eat as soon as the Hubs comes home. Most likely I'll throw something in the crockpot. I haven't decided what yet.
  • Thursday - E and Christine are coming over for some of the fabulous lentil soup the Hubs made. Last time he served it over rice with a fried egg on top (guess that's South America style), and it was actually really good.
  • Friday - Got these cute little mini burger patties, which I'll serve on dinner rolls (with all the fixin's, of course) and along with some corn.
  • Saturday - I'm thinking maybe stir fry. Maybe a version of this one. We'll see how the week goes.

Like I said, people like to know what other people are eating! You can share your menu plan, and then link up on My Joyful Haven's Chive Talkin' Menu Plan Blog Roll.


Photo by me. (My version of Chanelle's Simple Stir Fry.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

7 quick takes: Sweater buzzkills to trending punctuation

7 quick takes on this week and life in general:

As an Arizona girl, I get excited whenever there's enough of a chill in the air to pull out the sweaters. But, come laundry day, four words kill my cool-weather buzz: reshape and dry flat. :P

I'm really happy about the response to yesterday's diaper abbreviation post. It's always nice to know you're not the only one who needs/needed something explained to you! I'll be doing another post on diaper terms soon.

My friend Chanelle just launched her beautiful new photography site! Stop by and check it out!

"Warning! Eating books could seriously damage your health" is a fabulous and funny post from the Books Blog on the CPSIA's potential ban of pre-1985 books from a UK perspective.

If you're in the Phoenix area, you should know that, starting today, the Heard Museum is now free third Friday evenings every month! It's also easily accessible from the light rail. I'm hoping to check it out tonight.

Memo to a barista at an establishment which will remain nameless: I know I gave you a small tip the other day. So I'll give you a bigger one now: Don't get so busy flirting with my friend that you forget to make my mocha. Remember: lattes before hotties!

For those who are interested in punctuation trends, I used to be really into dashes - this kind, specifically. But, apparently, I've moved on to a new phase: colons.

More Quick Takes, at today's Conversion Diary.

Diapers: what they stand for

Been awhile since we've talked about diapers around here. (Thought we all needed a break.)

Then I heard that Momfessions was doing a Diaper Chatter carnival today, and I thought you know what? It's probably about time to revisit the topic.

So. Cloth diapers.

One big reason people don't use them is because they are unfamiliar. And if go to research them, you quickly run into all these abbreviations and jargon that make it hard to learn anything.

So let's start here...

10 diaper-related acronyms to know:

  • AIO - All-in-one (type of cloth diaper)
  • BG - bumGenius (diaper brand)
  • CD - Cloth diaper(s), cloth diapering
  • CPF - Chinese prefolds (type of cloth diaper)
  • DSQ - Diaper service quality
  • EC - Elimination communication (diapering alternative)
  • FB - Fuzzi Bunz (diaper brand)
  • HH - Happy Heinys (diaper brand)
  • PF - Prefolds (type of cloth diaper)
  • PUL - Polyurethane laminate

And, if you haven't hung out much on forums/blogs/other places where people resort to weird, abbreviated internet-speak, you might find these helpful as well...

10 bonus acronyms (not specific to diapers but come up a lot when you're reading about diapers):
  • AP - Attachment parent, attachment parenting
  • DD - Dear daughter (i.e. "My DD is 3 months old...")
  • DH - Dear husband
  • DS - Dear son
  • DIL - Daughter-in-law
  • MIL - Mother-in-law
  • NB - Newborn
  • SIL - Sister-in-law, son-in-law (context is everything!)
  • SAHM - Stay-at-home mom
  • WAHM - Work-at-home mom
Alright, think that's enough for today. HTH! (Hope that helps! ;)


Photos by Chris and Jenni.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One thing we all secretly care about: lunch

It's been said that no one cares what you had for lunch. (In a book, actually.) But I care. And I'm betting you do too. Ergo, I'm going to tell you what I cooked up the other day when we had leftover pasta (one person's worth), but no leftover sauce.

