Disclosure: I may have received a free product or other compensation for any/all products on this site in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chasing Ice, global warming and my electric bill

Since I am living in the Valley of the Blastfurnace today, with temperatures predicted to be around 119 today, I decided that I needed to cool off my brain while hiding out in the house with the baby. (We have everything buttoned up- blinds sealed tight, all doors to rooms sealed up that we won't be in.. and the AC turned up to a higher temp than we are used to. My AC unit is 11 years old this year, the warranty is up and we have had issues over the past year that were not adequately addressed.. I am waiting for this thing to explode on me any minute. When I get a job, this will be one of the first issues I address.. ) But I digress- I decided to watch Chasing Ice on Netflix. If you have not seen this film, I suggest you watch it immediately. The photography is incredible. The story is even more incredible. You all know by now that I am an Environmental and Safety professional in my "real life." I have been a treehugger since I saw the Exxon Valdez footage on tv oh so long ago. I AM a firm believer in global warming.. I have worked in my career to help businesses deal with this issue in their own ways, while still trying to run their businesses profitably. It is possible. I have seen it. More companies, and we, as individuals, can and need, to do more. I am not here to try and convince you. You either believe in science or you don't, however illogical I think that stance may be. What I can never understand, are the individuals that feel that the preventative measures are not acceptable, simply because they are attached to this "global warming debate." I am a frugal person, and even if I did not think climate was an issue in the world, I would still be interested in energy conservation, the biggest way most of us can help the issue. In Arizona, I have had electric bills in the summer that are around $300. This is insane to me personally. I have a pretty efficient home overall, but the heat here during the summer is oppressive, and even this treehugger is going to run her AC. So to me- anything I can do to be more efficient, within reason financially, is going to be high on my list. I caulked. I got a few better windows, a new door, a new French door.. insulation, shade sails in the back yard to screen the house, sunscreens, inside shades plus plantation shutters on my windows. Over the 12 years I have been in my home, I have methodically upgraded light fixtures and added special paint to my hottest rooms. I have made noticeable differences in my house. But in the end, the biggest project I undertook was my solar panels. I took advantage of the rebates and tax rebates when they were at their highest. I cashed in a poorly performing retirement account and was able to acquire these without paying interest on a loan. My system will pay for itself in 8-9 years. Yes. That soon. Again, I digress. I have saved a bundle on energy conservation. As a side note, my Solar software tells me that I have saved some CO2 going in the atmosphere as well..nice, no? Your solar system has offset 36,254 lbs of CO2 since installation, the equivalent of 17.3 mature trees So, back to my point. By rejecting these energy saving projects, what have the global warming haters achieved? They have wasted a ton of money. THAT makes no sense at all. I have been able to not only help my finances, but also prevented 36,254 pounds of carbon dioxide from going into the air. What are you doing?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Small attempt at Montessori style "baby work"

I am a huge fan of the Montessori concept for childcare and education. It is our plan to set up our daughter at a Montessori daycare when I get my job.. eventually. She is on a reserved list until August at one we really like. I need a job fast! They have a spot in the infant and toddler room saved- not sure which she will be in initially. I am thinking infant just to get her more interaction at first- the ratio was lower for that room. But she is walking now, and almost off bottles, so she could go toddler.. just not sure how she will take not being nursed down for naps.. so it may still be bottleville. Hard to say. We are also using a floor bed these days, since she never really would sleep in her crib..and the infant room has cribs. Naps will be a challenge I think. But they said they would work with her.. in fact, the time we were there, the caretaker was rocking a child while they slept- that is how he sleeps apparently.. hopefully they can work that out for her. Either way, we have tried to keep her areas in each room accessible and baby friendly. She has an area that is hers and she can gladly play for sometimes hours with her goodies. I noticed that lately she has really started to emulate things we do- brush hair, brush teeth, and most amusingly, carrying around "purses." I recall that Montessori encourages taking responsibility for cleaning up after oneself as learning and fun at the same time. (Don't quote me- I don't have any training on the topic!) So to this end, we got the baby set up with her own duster and Swiffer to play with around the living room. She loves it! I want to also get her a broom and little cleaning kit for her areas. I am sure she will enjoy these as well. I would really like to teach her to brush the dog, but she is a little to rough with her hands yet, and the dog is a little shy of the brush... but man.. some day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Out with the old, in with the.. eh.. new used?

