Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Lists

I'm still here!  We had a week off of school and a fun trip to see family north of Chicago.  The girls did well on our car ride and enjoyed a visit to the Shedd Aquarium.  It was great to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  On our car trip home we pulled out the Christmas music and officially started the Christmas season.  Usually we go cut down a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but that ritual hasn't taken place yet.  (How am I going to keep Esther away from the tree this year??)

Of course I've been obsessing about Christmas lists for weeks already now.  We don't purchase many new things for the kids throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas and birthdays.  I spend quite a bit of time reading reviews, researching, plotting, and planning my lists.  Its not that my lists are long, they are just carefully thought out.  ;)  I am still in the planning stages, but I'll share a few of my ideas with you.  I am also hoping to put together a Christmas idea list containing items that I have reviewed on my blog and love.  Thank goodness the girls can't read my blog yet.... (and I can't tell you what I'm getting for my mom because she DOES read this!)

Mommy Necklaces - I got Lucy and Julia each a Mommy Necklace, an accent strand shortened to 24 inches, one pink and one plum colored.  I also got a donut bead for each.  I think the girls will love having their own necklace so they can play mommy, or just wear them as cute little girl necklaces.

Muffin Tins - Call me crazy, but the girls are going to be so excited about their new orange muffin tins.  On Amazon they are part of the buy four things for the price of three promotion.  I got three tins and my new large cookie scoop for the price of three items.  Adding some fun printed cupcake liners and making food picks with stickers and toothpicks will round out the gift.

Twilight Turtle - This one is for Julia.  She still has a hard time going to sleep at night and I think this will encourage her.  Little known fact - Diapers.com does price matching.  Well, they used to and they are phasing it out, but if you email and ask they might price match for you.  I got them to match the Amazon.com price on this ($10 cheaper).  If you are a new customer you could then use the code ONEWORD for an additional 15% off your order.

I haven't decided what to get Lucy yet, but I'm saving my Swagbucks Amazon.com gift cards to purchase it with.  If you're not signed up for Swagbucks, you should be!

Esther has Christmas and a birthday coming up.  Can you believe she's almost one year old already?  I'm considering getting her a Playmobil 123 set, but she still puts everything in her mouth.  Some of those pieces are pretty small.  I'm in love with this adorable block set (and in love with the store Julabug, review coming soon!).

My mom got Lucy a LeapFrog Tag and Julia a Tag Junior that I am excited about.  Sorry, no photos in this post, I don't want my kids getting any ideas!

How about you?  Any fun Christmas ideas this year?  Do you obsess about what to get your kids as much as I do?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goodbye Plastic, Hello.... Squash Plant?

Sometimes I think I'm pretty crunchy, crispy in fact.  Other times I think "Seriously?  Why did it take me so long to figure this out?".  Like the other day when I realized that I was scrubbing myself with a big chunk of plastic.  I hate plastic.  I needed a new scrubby puff, but I didn't want to go out and buy more plastic only to have it end up in the plastic-Texas-in-the-ocean when I was done with it.  So I went searching and found some really cool options!

Did you know that a loofah is a dried squash plant?  I had no idea!  I found the coolest Etsy shop that sells homegrown loofahs, and they sent us two to try out.  These are grown in Florida at EcoFarm.  Check out these pictures they sent me:


drying on the vine...

Evidently the seeds are quite prolific and will sprout anywhere.  The growing cycle is quite long, so I'm not sure how well they would do in Michigan.  You can order seeds here if you are interested in trying it out.  (If you do, let me know how it goes!)

These were hand milked and dried in the sun last year because the weather was so moist.

We have been enjoying using our loofahs in the shower instead of a big ball of plastic.  Its a bit scratchy at first, but works well.  Loofahs can even be used to scrub produce, or cut in slices and used as a soap saver.  Here is a blurb from the Etsy shop owner TiffyPop about loofah care:

You want to make sure that they dry in between uses, so hang them or lay them on an open shower rack, not in a pool of water. You can cut them down depending on how and what you are using them for. they last for months really, or until they arent scrubby enuf :) i spray mine with a vinegar and tea tree disinfectant spray every once in a while, and sometimes lay it out in the sun just to crisp it back up. 

So, am I the only one who didn't know what a loofah was?  Anyone want to try one out?  Just leave a comment on this post and you will be entered to win the loofah shown above!  For an extra entry, become a Facebook fan of One Little Word She Knew and let me know that in a second comment.  I'll close this on December 3 at midnight.  Now go check out EcoFarmFL's Etsy shop; a loofah would make a super fun Christmas gift!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reusable Straws

We use a lot of straws around here.
For drinking soup...

for smoothies... 

... and I won't even tell you how many straws we go through now that we have an amazing soda machine on our countertop.  We recently found some super cool reusable straws that we are enjoying.