I started hunting around for something to keep my pasta company. Canned tomatoes? Close. But no protein. Slivered almonds? Not very saucy. Hmmm....I hatched a plan, crossed my fingers and started cooking.

While I re-heated the pasta in the microwave, I toasted the almonds in a little olive oil (that's EVOO for you foodies).

I put those on top of the pasta and sauteed the tomatoes in the same pan. (Somehow cooking those suckers up with a little butter or olive oil takes out the canned taste.) Then those went on top, along with a couple slices of pepper jack cheese.

I stirred it all up, and you know what? I have to say it turned out pretttty good. Especially for a last-minute weekday lunch.

So what's for lunch at your house?


Photos by me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good times on Valentine's

The Hubs and I went to Boyce-Thompson Arboretum on Valentine's Day. Yep, that's also where we went with my family on Thanksgiving. Good thing we took a lot of pictures then, because Saturday we ran out of battery. Other than that, it was a lovely day.

This time we noticed they do have some things for kids - like a bamboo maze and a "match the birds" flannelgraph game in the Smith Interpretive Center. (We should discuss flannelgraphs soon, don't you think?) So put that on the list of fun places to take the fam.

P.S. More photos at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Photo Gallery.


Photos by me , taken before I realized the camera was about to go on strike for the day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What to do with chewed up cups

Kids gnawing on their sippy cups again?

Don't toss them! (The sippy cups, I mean.) (But don't toss the kids either!)

I saw a great tip on Parent Hacks: Turn chewed-up sippy cups into kitchen dispenser bottles.

Simple, yet brilliant!


Photo by me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birthday wishes for a past president

Happy birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

You'd be 200 years old today, and I can't imagine what kind of shape you'd be in. Probably pretty baffled at what you saw around you - cars, Lincoln logs, iPods, your very own (very large) monument and a tiny image of your very large monument on the back of a coin we routinely drop and don't bother to pick up. Well, these days we might pick it up.

These are strange times we're living in. There's a lot we could discuss about people being less than honest, Abe, and about happenings in your home state and what's new at your old job.

But what I really wanna know is this: What would you think if I told you people anywhere in the world could download and print off illustrations of you for their kids to color in with crayons? Would that just mess with your head? Do you even know what "download" means? So much to catch you up on!

Well, let's move on to a more familiar topic: books. There's been all kinds of books written about you - even for kids. I know, you used to have to walk uphill in the snow to borrow a book. I don't think you even wanna know how easy it is for us to get books now.

I'm not sure that everything in those books is accurate - but, at your age, you're probably not sure anymore either. That's okay. I know that somewhere between the myths and misrememberings, you did some genuinely great things.

Honestly, we have a lot to thank you for.


P.S. Happy birthday, also, to my Uncle John. He's not quite as old as Lincoln. But he's much more internet savvy! ;)

Photos by

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Link to your faves!

MomDot had a great idea yesterday - asking readers to link to one post from their blog. That inspired me to do something similar.

Here's what I'd like to hear from you:

  • What is one post (not from your own blog) that you enjoyed reading?
  • What is one post from your blog you'd like to share?
Since it's a two-part question, I decided not to do a Mr. Linky. But feel free link to the posts you'd recommend in the comments.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kids' party cutbacks send pachyderms packing

Even elephants are having trouble finding work these days.

With all the economic turmoil going on right now, parents who used to throw the elaborate let's-rent-a-whole-circus birthday parties for their children (who sometimes were too young to remember it later on anyway) are cutting back.

"Kids' Parties Take a Pay Cut" (from MomLogic) quoted one mother as saying, "No matter what's going on in the economy, I don't want my children to think that they can't have something as basic as a birthday party."

Really? I'm all for celebrating life's milestones; however, since when are birthday parties "basic" in the same sense as food, shelter, clothing and - perhaps this is where the confusion really stems from - love?

Maybe when we get things sorted into the right categories, we'll be on the way to sorting out the rest of this economic mess too.


Photos by D'Arcy Norman.

Friday, February 6, 2009

7 quick takes No. 2: Big Bird to rhythm

My quick takes on this week:

I read "The birth of Big Bird," which Annie Quick recommended. Turns out Sesame Street almost started out without that big yellow guy - and a few more of our favorites! Very interesting stuff!