We have a great baby and kids resale shop here in Phoenix- its called Other Mothers. They have more than one location, but the one is super close to my house, and very convenient. I have visited a few other shops in town, and have never been terribly impressed, especially with one particular one that claimed to be upscale, but simply had upscale prices. These guys do cash or credit, and although they might reject a lot now and then, overall, they take a lot most of the time and they are fair and the credits get loaded on a little credit card that is good for a long time.

So once in awhile, I accumulate a pile of baby clothes that no longer fit my little one, and I feel sad as I wash them for the last time, and sort through them to see what I might just HAVE to keep. That "keep pile" always seems to get bigger after I wash those things "for the last time."

I have a special box under her big girl bed that is filled with clothes that have hockey stuff on them, or were her "first holiday" items or of course the things we brought her home in. Oddly enough, that bringing home outfit was a hand me down baby jammy robe thing that we threw in the baby bag just in case.. the bringing home outfit I bought was way too small for my 11 lb 11 ounce baby...And it wasn't even a newborn outfit. We loved that little jammy robe thing.. looked high and low for another, but they were discontinued a few years back. That is the kind of outfit I could never part with.
I kind of like that it was a hand me down too.. which probably makes me weird, but I think it was really nice that the family member thought enough of us to put together a great bag of stuff. We loved a lot of her things, some even more than stuff we bought! I don't know if we will have any close relatives to give a bag of clothes too anymore.. we were the late comers to the baby game, so it seems to me that resale is the next best place for baby's stuff to go.
Besides all that- without a job, I sometimes feel guilty about not buying enough toys for her.. this gives me an easy, easy outlet. ( not that she NEEDS any more toys.. our house is actually quite full of toys, but sometimes I get a bug that she needs a slide, or a xylophone or a ball..)

So anyway, today we had a pile of larger toys that were no longer being used as designed and I thought it was a fine time to trade some things. I even took a pile of my old skinny pants. I don't see myself wearing them anytime soon, and my closet is currently playing host to 5 sizes of clothes. I am starting low and working my way out. If I get back to that size again, I will deserve a dang shopping spree!

I felt sad as I lugged in the walker especially. We picked it out with her at Toysrus after weeks of research. We played with them in the store. And I remember how she totally freaked out the first time she was in it. But then, she loved it. She was great in it while I cleaned the kitchen, slowly learning more and more how to get it to move where she wanted, at the same time learning to crawl, and then walk...So much development in such a short time. It seems like only yesterday that we could walk down the hallway without stepping on a stray toy.

Her first time in the walker- she cried. Terrified.



But a few months later, she loved it.



So, even as we were still looking in the store for something new to buy, someone was picking up that walker to buy. I felt a pang...take care of it! We loved that thing! We did find something exciting and new to play with though. A zebra rocking horse. I had peeked at it earlier and looked it up online, it was safe. It was 20 bucks. I knew I would have credit a plenty for it. And a megablok dumptruck. And a watering can for the tub. and a ball. and a little wooden coffee maker.. ok, that was weird, but its so dang cute.



( she is hard to get to sit still these days.)

Although I know she will use this for awhile and enjoy it, I do not imagine we will have the same great memories we did from the walker. I guess that is just the nature of growing up!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creamy Drunken Mushroom Pork Chops

I don't know about you all- but this sounds delish.. and is in the crockpot at the moment.. more chops, more wine and more shrooms of course... we need.. um.. protein.. yep! I will post later on the result. http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Creamy-Drunken-Mushroom-Pork-Chops-Allrecipes

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Are you breastfeeding?