Have you ever been to Reusit.com?  Its a great website, very informative, and will have you wanting to use reusable everything.  A fun feature is that you can shop "by disposable replaced".  For example, click on "straws" and you will see several options for reusable straws.  We got to try out both the stainless steel straws and the glass straws.  I really love both of them for different reasons.

The stainless steel set is great because it comes with 4 straws, and they are light and unbreakable.  These fit nicely in the holes of our smoothie cups.  You'll have to get something like this to use as a cleaning brush, which we already had.  I don't like not being able to see that the straw is completely clean, so we are careful to wash these out right after use.  They are bent at the top, but not bendable.  I'd like to see these come in a bit shorter size so that they would work in my girls open top cups without falling over.  Overall these are great straws and fun to use.  

The glass set is gorgeous.  I love the little dot design.  These are the straws that Ross and I reach for most.  Because they are made of glass, they are thicker and do not fit in the straw holes of the girls' cups. I don't think I would let them use these anyway for fear of them breaking.  There is a lifetime guarantee though, which is nice.  The straw brush that came with these ended up rusting and seemed too stiff and scratchy.  I wish these were just a bit cheaper or came with 6 in a pack instead of 3.  They are definitely a fun item to have though.

So which set would I choose?  Both!  The stainless steel set is great for the kids, and is fairly inexpensive.  The glass set is probably my favorite because they are so pretty and fun to use.  We are totally enjoying our reusable straws and having fun serving them to guests that visit.  These would make a uniquely fun Christmas gift, we give them two thumbs up.  Thanks Reusit.com!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Milk Nursingwear

Milk Nursingwear is a new store offering nursing tops, dresses, and more.  They have a fun selection of colors and a nice variety of styles.  A great feature about their shop is that you can see photos of each item's nursing opening as well as a back view.  Most of their tops are solid colors, which make them versatile pieces to add to your wardrobe (add a Mommy Necklace and you're all set!).

I recently got to try out the knot-front top pictured above.  Unfortunately I chose a size small, and it was too big on me.  I wasn't thinking and washed it before trying it on, so I can't exchange it.  The top is big around the arm holes and just kind of baggy throughout.  If it were smaller, I'm sure this would be a great top.  The front pulls aside for easy nursing access.  This is a nice lightweight fabric that can be worn with jeans, or easily dressed up.

Check out Milk Nursingwear for more great selections!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Post That Wasn't

As always, I have lots of blog posts planned and never enough time to write them all.  I started writing this post called "Steps to Healthy Eating" but it got really, really long.  I wanted to include tips and share recipes and things I've tried and... yeah, it turned into a book.  Not exactly a book, just a really long blog post.  Without pictures.  I hate blog posts without pictures.

Here, how about a picture of a drop leaf table for this post?  What, you aren't shopping for drop leaf tables?  Me either really.  But I thought a picture of a table would go well with a post about "Steps to Healthy Eating".  Then again, this isn't really a post about healthy eating because that post got way too long.  This is more like a "post that never was".  So pretend you didn't read this post.  I'll stop trying to write novels and go back to sharing one tip, one step, one recipe at a time.  Its a lot easier that way, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Tree

Its time to put up our yearly Thanksgiving Tree.  I laminated the tree trunk from last year so that we could use it again.  This time the tree is located on our bedroom door, along with some Indians that we made earlier this week.

To fill out our tree with leaves, every day each member of the family gets to say one thing that they are thankful for and write it on a leaf.  It is so much fun to see our tree fill up with leaves throughout the month.  I've saved leaves from previous years (just tucked them in a plastic bag), those are fun to go back and read.  We put our tree up in early November and work on it until Thanksgiving Day.

So far Daddy is thankful for our home, Mommy is thankful for family, Lucy is thankful for Julia, and Julia is thankful for Darla (her gymnastics teacher).

Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions?

linked to Gratituesday

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

This is seriously the best. tip. ever.  I love baking (and eating!) muffins.  What I don't like, is touching the batter and getting all messy trying to fill the tin evenly.  I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I was when someone told me that you can use a cookie scoop to fill a muffin tin.  Genius.  Okay, so maybe the rest of you already knew this, but in case you didn't, your life is now infinitely better.

A regular size cookie scoop is 2 Tbs, and it takes about a scoop and a half to fill each space.  I love this tip so much that I just bought this large cookie scoop (3 Tbs) to make it even better.  One scoop is perfect for each muffin.  They should just call it a muffin scoop.  Just look at this nicely cleaned out bowl - all I did was use my large scoop 12 times.  Mmmm...  I might have to go bake muffins now.

Check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays for more great tips.  :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Smoothies

What my kids thought they ate:

peanut butter and honey sandwich, chips, and a smoothie

What they really ate:
peanut butter, almond butter, and honey sandwich, chips, 
blueberry keifer, spinach, carrot puree and carrot juice, flax seeds, strawberries, blackberries

Gotta love it!  For more fun food ideas check out Muffin Tin Mom.  :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three Year Olds

Anyone else have a hard-to-handle three year old?  Julia is a pretty intense kid, and has been particularly challenging lately.  Here are a few of the things we are trying and some books I am reading.  I'd love any ideas you have to share as well!