I've enjoyed spreading the bloggy love and highlighting things happening on a couple blogs. I'd like to do some more of that this coming week. I hope you're having fun discovering new blogs, commenting and all that good stuff!

You can still order sweet Valentine's Day gifts (or anti-mushy stuff gifts!) from Bold Avenue. In fact, ordering between now and Monday will save you a good chunk o' change on shipping. (i.e. You want this shirt to arrive to a U.S. address before February 14. Ordering it Monday - rather than Tuesday - saves you $8!)

Why do foodies/magazines/Rachel Ray always talk about EVOO? I've read about different grades of olive oil, but I don't really see anything else in stores, so I would think it would go without saying that the OO the recipe calls for should be EV.

We're trying out steel-cut oatmeal. I've been told by several people about its many health benefits over rolled oats, but I sure can't remember any of them now. It's really good, though. And it takes a long time to cook.

Finally seemed to have kicked the crud, and I'm glad to see it go!

I used to try to post every day between 8 and 9 a.m. my time, but lately (you may have noticed), I've gotten out of that rhythm. In fact, I've been all over the place. Maybe I need a new rhythm.

For other people's 7 Quick Takes, visit today's Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Handmade gets a break

A lot of rumors have been going around about the CPSIA. Ali says some of them are true. So does the Consumer Product Safety Commission. (They would know.)

Lead restrictions will still tighten (which is good!), but those expensive certification requirements have been postponed for a year (also good!), giving Congress time to reconsider.

Did you hear that? I think a whole bunch of crafters, parents, small retailers (and maybe some toys) breathed a huge sigh of relief.


Photo by Funky Shapes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peanut butter: your deliciousness is our downfall.

The fact that peanut butter is so great is really the problem. It's delicious, high in protein and goes great with all kinds of stuff - jelly, celery, chocolate, crackers...and the list goes on...

So a problem with peanut butter is a BIG problem.

Which is why the recent salmonella outbreak is so widespread. And confusing.

Oddly enough, as far as anyone can tell, you only have to worry about products with ingredients from one source: the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). (I say "as far as anyone can tell," because remember how we got all freaked out about tomatoes when we only should've been worried about jalapeƱos? I haven't heard anything different this recall. But I still feel the need to throw that little qualifier in there.)

How do you know which peanut-containing products may have sinister PCA-produced ingredients? There are a few ways to find out. Pick your favorite:

I'll leave you with this quote from a editorial:
"EVEN THOUGH he's not caught up in this mess, Mr. Peanut must want to clobber the geniuses at Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) with his cane."
(I don't think he's the only one.)

EDITED: fixed "brands not affected by the recall" link above. (Should go to

Photos by me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making Mondays mahh-velous!

In the spirit of spreading the bloggy love, I wanted to tell you about some exciting things going on over at Sorta Crunchy. Megan and Laura are looking for input from parents and not-yet-parents for the book they are working on. So on Mondays they are discussing parenting styles and the beliefs that those stem from.

They are asking for comments anytime this week on their post about Concerns Over Sleep Training.

So stop on by and give 'em your two cents! (You know you're dying to!)

P.S. If you missed last week's post on the Cost of Serving, you might want to check that out too. It was simply beautiful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Giveaway! The party's at Randa's!

Randa Clay is celebrating her Blogversary (two years blogging) with a Blogstravaganza of giveaways!

Her latest prize comes from...know where? Bold Avenue! Have you had your eye on one of our funny t-shirts, adorable onesies or sweet items for your home? Visit her post and leave a comment for a chance to win.

Talk amongst yourselves

There are two different posts scheduled to go up today that I really wanted to tell you about. I was debating over which one to feature today and which one to feature tomorrow.

What I didn't take into account is both bloggers tend to post later in the day than I do. So I guess I'll be featuring whoever posts first.

But I didn't wanna leave you hanging. So I thought I'd stop by and let ya know what we're waiting for. As soon as one of the posts is up, I'll let ya know.

In the meantime, know any good jokes?