I hate to tell a nursing mom that she needs to buy anything to support her breastfeeding activities with her baby, but I did find one thing I couldn't, and still can't- live without... Nursing pads! I do use disposables when I go out and about, simply because they have a waterproof backing. But at home, for all day use, I do not recommend a waterproof lining. Your breasts need to breathe, and not trap wetness behind a plastic liner. I found that the washable flannel pads were the best for home use. I quickly discovered that with a DD bust, the regularly offered pads were not working for overnight and moving about in the house. SO I made my own-8 inches in diameter. Several layers of flannel. They are not meant to be hidden, I will admit that. They simply keep the milk under control. Try a pair for your self! https://www.etsy.com/listing/103543809/8-inch-haboobies-giant-extra-large



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Woolzies Review and Giveaway

The concept:

I have been wanting to try some dryer balls for a long time. I cloth diaper, and I have a front load washer which really cuts down on my dry time, but I am always looking to save money and do even better on the dryer running. I live in the desert for goodness sakes, and it makes the house so hot to run the dryer.. and I cannot bear to line dry due to our dusty environment and the allergens from pollen. Sometimes I go outside and my car is covered in yellow pollen! Can't put that on my baby's bottom!

Additionally, we do not use chemical fabric softeners due to their toxicity, and our delicate baby's skin with eczema. We do use vinegar from time to time on our grown up laundry, but we can not use it on baby's diapers as I have read it damages the PUL lining. As a result, her clothes and sheets are not always as soft as I would like for a baby's skin.
 


Here are the balls, all new from the package.


The idea:

I was pretty excited when Woolzies offered me a free box of their product to try out and review here. When it arrived, I was even more excited! The pretty white balls were bigger than I expected, and there were 6 to try.

This is their xl package.


Easy instructions and FAQ's inside the box.





 
 
The first thing that happened, is that my daughter saw them and started saying BAH BAH BAH... so of course she had to take them and play with them for a bit.. I can't deny her! Once she went to sleep and I re-gathered them, it was time for some laundry!


 
Laundry makes me thirsty momma.




The test:

I decided to test the balls on the hardest to dry item in our laundry world- we have a super thick organic cotton liner for my baby's crib mattress, it is a leak proof liner and it takes absolutely forever to dry. I tossed in a few of her thick blankets, a regular cotton crib sheet and some miscellaneous diapers and clothes. It was a pretty decent load. Normally the sheets and the cover are stiff and crunchy when we are done drying, just because they are so thick. The load usually takes about an hour to dry.
 

 
 

 
 

The laundry

 
The scrutiny of the laundry- looks good momma- but where are the balls?


They are in here somewhere....






The result:

I checked on the load in the dryer every 10-15 minutes to check progress. I was very impressed at about 30 minutes as most everything was dry except the thick crib pad. At 45 minutes, a full 15 minutes sooner than my usual load, the entire load was dry! I was also very happy to see that the regular sheet was super soft, and even the thick liner was softer then normal!

I am very happy to report success on this experiment. If you would like to learn more- friend them on Facebook and Twitter!

As noted, I was provided a free product to try for this review. I have provided my honest opinion on this product in spite of its being free.. if I didn't like it, I wouldn't lie about it!

If you have a product you would like me to review, please contact me.


Now win your own!




Sunday, June 9, 2013

Vacation

So fearless readers, I have been on a vacation of sorts for the past week or so. My mom was here from out of town, and we spent our days shopping and running around, eating and watching my baby girl do all of her wondrously cute things that she does. Our house is even more full of toys and cute clothes. Baby is now completely spoiled, as Gramma's tend to do.. lol. It is so hard when you have family out of state! We have seen her 3 times since the baby was born, which is about every 6 months or so thus far. It is made harder by the fact that I am not working, so in reality, I have all the time in the world to visit, but of course, no funds. At least we got to see the whole family over Christmas. We basically drove across the country without saying a word to anyone, and just showed up Christmas Eve. What a shock we were! It was fantastic. I wish we could have stayed longer, but with a 3 day drive on both ends, we only had time to stay a short while. Amazingly, the baby, 8 months at the time, was a complete angel all the way there, even when cutting a tooth! The way back was a little harder, but still, she was a good baby all things considered. So, my mom is back home. Baby is still looking for her every morning when we wake up. She says- mmmMa, which is how she says Gramma. It is sad to watch her do this of course. I miss her too! Even the dog misses her- they used to go outside together several times a day when she smoked.. that dog would whimper every time we came home from somewhere, just so she could see her. She never whimpers for me! She has offered to come back again over the summer if I get a job.. she said we can save a bunch on daycare for a month, and she can vacation again. Sounds great to me.. so I need a job people! Soon!