Kid Cooperation - This is a great book that I picked up from our LLL library.  I love that Elizabeth Pantley doesn't try to push a rigid "method" but gives lots of tips, support, and things to keep in mind.  She comes from an attachment parenting perspective and is easy to read.  The book has plenty of examples and real life situations, which I find really helps me.  I'm actually not finished reading this book yet, but Ross and I are reading it together and discussing it as we go.  It really helps to talk things through with him and come up with a game plan.

(Elizabeth Pantley also has a newer book called The No-Cry Discipline Solution.  It contains much of the same information, and I will probably read through that one as well.  I do find that I like the layout of Kid Cooperation much better though.)

Adventures In Gentle Discipline - I am still in the middle of reading this one as well.  It is a larger volume, but easy to read.  It contains lots of quotes from mothers and real life stories.

Sensory Parenting - I actually received this book from the author for review.  It is interesting to read and think about all of the sensory input that might be affecting a child.  This is a comprehensive book with information on all aspects of parenting as relates to a child with a sensory disorder.  I thought the book had a lot of extraneous advice and could have been narrowed down.  Chapters 7 and 8 on evaluating your child's senses and therapies for the senses were the most interesting.  In the author's defense, sensory parenting is a huge topic - kudos to them for trying to tackle it!  Sensory Parenting is an interesting read.

We recently took Julia to the chiropractor/ kinesiologist that our family sees.  He did a very gentle adjustment on her and suggested some specific vitamins.  We discussed nutrition, focusing on feeding Julia food other than carbohydrates and working on keeping her blood sugar stable.  She has actually been somewhat better since our visit.  I am doing my best to keep our family's nutrition top notch right now and hoping that will help ...along with plenty of patience.  ;)

Do you have a challenging little one?  Any tips to share?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plan Toys Horse Stable and Vegetable Garden

You probably already know that we love Plan Toys play food.  The vegetable garden and horse stable are both fun sets that we give two thumbs up as well.

Our dollhouse dolls have really been enjoying the Plan Toys Dollhouse Stable.  They are excited to have their own horses that they can actually ride on.  You'll have to excuse Maggie here, she's having a bad hair day, but she really wanted to take the horses some carrots from her garden.

She loves to go horseback riding.  Her little rope legs fit perfectly around the horse and she is learning to stay on pretty well.

Its a good thing the big horse can move his legs back and forth a bit to take her for a ride.  He can also put his head down to eat some grass when he gets hungry.  (Baby horse can turn her head back and forth but not up and down and her legs are stationary.)

Maggie can't spend too long playing with her horses because she has to get back to tending the garden.  She has parsnips, carrots, cauliflower, and turnips? to care for.  There might be something wrong with her cauliflower though because it turned yellow?  Her wheelbarrow is a little tipsy and hard to handle, but she manages anyway.

After much planting and digging, Maggie is exhausted.  (She would prefer a wooden shovel, but this one is plastic.)  Her watering can comes in handy, and she uses her pail to collect carrots for the horses.  All this hard work is making her want to go play.  Maybe she'll take baby horse out for a ride this time.

Not so fast, Maggie!  You still have to clean out the chicken coop!  A girl's work is never done.

Maggie is of course purely fictional.  She lives in our Plan Toys dollhouse and does not come with either of these sets.  The Horse Stable and Vegetable Garden are both available for purchase separately.  We received them from CSN Stores for review.  All opinions expressed are my own Maggie's. 

Top 5 Nursing Essentials

So what do you need to get started breastfeeding a new little one?  Here are my top 5 picks for breastfeeding essentials:

1. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - This a great reference book by La Leche League.  It is written in an easy to read format with tons of useful information.

2. Bravado Body Silk Seamless nursing bra - This is hands down my favorite nursing bra ever.  Its supportive, comfortable, and stylish.

3. Knickernappies Stay Dry nursing pads - These are a hundred times more comfortable than disposable nursing pads.  They don't leak, and they come in fun colors, what more can I say?

4. Mommy Necklace - You will definitely want one (or five!) of these.  A nursing necklace keeps baby interested while nursing and saves you from getting pinched and poked, all while making you look fabulous.

5- Momzelle or Boob brand nursing tops - I love the nursing opening on both of these brands.  Having a couple of basic nursing shirts in your wardrobe can really help you feel confident, especially nursing in public.

Honorable mentions: blush undershirt - makes any shirt a nursing shirt, sleep bra, nursing cover up or this one, earth mama angel baby nipple butter - so much softer than lanolin, milk saver - great for saving extra milk especially in the early days, pump - although I rarely use mine, nursing tank top

What would your top 5 be?  Am I forgetting anything?

This is not a sponsored post.  I did not receive any product in exchange for posting this.